A Grin at the End: Music list – Sharing my play list in hopes you will create your own

March 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

carl-sampsonBy Carl Sampson

Sometimes on a rainy afternoon — we have quite a few in Oregon — I like to listen to music. Not just any music.

I like to listen to music with meaning.

I’m not talking about religious music necessarily, although much of the great music in history was religious.

I could write a whole column just on Antonio Vivaldi.

Rather, I’m talking about music that speaks to me at a deeper level, that when I listen to it, I am inspired.

You know what I mean.

The other day, I started to make a list.

On it I wrote the titles of songs that inspire me to be a better person.

Some you may consider to be trite, and that’s OK, but I like them for what they mean to me.

So, without further ado, here’s my Ultimate Play List:

What a Wonderful World
Originally recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967, it was the perfect antidote to the sixties — and for today, when meanness seems to reign supreme. I know we’re better than that. Or should be.

Man in the Mirror
Michael Jackson recorded this in 1987. I think it’s really a challenge to all of us to be more — and to do more — to make a change for the better, in our lives and our world.

Humble and Kind
I just recently ran across this song recorded by Tim McGraw, a country singer. He describes it as a “letter to your kids.” I think maybe it’s a letter to all of us.

I Dreamed a Dream
You know this song from the musical Les Miserables. It is about hope and dreams and heartbreak. It’s about life.

I Won’t Give Up
Jason Mraz wrote this about relationships, but it’s also about the human spirit. In the song he vows not to give up. We shouldn’t, either.

I’m Amazed
I heard this song on A Prairie Home Companion years ago, and it blew me away. It took me forever to find it. I finally found a home video on You Tube of the teenage Leilani Clark and her family singing it. Her father, Dan Clark, wrote it. It takes my breath away. It will yours too.

Father and Son.
His name is Yusuf, but I remember him as Cat Stevens. His songbook is full of tunes that resonate with me — about life, love, kids and all that goes with them. But it’s this song that reminds me every time that being a father — or a son — is often difficult. The one line that stops me is Look at me, I am old but I am happy….

I am, too. I am so happy with my life.

And these songs are anthems to that. I’m grateful to these singers and song writers for creating them.

So much of the noise on the radio and TV is meant to be evocative and incite high emotions, but not thought.

That’s what’s missing in our popular culture: Thought about what has been, what is and what should be. Something to inspire and motivates us to be our best.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor.
He lives in Stayton.

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