Long Black Road

This TunesDay we’re going to look at an old song that’s actually new.  Recorded back in 2001 it wasn’t in wide release until recently when it was featured in the soundtrack to American Hustle.  The movie is very good; the soundtrack is excellent.  The song is Long Black Road which was recorded on ELO‘s last album (Zoom) and only issued in the Japanese version of the record as a bonus track.  Pretty obscure, but to those of us who’ve long  admired Jeff Lynne it was sort of familiar.  Here it is for your listening pleasure:

What makes this song of interest to us today is the message contained in the lyrics.  What I like about this song is it makes the same point in three different ways.  A directionless musician pursues his dreams in the first verse despite being told to get, in essence, a real job.  “Face reality” as the song puts it.  I’m sure every entrepreneur and every start-up has heard that at some point.

The second verse is the core message for anyone in business:

So I drifted for a while down the road to ruin
I couldn’t find my way, I didn’t know what I was doin’
I saw a lot of people coming back the other way
So I kept on goin’ when I heard them say,

“You gotta get up in the morning, take your heavy load
And you gotta keep goin’ down the long black road.”

How many businesses are caught up doing the same kind of drifting?  How often do we wonder if we’re lost?  In this case, despite the number of people coming back, the singer keeps going, having heard the message to persist.  Quitting is easy – taking the load down the long black road isn’t.   By the third verse, the singer is a success, but gets reminded that money won’t bring happiness.  The journey – overcoming the obstacles, facing “trouble and strife” are every bit as important as the end goal.  Three great business points.

Funny how much one can learn in three verses over three minutes if we’ll just listen…

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Filed under Music, Thinking Aloud

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