White Bird Must Fly or She Will Die

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Barreling into the atmosphere at 17,500 mph, they were the largest group of people ever to travel in a single spacecraft, eight in all.  And with its collective 987 orbits around the good Earth, they would soon close the book on the Challenger’s ninth successful mission. Tragically it would be the last.

Young, footloose and a little disgruntled, I too was there on that crisp November day in 1985, a face in the crowd. After attending a wedding near San Francisco I’d managed to secure an awesome Auto Driveaway car to make my way back east, a pristine ‘69 Plymouth “Gold Duster,” and then proceeded to post vacancies on the ride boards of every college campus in the Bay area in hopes of finding someone to split the cost of gas.

That evening I received a call from a pair of convivial Danish girls, looking to catch a ride to Denver – this was going to be great! – and after a lively conversation I hung up feeling as though I’d been on the phone with the enchanting Freya herself, free-spirited goddess of love, beauty and destiny, and fellow traveler of the Valkyries.

But turning that Plymouth Duster into a frolicsome chariot just wasn’t meant to be. When I went to sign the Driveaway agreement I was provided with a carefully calculated route – no major deviations allowed: south through the San Joaquin Valley, east on I-40 to Oklahoma City, then south to Dallas and east on I-20 to my stated destination, Atlanta.

By the time I hit Mojave (just past Bakersfield and about a thousand miles from Denver) it was getting late.  With no clear signals on the radio there was plenty of incentive to mutter, and mutter I did. Taking the Denver route would have added a few hundred extra miles to the odometer, so what? What could they have done? Hell, I even knew a Scandinavian toast!

Somewhere within the AM static came a random announcement that Challenger would be landing at Edwards in the morning. I continued to mutter.  Then a sign came into view: EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE – SPACE SHUTTLE LANDING SIGHT.  Say, what was it that announcer had said? I pulled in to a roadside convenience store.

“Follow the signs,” said the woman behind the counter who was used to such enquiries but had never managed to see for herself. “You won’t be alone out on the flat. Maybe you’ll find a party.”

I envisioned a gathering of likeminded souls huddled ‘round a beer keg. It was getting pretty nippy, but as anyone who’s attended a high school football party can attest, that’s not cold enough to keep from celebrating. I kept my eyes open for a bonfire.

The Space Shuttle program had come a long way in the four years since the maiden flight of Columbia on April 12, 1981. Just two astronauts rode in that one, Young and Crippen, whose task was to demonstrate a safe launch into orbit and a safe return. They landed here at Edwards, and soon-after Columbia was fully operational for straight-out missions.

The second Orbiter, as Shuttles were officially called, became operational in April of ’83. Named after a renowned 1870s British research vessel, and with a moniker also used by the last lunar module to land on the moon (Apollo 17), it was christened Challenger, and Challenger would deliver some impressive NASA firsts. Its second mission featured Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. Its third mission was piloted by Guion Bluford, the first African American to orbit the earth.

In 1984 Discovery joined the fleet, followed by Atlantis in 1985, and Orbiter crews became increasingly diverse, with U.S. congressmen and even a Saudi prince along for the ride as guest travellers. By the program’s eleventh mission in April 1984, Challenger astronauts were able to repair a disabled satellite, another first, which set a precedent that would save NASA millions of dollars through the years.

After so many successes and nary a failure the Space Shuttle program was at its zenith that chilly morning of November 6.  Which couldn’t be said for me. The dirt road I was now on was a study in tortuousness and with the moon in its final quarter the Duster’s headlights barely pierced the murk.

At looooooong last I saw a hand-painted sign pointing away from the road and, though visibility was merely a concept, gladly made the bumpy turnoff.  In an instant it felt as if I were driving across a never-ending parking lot. This (I later learned) was Rogers Dry Lake, an endorheic saltpan that forms the central part of Edwards Air Force Base.

Smooth, but save for my headlights I remained enveloped in darkness … except for a faint glow in the distance. I accelerated. Aiming for that I was soon able to make out a cluster of beacons in the middle of what looked like a glimmering string of pearls. It was like a scene from Close Encounters. I accelerated some more.

Growing in intensity as I approached, the image was only shattered when I finally entered the bright expanse and found myself – well after midnight in the middle of a dry lake bed – amidst a long row of vending stalls, all open and offering Space Shuttle badges, hats, tee-shirts, postcards and other memorabilia. The “string of pearls” turned out to be a long line, over a mile, of RVs (recreational vehicles), all meticulously parked side-by-side and facing in the same direction. Barring the vendors there wasn’t a soul in sight. They’d all gone to bed.

The only sound, besides my engine, was the singular hum of the portable generators that served all the lights. After driving up the front side and down the back (not a party in sight), I finally parked between a couple of Winnebagos, buttoned up my jacket, pushed down the seat back, and tried to get some sleep.

Daylight, when it finally arrived, brought a different story. With the sun up I could see in every direction, as far as the distant bordering hills, and three-quarters of the flat was cordoned off for the landing.

Military personnel patrolled the area, chatting amiably with onlookers, many of them RV owners of a certain age sporting Space Shuttle ball caps and aviator sunglasses. Others ambled about with camper kitchen mugs and admired one another’s Coachman Classics, Holiday Ramblers, Georgie Boy Swingers and Bluebird Wanderlodges.

The retired couple in the Winnebago to my left had made Chinese lanterns from plastic detergent bottles, all the rage, which they hung with pride from the rear overhang. But after I stumbled out of the car, stretched, and began to stroll in the direction of the port-a-potties I noticed that “The Mrs.” was keeping a close eye on her creations and me. Admittedly, I was in bad need of a shave.

While people began to line up along the cordon, like spectators at a big parade, I made my way to a now-crowded vending stall for a cup of breathtakingly over-priced instant coffee and moseyed on.  Further along, I noticed a German flag – as seen in the picture above.

The eighth person on this flight was German astronaut Ernst Messerschmid of the European Space Agency’s Spacelab program. As there was only accommodation for seven in the crew compartment, Messerschmid had to sleep in the Spacelab module itself, which was housed in the pressurized payload area. Despite the discomfort it had been a successful mission, except for one mishap concerning a few dozen rats in a holding pen. Apparently floating rat feces and food crumbs had found their way into the crew compartment and the Mission Transcripts reveal an abnormal barrage of serious swearing as a result.

