Glynn Moore

News editor and local columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

Beautiful songs live in my head

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Art Garfunkel was in town last night, and even though I didn’t attend his concert, I can hear his melodic voice in my head anytime because it is so much a part of my life.

One of his and Paul Simon’s best songs, I think, is The Boxer, because of its lilting beauty. Never mind the haunting lyrics, which songwriter Simon has said were about dealing with harsh critics: “Going home, where the New York City winters aren’t bleeding me, leading me, going home.”

The Boxer is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard, and for that reason I never change the dial when it plays on the radio.

One night recently, in fact, my wife told me supper was ready as soon as I dragged home from work. She had the television on a music channel, however, and as I started to go change clothes, I heard the opening guitar of The Boxer. I plopped down on the coffee table and sat through the entire song.

I had heard it countless times before, but each time is just as good as the last. Supper could wait.

A lot of songs are like that. Great lyrics and music combine to treat the ears. Not just a good beat, not just words that have something say, not just a pleasant voice – but some combination that works magic.

An example of such a song was heard in a Super Bowl commercial. I’m not sure what the ad was trying to say – grizzly bears like yogurt? – but a Bob Dylan love song, I Want You, played in the background.

“How can it be Dylan?” my wife scoffed. “I can understand his words.”

“It’s an old song,” I explained.

Jackson Browne’s Lawless Avenues rates high on my list of beautiful songs. Although it is about kids growing up in street gangs, it is a bilingual joy to hear.

Come Dancing is unlike The Kinks’ typical rock. It reminisces about the singer’s sister going dancing on Saturday nights at the “palais” (dance hall): “The day they knocked down the palais, my sister stood and cried. The day they knocked down the palais, part of my childhood died, just died.”

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah has been covered by everyone, but I can listen to Rufus Wainwright’s version over and over.

The 50-year-old Beatles still sound good, and Hey Jude is just one of many songs that sticks in my head.

John Prine’s songs are either knee-slappers or tear-jerkers, and some are so pretty they hurt. In Far From Me, he knows his love is unrequited the instant he asks the woman out: “Well, a question ain’t really a question, if you know the answer, too.”

American Pie is a wonderful song, but even it is topped by another song on Don McLean’s album. Vincent tells of Van Gogh and Starry Night, his best-known painting: “Now I think I know, what you tried to say to me, how you suffered for your sanity, how you tried to set them free.”

Now, it’s your turn. What beautiful songs do you recommend? Tell us all about them.

Comments (11) Add comment
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corgimom
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corgimom 02/09/14 - 11:21 pm
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Nothing is prettier than the

Nothing is prettier than the Beach Boys' "The Warmth of the Sun". In fact, all of their ballads were teriffic.

corgimom
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corgimom 02/09/14 - 11:22 pm
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And "Bridge over Troubled

And "Bridge over Troubled Water"

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 02/09/14 - 11:24 pm
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Did you see my comments about...

Did you see my comments about the Augusta Mini Theater?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/10/14 - 10:38 am
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C.G.P.

Yes, Simon & Garfunkel's original recording of The Boxer is great. But I'll bet Glynn would also like Chet Atkins’ version of the song.

The Boxer

It was recorded in the late 60’s or right around 1970. At the time, Atkins was fascinated with a tape-loop echo gizmo. I think they called it the Echo-Plex. He uses it during the middle of the above recording.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/10/14 - 10:45 am
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Andes

Again with the nylon string guitar, and again with the Echo-Plex in places, Chet Atkins has a nice recording of the Incan folk tune El Condor Pasa:

El Condor Pasa

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/10/14 - 10:52 am
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Plastics

And on his Country Gentleman guitar, backed by a small orchestra, Atkins has a satisfactory reading of Paul Simon’s Mrs. Robinson:

Mrs. Robinson

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/10/14 - 10:59 am
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Beatles

Chet Atkins recorded several songs by the Beatles, and since February 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, here's a Beatles tune to tap your foot to:

Can’t Buy Me Love

Blasphemy
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Blasphemy 02/10/14 - 10:39 pm
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Floral

The Rose: version by Bette Midler.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/11/14 - 07:43 am
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MacArthur Park- Richard Harris

"I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life, you'll still be the one"
But, it's the instrumentals that really rock.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/11/14 - 07:45 am
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Eagles

Most anything by the Eagles. Great lyrics in all their songs.

"You can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave" Hotel California.

Jake
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Jake 02/11/14 - 12:22 pm
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Simon & Garfunkel

The album "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" had many lovely songs on it but the song I have treasured most by them is "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" from "The Graduate" soundtrack. It always brings me back to the summer of 1968 when I graduated from high school.
"Georgia" by Ray Charles is another song I love to listen to, especially when feeling a little nostalgic for the state I lived in for 30yrs.

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