Elliott Murphy
Lost Generation

Lost Generation
RCA Records APL1-0916
1975

  1. 1. Hollywood
  2. 2. A Touch Of Mercy
  3. 3. History
  4. 4. When You Ride
  5. 5. Bittersweet
  6. 6. Lost Generation
  7. 7. Eva Braun
  8. 8. Manhattan Rock
  9. 9. Visions Of The Night
  10. 10. Lookin' Back

About The Cover

“Who Divides The Ocean”

Really, I didn't want to look like a saint. Unlike Aquashow, this time around no one was willing to run with my ideas for the cover. I had decided that all my covers would be shot in Hotels so naturally, I wanted the Lost Generation cover shot in the Beverly Hills Hotel where I was staying during the recording. In fact, it's the hotel that is featured on the Eagles Hotel California cover. But there was a problem because we couldn't get permission or the hotel wanted too much money for the right to shoot there. Anyway, the other problem was that the original photographer that RCA hired for the shoot didn't get along with Paul Rothschild who produced the album. I'm not sure why. And so Paul almost stopped the recording unless I agreed to find another photographer which I did. Finally, we settled on Ed Caraeff who had taken some famous photos of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa and the photo session was done in the studio of his house in Laurel Canyon. What looks like a halo in back of me is actually a parachute. I've never been able to figure out why my eyes are brown in this photo when as far as I know they were still green way back then. I still have the “EM” cufflinks somewhere.

 

Liner Notes for the 1992 French CD Reissue

Lost Generation was almost produced by Lou Reed who I thank for bringing me to the attention of RCA Records after reading my liner notes for the Velvet Underground Live 1969 LP. But Lou went off on tour to Canada and I went to Los Angeles to work with legendary 'Doors' producer, Paul A. Rothschild. We recorded in the winter of 1975 and although it shocked my East Coat sensibility to see neon colored Christmas trees on sunny December days I came to enjoy the endless suburban vistas of Southern California and the easy availability of fresh orange juice.

The band was assembled from the best session players available during this pre-drum machine, pre-digital sampler time and my dream of playing with ex-Derek and the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon (and co-writer of "Layla") was realized. Paul suggested New York studio cats Richard Tee on piano and Gordon Edwards on bass (both Paul Simon alumni) to compliment Gordon's awesome swing. Los Angeles singer/songwriter Ned Doheny played guitar (there's even a street named after his great-grandfather "Doheny Drive" in West Hollywood) and the basic tracks were always in the groove.

For two months Geraldine and I lived in the Beverly Hills Hotel and I drove a rented T-Bird and Paul Rothschild told me about the time Jim Morrison stood in the middle of La Cienaga Boulevard drunk and crazed, directing traffic. I hoped to avoid Jim's fate although I too did move to Paris.

Most of these songs were written before recording began: "Lost Generation" was inspired by Nixon's shameful Vietnam retreat incredibly propagandized as 'Peace with Honor'; "Manhattan Rock" was about coming to terms with the 'bottom line' of the music business; "Bittersweet" about the time Geraldine escaped from her boarding school in Montreux, Switzerland and the jaundiced days in Geneva that followed. "Eva Braun" was my angry answer to the neo-fascist posturing of the glitter rockers. "History" was about my first girlfriend, broken heart, etc. Do kids still catch fireflies and put them in a jar to watch their lights twinkle on early summer evening? "Looking Back" was about the same ballerina, I think.

Both "Visions of the Night" (my favorite track on the album) and "When you Ride" were somewhat paranoid reflections on my mental state at the time. Too many reviews calling you the 'new Bob Dylan' take their toll, don't they Mr. Jones? "A Touch of Mercy" provided a small dose of spirituality and Brian Jones too. My brother Matthew had been involved in a terrible car wreck following a tour with the Kinks and he was unable to play bass on the LP - a decision I regretted ever since. And speaking of Ray Davies, Hollywood was maybe "Celluloid Heroes" part two but more about the effect of stardom on the fans.

I remember suggesting an Ad campaign like: 'in his new LP Lost Generation Elliott Murphy mentions Buddy Holly, Lou (Reed), Eva Braun and Adolph Hitler, Ezra Pound, Lord Byron, Brian Jones, F. Scott (Fitzgerald), (Ernest) Hemingway, Andy Warhol, (Greta) Garbo, James Dean, and Jimi (Hendrix). And maybe you too.' RCA had the good sense to ignore my suggestion and instead run just the cover photo, which makes me look like something off a Russian Icon although I was hardly angelic in those days. I can't remember what happened to those cufflinks!

But I will always remember driving down Sunset Boulevard with Geraldine singing along with the Beach Boys: "And we'll have Fun, Fun, Fun 'till the Record company takes my T-Bird away!"

Paris 1990

 

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: Lost Generation

Actually, Lou Reed was going to produce my second album himself but something happened and I wanted to go to Los Angeles anyway because for me it was the city of pop rock dreams. Paul Rothschild (Doors, Janis Joplin) produced the album and I stayed in the Beverly Hills Hotel for months sometimes passing Liz Taylor and Lee Marvin in the Polo Lounge. Jim Gordon (who co-wrote Layla with Eric Clapton and later he lost his mind and went to prison for killing his mother) played drums. I had a drink with Tom Waits and The Eagles were supposed to sing background but never showed up. We had to remix Lost Generation because RCA thought it was too depressing. I think my favorite songs are "Visions of the Night" and "History" both written for Geraldine. Sonny Landreth played slide guitar on a few tracks (he's now with John Hiatt) and it was his first paying session ever. I reminded him of that when I saw him a few years later and we both laughed. I may look like Jesus on the cover but that was neither my idea nor my role model at the time.

Taken from Crossroads magazine