Thursday, April 26, 2012

Songs I Never Get Tired Of #19

'Man's Road'
By: America

I'll start with a confession:

I never saw 'The Last Unicorn' until I was in my twenties. Whew! There, I said it. That's a load off my chest.

You might find that rather odd since I grew up with Rankin & Bass Christmas specials...and I was fairly obsessed with J.R.R. Tolkien thanks to my mother, who would read 'The Hobbit' to me and my sisters when we were very little.

The greatest little hobbit of them all  
For those of you unfamiliar with Rankin & Bass, they were the dudes responsible for bringing such beloved Christmas stories as 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and 'Frosty the Snowman' to life, using a classic, animated style or occasionally stop-motion animation with little puppets made out of felt & cardboard, etc.

You put one foot in front of the other.

The neat part about these holiday specials is that, for the most part, original music was written to supplement the show:

I remember being blown away when I discovered that Rudolph was produced in 1964...meaning that it was a part of my parents' childhood as well as mine. Still, somehow as a child I'd managed to miss out on several of Rankin/Bass' feature films, including The Wind in the Willows and, most importantly, The Last Unicorn.

I was familiar with the Band America long before giving in and enjoying what was, in my mind at the time, essentially a little girls' movie. My mother used to add the album History to the old Sony 5-disc changer on shuffle, and thus America became a childhood staple along with Al Stewart's Year of the Cat and other (now somewhat obscure) baby-boomer music.

Since America's contributions to The Last Unicorn were not considered a part of their 'greatest hits', they were not included on the album History. Thus, similar to my brief love affair with Evanescence after watching Daredevil, I knew that I had to have the music after watching the movie.

Man's Road fits the movie perfectly. America's folky, clean-vocals style lends itself well to a song about the beginning of a difficult journey. For me, it became the theme song of one of my fantasy role-playing campaigns...and I'll be honest, I'll probably use it again for the exact same thing. Some bands, some songs are a little more timeless than others, and everybody can relate to what it's like, walking man's road.

...even if the lyrics aren't exactly gender-neutral.

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