Forward Into the Past, Musically
Longevity has its place. And sometimes in the musical world, that place is one of utter confusion.
I was recently listening to the title track from Stan Ridgway’s first solo album, The Big Heat. As is the wont with Ridgway’s lyrics, there was a little twist in the song – in this case, toward the end.
A block away he wondered if he’d left behind a clue
The front page of a paper dated 1992
He remembered when he used to be the chairman of the board
But that was when the world was young and long before the war
Back when the solo album was released, the lyric had a futuristic feel, predicting a devastating war that would occur a few years after the song was written.
Now, of course, 1992 was a quarter century ago, and people listening to the song may not get the meaning.
Of course, Ridgway wasn’t the first to use futuristic references in his lyrics. Wings released a song called “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.” As Wings fans know, by the time we actually got to 1985, Wings had gone up in a cloud of smoke.
But that still gave Paul (and Linda and Denny; this was during one of the periods that Wings only had three members) to rock out.
On no one left alive in 1985, will ever do
She may be right
She may be fine
She may get love but she won’t get mine
‘Cause I got you
Oh, oh I, oh oh I
Well I just can’t enough of that sweet stuff
My little lady gets behind
But that isn’t the only futuristic reference in the song. Toward the end of the song, just before the reprise to “Band On The Run” (Paul loves those reprises), he and the other two (with a little help from their friends) were rocking on to the 19th century piece “Also sprach Zarathustra.”
You may know it as the theme to the formerly futuristic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.