It’s no secret that music is a major part of my life. My Fender Stratocaster is just an extension of my being. And my tastes are quite eclectic, with a major in classic rock and roll.
There have been some, with quite a holier-than-thou attitude, who have told me rock is evil. My feeling is that in fact everything can be evil. It’s what one takes from and gives to something that determines its essence.
Over the last few years a plethora of my music heroes have died, further distancing me from my youth in some ways.
But my life mantra is that numbers of years and your bodily state don’t dictate age, your attitude and actions do. Me, I’m still 18 (“... and I like it,” à la Alice Cooper).
Last November my generation of music fanatics lost a giant — Leonard Cohen.
Cohen was a Canadian-born poet, writer, song-writer, pianist, guitarist, and painter. He spoke , sang and painted his views on politics, religion, and humankind in general. Perhaps the song for which he is most known by those casual music listeners is “Hallelujah,” a song performed by nearly 200 artists in dozens of languages. The song begins with one of my favorite song lyrics ever: “I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord.” The song is by no means Spiritual, but the song is not the point of this column.
Cohen was Jewish, and he and his family practiced the faith in their Canadian home when he was a lad. He never relinquished those roots.
Recently a Facebook page dedicated to Cohen and his fans released a quote of his from 1988. The quote was about Jesus Christ: “I’m very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who walked the face of this earth. Any guy who says, ‘Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek,’ has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness — A man who declared Himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing would weather that compassion. I’m not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me, in spite of what I know about the history of legal Christianity, the figure of the man has touched me.”
Wow, just reading this again brings chills to my spine. The Man has touched me too, Leonard.
Sometimes it takes an “outsider” to bring things into perspective. Sometimes we over-think things, and in doing so, lose the simple yet powerful meaning.
Getting back to basics, the figure of Jesus Christ has touched me. Thank you, Mr. Cohen.
And congratulations to Don Chouinard. Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River will name its baseball field after the man who spent 36 years of his life as the Connolly baseball coach on, May 27. It’s a well-deserved honor.