Sunday, April 23, 2006

You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself...

This iPod thing is going to put me in the poorhouse.

I can download music to my heart's content. Any song that's in print. Boom. Just like that. No going to the CD shop, no waiting on Amazon.com. All it takes is 99-cents a song.

Got a good one this morning. Rick Nelson's 1972 comeback song, "Garden Party." What a classic.

Nelson, you may remember, was the teenage idol from "Ozzie and Harriet." Turned out he had some musical talent. He enjoyed a string of pop hits in the late 1950s, including "Hello Mary Lou," "Traveling Man," and "Lonesome Town."

When "Ozzie and Harriet" was finally canceled in the mid-1960s and with pop music changing rapidly, Nelson disappeared from the charts.

He roared back in the early 70s with a song inspired from a real-life experience at Madison Square Garden. Nelson showed up at a concert there sporting long hair, sideburns and the fashions of the day. He had converted his sound from late 50s pop to a then-modern country/rock style.

The crowd hated it. When he finished singing a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," he was hit with a loud chorus of boos. The famous folks in attendance snubbed him after the show.

So a depressed Nelson went home and wrote what became "Garden Party," a tune he took all the way to No. 1. Buried amid the story is a pretty sound piece of advice.

My whole life, people have been trying to tell me why I can't do the things I do. "You can't go out there dressed like Elvis, people will laugh at you." "You can't take her to see that movie, she won't like to see it." "You're not going to wear that hat, are you?" "You're really not going to work at the Shopper, are you?"

Hell, yes, I am.

See, at the end of the day, you just gotta be who you are. If you aren't comfortable in your own skin, nobody else is going to like you, either. As somebody once said, I'd rather you not like me for who I am as like me for who I'm not.

And as Ricky Nelson found out at a long ago garden party, "You can't please everyone/So you got to please yourself."

La da da, la dum da da da...

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