Monday, 22 September 2008

Lyrics & their meaning Part 17- AHard Rain's A-gonna Fall


They sell by their millions, they become that special song for some people for the rest of their lives, and others are totally consumed by them; finding meanings and purpose that was never intentional. They are the Rock lyrics that accompany some of the biggest selling and best-known songs from the last three generations.

A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall (1963)

When Bob Dylan released The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan hot on the heels of the success of Peter, Paul & Mary’s huge selling version of his Blowin’ in the wind Everybody wanted a piece of Dylan, the new prophet of protest. Even though Dylan mixed his repertoire with country blues, folk as well as his so called protest songs.
Because A Hard Rains A -Gonna Fall was on an album which contained such hard hitting songs as Blowin’ In the Wind, Masters of War, Talkin’ World War III Blues and Oxford Town It was automatically considered a song full of visions of the coming atomic apocalypse

Comparisons were made that the song was a literal version of such great war paintings and sketches by the likes of Goya and Picasso. Most of these were made due to the song following hot on the heels of the Cuban missile crises and the implications if things had of turned out different.
Dylan himself is quoted as saying the imagery came so fast that “every line in it is actually the start of a whole song. I thought I wouldn’t have time alive to write all those songs so I put all I could into this one”. So did Dylan just have a lot of good lines to make a song? It wouldn’t be the first or last time he would fill a song with this Dada kind of nonsense. When asked if it was about nuclear fallout Dylan replied, “ It’s not atomic rain, it’s not fallout rain… I mean some sort of end that’s gonna happen” And later: “ It was a song of terror. Line after line after line, trying to capture the feeling of nothingness.’ Could it be Dylan was the Jerry Seinfeld of his time?
The songs simple construction but haunting drone like melody has lent itself to many interpretations, notably by Bryan Ferry and Leon Russel. Both whom have kept the basic structure of the song but discarded large chunks of the lyrics, which is strange considering Dylan’s early work relied heavily on his lyrics due to his simple arrangements and very ordinary voice. No one really knows and Dylan would be the last person to ask. On a depressing note, this song is responsible for Canadian Poet/Singer/Songwriter Leonard Cohen to take up writing songs.

© 2004 Shidot Prod.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Lyrics & their meaning Part 16- Riders of the storm


Ever wondered what your favorite song was about? Probably not, which is good because a nice melody and tune are far more enticing than words. Church hymns have truly inspiring lyrics and meaningful messages but don’t really jump out of the record stores. At last a biased attempt is being made to determine what some of the best-loved tunes are really about. We will have a look at the background of these songs and see if history can tell us if any light can be shed on these cryptic verses, poignant prose or just Grade Two poetry.

Riders On The Storm (1971) The Doors

The Doors and in particular Jim Morrison have for unknown reasons established Godhead status in some quarters, but since the majority of these people still think it’s the sixties explains a good chunk of that reasoning.
Riders on the storm was the second single lifted from the L.A Woman album in 1971.It was the last studio album the band would record together prior to Morrison’s death in Paris in July 1971.
Riders of the Storm is also believed to be the last song recorded by Morrison.
Riders on the Storm is a moody piece of music with sinister overtones mixed with thunderclaps and heavy reverb guitar passages. Then the cabaret brooding of Morrison with his inane lyrics add a touch of stupidity to an atmosphere that begs something dire.
 ‘There’s a killer on the road, his mind is squirming like a toad’.
It’s almost as if the band thought of a good line to start the song  and then totally lost interest.
There doesn’t seem to be anyone game enough of Morrisons fan base to stop praising his so called genius and explain what the hell he was singing about.
In fairness to Morrison, the song was created as a group composition and compared to the way Morrison was writing, it would be probably more apt to lay the blame on Robby Krieger, the one who stated the song was originally inspired by Ghost Riders in the Sky.
If we compare lyrics from the Doors first single from 1967 Light my Fire from their debut album The Doors with lyrics from “Riders”:

Light My Fire
You know that it would be untrue,
You that I would be a liar,
 If I were to say to you,
Girl we couldn’t get much higher.

Riders Of The Storm
Riders on the Storm, Riders on the Storm,
Into this house we’re born, Into this world we’re thrown,
Like a dog without a bone an actor out on loan ,
Riders on the storm

Typical Moon, Spoon, June drivel Kreiger had written before.

By the time LA Women was released Jim had had enough of the adulation of fans and being hassled by authorities he had moved to Paris to be in an artistic environment, not realising they all left decades ago.

Morrison’s early death made him a mythical figure as stories got twisted and the need for the devoted to keep the memory of their hero alive. The rumours that Morrison hadn’t died but had gone into hiding to concentrate on his art started before he was cold on the slab.

Thus starting a Morrison sighting spree that predated Elvis by 6 years. (One wonders if these people would spend as much time searching for their Nanna if they didn’t see her in the coffin) This in turn created a demand for more Morrison scribbles and the search for meaning in words that added up to nothing. Morrison was a good looking, passable singer with great charisma who believed his own publicity and it killed him. At the end of his career he was reduced to flashing his dick and ruining performances for the band. He wasn’t a mad genius he was just mad at the end and it reflects in his words, even the ones he probably didn't write..
© 2004 Shidot Prod.