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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Folklore/Gossip VS. Reality: James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" and "Fire and Rain" :)

 

For some reason, I woke up this morning with James Taylor's song, "Carolina In My Mind" :)

Probably, because I'm missing the mountains, after vacationing there in June and spending our anniversary at The Biltmore Estate (see the sidebar videos.)

Also,  I'm a huge JT fan, I love JT, always have - I play JT when I just want to chill or am traveling :)

As for this video, it's someone else's photos to the soundtrack of the song, which shows the diverse landscape of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western part of the state, to the tropical coastline in the Eastern part of the state :)




Lyrics:

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
And, ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

Karin, she's a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shinin'
Watch her, watch the morning come
A silver tear appearing now
I'm cryin', ain't I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

There ain't no doubt in no one's mind
That love's the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey, babe, the sky's on fire
I'm dying, ain't I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind, I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine, sugar?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent, late last night
I think I might have heard the highway call my name
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Other signs that might be omens say, "I'm goin', I'm goin'"
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

And it's with a holy host of others standin' around me
Still, I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me
If I'm up and gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
Said I'm gone to Carolina
I'd better get back on home again, real soon, you know?
'Cause I'm gone to Carolina in my mind


This started me thinking about the gossip and folklore that surrounds the inspirations behind JT's music VS. reality, and how much that we, as a culture, have now embraced gossip more than fact.

You see, after James Taylor wrote "Fire and Rain,"  which is partially about the death of an actual person, people assumed that all of JT's songs were inspired by actual people and events, and tried to figure them all out lol.

Thus, folklore about the meaning behind his songs took on a life of their own.

What's interesting is - NONE of the folk stories that went any of his songs -  including Fire and Rain - were true.

Thus, it's a lesson on what people believe and spread around versus truth. 

Sometimes, like in JT's case, they're harmless - but other times, not so much (politics).


Folk Story/Urban Legend/Myth about the song "Fire and Rain:" 

There are several folk stories people believe about this song, but the most popular version goes that JT's friend, Suzanne Schnerr, was killed in a plane crash on a surprise flight to London to see him recording at Apple Records, which was arranged by his friends,, and thus explains the lyric "sweet dreams and flying machines, in pieces on the ground" and "Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you."


Reality: 

Suzanne died by suicide - and as he has recently told it, in a 2017 interview -  after "her family had her committed undeservingly, because they wanted to control her" and she wanted to escape this control. 

His friends didn't tell him about either being committed or her suicide until he'd finished his first recording in London at the Beatles' Apple studios, for fear it'd blow a big opportunity for him.

Thus, in the lyric "Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you," the "they" refers to both her family's decisions to have her committed, as well as his friends' refusal to tell him about her committal and suicide, which had kept him from being present, and his subsequent guilt, wondering if perhaps if he had been there, instead of London, he could've saved her.  

As for the line, "sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground" was about his own depression that followed after the prior and recent failure of his band,

Thus, the only aspect of this folklore that is true is that the Suzanne mentioned in the song was a friend of JT's that died - period. 


In fact, there are so many stories about the song, and over-analyzation of the lyrics,  that Stephen Colbert and JT created their own parody of the song, filled with nonsense lyrics in 2019, called "Fire,  Rain, and Calzones"  lol 



Now - there was also a show where Stephen Colbert and JT sang "Carolina on my Mind" as a duet (as Stephen Colbert is from South Carolina and still has a home there), but no one has the video for that, just the audio:(

I would really like to see that, because as everyone knows (including my husband), Stephen Colbert is also one of my imaginary husbands lol. 

I have many imaginary celebrity husbands, in every category, mind you lol -  like Aaron Rodgers ins my imaginary sports husband, Sting is one of my many imaginary music husbands (like JT),  and Stephen Colbert is comedians/talk show host husband lol.  

