by Peter Banker
There are a number of reasons that Wendy and I work well together, but one of them is the deep respect we have for each other as friends and musicians. That’s important all the time, but becomes a little more so when one of us approaches the other with an idea to cover a song that—is un-coverable. Some tunes, in my view, should not be touched…by anyone, and certainly not by me. An early example came from Wendy when she proposed we try “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, arguably the greatest rock tune ever written. I cringed at the thought of trying to capture the essence of that tune and shared my reluctance with Wendy as the effect those lyrics and Keith Richard’s solo has over me has not waned over time; when that song is on, I am at full attention and entirely inspired. I’d like to tell you that we’ve tried that tune, but we haven’t, and it’s my fault, and to Wendy’s credit, she hasn’t pushed it at all. At some point she may, but I remain honestly doubtful that we’ll make it come to life as it should. And that will be my fault too. My heart is not in it.
Now, just a week ago, Wendy sent another video, a live version of “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard it Should Be,” another favorite from my childhood sung so beautifully and lyrically by Carly Simon in 1971 at the peak of her singing prowess. After listening to it, Wendy and I had the same conversation. Is it possible—should it even be legal to touch a song of this magnitude? I had some doubt, but Wendy really wanted to try it, so that gave me some hope– a lot of it actually. I could sense that she was going to make this one work. Her heart was in the right place. And it does work, in my view for a number of reasons.
The lyrics, you may remember, are incredibly poignant. Simon writes of parents and how “their children hate them for the things they’re not;/[and how]they hate themselves for what they are— “and for me it resonates a bit. It’s because of the fact that my children are getting such a kick and even some joy out of watching me express myself through music and it thrills me to be seen by them in this new light—a testament of sorts that one should never stop exploring and going after adventure or possibilities for individual growth. I hid my longing for it when they were younger and still don’t know why. And while I don’t “hate myself for what [I am]”, I wonder myself why I lacked the courage earlier in my life to take a stab at playing music. The song, one could say is also a skeptical look at marriage, all of the failings of relationships as they try to endure. I don’t really see it that way. The chorus says (in the midst of all the negativity) that “it’s time we moved in together/and raised a family of our own you and me/well, that’s the way I’ve always heard it should be/ you want to marry me…we’ll marry.” Pretty matter of fact, but also gorgeous. Truly is. It’s the leap we take in meeting love when it comes upon us—and it can at any point in our lives. The song tells us to jump in, and to go at it full force—because there’s a chance that love can beat it all. Take a listen. Wendy nails it in her very unique way because it’s clear that she believes it. Maybe you can too.