“What attracted us to Boston? It was an entirely different city, and Ric and I, neither one of us had ever been here before. When I showed up I came in at about three in the morning and drove right over a Rt. 2 hill in Cambridge, (laughs) and it just looked so stunning and I said to myself ‘this is the place I have to live.’ But I liked the city so much. And the next night after I got here we played out. So that about clinched it. And the people in town were mostly young people and it was a great place for a musician to be.” — interview by A. J. Wachtel of The Beat, October 1987
So many people would never understand my journey with Benjamin — and I don’t expect them to, really. There are just some days when it’s really hard to keep it to myself.
“Staggering through the daytime, your image on mind
Passing so close beside you babe, sometimes the feelings are so hard to hide but
In my midnight confession, when I’m telling the world that I love you…”
— The Grass Roots, “Midnight Confessions”
It’s no secret that some of Benjamin’s songs move me deeply. “Wake Me Up,” “Take Me Now,” “Do You Know What it Feels Like”… The combination of poignant lyrics and the emotion in Ben’s voice somehow reaches in and twists my achy heart until I sob. Crazy, I know, but I am not the only one who has felt this way about a vocalist.
Listening to this terrific version of such a beautiful narration reminds me of the power Benjamin’s gift can have over me.
“Strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song, killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words… killing me softly with his song…”
— Fugees, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel)
Marc Anthony is one of my favorite vocalists ever, and really, he’s the reason I know any Spanish at all. 🙂
The lyrics here (using the best translation I can find), and the determination in the way Marc sings them, brings Benjamin to my mind, as I often wonder what he was thinking and feeling during the later years of his journey.
Aquí me ven tratando de limpiar los restos que quedaron del fracas
Here you see me trying to cleanse the remains that were left of failure
Creyendo que tal vez podré recoger todos mis pedazos y recuperar mi vida
Believing that maybe I can pick up all my pieces and recover my life…
Aquí estaré y como un hombre asumiré que voy a retomar mis pasos
I’ll be here, and as a man I will assume that I’m going to resume my steps
Que lo que nunca pudo ser es cosa ahora del pasado
That what could never be is now a thing of the past
Y quiero amar sin mentiras… sin mentiras
And I want to love without lies… without lies
— Marc Anthony, “Amar Sin Mentiras”
On how he met Ric: “Got a phone call one afternoon. He said he’d like to meet me because he was watching me do this number on this television show called ‘Upbeat,’ and [we] became friends after that and pretty much stuck together through the years.” — “Rock Of The World” interview with host Phil Harvey, 1986
“Loving you isn’t the right thing to do. How can I ever change things that I feel? If I could, baby I’d give you my world… How can I, when you won’t take it from me?”
— Fleetwood Mac, “Go Your Own Way”
“La la la la la la… I can’t choke out my words
La la la la la la…. you’ve got a million other girls
La la la la la la…. and they’re screaming your name
But still nothing changes ’cause my love is plain and simple…”
— Jael Johnson, “Pretty Simple” ©2011