#272: Let There Be Rock


In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty-five
Man didn’t know about a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news
He said

Let there be sound
There was sound
Let there be light
There was light
Let there be drums
There was drums
Let there be guitar
There was guitar
Oh, Let there be rock


In the beginning,
as Tchaikovsky sat around
composing the 1812 Overture,
he was overcome suddenly
with trepidation and boredom.
He thought there might be
something missing from the piece.
So he added cannons.

And it was good.

The cannons added a certain
je ne sais pas, only in Russian.
He liked them. The explosions.
Made you feel like you were right
there on the field with all those
dying soldiers, maimed and bloody.

And it was good.

But still, something still sucked.
He first invented, then engaged
a special machine that would take
him into the future. He met Elvis
and thought, okay. I need this guy
in my 1812 Overture. But as luck
would have it, he was stuck in
the 20th century and could not
get back home with Elvis.

This was not good.

Discovering the now powerful
and readily available sources of electricity,
he knew that light would be good
over the orchestra during a performance
featuring Elvis, and he knew that using
this same advancement in the area
of live sound reproduction, a Public
Address System would make it
possible to reach a wider audience,
say, inside of a sports arena. So
he said, yes, light and sound.

And it was good.

Meanwhile, he picked up some schmaltz
and some blues. The cannons were nice, yes,
but when he saw a percussionist
behind a trap kit for the first time,
he said, there needs to be drums
all up in here. And he said, Let there be
drums. And there were drums.
He met Chuck Berry and thought, without
hesitation of any kind: My overture needs
guitar. A screaming lead would do very
nicely in this mess, especially behind
the cannons and Elvis. Let there be
guitar, he said, and there was.
And once he said the words, once
he had the cannons, and light, and
sound, and drums, and guitar, he knew
the name of his last and finest contribution
to the world of music about war and death
and love and death and war. Rock.
So he said, Oh, Let There Be Rock.

And there was.

And it, as you know, was very good indeed.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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