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Music's Everlasting Power?

Posted by johnnieraz on March 30, 2025 at 4:25 AM

     By John Rezell

     As Diana Ross floated through the Grammy crowd begging the world to Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand, tears welled up as I realized she was undoubtedly singing to the choir. Again.

     It might have been the Ed Sullivan Show, or Dean Martin, or Red Skelton, or any of the other dated variety shows way back when, but Diana's performance took me right back to the early '70s, sitting in our living room having watched the evening news a few hours earlier feeling broken-hearted at what the world had become before my youthful eyes.

     Violence smothered us everywhere, from a war on the other side of the world to civil rights battles right down the street in Milwaukee. Pollution fouling our rivers and air.

     I've been a dreamer as long as I can remember, and I wished with all my heart that the world was listening to Diana back then.

     That somehow, one-by-one, we would reach out and change the world. Find some way, each of us, to make it a better place.

     So much of what I remember of the reality of the world in those childhood days seemed to get better, somehow, eventually, although it felt as though it took forever.

     Maybe I was blinded by denial, or simply swept up in the whirlwind of my own life, to think we had made serious progress on so many, many fronts. But here we are, today ...

     My painful reflections actually began with Dolly Parton and her posse singing After the Gold Rush, reminding everyone that all these years later, once again we have Mother Nature on the Run, in the 21st Century ...

     Distracted by technological marvels that we couldn't even have dreamed of back then, we seem to think we're so far advanced from the ancient days of black and white TVs in only the households of the blessed.     

     The wake-up call came abruptly in 2016. I guess I was just asleep at the wheel all those years.  

     As Diana sang the other night, all my fears about the reality of life, of humanity and society, appear as prevalent as ever. My daughters have come of age and I realize that where it matters the most, we've failed Diana's pleas.

     But just as I believed in our future because of the spirit of our youngsters — my generation then — I feel hopeful for the future from what I see in today's youth, eager to take lead.

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