Ignored Obscured Restored
April 22, 1970, was the date of the first Earth Day. It has been celebrated every April 22nd ever since. Long before we understood the impact of greenhouse gasses or coined the terms “climate change” or “global warming,” the environment was being polluted by gas-guzzling cars using leaded petrol and factories were spewing toxic gasses and smoke into the air.
Musicians took up the cause and wrote songs about it. The earliest one I recall was “Out in the Country” (written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols) from Three Dog Night’s album It Ain’t Easy (1970).
About the same time, Quicksilver Messenger Service released “Fresh Air.”
“Fresh Air” was written by Dino Valenti (aka Dino Valente, Chet Powers, and Jesse Farrow). He also wrote the hippie anthem “Get Together” which was a major hit for Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods.
Throughout the years many other songs that touch the issue of the environment have been recorded by major stars. A few examples (and there are many more) include:
Mercy, Mercy Me (the Ecology) – Marvin Gaye
Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
Fall on Me – REM
My City Was Gone – The Pretenders
Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil
Still, very recently, this issue was addressed by Parquet Courts in their song “Before the Water Gets Too High” on 2018’s Wide Awaaaaake!
State TV helps the public explain
Broadcast beamed into the dry terrain
Images of drenched survival
Without hope but soaked with pain
Consequences of reality felt
All conditions of humanity built
On the bridges
Tent villages waiting for the state to help
Before the water gets too high
This brings back the memories of the trauma left behind in post-Katrina New Orleans and 2017’s Maria in Puerto Rico.
Almost 50 years after the first Earth Day there is still more work to be done!
Enjoy… until next week.