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“Thank you for the Music”

October 8, 2005

From ABBA’s – Thank You For the Music

I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
’cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud
All I want is to sing it out loud

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me.

Music is so much a part of who I am. I sing constantly; whatever song is on the radio is always on my lips. In temple, I am the one who harmonizes with the Cantor, and the one who is always complemented after the service is over (“You have a lovely voice.” “Are you a Cantor?” “Where do you sing professionally?”). At work, I always have music playing (much to the chagrin of my office mates), and I am usually singing right along with it.

In fact you might say my life is a musical.

Why am I like this? Blame it on ABBA!

When I was 7, I was given my first record as a birthday present. ABBA’s Greatest Hits (volume 2). It was an mind opening experience. Now, certainly music had been a part of my life long before (more on that later), but this album was so different than the guitar-heavy riffs my older brother was listening to. It spoke to me of beautiful harmonies and tightly written lyrics. ABBA spoke to the poet in me.

And so did my Abba. Perhaps you already know that the word father in Hebrew is “abba”. Well, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my father for instilling in me a love of music. Singing was always part of our relationship. My dad was a passionate singer; tenor in a barbershop quartet, cantorial soloist when our synagogue lost its Rabbi, or just singing with me on a Saturday morning. I still have a tape recording (which I converted to CD audio) of us singing our favorite Jewish songs together (here is an audio sample of one of these songs — I am the really high voice).

Since my father’s voice has been stilled, my two daughters and I sing together now. I hope to instill in them a love for music, and an appreciation of how music adds so much to our lives. I hope they look to their abba and can remember how much music means to me.

My abba was the one who started me singing, and to him I say, “Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing”.

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6 comments

  1. Beautiful story and beautifully written. Your words brought to mind a song that has meant so much to me over the years… It’s a song by Dan Fogelberg that he wrote for his father called Leader of the Band…

    The leader of the band is tired
    And his eyes are growing old
    But his blood runs through
    My instrument
    And his song is in my soul —
    My life has been a poor attempt
    To imitate the man
    I’m just a living legacy
    To the leader of the band.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.


  2. Daniel – what a lovely story! I’m the same way, I am always singing along to whatever music is playing, whether it’s pop, classic rock, alternative rock or broadway show tunes (I don’t know many hip hop tunes, though). I have a radio playing at the office all the time. I also often got the same reaction when I sang in temple! I love ABBA and I never thought about the hebrew meaning of abba, I’ll never hear that song the same way again.


  3. through tears i tell you that dad would be so proud of you, his son, in your life filled with music, poetry, career and mostly family and fatherhood and love of judaism…all the riches that filled his lovely life, too! you carry forward the best of dad and bring the gifts to your daughters, too. i’m so proud of you and to be your loving sister.


  4. I really enjoyed your entry. Perhaps it helped that my middle sister was an ABBA addict, so I had no trouble at all putting your post to my internal soundtrack.

    Anne


  5. Easy fast, and may your name be written in the Book of Life, Daniel.

    Great B4B post!
    Hh


  6. I love how you wove this together; amazing post.



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