We hadn't quite gotten to the good stuff yet. We were smoking ragweed (compared to the quality of dope to come soon, very soon) and crushing up morning glory seeds and drinking Romalar Cough Syrup to get high. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those experiences, except that they are hard on the body while you're trying to expand your mind.
One of my friends was Webb. Isn't that a great name? Wouldn't that be a great name for an internet entrepreneur? Unfortunately, Webb didn't make it through the drug interaction program intact. Last I heard, he was in and out of therapy and just all fucked up. Never got married; no friends; living alone with just his personal version of depression.
But I remember the Webb when he was King of the World: Perhaps age 19. I was perhaps 21. We hadn't known each other in High School (that would have been totally uncool for me to hang out with an underclassman, eh?) but now I was living with a girl who was a classmate of his. And she had introduced me to this kid who was just amazing. His dad was a high dollar builder or something, and they had a huge house out in the rich part of town. One night in 1973, we went over there to smoke some dope and listen to a new album he had by some guy named David Bowie.
I'd always been known as the one to find the new music, and you could see the look on Webb's face as he knew he had me on this one. It was a good hour before he pulled it out and said, "I think you might like this one, dannye."
Oh, did I ever like it. It became a staple on my stereo for several months afterwards.
This was before Bowie became a glitter queen and made a fool out of himself. That really pissed me off when he went that route. I took it as a personal insult. He was meant to be a brooding artist; not a glamour boy.
Hunky Dory was released in 1972. It has Rick Wakeman on piano and Mick Ronson on guitar. Bowie plays guitar, piano, sax and wrote all the songs by himself except one. Trevor Bolder plays bass and Mick Woodmansey is on the drums.
I watch the ripples change their size,
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence.
This was the song that got all the air play later on, and it is marvelous. The waves of the chorus will wash over you. Let them. When you're actually going through major ch-ch-changes in your life, you can't beat a great song about it, eh?
Oh! You Pretty Things
All the strangers came today,
And it looks as though they're here to stay.
- This was the song that meant the most to me back then. The "pretty things" are the kids like we were then who were literally driving our parents crazy. It seemed to make the thought of them enduring that trauma alright. Of course, some of us would grow up to see this from the other side. Ouch.
Eight Line Poem
- A throwaway. Like most poems you read on this website, it sucks. Poetry is hard work.
Life On Mars?
Take a look at the Lawman Beating up the wrong guy.
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show?
Is there life on Mars?
- Sounds corny now, doesn't it? But it is a great song. The sweeping sound of it will wash over you.
I thought this was another throwaway. But the song means a lot to eponymous and I consider eponymous a good friend, so I'll not say anything bad about it. I think it's about a gay couple adopting a kid.
Don't believe in yourself.
Don't deceive with belief.
Knowledge comes with death's release.
Man, I did not remember that this was the title of this song. What a great title: Sort of like Crystal by Buckingham Nicks.
Fill Your Heart
This is the one he didn't write. A weird guy from Nawlins by the name of Biff Rose wrote this, and it's fairly silly.
He'll think about paint and he'll think about glue,
What a jolly boring thing to do.
This was the beginning of the type of music now brought to you by bands like Tool and NIN. The sounds of metal hammers slamming down while Bowie makes fun of an icon. It's good stuff.
Song For Bob Dylan
Now hear this Robert Zimmerman,
Though I don't suppose we'll meet,
Ask your good friend Dylan,
If he'd gaze a while down the old street.
Tell him we've lost his poems,
So we're writing on the walls.
Give us back our unity, an'
Give us back our family.
You're every nation's refugee;
Don't leave us with their sanity.
- Just as he was making fun of Andy Warhol, here he was begging my false idol, Bob Dylan, to quit talking bullshit and get back to the business at hand. I found this doubly ironic, because Dylan's bullshit was knocking my socks off. Hearing a song by someone bitching about it was making me laugh with a dream inside a dream sort of giggle.
The guitar and piano on this one was paving the way for some rollicking numbers in the future. But I really didn't care to hear another song about gay misfortunes. I'm not a homophobe, but...
The Bewlay Brothers
Well, I was stone and he was wax,
So he could scream, and still relax,
The mood of this song will not leave you, ever. I have no idea what it's about, but whenever I want to scare little children, I just look down at them and say, in a lowered voice, "Would you like me to send the Bewlay Brothers to see you this evening?" Sort of ironic that Bowie would be begging Bob Dylan to get less obscure and then end this album with a song like this, isn't it? Well, God bless him for not seeing the irony, if that's what it took.