Deep reflection


During the civil rights march on Washington in 1963, when Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, Peter, Paul and Mary sang to thousands who had gathered there with the Washington Monument towering behind them. I thought of that moment today for a number of reasons. One, because this is Martin Luther King Day, and we always remind you to listen to and remember that landmark speech and the justice and equality that Dr. King stood for. Two, because other not so pleasant memories of crowds gathered in Washington are fresh in our minds, manifesting painful images of violence that Dr. King denounced. But three, because I was reading an article in the Los Angeles Times yesterday about a strange and unorthodox relationship between Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and John Densmore, former drummer for the Doors. (Hang with me here — this will all connect in just a minute.)

This unlikely relationship of mutual respect culminated in an anniversary concert in 2018 called “California Soul” in which the orchestra performed orchestrated versions of popular songs by L.A. artists such as Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys and the Doors. John Densmore drummed in that concert with what he called “85 of the world’s greatest musicians.” Towards the end of the article, Dudamel expressed his hope that live performances would soon be resumed. “Music is reflection,” he said, “and we’re living in times which call for deep reflection.”

Indeed. Upon reading this, my thoughts turned back to Washington, and I suddenly wondered what might have happened had there been live music on that stage prior to the storming of the capitol building on January 6. Might there have been a call for deeper reflection and perhaps even a different outcome? Who knows. But I would have liked to have seen a remake of Peter, Paul and Mary singing “If I Had a Hammer.

Think about that. “It’s the hammer of justice, it’s the bell of freedom, it’s the song about love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land.” A little love could have changed a lot. Not to mention the hammer of justice and the bell of freedom.

“Music is reflection,” Dudamel said, “and we’re living in times which call for deep reflection.” Yes we are. How about you? What group or singer, and what song would you have wanted to hear on that stage last Wednesday? What kind of deeper reflection would you like to have brought to that event?

I’m serious about this. What song would you have chosen? I think we all could use some deeper reflection about what we need right now, spiritually, emotionally, and practically, and music can provide that. Reply to this email with your song choice, or respond publicly through our comments section by clicking below. This is your chance to be a concert promoter and give us all something to think about.

Happy Martin Luther King Day.


This entry was posted in freedom, Justice, love, politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Deep reflection

  1. J. D. Woods says:


    Well, If I Had A Hammer, for sure. But they also covered other songs of deep reflection. There’s: Because All Men Are Brothers, Weave Me the Sunshine and excellently-performed Dylan songs like Where Have All the Flowers Gone, The Times, They Are A Changin’ and Blowin’ In the Wind. Also love the Phil Ochs songs, There but for Fortune and What’s That I Hear? Finally, there’s Buffy Saint-Marie’s Universal Soldier and Ed McCurdy’s incredible song, imagining what a world would be like without war: Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.

    There are many, many others but I’d start with those…


  2. Andy Parker says:

    Amazing Grace, written by a slaver, not sure he was a musician, inspired though.

  3. Bob says:

    Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw and Love and Mercy by Brian Wilson.

  4. Mark D Seguin says:

    About any of the songs by one of my favorite groups, U2.

  5. John A Fagliano says:

    “Let It Be” might have encouraged them to accept the election. “Let there be Peace on Earth” might have softened them up and discouraged violence. Finally “I Surrender All” to remind them to leave things in God’s hands.
    All the others mentioned are awesome too!

  6. Roberta says:

    “Precious Lord take my hand” We can’t do anything alone.

  7. Wow, so many songs, so many great suggestions!
    It would take several days to listen and sing along to all of the music that could be included on that playlist.
    Numerous songs came to my mind but two (from different genres) stood out:
    “Get Together” by the Youngbloods;
    “Do you hear the people sing?” from the Epilogue of Les Misérables.

    “Take my love for love is everlasting
    And remember the Truth that once was spoken:
    To love another person is to the see the Face of God.”

    “Do you hear the people sing
    Lost in the valley of the night?
    It is the music of a people
    Who are climbing to the light.

    For the wretched of the earth
    There is a flame that never dies.
    Even the darkest night will end
    And the sun will rise.

    They will live again in freedom
    In the garden of the Lord.
    They will walk behind the plough-share
    They will put away the sword.
    The chain will be broken
    And all men will have their reward.

    Will you join in our crusade?
    Who will be strong and stand with me?
    Somewhere beyond the barricade
    Is there a world you long to see?
    Do you hear the people sing?
    Say, do you hear the distant drums?
    It is the future that they bring
    When tomorrow comes!

    Will you join in our crusade?
    Who will be strong and stand with me?
    Somewhere beyond the barricade
    Is there a world you long to see?
    Do you hear the people sing?
    Say, do you hear the distant drums?
    It is the future that they bring
    When tomorrow comes…

    Tomorrow comes!”

    Shalom, Peace…

  8. Gary Mazart says:

    This ties in directly with your highlight of “an unlikely relationship of mutual respect” culminating in music and song– the salve for the human soul–any questions, sing your way through Psalms.
    In any event, please view this contemporary coming-together by way of a music video filmed at the “The Lincoln” . The song “Shed a Little Light” by a now older Anglo white man (JT) and performed together by two a cappella groups: The Maccabeats (Orthodox Jews) and Naturally 7 (not Orthodox Jews)…Sweet Jesus!! I will attempt to attach the video…maybe you can obtain the necessary permissions and work into next Reverend Dr. M.L.K., Jr. Day. In the meantime, if you are not familiar, submitted for your personal enjoyment. The Lord’s grace and peace to you, John and Marti Fischer. Copy and paste into your browser

    • jwfisch says:

      I’m so glad you sent the link to this video because I’ve seen it before but I couldn’t find it. It is perfect for today!

  9. Sandie says:

    Abraham, Martin and John / Daddy Says / The Truth Will Set You Free / Still In The Spirit by Dion
    We will Stand by Russ Taff
    Brother To Brother and Within My Reach by Scott Roley
    How Beautiful by Twila Paris
    Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds
    There’s A Hole in The World and Get Over It by The Eagles (the second one speaks to my frustration)
    Father’s Eyes by Amy Grant
    Stand Up / Wise Up / Witch Hunt by Petra ( the last two sound a warning)
    Be A Light by Thomas Rhett
    Hymn by Randy Stonehill
    Will You Stand, Will You Fall by Rascal Flats (I’m not sure that’s the title, but it’s a refrain in the song)
    Everybody Else But Me by Don Francisco
    Blackbird by The Beatles

    I’m sure I will think of others

  10. Don Kingston says:

    I would choose “On The Turning Away” by Pink Floyd. At times like this it is my go to anthem

  11. jwfisch says:

    Ok. My turn. From my own repertoire: “All Fall Down” One of my lesser known songs, but I feel like I may have written it for today.

    All fall down
    Pieces on the ground
    All fall down
    Pieces on the ground

    They live in high places
    They’re keeping everybody under
    They smile with two faces
    But they can’t hear the coming thunder

    The pride and the glory
    The imposition and the power
    The right hand; the left hand
    The clock hand turning in the tower

    The walls of this city
    A fortress keeping us apart
    The law with no pity
    Around a barricaded heart

    All fall down
    Pieces on the ground
    All fall down
    Pieces on the ground

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