This is only one of two songs I’m aware of I have performed publicly. It takes the death of a very close friend to get me on stage. He had been a drummer for several bands I had hung out with since high school. Every show he did that I was at, for over 30 years, I’d yell for this song. He didn’t particularly like doing it. So, he always promised me he’d do it shortly after his funeral. So, for his funeral, I did it for him. I’m not going to post me doing it, as we just winged it.
Many years before, I was watching Black Oak Arkansas at my favorite dive in Richmond, KY. I was a regular there, they knew me. I was front row in a very small, very tight, pit. Their entire show I demanded to hear this song. Finally, for their final encore, Jim “Dandy” Mangrum announced “this one’s for the asshole up front”. That was ME! They absolutely tore it up.
Here’s the original. Pretty much the first original thrash metal song ever recorded.
OK, got a quick synopsis of all things Charlie Sexton in my life. Won’t take much, but still fun. When Beat’s So Lonely came out, I was in college, and partying like a fool. This was my #2 go-to song.
When we partied at Smith-Ballard, that song got played probably twenty times a night. I got complaints, but that was just tough. If I was drinking bourbon, you heard Beat’s So Lonely.
Which led to
In 1986 the rumor came out David Bowie was going to be touring with Stevie Ray Vaughan. That didn’t happen. So, the rumor then became that Charlie Sexton was going to be the lead guitarist for the Glass Spider tour. Now, in those days, you didn’t have the internet, you didn’t have much of anything for news outside of magazines and MTV was still relevant. So, having no real David Bowie pipeline in Appalachian Kentucky in 1986, I had to go with my gut. Being in college and being broke, I was forced to decide between Pink Floyd or David Bowie fronted by my favorite guitar player of the year. I went with Bowie/Sexton. Sexton decided not to tour. So, I wound up with:
David fronting Peter Frampton. Although probably a far superior guitarist, he wasn’t my favorite guitarist of 1986. That kinda put a damper on the show for me. When my date asked when they were going to play “Rebel Yell”, we had to part ways. That was pretty much it for Charlie and me for about 30 years.
So, this weekend my wife decides we need to watch a movie that screams not-me. It goes on and on and on and never really seems to be going anywhere. Eventually stumbling on this scene:
The roomie doesn’t say much. And basically gives the impression of being a burned-out rocker. But, he looks incredibly familiar. I hate that feeling usually. Finally my wife fills me in on the secret. It’s Charlie Sexton. He’s apparently alive and well.
That aspect of my life apparently found satisfactory closure.
Another one of my all-time favorite performances of any song at all is David Bowie’s 1973 appearance on The Midnight Special. It was obviously quite theatrical and over-produced, two of the qualities I always enjoyed most about Bowie. In this performance he features The Dubreq Stylophone to give it that haunting sound. This performance still gives me chills.
Space Oddity very recently regained significance when International Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield performed it floating in his tin can:
Not quite the production value, but once again, the coolest thing in music.