Sunday, May 10, 2009

Neil Sedaka's 'Going Nowhere'... a song for our time perhaps

Not that I want to bring a depressive note to your Sunday!

Lord knows there is enough to thoroughly depress us out there in our news media today... what with MPs reducing the 'mother of parliaments' to morally defunct disrepute, continuing conflicts across the world, concerns over climate change and how best to deal with it... the hysteria about swine flu... thankfully now calming down to more sensible proportions!

But... that's the news... and I guess it's 'business as usual'. Not too many positive stories are ever published and they're rarely 'breaking news'.

But... taking all this into account, it did strike me today, that Neil Sedaka's wonderful song... 'Going Nowhere' IS a song for our time.

My thoughts turned to this song last night, when a friend on Facebook posted a video (as we do) of 'Laughter in the Rain', which was a hit from the album of the same name for Neil Sedaka back in 1974. I bought this album at the time and Sedaka has always been a favourite ever since. That album was packed full of some wonderful songs from this (to my mind) highly underrated composer.

One of the best songs, at least for me, in the album was 'Going Nowhere', a powerful song full of paradoxes. A mixture of despair, with some very depressive sentiments... and, curiously, at the same time, full of hope!

The song always brings a tear to my eye! Have a listen and see what you think:

Powerful... thought provoking stuff eh?

In case you missed anything, here's the lyrics:

'Going Nowhere' Lyrics

So many folks, dissatisfied with everything,
Who need someone to understand they're lonely, they're lonely,
And they're not alone.

And everywhere
They shrug their shoulders, tell themselves that they don't care,
And all the while they make believe they're happy, oh they're happy,
But not really.

And they're asked to hold the world together,
Make it happen, give it children,
Who in turn are turning on to going nowhere.

And all the strength they'd ever need to help them
Has been wasted, remains hidden,
In the confusion of going nowhere.

And who am I...
To criticize the world that I have grown up in.
Most of you would tell me that I'm crazy, yes I'm crazy,
I can't help it.

I understand
That where you are is where you've been so many years,
And things that tend to change you, tend to hurt you, yes they hurt you,
Very deeply.

And still you try to hold the world together,
Make it happen, give it children
Who in turn are turning on to going nowhere.

And all the strength they'd ever need to help them
Has been wasted, remains hidden,
In the confusion of going nowhere,
Going nowhere,
Going, going, going nowhere,
Going nowhere.

Other versions

Whilst for me... this song will always be Sedaka's own (well he did write it and sings it rather well), another version which I really like, strangely, is the Lena Zavaroni version.

Lena Zavaroni was a Scottish child singer and a television show host... and a bit of a sensation in the mid 70's following an appearance on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks.... much like Susan Boyle on 'Britain's Got Talent' recently.

With her album 'Mama! He's Making Eyes At Me' at ten years of age, she is the youngest person in history to have an album in UK album chart top ten.

Later in life she hosted tv shows and appeared on stage, often with Bonnie Langford. Sadly, Lena died at the age of 35 after a long battle with anorexia nervosa.

Here's Lena in 1981, aged only 18 years old singing 'Going Nowhere' live. A very powerful performance... and one that, in the light of what was to take her from us so soon... is all the stronger for it. Very sad!

Related Links

More information on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Neil Sedaka

Lena Zavaroni


Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this song (or Lena) until I came across it on a Susan Boyle blog, and, but I was blown away with the lyrics and Lena's rendition. I'm a big fan of Neil Sedaka, and agree that he is a great song writer/performer, but no one does this song justice except Lena. She has the talent of engaging the camera just as Judy Garland did. Interesting that no one has ever recorded it on an album. Perhaps it is the lyrics. They are not uplifting, and I disagree with you that there is anything uplifting in it. But that is true of many of the songs of that era.

James H said...

Beautiful Song, Lenas version is best for me.
I wished she was still here.
Going nowhere is where i am and where I've been
Many thanks
James H Wirral UK

Ron of San Antonio Texas said...

Like some people, I first saw Lena on Johnny Carson in '74, she knocked me out. It was not until March 2010 that I looked her up on Wikipedia and I was crushed.
The only good thing, if any, that has arisen from this, is that I am able to view her many great performances. This woman had so much talent and most of it wasted doing variety shows.
She had the ability to be another Sarah Brightman or Celine Dion. Playing to sell out crowds. She just had poor management who left her wallowing in shows like HI SUMMER, what a waste of her time. I gotta stop before I start on rant...To all others out there, give her look will be impressed..she was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I am so sad about Lena. She was an angel who only visited for a while. But she wasnt happy. Too bad.. She is now .. I am sure.

JohnHope7 said...

A beautiful and powerful song. One of those songs which only the original writer can sing with success.