In fact, this particular song has made its way into many movie soundtracks, commercials for radio and television, and movie trailers. You listen to it and know that it's a classic Motown jam, but I've been kind of over it. Somehow it seeps its way into your life when you don't expect it, much like Earth Wind and Fire's "September" and "Celebrate". What wedding or party have you been to that did "NOT" play those songs? Again, great musicians and artists, but somehow those songs have been forced upon us in ways that makes you want to hit "next" on your Pandora station every time they come on. No one listens to the radio anymore, so I can't say "change the dial" or "change the station". Gotta stay up to date with you all! What's a revolutionary to do :)
Honestly, I didn't even know who sang "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", until very recently. I always thought that it was Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson, maybe Sam Cooke. I read somewhere that Ashford and Simpson had originally performed the song. It turns out, they wrote it, along with other hits for Mr. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (born Thomasina Montgomery). There it is! The mystery singers. Except most people, besides me, already knew who the duet behind this classic song was.
I was back at the grind last week, and the song comes on again. I've probably heard it over 100 times in almost, four years I've been working at this particular establishment. I found myself singing along, kinda shuffling a bit to it- you can't really get down and boogie in front of customers. They'll give you that awkward laugh like "Hahaha! Funny guy working at my neighborhood grocery store. It's okay. It fits with the vibe of the place", then run out of there as fast as they can to get away from you. Believe me, people often ask me if certain co-workers of mine have taken their meds, and I kindly reply, "No, we need him that way." The look on these folks' face is priceless...
Going on a rant again...Sorry! Being The Candle In A Dark Room...What does all of this have to do with the title? On this particular day that I did my shufflin' and singin', I was thinking about a girl. Yup! And, she happens to live very far away. So the lyrics to the song really struck a chord with me. I began to really appreciate it. Yes. It's corny! It's a cliche song for the situation! Yeah, yeah, yeah....Don't matter! I came home and added the "Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell: Complete Duets" to one of my Spotify lists. I love how these music sites like Pandora and Spotify give you Biographies on the artists that you play. I was reading Ms. Terrell's bio. I was saddened and shocked to learn that she died at the very young age of 24! Brain cancer took her life. The bio also mentioned that her passing had a drastic effect on Marvin Gaye, which contributed to the emotional force behind his hit "What's Going On". 24 years young! In her short life, she had a great singing career: Hit records, touring with the likes of James Brown.
I started to wonder about our time and place on this planet. What should our contribution should be as individuals? It's amazing how such creative, greatness is showcased to the world, then gone in the blink of an eye. We're not all meant to be hit recording singers or award winning actors. We may want to achieve that, but it may not happen. Music, movies, art, and literature, brighten our lives and enrich our souls. That's how it's supposed to be. Forget all the commercialism and accolades. Think about when the last time a piece of art affected you in a way that made you want to shout "I Love You" from the mountain top, or be remind you of the memories of a loved one, or a laugh shared with great friends and family. Something inside of you shined. Right?
Turn on the news or social media and you will get bombarded with war, violence, police brutality, celebrity suicides, religious debates, etc. None of that makes me want to sing and shuffle, that's for fucken sure! It's easy to get caught up in the arguing/posting, about who is right and why, and you're an idiot, liberal, Nazi, Racist, Dickhead, I un-friend you, I'm blocking you, I'm taking a break from social media, Your Mama's twerking with cats....Shit! This is too much. A la Verga with it all!
But no...Not with it all. That corny, little moment I had, singing and danc...Shufflin- not dancing- to a song that I had heard over and over again, could have been a moment that someone caught me and laughed for a minute. Perhaps they'll be in traffic, someone cuts them off, they get crazy, and the song comes on, and they remember that silly dude at the grocery store, bagging groceries, singing along, and shufflin' like a fool. And then all is okay, and traffic is not so bad. Did it happen? Maybe....
The media that we are exposed to on a daily basis wants us to believe that we are in dark times and that things are going to get worse. We don't know that for sure, so why buy into it? Since I was a kid, my Mom has told me that she refuses to watch the news, because it's too depressing. It's all bad news!
It's easy to dwell on the negative. But that's not going to do me or anyone else any good. If I come into work all pissy and snap at a customer, just because my life sucks....I could lose my job. That would put me in a real bind! No bueno my friends. Everyone is going through different degrees of hardship, so I'm not expecting someone who lost their child or loved one, to just turn around and start dancing to make other people smile. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm trying to get at, is that whatever time we have, long or short (we don't know), we have to know deep down that it will all pass. Hopefully someone will shine for a person that is going though a traumatic time. And, somehow in their own, quiet way, will help them get through the day. All we have is each moment. Smile at someone. Go out of your way for someone at work who is having a rough time. Offer someone a ride or buy them a cup of coffee. We don't have to try to change the world all at once. Be the candle for someone. Then let them be the candle for someone, and so on. I know this may sound a little cliche and corny, but so was my moment with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", and I'm okay with that. Tammi and Marvin were my candles. It's all good when your intentions are good! La Paz...