“When a man loves a woman”….Percy Sledge sang his heart out in this song written by Lewis and Wright, released in 1966–the year after I graduated from college, the year dancing became vital. My hair long and straight, I bought a black leather mini-skirt and white leather boots and after a day of teaching art, went dancing, numerous times each week, with or without a date. Yes, it was the sixties, when things were questioned, experienced, experimented with. I escaped most of that era’s notorious and dangerous attributes due to my diffidence, naivete, raising, religion, art teaching career, and focus on painting. Dancing, however, whirled me up into a musical euphoria that occasionally resurges even today. Something about sixties music has a life that can’t die.
Have you played Motown, the Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones lately? And I could name dozens more. There’s a sound there that simply hasn’t been surpassed by recent musicians. Of course, I’m prejudiced. I love that era’s music and always will. Five decades have not diminished its significance for me–or for many others.
“When a man loves a woman” wails out of Percy Sledge’s vocal cords and reaches the listener’s inner being, it grabs her, whirls her into a seductive rhythm, whisks her off to feel adored, especially if she happens to have a significant-other nearby.
But if not, at least she can dance! In the kitchen, the bathroom, on the porch–it doesn’t matter. Dancing sets fire to one’s soul. You can do it anywhere. While you fold laundry or chop vegetables. No steps necessary. You just have to feel. And let go! You and the music become one, transcend the ordinary, climb to a rapturous pinnacle that really can’t be explained.
And when Sledge’s finished, try Keith Moon’s drumming on “I Can See For Miles,” or “Pin Ball Wizard” or “Heard it Through the Grape Vine” by Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” or “Gimme Shelter”, Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World”, Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”, “Wait ’til the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett, the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, anything by Smokey Robinson, anything by The Beatles, etc. etc. etc…….
Enough said! Play music and dance!
About the artwork: Love this painting! It was born as I played some of the music I love. Nearly sold it several times, so it must communicate the joy of dancing to others, too.