By Hans Ebert

Change is not only good, it’s necessary. There’s an old Carole King-Gerry Goffin song that’s been playing in my head recently called “Goin’ Back”.

When in a band, we used to perform it, I tried to sing it and, even then, when hardly trying to dig a pony and think about the journeys that lay ahead, there are so many lines in that song that would always make me think of some of Bob Dylan’s words in “My Back Pages”: I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

Carole King and then-husband Gerry Goffin were hardly recognised for the wordplay of Dylan and, later, John Lennon nor the cathartic outpourings from the minds of Jimmy Webb, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson, James Taylor or Leon Russell. They were pop songwriters from the Brill Building. But that thought about being youth in the Lost And Found Department has been on Repeat as part of the soundtrack to my life.

On certain days, “Goin’ Back” has different meanings and brings back different memories.

My mother left this world when Alzheimer’s caught her unawares and she became someone else. There are loud echoes of her in this song and what might have been going through her mind before giving up to her inevitable last goodbye.

It’s a song that could refer to lost innocence or new-found wisdom, a sense of resignation and a sudden surge of inspiration about needing to go back in time to understand what happened yesterday- and why-and what matters today- music, friendship, love, relationships- that entire hand life has dealt you and how you’re meant to deal with it.

It’s something never taught at school nor by your parents. It’s learned through all those life experiences that form one big picture puzzle for you to figure out.

But this song, well, its special- as special as how “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc happened, the entire “Pet Sounds” album minus “Sloop John B”, “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver”, The White Album, “Abbey Road”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Hejira”, so many songs by the often overlooked Paul Simon etc.

It’s been recorded by everyone from Dusty Springfield and the Byrds to Freddie Mercury demo-ing it as “Larry Lurex”.

For those trying to be musicians, songs like these and knowing who wrote what and why and respecting all the great session guys who made magic happen in the studio and were REAL musicians who could actually play instruments is a “tutorial”.

To go back in time to understand how and who made music happen and how it evolved is necessary to move the chess pieces. It’s called progress.

Listening to whatever is “current” today, there’s something missing. Maybe many things.

Speak to many propping up the music industry, and one realises what’s afflicting it: wrong hires with a lack of knowledge about where the music came from and a complete disinterest in trying to find out. It’s too much work.

There’s no understanding in the relevance in “Going Back” to understand what’s already been done in order to learn and listen and work at what still can be done.

For example, there’s so much to learn from this masterclass in songwriting from Paul McCartney playing one of his lesser known songs to producer George Martin and explaining how he heard the final recording being arranged.

At a time when the generation gap is more pronounced than ever, music can play a huge role in bridging this chasm.

Having said this, when music continues to be randomly “streamed” without anyone questioning where any of this is going plus a lack of passion, and with no respect for its pioneers and their pioneering efforts, this art form becomes devalued. And if music ever becomes a lost art form, we all lose out.

A world without music? Think about it. Then think about it again.

#music #CaroleKing #GerryGoffin #musicindustry #songs #PaulMcCartney #HansEbert