May 15, 2010

Musical Influences In My Simple Life


Can you identify a song that has influenced your life? Most people would say, "Yes, it is...". Music influences our lives, linking us to an ancient, primal tradition. The rhythm and lyrics of a tune are a powerful experience. Songs feel like they are made for you, for your time and circumstances.

I was reminded of one such song today. I picked up my guitar and was playing random songs. I landed on "Simple Man" by Lynryd Skynryd. I always liked this song musically, but it is the lyrics that influenced my life - they have always made sense.

Simple Man was released in 1973, an impressionable time for me. Here are the lyrics that affected me in my youth, and lent support in my quest to free myself from pernicious complexity and consumer madness.

What songs have influenced your life?

Simple Man (Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant)

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It'll help you some sunny day.

Oh, take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman, oh baby, you'll find love,
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.

(Chorus)
And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Baby be a simple, kind of man.
Oh, won't you do this for me son,
If you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need, is in your soul,
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

(Chorus)

Boy, don't you worry... you'll find yourself.
Follow your heart, lord, and nothing else.
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

(Chorus)

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