Andy Moreno talks on the song that saved her soul and everything else, Eddie Holman’s 1969 classic Hey There Lonely Girl.
As a pre-tween heading into what I could only imagine at the time as a very bleak future, I fantasized romantic notions of suicide or dying a tragic death. Not all the time but too often, and these thoughts became an ongoing comfort food for my mind, to help me move through dim periods. It doesn’t sound healthy now but I argue that in a sad way, it was a clever use of the tools in my box. While I completely embraced the highs and beauty of most music, I probably stayed much too long swimming in darker sounds. Because of this though, I did gain a huge appreciation for the power of a single song, of how a chord change or vocal intonation could change the room, and thereby my entire world.
Before I became entrenched in the wailing rock guitars of the 70’s, I synched cosmically with the soul music that saturated Midwest radio. All their sad, orchestral chords and falsetto voices, where old souls like mine could find respite. The Chi-lites. The Delfonics. The Motown Sound. A playground for a young girl’s melancholy. Love songs to my own already weakened spirit. And I distinctly remember listening to Eddie Holman’s “Hey There Lonely Girl”. Maybe that was the first time I fully understood the scope and depth of a song’s reach. It took me years to develop an intelligent understanding of lyrics and meanings of songs and at that age, honestly, I could only feel them as a whole, the mood a certain one could bring, how it could put a salve right on the wound or drive a dagger in it.
The introduction to that song was such a bare and gentle stage to place my emptiness. And this kind stranger promising to make it all better. It’s a little deep for a kid but goes to show just how resilient and rooted we are as humans.
The new feelings these sweet soul songs ignited made me feel so much more alive than I was able to muster on my own. “Lonely Girl” broke the numbness and from that point on I became addicted. This music was so powerful. It had the ability to move me up or down and I would never forget or ignore that.
I won’t say I came out the other end of a depressed youth. I reside more in a side door alcove. The main thing is I stay among the living and no longer glamorize destruction of any sort. The good life that music feeds me is one of the main reasons I choose to keep on keepin’ on to this day.