My song today is ‘Thank You for The Music’. This a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally featured on the group's fifth studio album ‘The Album’ (1977) and was released as a single on 6 November 1983.
‘Thank You for the Music’ was also released as a B-side with ‘Eagle’ as the A-side in 1978, which itself was only released in limited territories, namely Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. It was released as an A-side single in South Africa where it peaked at Number 2 in August 1978 and became the eighteenth best-selling single of that year.
This song means a great deal to me. I sing it today in gratitude to what music has meant to me during my life. Given the choice of losing one of my senses or losing song and music in my life, it would be the former that I would choose to forfeit.
Every person has some ability to do one thing okay in their life, and until my early twenties, I was always a good singer. Every day of my life, I would hear my mother sing all day long as she did her housework. Mum was hardly ever in tune and couldn’t hold a note even when she was, but she nevertheless sang her heart out daily. In fact, I don’t think she knew all the words to any one song she ever sang, but none of this stopped her; she simply made up what she didn’t know and would insert whatever words happened to come into her mind. I will never forget the day I berated her for her rubbish singing. I said, “Mum, why do you bother singing. You can’t sing for toffee!”
In her own words, mum told me that everyone who has lungs has the right to sing, whether they can hold a note or carry a tune as well as the next person or not. “Who said that only good singers have the right to sing?” she asked me, adding, “ Where is it written down that only people who can sing have the right to sing and the rest of us just shut up?” I naturally could not answer her, because she was so right, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Then, mum revealed the true wisdom of her argument. I cannot recall her precise words; only her message, so I will lend her my words to expound the lesson of life she taught me: “Everyone on God’s earth has the right to sing and should sing. We all sing our songs of life in our own way. Some folk are painters, they sing their song of life in their pictures, clowns do it through their laughter, comedians do it through their jokes. And pianists and other musicians do it through their instruments: your father who is a miner does it from cutting the coal from the face of the earth. It matters less how well we sing our song of life than the fact that we sing it!”
A few years ago, I read that singing practice a few hours daily can greatly enhance one’s lung capacity as well as oxygenating one’s blood. Having had two heart attacks fifteen years ago which left me operating on only three arteries, combined with my increasing immobility over the past twenty years, plus a terminal blood cancer which not only prevents me having any effective immune system but reduces the level of oxygenation in my blood, I would frequently become breathless when walking or climbing steps. In fact, my lung capacity was functioning around 80% of what it should have been.
So, I started daily singing practice and within a very short time, the degree of progress was phenomenal. I am now almost normal with my lung capacity (between 95-98 %), but what is as important, I now sing happily each day because I have learned to love singing again. I sing, not out of any pretention that I am a good singer, but because I love singing. Singing brings me great pleasure. Each day that I burst into song, I am also singing in adoration of my mother’s memory, along with anyone who cares to listen.
Thank you, Mum, for teaching me the most important lesson of all; that one can sing for pleasure, even when one is unable to sing all the notes in the correct order or voice any song word for word. I also thank my old friend, the late Roy Castle, for reminding me a few weeks before he died with cancer, that even when we are no longer alive, life will go on for those we leave behind. Roy reminded me that that the grass will still dance in the wind and the birds will still sing their song at the start of every new day. I also recall my mother telling me the reason why birds sing. “Billy” she said, “birds sing because they have a song to sing. Each of us should sing our ‘song of life’.”
So, I say thank young to you all for listening to my songs each morning, and to my God, I say, “Thank you, Lord, for giving me the voice to sing in my earlier life, and especially for giving me a bit of my voice back in my old age in order that I can better improve my lungs, oxygenate my blood, and replenish my soul with the pleasure of music and song, and my heart with warm contentment.”
Love and peace Bill xxx