Jerry Lee song Stylist



Postby Andrew McRae » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:48 pm

Tony Papard wrote:
Andrew McRae wrote:
Dirk B. wrote:Nobody mentioned "No Headstone On My Grave" yet. The perfect song for a funeral...


Although JLL never sings the full lyrics of this song, I doubt that many widows would want this bitter death-bed plea to be played at their husband's funeral!

( Don't put no headstone on my grave, all my life I've been a slave; I don't want the world to know; here lies the man that loved you so

Don't send no flowers when I'm gone, just put me down and then move on; just put me down and let me be, free from all this misery..

Tell my mother not to cry, I'll see her in the bye-and-bye... tell her that I'm finally free, of all the trouble that you caused me.
)


These words make more sense that the ones Jerry sings, though he salvages it by the 'I want a MONUMENT' quip at the end.


To be fair, (whether by design or simply through not being bothered to learn the lyric!) Jerry Lee completely changes the character and tone of the song. It could be argued that his version is not, as per Charlie's original appears to be, a downbeat expression of angst directed at an unappreciative woman, but something entirely different ..."I want the whole wide world to know, here lies the man who loved you (i.e the whole world) so" He asks 'momma' not to cry, because he will see her again 'in the sweet bye-and-bye', and asks her to tell 'daddy' (with whom he assumes she can communicate) that he's 'coming home'... meanwhile it's all a bit confusing in that, whilst he protests he, unlike Charlie, actually wants his grave to be identified, he claims he doesn't want a headstone - until, of course, all is made clear with the 'quip' at the end! Thus he is saying to the world, rather than to a single woman, "I've been your slave; I loved the lot of you; and to show your appreciation to me please build a monument when I've gone". So maybe this is just another example of the "I Can't Help It / You Can't Help It" syndrome!

Discuss! (as Wolfgang might say!)
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Postby Ulli » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:35 am

Andrew, I agree. From the first time, I heard that song, I understood it the way you interpretate it. When I heard the original version years later, I realised that Jerry changed the meaning completely. Is it most likely, that he forgot the words on The Session and rhymed together his ego interpretation?
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Postby bailbath » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:39 am

I have split this off from the other subject as it is a great point that Andrew raises and worth a thread by itself.
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Postby peterchecksfield » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:31 am

Ulli wrote: Is it most likely, that he forgot the words on The Session and rhymed together his ego interpretation?


He was actually performing the song 'live' with his own lyrics long before he recorded the song in January 1973. It was performed many times during the April / May 1972 European Tour for example, as was 'Pledging My Love'. The earliest version I've heard by JLL is from The London Palladium on 23rd April 1972, & this is also the only performance I've heard where he performs the song slow only.
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Postby Ulli » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:40 pm

OK, so he got the idea before?
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Postby martin bates » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:26 am

I've never heard any version besides Jerry's !
however, I thought the background was that there was no headstone because he was a (willing) slave to this woman; therefore like a slave buried in an unmarked grave. So his version made sense to me ; the lines about meeting mama etc normal fayre for a song about dying - & his line at the end just a quip not relating to the main 'story'. At some point he has cemented his own version in his mind; the interesting thing is reviving the song (before it was recorded as Peter says) many years after the original ,was the meaning changed by accident or design ?
As a matter of interest does the Charlie Rich version ,or any other earlier ones, have the changes in tempo that really make the song stand out ?

Martin.
ps rather unrelated,but just came to mind- the song Harper Valley PTA was written about a random person; only on the actual 'take' did Jeannie C. sing "my" mama instead of "that" mama - changing the tone significantly.
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Postby peterchecksfield » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:38 am

Here's some background on the song (thanks Pierre):

(Don’t Put) No Headstone On My Grave: (Charlie Rich) This was recorded by Charlie Rich for SUN in 1962 but it remained unissued until featured in a Bear Family Box Set in 1998. The only known version issued before Jerry Lee’s is by Esther Phillips on her Atlantic LP “The Country Side of Esther” issued in 1966.
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Postby Tony Papard » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:41 am

martin bates wrote:I've never heard any version besides Jerry's !
however, I thought the background was that there was no headstone because he was a (willing) slave to this woman; therefore like a slave buried in an unmarked grave. So his version made sense to me ; .


It doesn't make sense to me, until the very end when Jerry says 'don't put a headstone on my grave, I want a monument'.

This is because he keeps singing 'I want the whole wide world to know, here lies the man that loved you so'. How can they know that if there's no marker on his grave? And Jerry doesn't always add the 'monument' remark.

In actual fact, as we've just discovered, Charlie Rich's version says: 'I DON'T want the world to know here lies the man who loved you so', so not having a headstone (or a monument) makes sense.
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Postby martin bates » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:58 am

Tony Papard wrote:
martin bates wrote:I've never heard any version besides Jerry's !
however, I thought the background was that there was no headstone because he was a (willing) slave to this woman; therefore like a slave buried in an unmarked grave. So his version made sense to me ; .


It doesn't make sense to me, until the very end when Jerry says 'don't put a headstone on my grave, I want a monument'.

This is because he keeps singing 'I want the whole wide world to know, here lies the man that loved you so'. How can they know that if there's no marker on his grave? And Jerry doesn't always add the 'monument' remark.


without analysing every detail; the monument line is a quip, a red herring, not important if he includes it or not; but guaranteed a cheer at live shows; if he's in an unmarked grave,I guess it makes the statement in itself; not here lies "so and so" ...but here lies "a man" who loved you so. The man is anonymous - the statement is that he loved his woman so.
It works for me anyway -I've never given it too much thought.

Martin.
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Postby Andrew McRae » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:14 pm

peterchecksfield wrote:Here's some background on the song (thanks Pierre):

(Don’t Put) No Headstone On My Grave: (Charlie Rich) This was recorded by Charlie Rich for SUN in 1962 but it remained unissued until featured in a Bear Family Box Set in 1998. The only known version issued before Jerry Lee’s is by Esther Phillips on her Atlantic LP “The Country Side of Esther” issued in 1966.


Charlie Rich himself, of course, recorded and issued the song on the album "The Silver Fox" issued in 1974, and again on his final 'Pictures and Paintings' album from 1992.

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