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Thread: ELP Works Volume 1

  1. #1
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    ELP Works Volume 1

    Monday it is!

    Listened to Works Vol 1 last evening. Now ~ I've listened to this release many, many time since the initial release... but this time the following lyrics from 'Lend Your Love to me Tonight' stuck out to me :


    To live reflected in a spoon
    Makes it too hard to stay in tune
    Believe me


    Are those words suggesting what I think they are? Who wrote those???

    Carry On
    Chris Buckley

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by winkersnufs View Post
    Monday it is!

    Listened to Works Vol 1 last evening. Now ~ I've listened to this release many, many time since the initial release... but this time the following lyrics from 'Lend Your Love to me Tonight' stuck out to me :


    To live reflected in a spoon
    Makes it too hard to stay in tune
    Believe me


    Are those words suggesting what I think they are? Who wrote those???
    What do they mean? Probably the same as the words to Snowblind (both the Black Sabbath and the Ace Frehley ones), Needle And The Damage Done, also the line "I've got a silver spoon on a chain" from the Pink Floyd song Nobody Home. In other words, it sounds like a "white powdery substance" allusion.
    the man who gave us the 1982 Euro
    Who wrote them? Without checking the byline, I'm gonna guess either Lake or Sinfield

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    What do they mean? Probably the same as the words to Snowblind (both the Black Sabbath and the Ace Frehley ones), Needle And The Damage Done, also the line "I've got a silver spoon on a chain" from the Pink Floyd song Nobody Home. In other words, it sounds like a "white powdery substance" allusion.
    the man who gave us the 1982 Euro
    Who wrote them? Without checking the byline, I'm gonna guess either Lake or Sinfield
    You can even go back to Howlin' Wolf (and later, Cream) singing "Spoonful", or even further back to Cab Calloway singing that "Minnie the Moocher" was "cokie". Or Taj Mahal singing more blatantly, "Alcohol don't make me crazy, cocaine don't make me lazy". Drug references go back to the early 20th century in regards to cocaine, heroin and reefer. Rockers back in the 60s and 70s were consuming mass quantities of drugs, so the ELP reference is unsurprising. Check out also "Sister Morphine" by the Stones, "Heroin" by the Velvet Underground, John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" or Zeppelin's "For Your Life" ("do you want co-ca-co-ca-cocaine?").
    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

    Occasional musical musings on https://darkelffile.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    This did make me go back, & read the lyrics for this song. It struck me, reading them, that Lake tended to strive for a certain profundity in his writing, but it often comes off as portentous (if not meaningless) instead. This is somewhat masked, when listening, by the multiple rhymes, which bear the brunt of the "sound" of the lyrics. I've often wondered if Lake didn't begin with streams of rhyming words, which he then tried to build up into songs...

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    They're Pete Sinfield's lyrics.
    David
    Happy with what I have to be happy with.

  6. #6
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    You can even go back to Howlin' Wolf (and later, Cream) singing "Spoonful"
    Pretty sure that one's about sex, not drugs. (See also Mississippi John Hurt and the Lovin' Spoonful.)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by proggy_jazzer View Post
    They're Pete Sinfield's lyrics.
    I was talking more generally about Lake's writing, with & without Sinfield.

    At any rate, lines like "Do you want to be the lover of another undercover?", as well as the sadder/madder/ladder & disguised/eyes/crystallised rhymes, penned by Lake for Still, You Turn Me On, to take just one example more or less at random, remind me of lines like "The lamp of laughter dies too soon", & the gate/slate/debate etc & roar/soar/meteor/whore etc rhymes in Lend Your Love to Me Tonight.

    In other words, meaning & sense come a distant second to sound & rhyme clusters - even whilst he appears to be striving for "high" import.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post

    In other words, meaning & sense come a distant second to sound & rhyme clusters .
    Well, yeah, that's always been true. What does "Wop bop a loo bop, a wop bam boom" mean?! Nothing. But it sounds cool. If you got something that's catchy, that's the main thing. If you can be clever at the same time (e.g. the "Coffee coloured Cadillac" in Chuck Berry's Nadine, as one possible example), that's even better.