Fortunately by the final descent everything, including the crew’s language, had been cleaned up and radios throughout the crowd were relaying Shuttle/Ground Control communication with an occasional announcement about the Orbiter’s location. Some Shuttle-spotting veterans began to aim their telescopic lenses at the precise spot where they expected it to come into view.

Meanwhile the RV crowd was now comfortably settled into lawn chairs on the roofs of their rigs with radios and binoculars at the ready. Although the thoroughfare was becoming increasingly packed, most were deep in conversation with their neighbors, ten feet above the fray.

The excitement level was raised a few notches with the announcement that the spacecraft, with radio communications disrupted, was now re-entering the upper atmosphere at the speed of Mach 24, a velocity at which atmospheric friction induces temperatures of over 3,000° F!

By the time communication was re-established, Challenger, having rolled through the stratosphere, was over Hawaii. Then the Shuttle commander announced that he could see the landing sight … and a hush stilled the crowd.

BOOM! BOOM! Everybody jumped  as the decelerating craft broke the sound barrier, and with mouths agape every face turned skyward. “There it is!” An eagle-eyed fellow spotted it without a telescope, and one by one those around me saw it as well. I squinted, cursed my myopia, and at long last saw it too … a drifting white dot, like a tiny toy balloon in the indigo sky.

Designed to carry 65,000-pound payloads to an orbit of 230 miles above the earth and land with payloads of 32,000 pounds (including small satellites), this was no toy however. In fact, with a wingspan of 80 feet and a length of 120 feet, the Shuttle – now leisurely making a major U-turn while it continued its descent – was immense.

While the pilot and Ground Control bantered over every move, “…air speed 300 mph…landing gear down…,” the craft, now easily visible with the naked eye, also became easier to define until even I could make out the famous plane-like profile. I tried to capture the moment with my Instamatic. But the closer it got to the ground, the faster it seemed to travel, and when it touched down at 09:44:51 and quickly deployed its billowing brake chute, it was still too far away for a decent shot.

Once the Orbiter had rolled to a halt everyone cheered. Some (like me) were star struck, much as our grandparents might have been after witnessing their first airplane landing.  But for others it had already become routine, and many now referred to it as “the space liner.” Only a few months later, with Challenger’s next mission, that would change of course, and 73 seconds after liftoff this “great white bird” would be obliterated in one of history’s most infamous explosions.

As for me it was time to hit the road, and the rush to the exit took on Grand Prix proportions. While the Duster cranked along at 50 mph, hundreds of other cars did the same, like so many scurrying cockroaches heading in one direction. But the enormous flat easily accommodated us all and Air Force personnel adeptly directed traffic back on to the main road.

Yes, I missed my chance to make merry under Freya’s gaze. But 30 years on, myth or no myth, I can’t help but to reflect on how I was once in the appraising presence of the Valkyries, swooping through the freshly torn firmament as a harbinger of things to come.

And what better tune than this to bring it all back? Although it never received the acclaim of the Grateful Dead, or Jefferson Airplane or Santana, It’s a Beautiful Day was one of the first San Francisco bands to emerge from the celebrated “Summer of Love” in 1967.

Featured on the band’s self-titled debut album in 1969 this, their signature song, was apparently inspired by the experiences of lead singer, David LaFlamme and his wife (keyboardist) Linda, while living in the attic of an old house in Seattle.

“We were like caged birds in that attic,” LaFlamme later recalled. “We had no money, no transportation and the weather was miserable.  It was quite an experience but it was very creative in a way….” White Bird was one of the last songs performed at Fillmore West before it’s closing in 1971.

White Bird

White bird

In a golden cage

On a winter’s day

In the rain

White bird

In a golden cage

Alone

The leaves blow

Across the long black road

To the darkened skies

In its rage

But the white bird just sits in her cage

Unknown

White bird must fly

Or she will die

White bird

Dreams of the aspen trees

With their dying leaves

Turning gold

But the white bird just sits in her cage

Growing old.

White bird must fly or she will die

White bird must fly or she will die

The sunsets come, the sunsets go

The clouds roll by and the earth turns old

And the young bird’s eyes do always glow

She must fly

She must fly

She must fly

White bird

In a golden cage

On a winter’s day, in the rain

White bird

In a golden cage alone

White bird must fly or she will die

White bird must fly or she will die

White bird must fly or she will die

This is a story that began long, long ago

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Partly it’s because a day finally came when I could restack my woodpile and the “wealdy” subject of this song appealed to me. Partly it’s because it’s Easter time and the song touches on resurrection. Mainly it’s because it’s nice to listen to a new singer and song and instantly like them both – something that seems to happen less and less.  Pandora, that reliable venue for discovering new recording artists, came through once again.

And so here you have Elliott Park, whose father (Ernie Park) was an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, and who was raised in Clyde, Texas (population 3,345). While in college he taught himself to play piano and began to write songs, naming Willie Nelson, Simon and Garfunkel, Roger Miller, the Eagles, and Glen Campbell as influences.

For the next ten years his music career proceeded less than apace … until, he was introduced to Nashville songwriter, Walt Aldridge, with whom he co-wrote “I Loved Her First.” Recorded by the band, Heartland it reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2006. Four years later he released “Flyboy,” his first album, which I downloaded as soon as the shed door was locked.

Now working on his second album, Park is the father of four and seems to have the rather endearing quality of regularly singing to/for/about his wife and kids. As one critic notes, “His lyrics draw you down a pleasant road – into an unpretentious world of honest smiles, open hearts, and a few tears along the way.”

Eclectic and fun, there are half a dozen songs on “Flyboy” that I could have put forth here, and I must concur with his five (!?) Amazon reviewers and 925 Facebook “likes.” As another critic puts it, “His music is a seamless blend of genres presented in an honest and endearing way. Elliott Park’s vocals are weathered and truthful as someone at the end of a pilgrimage. His lyrics are colorful and sometimes odd, but always approachable. His genre is life.”

