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  • Geoff Cordner

MUSIC To My Ears



There are some Beniverse stories that write themselves. Or at least, the time when they need to be shared reveals itself to me in a way that I could not have predicted. See, by way of example, Loving Vincent (thebeniverse.net) and Getting the Message (thebeniverse.net). Even then, once that moment arrives, I am rarely able to explain exactly what has occurred in a cogent way.

And I know, none of this is probably making any sense to you just yet – but hopefully it will.


For many of us, I suspect, music is food for the soul. The right song at the right moment will enhance our experience of whatever it is we’re doing, or thinking of, in a way that few other things can. I’m pretty sure any person who has encountered life-altering grief will find over time that their emotional sensitivity dial is turned up to a level beyond anything they would have previously considered possible. And if you’re like me, you don’t feel at all inclined to turn it down. Because I want to feel everything. I need to feel everything. And only then, the voice inside my head tells me, will I be properly honouring the memories of those who can no longer create memories for themselves.

Music seems to make the interface between the past and the present exquisitely poignant. And yet somehow it manages to deliver the pain those memories carry with them in a bearable, and even a cathartic way.


Over the past three years I’ve been accumulating in my head the tracks I need to create the most important mixed tape of my life. And although a complete reproduction here of all the songs I’ve selected would probably be an unrealistic indulgence, as a man who has always been obsessed with words, and the power they hold, I can at least show you the lyrics that have meant the most to me through that time, and try to explain exactly how and why I connect with them so strongly.


And if you feel inclined to adopt any of these songs into your own personal Greatest Hits Collection, as a tribute to a young man who loved his music as much as anyone, and more than most, then I’ll be very pleased, and grateful.

Alternatively, you might like to take up my invitation below.


There are, perhaps unsurprisingly, quite a lot of songs in this collection. So I’ve done my best to categorise them for you here in some meaningful and relevant way.


FREEZE FRAME: MOMENTS IN TIME


There are songs that never fail to remind me where I was with Ben when we heard them together. Songs that connect our lives, and our hearts, irrevocably. Here are just a handful.


LOSE YOURSELF – EMINEM (August 2005)

If you’ve read Performance Anxiety (thebeniverse.net) you’ll know why this iconic song makes me smile to myself every time it comes on. I can’t help but picture a little blond 7‑year old boy, full of the sort of swagger and confidence few of us will ever know, lisping his way endearingly through the introduction of his older brother’s aerobics team at the National Championships in Melbourne, in front of hundreds of people, and without missing a beat. You just can’t buy memories like that.


So here I go, it's my shot

Feet fail me not

This may be the only opportunity that I got

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment

You own it, you better never let it go

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow

This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

You can do anything you set your mind to man


LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER: BON JOVI (July 2016)

It’s the first Saturday night of the North Ryde RSL Cricket Club’s 2016 tour to the UK. The talented singer hired by our host Club is doing a sterling job, but she has just not yet landed on a track that manages to get the crowd fully engaged. Two of the touring party, having conferred in the mens’ toilets – where so many important decisions are made, wise and otherwise – request this song, a request with which the young singer obligingly complies. Within seconds the dance floor is full to bursting point, with Tim and Ben leading the charge. The rest, as they say, is history. One of the great nights of our collective lives.


We’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not We’ve got each other, and that’s a lot for love We’ll give it a shot

Woh–oh, we’re halfway there Woh-oh, livin’ on a prayer Take my hand we’ll make it I swear Woh-oh, livin’ on a prayer Livin’ on a prayer


ICE ICE BABY: VANILLA ICE (January 2017)

Our first and only oceangoing cruise as a family. The karaoke night is moving a little slowly; it seems most of the passengers are having first night jitters. The Cordner-Crane kids decide to take matters into their own hands, for better or for worse, and get the party started. (For better, without a doubt, in my clearly unbiased opinion). The stellar performance of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back by Ben’s cousin, Gemma, is the undisputed highlight of the show ‑ a performance reprised just weeks ago at the bride’s own wedding! ‑ but Ben’s rendition of this song earns him a meritorious silver medal.



