Simple Song of Freedom




I heard this song the other night for the first time in a PBS pledge drive special.  The program featured the folk music of the late 1950's and '60's.  Performances by the Kingston Trio, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, a latter-day Barry McGuire and others brought back great memories.  This song, in particular, caught my attention.  Bobby Darin wrote it in 1969, but I missed it altogether back then.  I was in graduate school, not enjoying much TV or radio.

Bobby Darin began his music career as a teen idol.  As he matured, he became more Sinatra-esque.  Towards the end he was exploring folk music.  Awards included a Grammy Lifetime Achievement issued posthumously.  Darin also appeared in movies and was recognized with a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.  It was a shock when he died in 1973 at the age of 37.

Like my father, he suffered rheumatic fever as a child.  This is a streptococcal infection that can damage the heart, especially the heart valves.  He was in poor health all of his life, and died while undergoing heart valve surgery.  My father died at 31,

The low-key performance in this video may not be totally stylistic.  At the end of his career, because of his poor health, he often needed oxygen administered after his performances.  I like his understated rendering in the video.  The power of the music shines through.  It is the same video that appeared in the PBS special.  I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it.

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you've never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don't want a war

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