Nice genre if you can get it.

The Soldier and the Oak

This is a story that began long, long ago

I was a young oak tree in dark Missouri soil

And like all other saplings I had dreams of growing

Strong and tall

But one day a rebel with a bullet in his chest

Hung his rifle on my limbs and laid to rest

And there beside me as the blood soaked to my roots

The soldier sang

A song of grace

The heavy rifle bowed me over to the ground

Two years I stayed this way until the rifle fell

And in this manner for a hundred years I grew

All my dreams

Not meant to be

And then one day two men came with a cross cut saw

They spoke of how my arch would hold a weight so strong

And I feared not the blade for such a worthy cause

And so I fell

I gladly fell

Three winter days aboard a northbound train

Three more beneath the hewer’s careful blade

And while he worked he praised my rich red grain

Perhaps it was the soldier’s blood that day

Now I’m the wooden arch that holds a mighty bell

Three stocks before me cracked but I shall never fail

Up in a tall cathedral high above my dreams

Of long ago

And on Sunday mornings when I hear that sweet refrain

I see the soldier’s face like it was yesterday

Calling angels down from heaven with that hymn he softly sang

Of God’s good grace

And even if you lose yourself and don’t know what to do …

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He appears to have been a man who never quite shook the insecurities of his youth, and the soaring trajectory of his career looks remarkably like the flight of Icarus, who as legend has it … “got crazy once and tried to touch the sun.”

If, like me, you were rather fond of his music back in the day, it meant bucking the tide to embrace a wildly popular singer/song-writer who, no matter their genre, was looked upon with scorn by many of the music industry’s more “authentic” troubadours.

Sometimes such derision was displayed in a big way, as when Charlie Rich, the presenter of 1975’s Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award set fire to the envelope after reading his name.  Then there was the time in 1985 when he was “disinvited” to participate in the “We Are the World” music video, for fear that his image would hurt the song’s credibility.

Granted, his visage in those years was rather Muppet-centric, but the USA for Africa crowd’s gesture remains breathtakingly ironic. Not only was he already an outspoken proponent for AIDS relief in Africa, he was also a key supporter of Save the Children, a spokesman for UNICEF, and a co-founder of the World Hunger Project who’d personally been appointed by Jimmy Cater to a Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger. In fact, before 1985 was over he’d also been presented with the Presidential World Without Hunger Award by Ronald Reagan.

A spirited environmental activist, he was a major supporter of Friends of the Earth, the Cousteau Society, and was co-founder of the Windstar Foundation for wildlife preservation. All of which led to his becoming one of only ten recipients – ever – of the Albert Schweitzer Music Award for Humanitarianism. The other nine being: violinist, Isaac Stern; dancer/choreographer, Katherine Dunham; pianist, Van Cliburn; opera singers José Carreras, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Anna Moffo; and Maestros Mstislav Rostropovich and Leonard Bernstein. Not bad for a man with an image problem.

Born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. on New Year’s Eve, 1943 in Roswell, New Mexico, his no-nonsense father was an acclaimed Air Force pilot whose name is now enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

As noted in a previous posting: Shy, rather introverted and ever the “new kid” (as a military brat) Henry, Jr had a difficult time making friends.  Recognizing this, his grandmother presented the (then) eleven year old with a well-worn guitar, to help him to focus his attention on something he might enjoy, and just maybe to help him to fit in … https://thisrightbrain.com/2012/03/20/i-guess-it-broke-her-heart/

Clearly it helped. By the time he was a Fort Worth high school student it was his fervent desire to make it as a musician, which led him to take his father’s car and drive to L.A. to begin his career. This in turn led Henry, Sr. to fly in on borrowed a jet to convince his son to come home and finish school.

Back in L.A. a few years later, and performing as John Denver (in honor of his favorite state), he began to land gigs on the folk circuit. His first big break came in 1965, when he joined the popular Chad Mitchell Trio, who performed on university campuses throughout the country. This included Gustavaus Adolphus College in Minnesota, where he met sophomore, Annie Martell.  Married the following year, they bought a house in Aspen.

By the time he’d written “Annie’s Song” (composed for his wife in 10 minutes, while on an Aspen ski lift) in 1974, John Denver was one of the most successful and recognizable recording artists on the planet, whom the Governor of Colorado had officially proclaimed as the state’s poet laureate. And in the years that followed he seemed to be everywhere, starring in TV specials, hosting the Grammy Awards (five times), acting in films, and even standing in for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show (15 times).

An avid skier, he served as a skiing commentator for ABC at the 1984 Winter Olympic games in Sarajevo, for which he also composed the theme song. And after a rigorous selection process he was a finalist for NASA’s first citizen trip on the Space Shuttle, a seat ominously taken by schoolteacher, Christa McAuliffe.

Although deeply affected by the Challenger disaster, aviation remained an abiding passion. Echoing his father, he too became an accomplished pilot with ratings that ranged from jets to bi-planes to gliders  The man whose first hit song (as sung by Peter, Paul & Mary) was “Leaving on a Jet Plane” preferred to fly his own.

Yet now approaching his 50s, his career was in free fall.  While the humanitarian work  continued, the music was melting away, and his personal life unraveling.

There were bouts of depression, tales of infidelity and domestic discord. He and Annie parted ways. He remarried. It didn’t last. “Before our short-lived marriage ended in divorce, she managed to make a fool of me from one end of the valley to the other,” he said of his second wife.

There was a DUI charge, then another, which involved wrapping his Porsche around a tree. And so it went until that fateful day in ’97 when John Denver plummeted into the sea and perished.

“A lot of people write him off as lightweight, but he articulated a kind of optimism, and he brought acoustic music to the forefront, bridging folk, pop, and country in a fresh way… People forget how huge he was worldwide,” said country/blue grass performer Kathy Mattea in an Entertainment Weekly interview.

All tolled John Denver recorded and released nearly 300 songs, having written around 200 of them himself. While some have fallen by the wayside, others have stood the test of time – and they’re not necessarily his biggest hits. Take this one, for instance. When it was released as a duet with Placid Domingo (on Domingo’s album of the same title in 1981) there were many among us who found it pretentious, overblown and unlistenable.

