That’s the Way the World Goes Round

Sunbeam through the black stormy cloud.

Topic: Human Interest, Investments

James E. Houston, CIM, FCSI

April 28, 2020

Image used with permission: iStock/Salawin


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That’s the Way the World Goes Round

John Prine (1946–2020) Singer/Songwriter and Market Strategist(?)

I was first introduced to the music of John Prine by the older brother of my best friend in high school. Prine’s song writing was a bit more sophisticated than the popular songs being played on AM radio at the time. Who can forget Shambala, Monster Mash and The Cover of the Rolling Stone? And almost all of John Prine’s songs, from Dear Abby to Sam Stone, came with a message.

One song that I was particularly fond of, and whose message often got me through those “darkest before the dawn” moments, was That’s the Way the World Goes Round.

That’s the way that the world goes ’round.
You’re up one day and the next you’re down.
It’s half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown.
That’s the way that the world goes ’round.

And that’s how it felt in early March 2020, in the midst of the steepest ever decline into a bear market.

Watching the global tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic sweep the world, and the horrifying impact it was having on people’s lives, the global economy and stock markets, it was difficult to be optimistic about anything. Even though every bear market in history has eventually resulted in stock markets rising to unforeseen highs, it’s tough to imagine when you’re in the midst of it.

I was sitting in the bathtub counting my toes,
When the radiator broke, water all froze.
I got stuck in the ice without any clothes,
Naked as the eyes of a clown.

I was crying ice cubes hoping I’d croak,
When the sun come through the window, the ice all broke.
I stood up and laughed thought it was a joke
That’s the way that the world goes ’round.

I could never have imagined that only two weeks later, John Prine would be hospitalized with Covid-19 symptoms. He died on April 7, 2020.

I commiserated with a few of my fellow fans. One sent me this YouTube video of John Prine performing a duet with Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert’s introduction is eerie.

RIP John.

The title and lyrics cited in this blog post are from: John Prine, “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” track 4 on Bruised Orange, Asylum Records.

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