How about all of the hairdos that rock'n'roll gave us? Let's start with Bill Haley. Man! Elvis changed a generation with his pompadour and sideburns. You will never have any idea how many hours I spent staring at photos of Little Richard trying to understand how all that happened. Of course his inspiration, Esquerita, never hit the big leagues but he has his own place in the hair hall of fame.
Those greasy, blonde, bacon-like strands hanging over Jerry Lee's forehead just added to the menace and Fats' square flattop was a modern marvel.
It was all just a setup leading directly to the Beatles. No wonder rock'n'roll has faded away. We've seen it all.
Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
If I should ever get this rock to the top of this hill, what then? I'm way too busy apologizing for what I've done to have any time or energy to defend against what I haven't done.
There's gold in these hills. Not that it matters. Hell, there's gum under the tables. If suffering only serves a purpose until the ego has been tamed, what then? This joy stuff really should be shared. Maybe misery really does love company but ecstasy demands sharing.
Don't pay money for a mantra. Don't be duped by gurus in robes. Love. That's it. Really. That's all there is.
I know more than I'm supposed to know. Oh, I'm not wise. Not even particularly bright. Maybe it's just that I get really good reception. Now, I've been around folks who really know stuff. Take my pal, Colonel Bruce Hampton. Bruce seems to have a direct line to the source, if you know what I mean.
Just seeing clearly that the emperors in Washington D.C. and Moscow don't have any clothes on will zip you past a grand portion of our society.
I've seen my share of magic. I've felt it and known it. It's all about love. It could probably make the statue of liberty disappear but it won't be televised. This stuff ain't rocket science.
As I read through all these sad comments left by famous friends of Harold Ramis I realize that most of them mention the pleasure of knowing him because he was so funny. Never really thought of it. Seems like a fine legacy, doesn't it?
I hope that when I'm gone if anyone thinks of me at all that maybe some of them will have "funny" memories. I guess that laughter is a special form of love. Make sure that you're laughing a lot with the ones that you love.
What if I actually quit repeating the same things that have brought me fear and pain and anxiety. What if I can pull off being the one lab rat who escapes the cage. Maybe I just woke up on the right side of the bed.
Seems obvious to me that I sing more about love, write more about love and babble more than I do loving. On your mark. Get set. Love.
No, I mean literally. When those mockingbirds sing outside my window in the morning I recognize some of those songs from my childhood. I never even knew that I was paying attention.
If I can just let my heart run this show everything will be fine. There is drama and there is conflict everywhere you go. If you allow it to take over the wheel, it will. Help folks when you can. That's what love is about.
If the external problems become your problems you haven't helped anyone or anything. Be the love.
What does that mean, circle the wagons? Oh, I know what it means but only from old cowboy movies. I once marveled at the changes that my grandmother witnessed over her lifetime. When she was born, in Warrior, Alabama, in 1889 the automobile was only a couple of years old. There certainly were none in Alabama!
The veterans that they had to worry about were from the Civil War. She lived through world wars I and II, the Korean Conflict and Viet Nam. She hated them all.
She was around for Rudy Vallee, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and the Beatles. Oh, she loved Elvis. She once made him a coconut cake and he bragged about it in an interview later.
All of my world views can be traced to what she taught me. Love is the answer to every question. War is bad. Either it's really, really simple or she was just a wonderful teacher.
Name ten or twelve of your favorite rock'n'roll records. Earl Palmer played drums on some of them. Hal Blaine played on some of the others. I don't have a turban or a crystal ball here. Well, in fact, I do but that's another blog.
Listen to the opening bars of Little Richard's Keep A Knockin'. You recognize the song before anybody but Earl has made a sound. Those cannons exploding all over the ending of the Ronette's masterpiece, Be My Baby ? That's Hal Blaine pounding those drums.
As a kid I had no idea that the same guys were playing on most of my favorites. I can still tap along with every fill on every Shirley and Lee 45. I didn't even know that I was paying attention. I'm no scholar and I'm surely no drummer. I did take tap dancing lessons as a kid, though. So did Earl Palmer and Hal Blaine.
Born with the rock'n'roll. Okay. I've figured out my role in this world. I fairly understand the events that have moved me through the tunnel. I'm still struggling with the ones who don't have what they need. I'm not just referring to the newest i phone here. What about serotonin levels? Heck, how about enough food to eat?