(I don't have any living in books or acting, though, they've all left us, so I guess they're my "heavenly husbands" now, but that's a whole other list, but Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, and Paul Newman, for starters lol)

All in fun, of course - I'm not a weird, diehard fan of any of these people, and admittedly, I don't care much for football as a whole, I just like Aaron Rogers lol.  But I know who everybody is because my husband is, both pro and college,  In fact, even as we speak, he's watching College Game Day, he never misses it :)

 And  to tell the truth - sorry Stephen - but I don't watch Stephen's show every night, I'm lucky to catch it even in a week (and often just YouTube clips - I usually binge watch TV anyway on the weekends. 


As for Carolina in My Mind ... 


Folk Story/Urban Legend/Myth about "Carolina In My Mind:" 

During his time at McLean Hospital for depression in the mid-60s, a fellow patient and friend, named Karin, became paranoid and hit him over the head with a chair, knocking him unconscious, where he "went to Carolina in his mind," explaining the lyric "Ain't it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind" and "Karin, she's a silver sun, you'd best walk her away and watch it shining"

(lol)

Reality:

James primarily wrote the song while taking a vacation break from recording at Apple studios on the Spanish Islands of Formentera and Ibiza, with a Swedish woman named Karin he'd just met, and the pair became stranded on the island overnight, and the song is about seeing the sunrise and feeling a sudden homesickness for North Carolina (JT was raised in Massachusetts and North Carolina). 


And the lyric, "ain't it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind?" 

He's actually referring to the memory of North Carolina sneaking up on him out of nowhere, when he least expects it, during an inopportune time - and if you also paid attention the lyrics before that line, you'd know that  :)


Ah, folklore VS, the reality of songs. 


I remember as a child, folk stories about songs and bands were especially popular with the charismatic evangelical set, only they usually also had a more sinister bend to the rumors, like The Eagles "Hotel California" and any song that KISS every played because they believe "KISS" actually stood for "Kings In Service of Satan," and if you listened to these songs, you took a chance of becoming under Satan's power lol.

Because Lord knows that charismatic evangelicals are obsessed with the devil more than they are with Jesus, as well as their abject paranoia that something sinister outside of us can somehow take over our minds and possess us unaware -  which of course would not only completely negate the Christian concept of free will entirely, but is also a revealing self-portrait of their own propensity towards gullibility  ;)


Thus, I wasn't allowed to listen to most secular music -  but believe me, I've made up for lost time since ;)


And for the record, though I believe young minds are impressionable and they can walk away with the wrong impression after being influenced by people, music, books, movies, video games -  I do NOT that these things, in and of themselves, can "take over" or "possess" anyone, as there's  still always free will choice, even in young ones - nothing can influence you without your choice or consent.

Thus, I believe we shouldn't ban these things, but instead, listen/watch these things WITH our children -  when age-appropriate -  with an open mind, making our own opinion (rather than letting others tell us what we should think, without ever viewing/listening ourselves), thereby giving full perspective and discussing them WITH our children :) 

Besides, forbidding fruit entirely makes it that much sweeter - so IMO, it's good to discuss the pros and cons, the choices and consequences,  with our children ;)


Heck, even with beauty pageants, I'd watch them with my daughter so that she could be sure to get a full perspective on what our culture celebrates about the surface of women VS. the full-picture reality of women :)


Though still not a huge fan, as for KISS, the name of the band means exactly what you think it would mean, "kiss," and drummer, Peter Criss, gave the band its name as an extension of the name of his previous band called "Lips."  

The crazy costumes and hair were simply a gimmick to get attention, positive or negative, just like Ozzy Osbourne (only in KISS's case, perhaps to cover for the fact that though they wrote fun party songs, they weren't very talented? ;)

Hotel California was written after reading the book, "The Magus," by John Fowles, and the band wanting to write a similar, creepy, metafiction, Twilight Zone-ish song, just to see if they could, based on some of the life of excess and weird stuff they saw in California, taken to an extreme. 

Persistent rumors abound that the Hotel California is based on the house of Anton Levay's Church of Satan in San Francisco.

Even if that were true, the song is about the excess and underbelly of entertainment business in LA, taken to a Twilight Zone degree, so it's a criticism of that - NOT an advertisement for it lol.


Just a little lesson in folk story/urban legend/myth and what people believe based on gossip VS. reality, brought to you by me :)






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