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The Sky is the Limit

With Music

By Leeza CooperPublished 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 22 min read
3
Photography by Leeza. The Carolina Rebellion; Rock festival North Carolina USA.

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT

With Music.

PARANOID;

Stop! Leave me alone! Fuck off! Don’t touch me, get off me!

The beat was unforgiving and aggressive, unapologetic and violent.

It bore down on me with the weight of a thousand sins.

As the chorus cycled around again, rising in tempo and pitch, so too did my attacker’s hands. Struggling with him, holding me against my will, he had trapped me inside his dirty van. There was no point in even trying to scream over the thundering music; no one would hear me in the bowels of his filthy cage let alone surrounded by dense Australian bush. Paranoid by Black Sabbath had completely hijacked and consumed my attacker and the atmosphere. My older male abductor was insisting I comply in his desperate physical sexual assault; his choice of music was the perfect fuel needed to inflame his malevolent fire.

Black Sabbath’s words were drumming in my ears....

Finished with my woman 'cause

She couldn't help me with my mind

People think I'm insane because

I am frowning all the time

All day long I think of things

But nothing seems to satisfy

Think I'll lose my mind

If I don't find something to pacify

Can you help me

Occupy my brain?

Oh yeah

~By Black Sabbath~

BLACK SABBATH; PARANOID; ALBUM COVER

https://open.spotify.com/track/1jzDzZWeSDBg5fhNc3tczV?si=cdfd2dc6929e48bf

The words spewing violently out of the cassette player were clearly reflecting and exacerbating my attacker’s evil intentions. The feral animal’s name was Neil, and I didn’t report his assault against me. I was only 16 when he assaulted me. Obviously I couldn’t help him anymore than he could help me. The difference between us was loud and clear, he was his own worst enemy, he was the driving force behind his life of misfortune and misery. His world consisted of sex, drugs and rock&roll, much like Ozzie Osbourne and countless other rockers who lived the live.

My attacker was a lost cause and a lost soul and without all the fans and the money which drove Ozzie and the others of that ilk to make up for it. Apparently, Neil had recently left his stupid useless wife, giving his reasons as her failings towards him. Now he was on a mission in search of greener more luscious pastures to sow. Listening to heavy metal music was his vice and lifeblood and he was completely addicted to its sacrilegious expletives and Satan-worshipping energy. He and metal music were working in collaboration to devour and taint anything in their path. The words to the Black Sabbath song Paranoid had clearly hijacked his soul. Of course, we can’t really blame a song for anyone’s immoral and violent action or behaviour, but the truth is that this one song was instrumental in driving him towards the rocky clifftop and he was hijacking anything in his path. He was determined to steal, rape and pillage everything in his way even at the risk of plummeting to his own hell.

I, on the other hand, had my own kind of hell going on. I had just suffered the devastating loss of my mother the week before. But no part of my being understood the relief and pleasure that could be derived from listening to such a mentally dysfunctional narrative and using its music to empower oneself to commit an act of violence.

My world prior to my mother’s death had been full of Chopin and Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi. I believe because death had covered my soul in a thick dark blanket, I had attracted this abusive thug into my very existence, and in order to shed myself of his poison I had to remember where my soul had fled to. Somehow, I had to cleanse myself of the heavy metal smoke haze and rotten stench that had pulled me into its wrath and rediscover myself. I had been angry - so very angry after my mother was stolen from me, but it wasn’t so much about the loss of her, as it was the loss of no longer being a daughter. Now I was a young mother to my own little sister. Let’s just say it took a lot of work and a long time before I could even listen to the genre of heavy metal music again, let alone Black Sabbath, which was clearly named appropriately.

KILLS MY THUNDER;

Heavy metal was not at all my preference but it’s certainly no longer a prickly thorn stabbing my side. The mere fact that later in my life one of my adult musician sons created his own heavy metal rock band was a testimony to my healing and support of him and his choices, despite my own horrific past experiences.

