Elliott Murphy Honored With the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Elliott Murphy has been honored with the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture. The medal will be awarded to Elliott in a ceremony on November 4 in Paris. The Order of Arts and Letters includes such American artists as Clint Eastwood, Patti Smith, Terry Gilliam, Paul Auster and Meryl Streep.
Elliott Murphy's classic album Lost Generation featured in Rolling Stone. Elliott Murphy's 1975 classic album Lost Generation, produced by Paul Rothschild (Doors, Janis Joplin), has been featured in a current Rolling Stone top singer-songwriter albums of the 1970's article. You can buy it NOW on iTunes.
Elliott Murphy's new album Aquashow Deconstructed is the long-awaited return visit to his classic first album Aquashow (1973) where each of the ten original songs have been re-recorded with stunning new arrangements, intense vocals and renewed excitement. The original album title came from his father's 1950's watershow and the seeds for these songs were planted while Elliott was busking for change in Europe in 1971. He explains: "Even though the original Aquashow album was released in 1973, the songs have always stayed with me as I continue to play many of them, particularly 'Last of the Rock Stars,' 'How's The Family' and 'White Middle Class Blues' in concert. Now, forty years later, I decided to record these songs again, in a different way, deconstructed, while maintaining the integrity and emotional link to the original. It was quite an intense for me, to revisit these same songs with my son at the recording desk so many years later." Aquashow Deconstructed will give Aquashow a well-deserved second life (Prestigious UK music magazine UNCUT recently called it an album classic) bridging the last century to the current one. This was the album that critics heaped praise and proclaimed Murphy the new Bob Dylan, Lou Reed or even, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Aquashow Deconstructed will be an instant classic for the legions of long time Elliott Murphy fans and also the perfect album to introduce new listeners to his music. In today's instant celebrity atmosphere it is rare that an album is released with such a historic story behind it. Elliott's son Gaspard Murphy has produced this album with young ears (he is now the same age Elliott was when he recorded the original 24 years old) and Elliott himself tried to play as many of the instruments as possible with brilliant contributions from his long time virtuoso guitarist Olivier Durand. And, as you might expect, like the original, Elliott is sporting a dandyish white suit on the cover! A classic album is reborn! You can buy it NOW in our online store.
JUSTICIA POETICA: Poetic Justice, the acclaimed neo-western novel by Elliott Murphy has been published in a superb Spanish edition Justicia Poetica by Tropo Editores and includes a 4 track EP Soundtrack in search of a film... which includes two original songs written by Elliott for this publication - "Poetic Justice Theme" and "The Ballad of Petit-Jean" - as well as a reading by Elliott of Chapter 1 of Poetic Justiceem> (in English!) backed by harmonica and guitar and a previously unreleased rocking version of "If Poets Were King" to celebrate the iconic American poet Walt Whitman who figures prominently in the story of Poetic Justice. For those who read Spanish Justicia Poetica + EP is available at the Store as well as the EP alone!
NEW INTERVIEW: Concert Blooger, an online music magazine, has a new interview with Elliott, "Elliott Murphy Has the 'Medal' to Succeed," by Danny Coleman. Among opther things, Elliott talks about the audiences in Europe compared to those in the U.S.: "In many ways, the people, the audiences are the same; it's art, it's music, it creates a common bond. They are very into it, into the music and honestly, they tend to stay faithful much longer. Rock music here is a cultural phenomenon; age doesn't matter and as an artist you get great support." Read the entire interview at Concert Blogger.
NEW EP! INTIME is a five-song collection of intimate songs recently written and recorded by Elliott Murphy in Paris. The songs were inspired as he sat at his kitchen table looking at the vacant window across the street on rue Beauregard. Produced and mixed by his son Gaspard Murphy and featuring Olivier Durand on guitar along with Laurent Pardo (bass) and Alan Fatras (drums). There is a 21st Century spiritual theme throughout the collection with a production style that is both modern and traditional at the same time, unlike anything Elliott has previously released Intime is a very powerful and personal collection of recordings which demand … intimacy. Available March 10th! All mail orders of Intime from the Elliott Murphy store will receive a signed copy of the lyrics.
