Sure, they’re Dylan and Springsteen. That they recently were paid multiple millions for their music catalogs, well, it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe. Those are songwriting giants, and you can’t start a fire without a spark.
But I’m thinking — humbly yet just out of curiosity now that the Winter Olympics again are upon us — whether the ditties I have written on Olympic topics might be worth something. To somebody.
Surely originality could get some play. The Boss, after all, never touched on the subject of ski-jumping, as I have…
On the wings of a pair of skis/These jocks show no weak knees.
They fly off with ease/On a couple of skis.
Or here’s a big-picture look at the Winter Games…
Icy rinks/Ice hills
I see some/Icy spills.
Icy nerves/Icy wills
I see great/Icy skills.
Snowy mounts/Snowy streets
‘s no easy/Snowy feats.
Snowy skies/Snowy ground
Snowy crash/Comin’ down.
Admittedly, with these ballads, I’ve never gotten around to the music part. These are only lyrics from a poor-man’s Hammerstein in need of a Rodgers, like Bernie Taupin counting on Elton John to do the composing. But you’re got to start somewhere. I’ve read where Mick Jagger originally stuck to creating the words and letting Keith Richards supply the music.
Also, just as Bob Dylan addressed topical issues, I have dealt with matters of consequence, such as the ongoing deliberations of whether the United States ought to have skipped this year’s Beijing Games in protest of China’s human-rights violations — and the history of such actions:
It sounds like we’re fixin’/To keep right on mixin’
The politics with the sports
Can’t say I’m surprised/But the previous tries
Left everyone tied up in knots
Our boycott of Moscow/Wound up a fiasco
’Cause the Reds did the same thing to us
Just four years later/East bloc c’llaborators
Thought they’d turn LA to a bust.
A protest song? Sort of. As is this next one, calling to task the skullduggery inside the Olympic halls of power, and specifically the almost routine charges of bribery of IOC members to grant hosting rights:
Bet I can find your kid a job, if you get that guy from Guam
To cast a vote for my hometown. (Don’t say I greased your palm.)
I hear your wife likes sable coats, and I hear you like to ski.
But I could make y’alls dreams come true. (No need for thankin’ me.)
Just tell the guys on the I-O-C, I got the best hotels.
Got buds in bidness, gov’ment, TV. Know all the local swells.
And if you need some surgery done, I’m friendly with the docs;
Cars and women, song and wine. I’ll pull out all the stops.
What triggered this avocation was my assignment by Newsday to cover the 1997 U.S. national figure skating championships, which were staged in Nashville, Tenn. — Music City. The constant auditory sensations there, while casually passing live honky-tonks on the way to the ice rink each day, seemed to demand an attempt at some appropriate verses and choruses. The subject matter already was staring me in the face, since the sport had been shadowed at the previous Olympics by the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan contretemps and was in great anticipation of a less dangerous Michelle Kwan-Tara Lipinski Olympic showdown in ‘98.
So my debut went something like this….
I can’t figure skating, And I can’t figure her
Slipping around with guys in sequins, Falling on their wallets with certain Frequen-
‘Course I’ve heard of Tonya. Heard of Nancy, too.
But this ain’t exactly stock-car racing, Ain’t football and ain’t quail-chasing, I
No-knee-capping, no fist-fighting. No bad-mouthing in a bind
She’ll smile right onto that gold-medal stand, if she can just say off her behind.
Is Tara in the short program? Is Michelle in the long?
Does size have something to do with things? How come there’s music but nobody sings
Some costumes’ll make you cry. Some’ll make you laugh.
Judges just setting there with poker faces, giving life sentences on the basis
Of a four ’n’ a half.
Okay. I am aware how relationships are prevalently featured in song. And how matters of the heart can be dealt with metaphorically. Ready? A-one and a-two…
Schussh, my darlin’, dodgin’ gates like broke promises.
Schussh, my darlin’, Harrys, Dicks, cheatin’ Thomases.
Schussh, my darlin’, love’s somethin’ like a Super G.
Schussh, my darlin’, just stay warm and don’t hit a tree.
Maybe need a little help from some fellow buskers? Take two….