Don't we have an obligation to take care of the others? Yeah, we do. Let's roll.
You're weary of me asking these questions, I know, but I keep coming back to what seems obvious to me. Who decides what's valuable? Sorry, but I don't buy that rare and scarce bit. Surely kindness and love are as hard to find out there as gold and silver. They surely are if you're homeless.
Here's the platform that I'm running on: laughter and colored glass, peace and kindness and rock'n'roll. No pants, either. Unless you wannna wear pants. Then, pants. I'm a regular politician under the surface. I'm here to put Kevin Spacey out of work.
Folks often turn to me for advice for their love life and why not. Here are a few little tips to insure that all is well on the romance front on this special day.
2. Love more
3. Love harder
That's all I've got. I sincerely hope this helps and I wish for you a beautiful day. If there's not someone special in your life right now keep in mind all of the desperate, lonely people out there and all of the prisoners and all the residents in nursing homes. There are plenty of abandoned dogs and cats in our shelters who would love to see you coming to take them home today, too.
Now, I hate to think of myself as someone who would ruin your holiday. I'm not referring to Presidents' Day in this case. I've long known that I'm a romantic by anyone's definition.
I suppose that it never really dawned on me to check the definition according to the dictionary. They all start off okay with mentions of passionate, loving and affectionate. Pretty soon, though, we're into fanciful, unrealistic, impractical, dreamer, ad nauseam. No one should have to put up with that. Maybe no one could.
Stubborn. That's another adjective thrown about wildly when my name comes up. Well, now, I'll defend myself on that one. Except when it comes to romantic. Yeah, I couldn't change that one for all the tea in China and I wouldn't if I could. I wish the world was made up of romantics. This reality is way overrated.
There's a lot of fixing here for me to do and I'm getting to it as fast as I can. Study love. That's my advice.
Well, my heart skipped a beat. Benny had always been a hero and here I was shaking the hand of my favorite rockabilly star. My pal, Bill Mason, was making the introductions. I was sitting at the piano and the conversation quickly turned to songs.
When Benny asked me to play him something of mine I don't know why this one came to mind. We had never even played it much. Spencer and I had written it together around 1966 or so. Maybe I thought of this one because we had written it on piano.
Over the years Benny and I got to be big buddies. he often told me of his exchanges with Elvis and Elvis telling him that he was going to record "Sincerely, Your Friend," Benny's beautiful ballad.
Benny always told me that he was going to record "Heartbreak Eyes."
If it weren't for flawed individuals I suppose we wouldn't have human life at all. Maybe the most we can hope for is to recognize our shortcomings, admit our failures and fix ourselves up. We all need to do more to take care of this big old planet and all of its inhabitants. You were born out of love and you come with your own unending supply. Let's fix stuff. Let's be happy.
Here's hoping that the NFL implodes. Along with the television networks, the New York Times and Wall Street. Wouldn't it be nice if cable shows like House Of Cards became the big hits and the fine folks in Duluth all decided that the bands from around there were just the best things since the Beatles? I like to think about little independent bakeries selling their fresh Cuban bread edging out Krispy Kreme franchises.
I'm guessing that most communities around the world have their own Jayne Mansfield or Pablo Picasso struggling to make ends meet. Dream intergalactically, act locally, love universally!
Sometimes I wanted to be a rock'n'roll star and sometimes I wanted to drive a sprint car. Sometimes I wanted to be a soldier. Audie Murphy was one of my heroes. You know, America's most decorated hero from WW II. I still love the soldiers. I just hate the wars. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
Maybe I'm the worst kind of snob when it comes to music. I'm pretty sure that anything that I like is good. You don't want to know how I feel about that other stuff. My mom brought me hillbilly records and rhythm and blues records all the time. As soon as they began to call it rock'n'roll she brought me that, too.
By the time that soul music began to rule the planet I was right there. When the Americana Music Association was being launched I was at every meeting, every conference, every event. Little did I know that these folks planned to take over what we thought of as the country music business. They didn't want any more to do with me than the old Nashville guard had.
I've never much cared for classification of music. Can you tell me what genre Chet Atkins fits into? Have you ever heard a better soul record than the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody? Well, yeah, maybe Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata or Otis doing Try A Little Tenderness.