But then, to mark the 10th anniversary of his death, in 2007, Denver’s family released Live in the USSR, a set of “unplugged” recordings from a number of 1985 concert performances in the Soviet Union (he would return a few years later to perform in aid – of couse – of the victims of the Chernobyl disaster).

Written for his wife, Annie after their separation, she later reflected that while she “felt blessed by ‘Annie’s Song,’” this was her favorite song of all.

 Perhaps Love

Perhaps love is like a resting place

A shelter from the storm

It exists to give you comfort

It is there to keep you warm

And in those times of trouble

When you are most alone

The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window

Perhaps an open door

It invites you to come close

It wants to show you more

And even if you lose yourself

And don’t know what to do

The memory of love will see you through

Oh, love to some is like a cloud

To some as strong as steel

For some a way of living

For some a way to feel

And some say love is holding on

And some say letting go

And some say love is everything

And some say they don’t know

Perhaps love is like the ocean

Full of conflict, full of change

Like a fire when its cold outside

Or thunder when it rains

If I should live forever

And all my dreams come true

My memories of love will be of you

“My, My,” they sigh

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Entering through the tall, leather-clad doors you were instantly humbled. This was a sacred place, a citadel of world literature, a bulwark of British history constructed in an era when studious inquiry was less diverse and a Kingdom’s National Museum and Library were sensibly cloistered together … unlike the knowable world of today, which branches into uncountable disciplines. There will never be another place like it.

Pictured is my second Reader’s Ticket for the British Museum Reading Room, duly granted by the Principal Librarian in January of 1985. It is purposely non-descript, I suppose, because access was restricted only to registered researchers who’d received their credential through written request. In truth my serious research days were over, unlike a few years earlier when I was a proper habitué working on a dissertation.  By the time it expired I was living another life on another continent.

British Library

Still, it transports me back to the smell of ancient books and old leather; and the spectral drifting of aging academics entranced by the esoterica of their subject matter; and to shafts of daylight filtering down from the great windows encircling the room’s magnificent dome. And to the hushed murmur of the catalogers at the Centre Desk, where the occasional clap of a closing book softly echoed through the vast expanse above our heads. It especially takes me back to a bygone time of Victorian grace.

”It seems to me one cannot sit down in that place without a heart full of grateful reverence,” wrote William Thackeray. ”I own to have said my grace at the table, and to have thanked Heaven for this my English birthright.”

Inspired by the domed Pantheon in Rome, the circular Reading Room was a triumph of mid-19th century technology with the latest in heating and ventilation systems, a gorgeous papier-mâché suspended ceiling, and nearly 25 miles of shelving for its cast iron stacks.

Those leather-clad doors were first opened in 1857 to all who could present a Reader’s Ticket, and for the next 140 years it served as workplace and refuge for an astonishing array of scholars, researchers, and such writers as: Kipling, Carlyle, Browning, Darwin, Dickens, Yeats, Shaw, and Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, T.S. Elliot, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, and Mohandas Gandhi.

Oh, and Virginia Woolf, whose A Room of One’s Own proclaimed, ”If truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, where I asked myself … is truth?”

There were also those bent on a specific kind of truth. ‘‘The fact of a man’s being a political exile does not exclude him from the Reading Room,” stated the Library’s 1866 Handbook for Readers … and the exiles appeared.

For 30 years Karl Marx toiled away at Das Kapital at Desk O7, which Sun Yat-sen would later read in the very same room, as would Vladimir Lenin at Desk J8, who obtained his ticket (with a reference from the General Secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions) under the pseudonym, Jacob Richter. “It is a remarkable institution, especially that exceptional reference section,” he wrote, “Let me tell you, there is no better library than the British Museum.”

While desks could not be reserved, determined regulars, some of whom would be pacing in front of the Museum’s columned entrance, could gain admission with the flash of their ticket before the Museum’s official opening at 9:30 and claim their cherished spot.  Mine was G3.

Whereas most had a specific agenda, not everyone was able to retain focus – to put it charitably – and the Reading Room had its share of credentialed eccentrics. Stories abound of the middle aged Reader who’d submitted the same Master’s thesis for over a decade, merely rearranging the paragraphs with each submission; and of the Reader who’d use a rope to lower an anchor to the floor before beginning; and of the prominent occultist who claimed that while her astral body was in the Reading Room her material self was off lecturing in America.

Then there was the celebrated “Miss McDonald” who, for 50 years, bicycled in from Highgate wearing white Bermuda shorts and plimsolls (sneakers) before settling in at Lenin’s favored desk, where she’d hang some twine between the reading lamps from which she’d dangle anti-Papist tracts. While her work entailed translating Virgil into French no one actually knew what she was working on, nor did they really care.

In truth the place itself was rather eccentric. Rest assured that a book of regulations accompanied that Reader’s Ticket, with highly specific MUSTs – e.g. Readers MUST conduct themselves in an orderly manner at all times while on the library premises; and remain silent while at desks; and return all issued books to an assistant at the Centre Desk, where they must reclaim the application slips by which they obtained them before leaving the room.

And even more specific MUST NOTs – Readers MUST NOT eat sweets or any other kind of food, or drink anything, or chew gum; or remove any book or other property of the British Library from the room in which it was used; or allow any book to come into contact with writing materials, rubber bands, paper clips or pins; or bring in any materials or objects which could damage a book, including food, paste and glue, ink in bottles, adhesive tapes, scissors, and knives; or use cameras or electrostatic copying machines; or behave in any way likely to disturb other readers….

To request a book you’d consult the printed catalogue and fill out a form on carbon-triplicate paper. Next you’d “post” the form through a little wooden window at the Centre Desk and watch while it was placed in a small cylindrical capsule, which was whisked away (with a ghostly whoooooshhhh) through a pneumatic tube. In time your books were delivered to your numbered desk on an antique trolley, with a carbon tucked between the pages.

This was always an intoxicating moment. Although I didn’t need to, in addition to a latter-day edition with its useful foreword and essential footnotes, I’d always order up a first edition of whatever volume I was referencing, As a result I could sit at my prodigious desk with its padded blue leather and matching shelf (designed to fold-out and cradle a book while the reader took notes) and hold in my hands the first editions of Wordsworth’s Prelude, and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and Emerson’s Nature … and Thoreau’s Walden.

