Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lyrical Musings about King's "Dark Tower" (Part I of II)

I guess my obsession with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books has become more than just a passing fad. I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, that King’s writing has shaped the basis of my belief system, my morals, my concept of what’s out there and who’s pulling the strings …

It’s also become a connection between me and one of my best friends, a guy I’d be remiss if I didn’t refer to, in the name of the privacy accorded by this blog, as Roland. Roland keeps me quite up to date in song lyrics that apply to The Dark Tower in some way shape or form. While I thought about sending these ramblings (my selections of songs are nowhere near as relevant as those Roland selects to share) as an e-mail to my friend Roland, I figured I’d post it here for the edification of the masses.

Roland will know it’s for him, anyway : )

“Ease on Down the Road” from The Wiz

King uses themes and imagery from The Wizard of Oz in his epic, particularly in DT4. The Wiz, for those who might not be aware, is the soul version of The Wizard of Oz (Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, for example.


“For there may be times, when you wish you wasn't born/
And you wake one morning just to find your courage gone/
but you know that feeling only last a little while/
you just stick with us we'll show you how to smile”

“Velcro Fly” by Z.Z. Top

King uses the drum beat of this song as a warning of human sacrifice to come in the land of Lud (DT3)


“There ain't never a catch/

all you got to do is snatch”

“Someday Never Comes” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

King uses the leitmotif of a son abandoned by his father who charges him with “being a man” as well as sort of necessitating the idea of a “mother’s son.”


“Well, time and tears went by and I collected dust/
For there were many things I didn’t know/
When daddy went away, he said, try to be a man/
And, someday you’ll understand/

I’m here to tell you now, each and every mother’s son/

You’d better learn it fast, you’d better learn it young/

That someday never comes.”

“Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum

Most of the Gunslinger’s Ka-tet could be constituted as “runaways” … and I’m going to assume we’ll all get the train reference : )


“I was a key that could use a little turning”

“All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix

King’s protagonists are not all your typical “nice people.” Even his heroes have flaws that lessen their existence on the “good side.” That’s why I think this song is quite relevant.


“There must be some kind of way out of here/
Said the joker to the thief”

I have something I need to do, so I'm going to stop here. There will be more coming, either later tonight (hey, I'm on vacation :-)) or tomorrow. I encourage you to leave comments ... sometimes I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels ...

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