Celui qui regarde du dehors à travers une fenêtre ouverte, ne voit jamais autant de choses que celui qui regarde une fenêtre fermée. (A man looking out of an open window never sees as much as the same man looking directly at a closed window.) Charles Baudelaire, Les Fenetres, Petits Poèmes en prose, 1869
Order now directly from the Elliott Murphy Store.
Download the lyrics for Intime.
OTRO VERANO: The wonderful independent Spanish film Otro Verano, directed by Jorge Arenillas and featuring music by Elliott Murphy (including a new version of "Summer House") can be seen for free in HD on Vimeo with English subtitles. Jorge and Elliott are currently working on a new project together. Stay tuned!
THE RCA YEARS: Lost Generation & Night Lights Reissue! Australia's outstanding reissue label Raven Records has released Elliott Murphy's classic early albums Lost Generation and Night Lights in a single CD set called The RCA Years. Included in the 12 page booklet are extensive notes by Elliott himself and many rare photos. Both albums have undergone painstaking remastering to bring out every detail of these iconic analog recordings. All Music Guide has long rated both albums with 4 stars and now they have never sounded better. Sidemen included drummer Jim Gordon (Derek and the Dominos), Sonny Landreth (John Hiatt), Doug Yule (The Velvet Underground), Billy Joel and many others. Lost Generation was produced by Door's producer Paul Rothschild and Night Lights by Steve Katz who produced Lou Reed's Rock 'n Roll Animal. Order now directly from the Elliott Murphy Store.
ALL ELLIOTT MURPHY RADIO: Elliott's long time fan Rick Cesario (he bought Aquashow in 1973!) has set up the first ALL ELLIOTT MURPHY internet radio station on Shoutcast. Elliott Murphy & The Normandy All Stars will be supplying him with rare tracks and station ID's. Thanks to his son for helping get it all together. Be sure to tune in!
Free MP3!: Visit the MP3 page for a free listen or download of Elliott's recent song about the economy, "What The Fuck Is Going On?" Recorded live in Stockholm in 2011 with the Normandy All Stars.
Elliott Murphy And The Normandy All Stars Annual December Tour Elliott and the band will be in Philadelphia, New York, Amagansett, Ringwood, Piermont, Northampton and Teaneck this December. Full details on the tour page. Come on out for a fantastic evening of music, old and new! Click on the image above for a bigger version.
Elliott Murphy Awarded Prestigious French Award! Elliott Murphy was awarded the prestigious Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris in a formal ceremony on October 1, 2012 at the Hotel de Ville in Paris. He joined the ranks of past winners that include fashion designers Valentino and Gianni Versace, actress Jane Fonda, Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling and Def Jam president Kevin Liles. Read Elliott's full acceptance speech.
Poetic Justice is finally available in English ! Elliott's legendary neo-western novel Poetic Justice is finally available in an English version at Amazon.com. You can purchase a paperback edition or download a digital version to read on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle or other device. If you happen to be an Amazon.com Prime Member you can even borrow the book to read for free on a Kindle! It's a great summer read!
Lost Generation and Night Lights are finally available! Sony/BMG has announced the re-release of these two classic albums as digital downloads after years of waiting by frustrated fans. Lost Generation (1975) was Elliott's second album where to escape the New York media frenzy following the release of his iconic first album Aquashow he relocated to Los Angeles to work with legendary Doors Producer Paul Rothschild and a who's who of the finest session players of the time including drummer Jim Gordon (Derek and the Dominos) and keyboardist Richard Tee (Paul Simon). For Night Lights, Murphy returned to New York's mythological Electric Lady Studios with producer Steve Katz (Lou Reed) and an amazing iconoclastic band including Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) and Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads). Both albums have long been rated 4 stars by the respected All Music Guide and are now available at iTunes (Lost Generation | Night Lights), Amazon (Lost Generation | Night Lights) and other digital download sites.
The great photos of Olivier Durand and Laurent Pardo are by Dany Wilmet whose credit was mistakenly left off the CD.
