Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
As much as I loved Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding & The Beatles while I was a teenager, there were two other people that were equally important in the soundtrack of my life: Elton John & Bernie Taupin. In fact, I discovered them when I was even younger because the first album I ever bought in my life was “Elton John’s Greatest Hits”. The second single I ever purchased was “Daniel” (the first was “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrison). Man, the roots of my love for GREAT music were sowed quite young, if I do say so myself!!! But I digress.
I loved Elton so much I remember begging my parents to let me go see him in the movie, “Tommy”. They agreed and he was fabulous, of course. But I must confess I was much too young to see that film. The music was great because, after all, it was mostly done by The Who, a great band in their own right. But the subject matter was just too much for my tween mind to comprehend. Two scenes in particular truly scared me. The first was the scene with Sally Simpson, who snuck out of her house to go see Tommy in concert. I was not a teenager yet but loved music enough to know I could not wait to go to my first concert, so I really identified with her character. She not only made it there but she got all the way to the stage before being kicked off by Tommy’s evil step-father. Her fall caused her to cut her face, after which she was left with an ugly disfiguring scar. What happened next? She married a singer who dressed up like Frankenstein. The moral of the story I took from that scene: When you are a pretty girl you want to marry a guy who looks like Tommy: dreamy blue eyes, curly blond hair, in a word, gorgeous. But when you turn into a disfigured soul the best you can hope for is a guy that looks like a monster. Yes, it was a dark thought to have as a young girl, but it looked like a fairly straight line to me. I wish I could have said the same about Sally’s horrendous scar.
The other scene that gave me nightmares to this day was the one with the faith healer who led the Marilyn Monroe cult. That statue of her terrified me, especially the black slits for eyes. And when her disciples came out wearing masks that looked like it I nearly cried. I also remember pondering what she had to do with Nazis because (I thought) there were rows of them sitting in the church pews around Tommy and his mother. They all had gray flannel suits on with what looked like Nazi stars on the lapels. Even the faith healer held up what appeared to be a Nazi star with Monroe’s picture in the center of it and forced the attendees to look at it. I wondered over and over to myself in the theatre, what the heck the connection was between Monroe and those despicable people? I thought, was she German or brainwashed or just mean? By the time her statue crashed to the floor after Tommy knocked it over I blocked that memory out of my mind and only relived it through the occasional bad dream. Until quarantine, that is.
When I was looking for Elton’s performance to relive his great scene, YouTube recommended another scene from the movie, “Eyesight To The Blind”. I could not recall that song from the film so I watched the clip. Much to my absolute amazement, it was the Monroe scene. I was thrilled to discover that the people I thought were Nazis sitting in the pews were not in fact from that army, just people wearing the same coats with buttons, not stars, on their lapels. And while I am still not sure about the type of star the faith healer was holding, since it had a picture of Monroe in it my guess is it was innocuous.
What I also discovered, to my shock and horror, was that the cult was actually led by a preacher, not the faith healer. And who was the preacher, you ask? None other than my great musical love, Eric Clapton, who performed the song in the scene. I had no recollection whatsoever that he was in that film. If that is not a testament to how traumatized I was then a better one does not exist. I did not discover Clapton until junior high when I read a book on The Beatles and he was referenced for his guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and on George Harrison’s first solo record. To think I could have had an additional year or so with that beautiful man in my life just reopens the traumatic wounds left by that movie all over again.
But at least I got to see Elton in all his glory, from his size 1000 Dr. Martens to his diamond studded glasses to his hat with a pinball in place of a pouf. And those fabulous looks of disdain on his face when he could not keep up with Tommy’s pinball prowess. How do you think he does it? I don’t know.
“He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard’s
Got such a supple wrist”
Elton John as The Pinball Wizard in “Tommy”. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Elton John: “Pinball Wizard” (1975, written by Pete Townsend).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.