“I Have Been Telling You This For Years”

Why are people just now waking up to the sweeping devastation and carnage the entertainment industry has left in our midst?Has school violence and kids killing kids given the wake-up call our society has for so long needed?Have the Marilyn Manson’s of the world just now come among us?Have kids just now started wearing black dusters and started thinking with a “Goth” mentality?No! No! A thousand times No!I have been telling you this for years!There should be no doubt in the minds of thinking people that music is one of the most powerful forces on the earth.Music is indeed the universal language.Music has been the catalyst for bringing the largest numbers of people together throughout the history of mankind.The first international global hook-up for a television presentation was the rock concert, Live Aid.Music has the power to lead, drive, create, direct, and allure.It also possesses a myriad of other kinetic characteristics.Music can stir emotions, capture minds, and affect choices.It can cause riots or calm fears.It can create an atmosphere conducive to love or hate.Music can drive the masses into states of frenzy or soothe an individual into a relaxed condition of tranquillity.It can thrill the soul or rip the heart asunder.It can cause deep depression or elated joy.One of the more profound aspects of music is its incredible ability to teach.Music is the most effective method for dispensing didactical information ever devised. Music can make people do almost anything.In the right hands, the vehicle of music is constructive, productive and valuable.In the wrong hands, the same vehicle can be extremely destructive, corrupt and deadly.

Of all places, one of the best examples of music’s ability to capture the mind, will and emotional make-up is found in the fairytale, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.”

Once upon a time…on the banks of a great river in the north of Germany lay a town called Hamelin.The citizens of Hamelin were simple, honest folk who lived contentedly in their little gray stone houses.Then one day, an extraordinary thing happened to disturb the peace in the village.A black sea of rats swarmed over the entire town and attacked barns, storehouses, and anything else they could find to gnaw on.The terrified citizens flocked to plead with the town magistrates to free them from the rats.But, the Mayor tried and tried to think of a plan and couldn’t.Most of the food was already gone and the poison they had put out for the rats killed all of the cats,but didn’t stop the rats.

While the citizens milled around outside, there was a loud knock on the Mayor’s door.He thought it would be an angry citizen, so he gingerly opened the door.And to his surprise, there stood a tall thin man dressed in brightly colored clothes, with a long feather hat, and a golden pipe musical instrument.

“I’ve freed other towns from rats and bats,” said the stranger, “and for a thousand florins, I’ll get rid of your rats!”

“A thousand florins!” exclaimed the Mayor.“I’ll see that the town gives you FIFTY THOUSAND florins if you succeed!”

At once the stranger hurried away dancing, jumping and singing, “At dawn tomorrow, there won’t be a rat left, not a rat left in Hamelin!”

At exactly dawn, the sound of music from the piper’s pipe wafted through the streets.The Pied Piper slowly made his way through the houses and behind him followed thousands of rats trapped by the melody.As he continued to play, the stranger marched straight into the river up to his waist.The rats followed him and every one was drowned and swept away by the currents.

When the piper returned to collect his payment, the Mayor laughed and exclaimed, “Fifty thousand florins?Never…”

“But what about the thousand florins at least?” cried the piper angrily.

“Be glad you get the fifty florins we think the job is worth, or you’ll not even get that,” laughed the Mayor.

The piper’s eyes flashed with rage, and he pointed a threatening finger at the Mayor saying, “You will bitterly regret ever breaking your promise!”Then he vanished.The Mayor shrugged it off and was proud of himself for saving the town fifty thousand florins.

That night, freed from the nightmare of the rats, the citizens of Hamelin slept more soundly than ever before.So, when the strange sound of the piper’s music began playing in the streets, only the children heard it.Drawn as if by magic,children of all sizes flocked at the piper’s heels to the sound of the music.The long procession left the town and marched through the woods until they reached the foot of a huge mountain.When the piper came to a dark rock, he played louder than before and a great door creaked open.In trooped the children until the last one disappeared into the darkness.A great landslide came down and covered the cave door forever.One little lame boy escaped to tell the terrible story to the Mayor.No matter what the people did, the mountain never gave up its victims. Memories of this harsh lesson was passed down from father to son through the centuries.

