Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm Not The Wreck of the Hesperus

When I was 15, I thought 44 was really, really old. That was the age difference between George Harrison and myself.

At that point, though, I was a Beatles fanatic and a fan of, in particular, obviously, George Harrison. It was in 1987 when George launched his "comeback" record, "Cloud Nine." Rave reviews, press all over the place, #1 single ("Got My Mind Set On You")...other successful singles...the album was infectious and helped explain, through song, his long absence from the music business.

"I'm just a gardener, actually..." he said of his years on musical hiatus. (And WAS HE EVER. I've BEEN on his property.) He'd be seen occasionally around Henley-on-Thames, but largely, he was out of the public eye. Naturally, everyone assumed something was "wrong" with the reclusive Beatle, and while he did have a decent amount of PTSD after Lennon was shot, upping security at Friar Park, he was just a homebody dad and gardener. This was before he was stricken with throat cancer late in the 90's, when he was an otherwise perfectly healthy (though still smoking) vegetarian.

When I was going through 1/10th of my massive CD collection to put on my iTunes, I found my reissue CD of "Cloud Nine," and imported it. I also took the album into the car so I could listen to the whole thing while I was driving, and it really is, even IF some people accuse Jeff Lynne of trying to turn it into an ELO album, a great record from start to finish. I was struck by one particular song, that now that I approach 40, I can relate to much, much better than I could ever appreciate as a 15-year old.

"The Wreck of the Hesperus" is bittersweet, for George sings of his strength, his fortitude, though acknowledging that he, yes, was growing older, but it was alright. He was comfortable with who he was as a soul and as a body. I was listening to it today and half of me thought "GO, man!" and the other half near tears that he's been gone for almost 11 years.

I admittedly had the song cranked, as the lyrics, which I hadn't heard in years, came back to my memory, and I belted it out with vigor. I'm posting the lyrics and the video, for both just totally rock. I couldn't help but relate to some of his sentiments...I *did* meet some Oscars and Tonys, working at R.S. Owens back in the 90's... I've been the unfortunate recipient of a hell of a lot of unwarranted gossip, and I *can* rock as good as Gibraltar. And hell yes, "Ain't no more no spring chicken. Been plucked, but I'm still kickin'." And "it's alright."

**Fun fact about me: Someone who either won an Oscar in 1998 or 1999 has MY THUMBPRINT permanently embedded onto the metal underneath the ultra-secret amount layers of gold it's adorned with. I just HAD to see HOW HOT the Oscars were after they came out of the, er, oven, and like a dope put my thumb on one and, it being about 700 degrees, singed my thumbprint permanently onto the statue. It was covered in gold, and you hopefully can't see it, but....*

"Gettin' old as my mother, but I tell you, I got some company...."

And people, seriously, if you have to look up who Big Bill Broonzy is, shame on you. Shame, shame on you.

I'm not the wreck of the Hesperus
Feel more like the Wall of China
Getting old as Methuselah
Feel tall as the Eiffel Tower

I'm not a power of attorney
But I can rock as good as Gibraltar
Ain't no more no spring chicken
Been plucked but I'm still kicking
But it's alright, it's alright

Poison penmen sneak, have no nerve to speak
Make up lies then they leak 'm out
Behind a pseudonym, the rottenness in them
Reaching out trying to touch me

Met some Oscars and Tonys
I slipped on a pavement oyster
Met a snake climbing ladders
Got out of the line of fire
(But it's alright)

Brainless writers gossip nonsenses
To others heads as dense as they is
It's the same old malady
What they see is faulty

I'm not the wreck of the Hesperus
Feel more like Big Bill Broonzy
Getting old as my mother
But I tell you I got some company
(But it's alright)

But it's alright, it's alright
But it's alright, it's alright
It's alright, alright
It's alright

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