Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, And Jimmy Hendrix

By Larry Fyffe

Poet William Blake critiques organized religion for suppressing sex as a unifying fiery force within the physical world; he envisions sexual union as a holy spirit that ought to be enjoyed by humankind rather than the spiritual sexual urge being chained up and confused by the doctrine of death -‘original sin’ – as taught by black-robed priests:

Unless the heart catch fire
The God will not be loved
Unless the mind catch fire
The God will not be known
(William Blake: The Pentecost)

The preRomantic poet draws on metaphoric gnostic-like imagery of the Christian God found within the Holy Bible:

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow
And his eyes were as a flame of fire
(Revelation 1:14)

Blake’s sensual imagery is not lost on the rocknrollers of modern popular music.

With piano a-pounding:
I laughed at love because I thought it funny
You came along, and you moved me honey
I've changed my mind, this love is fine
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire
(Jerry Lee Lewis: Great Balls Of Fire ~ Blackwell/Hammer)

With guitar a-blazing:

Say my arrows of are made of desire, desire
From far away as Jupiter's sulphur mines
Way down in the Methane Sea
(Jimmy Hendrix: Voodoo Child/Slight Return)

Singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan grows up in an era when rocknroll music dominates the air waves emanating from popular music radio stations:

They killed him on the altar of the rising sun ...
Play 'Lucille'
(Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)

‘Lucille’ –  piano a-pounding:

I woke up this morning, Lucille was not in sight
I asked my friends about her, God, all they did was laugh
Lucille, come home where you belong
(Jerry Lee Lewis: Lucille ~ Collins,

Likewise, an earlier rendition thereof:

I woke up this morning, Lucille was not in sight
I asked my friends about her, but all their lips were tight
Lucille, please come back where you belong
(Little Richard: Lucille)

Quieted down is the guitar tempo in the gnostic-tinted song below:

Well, I went back to see about her once
Went back to straighten it out
Everybody that I talked to had seen us there
Said they didn't know who I was talking about
(Bob Dylan: Red River Shore)

The guitar subdued again in the song below:

They walked along by the old canal
A little confused, I remember well
They stopped into a strange hotel
With the neon burning bright
He felt the heat of the night
(Bob Dylan: Simple Twist Of Fate)

Piano a-rolling in the following lament:

He had a lovely wife, and two children seldom seen
But they shot him in the backseat of a Lincoln limousine
(Jerry Lee Lewis: Lincoln Limousine)

Slowed down piano in the double-edged lament below with the  alliterations still abounding; John Kennedy’s physical body is destroyed, but the memories of his lively spirit are not:

I'm riding in a long, black Lincoln limousine
Riding in the backseat next to my wife
Heading straight on in to the afterlife
(Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)


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