Never cared much for the term, genius, either, but I'll make an exception for Ray Charles. Nervous Norvus, too.
I was always a little embarrassed that Charlie Parker With Strings was my favorite Bird record. Then, some years back, my pal, Hugh, told me that it had been Parker's favorite of his records, too.
Oh, there are plenty of folks around with a lot more variety on their favorites list than I have. Pete Kennedy comes to mind. He actually knows stuff, though. I just live for the good stuff.
By the third grade I was desperate to grow sideburns. I don't have to tell you why. Well, now sir, you can't grow sideburns without whiskers. I had read about the Beatles months before they were played on the radio here and well before they arrived on these shores for the Ed Sullivan Show. When I saw footage from England on the Jack Paar Show I immediately washed my hair and quit getting regular haircuts.
By my junior year in high school the dean of boys was threatening to send me home every day. I don't think I was perceived as any kind of social threat. Just a nut.
I'm off to get my hair cut now. It's still something that I don't face well.
Football was better than baseball. At least I could see the thing coming. Basketball wasn't too bad. Not until the other kids started to get coordinated.
By the third grade I was blind as a bat. I spent a couple of years then with experimental glasses that actually made my vision worse in order to "train" my eyes. By junior high I had contact lens and knew that I could play rock'n'roll for a living.
Of course I never really got over being a kid with glasses. I don't think anybody does. I think it's funny that John Lennon avoided most photos when he had on specs until much later in his career.
When my mom took me to see Bo Diddley at the armory I was as fascinated by his horn rim glasses as I was his hypnotic beat. Buddy Holly sealed the deal. His famous quote, "Without Elvis, none of us would have ever made it," sorta' twisted into "Without Buddy, none of us would have had the nerve."
Once the Beatles changed the world my job training was complete. I plan to retire. When I drop over dead.
Maybe all the songs have been written. Maybe all the movies have been made. Somehow, though, I gotta tell you, it feels like life has just started for me. I've never been sure about time and history. When I was a kid I looked at time, itself, like a typewriter ribbon. It only went one way. Sometimes I worried about it getting to the end of the spool.
The mysteries of the universe keep me busy. I knew everything once, a long time ago.
Let it flow. That's my advice. Let it flow. It's all gonna happen, no matter what we do. Get out of the way and enjoy the show. Say goodbye to the NFL. Rock'n'roll left the building a long time ago. We don't really need Nostradomus to read the darned writing on the wall, do we?
The internet changed the world more rapidly and more dramatically than the industrial revolution ever could. Now you can keep working a job that you hate to buy stuff that you don't need to impress folks that you don't like or you can move towards the light.
It's all energy in one form or another and love comes the closest that we can get to giving it meaning. Maybe it's time to run the universe yourself. The pope is on the cover of Rolling Stone. We don't need to be told what is and what is not hep. Will work for love and I suggest that you should, too.
When I was a kid I thought it all came from Chuck Berry. Even when he insisted that he got it from Louis Jordan I refused to reconsider. Then, of course, once I was turned on to Louis Jordan I had to keep looking back. Have we all just ripped off Pythagoras for all these years? Is he the Father of Rock'n'Roll?
I can no longer conceive of any truly original art. Every influence, every exposure to material at any level seeps into the work.
Maybe you should consider buying my stuff from CD Baby or directly from my site, www.ronnyelliott.com. Either that or find it somewhere online to download for free. What the heck.
I've never been big on "acts." I've told you before. I want to see the 640 pound wrestlers, the ones who are still the deal when they squeeze into a booth at a fast food joint. By the time that poor Elvis realized that he was completely different from other humans he scurried to become the first Elvis impersonator. Oh, he was the best. He sorta' had an unfair advantage.
Now, though, when I think back to my first exposure to Little Richard and Fats Domino, the hair on my arm stands up. Not only was the beautiful music a brand new form of magic, the image of those magnificent creatures proved beyond doubt that there was life, real life, beyond what we knew.
Not only did these giants, along with Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry and other gods, change music and society, these heroes began bringing together two races in a hurry. Whoa! I will be forever grateful to have lived on the edge of that.
How could we ever get by without friends? Why would we bother? I've always had a lot to be grateful about but I cherish nothing like I do the people around me. I know that love is the natural state but I seem to get way more than one man's share. I sometimes feel almost desperate to pay a little towards my karmic debt. I love you all very much.