‘Cause there’s a million ways to go

When my son was still in high school I rented “Harold and Maude” featuring the baby-faced Bud Cort and the boundless (Boston-born) Ruth Gordon, a frequent Tony, Emmy and Oscar nominee, who won such accolades both for her acting and (especially) for her writing.  I was gratified to see that, despite a sense that the film seems to have been stuck in a time warp since its 1971 release, my son was as charmed by it as I was at his age.

Only later did it occur to me that when Cat Stevens was that age, back in the mid-‘60s, he was already a pop star…who had chosen his stage name in part because his girlfriend had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he “couldn’t imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for that Steven Demetre Georgiou album.”

Famously Cat Stevens nearly died from tuberculosis in 1969 at the age of 21, spending a year in convalescence and questioning his spirituality.  And so he became a student of religion and metaphysics, and took up meditation and yoga and vegetarianism. He also wrote dozens of songs, many of them destined to become legendary album tracks in the years to come.

Some would even appear on movie soundtracks, as “But I Might Die Tonight” did on Jerzy Skolimowski’s 1970 film, “Deep End.”  And then there were the nine numbers submitted to Hal Ashby’s “Harold and Maude,” while Stevens was working on his international break-through album, “Tea for the Tillerman.”

It’s fortunate that songs like “Where Do the Children Play?” and “Trouble” were subsequently included on some of his most memorable albums, because a “Harold and Maude Soundtrack” wouldn’t be released for another 35 years, and then only as a limited vinyl edition.

In the mean time the lovely and inspirational “Don’t Be Shy” and this track, which is pretty much the movie’s theme song, would only surface a decade and a half later when his second Greatest Hits collection was released. More’s the pity because “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” should most assuredly been sung out to a wider audience from the start.

LISTEN TO THIS SONG – Tuesday 5 February 

If You Want to Sing Out Sing Out

 Well, if you want to sing out, sing out

And if you want to be free, be free

‘Cause there’s a million things to be

You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high

And if you want to live low, live low

‘Cause there’s a million ways to go

You know that there are

 You can do what you want

The opportunity’s on

And if you find a new way

You can do it today

You can make it all true

And you can make it undo you…see

Ah, Ah, Ah

It’s easy Ah, Ah, Ah

You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes

And if you want to say no, say no

‘Cause there’s a million ways to go

You know that there are

 And if you want to be me, be me

And if you want to be you, be you

‘Cause there’s a million things to do

You know that there are

You can do what you want

The opportunity’s on

And if you find a new way

You can do it today

You can make it all true

And you can make it a new you…see

Ah, Ah, Ah

It’s easy Ah, Ah, Ah

You only need to know

 Well, if you want to sing out, sing out

And if you want to be free, be free

‘Cause there’s a million things to be

You know that there are

You know that there are

You know that there are

You know that there are

You know that there are

 

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