If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it Check out the hook while the DJ revolves it Ice ice baby, Vanilla Ice ice baby Yo man, let’s get out of here Word to your mother


LATE NIGHT STORE: HUSKY (March 2018)

It's the Thursday leading into Easter, and Tim, Ben and I are driving together to the South Coast of New South Wales in order to participate in a long-running Good Friday golf tournament known as the Narrawallee Hubcap. As we hit the open road I recall having heard a song I was greatly taken by – ie this song – on the radio earlier that week. I ask Ben if he can track it down, and Bluetooth it to the car’s music system, which he does. As the song plays, I wax lyrical about this previously unknown band, almost as if I am the one personally responsible for signing them to a recording contract. The boys smile knowingly at one another, and indulge my daggy dad enthusiasm. Over the next couple of hours the three of us take turns choosing random songs from our past and present, and sharing them with one another. Time passes so quickly and joyously I can hardly believe it when I discover we have arrived at our destination.

And so ends the best car trip of my life.


My head says don’t be crazy

But I’m looking for something risky I’m breaking waves like the shore

And we’re dancing in the carpark, headlights on

Tryin’ to take off but the gravity’s too strong

I gave my money to the late night store

And I left my shirt outside your door

And I walked all night

And I talked to you

And I never looked back

And I never got through

When I move with the wind and the stars

I feel you next to me


GIRL IN THE SUN: ALLDAY (December 2018)

Just a month before Ben’s death we holidayed as a family at Hamilton Island. The touring party included the boys’ girlfriends, as well as Linda’s mother, brother and his family. It’s the only time we’ve ever done anything remotely so extravagant for Christmas. For Linda and I it was an enticing glimpse into a future in which our boys and their partners were happy to spend quality time with us, as well as with their extended family, and one another, and life seemed just blissfully perfect.

On the evening of December 25, full of Christmas cheer, but needing just a little top-up from our smorgasbord Chrissy lunch, a dozen of us ate hot chip buddies in the boys room’, whilst trying to identify songs as quickly as possible after hearing their first few bars. This song always made me think of Ben and his girlfriend, Laura, so I played it. Of course Ben picked it within seconds; which is not surprising really when you consider it’s a song about a young man who not only believes that true romantic unconditional love exists, but that he has been lucky enough to find it.


We sit around and play Uno on your bed

Wait 'til your parents go out then ohhh yes

I'm in love, I'm obsessed

I ask do you love me and you say - "not yet"

Then we sit in the car with the lights off

And don't go inside, or do anything

‘Cause I never thought I'd find a love like yours


HEARTSTRINGS THAT PLAY SOFT AND LOW


These are songs that have always struck a powerful emotional chord with me, but do so now to a previously unimagined extent.


THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: THE BEATLES

It probably says something about me that as a very young boy this was one of, if not my favourite Beatles song, even though it would sometimes bring me to tears when I listened to it privately. I could not possibly have imagined then what life would hold in store down my own long and winding road.

And still it leads me on.


The long and winding road

That leads to your door

Will never disappear

I've seen that road before

It always leads me here

Lead me to your door

The wild and windy night

That the rain washed away

Has left a pool of tears

Crying for the day

Why leave me standing here?

Let me know the way

Many times I've been alone

And many times I've cried

Anyway, you'll never know

The many ways I've tried

And still they lead me back

To the long winding road

You left me standing here

A long, long time ago

Don't leave me waiting here

Lead me to your door


NEVER TEAR US APART: INXS

37 days after Ben was born in late 1997 INXS’s legendary frontman, Michael Hutchence, died in tragic circumstances in a Sydney hotel room at the age of 37. At the time he seemed impossibly young, albeit a couple of years older than I was. Today his gravestone lies just a few hundred metres from Ben’s. And what I can’t help but (selfishly) reflect upon as time passes is all that Michael Hutchence achieved, and how much life he lived, between the ages of 21 and 37 – years Ben will never know.


Don't ask me

What you know is true

Don't have to tell you

I love your precious heart

I, I was standing

You were there

Two worlds collided

And they could never tear us apart

We could live

For a thousand years

But if I hurt you

I'd make wine from your tears

I told you

That we could fly

'Cause we all have wings

But some of us don't know why

I, I was standing

You were there

Two worlds collided

And they could never, ever tear us apart


TIME OF YOUR LIFE: GREEN DAY

Back in the late 1990’s Linda and I were big fans of the TV show ER. One storyline that stuck with me over the years was the relationship between a physician assistant at the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Jeanie Boulet, and her 12-year old patient, Scott Anspaugh, who suffered from what would prove to be an incurable form of lymphoma. I teared up when Jeanie sang this song at Scott’s funeral, and the eyes moisten even now at the thought of another young man, taken too soon, who was, without doubt, having the time of his life when it ended.


