“I have a dream…” “Four score and seven years ago…” “When in the course of human events…” These speeches are indelible landmarks in the history of the United States and its battle against oppression and the evils of tyranny, slavery, and racism. Each furthering the belief that “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” On this, Martin Luther King’s birthday January 15th, the weekend of Civil Rights Day, I thought I’d pay tribute to MLK.
I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that, let freedom, ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi and every mountainside.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
Below images from a trip to Washington DC a few years ago, when attending the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference & Exhibition.
I was always drawn to U2’s “MLK” with its eerie somber mood:
“Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” – MLK
“Our lives begin and end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK
While mundane compared to the profound work and legacy of MLK, today’s blog will focus on 3 playlists, in honor of the 3 momentous speeches referenced above. They play off of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech, with playlists including songs featuring in their titles the words “dream,” “dreams,” and “dreamer,” though the last playlist further includes songs featuring the words “dreaming,” “dreamboat,” “dreamlover,” and “daydream.” They are among my earliest word themed playlists, and I think you’ll really enjoy them.
How silky smooth were the sounds of the 50’s and 60’s.
And on to the 70’s with its long hair and funky rock sound.
And though from the profound to the ridiculously absurd, somehow this 80’s cover is so compelling, despite Miley Cyrus dressed as a unicorn (I thought it was a narwhal at first!) and Ariana Grande dressed as a mouse. Quite the amazing cover, though I included the original on my playlist.
And for a double-shot of Ariana Grande, a newer release is paired with Disney clips:
This song invokes memories if my going to the midnight showing of “Friday the 13th 3 in 3D” with a high school friend of mine. The inner-city audience was screaming, yelling, and cheering on Freddie, scaring my friend more than the movie was. She was worried we might not get out of the theater alive!
And if you’ve never seen or listened to the Broadway musical “Jeckyll & Hyde,” listen to the beauty of this song. Though I still can’t quite sell myself on David Hasselhoff in the lead – I can’t help think of him as Michael Knight or running the beaches on “Baywatch”
In perhaps the greatest audition in TV singing competition history stands Susan Boyle singing “I Dreamed A Dream.” While I included the “Les Miserables” Broadway musical version on the playlist, this appearance is to amazing to pass up:
While the following few video performances stray from the playlist word theme, they sure highlight performers reaching for and achieving their dreams. The following audition perhaps equals that of Susan Boyle’s in greatness, also from “Britain’s Got Talent”
Not to leave America out of the surprisingly stellar auditions game is Jackie Evancho, just 10 years old at the time, on “America’s Got Talent”
And not to be outdone, there’s Josh Krajcik’s audition on “American Idol”
They all sure reached for and achieved their wildest dreams. Such talents
In addition to loving this next artist, Billy Joel, who was my first concert, and this next song, “The River of Dreams,” I love this next video, as it was filmed in Johnsonville, with its small chapel, schoolhouse, and waterfall, the scenic village where my wife and I married.
And a Van Halen entry, though with Sammy Hagar at the helm, allows me the opportunity to update our David Lee Roth New Years Eve Concert experience in Las Vegas two weeks ago. We had purchased the tickets with some reticence, having heard that while Eddie was his amazing guitar god self, and Sammy was great, David was a mess, often drunk, forgetting his lyrics, and less than his once stellar lead singer of one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. But we figured, being in Vegas, we’d take the gamble, and either see him go out on a high note, or if a sad sight to see, revel in memories of what once was over a drink or two as we rang in the new year. But alas a no show wasn’t on our radar screen. As some may know, he cancelled all of his farewell shows reportedly due to COVID concerns. He later commented “I am encouraged and compelled to really come to grips with how short time is,” Roth said, “and my time is probably even shorter.” I think we had a better chance of Eddie coming back from the grave to perform with Sammy than seeing DLR in all his glory. I hope he is well for whatever time he has left. For a while he was in the rock pantheon of lead singer elite.
And with “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and “California Dreamin’,” among other songs, the Mamas & The Papas were among the great folk sounds of the 60s.
And David Bowie got a great movie placement with a franchise that has gotten it right in pairing great music with movie scenes (see December 19 blog with “Immigrant Song” Thor: Ragnarock movie reference). The Guardians of the Galaxy movies soundtracks are among my favorites, along with “The Big Chill,” “Stand By Me,” Forrest Gump,” and “American Graffiti.”
Kate Bush, perhaps best known for “Running Up That Hill” or her collaboration with Peter Gabriel on “Don’t Give Up” from his album “So,” has perhaps the most unusual video of today’s blog, with “Army Dreamers,” a mother’s lamenting the loss of her son during military maneuvers.
In closing, I thought I’d share some inspiration, to strive to reach for our dreams, with “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella”, as Disney continues to reimagine and update their stories to offer dreams old and new:
Not quite the dream of MLK. He, and visionaries like him, our founding fathers, Gandhi, Mandela, Shakespeare, Mozart, Da Vinci all had vision and dreams and changed the shape of the world around them. Our dreams may not be as lofty or world-changing, but they are no less important. If you dream it you can do it. Perhaps the University of Phoenix “You Can Do It” commercial can inspire you. I love this cover of “Dreams” though it is unavailable on Spotify. “Settling” for the Cranberries original is not so awful, though.
And now for the playlists. Enjoy! Dream!
I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew. Rediscover the passion of music in your life.
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the moment.
Love the moment.
Listen to the MUSIC!