Saturday, 21 January 2012

The moment when I discovered I had soul

The death of Etta James got me thinking about the songs/artists that have changed my life. I'm not talking about hearing a song and really digging it, I'm talking about hearing a song and it transforms your entire being. So much so, your perceptions of the world - and yourself - permanently shift and nothing is ever the same again.

For me, the first "transformation" was Stevie Wonder's appearance on Sesame Street:

The song is amazing, but I think it was the little kid with the big afro dancing/freaking out that really did it for me. The total freedom he felt to really mooooooooove is just awesome (the 1970s were such a GREAT time to be a kid). I don't know if this was a super transformative moment, but I think it planted a seed in my very young mind.

The biggest and most meaningful moment occurred during an episode of Amen, titled "Dancing in the Dark" which aired when I was 15. Sherman Hemsley's (man, I really miss him. He was brilliant!) character is an attorney who is representing a husband in a divorce case (I think). He is questioning the wife about her status as a dancer and asks her to prove that she is, in fact, a dancer. He turns on a tape recorder and the most amazing sound hit my brain. It was Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness".

(YouTube won't let me embed the video. If you want to watch it go here. The song starts at 5:17).

It's impossible to adequately describe what I felt when hearing the song for the first time.. All I can say was I totally overwhelmed. I just remember the intensity of the song, and the voice. Oh, man. The voice!

Otis triggered my love for soul music. He is still my favourite and I think the greatest soul/R&B singer - ever.

Man, the song STILL gives me the chills.

How about you? What song/artist transformed you?

No comments: