Monday, April 22, 2013

A Little Good News


Music has had a profound effect on my life. On Saturday I listened to the fans at Fenway Park in Boston singing. It wasn’t like Beyoncé Knowles performing the National Anthem in front of millions around the world at President Obama's 2nd term inauguration in Washington, DC four months ago. It was the emotional pre-game ceremony at the Boston vs Kansas City game honoring the victims of horrific attacks on the Boston Marathon and paying tribute to law enforcement officials, first responders, race participants and volunteers. The emotional scene also included a stirring montage of images from the tumultuous week in Boston set to the song "Hallelujah" as performed by Jeff Buckley and a rousing rendition of the national anthem, this time sung by the fans. It brought tears to my eyes and palpitations to my heart and reminded me of another song that changed my life called Put On a Happy Face, written by Charles Stouse and Lee Adams from the 1963 hit Broadway musical, Bye Bye Birdie.

It was that song that inspired me in 1966, to draw a happy face to the best of my artistic ability and create an advertising campaign for University Federal Savings & Loan Association in Seattle designed to lead the community, which I said was clinically depressed, out of the doldrums by distributing “Happy Face buttons” and urging people to “Open a Savings Account and Put on a Happy Face.” The campaign was very successful and, surprisingly, The Happy Face went on to be the second most recognized Icon in the world.

A few years later I created an ad campaign for a radio station, theme “Good News.” All the news then, on every radio and television station and in every newspaper, was very BAD!  I wanted to create a point of difference for my client, but there was no music to inspire me then.  And the client said “News is news is news. There is no such thing as good news or bad news. It’s just news and we have to pass it along to our listeners.

But in 1983, the Canadian singer, Anne Murray sang one of the best songs I’d ever heard and it has haunted me for years. I thought about it on 9/11, the day of the Newtown disaster in December and while I sat stunned after the Boston Marathon.
Titled A LITTLE GOOD NEWS, it was-co-written by Charles Black, Rory Bourke and Thomas Rocco.

See if you don’t agree:

I rolled out this morning
Kids had the mornin' news show on
Bryant Gumbel was talkin' 'bout the fighting in Lebanon
Some senator was squawkin' 'bout the bad economy
It's gonna get worse you see, we need a change in policy

There's a local paper rolled up in a rubber band
One more sad story's one more than I can stand
Just once how I'd like to see the headline say
"Not much to print today, can't find nothin' bad to say", because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD'd, nobody burned a single buildin' down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today

I'll come home this evenin'
I'll bet that the news will be the same
Somebody takes a hostage, somebody steals a plane
How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair
And how we cleaned up the air, how everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell me

Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today
And in the streets of Ireland, all the children had to do was play
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA
We sure could use a little good news today

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today.

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