Another turning point

A fork stuck in the road

Time grabs you by the wrist

Directs you where to go

So make the best of this test

And don't ask why

It's not a question

But a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable

But in the end it's right

I hope you had the time of your life

So take the photographs

And still frames in your mind

Hang it on a shelf

In good health and good time

Tattoos of memories

And dead skin on trial

For what it's worth

It was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable

But in the end it's right

I hope you had the time of your life


THE LAST DAY ON EARTH: KATE MILLER-HEIDKE

A track that needs very little by way of introduction; because even if you have never heard it before, I am fairly certain it will melt you on first listening. Simply put, if there is a more beautiful song about the experience of loss and grief then I am yet to hear it.

Look down- the ground below is crumbling

Look up - the stars are all exploding

It's the last day on earth

In my dreams, in my dreams

It's the end of the world

And you've come back to me

In my dreams

Between the dust and the debris

There's a light surrounding you and me

In my head I replay our conversations

Over and over 'til they feel like hallucinations

You know me, I love to lose my mind

And every time anybody speaks your name

I still feel the same

I ache, I ache, I ache inside


SEE YOU AGAIN: WIZ KHALIFA

If you haven’t read the poem written by my eldest son Tim in the days following his younger brother’s death, then I commend it to you - see Brothers In Arms (thebeniverse.net). It’s hard to hear this song without reflecting on the relationship between these two; and in particular the way it developed from a typical sibling rivalry in its early years to a deeply held and very genuine love and respect, culminating in the words publicly expressed by each about the other at Ben’s 21st birthday party on October 20, 2018.



It's been a long day without you my friend

And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again

We've come a long way

From where we began

Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again

When I see you again

First, you both go out your way, and the vibe is feeling strong

And what's small turned to a friendship, a friendship turned to a bond

And that bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost

And when brotherhood come first, then the line will never be crossed

Established it on our own when that line had to be drawn

And that line is what we reached, so remember me when I'm gone

How can we not talk about family when family's all that we got?

Everything I went through you were standing there by my side

And now you gonna be with me for the last ride

So let the light guide your way

Hold every memory as you go

And every road you take

Will always lead you home

It's been a long day without you, my friend

And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again

We've come a long way from where we began

Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again

When I see you again


MOODY BLUES


There are songs that have always made me feel things I can’t adequately explain, even after searching out and analysing the lyrics. And that’s probably because the mood of a song typically owes more to its music than its words. But you can’t read a melody; so for these special few moodsetters, each of which has stood the test of time for me, the words will have to suffice for now.

HALL OF FAME: THE SCRIPT

I’ve always been a firm believer that we should never let anyone else write the screenplay of our life. Surely that’s the only way we can find out who and what we were meant to become, yeah? This song always appealed to me because, whereas at first glance it appears to be glorifying the trappings of fame, in fact what it is really saying (to me at least) is that if you live your own truth, and live it the very best you can, you’ll be worthy of inclusion in the Hall of Fame, no matter what you choose to do and pursue.

Who knows whether Ben would have achieved fame and renown in those years denied him? (I, for one wouldn’t have bet against it!). But one thing I am absolutely certain of is that he would have been dancing to his own drum, every minute of every day, just as he always had. And what a joyful sight and sound that would have been.


You can be a master, don’t wait for luck

Dedicate yourself, and you could find yourself

Standin' in the Hall of Fame

And the world's gonna know your name

'Cause you burn with the brightest flame

And the world's gonna know your name

And you'll be on the walls of the Hall of Fame

Be students, be teachers

Be politicians, be preachers

Be believers, be leaders

Be astronauts, be champions

Be truth-seekers


LANTERNS: BIRDS OF TOKYO

Quite a few of the songs collected here have sad overtones, a factor that has no doubt contributed to their inclusion in many cases. This one is no exception as far as I’m concerned; and yet the music, and the mood it generates, have such a positive energy it is impossible not to feel inspired. If there is an afterlife – and it is only in the last three and a half years that I have realistically considered that possibility ‑ then this just might be the song I would choose to hear en route.


As we walk out

Without question, without doubt

In the light that we have found

It is finally clear

Our day has come

And we'll stand for who we are

We are ready, we are young

We have nothing to fear

We never carry days on our own

But now it's up to us to know

The weight of being so much more

We will find ourselves on the road

On we march, with a midnight song

We will light our way, with our lanterns on

On we march, 'til we meet the dawn

We will light our way, with our lanterns on

In darkness I leave for a place I've never seen

It's been calling out to me

That is where I should be


FOREVER YOUNG: YOUTH GROUP

The filmclip to this song may well have been my favourite music video of all time from the moment I first saw it. It certainly is now. Ben was a passionate skateboarder through the first three or four years of high school, just like his Dad had been more than 30 years before him – and both with the scars to prove it! This clip, and the song itself seem to say all that needs to be said about the joys of youth; when cares and responsibilities have no currency, and life is as it should be.