As with Miss McDonald, nobody knew or cared what I was doing, but beyond the random flight of fancy (at one point I was actually set on learning ancient Greek) I managed to avoid her fate, with a comfortable routine of working ’til noon, then breaking for tea and a sandwich, followed by a quick visit to the Rosetta Stone, or the Elgin Marbles, or (especially) the grand Clock Room, before returning to my desk until closing. Time flew in those days, just as it does now.

The British Museum Reading Room closed in 1997 when most of its resources were moved to the (now separate) British Library’s state-of-the-art repository near St. Pancras Station. It reopened to ALL visitors in 2000 and housed a modern information center reading material that focused on world cultures represented in the Museum.

Closing again in 2007,  this time the old desks were boarded over and the space used for temporary exhibitions. When the British Museum opened its World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre in 2014, the Reading Room lost even its temporary function and its future now remains undecided.

I brought my son for a visit in the summer of 2006, prior to that final closing, and was thoroughly amazed at the wondrous transformation. When it was built, the Reading Room (designed by Sydney Smirke) had displaced the British Museum’s original Great Court (designed by Sydney’s older brother, Robert).  But with the late 1990s renovation the Great Court was at last revived, and the Reading Room intriguingly encapsulated in its center.  At over two acres, it is now the largest covered public square in Europe and truly an architectural triumph.

British_Museum_Great_Court,_London,_UK_-_Diliff

And yet my sense of wonder was tinged with wistfulness. Here was still another piece of the past, my past, that was no longer there to be shown to my kids. At least I could still stand at that familiar columned entrance and relive this memory:

Upon stepping off the Northern Line and rising up into the hurly-burly of Tottenham Court Road, it was a 4-minute walk from Goodge Street Station – once a deep-level Word War II air raid shelter from which some would indeed come “smashing into neon streets in their stonedness,” – to this very spot in the heart of leafy Bloomsbury. And I never once failed to conjure up this song, albeit Judy Collin’s version.

Looking back I think Donovan Philips Leitch got a bum rap. Widely referred to as the “Poor Man’s Dylan,” partly because the two were influenced by many of the same folk sources but mostly as a result of their 1964 Dylan-centric meeting as seen in Don’t Look Back, Donovan’s distinctive style was actually far more eclectic, blending folk, jazz, psychedelia, pop, calypso, and world music. Released on his second album, Fairyland in 1965, Dylan never sounded like this.

Sunny Goodge Street

On the firefly platform on sunny Goodge Street

Violent hash-smoker shook a chocolate machine

Involved in an eating scene

Smashing into neon streets in their stonedness

Smearing their eyes on the crazy cult goddess

Listenin’ to sounds of Mingus mellow fantastic

“My, my,” they sigh

“My, my,” they sigh

In doll house rooms with colored lights swingin’

Strange music boxes sadly tinklin’

Drinkin’ the sun shining all around you

“My, my,” they sigh

“My, my,” they sigh

“My, my,” they sigh

“My, my,” they sigh

The magician, he sparkles in satin and velvet

You gaze at his splendor with eyes you’ve not used yet

I tell you, his name is Love, Love, Love

“My, my,” they sigh

“My, my,” they sigh

“My, my,” sigh

Calling everyone to ride along to another shore

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As anyone who has ventured near a dance floor knows, the right kind of music makes for an emotionally charged social experience. Those who have watched a few Super Bowl commercials can well attest that big money advertisers have figured this out.

No surprise, then, that Madison Avenue has also come to understand the concept of “reminiscence bumps,” which (as studies have shown) are specific memories that remain vivid as we get older. Enduring throughout our lives, these autobiographical “spots of time” are forged during the raging hormonal soup of adolescence and slightly beyond, and are  generally based on the profound connection between our youthful quest for identity and aesthetic, and the music we listen to at the time.

After reading about this concept I thought I’d put it to the test with a song that harkens back to my own adolescence … and truly the reminiscence bumps abound. Perhaps the same holds true for you.

It was 1970, a year when Kent State, My Lai, and Apollo 13 made headline news, Solzhenitsyn won his Nobel Prize, Toffler published Future Shock, and Doonesbury made its first appearance. In New York the North Tower of the World Trade Center became the tallest building in the world (the South Tower would join it the following year) and Pan Am began the first commercial 747 service, between JFK and London Heathrow.

On the Isle of Wight 600,000+ people attended the largest rock festival of all time. Having played one of their finest performances there, The Who went on to become the first rock act to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House (Tommy yes we heard you). And while Jimi (in London) and Janis (in LA) OD’d in a purple haze that year, and the Beatles called it quits, the eponymous Elton John featured the rising star’s first top ten hit, Your Song.

Back in New York Monday Night Football debuted with Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell and in Boston the Big Bad Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1941, with Bobby Orr scoring a goal for the ages, 40 seconds into overtime. Are we there yet?

Recorded by Tampa-based Blues Image and featured on its 1970 album, Open, this song reached Number 4 on the Billboard Singles chart. Co-written by keyboardist Skip Konte and singer-guitarist Mike Pinera on his Rhodes electric piano, Pinera was looking for a way to start when it occurred to him that his piano had 73 keys. “I went, ’73 men sailed up, from the San Francisco Bay,’” he later said, “The song sort of just wrote itself from there.”  Let the bumps begin.

Ride Captain Ride

Seventy-three men sailed up

From the San Francisco Bay,

Rolled off of their ship

And here’s what they had to say.

“We’re callin’ everyone to ride along

To another shore,

We can laugh our lives away

and be free once more.”

But no one heard them callin’,

No one came at all,

‘Cause they were too busy watchin’

Those old raindrops fall.

As a storm was blowin’

Out on the peaceful sea,

Seventy-three men sailed off

To history.

Ride, captain ride

Upon your mystery ship,

Be amazed at the friends

You have here on your trip.

Ride captain ride

Upon your mystery ship,

On your way to a world

That others might have missed.

