Friday, January 25, 2008

Lyrics of the Day

I've had an odd song going through my head today, "Jesus Mentioned" by Warren Zevon. It's from The Envoy, an underrated album that finally became available on CD in the United States last year. I always thought of "Jesus Mentioned" as a throwaway song, so I was surprised that I even remembered the words:

I'm going down to Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
I'm going down to Graceland
Thinking about the King
Remembering him sing
About those heavenly mansions
Jesus mentioned

Can't you just imagine
Digging up the King
Begging him to sing
About those heavenly mansions
Jesus mentioned
Then, with typical Zevon irreverence, he sings, "He went walking on the water... With his pills." Like I said, it isn't a great song -- Zevon's "Porcelain Monkey" is a far better song about Elvis -- but it's been stuck in my head. I wonder how many people today, people who didn't grow up with Elvis, even know about his gospel side. His roots were in gospel, and he returned to the genre throughout his career. In fact, all three of the Grammy awards he won in his lifetime were in the gospel category. I have linked to a selection of Elvis' gospel material below.

Oddly enough, nearly two decades after he wrote this song, Zevon said in an interview, "I've never been to Graceland. I wouldn't dream of going to Graceland."

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