Let us die young or let us live forever

We don't have the power, but we never say never

Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip

Music's for the sad man

It's hard to get old without a cause

I don't want to perish like a fadin’ horse

Youth is like diamonds in the sun

And diamonds are forever

So many adventures, could it happen today?

So many songs that we forgot to play

So many dreams swingin’ out of the blue

Oh let them come true

Forever young, I want to be forever young

Do you really want to live forever?

Forever, forever


WALKING ON A DREAM: EMPIRE OF THE SUN

I remember driving in the car with Ben one day some years ago, listening to this song together. I told him I thought it was one of the greatest Australian pop songs ever recorded. He was surprised to hear me say it, and I was perhaps even a little surprised myself. But I stand by that assessment, even moreso now: as the time we spent debating its lyrics, and trying to fathom its meaning, remains one of those precious shared moments that I hope will live on with me.

As the enigmatic songwriter of WOAD, Luke Steele, might have said (although these are my words): “true beauty lies in what we see, hear and feel, not in what someone tells us to see, hear and feel”.


Walking on a dream

How can I explain

Talking to myself

Will I see you again?

We are always running for the thrill of it, thrill of it

Always pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it

On and on and on we are calling out and out again

Never looking down, I'm just in awe of what's in front of me

Is it real now?

Two people become one

I can feel it

Two people become one

Thought I'd never see

The love you found in me

Now it's changing all the time

Living in a rhythm where the minute's working overtime

Catch me, I'm falling down

Catch me, I'm falling down


FLAME TREES: COLD CHISEL

Many Cold Chisel fans would almost certainly number this song amongst their two or three very favourite tracks in the band’s enviable repertoire. I am one such. If you want to learn more about why the song has such a personal connection for me take a look at Flame Trees (thebeniverse.net).

And if you want to know why it hurts that little bit more to hear it following Ben’s death, you only really have to consider one line:


[Rule] Number three is never say her name


The idea that we can lessen our own pain, or that of others, by declining to talk about those we mourn strikes me as a cruel myth. Which is why I urge people to say Ben’s name as often as they can. I believe and trust that as long as we continue to do so he will never be completely lost to us.


NEW WAVES


The following are all songs I had never heard until after Ben died, but which seem to fittingly capture some important element of his life and/or the experience of losing him.


IF THIS IS IT: NEWTON FAULKNER

On 26 January 2020, at Ben’s Big Australia Day Carry-On ‑ a function attended by over 250 people to mark the first anniversary of Ben’s death ‑ it was the playing of this song over the PA late in the afternoon that finally brought me undone. The lyrics tap into that feeling I imagine many of us periodically experience of wanting to go back in time to when the world was just the way we wanted it to be; and the helplessness of not being able to do so.


No one move, no one speak

Please don't say that it's just me

It's not just me

And even though I won't forget

Just don't want this to end just yet

Not just yet

If this is it, all we have

I know I've done all I can

If this is it

And we can't stop, and start again

We can't fast forward to the end

This is it

But if I had one chance to freeze time

And stand still and soak in everything

I'd choose right now

If I had one night where sunshine could break through

And show you everything

I'd choose right now

Before the fears that I once had start coming back

And I can take the slings and stones and fire

'Cause I know you'll make it all worthwhile

And every time I fold, dissolve, I'm lying on the ground

You drag me up again, and again

Oh please come back again

Oh please come back again

And I'm so scared I might forget

Just don't want this to end just yet

Not just yet



LIGHT SURROUNDING YOU: EVERMORE

I have written elsewhere about how important this photograph was to me in the days and weeks following Ben’s death. And so it remains to this very day. This song seems to be a point of musical connection to everything that photo represents. With echoes too of my thoughts and feelings as I stood alongside Ben for the last time – unable and unwilling to bid him a final goodbye ‑ after Linda and I had made the hardest decision any parent could ever make.


