I am a relatively positive person, although I am known to have my moments. And there are times that it is hard to maintain that positive point of view when the world is imploding around me. But it is in those moments, those darkest of days, where I believe we can find a glimmer of hope. This next song represents that for me.
Today’s essay has been brewing for some time – quite possibly decades if I’m honest. It was formed by some of the worst experiences I have been through to date, things that I have survived and have yet to talk about freely. It also comes from the struggles of feeling as if the efforts I make don’t make a difference. For an overachiever, this is a hard pill to swallow. So, this song is a message to me, that while I may feel the things we do don’t make a difference, that the very opposite is true. One smile, one kind word, one beautiful song, can make the world a more loving place. You can ask anyone that has been on the receiving end of that kindness and chances are they would agree, I know I do. So really, all I need to do is take a step back every once in a while and recognize it. Music helps me to do that.
When this song came out in 1967, our country was in the second half of a 20-year war. It was a time of crisis when 475,000 people were fighting a battle that many rallied against. It was the year that saw Muhammad Ali stripped of his World Championship for refusing to be inducted into the US Army, and when rioting and looting were taking a toll on cities across the nation. It was a time when our country was in turmoil, but it was also the year of the “Summer of Love” movement and the birth of some unforgettable music.
There were two men that saw their way through the darkness of that time. Who, fortunately, crafted a song about good and simple things that we can appreciate about the world around us. Things that don’t cost us a dime and that make our lives infinitely better, even as we fight ourselves to realize that truth. While George David Weiss and Bob Thiele had grand plans for the song they penned all those years ago, it didn’t take off the way they would have liked – released at a time when Psychedelic Rock was front and center. As a-matter-of-fact, it didn’t take off in the US until long after Mr. Armstrong’s death, when it was showcased in “Good Morning Vietnam” starring Robin Williams in 1988.
Fast-forward over 30 years later, 50 if you count back to when it was first recorded, and it’s hard to find a person of any age that hasn’t heard this touching song. I appreciate the way the lyrics allow me to experience the world through the heart of the writer. What a tragedy it would have been if it had never again seen the light of day. Now, more than ever, it is a message we all need to experience and for me this song represents hope. Hope that one day, we will all be able to see the world around us as Mr. Weiss and Mr. Thiele did, through a lens of beauty, love and acceptance.
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.What A Wonderful World – Written by: George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, Performed by: Louis Armstrong
There is goodness in the world, and if we slow down, take a deep breath, and open our eyes to the possibilities around us, I believe we will see it. This is the message I receive each time I hear this song and am forever thankful to the men who took the time to craft it.
What songs do you find particularly meaningful for the world that surrounds you? What simple thing did you notice today that brought a smile to your face? I would love to know, so drop me a comment below! In the meantime, have a beautiful day in this wonderful world!