Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report ~ May 22, 2015

Gimme the beat boys and free my soul - In Twist, Arkansas in 1949,one particular nightclub used to light a can of kerosene on fire to heat the dance floor. One night a fight broke out over a waitress, who worked at the club, and the pail was knocked over pouring flaming gas across the floor.

As many scrambled for the exits, one young man ran back inside and headed for the stage to save his guitar. He barely made it out alive but was successful in rescuing the Gibson electric guitar. That young man was B.B. King and he named his guitar Lucille, after the name of the waitress.

            The two of them made beautiful music for over 50 years and I, for one, am extremely grateful.

I am struck this week, by the profound recent loss of the King of Blues. I never had the opportunity to see B.B. King perform, but I absolutely loved his music and his incredible story will remain as a beacon of hope to young musicians. Riley King was born in Mississippi on a cotton plantation. He started by singing in churches and eventually got a spot on a radio show. He earned the nickname “Beale Street Blues Boy” which eventually got shortened to “Blues Boy” and “B.B.” 15 Grammy awards and 89 years later he finished a full life and left a legacy of songs.

            Trying to keep this blog “business centered” was difficult this week, but I considered how music effects each of us. We listen on the way to work, often at work and in the evenings. These songs we hear have the power to change our moods, remind us of good times and motivate us. Songs have the ability to create snapshots of our lives. I can’t hear Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” without being transported back to High School, and when my daughter was 5, Laurie Berkner was played around the clock.

            One of the most recognizable songs in the last 50 years started, and is still used, as a business tool. “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was first conceived in 1971 and quickly became not only one of the most successful jingles of all time, but also got recorded and became a chart topping single. Who can forget the classic 1974 “two all-beef patties, special sauce….etc,” you’re singing it now in your head, I can tell. Finally, sing it with me, “I am stuck on Band Aid cause Band Aid’s stuck on me.”

            Music is a huge part of our human nature. So how are you using it to your advantage? Is music playing in your waiting room? Are you advertising and using a jingle of your own? What does your “hold music” on your office phone sound like? We gave this last one a considerable amount of thought recently when we replaced our phone systems. We chose an upbeat jazz number that we hope puts ours customers in a good mood. Feel free to call and ask Deb to put you on hold for a few minutes.

            So take a look at music this week. Evaluate how your image is presented with music. Support a local artist who is trying to make it big, and have them work on your musical presence, or simply turn on some songs from your youth and enjoy a trip down memory lane. Have a nice ride!