by Billy Cioffi
Reprinted courtesy "Music Connection - Jan.1985
I was once informed that Bruce Springsteen thinks that at the end of the universe, beyond space and time, there is a '57 Chevy convertable and "Be My Baby" is playing on the radio. This, I gather , is the Boss' concept of eternity. There are those of us who feel the theory is correct in principle, but different in detail: that it's a '66 Mustang and the selection is "Satisfaction". Still other cultists hold that it's a Chevy Van ('72) and "Stairway To Heaven" is in rotation. The song and vehicle at the end of time are up to the listener.
I like to think of it as The Moment. Did you ever ask anyone whose age corresponds where they were and what they were doing the night the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show? People whose consciousness and imaginations are stimulated by any type of music never forget these magic times. Our song! I have many personal experiences of The Moment and, in each case, the song or piece of music always said just what was needed to be said at that time, making verbal communication unnecessary. It really doesn't matter if the lightning bolt strikes one in a solitary situation or in communion with countless others (examples: attending the US Festival, watching MTV) The Moment is what matters.
The moment seems to have reached a kind of perfection in the American Popular Song. The Top-40, the museum au caurant that spews out both disposable and indespensible memories. How does one measure the difference between, say, Van Gogh's "Self Portrait" or Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonsome I Could Cry" in terms of the empathy one feels when exposed to either?
What we refer to as standards, be they past or present, are the most prominent purveyors of The Moment. It could be "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel or "God Save The Queen" by the Sex Pistols-- does it really matter? Sinatra or Cyndi Lauper, who cares? Isn't it enough to know that our weathered and worn human spirits can still be moved and that the embers of organic emotion still flicker in a technological society dominated by machines and numbers?
Maybe I take this pop-music stuff too seriously, but sometimes I can't help but think that it's one of those failsafe devices we accidentally invented to keep our knuckles from dragging on the ground. If we are all destined to be blown back into the Stone Age, let's hope a juke box and a quarter make it back as well. My personal wish is that the survivors drop the coin in the slot and slowdance to Dion and the Belmonts doing "Where or When".