    I always loved the story Paul McCartney told about playing Hey Jude for John. He said when he got to the line "The movement you need is on your shoulder", Paul told John that "don't worry, I'll come up with something better for that", meaning he intended to change it, it was just a bit gibberish he spat out when working out the melody or whatever . John tells him, "Don't change it! It's the best line in the song!".

    As for ELP's lyrics, yeah, sometimes they seemed to be a bit...ya know, reaching too far. The "someone get me a ladder" line in Still...You Turn Me On has always bugged me, since it always struck me as an ill placed non sequiter that was only there to rhyme with the previous two lines. I suppose in that way, it works, but I think if he had tried a little harder he might have come up with something a little more suited to the tone of the song.

    Karn Evil 9 is a further example, the line about a "glaze of vasoline" comes to mind. Maybe it doesn't quite make sense, but it fit the scansion of the melody and if one doesn't spend too much time thinking about it, it kinda works.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    You can even go back to Howlin' Wolf (and later, Cream) singing "Spoonful"
    ,

    I suppose that's one interpretation of that song. I've always thought it was about unlawful carnal knowledge, as it were.

    or even further back to Cab Calloway singing that "Minnie the Moocher" was "cokie". Or Taj Mahal singing more blatantly, "Alcohol don't make me crazy, cocaine don't make me lazy". Drug references go back to the early 20th century in regards to cocaine, heroin and reefer. Rockers back in the 60s and 70s were consuming mass quantities of drugs, so the ELP reference is unsurprising. Check out also "Sister Morphine" by the Stones, "Heroin" by the Velvet Underground, John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" or Zeppelin's "For Your Life" ("do you want co-ca-co-ca-cocaine?").
    It's kinda funny how rock musicians are stereotyped as being "druggies", largely due to the 60's-80's eras of abuse, when country, blues, jazz, etc musicians weren't exactly teetotaled. The drug thing during the 70's was such that record companies factored it into their budgets. Apparently, some recording studios even had coke mirrors mounted in the control room consoles. Everyone was doing that stuff. Well, almost everyone. There were apparently two people who weren't: Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons (or at least, that's what Ace Frehley said in his memoir).

    Oh and you forgot JJ Cale's Cocaine, famously covered by Eric Clapton (who continued playing the song even after he cleaned himself up). And then there's the "Too much coke" line in Lynyrd Skynyrd's That Smell, I'm sure Ronnie wasn't thinking about the carbonated beverage.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Karn Evil 9 is a further example, the line about a "glaze of vasoline" comes to mind. Maybe it doesn't quite make sense, but it fit the scansion of the melody and if one doesn't spend too much time thinking about it, it kinda works.
    Actually, it works even if you think about it, and it's (a) dirty as hell and (b) a reference to Tommy...
    Do not bug a wombat, 'cause wombats bug back,
    and no-one can live through a wombat attack.

  11. #11
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    I was talking more generally about Lake's writing, with & without Sinfield.

    At any rate, lines like "Do you want to be the lover of another undercover?", as well as the sadder/madder/ladder & disguised/eyes/crystallised rhymes, penned by Lake for Still, You Turn Me On, to take just one example more or less at random, remind me of lines like "The lamp of laughter dies too soon", & the gate/slate/debate etc & roar/soar/meteor/whore etc rhymes in Lend Your Love to Me Tonight.

    In other words, meaning & sense come a distant second to sound & rhyme clusters - even whilst he appears to be striving for "high" import.
    I always thought the "lover undercover" line was brilliant and quite clear in its intent.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Actually, it works even if you think about it, and it's (a) dirty as hell and (b) a reference to Tommy...
    Dirty? OK, if you say so.

    But what I know is, how is it a Tommy allusion?

