Saturday, December 17, 2005

Goofy Lyrics from the '70s

When I wrote my last entry about pirate lyrics, it got me thinking about other songs with goofy lyrics. There is no shortage of songs containing trite phrases, epic tales of battles with the gods, melodramatic angst-rants, or stream of consciousness babble about a bathroom. And those are just ones that my bands wrote...

Sometimes, though, they go above and beyond and must be recognized so this is the second part of a series of posts about goofy lyrics.

Today's topic: Tolkien-esque Fantasy
Every teenage boy goes through a Rush phase. OK, perhaps it's every white teenage boy goes through a Rush phase. Maybe it's every middle class, midwestern, white, teenage-boy-who-is-coming-off-of-a-metal-phase goes through a Rush phase. No matter. There are many of us. If you go back far enough in your Rush collection, though, you will find the period between Neal Peart joining the band around 1975 and the time that they hit the mainstream around 1980 there was a distinct interest in grand tales of mythology and Tolkien-esque fantasy. The best known is probably 2112 but Rush had so many examples. The two part Cygnus X-1 trip through a black hole that spanned two albums is another classic. Some of the best examples of the "cult of j.r.r." were in their earlier work. Perhaps my favorite is By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

Tobes of Hades, lit by flickering torchlight
The netherworld is gathered in the glare
Prince By-Tor takes the cavern to the north light
The sign of Eth is rising in the air

Spoiler Alert: Snow Dog is victorious.

Or how about The Necromancer from Caress of Steel -- a song in 3 parts titled
I. Into the Darkness II.
II. Under the Shadow
III. Return of the Prince

Guess what? By-Tor returns! This time he is redeemed.

Prince By-Tor appears to battle for freedom from chains of long years
The spell has been broken...the Dark Lands are bright.
The Wraith of the Necromancer soars
away in the night.'

Stealthily attacking
By-Tor slays his foe
The men are free to run now
From labyrinths below

Here's something you didn't know. I read that Peter Jackson's next movie will be about By-Tor. Another blockbuster for Jackson I suspect.

Of course, Rush was not the only band with Tolkien tendencies. Led Zeppelin may have started the rock-n-roll epic tales genre with songs like The Battle of Evermore and, of course, the classic Ramble On

Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear.
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air.
T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her....yeah.


Zeppelin had another song with white shining ladies, May queens, pipers and some sort of a stairway but I don't think it ever really caught on.

There are, of course, many more out there. Feel free to add more examples of Tolkien-esqe Fantasy lyrics in your comments.


Anonymous said...

Ew. Gollum sex.

Anonymous said...


Duffergeek said...

Yeah! Totally dope!