GB Music in the USA is proud to announce the release of three ELLIOTT MURPHY CDs:
All three cds are in digipacks.There is also A Deluxe Signed Limited Edition of the new live Just A Story From New York. This 2 CD version has 4 bonus tracks and is limited to 100 copies. Each copy is hand signed by Elliott and comes with a print of the setlist from the show, hand signed and numbered as well. To order please go to the GB Records site.
Just like Mark Twain Every Elliott Murphy concert is unique but this sold-out event, which was held on the vintage Swedish steamboat Blidösund on July 20, 2011, was very special indeed. The packed boat circled the incredible archipelago of Stockholm while Elliott played two personalized solo sets to the accompaniment of an awe-inspiring sunset. Everyone who returned to port said their life was indelibly changed for the better. We are trying to make it an annual event!
New iTunes Exclusive Album! Elliott Murphy & The Normandy All Stars featuring Olivier Durand recently spent a day in an Amsterdam studio for the legendary 2 Meter Radio show. They recorded 7 songs including David Bowie's "Heroes" as well as selections from the recently released Elliott Murphy album and a slow, soulful version of Elliott's classic "Green River" and you can get it now on iTunes:
New Album! Elliott Murphy's new 2011 album, although musically rich and lyrically intense, has a very simple title - Elliott Murphy - and begins a new cycle in the Murphy career and legend as it was produced by none other then Elliott's 20 year-old son Gaspard Murphy. Once again featuring virtuoso guitarist Olivier Durand and The Normandy All Stars, the album was recorded in Le Havre, New York City, and Paris with guests Kenny Margolis on keyboards (Willy DeVille) and backing vocals by Laura Mayne (Native), Alain Chenneviere (Pow Wow) and Lisa Lowell (Bruce Springsteen). 11 Unforgettable songs like "Poise 'n Grace" and "Rock 'n Roll 'n Rock 'n Roll." A classic in the works!
Order the CD now from the website store!
It's also available at iTunes:
Fall Shows: Elliott Murphy and the Normandy All Stars featuring Olivier Durand will be playing shows all over Europe in anticipation of the January 2011 release of Elliott's new album simply titled Elliott Murphy and produced by Gaspard Murphy. Hear many of the new songs performed live! Check the tour section for details.
Elliott Immortalized: Hard rocking Bob Dye & The Usual Suspects have written and recorded a moving homage to Elliott with their incredible song "The Last Rock Star." Check out news section for song lyrics and links to the MP3.
Summer Shows: Elliott Murphy and the Normandy All Stars featuring Olivier Durand are about to start hitting summer festivals all over Europe - France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Sweden. Check the Tour section for details.
The 2010 Annual Birthday Show: For Elliott's European fans (or those visiting Paris from the US) be sure not to miss his annual and legendary show at New Morning in Paris on Saturday March 27, 2010. (click on the image for a bigger version)
The Unfished Complete Lyrics Of Elliott Murphy Lenoir Ediciones announces the publication of The Unfinished Complete Lyrics of Elliott Murphy featuring the lyrics of 231 songs album by album. With a beautiful cover photo by Jack Mitchell from the Aquashow sessions and full of photos from all periods of Elliott's career inside. All the words from Aquashow to Notes From the Underground! Now available in the store on this site.
Cafe Heartbeat Concert On A USB Stick: Radio T in Chemitz, Germany recently recorded an Elliott Murphy And The Normandy All Stars Featuring Olivier Durand show at the great Cafe Heartbeat in Zwonitz and to satisfy the fans who wanted to take that great night home with them Radio T immediately burned engraved USB sticks to purchase after the show. The set list is:
1. The Valley Below
2. O Wyoming
3. A Touch of Mercy
4. Green River
6. Pneumonia Alley
7. The Day after Valentine's Day
9. Canaries In The Mind
10. You Never Know What You're In For
11. The Last of the Rock Stars
12. On Elvis Presley's Birthday
Here's the link to purchase the USB. They still have a limited supply left so act fast.
