5 Forever Precious Rock Songs About Time (With Videos)

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‘Time’ is a subject often explored by artists, though it doesn’t even come close to ‘love’.

However, “time” is my subject, so my ears perk when I hear a particularly poignant song about it.

Recently, I’ve started to think a little more about these songs as they and I age (gracefully). .

Pink Floyd (photo courtesy of Craig O’Neal/Wikipedia commons)

“Child in Time” by Deep Purple

I bet you thought I would choose “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple because of the opening sentence: “We all got off at Montreux. . . », writes about the Montreux Jazz Festival. And, admittedly, I get goosebumps every time I hear that, so I can imagine live singer Ian Gillan croons.

I didn’t really listen to “Child in Time” very closely, preferring the heavier classic Deep Purple songs, until just a few years ago when I had the opportunity to interview one of great drummers of rock music, Ian Paice. See my experience with him in Deep Purple’s Keeping Time With Ian Paice, Corum and Paiste Cymbals.

According to Gillan, the song’s lyrics are about war and inhumanity. Nonetheless, it remains one of the band’s most popular songs (even though when I saw Deep Purple live in 2015, the band didn’t play it).

Released in 1970 on the Deep Purple in the Rock album, this epic song is over 10 minutes long. I like the live versions you can find on YouTube much better than the studio version.

Coldplay’s “Clocks”

Coldplay started out as one of the hottest new indie bands around, and I instantly fell in love with “Clocks” upon hearing it – not just for its philosophical lyrics, but also for the cascading, almost tessellated and certainly catchy piano. by lead singer Chris Martin. riff.

Chris Martin and Coldplay performing ‘Clocks’ in Frankfurt in 2017

If you’re a regular Quill & Pad reader, you know that I usually listen to harder music than Coldplay. I have a good appreciation for most musical genres even if there is one that I love above all else. It’s a bit like being able to appreciate a diver’s watch even if you don’t wear it (or don’t have the wrist to wear it).

Released in March 2003 on the band’s second album, A rush of blood to the headthe critically acclaimed song caught not only my ears, but the mainstream, earning it a top ten hit in the UK, US and other singles charts.

The lyrics, also written by Martin, are a little enigmatic, but I take away the impression that his “clocks” refer to society’s obsession with time as well as the time wasted in a conflicted relationship.

“Time” by Pink Floyd

Ah, Pink Floyd. The music of my youth, the meditative sounds accompanying my contemplations of the continuing sense of time – a time when young people get to know themselves and the world around them. Pink Floyd seemed to be there every step of the way for me, more inactively than actively, however, as my musical tastes tended (and do) lean towards the more adrenaline-filled genre. But for contemplation and casual evenings with friends, it was still a perfect accompaniment.

And what song is more ideal than “Time” to contemplate the meaning of life?

Released in 1973 as the fourth song on the gazillion-selling The dark side of the moon, bassist Roger Waters wrote the lyrics, which seem to offer a relatively pessimistic view of the passage of time. I also find interesting the long introductory passage, which features chiming clocks and ringing alarms.

the Wikipedia entry nails the composition of this passage: “Each clock at the beginning of the song was recorded separately in an antique store. These clock sounds are followed by a two-minute passage dominated by Nick Masondrum solo, with rototoms and accompanied by a ticking sound created by Roger Waters pick up two muted strings on his bass. With David Gilmour sing the lead on the verses, Richard Wright singing on the bridges, and with female singers and Gilmour providing backup vocals, the song’s lyrics deal with Rogers’ realization that life is not about preparing for what happens next, but about taking the control of his own destiny.

Pink Floyd fans will also know that it was Alan Parsons who recorded the antique store clocks, an interesting aside.

“Does anyone really know what time it is?” by chicago

In my youth, Chicago posed a musical question that seriously foreshadowed the trajectory of my life: no, that’s the answer I found. Most people really don’t know what time it is because time, as we know it, is a human construct to explain something that we really don’t quite understand.

Neither am I. But one day after I started working with watches, I found another clue: it was when I understood what the equation of time was and studied more about the fact that we set our watches using civil time, although the sun keeps time for us in a slightly different way.

Martin Braun’s Eos Boreas displays the equation of time as well as sunrise and sunset times

This triggered a series of philosophical thoughts that led me to the idea that time as we understand it isn’t really that. But this system works for us, so in order not to blow our non-physicist brains (except for Joshua – this super-brain understands everything), let’s stick to mean time and solar time for now. . .

And, anyway, the equation of time is not what Robert Lamm of Chicago was asking here. What it refers to is much of what “Clocks” expresses: humanity’s need to occupy itself, to get lost in the details and strict regimes of a productive life, thus wasting human time precious.

Released as a single in 1970, this song was featured on Chicago’s debut album Chicago Transportation Authority.

“Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce

I discovered this song when I was about seven years old. My mother had kept a small vinyl collection 78 singles from his teenage years, most of which were from the 1950s (and included “Rock Around the Clock”, which I think I exhausted from playing so much, followed by “One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater”, whose lyrics I found hilarious when I was a kid).

But strangely, there was also a 78 from Jim Croce’s famous 1973 single among them – which matches my age. Either it or my dad must have bought it the year I pulled it out of the pile and started seriously listening to records.

Its haunting melody, austere musicality (which includes a harpsichord!) and meaningful lyrics immediately caught my attention, even though I was only at the beginning of my love affair with music. I’m pretty sure that’s why the memory of my first listens remains so vivid – almost as vivid as the day Elvis died, albeit some four years later.

This chart-topping song appeared on Croce’s 1972 debut album, You don’t mess with Jim; he had written the lyrics after his wife told him she was pregnant in 1970. Croce’s budding musical career was tragically cut short in 1973 when the chartered Beechcraft he was on crashed on takeoff, killing the 30-year-old singer-songwriter, members of his crew and everyone else on board.

The memorable lyrics of this song deal with mortality and the passage of time, with the main message seeming to be carpe diem. The sadness expressed in them and his recorded voice always left me wondering if he somehow divined his own fate. Maybe it was just a projection.

And by popular demand (see comments below)

You can also enjoy:

Keeping Time with Deep Purple’s Ian Paice, Corum and Paiste Cymbals

The (not so) complete history of rock and roll and watches: turn the volume up to 11!

Drum roll, please: drummers and clocks, two natural timekeepers

Kiss drummer and passionate watch collector Eric Singer’s Baselworld 2018 Top 10

Eric Singer, Kiss drummer and watch collector


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