Les Bloch: Write A Song

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Les Bloch and his grandson.

Les Bloch has a suggestion for beating the COVID blues.

Want some stress relief? Write a song. I was 5 years old when I first heard a voice bounding from the old Zenith, a record Mom played as a soundtrack to her house cleaning: “I’m gonna wash that man right outa my hair.”

I didn’t know what it meant. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "South Pacific" song baffled me. How could a man be in this lady’s hair? Was he a tiny man? How did he get there? Even amidst the confusion, it was infectious ear candy and I wanted more. After consulting Mom, I understood what the singing lady meant. The coupling of melody with a clever lyric inspired me for life.

Now, many years later, I’ve written close to 100 songs, still fascinated with the power of words married with music, the way in which I can take a phrase “I didn’t burn this house down” and make it mean something else through symbolism, add a melody and a beat, and evoke a feeling of emotion, a dynamic story of, in this case, two people who look at one another as culpable for the end of their relationship.

If singing is the first truest form of art, then songwriting follows. Humans heard birds and gave meaning to their melodies. We all have a memory associated with a song, as visceral as smell and taste.

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You don’t need to be a professional songsmith to write a song. If you can karaoke to a YouTube blues progression you can write one of your own. Maybe it’ll be about washing a man out of your hair, or burning down the house, or having cake by the ocean. The lyrics and melody are up to you. And the meaning, too. Everyone has a rhythmic beating heart, a voice and a few notes in their range. It’s just a matter of finding them.

So write a song. It’ll make you feel better. And it’s way cheaper than therapy.

With a Perspective, I’m Les Bloch.

Les Bloch is an East Bay construction manager and musician.