Good morning Jamaloholics! It's Sunday, it's Spring, and the 2nd the quarter of 2012 is almost here. Throughout the day last Sunday on my Facebook and Twitter account, I randomly posted some old school music videos. I posted 4 videos overall (1 every 3-4 hours). I was going to do the same today, but then I figured why not do it on my site? But I want to do something different just so you won't think I'm spamming up my own site. I want this to become another stable like my Survey Saturday entries. The reason why I do that is to get people to know me more without being so direct. I also do that to lighten things up because as you know, the majority of my entries are very serious and dark in nature due to the way things are in the world today. So just like people use the weekend to escape the dreadful work week, I shall do the same on this site. Therefore, Jamaloholic's Wonderful Weekends consist of Survey Saturday and now Old School Sunday! This is the inaugural entry.
Before I get into it, I just want to explain what you will expect every Sunday. My posts will consist of only one song/video and I will choose it at random. What I want to do is go into detail as to why I like this song and video, and I may explain what personal affect it has on me. I've warned you all before that I'm not like other bloggers who would just post a picture or two and just drop a line. I don't like to half-ass things. Whether you like it or not is entirely on you, but I will try to entertain and inform as much as possible.
One more thing before I go into this entry, I just want to say that in addition to Survey Saturday and Old School Sunday, I will also continue to provide (if necessary) regular posts during the weekends as well. So without further ado, here's my inaugural Old School Sunday candidate:
Song: Ain't No Sunshine
Artist: Bill Withers
Album: Just As I Am
Label: Sussex Records
I chose Ain't No Sunshine as my inaugural song because it's a very powerful tune. It's very rare when you'll hear such raw emotion and lyrics in just a 2 minute song. I'll have to admit that while I'm not crazy about Mr. Wither's voice, I do feel that it fits this song perfectly. It became his breakout hit which then opened the door for other songs such as Use Me, Lovely Day, Just The Two of Us, and the classic Lean On Me. A lot of people associate the song with sadness, sorrow, and heart break. And they're right. It leads you to wonder, "Which poor lady broke this man's heart to inspire such a huge record?" Well, I have the answer and it's no one. According to Mr. Withers, it was inspired by the events of the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses. Below is an explanation from Mr. Withers explaining the film's characters and how they inspired the song:
"They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It's like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you. It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of." - Bill Withers (SongFacts.com Interview)
I can see why he came up with that explanation although I haven't seen the movie myself. My personal take is that the song details the story of a man who is grieving due to one of the follow things:
- After so much fighting, infidelity, and broken promises, his wife (or girlfriend) finally decided that "enough is enough". She packed her bags and left for good.
- Maybe she was the dishonest one and left him for another man without explanation.
- Maybe she left him because he couldn't provide for her emotionally.
- Maybe he left her and is now feeling the sting of her absence in his life.
- Maybe she died and he still haven't moved on with his life. He's grieving and feel as if there's no light at the end of the tunnel.
The song can be interpreted in so many ways and that's why I feel it's so special and powerful. It will leave the listener wondering what happened and how he'll be able to lift himself out of this funk. I'm sure the song also touches a personal cord with people because this is exactly what goes on in the real world. I bet you when people first heard this, they immediately thought of themselves. I know I did. While my last true relationship didn't end in sadness and sorrow, I still deeply felt the effects in the aftermath. To tell you the truth, I still haven't truly gotten over her, but as the saying goes, "Life goes on." I do feel a deep connection to the song to the point of feeling a random chill in my body every time I hear it. Sometimes I'm afraid to even listen to it because it'll put me in that certain zone.
I've heard the song numerous times throughout my young life, but the first time it truly caught my attention was in 1994 when my uncle took me, my brother, and cousins to the theater to see Spike Lee's classic Crooklyn. Near the end of the movie, the main character, Troy's mother died of cancer. Spike did an excellent job in this particular scene which showed Troy squirming in the bed and struggling to sleep. While she was doing so, she kept hearing noise which were soundbites from earlier in the movie of which her mother and father got into a big argument which resulted in their temporary separation. Troy jumped out of bed a sweaty mess and ran down the hall screaming "Stop it! Stop fighting!" only to find her father by himself beating on the floor with a pot attempting to kill a mouse. She then came to the realization that her mother wasn't coming back. It was a powerful scene, but it wouldn't be nearly as powerful without the usage of Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine. I was only 10 at the time, but that song helped make that scene what it was and even today, I still feel chills watching it.
The song was also groundbreaking that it inspired so many covers and samples. The most famous version actually came out a year later by none other than Michael Jackson. Mike's version was longer and it showcased his high range. As far as comparisons go, I'll still stick with Bill's as the definitive version, but Michael came the closest. Other samples and covers included DMX, Soul for Real, Seal, etc. The song is also popularly played throughout movies and television series. Also, the most unique part of the song was the repeated use of "I know". I believe Mr. Withers confirmed that he said it 26 times. Like I've said before, the song was groundbreaking.
So once again, it became a huge hit and inspired many other songs and artists in the industry. It most definitely put the then 31 year old factory worker on the map and made him into a major force in the 1970s. Even today, it sounds fresh and continue to inspire songs of that magnitude. I just hope that these kids today will give credit where credit is due.
Until next time...