Each generation has its anthems, and for me 1969 was the greatest year for music in my lifetime. 1969 was the year mankind first set foot on the moon, fulfilling John Kennedy's promise made almost a decade earlier; it was the year of Woodstock, the largest music festival in history at that time; people were waking up and questioning everything we'd been told, no longer believing government propaganda; we were tuning in, turning on, and dropping out.
We were a generation both passionate and naive, marching for equal rights, women's liberation, and the end to an unjust war that was based on lies. 1969 marked the pinnacle of those great movements as we promoted and lived what we thought was the dawn of a coming age. Little did we know that only months later soldiers would be murdering unarmed students as they peacefully protested the Viet Nam war at Ohio State University at Kent.
1969 was a year of celebration and hope, and the perfect time to be alive, but tragedy and bitterness awaited us just around the corner.
If you've read - or are reading - Bigger Gangsters and wondered about the song title subheadings, this is the list along with the snippets of lyrics that relate to the chapter to which they are assigned. These songs of hope, of love, of fear, and of tragedy that set the mood of the novel.
(Quinn the Eskimo)
"Everybody's in despair, every girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Everybody's going to jump for joy"
(A Hazy Shade of Winter)
Grass is high
Fields are ripe
It's the springtime of my life"
(Luna Mezz'o Mare)
"C'e 'na luna mezz'u mare
Mamma mia m'a maritare
Figlia mia a cu te dare
Mamma mia pensace tu"
"First time that I saw you, girl
I knew that I just had to make you mine
But it's so hard to talk to you
With fellas hanging round you all the time"
(Good Times Bad Times)
"In the days of my youth
I was told what it means to be a man
Now I've reached that age
I've tried to do all those things the best I can"
(So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star)
"So you want to be a rock 'n' roll star
Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
And take some time and learn how to play"
"Got the cure, it's for sure
I'm the one you're looking for
I'm the bad, make you glad, Medicine man"
(Try a Little Tenderness)
"Oh she may be weary
Them young girls they do get wearied
Wearing that same old shaggy dress
But when she gets weary
Try a little tenderness"
(Up On Cripple Creek)
"Good luck had just stung me
To the racetrack I did go
She bet on one horse to win
And I bet on another to show"
(Build Me Up, Buttercup)
"Why do you build me up buttercup, baby
Just to let me down and mess me around?
And then worst of all, you never call, baby
When you say you will
But I love you still"
(For What It's Worth)
"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware"
(Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show)
"Room gets suddenly still, and when you'd almost bet
You could hear yourself sweat, he walks in
Eyes black as coal, and when he lifts his face
Every ear in the place is on him"
(Bad Moon Rising)
"Don't go 'round tonight
It's bound to take your life
There's a bad moon on the rise"
"Hey everybody on the street I see you smilin'
Must be because I found my baby
You know she's got me on another kind of highway
I want to go to where it takes me
Hey 98.6 it's good to have you back again"
"Morning girl, how'd you sleep last night?
You're several ages older now
Your eyes have started showing how
The little girl's growing now"
(Cross Road Blues)
"I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above for mercy, save me if you please"
"Eldest son, kill the fatted calf, call the family round
Kill that calf and call the family round
My son was lost but now he is found
Cause that's the way for us to get along"
(Trouble Every Day)
"They say that if the place blows up
They will be the first to tell
Because the boys they got downtown
Are workin' hard and doin' swell"
"The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money
That's what I want"
(Games People Play)
"Look around tell me what you see
What's happening to you and me
God grant me the serenity
To remember who I am"
(Sympathy for the Devil)
"So if you meet me, have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste"
(I Can't Quit You Baby)
"When you hear me moaning and groaning, baby
You know it hurts me deep down inside
Oh, when you hear me, honey, baby
You know you're my one desire
Yes, you are"
"You know, I've seen a lot of people walkin' 'round
With tombstones in their eyes
But the pusher don't care
Ah, if you live or if you die"
(Whiter Shade of Pale)
"She said, 'There is no reason and the truth is plain to see'
But I wandered through my playing cards and they would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open, they might have just as well been closed"
(Eve of Destruction)
"There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction"
"We don't know how to mind our own business
'cause the whole world's got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner, we can't pay the cost"
(Secret Agent Man)
"There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow"
(A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall)
"I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall"
(Give Peace a Chance)
"Everybody's talking 'bout Revolution, evolution, masturbation
flagellation, regulation, integrations
meditations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance"
"Someone is waiting just for you
Spinnin' wheel, spinnin' true
Drop all your troubles by the riverside
Ride a painted pony let the spinnin' wheel fly"
(Summer in the City)
"Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head"
(Born To Be Wild)
"I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under"
(Eight Miles High)
"Rain gray town known for its sound
In places, small faces unbound
Some just shapeless forms"
(We Gotta Get Out Of This Place)
"Now my girl you're so young and pretty
And one thing I know is true
You'll be dead before your time is due
We gotta get out of this place if it's the last thing we do"
"I picked up my bags, I went looking for a place to hide
When I saw old Carmen and the Devil, walking side by side
I said, "Hey, Carmen, c'mon, let's go downtown"
She said, "I gotta go, but my friend can stick around"
(Going Up the Country)
"All this fussin' and fightin' man, you know I sure can't stay
So baby pack your leavin' trunk
You know we've got to leave today
Just exactly where we're goin' I cannot say"
(Some Day Soon)
"My parents cannot stand him 'cause he rides the rodeo
My father says that he will leave me cryin'
I would follow him right down the toughest road I know
Someday soon, goin' with him, someday soon"
(It's Alright, Ma)
"A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to"
(I Had Too Much To Dream)
"Your eyes were filled with love the way they used to be
Your gentle hand reached out to comfort me
Then came the dawn and you were gone
You were gone, gone, gone"
"And it's five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die"
(Is That All There Is?)
"Is that all there is? Is that all there is?
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is"
(She's Not There)
"Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there"
(The Beat Goes On)
"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de
La de da de da"