LEMON TREE; THE BAND

Interestingly the band was called Lemon Tree, a much more palatable name to digest. Life was sometimes extremely sour, but we all know that in the right hands lemons can make sweet tasty lemonade. With one of their first ever songs, called “Kills My Thunder”, my second son and his mates were well versed in what would enhance their lives, yet what would ultimately destroy it.

LEMON TREE; MY SON BEN ON DRUMS

Music was a way for them to find themselves and their life purpose as well as encourage those around them to follow their passions.

LEMON TREE; HEAVY METAL ROCK BAND

Everyone has a story to tell and everyone needs to be heard and validated and music is the perfect tool to accomplish that.

LEMON TREE; KILLS MY THUNDER; ALBUM COVER; MY SON BEN ON DRUMS

https://open.spotify.com/track/3n34mb1Se03sLQuAIURWxB?si=54f63eb163ce4a9d

~By Lemon Tree~

Being the spiritual and inquisitive soul and artist that I am, I have always questioned the narrative or the lyrics of a song. I love to dive into everything with gusto and enthusiasm and this particular vocal prompt was no different. Sharing my personal history about why and how music has inspired me, driven me, hugged me, saved me, sustained me, fueled me or even led me, is a huge factor in where I am in my life today. Without a little exploration into our music choices, we miss the colourful heart, soul and spirit of a person. Life isn’t as simple as black and white or even grey, and neither is music.

I believe we are all spirits having a human experience living on a musical vibration of attraction. The type of music we listen to definitely has a part to play in shaping our human existence. No, I haven’t been fortunate enough to study the deeper intricacies of music like my parents or my children have, not in the professional sense anyway. What I have researched and experienced is the unassuming roots and extensive branches of music. I’ve dug deep into its core to understand its leaves and flowers, its tunes and the myriad of wonderfully beautiful moments - as well as hellish ones – which, when compiled together create an album of precious memories in our hearts and minds.

In my case each album is categorised into chapters comprising of those times before my mum, after my mum, before my dad and after my dad, before my marriage and after my divorce. Each and every song and tune within the carefully compiled sleeves of my album collection brings with it a precious moment in time that remains present in my heart and mind, despite the decades that have gone by.

There is no doubt that music plays a huge part in each of one our histories and time lines. Music and its roots and origins are as much the essence of our social evolution as physical ageing is to our bodies.

The wonderful thing about music is that it helps us to bookmark events, like exact moments in our lives that were either joyous and happy or traumatic and sad. From each song we can remember exactly where we were, and we can feel that same feeling we felt in that moment.

ANGELS;

I remember back to a time about fifteen years ago when my husband played the much-loved Robbie Williams song Angels. It was in the car on our drive home from our ten year wedding anniversary dinner. It was supposed to be a time of joyous celebration after his producing a precious five carat diamond, quickly followed by him professing his undying love and devotion to me before re-proposing. Of course, you’re probably thinking how wonderful that was, but I knew he wasn’t the honourable man I thought him to be or who he was pretending to be. He had just had another illicit affair, not to mention other unsavoury acts he’d committed. Of course, I suspected as much, because his energy was off, and his eyes were full of empty promises and so was the choice of song. As usual, its undertones were all about him, how he felt, how he wanted to feel...it was all he he he....there was no me.

The lyrics I won’t ever forget, the song I despise, meaning no offence to Robbie Williams who is a wonderfully talented artist, singer and song writer, and I couldn’t possibly hold him responsible for my feelings.

To me this particular song was a reminder of the arrogance at my then-husband’s assumption that no matter how great his despicable and abusive treatment towards me, was one of supreme narcissism and arrogance....that I would always be there for him, picking up the pieces, mopping up the mess, and giving him the unconditional love he demanded. All that, regardless of the fact that he didn’t deserve my love or what I continued to give him. This wasn’t how a marriage was suppose to be. The only Angel that I could see was the devil angle that had hijacked his body and soul and was mocking me through the car stereo.

