At school, I was introduced to classical music (beginning with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto) by the music master’s son. In return, I lent him some of my LPs (and the bastard managed to scratch every single one), and his favourite tracks were Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles by Captain Beefheart and today’s offering, which he claimed he subsequently played every morning before he got up.
God, there’s been some crap written about this track. It is nothing less than the Norwegian Blue Parrot sketch of rock music. Every school band (including mine) had some pretentious wanker who thought he could play it . It’s ‘a multi-movement suite’, (for a full analysis, read this), it contains a message to Satan when played backwards, Alan Freeman said he wanted to die sitting in a comfortable chair while listening to it, it was played back to back for 24 hours by one radio station…give it a rest. It’s a song. It lasts for 8 minutes. It starts out quietly and very nicely and introduces drums in the middle to build up to a crashing climax, then it’s left to the singer to sing the last line gently accapella. But much better things have been written and made by other people and by this very band.
I’m not saying I’ve got anything against them, or even this song (FF 1976 #1, 1978 #14, 1979 #24, and 1980 #63 (!)). However, as John knew when he refused to play certain Beatles tracks on the grounds of over-familiarity, familiarity breeds contempt. For god’s sake, the singer says he hates it, calling it ‘a bloody wedding song’: doesn’t that tell you something? If you want to know more about it, read this and this: but I prefer the healthy iconoclasm of this:
The lyrics are horrible, nothing more than nonsense words enlivened by cliche. If I ever wrote “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold,” my editor would cancel my contract. Just because it still turns up as the number one rock song of all time doesn’t mean (it)’s any good. Bear in mind that “Car 54, Where Are You?” is still in syndication and Republicans still keep getting elected to the White House. [Jimmy Gutterman, Esquire, November 1991].
See them here if you have a spare 11 minutes.
Buy: Led Zeppelin, IV