~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Big City Lights

As in the mystery and suspense novels I read, I now find myself looking for hidden clues in musical lyrics.

What a song really means and whether the artist is trying to tell us something.

Pretty much you can search for any great song and find an ongoing discussion with numerous viewpoints guessing about the real meaning behind a song.

The songs I've chosen to talk about today are connected, their lyrics have clear-cut messages as well as hidden ones.

The artists who have written and/or recorded these songs represent varied genres, yet the stories being sung are threads from the same tapestry.

Big City Lights began as I pondered my thoughts on the neon lights of Broadway that will soon be shining on Taylor Hicks, and as my thoughts unraveled, thoughts of Hollywood just naturally followed.

The first song that popped into my mind and stayed there was Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights".

Taylor Hicks' infamous recording of "Hollywood Nights" for Rehearsals.com was probably the most discussed, and as a song choice it has always been the subject of much discussion.
(Click here for streaming media of Taylor's Rehearsals.com - "Hollywood Nights" and more!)

Taylor's performances of "Hollywood Nights" were highly received on the American Idol Tour and the song a perfect vehicle for him to showcase not only his vocals but also his ability as a great performer and a musician.

I've chosen to revisit his "Hollywood Nights" performance at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, as Chicago certainly falls in the Big City category, and like his rehearsals version ... it's a WOW performance!

There is a signature richness and power to the music that Bob Seger has been making for four decades, and as succeeding generations have discovered those qualities, his reputation as an artist and songwriter has only grown.

His work represents the honest best of what rock & roll can be.
It’s passionate, unpretentious, uplifting and true to itself and its audience.

Perhaps most of all it is distinctly American, a plainspoken testament to the dignity, hopes and aspirations of ordinary working people.
In a time as obsessed with glamour, celebrity, fame and materialism as ours, his songs remain a bracing tonic, an emblem of the belief that everyone’s life is a worthy subject of art.

The next song that came to mind as I unraveled my thoughts was "Blinded By The Light" written and first recorded by Bruce Springsteen.

Click here if video above will not play for you.

This was Springsteen's first single.
It was released only in the US, where it was not well received.

It was a #1 hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band in 1976.
Their version was much more elaborately produced, and Springsteen hated it at first.

Manfred Mann's version replaces the line "Cut loose like a deuce" with "Revved up like a deuce."
In their version, "Deuce" was commonly misheard as "Douche."

Springsteen's original line makes a lot more sense - a deuce is a 1932 Ford hot rod.
Springsteen wrote this after Columbia Records rejected his first attempt at an album, telling him to make some songs that could be played on the radio.

He came up with this and "Spirit In The Night".

After 8 years playing in bars where audiences usually didn't listen to or couldn't hear the words, Springsteen used his first album to unload a ton of lyrics.

All these lyrics helped earn Springsteen the tag "The New Dylan."

This next song is titled "Hollywood".
I wasn't familiar with it, I just happened to run across it's lyrics and decided to include it here even though it's a bit on the wild side for me musically.

P.O.D ~ "Hollywood"

While they play around with the infectious grooves of reggae and Latin music as well as the heavy deliverance of hip-hop and rock, San Diego's hard rock four-piece P.O.D. has defined a universal message.
They're born-again Christians and their faith takes a central place in their music.

Lastly, "On Broadway", originally made famous by the Drifters.

I must admit that the news of Taylor heading to Broadway caught me by surprise, even though I know he loves the stage, I had never really considered that might include Broadway stages.

Guess I should have paid more attention to his "On Broadway", he usually gives us clues in the songs he chooses to sing.

So I guess my question is ... has Broadway always been part of Taylor's dream?

George Benson ~ "On Broadway"

George Benson is simply one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, but he is also an amazingly versatile musician, and that frustrates to no end critics who would paint him into a narrow bop box.

He can play in just about any style -- from swing to bop to R and B to pop -- with supreme taste, a beautiful rounded tone, terrific speed, a marvelous sense of logic in building solos, and, always, an unquenchable urge to swing.

Not only can he play lead brilliantly, he is also one of the best rhythm guitarists around, supportive to soloists and a dangerous swinger, particularly in a soul-jazz format.

Yet Benson can also sing in a lush soulful tenor with mannerisms similar to those of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, and it is his voice that has proved to be more marketable to the public than his guitar.

That's it for today's musical musing.
I hope you've enjoyed the music, especially Taylor's "Hollywood Nights".

I wonder if Broadway will know what hit them when all the musical passion that fills Taylor explodes on stage!

Today's cup:

"If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius."
~Joseph Addison~


wompuss said...

Hey Bloom,
Is your mini ipod a blogger thing or a download somewhere? I like it lots and would love to have one.
Email me, please!

Anonymous said...


I have not been to your site enough lately, but just had to leave you a note to say...YOU ROCK! I loved this discussion and the pic of Taylor and the Big City Lights at the top. Very cool indeed.

Love ya,

KarinP said...

Bloom, the picture you have done is fabulous!

