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It's Different Now ...Posted Thursday, October 8, 2009, at 10:17 AM
I love music of every kind including the songs from the 60s that formed me as a child.
I have a collection of 60s music that includes such groups as The Grass Roots, The Buffalo Springfield, and The Supremes. A few years ago I was able to purchase a re-digitalized recording of the first four album releases from The Mamas & the Papas (the fifth one was done in order to fulfill a recording contract, and it's awful!).
So I've been listening to some of The Mamas & Papas in recent weeks.
"All the leaves are gone and the sky is grey." "I call your name but you're not there." "You've gotta go where you want to go, do what you want to do."
Just reading these verses will bring the songs to your mind! In my humble opinion this is great music and will be timelessly remembered for all to enjoy.
And yet something is different as I'm hearing this music in the last few weeks.
Controversy has come into any discussion regarding The Mamas & the Papas due to the recent "shocking" admission from daughter Mackenzie Phillips that she and her father were rather close as father and daughter. Rather close is a politically correct way of phrasing what the scandal declares.
And, as much as I enjoy this timeless music, I can't get the scandal out of my mind.
For instance, I'm hearing things in the lyrics I've never "heard" before. Papa John Phillips wrote most of the lyrics to their songs. You might say his philosophy about life came through his writing.
Now knowing about the scandal, I'm "hearing" the words with different interpretations than before. Yes, there is a strong sense of individualism, a strong commitment to take one's own path and not blindly follow the paths of others.
There is also a strong pledge to do whatever you want no matter what.
He writes of a time when "The Man's" laws won't apply.
Freedom at last!
"Monday, Monday, can't trust that day ... sometimes it just turns out that way."
For now, these words have lost the innocence I've attached to them for forty years. And that is what I've so enjoyed about the music of The Mamas & the Papas! I hear "do what you want to do" and then get upset that if the scandal is true MANY people got hurt. And I don't support people getting hurt by others, especially in the ways indicated by the scandal.
It's funny. I come from a generation stereotyped by a philosophy of anything goes. Yet, even for people of my generation, there are things which are simply forbidden because of the hurt and harm that can happen from them.
It was my generation that produced a Charles Manson. It was my generation that produced Jonestown.
And, if the scandal is true, it was my generation that produced Papa John Phillips.
At least for now I've lost any innocence I had attached to this music. I may never separate this scandal from my earlier enjoyment. It may be a while before I listen to the music of The Mamas & the Papas again.
Given what I/we've been told, something is different than before.
I love the music.
Yet, it's different now ...
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.