Tag Archives: Sting

Gabriel’s Message

Happy Monday!

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It was the second Sunday of Advent yesterday, and one of my favourite Church hymns seems to be prominently sung on and around that day. How lucky I feel that one of the world’s best singer-songwriters has also recorded a version of this song! Sit back as I bring you a Christmas ‘rock’ tune with a difference. Let yourself be enchanted by Gabriel’s message…

PS. And how do I know of this version, you ask? Well, there’s a question! It happens that Sting’s single “Russians” is the first record I ever bought with my pocket money. I didn’t even know what it was called, I had to sing it to the chap in the record store. And on the ‘B’ side of this prized possession…for yes, we’re talking real, actual vinyl here! On the ‘B’ side was none other than this very song. I didn’t know any Anglican church hymns at the time, living, as I did then, in Germany, but the song lodged in my brain and made a deep and lasting impression.

Now then. Instant reactions?

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Russians

It’s Music Monday here on Nicky’s blog and today I’m bringing you a real classic.  I’m posting no other than the first single I ever bought! It was a proper single, for those of you who remember the shiny black vinyl 45rpm plastic disks you used to get in traditional style record shops.

The motivation: a crush
I was thirteen and I bought it the day after a party at a friend’s house, where I had been asked to dance to (yes, you guessed it) just this song by the boy on whom I had a big crush.  It was a heavenly moment, and I tried to prolong the exprience by obtaining the music the very next day.  I wasn’t really into music then; I was just awakening to it, shall we say.  So I didn’t have a clue what or who I was looking for, and I had been too embarrassed the previous night to show up my complete ignorance and ask.

Instead, I opted for making a bit of an idiot out of myself in front of a complete stranger in the record shop.  I sang bits of the song to him.  Luckily it was very high in the charts, so he recognised it despite my subpar performance.

The fascination: the story in the lyrics!
Having got it home, I put in on play non-stop for something like three weeks.  Why’s that, you ask?  Well, it wasn’t just to do with having shared a dance with my crush.  The lyrics drew me in and didn’t let me go.  This is where it all started, my obsession with lyrics!  Anyway, here it is… I hope you enjoy.  The sentiment of the song is eternal, I feel, even though the actual historical circumstances have (thankfully) changed dramatically.

The insight: rock meets classic
Last but not least, I frequently rant on about how rock music and classical music aren’t actually a million miles apart. I often cite Verdi’s Requiem as a case in point, but consider this! Russians uses the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev! Just for the love it, I attach a link for the theme as well… and you can see how amazingly skilfully Sting used this music in his own work. Rock on!

Russians by Sting

In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

PS: I feel I ought to say “thank you” to Sting here for teaching me invaluable phrases. You would not believe the surprise on my English teacher’s face when, challenged during a class discussion, I offered a nonchalant, “Well, I don’t subscribe to this point of view.” 🙂

Here’s the vid:

 

And here’s the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Prokofiev. It’s very quiet, so listen carefully… 🙂

So, hand on heart: what do you feel when you hear this song? Does it give you goosebumps?