Even though music has always been a fundamental source ofseductive energy,only in the last half century has it been able to make such an impact on the grass root masses.The reason?Technology.‘Pied Piper Power’ has steadily marched through the streets through the rapid advance of synthetic sound capabilitiesreproduced on records, tapes, and now CD’s and videos.Since the 1940’s and the birth of recording companies, throngs upon throngs of faithful followers have blindly moved down the garden path to the beat of the song.When I was growing up a portable radio was a thing of the future.We aren’t talking aboutthetoo distant future, mind you, but certainly it wasn’t acommon possession in my neighborhood.In fact, even on a land line radio, there wasn’t very much at all by way of musical sounds that was jamming the airways.At night I could pick up WNOE in New Orleans in my home town in East Texas.I could listen to the blues from Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin, Tennessee.Now, the atmosphere is so flooded with sounds I’d be lucky to pick up a station 50 miles away.A weak station might reach 10 miles.

Let me further explain what I mean.People use to have to go to clubs or halls to hear someone play music.It was only a few short years ago that folks had to go to where the musicians were if they wanted to hear their music.Now, all you have to do is take your ordinary portable radio, turn it on, and the device will instantly pick up the recorded sounds that are already in the air. You can do this even if you walk to the top of a mountain in Colorado where you might think nothing would be around but nature.You see, the music industry has virtually flooded our atmosphere with synthetic or reproduced sounds.Some good, some not so good, and some very dangerous.Pollution comes in many more forms than smog or smoke.Mental pollution has been occurring without regulation in our country for over half a century.It’s as near as the technology one possesses.

Since the inception of airway play, thousands and thousands of pipers with all sorts of distinctive styles and formulas have emerged to allure and lead the youth of America into the cave of apathy.Different kinds of music attract different kinds of followers.For an example, everyone knows and admits that rock ‘n roll has always been the musical battle cry of and for rebellion.The very core of the music itself brings out the base nature and primal urges of its listeners.In the early to middle ‘60’s most of the popular student revolt literature couched the following theme.“Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll will be the basis for the takeover of America!”Music was being catapulted into a multi-billion dollar industry on the wings of rock ‘n roll.

Then, because of the phenomenal success of old-time rock ‘n roll, the puppeteers behind the musicians themselves began pulling the strings of style and diversification and began to target the music toward certain markets.This caused the birth of ‘heavy metal,’ which was nothing more that the controlled use of electronic feedback.With this electronically potent music, the sound of the song could be thrust to the extremities of a concert crowd of 100,000 kids.These headbanging pipers used music videos, plus lavish and bizarre concert antics to seduce a huge segment of the world’s youth.

Another frontier the marketers of the madness recognized it had ethnic implications.Different cultures liked different music, so ‘hip hop’ was introduced, and its pipers began their infiltration into the corridors of young black minds all over America.However, ‘hip hop,’ which has some degree of melody accompanying the incredible underlying rhythm, gave birth to ‘rap’ which distilled any reasonable facsimile of melody into pure rhythm.‘Rap’ then became the pure thing.But pure being defined as powerful, didn’t stop with just young blacks.As the power crossed cultural boundaries, quite middle-class white communities and neighborhoods were introduced to rhythms that arrested their primate souls by the ‘boom cars’ they had given their offsprings for Christmas.

There was yet another frontier that the puppeteers recognized as fertile ground, so they sent their pipers into the streets of Nashville, Tennessee and country music exploded.I recently heard one of the nation’s most influential country music moguls say that he thought the next and final frontier to be conquered was the field of Christian Contemporary Music.And, for a fact, some of the pipers are showing up in that arena as well.The attraction of music is incomprehensibly widespread.

Please keep in mind, though, that music is intrinsically good.There is nothing at all wrong with the beauty and power of this universal means of expression.Music is really nothing more than a neutral vehicle that takes its message to its destination.In that sense it can be compared to an automobile.Of course, some cars are broken down rolling pieces of tin foil, kind of like some songs.But, some cars are sleek symbols of status that are well pleasing to the all of the senses.Nevertheless, if the car will run, it will get us to our destination without us having to hoof it.They have the ability to take us to wherever it is we are going. Automobiles are awesome inventions, especially if you don’t really like to walk. However, whether an automobile is a marvelous convenience, or a deadly weapon is entirely dependent upon the driver.If a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, being convenient can easily turn into becoming lethal.The car, however, is neutral.

It is for certain that there are some drunk drivers behind the wheels of some of the music that is being produced and piped through our land in this generation of ‘anything goes.’On the other hand, when the music makers handle the lofty power of the vehicle responsibly, and carefully place positive and valuable messages in the vehicle, the results are wonderfully uplifting, and lives are touched for the good.Pied Piper Power does not have to be used to steal the minds of kids as well as our own.I believe it can be used to lead the masses to a much healthier perspective of this thing called ‘life’.