I’ve often felt that the great poets of today are the lyricists who sing the songs we love. So what do today’s great bards tell us about marketing and life? While they may not be Shakespeare, as George Thorogood said, “Come on and take a little walk with me, and tell me who do you love?”


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.

While you may find his lyrics crass, you have to love his truly American story. Simply put, as my father used to say, the cream rises to the top. His talent helped him overcome poverty and give a voice to those who just didn’t know how to express their frustration. When that moment comes calling, will you rise to the occasion? When opportunity strikes, would you “capture it, or let it slide?”

Billy Joel

I am the entertainer, the idol of my age

I make all kinds of money when I go on the stage

Ah, you’ve seen me in the papers, I’ve been in the magazines

But if I go cold I won’t get sold, I’ll get put in the back in the discount rack

Like another can of beans.

Billy Joel was my first concert and the musician I’ve seen the most. Talk about talent, he is both a lyricist and accomplished pianist. In terms of marketing, his words ring true. In my business and many others, we need to continue to produce hits or we’re going to end up in that discount rack like another can of beans. Success is fleeting, and we need to stay top of mind, not resting on our laurels, to keep our relevance.


Gettin’ robbed, Gettin’ stoned

Gettin’ beat up, Broken-boned

Gettin’ had, Gettin’ took

I tell you, folks, It’s harder than it looks

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.

Too many people see only the trappings of success when they judge someone they think is successful. They don’t know about the grind, what that person went through to reach his or her brief stay on the pinnacle of success. In my observations on the front rows of marketing all types of businesses, there are no home runs, silver bullets, or white whale accounts that will put you on the map. It’s all about the daily grind, staying in the game, and powering through that leads to get more at bats, and more chances to hit one out of the park.    


I never opened myself this way, Life is ours, we live it our way

All these words, I don’t just say And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you, Every day for us something new

Open mind for a different view And nothing else matters.


I’m certainly open to some different views. It’s ironic that the more I’ve experienced, the more I realize how much I still don’t know. But the words from America’s hard rock royalty ring true: we chart our own path, find our way, and seek in others what we feel we are missing. 

Isn’t the same true in business? When we go out on our own, we want to do things our own way. But we soon realize we can’t do it all effectively, and we seek out individuals who are better than us in certain areas of our business. 

This is equally true in marketing-communications. You’re focused on your core business, and not necessarily promoting your services or highlighting your clients. You’re satisfied with a job well done. That’s where someone focused on promoting you, even when you don’t even realize or think you warrant it, will help you stand out above the fray.

John Houle is the president of JH Communications and Main St. Media and can be reached at 401.831.6123 or at john@jhcom.net.