Only once or twice in any generation will a pop song rise to the level of universal symbol.
The one that always spoke to me was “Desperado.”
The band: The Eagles. Kind of a southern rock/pop style backed by strong vocal harmonies and blended by not one but two song writers, one of them the newly departed Glenn Frey.
But, that tune, a signature for the intimate, 70’s love song crooner, was about even more; this was the ballad of the touring minstrel, and what he’d learned about life.
My father had been his own generation’s vagabond songbird. He’d met mum, on a night train, its steam engine stopped long, enough, to wake her enough to spy the dashing, raven haired soldier who just needed a seat. He’d sung to her, all night, and spun his stories, and woo’ed her, and gotten off the train, and been pursued by the great American hand written letter, until he let her love him and married her.
Though our generation preceded the technological rush by just a few, short years, our pop idols still knew how to sing alone. But, none of them had been trained in the art, if there even was one, of The Tour; nobody told them they’d live out of a bus, never eat right, rarely sleep, and probably go through so many groupies it would be hard to remember their own names, let alone those of the eager teenage girls who clamored back stage. Yet, they were the last of the clarified poets – lyrics, always close to our ears, never frantic, in time with our lives, right next to our hearts.
None of us knows what inspired the lyrics to that nomad’s song. But, I can remember singing it, loud and soaring, year after year, behind the wheel of the Pontiac Ventura and then the Sunbird, to and from work in the Greek dinor and, later, on the way home from my own pop band gigs, after the latest boyfriend had stood me up. To me, every heartbreak and heartbreaker was a Desperado, out ridin’ fences, never ready to come to his senses. He never did let me love him, and it was always too late.
Rest in Peace, beloved balladeer. Soar with the eagles, now . And, for letting us love you – thanks. ❤
RIP Glenn Frey.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 1/18/16 All rights the author’s. Thanks. littlebarefeetblog.com