Five Environmental Songs: 1st eGuide

 

Five Environmental Songs To Trigger Political and Social-Change Discussions 

Our first mini-guide presents five environmental songs for exploration.  It is below and I hope to get it onto a downloadable PDF shortly.

The songs presented here are:

  • “Big Yellow Taxi” (“They Paved Paradise”) – Joni Mitchell. She played it at a fundraising concert that helped launch Greenpeace in 1971.
  • “The Last Resort” – The Eagles, an epic song from their monster-hit album Hotel California
  • “Nature’s Way” – Spirit, written by Randy California, a young friend of Jimi Hendrix, who played guitar in an early Hendrix band.
  • “Burn On” – Randy Newman. A song about a polluted river in Ohio that literally caught fire: “Burn on, big river!”)
  • “After the Gold Rush” – A top hit by Neil Young from his album of the same name.

These are from the 1960s and ‘70s – just because, being a boomer, I happened to know and love all these songs, and so could get them out fast, and I needed to act fast.

Future guides will delve into songs from more recent decades – from some of my favorite bands like Kings of Leon, Nirvana, U2 – as well as from the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, when blues music was soaring.

View or download the PDF here:

Guide – 5 Environmental Songs Can Rock & Roll Save America

QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO ASK EACH OTHER

  • Have you heard this song before?
  • Do you like this song, overall?
  • Why, or why not?
  • Why do you think this song was a major hit, if it was?
  • If it wasn’t a hit, do you think it was nevertheless a strong song? Why?
  • What do you think are the most powerful parts of this song?
  • What lyrics/words/phrases are the strongest, in your view?
  • Is this song relevant for today? How?
  • What other questions should we ask each other, to explore this song more deeply?

BIG YELLOW TAXI (THEY PAVED PARADISE) – JONI MITCHELL

Greenpeace was founded in 1970-71, not in the U.S. but in Vancouver, Canada – by U.S. ex-patriots and Canadians.

At an important fundraising benefit concert for this new environmental organization (see below), Joni Mitchell performed her recently released amazing song “Big Yellow Taxi” – which most people know as “They Paved Paradise.”

It was Joan Baez who asked Mitchell to play this concert for Greenpeace, an organization Baez was helping to launch.

Amchitka Island Benefit – October 1970:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amchitka_(album)

Greenpeace article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenpeace

YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94bdMSCdw20

Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Yellow_Taxi

Lyrics:

Big Yellow Taxi
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em

Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

Hey, farmer, farmer,
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please!

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

Late last night I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

I said
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot


THE EAGLES – THE LAST RESORT

This amazing song was the last song in the Eagles hugely successful Hotel California album (their biggest-selling album).  It was also the B-side song on their hit single Life In The Fast Lane.

Some of my favorite lines:

“Some rich men came and raped the land, nobody caught ’em…”

“We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God”

“Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
There is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here.”

 

YOU TUBE

Unfortunately, I just realized that this song – unlike most Eagles songs – is blocked for use on YouTube because of copyright issues.  Sorry! You might find it on Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, or some other service – or buy it online for a dollar.  It’s worth it – it’s an amazing song, and an important one!

WICKIPEDIA WEB SITE FOR “THE LAST RESORT”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Resort_(Eagles_song)

LYRICS

The Last Resort

She came from Providence, the one in Rhode Island
Where the old world shadows hang heavy in the air
She packed her hopes and dreams like a refugee,
Just as her father came across the sea

She heard about a place people were smilin’,
They spoke about the red man’s way, how they loved the land
And they came from everywhere to the Great Divide
Seeking a place to stand or a place to hide

Down in the crowded bars out for a good time,
Can’t wait to tell you all what it’s like up there
And they called it paradise, I don’t know why
Somebody laid the mountains low while the town got high

Then the chilly winds blew down across the desert,
Through the canyons of the coast to the Malibu
Where the pretty people play hungry for power
To light their neon way and give them things to do

Some rich men came and raped the land, nobody caught ’em,
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes and, Jesus, people bought ’em
And they called it paradise, the place to be,
They watched the hazy sun sinking in the sea

You can leave it all behind and sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign ‘Jesus is Coming’,
Brought the white man’s burden down, brought the white man’s reign

Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
‘Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God

And you can see them there on Sunday morning
Stand up and sing about what it’s like up there
They called it paradise, I don’t know why
You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye


NATURE’S WAY – SPIRIT

YouTube Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMvkvNNajRc

Lyrics:

http://www.lyricsmania.com/natures_way_lyrics_spirit.html

The band Spirit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_%28band%29

Lyrics:

Nature’s Way

It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong
It’s nature’s way of telling you in a song

It’s nature’s way of receiving you
It’s nature’s way of retrieving you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong

It’s nature’s way of telling you, soon we’ll freeze
It’s nature’s way of telling you, dying trees

It’s nature’s way of receiving you
It’s nature’s way of retrieving you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong
It’s nature’s way, it’s nature’s way
It’s nature’s way, it’s nature’s way

It’s nature’s way of telling you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong
It’s nature’s way of telling you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
In a song, oh-h

It’s nature’s way of receiving you
It’s nature’s way
It’s nature’s way of retrieving you
It’s nature’s way
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong, something’s wrong, something’s wrong


BURN ON BIG RIVER – RANDY NEWMAN

The river is famous for having been so polluted that it “caught fire” in 1969. The event helped to spur the environmental movement in the US.

YouTube Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtW8RkI3-c4

Wikipedia:  How a river caught on fire

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_River

Wikipedia:  Randy Newman’s album Sail Away, where Burn On appears:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sail_Away_(Randy_Newman_album)

Lyrics:

Burn On
By Randy Newman

There’s a red moon rising
On the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

There’s a red moon rising
On the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

There’s an oil barge winding
Down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

There’s an oil barge winding
Down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

Cleveland city of light city of magic
Cleveland city of light you’re calling me
Cleveland, even now I can remember
Cause the Cuyahoga River
Goes smokin’ through my dreams

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on

Now the Lord can make you tumble
And the Lord can make you turn
And the Lord can make you overflow
But the Lord can’t make you burn

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on

Songwriters: RANDY NEWMAN
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
For non-commercial use only.


AFTER THE GOLD RUSH – NEIL YOUNG

Wikipedia:  After the Gold Rush (album)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_the_Gold_Rush_(song)

Wikipedia:  Neil Young

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Young

Song Video – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e3m_T-NMOs

Lyrics online:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/neilyoung/afterthegoldrush.html

LYRICS:

After The Gold Rush

Well, I dreamed I saw the knights
In armor coming,
Saying something about a queen.
There were peasants singing and
Drummers drumming
And the archer split the tree.
There was a fanfare blowing
To the sun
That was floating on the breeze.ze.

Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.

I was lying in a burned out basement
With the full moon in my eyes.
I was hoping for replacement
When the sun burst thru the sky.
There was a band playing in my head
And I felt like getting high.
I was thinking about what a
Friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.
Thinking about what a
Friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver
Space ships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun,
There were children crying
And colors flying
All around the chosen ones.
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun.
They were flying Mother Nature’s
Silver seed to a new home in the sun.
Flying Mother Nature’s
Silver seed to a new home


THANKS FOR TRYING US OUT!

Please send your friends and email lists information about this project, if you think it’s worthwhile!  Do you have ideas for us, on how to further develop this idea?

Our best to you, from:

Can Rock and Roll Save America?

http://www.CanRockAndRollSaveAmerica.com