Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My "Fight" Music... Even if it is late...

Hello everyone!  It has been a while, hasn’t it? Coming from me, you can take that as a good thing. It means that cancer is in the back seat and my life is mine and not being ruled over by the beast. :)

I wanted to talk a little bit about music. It is a big part of my life. I’m not that musical when it comes to playing an instrument, but I can play the hell out of a radio or a CD player or an MP3 player. Truth be told, at one time, I could have been called a half-way decent singer. In fact, a cousin and myself were tapped to sing at one of our family member’s wedding back in the day.  These days not so much, what with the throat surgery to remove my thyroid and the esophageal cancer surgery, it has affected my voice some. This post isn’t about me and the music I can or could do. This is about music that I listened to when I was sick and recovering from the esophageal cancer. I hear so many people talking about their fight songs or their “beat cancer” songs. Songs that spoke to them, and speak to the world for them. Songs about fighting the beast and songs about winning. Honestly, I am a little surprised I didn’t come up with one of those on my own, but for whatever reason that didn’t happen. At least not at the time when I was in recovery and chemo and radiation and all. It came quite a bit after the fact. Why? Who knows… Maybe I had not really “heard” the lyrics yet. Maybe I had not thought about a song to fight from. Maybe, maybe, maybe… But the fact is that I almost always have music around me. For me, it's soothing most times.

What brought this to the front of my brain was I was watching one of the reality talent shows on TV… I don’t remember which one. Anyway, one of the contestants had a song they sang that meant a lot to them during their fight with cancer, which they happen to beat by the way, and it made me start thinking about it. The song I have unofficially adopted as my fight song is by one of my favorite bands of all time. They may not be my all-time favorite band, but they are most definitely top two or three. The band’s name is Foreigner. I’m sure most of you have heard of them from the 70’s and 80’s and beyond. They are what I would consider an arena rock band. Second generation classic rock, worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a great sound, and one of the most recognized voices in rock and roll, Lou Gramm. They had hits like; “Feels Like the First Time”, “Double Vision”, “Hot Blooded”, “Urgent”,  “Jukebox Hero” and “I Want to Know What Love Is”, among many others. 

My song is off the band’s 4th album, aptly entitled “4” that they released while I was still in high school in 1981. I consider it their best release. To me, every song on that album is excellent. The one song that stuck out in my mind as a fight song was called “I’m Gonna Win,” but it stuck out for more than the obvious reason that is in the title. Of course we all want to win the fight against cancer. That’s a given. But to me, the words spoke to me on a level that usually does not happen. Usually, I tend to listen to the music and not so much the words. I read somewhere that is a “common male trait” but how real that idea is, I have no idea. In this case, the words hit my brain in a way that I actually remembered them. Agreeably, not all the lyrics fit, but most of them do. They made a lot of sense to me. Even several years after the fact. I've actually been thinking of reaching out to the band and band members at the time to let them know that their music meant something special to me.

Here are the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
Another dark night, in the city
And my prospects looking thin
The survival, of the fittest
Is the law, in the world that I live in
I was not born, to be a fighter
But now's the time I have to learn
To keep my head, above the water
Got to play with fire, but not get burned

I got to stand up, I got to face it
Don't want to lose it
I want to taste it while it's hot
Don't want to waste it, I need it so bad

I'm gonna win
I'm gonna win
You see it's a matter of pride
Deep down inside
I'm gonna win
I'm gonna win

[Verse 2]
I got no time, to sit and wonder
I got myself, to reckon with
Yeah and life won't drag me under
Even if it takes, all I have to give
I'll give it all


[Chorus] [x3]

[Verse 3]
Ooh, I'll pay the price
Gonna win
No more Mr. Nice
Gonna win
Hey, just watch me roll the dice
I'm gonna win, win, win
I'm gonna win, win, gonna win
I'm gonna win
I know I'm gonna win

You can find the song on the Foreigner 4 album or you can even listen to it on many of the streaming music sites or find it on YouTube. I encourage you to give it a listen. See if it makes sense to you. If it doesn’t, that’s OK. It just means you might have a song elsewhere, or you fight in a different way. No one says you have to understand or even like this song. It just hit home for me. When I hear it come on whatever I am listening to, I turn it up and sing along. It makes me feel like I have on a suit of armor that nothing can penetrate. I don’t know how else to explain it.

I’m sure that some of you reading this have a fight song, or a mantra, or quotes, or whatever else you can think of that gives you strength when you need it. That is that this song is to me. Music is an important part of my life. I tie many memories to the music of the time. And any time I hear certain songs I am transported back to whatever memory it is tied to and I re-live it. Some would ask why in the hell I would EVER want to relive fighting cancer. That answer is very simple. I won.  BUT… Even if you have a song that reminds you of a time when someone you loved was fighting the beast but they ended up losing that fight, in my mind they still won. They fought as bravely and as hard as they could up until the very end. And, in my way of thinking, that song should now remind you of them and their strength and courage. Like the lyrics above say, they gave it all.

If you or a person you love and are going through this with don’t have a song or some other mantra to fall back on to be able to draw strength from, I suggest you give it a shot. See what strikes your fancy and run with it. There are no rules. It doesn’t need to make sense. If it means something to YOU, that is what matters most. No one else needs to understand it because it’s not their journey, it’s yours. So be proud of whatever you might pick. Whether it me music, or poetry, or a particular book, or… fill in the blank. You’ll be surprised at just how powerful it can be once you make that connection and how strong it can make you. And how full you will feel.  I truly believe that, and I hope you do to.

Stay well, my friends. Much love to you and yours, and most of all…
Live Long and Prosper…

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