I had one of those sleepless nights yesterday that seem to happen more and more often. Sometimes I can still my busy mind, listen to the sound of my breath and go back to sleep. Yesterday wasn’t one of those times. My mind kept thought-hopping until it finally latched onto and tenaciously clung to the melody and lyrics of a song from the 70s. The problem was I didn’t know the title and could only remember a few of the lyrics. I thought it was by a Canadian rock band named Chilliwack but even that tidbit came to me in a round-about way.
Earlier this week we had a heavy rainstorm. I sat on the front porch and listened to the rain fall fiercely, drops bouncing off the pavement, water gushing from the gutters like an angry, rushing brook. After a long, hot spell, the storm was welcome – even soothing – and the lyrics of an old song came to mind: “Rain-oh rain-oh, fall upon the earth again and make it good…”.
I didn’t think much of it then, but during my sleepless night, I decided to find the song title and band. I grabbed my tablet from my bedside table and googled the lyrics. (Never mind that excess screen time is probably why I was having trouble sleeping in the first place.) The answer popped up right away: The song was called “Raino” and I was right – it was by Chilliwack and they were a Canadian rock band. I thought they might have performed the song at Woodstock, so I googled “Woodstock lineup”. And that’s when I fell down the rabbit hole.
I landed on a site that listed all the musicians and the titles of the songs they performed at the concert. And what a line up it was! I couldn’t resist finding and watching videos of some of my favourites: The great Joe Cocker, grimaces, spasms and all – singing “With a Little Help from my Friends”, or, as he called it in his intro, “With a Little Help from Me Friends.” Santana doing “Your Evil Ways”. Janis Joplin performed one of my all-time favourites – Piece of My Heart. And, of course, Jimi Hendrix’s infamous Purple Haze and the Star Spangled Banner. More than an hour had passed before I remembered that I had come to the site to see if Chilliwack had performed at Woodstock. They hadn’t.
Then, for no good reason, bits of another Chilliwack song started to play in my head. Again, I couldn’t remember the title and I had only a few stray lyrics. Sunrise or moonrise maybe? So I googled those combined with Chilliwack. Nothing. I remembered a reference to “Lorelai” in the song so I tried that. No luck. I knew that if I called my friend, Mike, he would know the name of the song right away. But it was 3 am. I don’t think he or his wife would have appreciated a call with me on the line saying, “Hey Mike, remember that song we used to listen to when we were kids? It’s about a sunrise or a moonrise or Lorelai or something?” My friend Mike is nice, but not that nice. Nobody is that nice.
Finally, I gave up, put down the tablet , turned out the light and tossed and turned for a while before falling asleep. But not for long. I woke again at 5 am with the song still looped in my head. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it earlier, but I went to the Chilliwack band page on Wikipedia and there it was: “Sundown”. Not sunrise, not moonrise. Sundown! You know, of course, what happened next. I found a version of the song on YouTube and listened to it. The sound wasn’t great, but I wasn’t disappointed. It was worth the search.
There is a haunting flute reminiscent of Jethro Tull. There is a refrain where the singers chant “Eve-Eve-Evening” that recalls the soft beating of drums in indigenous music. It wasn’t one of Chilliwack’s better known songs, but I like it a lot. Now, I only hope tonight I won’t have any elusive songs keeping me awake.