Ariel Edery
Olah since 2006

Listen to the music

Just as I take comfort in the tunes from my childhood, I'm glad my son in Gaza and his friends are listening too, and singing along to the radio
Pixaby Stock photo

I feel as if life has been a bit of a dark storm the past couple of weeks. We are inundated with news about our kidnapped civilians, our soldiers, the wounded, and the funerals. At times, I feel as if my heart is breaking from the gravity of it all. I try to lift my spirits by grabbing a coffee and a hug with dear friends. I go to engagement parties and weddings, and I am uplifted and inspired. Yet, the gravity returns. Only music keeps me sane.

As I drudgingly coached my dog and myself out for a morning walk in the frigid rainstorm outside, I clicked on my Spotify app. (God, if you are reading: Thank you for this app, it is a Godsend, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart). And, as I always do, I clicked on a random playlist. “I want ’70s today” I said to myself. Born in 1972, the ’70s music was what I imbibed in the womb, and comforted me until I became a teenager. But, now…as a grownup… music is comforting me again.

And, there it was…The Doobie Brothers “Listen to the Music.” The song itself was written in 1972 by Tom Johnston for Warner Brothers on an album titled Toulouse Street. When Johnston was asked why he wrote the song he said it was a call for world peace. He said: “The chord structure of it made me think of something positive, so the lyrics that came out of that were based on this utopian idea that if the leaders of the world got together on some grassy hill somewhere and either smoked enough dope or just sat down and just listened to the music and forgot about all this other bull*#2! [sic.], the world would be a much better place. It was very utopian and very unrealistic (laughs). It seemed like a good idea at the time.” (Mastropolo, Frank, interview November 2012).

The song was a reaction to Vietnam, as well as the wars in the Middle East and Asia at the time. It was a cry for taking a moment to stop, breathe and just listen. Johnston wanted people to aim towards a peaceful utopia. Somehow when he reflected upon the song, later in life, he thought that it was unrealistic, though.

The irony is that today, this song speaks to me on so many levels. The words are simple but profound:

“Listen To The Music,” The Doobie Brothers (1972), produced by Ted Templeman, Warner Brothers Music

Don’t you feel it growin’, day by day
People gettin’ ready for the news
Some are happy, some are sad
Oh, we got to let the music play
What the people need
Is a way to make ’em smile
It ain’t so hard to do if you know how
Gotta get a message
Get it on through
Oh, now mama’s go’n’ to after ‘while
Oh, oh, listen to the music
Oh, oh, listen to the music
Oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time
Well I know, you know better
Everything I say
Meet me in the country for a day
We’ll be happy
And we’ll dance
Oh, we’re gonna dance our blues away
And if I’m feelin’ good to you
And you’re feelin’ good to me
There ain’t nothin’ we can’t do or say
Feelin’ good, feeling fine
Oh, baby, let the music play
Oh, oh, listen to the music
Oh, oh, listen to the music
Oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time
Like a lazy flowing river
Surrounding castles in the sky
And the crowd is growing bigger
List’nin’ for the happy sounds
And I got to let them fly
Oh, oh, listen to the music
Oh, oh, listen to the music
Oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time
When my son returned from Gaza for a few hours, we asked him to share something positive from his experience there. He said that his favorite time is sitting around a radio late at night with his army platoon, singing along to the radio. There are no phones, no distractions, just good friends listening to the music.
Maybe it is time for all of us to just stop and listen to the music.
About the Author
Ariel Edery is a mother (and mother-in-law) of three IDF soldiers, a trained Clinical MSW, an English and Diplomacy teacher at Amit Hallel Rehovot, and the author of Gila Makes Aliyah, Menorah/Koren Publishers.
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