We're so East Coast! Elliott Murphy will be returning to the East Coast of the U.S.A. for five shows in mid April 2009 on his Memory and Desire tour. Elliott will be performing with his incredible French backing band The Normandy All Stars featuring his amazing guitarist Olivier Durand. Once again, opening the show will be singer-songwriter Jann Klose and expect some surprises during Elliott's encores. Dates are confirmed in Fairfield CT, Fall River MA, Asbury Park NJ, Hoboken NY and Amagansett NY - check Tour section for details. These will be Elliott's first USA shows with a band in over a decade. For booking/gig information Anne Leighton and stay tuned for more information. "We're so East Coast - So here's a toast - Here's to everything that I wanted the most." ("Change Will Come")
Crawdaddy! Feature Article: One of the true original and long standing American rock 'n roll mags, Crawdaddy!, has posted a long interview and feature article on Elliott on their site written by legendary rock writer and long time Murphy admirer Mick Skidmore. Check it out.
I wish they all could be California Girls! Elliott Murphy will be playing his first West Coast shows in the U.S.A. in twelve years in January 2009 on his Hollywood Tour! Opening the show will be up and coming singer songwriter Jann Klose and Elliott will be appearing as a duo with his amazing guitarist Olivier Durand. Dates are confirmed in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Tehachapi, San Diego, Long Beach and at the NAMM show in Anaheim - check Tour section for details. Plans for an April 2009 Mid West tour with band are in the works. For booking/gig information Anne Leighton and stay tuned for more information. Hollywood - you shaped my life with a technicolor carving knife ...
Hometown boy makes good! The Marie of the 6th Arrondisement in Paris, along with the University Paris Diderot, will host a two week long exposition honoring the 35 year career in music and literature of Elliott Murphy from September 10 - 26, 2008 entitled Elliott Murphy - Last of the Rock Stars - Retrospective that will culminate with a live concert on 26 September. It will be located in the beautiful Mairie (town hall) of the 6th Arrondisement in Paris right near the famous cafés of St. Germain. If you're planning a trip to Paris and you're an Elliott Murphy fan it's a great time to visit the city of light which Elliott has called home for the past 18 years. Right click on the image to download a full size, press quality PDF poster. (It's a big file.)
Elliott, Gaspard and Bruce: On June 27, 2008 Elliott Murphy and his talented guitarist son Gaspard Murphy joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for "Born To Run" in front of 50,000 ecstatic fans at Parc de Princes in Paris, France. When Bruce invited Elliott to join him on stage shortly before the show and suggested "Born to Run" Elliott thought he might be unsure of the chords but Gaspard piped in that he could teach Dad as he knew the song by heart. And Bruce, in an incredible gesture of generosity, said "Well, if you know the song Gaspard then you can come up and play it too!" An unforgettable night for a father and son reunion and a memory that will last forever. See a larger version of the photo.
US radio airplay! "What's That" - an exciting up-tempo track from Elliott's recent release Notes From The Underground in which he sings his way through the entire alphabet ("A is for amazed when you walk out of the show - B is for bedazzled its the witching hour") is receiving airplay on NEXT: A New Music Show on radio station The Peak 107.1 from White Plains, New York. If you listen to The Peak and would like to hear more Elliott Murphy music on that great rock station send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know.
New album now available! Elliott Murphy's new album Notes From The Underground is now available in the store here at elliottmurphy.com. It's also available at iTunes:
New online store! We've launched a new store here at elliottmurphy.com. Most of the items are available at our special "nice" price. We'll be adding more items soon. Visit the new store HERE.
Remember though, this is just a small portion of the Elliott Murphy CDs and LPs available. You can find a much larger collection at the "Official" Elliott Murphy store located HERE. You'll also find T-Shirts and books there.
New MP3 of "Canaries In The Mind." A solo acoustic version of the song from Coming Home Again. LISTEN NOW
Elliott Murphy and Red Lounge Records announce the release of The Murphys - The 1973 Aquashow Demos - on a limited Vinyl edition:
The album features a stunning photo from the original Aquashow sessions taken at the Plaza Hotel in New York City and consists of the very high quality demos that Elliott Murphy, Matthew Murphy and friend George Gates recorded before the final Aquashow sessions. Click here for more information and to order.
