Before The Final Curtain Fell

crying_blood_by_sophel

Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. ~ Exodus 23:7

In the wake of yet another senseless slaughter, motivated by the tyranny of evil man, I tried in vain to think of a song that could capture the despair that overwhelms at times like these.

And these acts are nothing new, whether motivated by bigotry or religious difference, jihad, or any other reason. Oh no, it’s been going on since the beginnings of time; Abel and Cain, Ishmael and Isaac. And it just keeps on going, seemingly increasing in intensity and horror as we move forward.

On Sunday, as the news of the tragedy in Orlando broke, I tried to think of a song that was appropriate and could capture some of the angst and anger, horror and heartbreak, the fear and the loathing, but I couldn’t quite find it.

And then, as fate might have it, this song popped up on one of my Spotify playlists as I sat out in the evening air listening to some of my old faves. Hearing this, something spoke to me and the song began to feel right for this moment in time. Different but similar, and maybe more the tone the song set than the actual lyrics, though both bring forth the emotions mentioned above.

It made me think back to the summer of ’76 and how different my own mores and beliefs had been. And how the poignant sadness of the song touches me so much more now than it did then.

And, yes, Georgie really was a friend of Rod’s; as he noted in a 1995 interview with Mojo magazine, “That was a true story about a gay friend of the Faces. He was especially close to me and Ian McLagen. But whether he was knifed or shot, I can’t really remember which. ” The song was on Rod’s 1976 album, A Night On The Town, which made it to #1 on the U.K. pop charts and #2 here in the U.S..

I could go on for a while, lamenting the loss and feeling the slow burn of anger, and calling out with righteous indignation for retaliation and revenge, but I think this time, in this song, considering and reflecting on Rod’s storytelling is a better solution.

May God help us all.

RodStewart

In these days of changing ways
so called liberated days
a story comes to mind of a friend of mine

Georgie boy was gay I guess
nothin’ more or nothin’ less
the kindest guy I ever knew

His mother’s tears fell in vain
the afternoon George tried to explain
that he needed love like all the rest

Pa said there must be a mistake
how can my son not be straight
after all I’ve said and done for him

Leavin’ home on a Greyhound bus
cast out by the ones he loves
A victim of these gay days it seems

Georgie went to New York town
where he quickly settled down
and soon became the toast of the great white way

Accepted by Manhattan’s elite
in all the places that were chic
No party was complete without George

Along the boulevards he’d cruise
and all the old queens blew a fuse
Everybody loved Georgie boy

The last time I saw George alive
was in the summer of seventy-five
he said he was in love I said I’m pleased

George attended the opening night
of another Broadway hype
but split before the final curtain fell

Deciding to take a short cut home
arm in arm they meant no wrong
A gentle breeze blew down Fifth Avenue

Out of a darkened side street came
a New Jersey gang with just one aim
to roll some innocent passer-by
There ensued a fearful fight
screams rang out in the night
Georgie’s head hit a sidewalk cornerstone

A leather kid, a switchblade knife
He did not intend to take his life
He just pushed his luck a little too far that night

The sight of blood dispersed the gang
A crowd gathered, the police came
An ambulance screamed to a halt on Fifty-third and Third

Georgie’s life ended there
but I ask who really cares
George once said to me and I quote

He said “Never wait or hesitate
Get in kid, before it’s too late
You may never get another chance
‘Cos youth a mask but it don’t last
live it long and live it fast”
Georgie was a friend of mine

Oh Georgie stay, don’t go away
Georgie please stay you take our breath away
Oh Georgie stay, don’t go away
Georgie please stay you take our breath away
Oh Georgie stay, don’t go away
Georgie, Georgie please stay you take our breath away
Oh Georgie stay

Listen to the original here:

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