So, some weeks ago I came to this conclusion: There’s a lot of touching in rock ‘n’ roll.
And I don’t mean touching in a “behind-the-music,” groupie-gone-wild sort of way. I mean lyrically.
Maybe I knew it on some level already. Maybe not.
But it became glaringly obvious recently.
Some background might be in order. For one thing, I tend to karaoke. A lot.
In fact, for the past few years, I’ve enjoyed — with my sweetie, Rebecca, and often with friends — a karaoke setup in my home. Did I mention I karaoke, a lot? That means I’ve sung quite a few songs.
Another bit of background is that we have many wonderful musician friends. Over the years we have attended many of their performances at various venues.
A month ago we were watching our friends, who comprise the band Forging the Fable, perform at Tavern in the Garden. Included in their set list was Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Neil not only mentions touching him but also touching you. After Forging the Fable finished the song, Rebecca suggested to the spouse of one of the band members that they should have run up and touched him at the appropriate point.
It reminded me Rebecca actually has actually done that while I was karaokeing the song “Beautiful Day” by U2. Yep. Bono asks to be touched. Rebecca would run up to me and touch my arm at that point.
Sometime within a day of hearing Forging the Fable and thinking of the U2 song, I heard a song on the radio that led me to my conclusion. I believe it was “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Not only does the singer touch you once, he touches you twice.
It was at this point it became clear how much touching was going on in rock ‘n’ roll.
And I include pop music in there, just to be clear.
Sure, there are blatant musical calls for touching that put the request in the title, such as “Touch Me in the Morning” by Diana Ross and “Touch Me” by the Doors. Yeah, Jim Morrison, we could see that you were not afraid. Touching even made it into musicals, with Susan Sarandon’s character in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” singing “Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me” to another character.
But there are endless suggestions by singers to touch them that aren’t part of the song’s title, too. You’ll find references in “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate and “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart.
Hmm. Sexy seems to equate to touch. That makes sense.
OK. I know phrases, descriptions and themes of all sorts are recurrent in the vast realm writing. Love. Hate. Happiness. Sorrow. Faith. They’re all there and more.
But maybe all that touching is why rock 'n' roll is still around.
After all, isn’t touching the spark that keeps a relationship aflame?