Journal Entry #37

Nature boy.

NORFOLK, CONN., JULY 15— For no obvious reason at all, I share a simple pleasure on a very fine Sunday afternoon. If there is a thought behind it that fits into words, it is only that we must never lose sight of what it is we honor as right and bright and good in life—what makes effort worth the effort—or forget our blessings. Fail to hold these ever in mind and you are done.

This takes 2 minutes, 51 seconds: .

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THERE IS AN INTERESTING STORY behind the lyric, if you have paused to listen. Not much detail, but good enough as we have it.

It was written in the 1940’s by one Eden Ahbez. Ahbez seems to have been an early Beat. It seems he traveled extensively, including long journeys in Asia—the Ginsberg–Gary Snyder scene, the truths of the East, before Ginsberg and Snyder and all the others got there. When he returned, Ahbez settled in Los Angeles—to be precise, in the bushes beneath the famous HOLLYWOOD sign. There he dwelt. There, so far as I can make out (and I have not done a lot of work on this), he wrote the lyric he called Nature Boy.

Somehow or other Nat Cole saw it. I think his chauffeur got hold of it and passed it to him—one story I have read. Nat was knocked out, and who can wonder: The world in a couple of hundred words. Cole asked to meet him, was taken along, and afterward set the lyric to music. You have just heard the result. It was recorded in 1947 and came out in ’48.

Something I thought to onpass.

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