#820: The Last Note of Freedom (1991 – Part One)

This is Part One of a series based around the year 1991. In music, culture and my personal life, 1991 was a landmark year. There was life pre-1991, and there was life post-1991. I’ve spent a couple months piecing together details of that critical period. Stick around and enjoy the memories.

GETTING MORE TALE #820:  The Last Note of Freedom
(1991 Was the End and 1991 Was the Beginning – Part One)

After all the hard work, studying and good times, there was only one thing left to do:  attend the big highschool graduation ceremony.  I’d be seeing some of my friends for the very last time.  Shirt and tie on, I was clean shaven and ready to go.  Family arrived at the house and gifts were given.  I remember a new watch.  I even received the novelization of the hot new Schwarzenegger flick, Terminator 2: Judgement Day from my sister Kathryn.

Only this time I wouldn’t be back.  This was it.  The last hoorah.

Blue graduation cap upon my head, I looked like a girl with my long hair.  I barely recognise myself in the old photos, receiving my diploma on that big stage.

Like many graduation ceremonies, there was a slideshow to remind us of all the good times.  The song they chose for the slideshow was an interesting selection:  “The Last Note of Freedom” by David Coverdale, his first solo track in a decade and a half.  Who selected it and why, I will never know.  It was the kind of song I would have chosen myself, but I had nothing to do with it.  I just found the title very apropos:  “The Last Note of Freedom”, and when that last note rings out, we would be cast into the larger ocean of “real life”.  It was a poignant choice even if the lyrics really didn’t apply.  The words had nothing to do with a milestone like graduation, but it sure sounded cool when Coverdale started screaming in the middle of the ceremony.

We need love,
We gotta want it so bad.
We need it now,
So run for it fast.
I know it,
And the world will be cheated.
I can’t go on, in a world where love’s defeated.
I know it.
I can’t go on.

“The Last Note of Freedom” was from the Days of Thunder soundtrack, and I made sure to order a copy from Columbia House forthwith.  It was probably the most commercial track that Coverdale had recorded to date, with a vaguely 80s tropi-synth feel.

I would never see many of my friends again, and I knew it as I walked out of the building with my grad cap in my hands.  I shook hands with Anand “Boboe” Etwaru who I never crossed paths with ever again.  I was pleased to find out, many years later from a mutual friend, that he still had the nickname “Boboe” which I gave him.  (It’s just the ASCII characters for “Anand” with each letter bumped up by one, an accidental discovery I made.)

My parents owned a rental cottage and I wanted to rent it for one weekend, just a final chance to hang out with my friends.  The parents said “no way” and the last weekend never happened.  Instead, a bunch of us just made a run downtown to Sam the Record Man one afternoon.  We walked – none of us had a car.  It was fun and bittersweet.  The new Van Halen sat there on the shelves but the packaging was rather bland.  It would have to wait for my birthday.  Instead I bought some singles:  “You Could Be Mine” (CD), by Guns N’ Roses, and “More Than Words” (cassette) by Extreme.

I can still recall one thing that happened that day.  As our small group walked down Frederick Street towards King, we passed by a little old lady.  As we passed her, she smiled and chuckled an evil laugh!

“Heh heh heh heh!”

Creepy stuff, man!

“We’re hexed now!” someone commented.

I’m glad that a small group of my friends got back together for one record shopping trip in the summer of ’91.  We knew things would be different from here on in.  Many of them were going into serious engineering programs.  Intense, time consuming stuff.  On some of my lonely days that fall, I thought of picking up the phone and calling some of them.  But I didn’t.  “They all have their own lives now,” I reasoned.

An era had ended, and the last note of freedom had rung.  Onto bigger things!




    1. That would be some time travel voodoo shit since Jack Black was an unknown in 1991. Ups the creep factor substantially.

      So you just experienced this transition from high school to the next level recently Harrison. What’s it like for you? Bitter? Sweet? Intrusive? Where does Jimmy Stewart’s vocal cadence originate? Sesquipedalian? Do you see your homiez still? How do you feel inside? Where do your friends go? You guessed it. There’s a Boingo for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I graduated in 2017 and I do look back on my high school time fondly. Back then I would get to see and interact with so many more people, even if it was only for one class. I really enjoyed seeing so many people every day. Now I have a much smaller group of only my closest friends which I still see regularly. But I also have this great WordPress community here now, so it evened out alright

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m at university studying Professional Writing and Marketing. I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into a specific job(s) so tried to be as broad as possible while still studying stuff that interests me. I’m enjoying it, and I’m more than halfway through.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dude we were just talking about Orgazmo and “Now You’re a Man” last week. I’m gonna try to get this song on the Sausagefest countdown in 2021. That fails and I’m using it in my bits instead.


  2. Great backstory to the Coverdale track Mikey. That’s actually Coverdale’s last hurrah ,1990-91 in North America so there ya go. End of High School and the end of Whitesnake lol.
    I graduated Grade 13 in 86 and there are people I have not seen either so I know where you are coming from etc.
    VH cover bland so you skipped it hahaha. Your hardcore man I was a first day buyer of that album. Bland cover and all haha.

    Great stuff man. I’m always up for some Ladano history!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well dude here’s the context. I probably had $30 in my pocket and needed to take advantage of being at Sam’s. You don’t go to Sam’s and just buy the new Van Halen. You go to Sam’s to buy the stuff they don’t sell at Zellers.

      Funny enough I got two copies of Van Halen that birthday. Bob gave me CD, aunt & uncle gave me cassette. But CD was where it was at! SO HEAVY. So much more bass.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post Mike! It is a weird choice for song at the graduation. Not many people knew about that, but it worked. I have a few high school friends I speak with on occasion, but most have gone by the wayside. I haven’t been back to a reunion since the 10th and that was 20 years ago. Maybe someday I will make another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard we had a reunion after the fact but I don’t know how they were supposed to let us know. I would have gone.

      Definitely a strange choice for graduation. My best guess is that someone in the AV department had the CD and liked that song. It definitely wasn’t anybody I knew, and I would have been told about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t seen anyone from high school in decades. The fact I live in the UK might have something to do with it. Then again, three weeks after graduation, I was on my way to boot camp.


  5. Good post and interesting how someone from the school selected a soundtrack song for graduation. And I agree with you, that when school finishes, you just know that you will never see some people ever again.


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