    Whatever one thinks of the lyrics, I kinda feel like Greg Lake might have been the one person who was making ELP listenable, at least he was on the records where he was credited as producer (i.e. up through and including Brain Salad Surgery). It's a subjective matter, and I imagine, some people might enjoy listening to an entire album of nothing but Keith demonstrating his...I'll be polite and say he was disinterested in writing actual songs.

    But I think without Greg, it'd have been just be non-stop showing off. As I say, some people might like the idea of the first two minutes of Tarkus being stretched out to 10 minutes or more, but I think they would have been a considerably less successful without Greg's songs, vocals and production (which Greg said often times involved editing and patching together Keith's "compositions" into something that resembled actual songs).

  13. #13
    Well, maybe I'm stretching a little on the Tommy reference. But...

    I'm the Gypsy,
    the Acid Queen...


    It always seemed like one to me.
    Do not bug a wombat, 'cause wombats bug back,
    and no-one can live through a wombat attack.

  14. #14
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Everyone was doing that stuff. Well, almost everyone. There were apparently two people who weren't: Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    As for ELP's lyrics, yeah, sometimes they seemed to be a bit...ya know, reaching too far. The "someone get me a ladder" line in Still...You Turn Me On has always bugged me, since it always struck me as an ill placed non sequiter that was only there to rhyme with the previous two lines. I suppose in that way, it works, but I think if he had tried a little harder he might have come up with something a little more suited to the tone of the song.
    I remember when BSS came out my brother criticized that line as being stupid. I often wonder if he put that line is as an inside joke or if there is some meaning that we just aren’t aware of. Or perhaps you are right that he just wanted a rhyme and it fit.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    I remember when BSS came out my brother criticized that line as being stupid. I often wonder if he put that line is as an inside joke or if there is some meaning that we just aren’t aware of. Or perhaps you are right that he just wanted a rhyme and it fit.
    It may be a less than felicitous--okay, stupid--line, but I've never understood why everyone thinks it's a non-sequitur. He's sunk down in the sadness and madness, and he wants a ladder to climb out of it.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    I remember when BSS came out my brother criticized that line as being stupid. I often wonder if he put that line is as an inside joke or if there is some meaning that we just aren’t aware of. Or perhaps you are right that he just wanted a rhyme and it fit.
    Wasn't the tour immediately preceding the making of Brain Salad Surgery known as the "Somebody Get Me A Ladder tour"? Keith had expanded the modular synth to the point that such a device was needed to reach the top tier. I had the understanding Lake therefore slipped that line into the song as a joke, which I think most people missed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    It may be a less than felicitous--okay, stupid--line, but I've never understood why everyone thinks it's a non-sequitur. He's sunk down in the sadness and madness, and he wants a ladder to climb out of it.
    Bezactly. Not the most elegant lyric, but I never interpreted it in any other way.
    David
    Happy with what I have to be happy with.

  19. #19
    Member lak611's Avatar
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    From http://www.brain-salad-surgery.de/st...urn_me_on.html

    Greg Lake:
    "When I think about the lyric, I'd think about a face in the audience looking up at me. Whe the audience looks up on the stage they see a star, but a star is just a perception, so it was a concept that I was trying to voice, but in a romantic way."


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    Laura

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    I remember when BSS came out my brother criticized that line as being stupid. I often wonder if he put that line is as an inside joke or if there is some meaning that we just aren’t aware of. Or perhaps you are right that he just wanted a rhyme and it fit.
    Sorry for the response to this old discussion, I just stumbled across this thread...

    Every day a little sadder
    A little madder
    Someone get me a ladder


    Why is this weird, non-sequitous, or a suspected inside joke? A man sinking into depression and madness asking for the tools to climb out? It's never seemed weird to me.

  21. #21
    More often than not, I'm a lyric guy when it comes to bands I love.

    But I have to admit, I'm generally not digging Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson or Yes for the lyrics. It could be in most of those cases the lyrics are a bit overshadowed.

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