“50 More” came from their third album, “Long Way To The Top”, which was a tribute to AC/DC’s Bon Scott, who died in 1980. They also recorded the title track, which was a 1975 song by AC/DC, and the band signed them up to open for them on the “Back In Black” tour that summer.
“50 More” wasn’t a hit. I don’t think it was even a single. I lived in North Carolina at the time, and I believe our local rock station played it. It’s one of those songs that stuck with me.
And it’s been on my mind quite a bit this week, as I turned 50.
The song isn’t about turning 50. Far from it. It’s actually about a concert tragedy in Cincinnati when general seating tickets were sold to a Who concert, and there was such a rush to get in when the doors open, that people were trampled. 11 people died. And hardly anyone attending the show even knew about it until they saw it in the paper the next day.
But as is the case with music, an artist or a song can mean different things to different people, whether or not that’s the intention of the singer, the band or the songwriter.
For me, this song started popping in my head as my birthday drew near. It’s just that it has “50” in the title. The only other song I can think of that has “50” in the title is Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”, and that just doesn’t seem to click with me.
I don’t really have any hang-ups about being 50. I don’t remember having any problems with 40 or 30, either.
The funny thing is, I was a little freaked out when I turned 20. Somehow, I had the ridiculous idea that once I was 20, I had to get serious about life. No more goofing off. Time to be a grown up.
I’m so glad I got over that.
And now I’ve been here for half a century. Some of the music people I love the most never got to turn 50. Elvis. John Lennon. Jim Croce. Buddy Holly. Rick Nelson. The whole “27 Club”. And on and on.
So it’s a bit of an achievement.
Like everyone else, I’ve had high’s and low’s. I’ve had tremendous successes, enjoyed them and was even cocky about them. And I’ve had disappointments and truly horrible days, sinking into despair and, upon occasion, unsure if I could even get out of bed.
I’ve gotten to live in some pretty amazing places, and I’ve marked time, existing in some pretty dismal ones.
And I had some fun.
I’ve seen the Who, the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles and two of the Beatles. I’ve been to Disney World, Disneyland and just a couple blocks down from Times Square during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
I don’t mean to suggest that I’ve had a charmed life, or to otherwise brag or anything like that. Certainly not my intention. The point is simply that I’ve had some really good times and some pretty bad times.
But the bad times don’t stand out. It’s mostly the really good stuff that I remember. Is that because I’m so smart I don’t let that stuff stand out, or is it that they really do fade and the good stuff is the stuff that lasts?
I’m not that smart, so it has to be the latter.
And if there’s anything I’ve learned in my first half-century, it’s that you have to let that stuff go. You’re the only one keeping the bad memories, the bad vibes, alive. At the risk of putting that “Frozen” song in your head, let it go.
If anything, I’m excited about this birthday. The first 50 were pretty great. And I can’t wait to see what the next 50 have in store!
I’m also grateful that you’ve come along, to share at least part of my journey. And my birthday wish, for those who believe in those kinds of things, is that I hope the next 50 years contain as much fun, as much laughter, as much music and as much love as I remember in the last 50.
And I wish that for every single person that reads this.
But witnesses say that, on the afternoon of August 16, 1977, Elvis say alone at his piano and sang “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”.
It is amazing the number of lives that Elvis touched, and continues to touch thirty-eight years after his death. Huge crowds are gathered at Graceland this weekend for the annual vigil, and judging from the photos, many of the people there weren’t even born in 1977!
That’s a pretty stunning legacy.
So many like to turn Elvis into some kind of punchline. Elvis impersonators show up as comic relief in movies. Elvis himself is frequently tied in to bad-for-you food. And frequently when the topic of Life After Death comes up, or any kind of ghost/paranormal show, Elvis is mentioned.
But there’s obviously so much more to him to leave behind this kind of devoted, out-pouring of emotion. This kind of love.
Elvis Presley certainly doesn’t need me to defend him, and that isn’t what this blog is about.
It’s about love.
“Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” was written by Fred Rose and recorded by Roy Acuff in 1945. Hank Williams recorded a version in 1951. And many more followed, including Slim Whitman, Gene Vincent and Conway Twitty.
It was also the first number one song for Willie Nelson in 1975.
It didn’t stop there. Roger Whittaker and Charley Pride both recorded versions in the 1980’s. Glenn Yarborough recorded it in 1997. And a version recorded by Eva Cassidy was released in 2008.
Just two years ago, UB 40 recorded a reggae version.
Every decade since it was written seventy years ago, someone has recorded this song!
It’s about heartbreak and loss, but that’s not all. It’s also about hope. And it’s about a love that never dies.
Love never dies.
That’s pretty powerful. And it’s so very true.
I’ve had so many gifted people on Psychic Tapestry, week after week. And the message is always the same, and always clear. We all go on. And everyone you’ve ever known, ever cared about, ever loved – they are all just a thought away.
And as at least some of us think about the King this week, here’s the recorded version of the last song he ever sang.
And if you only take one thing away from this blog, I hope it’s this:
Heartbreak doesn’t last forever, and love never dies.
Ken Kessler has always been interested in psychic phenomena, and like Mulder on the X-Files, wants to believe. But like most, he tends to look for, and accept, rational explanations. (More)