Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."
Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"
I remember when I was given a copy of A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band for Christmas in 1993. I couldn’t wait to pop it into my cassette player. To be honest, I didn’t really know what a liturgy was. And I had no idea what a ragamuffin was. But I knew who Rich Mullins was. So I was pretty excited.
The album did not disappoint. The instruments were amazing. And the lyrics had a beauty and depth that was absent from so much music in the early 90s. I’ll readily admit that I didn’t exactly understand some of the songs like How to Grow Up Big and Strong at first. But entries like Hold Me Jesus, and Creed, and Land of My Sojourn – they spoke to me.
They still speak to me.
I mean, listen to these lyrics from Hold Me Jesus. Rich had a way of voicing what your heart was crying out.
I saw Rich Mullins in concert a few years later at the now-infamous “She’s not my girlfriend!” installment of the Ichthus Music Festival of 1996. I don’t remember many details from the concert, other than a few “postcard memories”* He was barefoot. I remember being amazed at the sound that came out of his dulcimer as he played. He told engaging, sometimes funny, always poignant stories.** He sang Sing Your Praise to the Lord, which he wrote. It was originally made popular by Amy Grant, although Rich smirked and said that she had messed it up when she recorded it.
He sang the song because he had just made a new recording of the song for his greatest hits album called Songs. So, of course, he promoted this upcoming album while he was on stage at Ichthus. So this concert was a greatest hits concert. And that was pretty awesome.
Back in 1987, as the Hoosiers were poised to make their national championship run, Evansville’s own 96 STO aired a song recorded by Furry Head and the Favorites called Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer. I only heard it a few times on the radio, but I never forgot it. And ever since I wrote about this song some eight years ago, I’ve been on a mission to find a digital copy of this song online.
I haven’t been able to find one.
I did find a copy once. But it disappeared soon after that. Even the Wayback Machine couldn’t help. So my mission has resumed. I know a lot of people have stumbled upon my blog, looking for Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer. And I don’t blame them. Because it’s probably the best parody song ever. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. So I’m on my mission again.
I’ve even emailed and tweeted the fine folks at 96 STO to see if they can be any help.
A few days ago, the world was rocked with a stunning announcement. It was an earth-shaking surprise. OK, not really. It really wasn’t a new development. In fact, a similar announcement was made in September of last year.*
Apparently, researchers at Mizzou have decided to determine what the happiest song is from the last 50 years. And they can make such claims because used science to help determine the happiest song. So they analyzed all kinds of aspects of different songs, including rhythm, tempo, theme, and key. And so they took the answers were from a focus group, ran the numbers, and came to this conclusion:
Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is the world’s happiest song in the last 50 years.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some Freddie Mercury and Queen. A Night at the Opera is probably one of my most favorite albums. Whenever I hear Bohemian Rhapsody, I have to…well…you know…
But I’m sorry. I don’t think I can say that Don’t Stop Me Now is the happiest song in the world. I’m not even convinced it’s even the happiest Queen song. We are the Champions comes to mind. So does You’re My Best Friend. How can a song that includes “atom bomb” in its lyrics be considered the happiest anything?
I think science has failed us, y’all.
In light of this, I have decided to conduct my own search for the happiest song from the last 50 years. And I have a feeling my findings will be just as legitimate as the group of neuroscientists’ results.
Here are my candidates. In no particular order.
Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
Don’t Worry Be Happy Bobby McFerrin
Celebration Kool and the Gang
Happy Pharrell Williams
YMCA The Village People
For the record, if you don’t understand why The Touch is a happy song, I don’t know if we can be friends.
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Walking on Sunshine
Katrina and The Waves
Top of the World
There you have it. My totally unscientific list of happiest songs in the world. So how should I pick the #1 song? I don’t know. Maybe I should just flip a coin.
I know this list is biased. It leans heavily on songs from the 80s and the 90s. I don’t think I have a problem with that, though. At least you smiled a little when you listened to some of these songs. Right? That’s kind of the point of a list like this.
I’m sure it’s missing a song or two. Which song(s) do you think should be added to the list?
*Strangely enough, I could not find a link to an announcement in 2016. Could it be that the internet is abuzz about “news” that was released a year ago? I promise I heard a local news station talking about it this week.
You march onto the field, play the song exactly the way the audience expects to hear it. Then you march off. No fluff. Nothing artsy about it.
He was right. He still is. Every time some pop sensation tries to do something cute with the national anthem, that person gets lit up on the social networks. In a different context, it could be considered ground-breaking (see: Jimi Hendrix), but we are a nation of traditions. And if you’re going to perform the national anthem before a game, you’re better off just performing the song the way it was written and getting out of the way. If not, you might find yourself on some Top Ten Worst National Anthem Performances list.
Whenever someone messes with the national anthem, I just shake my head. “Mr. Briel was right,” I say to myself. “They should’ve listened to him.”
Blind fish and a prediction about our offspring
Mr. Briel opened class one day with a story. It wasn’t entirely unusual that he would tell us a story, but this one was a little different. He started talking about fish. But these were just any fish. They were blind fish that are found in caves.
