…But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
The Animals(1964)
These words when first sung in the 1960’s marked the starting of the era of rock “blues”. It was the era of turmoil that had led to these lyrics being written down.. Post World War II… with families breaking up… children deciding against joining military forces… lot of (the then) underdeveloped and repressed nations finding back their voice in the hour of restructuring… there was an awakening of a new era of population… a league which wanted to take up ‘life’ in their own hands… which refused to follow dictates and were willing to “experiment”… the result was upheaval.. Banishment…. Family breaks… and then when Benjamin first wrote the Song.. it was as if a new leash of voice had been given to these “rebels”!!!!
It is also interesting to note that although over the years… this song has been sun by different singers in contrasting chords and voices… the basic theme or the underlying tone remained the same…the tone of seeking out to justify one’s actions when the loved ones turned around… and it is laudable that across decades the feeling remains the same.. each time a new version is launched…
Another interesting facet is that the original song played by the pianist Benjamin was never released and if ever did it never saw the light of the day in the music stores…. And all the records available now are the ones, which are “re-sang and remixed”…
I was introduced to this song when I had just stepped into teenage…. Fresh and young… with a brief introduction to the Rock World… I found the lyrics stunning and absolutely mesmerizing…. (more so because of the person who introduced me to this song!!!)
And while one day I rattled away on my usual weird theories and how my parents refused to understand me… my passion… and how I was fighting a battle of girlhood in my own way… he all of a sudden broke out into this song…. A giggly pigtailed girl at first was astonished…. But then as he mouthed each word slowly… I understood that it was more than a love song…. It was more than a song of a lover who while bidding his beloved goodbye … for he wanted to try out a new life on a different “shore” wished that he wasn’t misunderstood… that it was more than a song of a pained boy who feels sorry after losing his temper at his beloved coz she fails to understand that he wishes to step out for “their” better future… it was a song… which depicted conflicts “within” the best!!!!
The song had stuck to my lips for a long time…. With the usual hard rock that I played in my old house… much to the dismay of my grandmother… and to the aloofness of my parents .. the “blues’ provided me a comfort each time I felt lost… and then when the introducer himself decided to move away to a far away land… it was all that I had left of him… the introduction to a wonderful world of “rock music”…. I don’t know where he is… last I knew he had become a well known physicist…. He must have aged now …. But definitely not married… we had no romantic connections… don’t get me wrong…but he too didn’t have fatherly feelings for me… it was more of a mentor who strived to be a “new age” friend to a kid going astray…
After a long time today I chanced upon this song… and it seemed the perfect one to suit the somber mood today… while I fought and yet strived to keep my voice ‘low” … I couldn’t help but wonder in awe at all the raised voices around me… it’s a vicious cycle I need to break…but alone is not the answer I know and “twosome” is too far fetched a dream… so I take one step at a time… so before I find my ‘wholesome’… let me be detached enough to learn to accept this “me” alone…coz in the future too I think it gonna be the same way …
“I have come a long way only to realize that the path I chose never had an end… But the journey and its beauty have mesmerized me enough to continue walking to that illusion I call the end.”
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