Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday – Unexpected Duets

One of the things we love about music is that it has the power to join people together in many ways. Music truly is a universal language. A simple melody, words you can learn phonetically (think “Frère Jacques”), and the spirit of the tune are all enough to break down barriers, to end shyness, to cause you to reach out a hand to a stranger. It opens doors, heals the soul, and gives voice to those who might otherwise be too afraid to speak.

Take, for instance, Sarah McLachlan and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. From the looks of things, you wouldn’t imagine there’d be any common ground. However, in the depths of a major depression, McDaniels heard McLachlan’s song “Angel” and he found the necessary wherewithal to reassess his life and career. While writing his autobiography, McDaniels discovered he’d been adopted as an infant. This led to a VH-1 special, the Felix Organization, and the song “Just Like Me.” While recording with his musical angel McLachlan, she revealed that she, too, was adopted. Once again, music opened a door to bring people together and gave voice to a group of people who weren’t necessarily represented in song before. I might have never known about this story if not for meeting McDaniels at a Harley event in 2008. If witnessing a rapper confessing his depression, adoption story, and his obsession with Sarah McLachlan before a throng of bikers isn’t a little surprising, I don’t know what is. What I do know is that I was deeply moved by his story and his involvement with foster care and adoption organizations. Gotta love a man who stands up, speaks his mind, and does something to improve the lives of others.

(sarahmclachlanfan – DMC ft. Sarah McLachlan, “Just Like Me”)

While I’m on this particular train of thought, why not include the duet that put RunDMC on the map? That would be “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith. Being of the generation that witnessed this pairing and who can visual Steven Tyler with lips that were still half the size of Texas at the time, I vividly recall thinking, “this is damn cool!” and rocked along with both bands.

(bustedkeys – Run-DMC ft. Aerosmith, “Walk This Way”)

Nothing groundbreaking these days, but once upon a time, this was a big deal. Aerosmith and Run-DMC both found new audiences and more than a little money was made along the way.

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