A few nights ago, Rick and I watched the White House tribute to Paul McCartney, during which Dave Grohl delivered an impressive cover of Band on the Run. It was incredible, even if I could barely resist the urge to reach up to the TV screen and brush the hair out of Dave's face so we could all see his eyes. Yes, I am a mother.
(You can watch a YouTube clip of Grohl's performance here; Band on the Run starts around minute 3.)
The event was in celebration of Sir Paul receiving America’s highest award for popular music − the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song − back in early June. All kinds of performers and musicians paid tribute, including Stevie Wonder, EmmyLou Harris and Elvis Costello. It was a little surreal to see all that rockin' going on in the East Room of the White House, with large portraits of George and Martha Washington gazing down at the proceedings. And it was touch disturbing to see the Jonas Brothers among the guests; I don't know if they performed since we started watching it about half way through, but they just don't seem to be in the same league as so many of the other artists who were there.
But cover after cover was amazing. The artists' took those songs, so many of which are now part of our collective soul, and rendered them beautifully, proving once again what a gift McCartney is and how his songs continue to give us more and more.
The entire show was inspirational. I am always inspired by listening to great musicians play powerful music; I tend to get a little wistful, wishing I had kept up with my piano, and wishing that I had some kind of talent like that to express myself and move people.
Music can suspend us in a world where things matter, where what we feel passionately about is given expression. Musicians get to give voice to what the rest of us feel and hope for. Sometimes, it's music that reminds us who we are. At least, it did for me while I was watching the McCartney tribute. It reminded me that music is important to me, and that I should fill my home with music more than I do.
I was wondering if I had missed a cover of Hey Jude, my favorite Beatles song if you backed me into a corner and said I had to pick one or you'd chop off one of my fingers, when at the very end, of course, Sir Paul played it himself.
And ever since then, I've been going through my days with Sir Paul crooning to me: "The moment you need is on your shoulder." Given that I am constantly searching for motivation to raise my kids, organize my life, color my parachute, etc., that little morsel of wisdom has been a warm and welcome refrain, a prayer really.
Music can do that. It can wake us up and get us moving in the direction we really want to go. I needed that little emotional push, and found it in Hey Jude.
Where do you find yours?
Thank you, Paul. My heart was long ago promised to George, but there's always room for one more.
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