You can now purchase selected song downloads directly from this site. Currently you can purchase individual songs from Coming Home Again for $0.99 each. More songs will be added in the future.
New CD! Coming Home Again
From the opening drum fill of "Pneumonia Alley" it's clear that Elliott Murphy's 29th album Coming Home Again is something very special in the career of this legendary singer-songwriter. Coming Home Again is already being talked about as a return to the classic Murphy songwriting style that marked his early albums Aquashow and Just A Story From America. Recorded in Le Havre, France with a talented crew of musicians from Europe and America including virtuoso French guitarist Olivier Durand and New York keyboardist Kenny Margolis. In this impressive collection of 13 new songs Murphy tips his hat to cultural icons as diverse as Hemingway and Paris Hilton and exotic locales from India to Veracruz although the music and words belongs to that mythical place his fans now call Murphyland. They will even give you a passport if you ask!*
Coming Home Again features moving anthems ("Pneumonia Alley") and righteous rockers ("Marianne's Garage Sale") and of course the tender ballads Murphy is famous for "(Making Friends With The Dead" & "Home Again") as well as a eulogy to a fallen musical comrade ("Jesse"). The album includes a track so radio-friendly ("A Touch of Kindness") that perhaps we'll be hearing Elliott Murphy back on the radio all over the world once again as with his FM hits of the past "Drive All Night" and "Anastasia."
Murphy (who with guitarist Olivier Durand plays over 100 shows a year all over Europe) says that most of the songs were recently written on the road: "After my blues album Murphy Gets Muddy I wanted to get back to a rich and diverse sound and I was confident that my current band (drummer Alan Fatras [ex-Moon Martin] and bassist Laurent Pardo [ex-Kid Pharoen] and of course guitarist Olivier Durand could give me what I wanted to hear when we went into the studio. In fact, I could hear the finished songs in my head even before we began recording and all the musicians seemed to read my mind. We recorded in-between tours at Florent Barbier's [ex-Roadrunners] brand new studio in Le Havre. For many years now I've been an expatriate American musician living in Paris and on the road and to tell the truth I don't know where home is anymore. But I know that Coming Home Again is where I want to be."
Come home to the legendary sound of singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy with Coming Home Again and you'll never want to leave!
iTunes! Almost all of Elliott's albums are now available for purchase at iTunes, both in Europe and the US. 24 albums are currently available, including the "Vintage Series" releases (which are available at a special low price). You can purchase entire albums or individual songs. And the best part is all the proceeds go to Elliott, not some record label somewhere. Click this button to view Elliott's albums at iTunes.
New MP3 of "Open City." A radio performance of "Open City" By Elliott and Olivier Durand at Radio Paradiso on Suisse Radio recorded February 24, 2006. LISTEN NOW
Read Elliott's thoughts about Paul Nelson who died recently. Paul was important to Elliott in the early days of his career and without Paul's help Elliott would probably never have been noticed by the rock critics who were so influential at the time. Read Elliott's essay HERE.
Download Elliott's original handwritten lyrics for "Winners, Losers, Beggars, Choosers."
Franck Dumaine was kind enough to send us the original handwritten lyrics for this classic song. We've reproduced them as a PDF file which you can download HERE.
Aquashow featured in Uncut magazine. The April 2006 edition of the UK's Uncut magazine features a full page article on Aquashow under the heading "All-Time Classics." We've reproduced it as a PDF file which you can download HERE.
Join the new Elliott Murphy Mailing List. We'll keep you updated with news and information about Elliott, tour dates, CD releases and more. JOIN NOW
Download Elliott's original liner notes for the Velvet Underground's 1969 Live
Elliott recently came across his original liner notes for the Velvet Underground's 1969 Live album. We've reproduced them as a PDF file which you can download HERE.