Watching Taylor's Chicago performance of Hollywood Nights was wonderful to watch again. I was mesmerized by the high energy with which he performed that song. It seemed to me that he focused on the 'words' - the message of the song.

I have always enjoyed the Rehearsals.com performances. For me it wasn't just about the songs he performed there, it was also about the high quality of sound that they offered on that site. Each and every video there gave us the front seat with a live concert sound. I clearly remember waiting each and every week for a new "episode" to air as we all anticipated with so much excitement what song was going to be coming next.

It took me a while to figure out that Taylor was clearly sending messages in his songs. The more familiar I became with his music and as different events unfolded after the performances of some songs, I would look back and realize he had laid out the messages for us to unravel.

When I saw the fabulous videos from the BBQ, especially the one of New York State of Mind, I knew immediately that this was a performance that included many messages. I must confess, that I too, "did not expect" how significant the message really was.

In answer to your question about Taylor and his "On Broadway", I can't answer it. Only the "man" himself would be in a position to give you the answer to that million dollar question.

I am not sure when Taylor first recorded this song but it has got me thinking now. As you look back on all of the song choices that Taylor has made in his performing life prior to AI; post-AI and more importantly, the most recent ones, the list suddenly becomes like a novel.

As you turn each page, you can see that many of the "words" in the lyrics have evolved in his life. I think that another important question that pops up for me here as I "read" the songbook is the way Taylor has chosen the songs in the past. Did he consciously choose them OR, were they a sub-conscious blueprint of where he was going?

Is Taylor a person who subscribes to the theory that if you sing it out loud; if you believe the words; and if you write the words, then the "words" will become a reality? "Thoughts are things" suddenly comes to my mind.

Now we both have something to contemplate, my friend. You have once again, produced a very thought provoking blog!

maryann1 said...


As usual, each time I come to visit your website and see your blogs, I become more inspired by not only your written words, but also the videos and pictures that you create. This one is no exception. The Pond is a refreshing place to visit and I wish to thank you once again for bringing inspiration each time you write and create.

I do want to share something with you that made me smile. On my way home today...the car in front of me had a personalized license plate. It immediately made me think of you and this wonderful site and made me smile. The license plate.... 'BLOOM 2'. I was wondering if you were in Oregon visiting...That personalized plate should be yours...it was so fitting..

Have a wonderful day.
mary ann

Bloom said...

wompuss I too love my little ipod!
I cannot email you as you didn't provide an email addy, and I'm sorry but I do not recognize your blogger name :-(

Hello Historia
Nice to see you here, yes, please do visit more frequently, I guarantee you'll always leave with a smile on your face or thoughts to ponder and hope you'll always be inspired to join in and leave your thoughts!

Glad you liked my Taylor Hicks' Big City Lights canvass, it was fun to create!

Morning Karin, lol it's morning for Me!
Thanks for the thumbs-up on Big City Lights, the canvas as well as the topic!

Taylor's "On Broadway" is from his 1997 'In Your Time' album, it's amazing that 11 years have passed since then.

What a difference the last two years have been for him, it would be mighty interesting reading for a 'Heart Full Of Soul' Take 2!

You mentioned the word novel, I immediately thought of how much I enjoy reading his memoir, but of course you know that already :-)

Is Taylor a person who subscribes to the theory that if you sing it out loud; if you believe the words; and if you write the words, then the "words" will become a reality?
"Thoughts are things" suddenly comes to my mind.

A sub concious blueprint or a concious choice ... I'm guessing a bit of both, either way he's getting his messages across that's for sure.

When I listen to his "New York State Of mind", I feel as if he could have written the lyrics himself. As beautifully as he sings it, I'm left feeling sad and hoping I'm reading into it more of a message than it was really intended to be.

Hi Maryann where have you been girl, you have been missed here at 'The Pond'!

Thank you for sharing with me that you are inspired by my creative efforts. Other than my support, it is all I have to give back in a way of a thank you for all I have been given.

It is how I share my thoughts and my feelings, images in place of words.

LOL, no I wasn't in Oregon, thought I would have loved to have been!
I'm tickled that the license plate made you think of me and 'The Pond' and that it made you smile!

I walked around my gardens earlier today looking at all of the things already in bloom, it is going to be a lush year, even for the dandelions lol!

Boy do I have a lot of work ahead of me this summer, I let a few things go last year, I was way more interested in going to Taylor's concerts.

I'd be more than happy to let things slide again this year, but since there is no current Taylor tour to follow, guess I can't use that as an excuse.

So I will be Blooming Where I Am Planted LOL!

wompuss said...


I'm sorry...it's wompuss@gmail.com


maryann1 said...

Hi Bloom,

I visit The Pond often...I love it here..where it is peaceful, quiet and inspiring...

Haven't left a message since I read the inspiring story you shared about your wonderful son and his love of Neil Diamond.

I hope you have a wonderful garden this year full of many, brightful and beautiful Blooms..

Take Care....Hopefully, when Taylor tours again when will see each other.

Have a nice day.

Mary Ann

Anonymous said...

great work my friend