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Why Folks Write Songs
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The Spectator
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 by Frank Shortt
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Through the ages, mankind has written songs. Some are called psalms, some are sonnets, airs, strains, ditties, melodies, tunes, numbers, tracks, etc. No matter the name, songs are designed to titillate our emotions.

Many songs have been written about love. These tend to raise one to the heights of sublimity, and sometimes the depths of despair. Love songs are designed to reach down to the very soul of the hearer. The Pacific Ocean could not hold the number of compositions about love. Composers of love songs must possess an eagle eye to notice the different events that inspires a song. Sometimes the composer does a swan dive and becomes a sitting duck for critics. Love songs that have endured the ravages of time and are still played by disc jockeys worldwide would be songs like, “April Love, A Many Splendored Thing, When a Man Loves a Woman, Can’t Help Falling in Love, and Unchained Melody, just to name a few.

Another great subject of songs is travel. Songs have taken us to every known spot on the planet. These songs describe places in such short order that the hearer can be conveyed to exotic places just by closing their eyes and imagining the beauty around them. One such song is ‘Shangri La’ an imaginary place concocted in the mind of an adventurous composer.

What greater thing could a lonely soldier hear than to hear a song written about home? Many songs have been written about the tragedies of war. During the Civil War, men marched to their place of battle to the strains of “Dixie, or  Home Sweet Home” “Yankee Doodle” was popular during the Revolutionary War. World War One produced “Over There” and “Keep the Home Fires Burning” as men from America died in the trenches of France to keep the Germanic hordes from overrunning Europe. World War Two produced, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B” when once again Germany tried to conquer the world!

Songs are designed to make us cry, laugh, or simply smile. There are Honky Tonk songs designed to cause great thirsts of occupants of pubs and beer joints. Without music, most visitors of beer parlors would leave after a beer or two. As a young man I sang in beer joints, sometimes without musical accompaniment, sometimes with my guitar. I have had men, down on their luck, who would give me their wedding ring just to sing one song. One man gave me a five-dollar gold piece just for singing one song. This did not happen every night as there was some dry times! Nonetheless, there have been men willing to pay greatly to hear their favorite song.

Men have written songs for every conceivable reason. Some have made money from them, some have lost money because of unscrupulous agents.  Some were designed to make the hours go by. Others were written for the many tragedies of life. There have been many hymns written for the worshippers of God. Some songs have been written for Satanic worship. Some have been written because of lost love. Regardless the topic, it is sure that songs will stay around as long as there is someone to write them and someone to listen to them.

The one song that is played the most, and that has survived the ravages of time is “Happy Birthday to you” Now who has not heard that one?