When my debut album Aquashow was released in 1973 it marked the beginning of a life I started imagining when I first travelled to Europe and began writing songs in cheap hotel rooms in Rome's Campo di Fiori and played on the streets of Paris and Amsterdam. My fragile rock dreams at that tender post-adolescent, pre-adult age, focused on becoming a temporary member of the Rolling Stones bacchanalian entourage, then living and cavorting in the south of France while recording Exile on Main Street. I mean I was truly a worried man because rock stars were dropping all around me, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin were all dead within a few years and when I said, "Rock 'n roll is here to stay but who will be left to play" during the chorus of "Last of the Rock Stars" I wasn't being ironic. In fact, I was a visionary and still am, all the way up to Kurt Cobain. I was actually afraid it would all crumble, the whole rock 'n roll empire, before I had a chance to get inside and play whatever part, large or small, I was destined to play. Now, forty years later, Aquashow has come to symbolize (along with other albums of its era) the spirited end of a golden age in rock in the same way The Great Gatsby marked the end of the Roaring 20's or Marilyn Monroe's death unmasked the dark side of Hollywood glamour. In 1977 rock was given three fatal blows, the sad bloated death of Elvis, the riotous birth of monotonous disco and the revolutionary anarchy of Punk and things in the music world would never be the same again. But in 1973 talented and prolific rock critics such as Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Dave Marsh and Paul Nelson were giving rock an artistic legitimacy that it had never attained before and albums were being treated with the same respect as novels in Rolling Stone, truly, for a while at least, the bible of my generation.
From these few rock insiders the news of Aquashow spread to the mass media and my plaintive lyrics about rock's demise or the ennui of the suburbs or the tragedy of the modern American family caught the attention of Newsweek, The New Yorker, The New York Times and just about every other news outlet of the time. Unfortunately my management and record company were not up to the task of breaking my music through to the masses I hoped to reach and after a year of tremendous media attention and moderate sales, Aquashow faded from the pop consciousness and I moved on to record Lost Generation in Los Angeles wondering how I would top it. I had been crowned (or damned) as the latest "New Bob Dylan" (Bruce Springsteen has joked that when the critics were calling some of us that, the real Dylan was only 35 years old!) but I personally never thought that Aquashow sounded much like any Dylan album I knew except maybe for my harmonica playing. To set the record straight, Polydor never used the term "new Dylan" in any of their publicity and no serious critic ever actually called me that. But it was an easy tag that stuck then and still comes up, forty years later. Now some might say it's a curse but I can tell you that everyone who ever held that dubious title - and that includes myself, Bruce Springsteen, Louden Wainwright, John Prine and most lately Jake Bugg – are still out there working so maybe it's a guarantee of lifetime employment. The truth is that we all represented a different era of Bob Dylan (Aquashow was mostly compared to Blonde on Blonde) but none of us sound much like the other. Explain that …
On my new album Aquashow Deconstructed I sing those ten songs again but this time with wisdom, authority and perhaps even a touch of regret. Like Jay Gatsby, perhaps this is my way of trying to repeat the past, or at least come to terms with it, give it another chance and have a second fling with my Daisy. Aquashow was released on Polydor Records, in 1973 a weak and ineffectual label in the USA, so it was denied any huge commercial success in spite of all the media attention around it. Still, in spite of that, this album has somehow withstood the test of time: a few years ago the UK magazine Uncut called it an "album classic" and it received 41/2 stars in All Music Guide. To be honest, and I suppose with the smallest drop of bitterness, I confess that I always felt cheated because Aquashow deserved more then it got and "Last of the Rock Stars" should have been a hit single, a generational anthem, just like "American Pie" before it or "Born to Run" after it. But in spite of its initial bad luck this album put me on the map and started a career I'm still running with at an age when many of my peers are looking at retirement flats in Florida so my regrets are very few indeed.