Then he started to discuss the scientific theory behind this phenomenon. Strange, I thought. I must have accidentally walked into biology lab instead of Concert Band. He explained that organisms adapt to their environment over time. Features that an organism needs in its environment continue to be strengthened. Other organs, like the eyes in the cave fish’s case, eventually phase out. Fish in a body of water in the middle of a cave don’t have any need for eyes, after all. There’s no light anyway. So over time, the fish just stopped growing eyes because they weren’t using them anyway.
Then he explained that the things an organism uses tend to be emphasized as their genetic makeup is passed on from generation to generation. At the same time, the things they don’t use tend to be minimized as an organism adapts over time. Sometimes, these features disappear altogether.
After giving us a brief scientific lecture, he paused and looked over the class.
“You know, I was thinking about this effect of passing along traits to our offspring as I was trying to figure out what happened during yesterday’s class. And I’ve come to this conclusion:
“Your kids are going to be born with no ears and really big mouths!”
You know, there are days when I think of this prediction and wonder if Mr. Briel might have had a touch of the gift of prophecy. Because…well…there are some days where it sure feels like he was absolutely right.
As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold. And I’ve had some pretty large helpings of that dish over the years.
“If you’ll switch to tuba, I’ll put you in Wind Ensemble.”
In 5th grade, I took up the trumpet. A cornet, to be specific. But that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I was part of the trumpet section, so we’ll just say I was playing the trumpet.
Anyway, I started playing the trumpet in 5th grade. I played it all through middle school and even marched as a trumpet during my Freshman year of marching season. I was decent. But I definitely wasn’t great at trumpet. My trumpet skills were nothing to write home about.
At the end of 9th grade, Mr. Briel came up to me towards the end of class. He had a proposal for me. We didn’t have anyone lined up to play tuba the next year. So he asked me and two of my Freshman trumpet buddies if we’d consider switching from trumpet to tuba. To sweeten the deal, he said that he’d put us in Wind Ensemble – the highest level of band at our school – if we made the switch.
So I switched. And my musical career took off.
Because of a scheduling conflict, I was not enrolled in Wind Ensemble the following semester. I was disappointed, but it turned out to be a great thing. Since I was the only tuba playing in Concert Band, I couldn’t hide behind anyone else. I had to quickly learn how to play my new instrument and I had to learn how to play it with power.
So I did.
Not to toot my own horn (no pun intended…or maybe it is intended), but I got to be pretty darn good for a guy who didn’t start playing tuba until the 10th grade. I wound up on the All-City Honors Band for two years. I played in a large brass ensemble at the State Solo & Ensemble contest. I participated in TubaChristmas for several years. I performed in several church orchestras and brass ensembles. I even had a tuba solo in a jazz concert while at Milligan. Turned out it was my final instrumental performance ever.
I had a much better time playing tuba than I ever had while playing trumpet. And I have Mr. Briel to thank for that. Sure, he might have chosen me to play tuba simply because I was a pretty big guy and could handle carrying a giant brass instrument around. But that’s OK. I have no complaints. Because it still opened all kinds of doors for me.
And now I’m a bass line guy for life.
Mr. Briel impacted me in many ways. But this invitation to play the tuba? It was life-changing. And I cannot thank him enough for giving me that opportunity.
There’s been a spike in traffic to my site. I guess you could call it a March Madness spike? I don’t know what to call it. It should probably be something catchy because it happens every year during the NCAA tournament. This year, however, saw a much larger increase in traffic to posts about one topic in particular. It’s probably because of UCLA’s return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008. During the month of March, people stumble upon my blog because of this song:
Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer
Apparently I’m not the only person who remembers this song. I’m not the only one who loved this song. I’m not the only one who wants to hear the song again. Because a lot of people searched for it this March.
It used to be online. I even linked to it. But now it has disappeared. I’m sorry if you’ve stumbled upon my blog in an effort to find the song. I’ll do what I can to find another copy of it. And when I do, I’ll be sure to share it again for all the world to hear when they start searching for it again next March.
Things are pretty gloomy around here. It seems like we follow the same pattern every week. It snows, then the temperature drops. Then it snows some more. Then the wind chill feels like it’s negative bazillion (and I’m sure that’s a technical meteorological term), so you really can’t go out and enjoy the snow for very long because you don’t want to have to fight hypothermia or have your nose freeze off. Then it snows again. It just feels like it’s never ever gonna stop.
The first time I listened to Chris Tomlin’s Glory in the Highest, I was hooked. I think you will be, too. You probably should just go ahead and buy Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship.* The whole album’s a must have for a Christmas playlist.
It includes some pretty amazing songs, like Glory in the Highest, Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy), Born That We May Have Life, and Winter Snow with Audrey Assad. Not familiar with Winter Snow? You should be.
See? Pretty amazing.
*This post contains an affiliate link. Whenever you click this link and purchase the album, I receive a small percentage of the sale. Did that influence my post in any way? Absolutely not. You really should buy the album. You won’t be disappointed.
You’re right to assume that a song from Handel’s Messiah would be on this Christmas playlist. You probably thought I was going to pick the Hallelujah Chorus.
You were wrong.
Don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against Hallelujah. I love listening go it. But if I had to pick one song from this masterpiece that was originally composed for Easter, it has to be For Unto Us a Child is Born.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4
Apparently, EMI Music doesn’t want the official music video of Amy Grant singing Grown Up Christmas List to be embedded on blogs. So you’ll have to either click this link to watch the video, or listen to the song below.