And through it all she offers me protection

A lot of love and affection

Whether I'm right or wrong

And down the waterfall

Wherever it may take me

I know that life won't break me

When I come to call, she won't forsake me

I'm loving angels instead

When I'm feeling weak

And my pain walks down a one way street

I look above

And I know I'll always be blessed with love

And as the feeling grows

She breathes flesh to my bones

And when love is dead

I'm loving angels instead

~By Robbie Williams~

ROBBIE WILLIAMS; ANGELS

https://open.spotify.com/track/1M2nd8jNUkkwrc1dgBPTJz?si=228f92cc88d24a30

Whatever memory my ex-husband has of this song I can guarantee you it’s not the same as the one seen through my eyes. The truth is that no matter the song we have filed away in our heads it has a different blueprint and different meaning and feeling compared to anyone else’s experience.

A song travels through our ears along our inner canal and then takes shape and form within the hippocampus of our minds. Whether the song is perceived as being enjoyable or unpleasant, good or bad, the truth is either way it helps us to reflect back and clarify things or assist us in our growth and rising or our demise.

HOT POTATO;

When we first discovered music as a child, we weren’t just growing physically, but we were also growing emotionally and spiritually and the tunes around us were just as responsible for our upbringing as our parents’ guidance.

You only have to witness a baby or toddler being awakened to the magical charms of music, the look on his or her face as bands like “The Wiggles”, or the The Hooley Dooleys, or Hi-5 played on the tv screen. My children glued to the screen or dancing up and down at one of their concerts. I remember sitting at a Wiggles production holding my youngest two children close to me while they clapped merrily away, I remember it perfectly. I remember what I wore and I remember feeling so much love for them despite the pain in my marriage. I also remember telling myself to remember it, that the moment would pass but the song would live on in my heart alongside their little faces.

Hot potato, hot potato (hot potato, hot potato)

Hot potato, hot potato (hot potato, hot potato)

Hot potato, hot potato (potato), potato (potato)

Potato, potato, potato…

~By The Wiggles~

Hot potato indeed.

THE WIGGLES; HOT POTATO

https://open.spotify.com/track/4wNM9vSBzotBHn0R0fTkY5?si=2448a3897bfa458e

There is a certain psychological underpinning in how we came to discover our own importance of its existence through music.

As a pregnant women and young mother, I chose to play music to my children while they slept, wonderful compositions from great composers like Chopin and Mozart, Vivaldi and Strauss whilst they slept dreaming of faraway lands and marmalade skies. Classical music has a calming effect. It’s also been proven to increase concentration skills in many young children and help them be more self-disciplined.

DO THEY KNOW ITS CHRISTMAS;

My own mother, a professional singer and pianist, used to play classical tunes on the family piano every night whilst my sisters and I went to sleep. These are the memories that warm my heart today despite my mother’s premature departing from this earth 38 years ago, I was only 16 at the time she passed on the 4th of December in 1984. I remember that song too. It was a Christmas charity song blaring out of a set of speakers at a local family Christmas party in a room full of faces I have long forgotten. It was kind of ironic that it would be me who would find myself all alone, homeless and seeking aid and charity.

The world Live Aid song still plays its way into my soul every Christmas. Do They Know it’s Christmas by Band-Aid was the number one hit that year. I remember walking into the lounge room at the party and seeing my mother lying dead on the floor and someone - a doctor - trying desperately to resuscitate her.

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid

At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade

And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy

Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time

But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones

At Christmas time it's hard, but when you're having fun

There's a world outside your window

And it's a world of dread and fear…

~By Band-Aid~

BAND-AID; DO THEY KNOW ITS CHRISTMAS; ALBUM

https://open.spotify.com/track/0247StOpd3AkeBQzANX4Zf?si=6f94bfaff112492c

There is no denying that music is steeped in its own history and our personal history whilst running an invisible parallel line. We are connected by vibrational chords that not only link us together as a universal collective, but they bind us altogether in spirit too.

IMAGINE;

Music gives us some kind of familiarity and comfort. It’s been scientifically proven that we can use music to heal ourselves and we can also float on its energy and vibration and find some peace whilst surrounded by its essence.

