Wednesday, June 13, 2012

“If The World Should Stop Revolving”

I have almost nothing for today, but the little I do have is something I’ve been trying to think of a way of posting for some time. I haven’t thought of a good post to put around this content, so I’m just going to sort of get it up here in case I ever want to refer to it later.

A long time ago I mentioned a song called “Diary” by a group called Bread, in My Alyson Michalka / Giant Clown Hammer Fantasy.

That group, for the most part, was basically a guy named David Gates. And just like the song “Diary” is a sappy love song that almost everyone from the generations around mine kind of rolls their eyes about but, nonetheless, might listen to on a radio if they’re alone, Bread or David Gates wrote other sappy love songs that get the same kind of reaction. They’re sappy, but as sappy love songs go, they could be worse.

Back in 1971 David Gates and Bread did a very popular sappy love song called “If” that was so popular it got covered by dozens of mainstream acts. It’s now what people call a ‘wedding song’ and still gets played a lot. Wikipedia says a British cover version sung by, of all people, Telly Savalas, [!?] reached number one on the British charts.

Even though it is a very sappy love song, I like the song for a couple of reasons.

One is that the arrangement is pretty simple, and pretty cool. It has a guitar introduction that uses a lot of effects, but the effects don’t over-power the simple playing. Nowadays pop songs can be very heavily produced and many pop producers even have theories about filling the whole sonic spectrum and maintaining certain tempos and all manner of complicated thoughts. But this song “If” has proven to be about as popular and long-lasting as a sappy love song can be, and it is pretty straight-forward and pretty uncomplicated. I love stuff like that.

The other thing I like about the song, and the reason I’m including it here at the blog, is that the final verse is pretty extreme. All the verses are okay, but the final verse is pretty extreme.

Nowadays a kind of contemporary new age or conspiracy mythos has grown around theories of a pole shift happening. There are a lot of conspiracy groups and new age groups talking about things like crustal shifts of the Earth, and core fluctuations causing the Earth’s rotation to change, and the roving magnetic poles possibly being indicators of larger and completely non-understood geophysics at work. But these are reasonably contemporary and very tin-foil, crazy speculations.

However, back in 1971 [!?] David Gates–in a sappy very popular love song–wrote these lyrics:

If the world should stop revolving
Spinning slowly down to die
I’d spend the end with you
And when the world was through
Then one by one
The stars would all go out
Then you and I
Would simply fly away

That’s pretty cool stuff. End-of-the-world stuff in a love song, and the song becomes about as popular as a song can be.

I can’t really imagine any performer or group doing a cover of this song today. I mean in a contemporary context, not as an oldies cover. I wonder if that’s true, that a contemporary version couldn’t happen. And if it’s true, I wonder: Why not?

I’ll probably talk more about this song sometime in the future. Or at least about why I think a song like this couldn’t be released as a contemporary pop song. I mean in the context of pop styles being so controlled, not because the content would be forbidden.

Here’s the original:

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1 comment:

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