For centuries people have used poetry to express their feelings and frustration.
Often individuals search for something that can express what they feel but are not able to say themselves. Then we find Shakespeare and Byron, John Donne and Emely Dickinson. Sometimes poets express thoughts which are living in whole nations or most of the world. This can be an expression of hope or fear, desperation or love.
During WWII there was a lot of war poetry. Some of the books sold thousands of copies. But there were also songs in musicals and films which everybody knew. They created a togetherness in this difficult time for so many people. Some of these songs served almost as anthems or hymns.
It seems that we need someone to express our concern, especially in difficult times.
Last Friday it happened again, the terrorists hit innocent people in Paris. We were all shocked and saddened. The next day a man came dragging a grand piano to the Place de la Republique and sat down to play John Lennon’s “Imagine”, a song that expresses what many of us hope for.
“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”
This text is known to most people. It was like a prayer in the middle of the tragedy. A hope.
I have noticed something interesting while listening to some of Michael Jackson’s songs this autumn.
He is perhaps most famous for songs like “Thriller” and “Billie Jean”, but he also has made some songs with a very special and simple message: LOVE. Love for the planet and love for humanity.
“That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know. It gives some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people”, he says in the film “This is it”.
The songs he points at are “Heal the world”, “We are the world” and “Earth song”. In addition we have a song like “Cry” or “The lost children”, but they are almost only known to fans.
I usually listen to these songs on youtube, and a song like “Heal the world” used to have about 20.000 views per day. Not very much but not bad for a song that many think is too sweet, too simple or too naïve. (you may say the same bout “Imagine”).
After following this song for more than a year I noticed something earlier this autumn; the song started to have up to 40- of even 50.000 views per day. What’s happening? Why this sudden interest in this song so many years after it was created?
Then came the tragedy in Paris and the next day the song had over 100.000 views! Today it is happening again: again it seems 100.000 will listen to this song and that is only on youtube! I think this means that people need something special, they need some comfort and hope. And this song can give them that. That was why it was written!
The same happens to “Earth song” and “We are the world” which have more than 100.000 listeners per day.
“That’s why I write these kinds of songs….”
Thank you, Michael, for giving us songs that bring hope and comfort to people!