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Boys of Summer
Don't look back — The Republic of Genius
Author on a West Peak at Paumalu
They say “don’t look back,” but I always do . . . Makes me think (I can hear it in my brain) of verse 3 of Henley’s “Boys of Summer”:
Out on the road today
I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said:
‘Don't look back, you can never look back’
I thought I knew what love was, what did I know?
Those days are gone forever
I should just let them go but . . . .1
But: “the demand for monumental history . . . is the belief in the solidarity and continuity of the greatness of all ages and a protest against the passing away of generations and the transitoriness of things. . . . [One] learns from it that the greatness that once existed was in any event once possible and may thus be possible again . . . when you believe in [heroes] dare at the same time to believe in yourself! (become mature and accustomed to the heroic) . . . [and] live in that Republic of Genius of which Schopenhauer once spoke; one giant calls to another across the desert intervals of time and, undisturbed, the exalted spirit-dialogue goes on . . . [The] goal of humanity cannot lie in its end but only in its highest exemplars.”2
Miles Davis — Blowin’ Soul
“Only in its highest exemplars.” One just has to see it, hear it, and feel it — “that Republic of Genius” — where “one giant calls to another across the desert intervals of time.” Someone asked Miles Davis what they were going to do once he was gone. He shot back, in that sagacious rasp: “Just listen to the tape, man.” Listen to the tape (e.g., “So What?” — “Bitches Brew” et al.).3 And wise up. Sound (pun intended), simple advice.
Huelo Hale, Paumalu 2021
This song was originally composed by Mike Campbell for the Heartbreakers, but Petty gave it a pass. So Campbell tried to give it to Stevie Nicks; she wasn’t interested either. Don Henley was around the studio (for some reason); he nabbed it. He was on it immediately and recorded it the same day, in like the second take. Couple weeks later, Petty is sitting in his car outside the studio in Hollywood and hears “Boys of Summer” on the radio for the first time. He was blown away — and majorly pissed. Didn’t talk to Campbell for a few months after that! Stop giving my songs away, Motherfucker! SEE: “Petty: The Biography,” by Warren Zanes (2015). Epic book about one of the all time greats and, of course, one of my favorites, Tom Petty.
Nietzsche, The Untimely Meditations, “On the Uses & Abuses of History for Life” (1874).
SEE: “Miles: The Autobiography,” Miles Davis (with Quincy Troupe) (1989).