I see you by the water

Your toes dipped in the sand

I thought that it was over

I thought you'd understand

But the feeling is returning

Though time has made us change

And I understand if you don't

Wanna talk to me about it tonight

And if you never had my heart

I would've never called you back

At the start that night

So I want you to know

That I see the light surrounding you

So don't be afraid of something new

'Cause I see the light surrounding you

So don't be afraid of what you're turning into

No, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid

‘Cause I see the light, yes I see the light

‘Cause I see the light surrounding you


ANOTHER LIFE: RUFUS DU SOL

On 15 June 2019 Linda and I joined Tim and a bunch of his friends at Rufus’ concert at Carriageworks in Redfern, by way of celebration of Tim’s 24th birthday. Carriageworks is a great venue, and Rufus are terrific live performers – as well as being the politest and most grateful musicians I have ever come across! It was a really wonderful feeling to be accepted as part of the group, with all the youngies happy to chat and joke, and dance and sing along with us. Though we managed to keep our spirits high most of the night, Ben’s absence was acutely apparent during the playing of this song.

I remember the look on your face

It plays on my mind as I lie awake

I heard your voice at the end of a tape

Static flickers and fades away

And I know that I've made my mistakes

But I hope that I see you again

I’ll see you in another life

I'll see you in another life

Pain, it comes and goes in waves

The colours have started to fade away

How come I call and I talk to your friends?

Passing time until it bends and breaks

So I guess it's, it's time to say goodbye

I guess it's, it's time to close the door

So I guess it’s, it’s time to say goodbye

I guess it's, it’s time to say goodnight

I’ll see you in another life

I'll see you in another life


PICTURES OF YOU: THE LAST GOODNIGHT

One of the bittersweet pleasures of preparing for the funeral of someone you love is to wade through the photographic history of their life. Ben was as photogenic a person as I have ever known, and as a result there was no shortage of shots to choose from; indeed, selecting the best and most appropriate was an almost impossible task.

The closing lines of this song hit me as hard as any you will see here. Because the truth is that the loss of the future we had imagined for ourselves is as confronting as any loss we experience when our child dies.


This is the clock upon the wall

This is the story of us all

This is the first sound of a newborn child before he starts to crawl

This is the war that's never won

This is the soldier and his gun

This is the mother waiting by the phone praying for her son

Pictures of you, pictures of me

All upon your wall for the world to see

Pictures of you, pictures of me

Remind us all of what we used to be

Pictures of you, pictures of me

Remind us all of what we could have been

What we could have been


GRAVITY: JOHN MAYER

Given the manner of Ben’s death, the inclusion of this song here may seem ghoulish. But it is so beautifully written and performed - like most of John Mayer’s work admittedly - and there is such a powerful and stirring angst to it, so befitting of this tragic tale, that I simply could not leave it out.


Gravity is working against me

And gravity wants to bring me down

Oh, I'll never know what makes this man

With all the love that his heart can stand

Dream of ways to throw it all away

Woh-wo, gravity is working against me

And gravity wants to bring me down

Oh, twice as much ain't twice as good

And can't sustain like one half could

It's wanting more that's gonna send me to my knees

Woh-wo, gravity, stay the hell away from me

Woh-wo, gravity has taken better men than me

Now how can that be?

Just keep me where the light is

Come on keep me where the light is

Come on keep me where, keep me where the light is


(LOSS LENDS) FRESH EARS


This last category comprises songs I have heard and loved over many years, but that I never really saw as being connected with the idea or experience of grief. That said, I am self‑evidently not the man I was when 2019 began: and so, inevitably, a whole new meaning has emerged for each of them.


BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES: RICHARD CLAPTON

There will come a time when I write for you all about That Day. For the moment I just want to acknowledge the efforts of one of Ben’s oldest and closest friends, Michael, who showed truly remarkable composure and compassion in his communications with Linda and I in the panic-stricken minutes following Ben’s accident. When you realise Michael was unable to contact me that day at his first couple of attempts, because my phone was charging, and I didn’t have it on me, you can probably understand why the opening line set out below now resonates in a way it never could have otherwise.

And of course, quite apart from that, the chorus of this song - a favourite track from one of Australia’s most enduring singer/songwriters - encapsulates exactly the way Ben operated in those halcyon days past.


Oh Michael, all the lines are down, it's Australia Day again

Every time the wheel slows down, I think of all my friends

I say: "Don't waste time, these are the best years of our lives"

They say the circle turns around, there'll be better days

And I don't mind waiting

I wish time had stopped ten years ago

But I'm learning slowly, life is always changing


OPPORTUNITY: PETE MURRAY

Any song that makes you think has to be a good one, right? And this one is definitely open to different interpretations. Whereas on the one hand it seems to be invoking the listener to be bold, and seize the day, on the other hand the exit we should perhaps have taken is fading - which suggests we’ve already passed it, and are now looking in our rear‑view mirror at a chance gone begging; one that may never reappear.



