ODES TO THE ONE (Everything I Really Needed To Know, I Learned From Rock and Roll: Lesson #5)

I spent a good part of the last week (on again, off again…and, inevitably, inexorably, on again) using my limited internet skills to look up someone I barely knew nearly forty years ago.

I’m not at liberty to reveal more. Suffice it to say it brought home Rock and Roll’s preeminent lesson (nearly as pitiless as History’s preeminent lesson, which is “Don’t Lose”) with more force than anything I’ve ever experienced, not excluding the deaths of my parents.

It’s been said many times, many ways and I think I’m gonna need to spend time with every one of them to pull the knife from my heart some day short of the Judgement, which I now know will require an extra pound of penance.

And what might this lesson be?

Ah, well….From the Scriptures….


Yes, everything I really needed to know I learned from Rock and Roll (well, and the New Testament, which is hardly unrelated).

Now if I could only remember never to forget.

4 thoughts on “ODES TO THE ONE (Everything I Really Needed To Know, I Learned From Rock and Roll: Lesson #5)

  1. I loved comparing all those variations on a theme. It seems we both respond to the minor chord of “loss”. You’ve delved into the music and I, to a limited degree, in film, especially John Ford who wrapped himself in that theme better than any director I know.

    • Yes, I think I didn’t respond fully to Ford (although I always liked his films) until I was in my forties, old enough to realize every decision has consequences. That includes the decision to stay a course, which so often presents itself as the “safe” option. That’s what I spent last week re-learning. There ain’t no safe option!

      Just watched Wagonmaster though and it cheered me no end…

  2. Hi Johnny
    I’m going backwards in reading and responding to a lot of things, not just your postings. 🙂
    My apologies for not replying sooner.
    I really wanted to say that I came to Ford late and for the same reason you mentioned.
    I had a lot of growing up to do before I ever suspected there was more than met the eye.
    What I find funny when I look back on my movie watching habit is how often I would think to myself after viewing one of his movies, “wow, what a terrific movie. But who’s John Ford and why do I keep seeing his name mentioned in all my favorite classic movie-related books?”
    My naïveté is only partly excused by my extremely girlish and superficial attraction to glamour and glitz in my youth. And for melodrama of the sudsiest variety (still love it). Hence Hitchcock was the man, and the great comedy directors. I knew more about Leisen and Van Dyke than Ford.

    Oh well. Better late than never.

    Regarding Wagon Master
    Even in my lowest moments I don’t think I could fail to smile at the (repeated) shot of the little colt crossing the river after his mother. He (or she) is like hope itself, ever young and keeping up.

    • No such thing as too late around here April…

      I mentioned as an aside in some post here recently (can’t remember which one!) that certain artists just resonate more with age. Hawks (and Htichcock and others) reached me in Youth. Then one day, I was watching The Searchers for the third or fourth time (I liked it, of course) and I just started seeing things I hadn’t seen before. I first thought it was just a matter of my own maturity….that I had probably missed a lot of things in other people’s films too. So I went looking for them….all those minor chords that resonate across the full emotional spectrum but invariably end in elegy which are so evident in Ford once you catch on….and I didn’t find them.

      I didn’t lose my love for Hawks or any of the others, but I did start approaching Ford as though he were a horse of a different color so to speak.

      Which I guess is my way of saying it’s great to hear from others who have experienced something similar. I keep hoping there will more of us. That’d be a better world waiting I think!

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