528 hertz is just one vibration that reduces total concentration of reactive oxidative effects in brain tissue. This 528 Hz Solfeggio Frequency, the love frequency, is thought to resonate at the core of everything; connecting our heart, our spiritual nature, and the divine harmony. Researchers have also shown prolonged exposure to this warm resonating sound wave reduced anxiety related behaviour in rats.

528 HERTZ SOUND

https://open.spotify.com/track/4ovQlgSLQsDpmE4SplH10J?si=1f7e286e50ef436f

Every night I choose to fall asleep comforted by the gentle humming of this vibration.

John Lennon’s song Imagine is written in this wonderful frequency. This was his best-selling single of his solo career, the carefully written lyrics encourage listeners to open their minds, hearts, souls and spirit and imagine a world of peace, without materialism, without borders separating nations and without religion. It makes perfect sense to me.

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You

You may say i'm a dreamer

But i'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one

~By John Lennon~

IMAGINE; CENTRAL PARK NEW YORK; PHOTOGRAPH BY LEEZA

https://open.spotify.com/track/1jYx1g0BXEqvr9bpZoDMS7?si=b28061ebc8fc45ce

I remember my first trip to America from Australia as an excited tourist walking through Central Park’s Strawberry Fields in New York where a memorial to John Lennon, the British rock musician and peace activist (1940–1980), stands.

I found my way to the memorial because of the loud singing and sweet guitar notes that drifted across the park. The five-acre landscape near the West 72nd Street entrance houses the brilliant gold Imagine mosaic, and it was buzzing with fans paying tribute to his memory. The memorial’s name is a reference to the 1967 song Lennon wrote and performed with the Beatles, “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Let me take you down

'Cause I'm going to strawberry fields

Nothing is real

And nothing to get hung about

Strawberry fields forever…

~By The Beatles~

THE BEATLES ALBUM; STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER

https://open.spotify.com/track/1J7wMZrvCtWZlXBdMM25Ce?si=1a672f5b9e9a4e11

Whatever our genre preferences and passions, a lot of what resonates and inspires us evolved from our country of birth, our time of birth, whatever culture we were born into, our religion, what was transmitted to us through our grandparents, our parents, friends and our own unique and individual life experiences and lifestyles.

Music beats in the heart and core of every animal and every human on the planet. Even the deaf can feel the beat and tempo of music through vibration.

The gift of music really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Our ability to create music is a universal human trait that we all possess, even if we are tone deaf. At least 35,000 years ago we were producing sounds into some kind of musical composition. Researchers have shared their stories that clearly show music existed since Homo Sapiens first appeared, and probably before that in earlier species such as the Homo Erectus from 1.9 million years ago. The earliest civilizations throughout Asia, Europe and Africa had music even in its most primitive terms. What I love about this wisdom and truth is; that despite our bloody wars and our horrific battles both personally and as a planet; there is one thing that has the power to help us rise, all we have to do is learn how to grab hold of its chords and learn to sing together.

Early humans were on the right track in their logic that music was a divine creation, a gift from the gods. We know Gods and goddesses from many religions and mythologies are associated with music at its centre; Apollo, Euterpe, Pan, Thalia, Terpsichore just to name a few.

Ancient cave paintings, dating back tens of thousands of years, show scenes of hunters killing their prey, and when they return, the tribe feasts and primitive music is played on hollow tree trunks, which were used as early drums.

Everyday sounds, along with some of the sounds they heard from animals, such as birds' chirping, have inspired many a musician to create music. Proceeding on from there, natives began to craft crude tools to create sound and to communicate with the world around them. During my anthropology studies with my father as a child, I was fascinated by how birds used their song to communicate and then imitated the melodic form of expression, both as a warning, to inform. It was how early man mimicked these sounds to utilise the animals’ methods of communication while hunting and on expeditions.

Here in my country of Australia we also have many cave paintings which were part of a ritual system that centered around ancient musical instruments, especially the didgeridoo.

