#142 – A timeless and important song; The Weight by the Band 1968

In the year of 1968, The band released a song that to me transcends time and space. The Weight is a song that’s been my favourite of all time for so many years now.

The way the song starts off and the beat gets going you feel like you’re embarking on the journey too into Nazareth. The mention of Nazareth and the religious feelings that conjures up is by no means a coincidence. Even though the Nazareth he was singing about is a borough in Pennsylvania. Robbie Robertson of the band later would say that the song was about “the impossibility of sainthood” or the difficulties of living up to the world’s demands. With the song heavily featuring in the counter culture classic 1969 film easy rider making the song synonymous with a different way of living life and for many being a song to define a generation. A more beatnik way of life and right around the tail-end of the 60’s through the hippie movement this song feels like a song to represent a feeling, a decade and a lifestyle.

What the weight makes me feel is that feeling that we’re all just getting through life and most of us are out there in the world searching. We spend so much of our time searching and living up to standards set by the world that we must reach and maintain. There’s gotta be more to life than that. More than following some path or plan that marks a successful life and a set of standard operating procedures we must check off one by one until we move on from this world. Maybe the searching and wondering is what life’s about, maybe we’d be better off if more people were able to flow and find a rhythm in their own lives the way this song moves along there’s highs and lows but life has that regardless.

It’s a song like this that makes you want to stop asking people about their job and money and what’s next and live more in the now. Try asking if they’re happy instead of if you’re making enough money and on the way to buying a house, starting a family, getting a mortgage you know some people are happy to just keep on keepin on. The weight is checking in on the strange people that make up your life and doing something good. That’s what I feel when I hear this song, I feel optimistic and hopeful for my future. As long as I have a song like this and I can play it and be grateful for what I have then I really am a lucky guy.

Sometimes there’s a film, a television show, a painting, writer, poet or a song that just hits you like a thunderbolt. That’s how I felt the first time I heard this song playing. It made me turn my head and find out who could make such beauty and share it with us. It’s a beautiful song to listen to anywhere but I especially enjoy listening to it on long drives around the Irish coastline, walking a beach or sitting in my yard and just feel blessed. I like to walk around on holidays and play this song through my headphones. One time over in Amsterdam I took a walk at night and listened to this. Walking along by the Canals, seeing people from Holland, France, England, America and they all seemed so happy.

Alright the man’s rambling on a bit now it’s just this song to me is sheer euphoria in its most raw form and it’s truly a thing of beauty. I just feel we’d all be an improved society if we just sat back and let some things just wash over us. After all it’s a fools errand to try and change the world. Like Bukowski “You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.โ€ I think he was onto something honestly.

This song is my happy place, simple as really. That’s it for me today with my music appreciation post.

Lyrics – The Weight 1968 by the band

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
“Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?”
He just grinned and shook my hand, “no” was all he said
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)
I picked up my bag, I went lookin’ for a place to hide
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin’ side by side
I said, “Hey, Carmen, come on let’s go downtown”
She said, “I gotta go but my friend can stick around”
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)
Go down, Miss Moses, there’s nothin’ you can say
It’s just ol’ Luke and Luke’s waitin’ on the Judgment Day
“Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?”
He said, “Do me a favor, son, won’tcha stay and keep Anna Lee company?”
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)
Crazy Chester followed me and he caught me in the fog
He said, “I will fix your rack if you’ll take Jack, my dog”
I said, “Wait a minute, Chester, you know I’m a peaceful man”
He said, “That’s okay, boy, won’t you feed him when you can”
Yeah, take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)
Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin’ low and I do believe it’s time
To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she’s the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

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