Harris Harrison

I can remember hearing Richard Harris’s McArthur’s Park for the first time on my radio & being amazed & impressed by the lyrics & that such a long long song was on the charts. It wasn’t rock or actually pop music as I knew pop music. In some ways it still defies category – adult pop? Harris’s voice clearly wasn’t a rock voice either, nor was it say, Tom Jones or Frank Sinatra. But it worked.

I bought the album A Tramp Shining – which my buddies at time dismissed as romantic tripe but I loved it – here I am a tramp shining. It was unapologetically adult romantic, with little or no political or even trippy subtext. Later I realized the work was more the product of the genius of Jimmy Webb than of Richard Harris.

The follow up, The Yard Went On Forever, had no hits & was even more adult & also much darker in mood & lyric content. I liked it a lot as well but no one I knew cared for it. It had no freaky guitar work. It also was not pop, folk or rock. I have both of these – Tramp as a stand alone cd & The Yard in an mp3 collection. Both are too short for my liking 🙂

Another singing actor was Noel Harrison. His first lp Collage was a collection of folksy covers of thing like Whiter Shade of Pale, Strawberry Fields. I liked his low key take on these massive pop hits of the time. Not strictly folk as there was some sweet psychedelic flavouring, even sitar, to some of the tracks. I played that lp grey & now have it as an lp to cd transfer. 

As a stand-alone I the limited edition Life is a Dream – a compilation of songs from his other lps. It repeats some of Collage & there is some of Santa Monica Pier as well. He never did get a major pop career. He lived in Nova Scotia Canada for a time & hosted Take Time a TV show out of Halifax. Much like Richard Harris he was too adult to become a pop star.

As I said both were actors – though Richard Harris had a ‘bigger’ career. Harris became a singer thanks to film of the musical Camelot – he eventually did live touring shows of it. I don’t know that Noel ever did a film musical but he also did do touring shows of Camelot. 

Poor Old Marat

‘And on your left we have the bathtub in which Marat died. Poor old Marat.’

The group came to a stop behind the tour guide. 

‘But that’s not a tub at all. Looks more like a big pail.’ One of them said.

There was some polite laugher.

‘Perhaps,’ the tour guide smiled, ‘You are unaware that they didn’t have all the modern conveniences we do. You know,’ he lowered his voice, ‘they didn’t even have shower heads.’

‘What!’ another member of the tour said.

‘Please, you all must be aware of that! Our lives are very much different from those of people in the past.’

‘Yes, but still they must have had something.’

‘Not even a tooth brush.’

The tour guide continued up the hall.

‘Who was Marat?’

‘Pardon.’ The guide stopped.

‘Who was Marat? It’s all well and fine to tell us this is the tub in which Marat died but, if it isn’t too much trouble, please tell us who Marat was.’

‘Sir, this is an exhibit that encompasses famed baths of the past not personages. Now if you have a question about the fixtures, plumbing or such, I’d be only too happy to tell you what I know.’

‘See. He doesn’t even know who Marat is, only that he was too poor to own a real bathtub.’

The guide reddened. ‘I certainly do Madam, but that is not my job.’

‘Not your job?’

‘Quite right. I am to show and explain these particular relics. Period. If you wish to know more perhaps you should sign up for a different tour.’

‘I’m disappointed you don’t know more about these people. I mean these famous personages.’

‘I do, but that is not what I am permitted to tell you.’

‘Permitted?’

‘Right.’ The guide sucked in air between his teeth. ‘I am in the Plumbing Relics Tour Union and therefore cannot overstep those boundaries without infringing on the territory of another union.’

‘I see. Why didn’t you explain that before. How long has there been such a division of union jobs?’

‘I’m sorry, Sir, I cannot tell you that. You’ll have to speak with someone from the History of Unions Union.

‘Now if you’ll please follow me, we next have the toilet stall in which Lenny Bruce was found dead. As you can tell it wasn’t very clean but functional. The cubical was designed for single occupancy.’

‘Single occupancy? How did they manage.’

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2 thoughts on “Harris Harrison

  1. I remember hearing Donna Summers singing MacArthur Park….so much better than Harris IMO….the lyrics still seemed a bunch of rubbish though. I mean…leaving cake in the rain?

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