Bob Marley's "Touch me"
Reede, 01 Mai 2020 19:00
Estonian Life No. 17 2020 - Otepää Silm
That’s a no-no today. Was not in the 1970’s when a popular Bell ad encouraged that through the wonders of telephony. Strange, we are back at that stage again. A phone call is the only sure-fire way to have safe vocal contact with our loved ones and friends, just as Ma Bell wanted. Especially in this day and age. Of course, their interest was the bottom line with long-distance phone calls being a moneymaker. Today we can connect in other ways, but we are still being gouged. Landlines are a luxury, cellphone and Internet plans are if not the most expensive in the world, then among the dearest.
The physical distancing demanded by our health care specialists is a reality for who knows how long. The slender one is actually putting on some pork onto his lean frame, you know, the quarantine fifteen, the urge to eat while staying at home. But cannot go to a friend’s sauna to sweat it off – too close to others. So that Bell jingle came to mind. And some other wonderful tunes about touching that take the mind off the pandemic.
The slimster harkened back to Diana Ross and her first single after leaving the Supremes. Man, half a century ago, April 1970, she released her first solo single “ Reach out and touch (somebody’s hand)”. The second line of the song urged that through touch we can “make this world a better place”. It may not be too late for that. After leaving the Supremes she still kept that Motown sound, yet the song did not climb high on the charts. Only later did it achieve deserved success, leading Stevie Wonder and, alas, Michael Jackson, to cover it.
The mind wandered further. Pre-Ross’ solo single, The Who released a classic: “Tommy”. The lyrics to “See me, feel me” continue touch me, heal me. We certainly could use both of the last two. The same year The Doors also asked, “Touch me”. Bob Marley’s album “Touch me” was, while not a flop, no great shakes. The title track was a ballad, strange for a reggae mon. The Temptations, though, who had an album by the same title, sure caught the ear with their magical harmonies.
Then, from the same era, the often confusing 1970’s, the truly sappy (how did this become such a huge hit one wonders, even today) “Sometimes when we touch” by Canadian Dan Hill qualifies. In 1973 Ross tried again, asking “Touch me in the morning”. Well, I think anyone woulda at that time, she was a smokin’ beauty. Cathy Dennis echoed the sentiment in the early 90’s with the dance hit "Touch me (all night long). That, actually, was a fairly decent number to bump and grind to both on and off the floor. (Pardon the digression and the memories of being younger.)
Then there was the country music honesty. Really, it is not always hackneyed and trite, just listen to Hank Williams. But “Don't touch me there” recorded by Charly McClain sure reminds us that not all touch is good. But without touch where would we be? As long as we know the difference between right and wrong, the conundrum faced by many, especially the covidiots, peoplekind should be okay.
But really, the last word belongs to Bruce Springsteen. Have to be impressed by his sensitivity in “Human touch”. Wherein he asks, “I just want someone to talk to”. Then to hold on to. Here’s the final verse: “Baby in a world without pity // Do you think what I’m askin’s too much? // I just want to feel you in my arms // And share a little of that human touch”. Amen, Boss. Until that long-off day, let your fingers do the walking, to quote another Bell ad, even if it has to do with the Yellow Pages. Do it on your phone’s dial pad. And do like Carly Rae Jepsen. “Call me”.Otepää Silm