Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Gene Pitney’s “Backstage”:
There haven’t been too many songs about the touring life musicians endure. I’ve featured two on my Spotlight express: Bob Seger’s “Turn the page” and Gene Clark’s “Backstage Pass.” Both outstanding songs. One of the first was Gene Pitney’s “Backstage.”
Gene Pitney began his career as a songwriter for other musician. He wrote Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou,” Bobby Vee’s “Rubber Ball” and “He’s a Rebel”by the Crystals. In the early sixties, he took up performing. His tenor voice could give a song a powerful rendition which was lacking in many of his contemporaries.
From 1961 to 1965, he turned out hit after hit, perfect songs for the radio format of that time: “Town Without Pity,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Mecca,” “Twenty-four Hours from Tulsa” and “I’m gonna be strong.” It’s hard to listen to any of these songs and not pull over your car and listen.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (Hamlet. Act 3. Scene 3.)
For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.
Act 1. Scene 2. A soliloquy is like an aria in opera. Or that solo in a musical such as Julie Andrews doing “The Sound of Music” on top of that mountain.
It’s when an actor lets loose and shows his stuff. It doesn’t happen in drama that much these days. Modern dramatists prefer the strong, silent type. You know, the James Dean type of acting.
A soliloquy is like a gift under the Christmas tree for an actor. Christmas is the play.
It’s like the comedian doing stand-up. The actor is out there on a tightrope and there’s no net. It is an aside. That moment in a play when the actor takes the audience into his confidence and says, “You have to hear this.”
It’s that jazzman’s solo. He takes off in the middle of a piece and scats for twenty minutes, then returns to the conversation he has been carrying on with his fellow mates.
We’ve all heard soliloquies in everyday life. A co-worker tells a joke. A teacher gives a lecture. A mother shares a recipe with her daughter. A friend tells you a secret.
While we’re on to soliloquies, we can suggest that perhaps Shakespeare’s Sonnets were one hundred fifty-three soliloquies. After all, each of the sonnets makes a very fine monologue.
So there you are. Enough of my soliloquying. Now back to the show.