Saturday, June 09, 2007

Throw Away the Cars and the Bars and the Wars




Just encountered the lyrics to Three Dog Night's Joy To The World today for the first time in years. I'm not sure I ever realized this was a protest song. All I knew was that I protested almost every time I heard it crooned, sung, whistled or hummed throughout my Jr. High and High-School years.

Maybe most of it was innocent attempts to pull me out of my shell, get me to smile, make eye-contact or some kind of acknowledgement, even if it was only a sneer or a 'shut up'. But all I could do was hunch my shoulders and hide behind my waist-long hair or the book I read as I walked down the halls at school. While a rose garden bloomed on my cheeks.

The worst offender by far was my 7th grade math teacher. Mr. K. used to lounge like a lizard in the doorway to his class, watching the students arrive from the four access points--to his left was the long outdoor covered walk stretching the length of the wing, a few paces down was the cement slab stairway that came down from one of the locker rooms; to his right was a gently sloping asphalted path leading from the gym about fifty yards away. The only way to avoid being subject to his fullthroated singing of the chorus as I approached his room, was to come down from the upper level courtyard by way of the the steep, rocky, dirt shortcut that snugged the side of the building.

Keep in mind,as you picture me coming down that path with an armfull of books and no handrail and 90 days out of a hundred fair game for a gust of wind or three, that in those days I was not allowed to wear slacks to school and never allowed to wear blue jeans. If I was lucky he would be looking to his left, watching the mini-skirted girls coming down the stairs. If not, then at least I had only the length of his classroom to traverse under the lance of his glance and the whip of his warble. As my cheeks blushed six shades of rose garden.

If it's no wonder I have math anxiety to this day, then I wonder what can account for my learning to love that song enough to buy my own copy on a 45 RPM single and listen to it until family members begged for mercy. Maybe it was the bliss of hearing it the way it was meant to sound after hearing its harmonies warped and its melodies mutilated so many times.

Below are the lyrics written by Hoyt Axton. Oh, and the title is a link to another YouTube version. This one is of Three Dog Night performing it live in 1975

Joy To the World


Jeremiah was a bullfrog
Was a good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him drink his wine
And he always had some mighty fine wine


Singin'
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me
If I were the king of the world

Tell you what I'd do
I'd throw away the cars and the bars and the wars
And make sweet love to you
Said, make sweet love to you


Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me


[break]


You know I love the ladies
I love to have my fun
I'm a high life flyer and a rainbow rider
A straight shootin' son-of-a-gun
I said, a straight shootin' son-of-a-gun


Singin'
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me


Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the world
Joy to you and me


Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

2 tell me a story:

Jamie 6/10/2007 1:06 AM  

I love this song too and 3 Dog Night is awesome. Their song One is one of my favorites. I need to get their CD someday.
Sometimes we don't really listen to the lyrics and register what songs mean, until it hits us like a brick in the face. I find that happening a lot to me.

Anonymous,  6/12/2007 10:54 PM  

Three Dog Night is probably the most under-rated band in American music. Listen to their harmonies... their band... their strength. Then consider all the songwriters they "discovered." They guys were/are truly great.

mclauria

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