The One Song I come Back To For Its Advice
“Your choices are half-chance” — Mary Schmich
If you were born in the 90s then you may know this one hit wonder by Baz Lurhman. If you don’t know Baz Lurhman he is a film director and screenwriter born in Sydney Australia in 1962. Lurhman worked as an actor and stage directer before turning to film making. His first breakthrough was his first feature film “Strictly Ballroom” released in 1992. He then went onto make greats such as “Romeo and Juliet”, “Moulin rouge” and “The Great Gatsby”.
Baz Lurhman released a song called “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” in 1999 based on an essay titled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” by Mary Schmich, which was published in the Chicago Tribune in 1997. The songs lyrics contain a series of humorous and thought-provoking advice that is directed towards young people.
Mary Schmich an American journalist who was a columnist with the Chicago Tribune. Schmich wrote the essay as a hypothetical commencement speech that she would give is she were to ever speak at a graduation ceremony. The essay offers a series of pieces of advice to young people, ranging from practical tips to more philosophical advice such as “accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too will get old”. The essay went viral with readers sharing it through social media.
Baz Lurhman came across the essay and was inspired by its message and popularity, so he turned it into a spoken-word song called “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen”. The song became and helped to further popularize Schmich’s original essay. In the song Lurhman did not do the voice-over instead an Australian voice actor named Lee Perry narrated the song. Lee Perry also went on to work on films such as ‘Mad Max and ‘Happy feet’.
For me this song brings back nostalgic memories of the 90s and I have come back to this song whenever I have felt lost or behind in life. I remember summer days in the 90s when this song would come on the radio and it would make you stop and contemplate your life. For me it has so much good advice in 5 minutes alone. I highly recommend listening to it no matter how old you are. As a speech it is phenomenal but as a song it hits differently.
I would love to include all the lyrics to the song for you but not sure it would be allowed on medium. Instead I have linked the actual song on you-tube for you to listen to in your own time. It never fails to win me over with its advice.