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rock ’n roll, my friends

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Today is International Rock ’N Roll Day in Brazil, and Rock has a special meaning to me. I started learning and improving English BECAUSE of Rock ’N Roll.

God gave Rock ’N Roll to you and put it in the soul of everyone. When you play the first vinyl record or cassette (or Spotify album) it’s magical. You hear the drums, the guitar with distortion and overdrive, the fiery bass, the hoarse voice of the lead singer singing lyrics you could read as poetry… you fall in love with it, and the philosophy of Rock ’N Roll, too.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to play guitar and sing like those Rock ’N Roll bands I loved. First, we’d go to newsstands and buy little magazines with chords and lyrics printed on newsprint pages. Then, it all changed when we discovered Olga.net, the first online guitar archive.

I still have my 300-page binder with all the songs I ever printed from the internet to play and sing, they’re all in alphabetical order and the first one is “About a Girl”, by Nirvana. “I need an easy friend / I do, with an ear to lend / I do think you fit this shoe / I do, but you have a clue.”

And then, because we COULD do that, you find “All-Star”, by Smash Mouth. I remember when I strummed my guitar with friends around and a G chord followed by a D, then an A minor, and finally C, then everybody was singing “Somebody once told me / The world is gonna roll me / I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed”. I felt like THE rock star.

That was when I started reading more in English and part of how most people of my generation learned it, too. Rock ’N Roll made English make a difference in our lives. We sang and mimicked the singers’ pronunciation and wrote our own songs based on what we learned and how they sang. We learned words and grammar and more. And we asked our English teachers to give us the songs as lessons to write the words missing in the lyrics sheet just to sing and learn our favorite songs in class.

Good times. Happy World Rock ’N Roll Day!

qotd: what does Rock ’n Roll mean to you? And have you ever read the lyrics of Rock ’n Roll songs as poems or to learn another language?

— Best, João

First seen on @beardbetweethelines

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