In honor of the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s death yesterday, two songs which, in their own ways, embody a principle of excess…something poor Elvis never did learn how to deal with. (It’s somehow appropriate that this is a day late, too…)
Pink Floyd “See Saw” (A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968): The audio equivalent of a meringue sauna, and a variation on the infamous metal slogan: “everything swimming in everything else.” It’s exceedingly pretty, but writer Richard Wright smartly realizes that such prettiness can become cloying (even if that’s half the intended effect) without a bit of something else, so the song is quite restless harmonically and is interrupted several times by a seemingly out-of-nowhere cross-rhythmic bit on xylophone. I am not entirely certain anyone was fully awake while this was recorded.
The Bonzo Dog Band “Canyons of Your Mind” (Tadpoles, 1969): From the sublime to the ridiculous, the brilliant Vivian Stanshall’s tribute to Elvis. The overwrought horns, the stodgy fifties chord sequence, Stanshall’s vocal mannerisms, and, of course, his absurdist lyrics, simultaneously constitute both a vicious attack on and a curiously loving homage to Mr. Presley. Plus – The Worst Guitar Solo In The World.