I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played 'til my fingers bled
It was summer of '69
25 years ago, in 1984, 'Reckless' Bryan Adams sang about bleeding fingers. That was the age when rock stars were not treated as outcasts anymore and every teenager wanted to form a rock band with his peers. Its been ages since the song came out but even now when I listen to the song or play it on the guitar, my heart starts beating faster and the hair on my neck stands up in nervous excitement.
The song is one of Bryan Adams' best. Honest and youthful, the music is subtle, Adams' voice charming and the lyrics, amazing. So, what is so enchanting about bleeding fingers? Same as Rafael Nadal or Tiger Woods practicing for 14 hours a day or Rahul Dravid and Michael Jordan pushing themselves beyond human capabilities.
If you have seen artists, athletes or musicians transcend into godliness when at their best, you will cheer for them and look upto them. But few people realise the practice, sweat and at times, blood behind those super-natural abilities. As someone said, Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. If you have ever seen a Jimmy Hendrix or a Tony Iommi play (Infact, Iommi lacks two fingertips on his fretting hand) you will realise that no matter how hard the composition, they play it effortlessly.
That is because behind that calm, perfectly-poised exterior, there exists endless hours and sleepless nights of practice. Practice so intense and so meditative, that fingers bleed. But why do bleeding fingers elevate mortals like us?
That is because no matter how hard we try to believe that those artists or athletes are born with those capabilities, we know deep inside that we can do it too. We, too, can rise from being mere mortals to god-like fingers. And for that, we need to sweat out, bend down and make our mind and body scream out of pain. Go through the penance which would eventually enlighten us and make us gods. That is the path to the higher truth. To bliss. To moksha.
And for that, we need to pass through torn tissues, exhausted spirits and bleeding fingers.