Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Did you ever know that you're my hero?"

Ok, with all the raggin' I've been doing about the treatment of heroism in rock songs, I should probably seek out some songs with positive things to say. But then, I wouldn't have much to write about, would I? And that would make for boring bloggin', and that's no good for the noggin. So I'm going to continue to point out the foilables...

In the case of "Wind Beneath My Wings," as made famous by Bette Midler, the hero is just another
shmoo. Indeed, the song is a tribute from a star to the person in the shadows who made that stardom possible:

It must have been cold there in my shadow/
to never have sunlight on your face/
You were content to let me shine, that's your way/
You always walked a step behind/

The fact that the person was "content" to be a shmoo, well...that's their way. But was it really contentment?

So I was the one with all the glory/
while you were the one with all the strength/
A beautiful face without a name for so long/
A beautiful smile to hide the pain/

And such is the problem of pop songs, interestingly enough: they are often "happy," full of upbeat rhythms and major chords, meant to hide the pain..."Put a smile on"..."The sun will come out"..."Put on a happy face"...Though I think Smokey sang it best in "Tears of A Clown": "Now if there's a smile upon my face, it's only there trying to fool the public..."

Well, at least Bette lets us know the truth about stardom:

I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it/
I would be nothing without you.

And of course, for this reason, the shmoo is the hero, "the wind beneath my wings." The song is tragic, in a way, which the song does acknowledge in the talk of hidden pain, and the confession of being nothing with the other. On the other hand, there's a certain irony about seeing Bette Midler sing the song to Johnny Carson on his final show, Johnny hardly being without a name for so long....