November 12, 2007

On second thought, maybe I will go quietly

Walden PondI can't remember specifically, but I surely had moments in high school when I considered instigating a campaign to revive Transcendentalism to its mid-19th century height. I passed Brook Farm on my way to/from school, had swimm'd in the waters of the great pool in Concord, and thanks to my sophomore year American Lit class, I was well versed in Thoreau and Emerson. All the elements were in place to become a transparent eyeball and go live deliberately, following the beat of that different drummer and all that shizz. Naturally, I gravitated towards Don Henley's The End of the Innocence to aid my quest. I recall prying the jewel case free from its cardboard cocoon the day it arrived from Columbia House, assured that this album, my first ever mature record purchase, would usher me out of innocence as the title suggested. And so began a lifelong effort to suck the musical marrow out of every lyric.

My ambitions abated around track three. 'Is that really Axl Rose?', I wondered. W. Axl Rose on this super-serious-supposed-to-whisk-me-into-socially-conscious-adult-preppyhood record?

My new CD listening routine consisted of a blind listen first and then a second listen while reading the liner notes. "I Will Not Go Quietly" inspired my first ever mid-initial-listen liner note check. Sure enough, 'twas Axl screeching those background vocals. Edie Brickell, Melissa Etheridge, and Bruce Hornsby contributed to other tracks to make for a somewhat eclectic list of collaborators. (Edie Brickell was still cool back then prior to the Paul Simon brainwash. Hey whaddya know?!? Just wiki'd Edie Brickell and turns out she released a new album with the New Bohemians last year. I'll have to check it out.)

Don Henley became something of an adopted New Englander by vigorously supporting the Walden Woods project in the early '90s. Turn on the news any given night and there was Don giving a speech or making a pondside appearance. With commercial development around Walden Pond in check now and for the foreseeable future, Don Henley seems to have disappeared. My pop culture point of reference for Walden is now Eric Cartman from South Park. BEEFCAKE! BEEEFCAAAAAKE!!!

3 comments:

Jahidi Hoya said...

I have done my share to help Walden Pond.

I attended a concert at Madison Square Garden in 1990 that included Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Buffett and Don Henley.

I also have a lithograph hanging in my family room that depicts Thoreau's cabin. It is a limited edition signed by the artist. It was also signed by Jimmy Buffett (hence my interest in the piece).

If they ever tear it down to build a mall I want my money back!

LenBarker said...

JB, that's a great post, and I'm glad to see you contributing here.

Ancient Scientist said...

California man Henley embraces Walden? Does he even know who he is?