Classic Rock

Few realize that Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street was inspired by American Poet Anne Sexton.  This is the work that made her his muse.

45 Mercy Street by Anne Sexton

In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I’m walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign –
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant’s teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.

Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
with great-grandmother
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
at noon
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was…
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
with the stranger’s seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down –
I don’t care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
my life,
and its hauled up

Jeremy Bender is an upbeat track from Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s 1971 release Tarkus.  The album was the second release from the band which tightened up their sound somewhat and eliminated the Jazz and acoustics of their first release.



I had a teen crush on the woman pictured on the inside jacket (lower right) of Derek & the Dominos’ only album, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. I found out years later that it may be bassist Carl Radle’s girlfriend who committed suicide after his death from kidney failure in 1980. I’m still researching her name.

The album was released in 1970 and included some big names, Duane Allman, Bobby Whitlock, Radle’s, and of course Clapton. Much of the band fell into a period of heavy drug abuse during this time. The album is a tribute to Patty Boyd, who was George Harrison’s wife at the time. Eventually Clapton and Boyd did marry. This is one of my favorite tracks from the record.


“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake

The Doors released this debut album in 1967. Jim Morrison would be dead four years later. The controversy surrounding the band existed from it’s inception when they were fired from “The Whiskey a Go Go” for including “indecent” profanity laced material into their dramatic epic “The End”. This debut album features a number of unforgettable tracks and could be considered a greatest hits album in its own right. The doors made seven more LPs after this and nearly all of them reached the Top 10 in the charts. This is one of the most important records of the psychedelic, late sixties rock and roll era.

T.Rex – The Slider


I thought how god would be, he’d be all alone without a telephone”.

– Marc Bolan (T.Rex)

The Slider is my favorite T.Rex album and, as one reviewer put it, “If you have to be told this album is good, then you’ve never had your Marc Bolan moment.” It was recorded in 1972, and, while disputed, the cover photo is credited to Ringo Starr.

Note: Marc Bolan added two daubs of glitter under his eyes for a performance and Glam Rock was born.

imageThe world never caught up to Frank Zappa. His music was innovative, humorous, experimental, and intelligent. He didn’t care about being accepted and created the noises that he wanted to create. He blasted the establishment constantly, speaking out against recreational drug use criminalization (even though he didn’t do drugs himself), formulaic pop music, human stupidity, and the church.

Joe’s Garage Acts 1, 2 & 3 Was released in 1979. It is probably the easiest Zappa Album to listen to and displays all of the elements he is touted for.



When it’s cold, it comes slow
It is warm, just watch it grow
All around me
It is here, it is now

Just a little bit of it can bring you up or down
Like the supper it is cooking in your hometown
It is chicken, it is eggs, it is in between your legs
It is walking on the moon, leaving your cocoon

It is the jigsaw, it is purple haze
It never stays in one place, but it’s not a passing phase
It is in the single’s bar, in the distance of the face
It is in between the cages, it is always in a space
It is here, it is now

Any rock can be made to roll if you’ve enough of it to pay the toll
It has no home in words or goal, not even in your favorite hole
It is the hope for the dope when you ride the horse without a hoof.
It is shaken, not stirred, cocktails on the roof

When you eat right through it you see everything alive
It is inside spirit, with enough grit to survive
If you think it’s pretentious, you’ve been taken for a ride
Look across the mirror son, before you choose, decide
It is here, it is now, it is real, it is real

‘Cause it’s only knock and know all, but I like it
Yes it’s only knock and know all, but I like it
Yes it’s only knock and know all, but I like it, I like it ,I like it
Only knock and know all, but I like it, like it, like it
Like it all around me, like it all around me
‘Cause I like it, like it, like it, like it