Seventy-three men sailed up

From the San Francisco Bay,

Got off their ship

And here’s what they had to say.

“We’re callin’ everyone to ride along

To another shore,

We can laugh our lives away

And be free once more.”

Ride, captain ride

Upon your mystery ship,

Be amazed at the friends

You have here on your trip.

Ride, captain ride

Upon your mystery ship,

On your way to a world

That others might have missed.

Ride, captain ride

Upon your mystery ship,

Be amazed at the friends

You have here on your trip.

Marooned in a Blizzard of Lies…

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There are fibs and little white lies, and there are big lies and half-truths. There is lying to oneself. There’s confabulation caused by faulty recollection and there’s perjury under oath. There are polite lies and noble lies, untruths and exaggerated puffery. There’s tactical bluffing, hyperbole, and rhetorical bullshit.

There’s equivocation and misrepresentation, propaganda and political spin, dissemblance and disinformation. There is speaking with forked tongue, being economical with the truth, making false and misleading statements, and there’s bald-faced lying… I could go on.

The capacity to lie convincingly is an essential part of our human development which, as every parent learns, generally occurs somewhere between the ages of four and five. By then the average child will have accrued enough experience to know that lying is a way to avoid punishment. In varying degrees, moral comprehension comes later.

In matters of mistruth there are those who subscribe to the beliefs of Aristotle (anyone who advocates lying can never be believed) or St. Augustine (there are no circumstances in which one may ethically lie … lying is a perversion of the natural faculty of speech), who simply could not countenance willing deception.

While others lean toward Machiavelli (appearances can be deceiving, and they should be deceiving … sometimes words must serve to veil the facts) or Nietzsche (some tell the truth only out of weakness … because it’s difficult to maintain a lie), who my have countenanced it a bit too much.

And yet we humans aren’t the only ones to verbally deceive. Perhaps you’ve heard of Koko the gorilla, who is said to understand nearly 2,000 words of spoken English and can communicate with her caretakers in American Sign Language. A number of years ago Koko was given a kitten as a pet to help sooth her nurturing instinct, which was very much in evidence except for the time when she somehow ripped a sink out of the wall. When asked what happened Koko’s response was unequivocally more Nature than Nurture. In crisp, clear signage she affirmed, “The cat did it.”

Cabaret fans will surely recognize the name, David Frishberg. Once a Journalism Major at University of Minnesota, he landed in Greenwich Village as a jazz pianist after a stint in the Air Force, and played for the likes of Carmen McRae, Gene Krupa and Zoot Sims.

Frishberg’s songs have since been performed by such luminaries as Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Diana Krall, and Susannah McCorkle – who actually covered this one. Still, his most popular number was memorably featured in an animated episode of Schoolhouse Rock in which he cleverly un-spun the legislative process with, I’m Just a Bill.

Blizzard of Lies

We must have lunch real soon. Your luggage is checked through.

We’ve got inflation licked. I’ll get right back to you.

It’s just a standard form. Tomorrow without fail.

Pleased to meet you. Thanks a lot. Your check is in the mail.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Your toes and knees aren’t all you’ll freeze

When you’re in it up to your thighs.

It looks like snow, but you never know

When you’re marooned in a blizzard of lies.

You may have won a prize. Won’t wrinkle, shrink or peel.

Your secret’s safe with me. This is a real good deal.

It’s finger lickin’ good. Strictly by the book.

What’s fair is fair. I’ll be right there. I am not a crook.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Better watch your step when your old dog Shep

Can’t even look you in the eyes.

You’re cold and lost and you’re double crossed

When you’re marooned in a blizzard of lies.

We’ll send someone right out. Now this won’t hurt a bit.

He’s in a meeting now. The coat’s a perfect fit.

It’s strictly fresh today. Service with a smile.

I’ll love you darling ’till I die. We’ll keep your name on file.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart.

And you’re in for a big surprise.

When you’re marooned, marooned, marooned

marooned, marooned, marooned,

marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

A blizzard of lies.

Last thing I remember was the freezing cold …

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His name was John Shaw Torrington, a Royal Navy Petty Officer, and a member of Sir John Franklin’s “lost expedition” sent to gather magnetic data in the Canadian Arctic and navigate the Northwest Passage.  At the age of 22, he was the first to perish.

Buried on Nunavut’s Beechey Island for 138 years, the last thing startled forensic scientists expected when they dug down into the permafrost and peered into his grave, was for John Shaw Torrington to be staring back at them!  With eyes and facial features completely preserved, and his thawed limbs fully flexible, anthropologist Owen Beattie later reported that lifting the diminutive engine-stoker from his coffin was like moving someone who was unconscious rather than dead.

Setting out from England (far from any permafrost) in May of 1845, it had been a promising start for the 129-member crew.  Provisions were ample, including 33,000 pounds of tinned meat and vegetables, while the expedition’s two sturdy ships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus featured such cutting-edge technology as steam engines, screw propellers, reinforced beams, and internal steam heating. Yet within months all would be lost.

After the Admiralty posted a £20,000 reward, a massive search began, both by sea and land, and in 1850 a stone hut, tins of food and three graves were discovered on Beechey Island, containing the remains of Torrington and two others who had died early in the voyage.

But that was pretty much it, and it wasn’t until the 1980s, when Beattie and his team were dispatched, that one of modern history’s great anthropological cold cases would be resolved. The culprit? A lack of quality control.

Awarded the contract a few weeks before departure, the food provisioner was known to have cut corners during the rudimentary canning process and haphazard lead soldering contaminated everything with the tins as a result, as evidenced by those near the graves. Although an autopsy revealed that Torrington had died from pneumonia, the severe physical and mental symptoms of lead poisoning proved to be a significant contributing factor.

Pressed for time, Beattie’s team was only able to briefly examine another of the bodies, but combined with other evidence it was firmly concluded that although the expedition continued on, lead poisoning – and eventually tuberculosis, starvation, and hypothermia – ultimately spelled the demise of all.

Hailed as heroes in Victorian times, the Franklin Expedition inspired a multitude of artistic, musical, and literary works (for example, Terror and Erebus are referenced in both Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness), a trend that would be reborn after pictures of Torrington’s remarkably preserved remains were widely circulated in the 1980s.

