Opinion by Richard Bleil
On the B side of the album “Abby Road” by the Beatles, Paul attempted to record the world’s first “Rock Opera”. It predated “Tommy” by The Who, I believe, but not by much. None the less, the Who gets credit for the first successful Rock Opera, since in-fighting between Paul and John resulted in lack-luster enthusiasm by the band. Side A of the LP was very much a standard style album (managed by John), and Paul’s “Rock Opera” was only about half of side B.
I used to lay on my bed and listen to side B of the album and had an entire story line that I would play in my head along with that extended track. I was too young at the time to know the back story of what Paul was trying to accomplish, and why it failed, but creative enough to “see” the opera as it played out. In essence, in my mind I was watching a music video, long before the release of the first music video (“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles was the first video played by MTV in 1981).
This medley began with “Golden Slumbers” and end with “The End.” It’s not the last song on the album; that honor goes to an odd little ditty (which would play after a longer-than-normal pause) called “Her Majesty”, the lyrics of the whole song being “Her majesty, she’s a pretty nice girl and she doesn’t have a lot to say. Her majesty, she’s a pretty nice girl but it’s just too late today. I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I gotta get a belly full of wine. Her majesty, she’s a pretty nice girl, someday I’m gonna make her mine, oh yeah, someday I’m gonna make her mine.”
Anyway, the focus of this blog is the song “The End”, the lyrics of which in their entirety are “And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you make.” Okay, I know what a double entendre is. I understand the obvious sexual interpretation of this line. But, in my innocent youth, this is not the meaning that I assigned to this song, and today, my youthful innocent interpretation is still my preferred for it.
See, I always thought of love as something that you send out into the world. I interpreted “the love you make” as the good will, the happiness, the joy you bring to others through kindness, love, compassion and caring. It’s not just the love you make by having sex, but the love you make for others. And this kind of love, in one way or another, is reflected back towards you. No, not monetarily (I’ve never interpreted “cast it upon the waters” to mean that if I give ten bucks to charity, I’ll get a hundred back), but in cheer, good will, a better community.
When was the last time some stranger did something nice for you? Held a door, or just smiled and said “hello”? There are so many acts of charity and kindness that I fear they are often overlooked. If you can recall the last time that you felt as if somebody did something really nice, and especially if it was unexpected, then think about how it made you feel. Did you smile a little more brightly? Did you give the individual a little more attention that you might have otherwise? Was the tone of your voice a little bit more exuberant? This individual has created love for the world, and that warmth in your response, the appreciation in your heart, the desire to pass that warm feeling on is the love the person got back.
John Lennon recorded a song, “Imagine,” part of the lyrics of which are “You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Okay, I know I’m naïve. This probably isn’t what they meant by the song The End; I’m sure it was far more sexual than my innocent young mind imagined, but I still like that original interpretation better. So, sure, I’m a dreamer. I’m an optimist, and I still believe in the basic goodness of people. Yes, I’ve been burned by that optimism many (MANY) times in the past, but sometimes, something happens that revives my faith.
My friends restore my faith. They cast love out into the world, and towards me, constantly. Sadly, sometimes I forget this. I guess that makes me human, but I’ve had three friends in the past year who have opened up their hearts, and their homes, so I could sleep with heat and a roof over my head. This is a major imposition, and I hope I show them the appreciation that they deserve for doing this. I have friends who make sure that I eat regularly, showing their love for me through their concern for my well-being. I have friends who comfort me when I’m down, invite me to spend time with them, who are a shoulder when I need one. Friends; I don’t know what else to say, save thank you for reviving my faith.