|Photo by Betty|
For a certain age group, if I mention the artist, "Sweet Baby James," there should be instant recognition. As the first artist signed by the Beatles to Apple Records, Boston-born James Taylor has sold 100 million records, racked up nearly 50 Top 40 hits, and is an American institution. At 74, age is not slowing him down. He continues to tour the U.S. and around the world, in fact, he was in Phoenix this past summer, with tickets selling out within hours of becoming available.
Out of more songs than I can count, one, in particular, has always resonated with me. The lyrics perfectly capture how to build a satisfying life that continues to the very end. He tells us how to build a life of significance, joy, and understanding of how everything works together, all with just a touch of irony and tongue-in-cheek.
Released in 1977 on his album, JT, Secret O' Life was never released as a single. But it has become a staple of his, being performed at most of his concerts, included on other albums, and covered by a dozen other artists.
As I reviewed the lyrics, it was obvious that many of them fit this blog perfectly, our journey through life, and are part of my personal philosophy of life. Hoping that Mr. Taylor doesn't object, I am picking a few of his lines as a springboard to some comments. The full song is available on the Youtube link at the end of this post.
Here are the first two verses:
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
Any fool can do it
There ain't nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill
But since we're on our way down
We might as well enjoy the ride
The secret of love is in opening up your heart
It's okay to feel afraid
But don't let that stand in your way
'Cause anyone knows that love is the only road
And since we're only here for a while
We might as well show some style
Love, love, love JT. And you're right...this song is perfect for our demographic. Thanks for sharing it. :-)ReplyDelete
I have always found comfort and inspiration in his work.Delete
James Taylor is a good too artist for just the right song. Thanks for breaking down the lyrics.ReplyDelete
Too often I focus on the tempo or beat of a song and ignore the lyrics. With James that is not possible. His lyrics are the key to his appeal.Delete
Hi Bob! Thank you. Neither Thom nor I had ever heard him sing that song before but the lyrics are wonderful. And yes, we tend to have the same perspective on life as well. Enjoy the ride. ~KathyReplyDelete
I love Hunter Thompson's perspective: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming loudly, 'Wow, what a ride!' "ReplyDelete
His perspective fits perfectly with this song.Delete
Hunter Thompson perhaps had the right idea though he also died at 67 thoroughly used up and totally worn out. (He was also known for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal narcotics.) Though am now older than Hunter Thompson ever was I am glad I am still enjoying the ride even if not thoroughly used up and totally worn out. Perhaps my not-so-on-the-edge lifestyle just means it will take longer.Delete
I agree. I wouldn't mind being all worn out by the time I make it to hopice care. I am pretty sure Mary was speaking metaphorically, when she and her husband, Alan, hang up their exploring shoes and enjoy their memories.Delete
Hunter Thompson was a bit out of control...the real Gonzo.
Yes, it's the balancing act that becomes a bit tricky - we're working on living life to its fullest while striving for that compression of morbidity. May we all enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts!Delete
As an operating room RN, it is funny to me that Cocaine is named an "illegal narcotic". We use it on many nasal procedures. 4% Cocaine.Delete
LOVE James Taylor. My BIL was really a groupy having purchased every album ever produced by him.
I agree with the sentiment that after 40, life is UPHILL all the way down :-) Have a great week everyone!
One of my favorite artists, and I so agree with the song's message. But on some days I find myself relating to a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde: "after age 40, it is uphill all the way down."ReplyDelete
Rick in Oregon
Hadn't read that quote before. There are some days I agree with him.Delete
I remember the day I first realized that I had more life behind me than ahead of me. It still surprises me. The quote by Hunter Thompson was exactly what came to my mind as I was reading this post. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate every day and make it our best day yet, particularly at this phase in life. Besides, riding downhill is always easier than riding uphill.ReplyDelete
When I think back on my life it does seem to have been a rather quick journey. It is always said life is very short, but it didn't seem so until recently. Now, my approach must be to not look at the end line but the space between here and there.Delete
Great song, great singer, great attitude.ReplyDelete
We are total agreement about the talented Mr. Taylor.Delete