Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Musical Monday (2021/03/14) Don’t Dream It’s Over

Composed and written by band member Neil Finn, Don’t Dream it’s Over was recorded in 1986 by Crowded House for their first studio album, and was released as a single the same year. I was first attracted to it by the musical effects – the Hammond organ and an almost R&B baseline and I didn’t take much notice the lyrics at all, assuming they were referring to a relationship under stress.

I didn’t see the official music video until several decades later, by which time I had become more familiar with the lyrics and saw them as an expression of hope and unity. I guess, like any great song, it is capable of being interpreted in many different ways depending on the needs of the listener.

Don’t Dream It’s Over topped the charts in Aotearoa and Canada and peaked in the top ten in Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Poland, Belgium and the USA, and in the top 20 in Germany. In 2001 it was ranked second on the Top 100 New Zealand songs of all time.

Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House 1986

Don’t Dream It’s Over

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Now I'm towing my car, there's a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the T.V. page

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Now I'm walking again to the beat of a drum
And I'm counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and release

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Don't let them win (hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now)
Hey now, hey now
Don't let them win (they come, they come)
Don't let them win (hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now)


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Musical Monday (2021/12/13) – I had to walk away

You’ll possibly notice that few of my chosen music tracks relate to matters of the heart – regrets or loves found and lost. But there are exceptions. This is one. I have presented one other track from this Kiwi singer songwriter: Damn The Dam, originally written as an advertising jingle but it became a number one hit and a popular protest song of the ’70s. If you like folk rock from the likes of Bob Dylan, Donovan or Simon & Garfunkel, then you’ll probably enjoy John Hanlon’s works.

This particular track was released in 2020 as part of the album Naked Truths. The track was originally a demo to which producer/arranger Russell Finch added piano and cello, assuring Hanlon that there was no need for him to sing it again. I agree. The voice, as it is, is perfect for this song. Enjoy.

I had to walk away – John Hanlon

Shadow on her face
The silence of her
Things I tried to say
It was all too late
The breaking of my heart
The lie behind my smile
Put on my bravest face anyway
and yes, I cried
And then I walked away
Then I walked away

And it was there and it was gone
And it was real and it was everything
And I knew I shouldn't love her
But I couldn't stop my heart
And it was right and it was wrong
And it had everybody talking
And I knew it from the start
Though it was really hard
And I had to walk away
I had to walk away
I had to walk away

This house is not the same
It's quiet now
And I can still see her happy face
In every room
I reach for her at night
Then I lie awake 'til dawn
Said she really tried
But the love in her just died anyway
Then it was gone
And she had to walk away
She had to walk away
She had to walk away

And it was there and it was gone
And it was real and it was everything
And I knew I shouldn't love her
But I couldn't stop my heart
And it was right and it was wrong
And it had everybody talking
And I knew it from the start
Though it was really hard
And I had to walk away
I had to walk away
I had to walk away


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Musical Monday (2021/11/22) Damn The Dam

The song was originally written and sung by John Hanlon for a two minute advertisement by New Zealand Fibreglass to promote home insulation. It was part of a wide campaign in the early 1970s lobbying to make home insulation mandatory, and of course the company would benefit by having its home insulation products installed in every new home. It was possibly a brave move by the company, as two minute commercials were extremely rare at that time (still are) and only 10 seconds of the advertisement actually promoted their insulation product, glass fibre Pink® Batts®.

Electricity demands were rising rapidly at that time and the nation had historically built hydro power stations to meet the growing energy needs of the country. Dams, while a renewable resource, destroy much of the local natural environment by flooding vast areas of land. We were running out of rivers that were considered socially acceptable to dam, and insulation of homes was seen as a means of slowing down the ever increasing growth in electricity demand.

The advertising jingle proved so popular that it was released as a single and rose to #5 in the New Zealand hit parade in 1973. Hanlon made a condition of its release that all the profits from the song be donated to environmental causes. The song was then adopted by opponents of the Lake Manapouri hydro power scheme.

