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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Musical takes on Independence Day ... Part I

The Fourth of July holiday has always provoked a complexity of emotion and thought in me. It's symbolic of so much — personal, political, and philosophical — that's it's often hard to get a grasp on specific impressions. To help with that endeavor, I'm posting lyrics for songs that I think capture the various spirits of the day.

First, this song by Van Morrison, which for me is especially evocative of one side of the holiday. There are few more pleasant memories than of sitting with friends and family in a park mid-Summer, watching the night sky light up with color. Even now, in a city such as Chicago, we drink in our nice Summer days as one would savor a fine wine. There is also a sadness to the song, imparting a sense of imminent departure, which has also resonated with me.

Almost Independence Day
by Van Morrison

I can hear them calling way from Oregon
I can hear them calling way from Oregon
And it's almost Independence Day

Me and my lady, we go steppin' (we go steppin')
We go steppin' way out on China town
All to buy some Hong Kong silver
And the wadin' rushing river (we go steppin')
We go out on the, out on the town tonight

I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the fireworks
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay
I can hear them echoing
I can hear, I can hear them echoing
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay

I can see the boats in the harbor (way across the harbor)
Lights shining out (lights shining out)
And a cool, cool night
And a cool, cool night across the harbor
I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the people, people shouting out
I can hear the people shouting out (up and down the line)
And it's almost Independence Day

I can see the lights way out in the harbor
And the cool, and the cool, and the cool night
And the cool, and the cool, and the cool night breeze
And I feel the cool night breeze
And I feel, feel, feel the cool night breeze
And the boats go by
And it's almost Independence Day
And it's almost, and it's almost Independence Day

Way up and down the line
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