This Door Swings Both Ways

Sometimes the iTunes store is spot on when it makes a recommendation, and that’s how I can to download Herman’s Hermits Retrospective–the group’s best songs, very nicely re-mastered.

I’ve enjoyed this CD immensely, with its reminders of hip-huggers, tight sweators, and big bright posterboard flowers, shaggy hair, white lipstick, and color! Color was very big at that time. It’s odd but I’d never noticed before that among the flower-power pop-rock songs, the band had some rather non-trivial lyrics, such as The Door Swings Both Ways:

(Thomas/Levitt)

Everyones life is bittersweet
It’s a door that opens wide
And no man can call himself complete
Till he’s seen it from both sides

This door swings both ways
It’s marked ‘In’ and ‘Out’
Some days you’ll want to cry
And some days you will shout

This door swings both ways
It goes back and forth
In comes a southern breeze
Or a cold wind from the north

This door swings both ways
Lets in joy and pain
In comes the morning sun
And then the evening rain

This door swings both ways
Lets in dark and light
Every day you make the choice
To let in wrong or right

When shadows fall
You must prepare yourself for sunshine
For everything there is an end
And so my friend you must be brave

This door swings both ways
Which one will it be
Will we live in happiness
Or dwell in misery

This door swings both ways
Lets in earth and sky
Make the most of livin’
If you’re not prepared to die
Make the most of livin’
If you’re not prepared to die.

I agree with this reviewer, it’s some of the less well known songs that have better stood the test of time, including the lovely East-West, My Sentimental Friend, and Here Comes the Star. This was the last of this type of music, before pushed aside by the edgier, grittier music inspired by the increasing anti-Vietnam War sentiment and movement.

The time is ripe for a newly mastered collection of this lesser-known group. Looking at the popular Web 2.0 web sites, most would have felt at home back in the mid-60′s: big, curvy flowers, bright pastel colors, and plenty of bubbly optimism made more piquant by knowing that the hammer’s about to fall.

Flower Power flower

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3 Responses to This Door Swings Both Ways

  1. loren says:

    I don’t think you could ever convince me to become a Herman Hermit’s fan, but I could get nostalgic over the big flower, particularly since the first frost can’t be too far away.

  2. ARJ says:

    When I was ohhh… maybe somewhere between 8 and 10, my cousins and I loved to stage our own mini musical numbers complete with elaborate choreography & costuming (Aunt’s discarded lingerie & shirts). One of the more memorable of these (along with a Beach Boys’ song, can’t remember which, that used boogie boards as props) was to I’m Henry The VIII, I Am, played on a record player. Classic childhood memory.

  3. Shelley says:

    They aren’t the deepest, but they are cheerful, Loren.

    ARJ, what a wonderful memory to have!