Today it’s remembered by most Baby Boomers, of which I am one, as a protest song – younger generations are probably unaware of it’s existence, and for those who are aware, it;s just another NZ folk song. Few remember that it started life as an advertising jingle for home insulation.

It’s odd, looking back to those days, that we young adults were very much into protests. It’s not just a 21st century phenomena that many today’s youth believe it is. We were just as idealistic as they are. In fact I venture that today’s youth is rather tame when compared to the youth of my generation. Among the causes we campaigned against were the Vietnam war and wars in general, gender inequality, nuclear weapons and testing, and in this country nuclear energy, Apartheid and sporting contacts with South Africa, destruction of the environment, whaling, to name just a few. Meanwhile in America and Britain, demonstrations against racial inequality frequently turned into highly destructive riots.

We were a generation with very high ideals, but somewhere along the way, we have been distracted by the needs of providing for self and family. As a generation, I feel were were, and possibly still are, more liberal and slightly more left leaning than the more recent generations. Perhaps it’s a false perception, but I feel that today the world is becoming more conservative, less tolerant than the sixties and seventies, has made definite a lerch to the right, and partisanship is very much more pronounced.

Back to the song Damn The Dam, written and sung by John Hanlon

Damn The Dam, Music and lyrics by John Hanlon, sung by John Hanlon, 1973

Leaf falls to kiss the image of a mountain,
the early morning mist has ceased to play.
Birds dancing lightly on the branches by a fountain
of a waterfall which dazzles with its spray

Tall and strong and aged, contented and serene,
a kauri tree surveys his grand domain,
and for miles and miles around him, a sea of rolling green.
Tomorrow all this beauty won't remain.

Damn the dam cried the fantail,
as he flew into, as he flew into the sky.
To give power to the people
all this beauty has to die.

Rain falls from above and splashes on the ground,
goes running down the mountain to the sea.
And leaping over pebbles makes such a joyful sound,
such as Mother Nature's meant to be.

I have grave reflection, reflection of a grave.
Trees that once lived green now dead and brown.
The homes of tiny animals and little birds as well,
for the sake of man's progression have been drowned.

Damn the dam cried the fantail,
as he flew into, as he flew into the sky.
To give power to the people
all this beauty has to die.

Damn the dam cried the fantail,
as he flew into, as he flew into the sky,

Damn the dam cried the fantail,
as he flew into, as he flew into the sky.
To give power to the people
all this beauty has to die...


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Musical Monday (2021/10/18) – Andy

For some reason, songs reflecting loss, sadness and/or regret affect me in ways most popular songs don’t. Songs about (romantic) love being found, lost or betrayed usually do little for me. The song Andy written by Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair is perhaps one of the most powerful and moving songs I have heard about the loss of a sibling, both musically and lyrically.

The song was released in 1987, performed by the musical/theatrical duo Front Lawn (Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair), and was ranked at 82 in the APRA Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time published in 2011.

Andy, who was almost five years older than Don McGlashan, died when Don was 15.

Lyrics to Andy

Let's take a walk along the beach before the tide comes in.
You sure missed one hell of a party last night.
I was just disappointed,
That the rest of the family won't even mention your name.
Yeah, I know you didn't mean to let me down last night.
Andy, don't keep your distance from me,
Andy, don't keep your distance from me.

So you didn't make it back in time for the birthday boy.
I know things can't stay the same year after year.
Take a look at this beach now,
There isn't much left of the place we knew when we were kids,
When we used to go diving from the rocks over there.
Andy, don't keep your distance from me,
Andy, don't keep your distance.

What'd you say we go up North Head?
Try to catch the sailing races?
Can you believe this place?
Well can you?
They're making money out of money here.
They're making buildings out of glass.
Their kids look like they stepped out of fashion magazines,
But none of it's going to last.
A man gets angry, but what can you do?
Don't know why I'm telling all this to you,
On Takapuna beach.
On Takapuna beach.
On Takapuna beach.
On Takapuna beach I can still see you.
I can let myself pretend you're still around.
I turned 28 last night.
If you were still alive you you'd be just short of 33.
If only you could see your hometown now.
Andy, don't keep your distance from me,
Andy, don't keep your distance from me.