Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dead Air Church - Easy to be Hard

Our hymn this sabbath comes from the musical HAIR, by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, which you may have seen. It was a huge hit on Broadway, but not at the cinema. It's still worth watching, although I agree with the critics who say the movie, directed by Milos Forman, was seriously flawed. (Rado and Ragni believe the definitive film version has yet to be made, and I agree.)

HAIR was one of the first stage productions to go "mainstream" that invited audience participation (during the famous "Let the Sunshine In" finale). There was also a brief nude scene, which made nationwide headlines in 1968. Sermons were preached against it and teachers singled it out for major moral ridicule, thus guaranteeing that the kids would go right out and buy the record.

Among the original stage-casts in 1968 included hippies right off the street, as well as others who became well-known later: Melba Moore, Ronnie Dyson (the late, great voice that first gave us "Aquarius" before the song was re-recorded by The 5th Dimension), Paul Jabara, Diane Keaton (legendarily refusing to take her clothes off in aforementioned scene), Ben Vereen, Keith Carradine, Barry McGuire, Ted Lange, Joe Butler, Peppy Castro, Táta Vega, Dobie Gray, Ted Neeley, Meat Loaf, Philip Michael Thomas, Joe Mantegna, Jennifer Warnes and the always-unforgettable David Patrick Kelly.

There were several major hits from this musical, including the title song by the Cowsills (a song, it should be noted, that I have always tried to live by), as well as the exceedingly delightful Good Morning Starshine. According to the New York Times, "Hair was one of the last Broadway musicals to saturate the culture as shows from the golden age once regularly did."(2007 quote)

The following song has the distinction of being the first top-ten hit by Three Dog Night, which moved me as a 12-year-old entering Junior High School, as it was then called. I wasn't fitting in, and the song seemed to be speaking directly to me.

This time marked my first confusion over people's professed ideals and what they actually DO. As I heard young women talk earnestly about Jesus and Mary and then snottily snub the fat girls; as I saw so-called "holy" people who wouldn't give to the poor or who pointedly didn't care about the ongoing war; as I saw hippies who still wouldn't talk to the geeks because they were so embarrassingly unhip... yes, I saw clearly, and the song spoke directly to me.

And as I said last Sunday, I am still hurting from recent events that I still don't fully understand, and so... I realized, it still does.

This version, set to contemporary war images, is just perfect.

~*~

How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold

How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needing friend
I need a friend

How can people be so heartless
You know I'm hung up on you
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needing friend
We all need a friend

How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Easy to be cold
Easy to say no
Easy to give in
Easy to say no
Easy to be cold
Easy to say no

Much too easy to say no


~*~

Easy to be Hard - Three Dog Night

[via FoxyTunes / Three Dog Night]

10 comments:

annie said...

oh wow. what a flashback that song was! i love the words. i was (admittedly) nuts for three dog night as a youngin'. i still remember when "hair" opened in s.f., too.

Bryce said...

love the song.

La Lubu said...

Peace be with you, Daisy.

Renegade Evolution said...

i love three dog night :)

Vanessa said...

Hair is coming back to Broadway! There was a cool pictorial in the June (July? Don't remember.) Vogue with the cast where they corrupted a model wearing stark angular mod clothes to their extravagant hippie ways.

There I go being shallow! Lol. I've sworn off deep thought on the internet until the temperature drops below 80 degrees.

ArrogantWorm said...

I saw the movie for the 1st time saturday night/sunday morning. Considering the giggly state everyone was in, I don't think any of us understood the plot, if there was one, although I remember really liking the starshine scene and where what's-his-name cuts his hair, dramatic change.

mikeb302000 said...

I love that film, in spite of what you rightly pointed out about its flaws. It brings me back to a time when things were so simple, or so it seems now.

Octogalore said...

Good song. Interesting lyrics. Hope you're doing well, D.

JoJo said...

Well I, for one, LOVED the movie. Of course I saw it when I was 14 when it came out in '79....but I have both soundtracks and I do love the original best. Treat Williams looked soooo hot w/ long hair. And John Savage was a cutie too.

Benvereen Home Garden Tips said...

May God be with you and bless you. Amen.

jun