All songwriters and musicians have influences it might be Beethoven or Bach or it might be Stills and Mitchell … but we are all influenced by the music that came before us, that we listened to, that has left an impression on hearts, brains and ears. In some eras the music also influenced society and our social structure, in that sense probably none more so than the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s. That is certainly the music that I grew up with and has influenced me as a songwriter and a person and as I observed at the time, society.

I wrote a song which was on my first CD THE HIPPIES WERE RIGHT titled The Music Led The Way it remains one of my favorite “children”. Most of my musical influences make an appearance in the song Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, The Eagles, Bob Dylan and of course the Jefferson Airplane. Others appear who whilst they are not necessarily songwriters or musicians that have been a big influence on my music they certainly were an influence on others and society The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Carol King etc.

At that time the music was all we had, played on 4 and 8 track tape players in the car and on vinyl at home and listened to on FM Radio or enjoyed live at concerts. There was no internet, no MTV, no Spotify just the music. I think that is the reason that the music had such an influence on society and us Baby Boomers or the Woodstock Generation, it was what we had and it was a shared influence something that held us together as a generation. I suppose much like the internet holds so much influence on today’s society the music was our “internet” we were mostly all connected to it … though we needed nothing more than a radio to be “plugged in” and we could take it just about anywhere as well.

Here is that song have a listen see if it brings back a few memories to us Baby Boomers, and our children as well because as we were raising our children that was the music in the background. The Music Led The Way.

The music was almost like a conduit from what was happening all around us at the time Vietnam, social enlightenment, the environment, drugs, being a young person, love, relationships, authority and civil rights … to the songwriters then back to the listeners … much like the internet today but with a bit less bullshit and advertising. Ohio, Big Yellow Taxi, Volunteers, Tuesday Afternoon, The Times They Are A Changing etc they spoke to us converted ideas in to tangible reality it was something we understood … it meant something.

My song is not only about how the music influenced me but how it influence others, society, the times and about how it held us together … it led the way. A line in the song goes “On a clear night at County Line the 8 tracks howled and wailed” imagine this a place where you could gather somewhat removed from authority and carry on (some out there will know, will have experienced, will have been there or in a similar place). That place for us was a beach referred to as County Line, basically on the border between Los Angeles County and Ventura County not much of a beach but a big sand dune on the opposite side of the Pacific Coast Highway … and as it turned out because it was far from the administrative centers, not patrolled by any authority other than the California Highway Patrol. Summer nights young people from all directions flocked to County Line music playing everywhere, pot smoking, dancing, talking and more were taking place there, it was a sight and sound to behold … the music led us there.

Yes the music led the way back then and for many of us like myself it is still ringing in our ears still influencing how we live our lives … it’s on CD now but it is still there. Enjoy the music.

The Music Led The Way – Lyrics

Verse 1
In the brightest and darkest times of those rambling colourful days
When freedom reigned and enlightenment sang the music led the way
It preached with many colours and witnessed what we came to know
Not so much like a book of learning but a map to help us grow
Words of experience yearning and light put to music just oh so right
It was the music that led the way and carried us through the night and day

Verse 2
It came upon us slow sometimes and at times like a rush of blood
We bathed in it, we laughed at it, it washed over us like a flood
On a clear night at County Line the 8 tracks howled and wailed
Dim lit rooms where the smoke did loom the righteous albums played
We didn’t know we were at the dawn of time on the threshold of a dream
We were in the flow of something special and the music was the stream

While we searched about in our brave new world we had music in our bones
On vinyl saucers from the Airplane, the Springfield and the Stones
The Doors and Dylan the Grateful Dead and Joni Mitchell all alone
Jimi Hendrix Carlos Santana and  ohhhh the Byrds sweet tone
We rode with them through the darkness and smiled in the light of day
We brought them to the streets, and the carnivals and the bloody fray
We didn’t hang on every note but we lived what they had to say
So we all got high, we grew up together and the music led the way

All the great song writers put us in to words but not for fame
Carol King and Randy Newman John Lodge and Sweet Baby James
John Fogarty Robbie Robertson Warren Zevon Stills and Young
Clapton and Winwood Daltry and Townsend when Tommy’s day had come
Hendley and Frey  Kantner and Slick Lennon and McCartney all had their say
Floating with mystic articulation  pilots verses the music led the way

Verse 3
It didn’t stop at Woodstock and the  Last Waltz was not the end
Revolutions never end we learn our lessons and we make amends
The glow of the music lit the road for a generation that would not be stowed
The world was changing for the better the children so bold
It was a time in space a moment in grace when we knew just what to say
I hope to hell we made a difference when the music led the way

So  we all got high, we grew up together and the music led the way
I hope to hell we made a difference when the music led the way
I hope to hell we made some kind of difference when the music led the way

All rights reserved © 2010 B#Music/R.G. Crain – APRA Registered


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