Friday, May 6, 2011

Moody Blues: Candle of Life

A little late today due to problems on YouTube, but as they say, it is better late than never.

Today’s flipside reminds me of my sophomore year of high school (1970-1971) as that year was the year of the strikes. The East Allegheny School District in Western Pennsylvania was plagued with three strikes. The custodial and cafeteria staff struck towards the beginning of the year; however, the schools remained open. Towards the middle of the school year, the teachers struck and schools were closed. At the end of the year, the bus drivers struck.

In the infinite wisdom of our school board, the schools were open and classes had been extended to June 30. Because the bus drivers were on strike, the teachers in an act of solidarity did not cross the picket line. Much to my chagrin, my mother required me to go to school until the end of June and drove me to school every day. Things were so bad – that the few of us that did attend (about 30 out 1600 students) wandered the halls the entire day as there was no faculty supervision.

You may be wondering why I connect this song to this memory. During that period in June, I purchased this Moody Blues single from the cutout bin at the local F.W. Woolworths. The A side, “Question” from the album “Question of Balance” was released the previous fall and charted at 21 on the Hot 100. The B side, “Candle of Life,” was from the Moodies’ previous album “To our Children’s Children’s Children.”

I remember liking “Candle of Life” better than “Question” and this song stayed with me throughout this three weeks in June while I wandered the cavernous and deserted hallways of East Allegheny High School in a futile attempt to receive an education. I don’t know about you, but I often connect songs to events in my life. This John Lodge composition is the only song that reminds me specifically of that unusual school year.

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