I once heard John Sebastian tell a story about his original song “Daydream” (a #1 hit with his band The Lovin’ Spoonful). Sebastian said that he’d met a Vietnam veteran who told the story of how he sang that song during the war as a way of helping him get through many difficult days and nights. The song reminded him of happier times and made him feel closer to home.
In the interview, John downplayed the accomplishment of writing a hit song, but felt greater satisfaction that something he did could have that kind of an effect on a fellow human being.
I was reminded of that story this evening while browsing YouTube for music videos. Steely Dan’s Aja album was a defining recording of my adolescence and ultimately my music upbringing, and Deacon Blues is perhaps my favorite song from that album. Below the video of the live performance on YouTube I saw this comment from a fellow SD fan:
“I got shot in Vietnam… on a night patrol……when I woke up in the hospital…..’Reeling in the Years’ was playing ….I said to the nurse…’Who’s that band playing this song ?’…she said…..a new band called Steely Dan…I said ‘Thank You’……..been sayin’ Thank You Since…..”