Sheenagh Pugh’s Envying Owen Beattie, Margaret Atwood’s The Age of Lead, and Mordecai Richler’s Solomon Gursky Was Here, all find there genesis with the story as does Iron Maiden’s Stranger in a Strange Land … and this whimsical track for a cold winter’s day, as featured on James Taylor 13th album, New Moon Shine in 1991.

The Frozen Man

 Last thing I remember is the freezing cold

Water reaching up just to swallow me whole

Ice in the rigging and howling wind

Shock to my body as we tumbled in

Then my brothers and the others are lost at sea

I alone am returned to tell thee

Hidden in ice for a century

To walk the world again

Lord have mercy on the frozen man

Next words that were spoken to me

Nurse asked me what my name might be

She was all in white at the foot of my bed

I said Angel of Mercy, I’m alive! Or am I dead?

My name is William James McPhee

I was born in 1843

Raised in Liverpool by the sea

But that ain’t who I am

Lord have mercy I’m the frozen man

 It took a lot of money to start my heart

To peg my leg and buy my eyes

The newspapers call me “state of the art”

And the children, when they see me, cry

 I thought it would be nice just to visit my grave

See what kind of tombstone I might have

I saw my wife and my daughter and it seemed so strange

Both of them dead and gone from extreme old age

See here, when I die make sure I’m gone

Don’t leave ‘em nothin’ to work on

You can raise your arm, you can wiggle your hand (not unlike myself)

And you can wave goodbye to the frozen man

 I know what it means to freeze to death

To lose a little life with every breath

To say goodbye to life on earth

And come around again

Lord have mercy on the frozen man

Lord have mercy on the frozen man

Let’s take that road before us, and sing a chorus or two…

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Taken by a Globe photographer in the mid-70s, this is a picture of Boston’s annual Christmas tree lighting. Then held at the Prudential Center, the big draw was the presence of Arthur Fiedler who, with the help of a local chorus, was there to lead everyone in singing carols.  In 1976, having convinced my college buddy, Perry to join me, I was there too.

In the days of Hi Fi consoles, the Boston Pops were like musical guests in our house and when the Evening at Pops series began on PBS, they were like televised musical guests.  In fact, going to Symphony Hall to see Arthur Fiedler and the Pops was every bit as exciting as going to the Boston Garden to see Bobby Orr and the Bruins. A thrill indeed.

On this particular evening the plan was to see the Maestro up close and personal. Unfortunately it hadn’t occurred to us that half of Boston might have the same idea. Nor were we prepared for the cold, and while the final carol was being sung we inched our way into the Pru to find some warmth.

Huddled near a bank of elevators we were considering where to go next when in tramped the entire chorus, on their way – as we quickly learned – to an after-event for some cookies and hot chocolate. Well “Ho, Ho, Ho, Who Wouldn’t Go?” 

With just enough room on one of the elevators, Perry and I soon found ourselves in a partially crowded room filled with tables. On one end there was a stage, on the other was a welcoming spread of cocoa and cookies. Nobody seemed to mind so we helped ourselves and, finding it empty, sat at a table that abutted the stage.

We were feeling very pleased with ourselves until a man in a red, white and blue lumberman’s jacket brushed past and clambered onto the stage. It was Arthur Fiedler and he wanted everyone to get up and sing a few more carols!

And there we were, with everyone looking our way (so that’s why the table was empty) including the great man himself.  Down went the cookies and up we rose, while not five feet away Arthur Fiedler began to lead the room in a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells, followed by this song.

Conceived during a heat wave in July, Sleigh Ride was written by Fiedler’s good friend Leroy Anderson in the late 1940s. Anderson, as any Evening at Pops fan may recall,  occasionally appeared as a musical guest to conduct some of his own works, such as The Syncopated Clock, Bugler’s Holiday, and (my favorite) The Typewriter, in which Fiedler would roll up his sleeves and dawn a green eyeshade to “play” an old typewriter while the orchestra played behind him.

But it’s Sleigh Ride that has served as the Pops seasonal signature tune since its initial release (on red vinyl no less) as a single in 1949. With Fiedler conducting, it was the first orchestral piece ever to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Music chart. Written by Mitchell Parish, the lyrics were published the following year.

Despite an “unusually modulated middle section” that’s difficult to sing (the section is omitted in many recordings, such as the Ronnettes’ version produced by Phil Spector), Sleigh Ride has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music.

While Johnny Mathis’ version is the most popular, this track from (1961’s) Holiday Sing Along With Mitch was the version heard (and sung) in our house. In fact, after the Boston Pops, Mitch Miller (who occasionally conducted the Pops in Fiedler’s absence) and the Gang were easily the most prominently featured artists in the console.

Perhaps you remember Sing Along With Mitch, the television show which (“Please, don’t just sit there, come on and sing”), featured lyrics at the bottom of the screen. If so, you might be surprised to learn that contrary to popular memory, the show did NOT have a bouncing ball to keep time.

Only featured in movie theatre sing-alongs (and the occasional cartoon), Perry and I certainly could have used one of those. Instead we lip-sang with all the gusto we could muster and, with cookies in our pockets and nerves a-jingling more than any sleigh bell, made a beeline for the door as soon as Arthur Fiedler had left the stage.

Sleigh Ride

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring-ting-tingling too,

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you,

Outside the snow is falling

And friends are calling, “Yoo hoo”,

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up,

Let’s go…let’s look at the show,

We’re riding in a wonderland of snow.

Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up,

It’s grand… just holding your hand,

We’re riding along with a song

Of a wintry fairy land.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy,

And comfy cozy are we,

We’re snuggled up together

Like two birds of a feather would be,

Let’s take that road before us,

And sing a chorus or two,

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you.

There’s a birthday party

At the home of Farmer Gray,

It’ll be the perfect ending of a perfect day,

We’ll be singing the songs

We love to sing without a single stop,

At the fireplace while we watch

The chestnuts pop; Pop! Pop! Pop!

There’s a happy feeling

Nothing in this world can buy,

When they pass around the coffee

And the pumpkin pie,

It’ll nearly be like a picture print

By Currier and Ives,

These wonderful things are the things

We remember all through our lives!