Recording Aquashow Deconstructed was a very moving experience and singing those songs forty years later with my son (and producer) Gaspard Murphy sitting in front of me at the studio console was not easy. There were moments where I thought I couldn't do it; the emotions that arose and the demons it summoned were almost too strong to bear - I came close to breaking down during my vocal take on "How's The Family." We are all born to lose, that's the nature of life, and there was no way I could recapture the youthful innocence of that Elliott Murphy in his early 20's who wrote and sang those songs with no idea what was waiting for me down the road. They say if you want to be young when you're old you have to be old when you're young and when I recorded Aquashow I had already seen my world fall apart both personally with the death of my father and in the larger sense of my generation cutting ties over the Vietnam War, so I felt very old indeed. The gods of my youth had feet of clay and rock 'n roll, whose feet were dancing, was all I believed in. I assure you, I have no nostalgia for those days, in many ways the immediate fame that came my way was terrifying, so now with Aquashow Deconstructed I am reliving that experience from a safe distance, an ocean apart and forty years down the road.
Why now? For me, it seemed like a natural thing to do although I can't think of any other artist who has re-recorded their first album in such a way. The album's title came from the literary theory of Deconstruction that was proposed by the French philosopher Jacques Derrrida who said that literary works must outlive their author to still be meaningful. Songs are born to be immortal and when I first wrote the songs for Aquashow I had no idea that within a year I would be recording them and soon after my photo would be in Rolling Stone, or that the album they were on would attain the cult status that it has today or even stranger, that I would be re-recording them again forty years later in Paris. Back in the early 70's I saw a certain elegance and artistry in rock 'n roll and I wanted to define it in my own way so I wore a white suit on that cover and posed in the Palm Court of New York's Plaza Hotel – now again on the cover of Aquashow Deconstructed I wear a white suit although this time posing from the second floor of my coiffure in Paris because I loved his gold barber chair.
Studio notes: I recorded all my basic tracks in three days, me on guitar or electric piano with the vocal take done right after that. Then Olivier came in for a day to sprinkle his guitar magic and finally came the strings. The album was mixed in four days, which was a herculean feat on Gaspard's part, often working past eight in the morning - my son busy at the board while his daddy slept on the leather studio couch. The song I struggled with most was "Last of the Rock Stars" because I didn't want to repeat the rhythm of the original and I wanted there to be a certain bittersweet or melancholy quality to this new recording because the original almost overflowed with an effervescent energy. When a young man sings "he's the last of the rock stars," it takes a certain bravado and hubris but for a man of sixty-five to say that, well, it takes irony, regret and even reluctance. I mean, who wants to be the last of anything? It's a pretty lonely position to find yourself marooned, Robinson Crusoe like, on a desert island surrounded with … your own albums!
Aquashow has been re-released a few times but always in small quantities which quickly sell out. Now, those rare CDs can be found on EBay for a hundred bucks! I only wish I had a thousand of them to sell myself. When the Uncut review came out in 2006 there was a rumour that Polydor UK might release it again but nothing came of it. Fortunately, the other three of my gospels – Lost Generation, Night Lights and Just a Story from America are all available on CD. I would be thrilled for Polydor to dig deep into their vaults and release a deluxe Aquashow with all those outtakes I've forgotten about. Come on guys!
In the Rolling Stone review for Aquashow in 1974, Paul Nelson called me a "spiritual descendant" of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and said that I seemed to "... want something better, something with the glory of F. Scott and Ernest's Paris ..." and now here I am, living in Paris these last twenty-five years, walking up five flights to my top floor apartment where I can see the Tour Eiffel. I'm living the dream when I'm mindful enough to realize it. And now, with Aquashow Deconstructed, I have proved my hero F. Scott Fitzgerald right again as I emulate the last lines of The Great Gatsby, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." And so I had to dedicate Aquashow Deconstructed to my parents Josephine and Elliott Sr. because each of them gave me permission to follow the path I've taken and live the life I've lived. Each of these songs will always have a highly personal meaning to me, almost like a secret code, and many of them, like "Last of the Rock Stars" and "White Middle Class Blues," are still part of my live repertoire and have evolved through the years. The stunning cellos and violins on Don't Go Away, the closing track on the album, that Gaspard arranged is so quietly moving, as if the song stands still in time, and the perfect way to end the album. It's my prayer to myself, I suppose.
Read more archived messages from Elliott.