Going round in circles

October 16, 2015

dr anIt has been over 40 years, when in 1972, Billy Preston recorded a single entitled “Will It Go Round in Circles” on his album “Music is My Life.” The song became number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks and sold over a million copies. Preston was considered a virtuoso keyboardist on a Hammond organ and recognized as a top session musician in the 1960s. During this time he played and recorded with some of the greatest musical artists of his era, including Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and the Beatles. The song was very popular among those of us in high school or college during that time. And if you loved to be on the dance floor, it was one of your best grooves, for it got you moving to the beat. Unlike today’s music, the song was easy to sing along with because of its carefree melody and lyrics. Similarly, this song was reflective of other songs of the early 1970s and came out while the Vietnam War was still going on, drug use was on the rise, poverty was growing, public housing was booming, and social unrest and injustice were still commonplace.

Nevertheless, it was a song that gave us something to think about in an abstract kind of way. It resonated with a lot of people because of its unique meaning of progress and opened up our thinking about life and how to see things. However, this song spoke to us, even if we did not fully grasp its meaning at that time…“I’ve got a song, I ain’t got no melody…I’ma gonna sing it to my friends.” And yet, “I’ve got a story, I ain’t got no moral… Let the bad guy win every once in a while.” And further, “I’ve got a dance, I ain’t got no steps, no, … I’m gonna let the music move me around.” And of course the chorus with questions, “Will it go round in circles? Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky? And when we think of where we are today… many of our parents and grandparents were marching in the 1960s and 70s for equal rights, respect, a better way of life, future opportunities and the America Dream, and guess what? We are still marching today… Go figure! It seems that if we have not learned anything from our past then our forward progress is even harder to measure. Amazingly, all the work done by our ancestors toward progress continues in our struggle as well. “Will it go round in circles?” is still the question. What do you think?