This is the in house WWETV blogger that goes by the name of “The Venom”. Now if you have read my past articles, you would know my intentions are always to speak on things that the mainstream media usually would stay away from or to look at things from a different perspective to make you think.
I have been asked to speak about this current crisis hitting the world in terms of the pandemic known as covid-19 that is better known as coronavirus. I did not say anything until now because there are so many angles where I could have gone with this topic, but I feel the need to give people a strong message of hope in this time. I also believe my intent is to make you think and possibly use this time to reflect on the world in the last couple of decades and how we came to this position we are in 2020.
Music is the universal language that speaks to the masses and speaks for the voiceless in times like this. The power of words goes back to ancient times and has proven to create realities when put into action. This is why I ask all artists out there today and music lovers to ask themselves what could they do to usher in a new era that brings back legendary artists who have in years become musical prophets or messiahs. The artists that raise the consciousness of the masses or at least inspires someone that a change is needed in our society?
‘Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill di book”
Bob Marley – Redemption Song
Now the topic of religion is always a touchy subject, but in this article the definition of these particular words will allude to the dictionary.com website alternative definition of “a person regarded as, or claiming to be, an inspired teacher or leader”. I also will include willing to die for their belief for the people they are speaking on behalf for. Which artists out there fit the description? That is for the artists of today to answer, but I will ask where have the stars of the past gone who would die for their message or go against the establishment and not worry about losing their riches?
The world is in panic mode today and for good reason, but this is not the first time we have faced diversity of people dying and a collapsing economy. Where could I start with the legends of the past that could inspire the icons and rising stars of today?
During the height of the Vietnam War and the world in disarray a voice raised himself to speak on bring peace instead of violence. The Beatles are one of the greatest groups in the history of music and their impact on society was no doubt profound. However, one of its member was also responsible for another revolution in music in the 1970’s after the 1960’s dominance of his group.
It must be told that the inspiration for the single “Imagine” was Yoko Ono. Several poems from Yoko Ono’s 1964 book Grapefruit inspired Lennon to write the lyrics for “Imagine”. Lennon would eventually admit that Ono should have been credited for the composition by stating the single “should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it – the lyric and the concept – came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit.”
The meaning of song was revealed by John Lennon in a December 1980 interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine, Lennon told Sheff that Dick Gregory had given Ono and him a Christian prayer book, which inspired him the concept behind “Imagine”. “Imagine” was released in October 1971 on Vinyl.
The song is timeless because it touches upon topics that fit more than one age of time. In the song he asks everyone to imagine if there was no heaven or hell. Would everyone live differently and not worry about paying their debt of sin in a future time? There has also been religious wars which go against principles of many religions itself.
John Lennon spoke about some of the world leaders loving the message of the song, but still not getting the actual total message. The concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion – not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing – then it can be true … the World Church called me once and asked, “Can we use the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ and just change it to ‘Imagine one religion’?” That showed [me] they didn’t understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea.
The song doesn’t stop there either. He asks us to see the world without any countries dividing the people through race, class, and social-economic standing. Would people still have to die for territory and patriotism around the world if everyone would be one?
Lennon composed “Imagine” one morning in early 1971, on a Steinway piano, in a bedroom at his Tittenhurst Park estate in Ascot, Berkshire, England. The visuals for the single portray this action below.“The message of ‘Imagine’ is just as powerful today as it was when John and Yoko wrote it nearly fifty years ago,” says Emmy Award Winning and Oscar nominated Michael Epstein (“LennoNYC”) will directed the film about the song “Imagine”.
As we all know, John Lennon would be murdered assassination style on December 9th, 1980. John Lennon said that the only people he believed truly promoted peace were Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and both were shot. He said that he wanted to follow in their footsteps (as in, be a promoter of peace) and he was shot as well.
During this 1970’s and early 1980’s time period there was also another singer who transformed himself from what he was in the 1960’s. Marvin Gaye was a sensation for Motown in the 60’s, but his position started to change on the music label when The Jackson Five who were being called “The Black Beatles” started to be more of a focus by the founder Berry Gordy due to them being the voice of young America.
Marvin Gaye’s personal life was also transforming which caused him to become more poltical with his music. Little did Berry Gordy know that Gaye was about the affect the world on a bigger scope than just being a voice for the young people of America. Marvin Gaye created one of the first highly successful concept albums in “What’s Going On” with a song cycle that is played through the eyes of a Vietnam veteran returning back to the USA after being apart of the war. According to Acclaimed Music, it is the 7th most celebrated album in popular music history.
The song’s transcendent nature is shown by these two videos below which spans decades between each other, but you can see how the message hits home for the people of the time.
Another Motown alumni from that era is the legendary Michael Jackson. Similar to Marvin Gaye and John Lennon, MJ transformed himself from the child prodigy into an influential force on the planet through his music. In his early days as a solo artist, Michael Jackson had more of a voyeuristic approach to some of his music with songs like “Thriller”, but by 1987 he started to release more politically charged music for the world to raise its consciousness.
Although many people may dispute Michael Jackson due to the controversy that still surrounds him today for his personal life, it cannot be ignored that the “King Of Pop” had profound impact with songs such as “Man In The Mirror”. Today, the planet is receiving devastation to it by humans who have taken the resources for granted. The “Earth Song” according to Joe Jackson was Michael’s best song and with what’s happening today you can see why.
Another once in a lifetime artist that shook the world was Jamaica’s Bob Marley. He made it his duty to bring a message of awareness to seek your spiritual side with his songs. It was astounding how coming from a third world country, Marley showed the world a different side of itself that differed from the more advantaged first world countries such as the United States and United Kingdom.
Out of the artists mentioned in this article, Marley would more fit the profile of the traditionally strict meaning behind the words “prophet and messiah” as he used his platform to espouse the virtues of his religion of Rastafarianism.
He spoke about the people of the world needing to unite and going back to the origin of the human race in Africa. Marley also spoke out against the system that was corrupt and causing grief to the masses and also the people who were in the troubled areas of the planet.
Marley knew his music would withstand the test of time and be something people would listen to in times of trouble. “My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever.” said Marley when he was alive.
Who today could fulfill these huge shoes that these musical giants left for mankind? Do we even need a modern day artist of this vein when these master artists music still resonates around the world today? As a vaccine is being worked on to help cure the coronavirus strain of covid-19, can the music of today help heal the people’s fear with the kind of love the music above orchestrated through the souls of the artists?
Has society reached a place where artists of this nature could no longer strive due to the music business being about stream numbers and winning music awards at events like The Grammys?
Is it too much to ask the artists of this era to put aside their riches and fame and do music that could potentially hurt their income or even cause possible death? Is the populace even ready for this shift in music or willing to lend a listening ear to these type of messages when the last couple of decades people have become accustomed to booty shaking, nihilism, and just wanting to be entertained without the need to be reminded of the issues of the world? Maybe these artists are all over the planet right now, but the governing bodies that distribute the music ignore this type of artistic expression because they believe it won’t sell or it may upset the business and economic and political structures of society?
These are all things that these men most likely faced when deciding to go in the direction they did with their music. It is also perhaps why they became once in lifetime artists. This has been another exclusive article for WWETV from yours truly, THE VENOM!!