And as we now well know the world truly can turn on these sliding door moments. Moments when decisions made, or not made, lead us down a path that ensures our lives, and the lives of those we love, will never be the same again.


Your coffee's warm but your milk is sour

Life is short but you’re here to flower

Dream yourself along another day

And never miss opportunity

Don't be scared of what you cannot see

Your only fear is possibility

Never wonder what the hell went wrong

Your second chance may never come along

Hold on now your exit’s here

It's waiting just for you

Don't pause too long

It's fading now

It's ending all too soon you'll see

Soon you'll see


DREAM CATCH ME: NEWTON FAULKNER

In years gone by I would never have described myself as a particular fan of Newton Faulkner’s. In fact I couldn’t honestly say that I even knew what the guy looked like. Yet here he is, the only artist with more than one track amongst this very personal musical anthology. And the only way I can explain that curiosity is that when I listen to these two songs it feels like somehow we are talking to one another, Ben and I; and thereby sharing the sublime agony of being both together and apart at the same time.

Every time I close my eyes

It’s you

And I know now who I am

Yay, yay, yeah – and I know now

There's a place I go when I'm alone

Do anything I want, be anyone I wanna be

But it is us I see, and I cannot believe I'm falling

That's where I'm going, where are you going?

Hold it close, won't let this go

Dream, catch me, yeah

Dream, catch me when I fall

Or else I won't come back at all


RUSH: BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE

Of all the songs mentioned here, there probably isn’t another that has been more greatly impacted by the experience of losing Ben than this one. For years, and having listened to it on countless occasions, I had always just seen Rush as a tongue-in-cheek happy-go-lucky pop song (that could possibly moonlight as my younger son’s middle name). But while I was out driving one day last year, thinking of Ben, the track popped up on my playlist, and I suddenly found nuance and meaning in it that I had never even considered before; most especially of course in the first verse.


If I had my time again

I would do it all the same

And not change a single thing

Even when I was to blame

For the heartache and the pain

That I caused throughout my years

How I learned to be a man

Through the laughter and the tears

And of all my friends

You've been the best to me

Soon will be the day

When I repay you handsomely

Broken hearts are hard to mend

I know, I've had my share

But life just carries on

Even when I'm not there


RUNNING UP THAT HILL: KATE BUSH

I said at the beginning of this piece that sometimes the right moment to share a Beniverse story is made clear to me in unexpected ways. When I first conceived this project in my mind, there was never any question as to which song would form its finale. It was always going to be this one. A song written and recorded when I was as old as Ben would ever become. A song with an intoxicatingly spiritual quality. A song that says everything really about what it feels like when the circle of life’s natural order is disturbed. A song whose lyrics speak powerfully to any parent of a child taken before their time. So regardless of what the song may have been about in the mind of the truly extraordinary Ms Bush when she penned it all those years ago, it feels like my song now.

Which is why I felt so delighted, and just a little bit goosebump-y to hear that this year Running Up That Hill (RUTH) has enjoyed a truly amazing, but thoroughly well-deserved resurgence in the charts via its exposure in Season 4 of the Netflix series Stranger Things. And when I say resurgence, consider this: In 1985 the highest chart position achieved by RUTH anywhere around the world was no. 3 in the UK and Germany. However over the past month, 37 years after it was initially released, the song has reached the no. 1 position in a handful of significant markets, including the UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as the top ten in another 20 countries.

Stranger things indeed.


It doesn't hurt me?

Do you want to feel how it feels?

Do you want to know, know that it doesn't hurt me?

Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?

You, it's you and me

And If I only could, I'd make a deal with God

And I'd get him to swap our places

[You’d] Be running up that road

Be running up that hill

With no problems

If I only could



I intimated at the beginning of this article that there would be an invitation on offer for those who got this far. So here it is. If you believe you might be interested in acquiring this collection of songs for yourself, as a permanent musical tribute to Ben’s life and legacy, delivered to you personally in a suitably convenient form, please contact us here at the Beniverse via our Feedback section.

Alternatively, if you'd just like to share your thoughts about the songs listed here, or any others that provide a sense of personal connection for you to Ben and his memory, I'm all ears. I look forward very much to hearing from you.


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