TREATY;

Treaty is a protest song by Australian band Yothu Yindi. It was released in June 1991 when I was 23 years old. "Treaty" was the first song by an aboriginal band to chart in Australia. It was a huge leap for our indigenous people and I know I was extremely proud of our ancestors accomplishment as was most of Australia.

Living in the outback with my artist father, surrounded by Aboriginal tribes, I learnt the importance and significance of the didgeridoo. The voice of the didgeridoo is very much an integral part of storytelling and teaching in our Aboriginal communities.

Well I heard it on the radio

And I heard it on the television

Back in 1988

All those talking politicians

Words are easy, words are cheap

Much cheaper than our priceless land

But promises can disappear

Just like writing in the sand

Treaty Yeh Treaty Now

Treaty Yeh Treaty Now.....

~By Yothu Yindi~

YOTHU YINDI

https://open.spotify.com/track/6S8AoLX1vjvScELjPMrrJ3?si=6222bb5a0cf14af4

EROTICA:

In November 1993, I remember as a 24 year old sitting in my bedroom watching Madonna brazenly playing a didgeridoo on television. She had been given it as a gift by her promoter on her Girlie Show World Tour. The press were all over it citing that Aboriginal Australians were furious as women should not play the didgeridoo. This made international headlines which whipped up a now- widely held belief that women should never, under any circumstances, play this ancient instrument. I remember questioning the narrative and my own thoughts back then when I watched this strong, vibrant and potent women going against the grain with her music as if she was antagonising and poking fun at one of the most ancient communities on earth, other than producing her own music. We only have to witness Madonna’s wild antics since then to see that she won’t be controlled by anybody. There is no denying this girls music was and still is eclectic and explicit, as well as steaming hot. Despite the controversy surrounding her mouth and other things, my friends and I attend her opening show. The introduction and Girlie Show Theme opened its performance with her seductive song Erotica.

Erotica

Romance

Erotica

If I take you from behind

Push myself into your mind

When you least expect it

Will you try and reject it?

If i'm in charge

And I treat you like a child

Will you let yourself go wild?

Will you let yourself go wild?

Let my mouth go where it wants to

Will you let yourself go wild?

Let my mouth go where it wants to, uh

Let my mouth go where it wants to, uh-uh...

~By Madonna~

MADONNA; GIRLIE SHOW WORLD TOUR; EROTICA

https://open.spotify.com/track/4eMLyB1mc7onYLdoG8YSXG?si=24e5c90789df4169

In every country and culture music has been and continues to be used for communication and expressing our desires and intentions, marriage ceremonies, bar mitzva’s, twenty first birthdays, and even funerals. I remember vividly the musical quartet of one playing at my wedding amongst the weeds. The song was meant to be from the screenplay A Midsummer Nights Dream, only it was the middle of winter here in Sydney Australia and there weren't any beautiful fairies in my garden that day only thieves and imposters, and the cold solo playing violinist void of his musicians, talk about a precursor to my future. If only I had listened.

Music is a form of ritual, and virtually every religion uses music. Even our bamboo wind chimes create wonderful music. It is crystal clear to me that music arose through happenstance and circumstance and whatever else its origin it continues to bring people together. There is no human culture, no matter how remote or isolated, that does not create music or sing.

WHERE EAGLES PASS;

The oldest object that some scholars refer to as a musical instrument, a simple flute, dates back as far as 50,000 - 60,000 years. Some consensus dates early flutes to about 40,000 years ago. My shaman father played the flute beautifully and his favourite tunes where those of South America. The flutes of the Andes floated delicately and beautifully through our childhood home in stark contrast to our mother’s musical choices. This is what made my experience so unique and precious. Despite the unusual home environment I was raised in, it was always exciting and intoxicating thanks to my parent’s choice in music and the eclectic bunch of musicians that landed on our doorstep.

NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC

NO EXCUSES;

Music also encourages us to sing and express ourselves; we sing to release emotions and we sing to be heard and sometimes we sing to be noticed.