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring-ting-tingling too,

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you,

Outside the snow is falling

And friends are calling, “Yoo hoo”,

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up,

Let’s go…let’s look at the show,

We’re riding in a wonderland of snow.

Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up,

It’s grand…just holding your hand,

We’re riding along with a song

Of a wintry fairy land.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy,

And comfy cozy are we,

We’re snuggled up together

Like two birds of a feather would be,

Let’s take that road before us

And sing a chorus or two,

Come on it’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you.

It’s lovely weather

For a sleigh ride together with you.

If that private eye can’t see, he’d better not take the ring from me

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Arthur Fiedler, Laurence Olivier, Muddy Waters … there are certain celestial-types whose soaring careers were so enduring that a youthful countenance isn’t what comes to mind when their names are mentioned.  And to these you can add an artist who, like Fiedler, rather amazingly began as a violinist.

Born in Mississippi in 1928, Ellas Otha Bates was raised by his mother’s cousin, Gussie McDaniel (Ellas McDaniel would be his songwriting name) in the South Side of Chicago. As a teen he not only studied the violin, he actually learned how to make them at a local vocational school.

Then he saw John Lee Hooker perform and the aspiring musician put down his bow and, with a voc-made guitar in hand, joined some friends in a street-corner band. It took a few years, but by 1951 young Ellas had developed a signature playing style and was offered a regular gig at a nearby club.  All he needed was a solid stage name, which he found in a colloquial phrase (whose literal meaning is ‘absolutely nothing’), “Bo Diddley.”

Bo-Diddley

Revered for the powerful, rhythmic, “jingle-jangle” beat that remains a Hip-Hop staple to this day, the inventive Blues/Rockabilly guitarist would come to cast a powerful influence over legions of music legends in the years ahead, among them: Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Dick Dale, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones (and the Beatles for that matter), Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, and Parliament Funkadelic.

Bo Diddley’s trademark instrument was the cigar-box shaped “Twang Machine” that he designed after a memorable performance early in his career. While leaping around the stage with a traditional Gibson guitar he injured himself in the groin and quickly decided to come up with something a little “less restrictive” to keep the good-time acrobatics alive.

Paired with “I’m a Man” as its B-side, this song (named for the performer, not the writer) impressively became a Two-Sided Number One (!) R&B hit in 1955 … which led to a much coveted appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Unfortunately the short-fused Sullivan was expecting a rendition of (the Tennessee Ernie Ford hit) “Sixteen Tons” and was so furious when Bo Diddley played “Bo Diddley” that he never invited him back again. “Ed Sullivan said that I was the first black boy to ever double-cross him on the show,” Diddley later recalled. “ He said I wouldn’t last six months.”

Fortunately, for those of us who took a while to discover him, that prediction fell slightly shy of the mark and the great Bo Diddley’s career lasted for another 52 years, with tracks that would be covered by the likes of: Bruce Springsteen, CCR, Aerosmith, The Clash, The Kinks, The Who, Tom Petty, The Zombies, The Animals, Bob Seger, The Yardbirds, The Grateful Dead, The Doors…

“I used to get mad about people recording my things,” said Diddley late in his career. “But now I got a new thing going. I don’t get mad about them recording my material because they keep me alive.”

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring

If that diamond ring don’t shine

He gonna take it to a private eye

If that private eye can’t see

He’d better not take the ring from me

Bo Diddley caught a nanny goat

To make his pretty baby a Sunday coat

Bo Diddley caught a bearcat

To make his pretty baby a Sunday hat

Mojo come to my house, ya black cat bone

Take my baby away from home

Ugly ol’ Mojo, where ya been?

Up your house and gone again

Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley have you heard?

My pretty baby said she was a bird…

I still haven’t shaken it

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“As a folk duo, how much could recording costs be?” asked the record producer who had been brought in to help Paul Simon get back into the studio during a bout of writer’s block. Unfortunately for Columbia Records the recording costs for Simon & Garfunkel could be memorable.

It was the summer of ’67, the Beatles had just released Sgt. Pepper, and the “duo” were working on a concept album of their own (exploring the cycle of life) called Bookends. 

The first session was for this track and after percussionists, brass and viola players had been brought in, everyone worked through the night to find just the right sound. Greatly influenced by Strawberry Fields Forever and Tomorrow Never Knows, the outcome is said to lyrically reflect Simon’s tenuous working relationship with his lifelong “frenemy,” Art Garfunkel.

The woman “entering” the tailor shop was folk singer Beverley Martyn, an associate of Simon’s who was good friends with (“the Scottish Dylan”) Donovan, whose last name is Leitch, hence the tailor’s name. Apparently Simon had wondered what his vocation might have been had he lived a century earlier and concluded that he surely would have been a tailor in Vienna or Budapest. Only later did he learn that his grandfather, whose name was also Paul Simon, actually was a tailor who’d lived in Vienna a century earlier.

Released as a single in June 1967 (the album itself was released the following year) the song’s running time is 3 minutes and 14 seconds, but since AM stations resisted anything that ran longer than 3 minutes, Simon slyly faked the time printed on the label to read 2:74.

Fakin’ It

When she goes, she’s gone

If she stays, she stays here

The girl does what she wants to do,

She knows what she wants to do

And I know I’m fakin’ it,

I’m not really makin’ it.

 I’m such a dubious soul

And a walk in the garden

Wears me down.

Tangled in the fallen vines,

Pickin’ up the punch lines,

I’ve just been fakin’ it,

Not really makin’ it.

 Is there any danger?

No, no not really,

Just lean on me.

Takin’ time to treat,

Your friendly neighbors honestly.

I’ve just been fakin’ it,

I’m not really makin’ it,

This feeling of fakin’ it.

I still haven’t shaken it.

 Prior to this lifetime

I surely was a tailor, look at me.

[Good morning, Mr. Leitch.

Have you had a busy day?]

I own the tailor’s face and hands

I am the tailor’s face and hands and

I know I’m fakin’ it

I’m not really makin’ it

This feeling of fakin’ it

I still haven’t shaken it.