A Question Posed in a Song Written a Long Time Ago

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

For decades, music has been a big part of my life.

I’ve played guitar and sung (arguably with relative competence) for some 50 years, at home, with the band Love House and during music classes.

For more than a dozen years, I contributed articles and reviews to music-based publications, most notably the Illinois Entertainer.

And, I’ve composed my own music.

Starting in the 1980s, I’ve written lots of rock, pop and blues songs, some 70 that I still have lyrics to and can remember the melody line.

The lyrics to the song within this post is especially poignant today.

Yes, I still love rock and roll and all that goes with it — the freedom, the expression, the emotions. But over the years, my personal musical pallet has embraced bluegrass, Western swing, jazz and even classical.  (Still can’t grasp opera, but can appreciate the work and talent involved.)

“Will I Still Be Rockin’ at 63” was written in 1985 or thereabouts.  I probably recorded this composition with my now-gone but well-used Tascam Portastudio, a marvel in audio engineering at the time, as it allowed unschooled enthusiasts like me a platform to record voice, guitar, drums and keyboards on a multiple track cassette tape machine, then mix the sounds to two-track.

In those days, arranging and recording songs in my apartment on Chicago’s northwest side, I felt akin to Todd Rundgren. It was just me, my instruments and gear, and my music.

Back in day, I first scribbled the lyrics to a song on a yellow legal pad or sheet of paper, then typed out the final version on my then trusty Smith Corona manual. These days, I still initially scribble lyrics to songs on paper. For some reason, I kept both the original handwritten and printed versions of this song.

 

Copyright, Edward M. Bury, August 2018.

As for the melody to this composition, perhaps I’ll record it the modern way — digitally of course — and post on my YouTube channel.

As for the question posed in the song, I guess I have 364 more days to determine the answer.

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Japan & Other Stuff, Random Thoughts on a Friday

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka the PR Dude

Here are three thoughts on a Friday evening.  The first attempts to put some perspective on a story that has kept the world riveted for a week.  The second poses some questions I’d like answered, but may never learn “who or why.”  The third is just an observation on something that has helped define and shape modern society; and me, too.

Earthquake. Tsunami. Fallout. Since the earthquake and tsunami, then the resulting nuclear reactor meltdowns, ravaged Japan a week ago today, I’ve spent many waking hour trying to put the past seven days into some sort of perspective. Like any sane, rational human being, my heart goes out to the Japanese people. The images of devastation are surreal, awe-inspiring and heartbreaking.  How could an act of nature (or God, based on your beliefs) cause so much destruction so quickly?  How could one of the most advanced, well-prepared nations on earth be virtually powerless to quickly cool down  damaged nuclear reactors?

From an almost simplistic point of view, I wonder what role public relations and communications can do to help Japan and its people.  In January 2010, when the earth shook, left ruin and brought death and misery to a poor nation like Haiti, I wrote a post offering some suggestions on the power behind public relations to bring awareness to Haiti’s tragedy.  I don’t think we need to take that step with what’s taking place in Japan today.

Words and pictures will define the Japan earthquake years and generations from now.  I offer this word: Apocalyptic.  From the thousands of images, still and video, taken these past seven days, this one grabbed me by the lapels:

A rescue worker musters a smile while holding an infant.

It shows hope and humanity.

Japan rebuilt itself into a global powerhouse after the crushing defeat in World War II. It will rebuild again, hopefully better and smarter regarding nuclear energy and coastal development.  If you want to help Japan, follow this link.  As I write this, the nation is being hit with after-shocks registering 5.9.

Those Lurkers on LinkedIn. From the “anonymous LinkedIn user” to “someone at Acme Industries,” I wonder who purposefully reviews my profile on LinkedIn.  For the record, I have a very robust profile, with 383 connections, 30 recommendations and much business and educational content. I’m a member of 18 groups, and I manage two.  The PRDude blog is included in the applications on my profile, and I regularly post updates and questions, and make my thoughts known.

Sometimes, my profile is opened five or six times a day. So, to all who visit the LinkedIn version of Edward M. Bury: What do you want?  Drop me an email.  I just want to know who you are.

It Use to be More Than Just Rock and Roll. This news item caught my eye (and ear, I guess) today: Bob Geldof, he of the Irish band the Boomtown Rats and driving force behind the Live Aid humanitarian music concerts in 1985, issued this manifesto as the keynote speaker at the South By Southwest music/film/technology summit in Austin:

“Rock ‘n’ roll needs to be against something. It can’t just BE,” he said.

Furthermore:  “There will always be great songs that don’t suggest anything other than being a great song. But where are our Ramones or our Pistols today?”

Must say, I agree with Geldof. There’s been some tremendous new music the past several years — at least when talking sharps and flats. But what the heck are any of the true rock and rollers of today singing about?

In the past half-decade, we’ve gone from an economy that seemingly was on an unending upward projection to one of high unemployment, out-of-control government debt and spending and sagging real estate values.  Oh yeah: Polls reveal most Americans aren’t too happy or optimistic about the future.

Who’s writing songs that address these subjects?  (Well, besides U2 sometimes.)  Who’s writing songs that capture these tumultuous times?  Who’s writing songs of anger?  Songs of hope?

Born in the 1950s, I came of age in the 1960s.  Songs from my early years still resonate and inspire emotion today.  Is anyone writing this kind of stuff today?