PHOTOGRAPH; BY LEEZA; CAROLINA REBELLION METAL CONCERT 2018; NORTH CAROLINA USA

I won’t ever forget the time during my travels overseas when I witnessed an ordinary women confined to a wheel chair, brazenly crowd surfing across an ocean of hands at a concert in North Carolina USA. Yes, it’s true she was flying wildly and precariously atop a crowd of hot and sweaty headbangers at a metal concert called the Carolina Rebellion. She was waving her arms about and singing as loud as she could without any restraint or consideration to her condition. The fact her legs didn’t work, or she could be dropped at any moment resulting in further injury was of no concern to her. The loud music and the elevated vibration radiating out from the crowd had lifted her up and blown open her shackles and thrown her into a world of joy and excitement. No longer was she just an ordinary women in a wheel chair navigating her way carefully through the remainder of her days. She was a warrior of strength and courage floating on the potency which radiated from the musicians that deposited itself into the crowd. She had opened herself up to the possibility that anything was possible and she had completely metamorphosed into a fierce force of nature.

PHOTO OF THE DAY; NO EXCUSES; BY LEEZA

It was Alice In Chains who had swapped places with her that day and ironically set her free. “No Excuses" is about lead singer Layne Staley's battle to overcome his heroin addiction. The band became inactive two years later when his drug problems became too troublesome. Sadly, Staley died of a drug overdose in 2002, but his art lives on in every soul ever touched by his battle with demons. Despite his own excuses he left a legacy for others to learn by.

It's alright

There comes a time

Got no patience to search

For peace of mind

Layin' low

Want to take it slow

No more hiding or

Disguising truths I've sold

Everyday it's something

Hits me all so cold

Find me sittin' by myself

No excuses, then I know….

~By Alice In Chains~

ALICE IN CHAINS; NO EXCUSES ALBUM

https://open.spotify.com/track/4PtZE0h5oyPhCtPjg3NeYQ?si=f542dcfa4ba34bb3

Everyone who bore the weight of the women in the wheelchair, everyone who carefully lifted her up and guided her amongst a sea of singing souls, understood her pain and loss, including myself. No fucks and no excuses were given that day.

For just for one day, one precious moment in time we could see her true essence and wild spirit flying free despite her obvious disability. This is the wondrous and beautiful gift that music brings.

There is no doubt that my own world is a much better place because of Strawberry Fields and Angels, Eagles and No Excuses, and despite my Paranoid moments and others trying to Kill My Thunder; I cant imagine my life without the odd Hot Potato or two. It is through the magical medium of music that I have established a Treaty with myself as well as discovered my own pleasures and Erotica, and despite my painful losses music has shown me that there is a lot love to be had at Christmas Time every year.

Here's to you

Raise a glass for everyone

Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived

If the table was turned would you survive

Here's to them

Underneath that burning sun

You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless

Give a little help to the helpless...

~By Band-Aid~

BAND-AID

Elton John, Queen, Madonna, Santana, Run DMC, Sade, Sting, Bryan Adams, the Beach Boys, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Duran Duran, U2, the Who, Tom Petty, Neil Young and Eric Clapton.

If we all choose to utilize the gift of music to its fullest potential, the sky really is the limit.

~By Leeza Cooper~

bands
3

About the Creator

Leeza Cooper

Leeza Cooper, a devotee, artiste, creator of published literature & poetry; Studied Degree CU, founder/president of Wheels & Dolls SMC; raising funds for DV, lover of travel, nostalgia & anything vintage.

Ms Australia International 2023.

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  • David Milstein11 months ago

    Music surely makes you think but your comment that it is the bookmark of our souls, is so true. i am very connected to 60's, 70's and 80's music as it is how i remember events of my life then as a boy to young adult to a man.

  • Scott Jacobs 11 months ago

    Wow, great job, so creative ,fantastic piece of work,loved it.

  • James Joyce11 months ago

    Well done, Leeza. Your writing is so clear and emotive that you brought back memories of my youth when I was a head-banger. I loved the rebelliousness of metal music as a foil for my parent's generation and the constraints of their lives. I loved your essay, as it evoked important parts of my history which I'v long forgotten. You really are a brilliant writer

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