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Eli’s Comin’

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Some rock fans might not be familiar with Laura Nyro, as she is not a household name, but most fans have heard the songs she wrote that became hits for others, like ‘Wedding Bell Blues’, ‘And When I Die’ and ‘Stoney End’.  On April 14, 2012, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  In the summer of love, a rumor was perpetuated that Laura Nyro was booed off the stage at the Monterey Pop festival by Janis Joplin fans.  In 1967, she was a hot new talent making her second major live appearance at this festival where she performed ‘Wedding Bell Blues’, ‘Poverty Train’ and ‘Eli’s Comin’’.  I recently listened to a track from this performance and it sounded like the crowd enjoyed her, as all I heard was clapping at the end, but once a rumor takes hold it continues to grow taking on a life of its own.  Nyro was a woman of Jewish and Italian heritage from the Bronx who died at age 49 in 1997 from ovarian cancer.  In 1969, for the week of November 29, Nyro had three songs in the Top 10, with ‘And When I Die’ recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears coming in at #2, ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ recorded by The 5th Dimension reaching #3 and ‘Eli’s Comin’’ recorded by Three Dog Night got to #10.

‘Eli’s Comin’’ is a love song with an ominous sound, that begins with a quiet warning then builds into an explosion of aggressive harmonies.  Laura was able to write songs that would speed up and slow down, setting the mood with the tempo concluding with a well paced climatic ending that is unparalleled by her peers.  The tempo in this song gets faster and faster as the relationship between the womanizer Eli and the woman who was warned to hide her heart intensifies.  Three Dog Night, with Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells singing lead vocals did a high energy and a fast pace cover of this song on their 1969 studio album, Suitable For Framing.  Negron used to watch Nyro perform in New York City and he liked her sound.  He brought this song to the group, thinking it would be a good fit for Wells’ voice.  In an era when every band was trying to be the Beatles and write their own tunes, Three Dog Night preferred to revamp existing songs into hits.

Most of the lyrics in this song are clear cut, being a prediction about Eli who is coming and that he will break this girl’s heart unless she is able to hide from him, except for one line.  I read an article by WordPress blogger and music aficionado John Holton from The Sound of One Hand Typing which stated that the lyrics “Apollo by the bay” according to Answers.com is a place by the water in Australia.  Actually, the Temple of Apollo by the Bay of Baiae (now the Bay of Naples) was in ancient times considered to be one of the entrances to the Underworld.  However, I discovered something slightly different, being that the line “I walked to Apollo by the bay” comes from the story of Daphne and Apollo, which was an essay written by Patricia Spence Rudden.  The Roman and Greek god Apollo mocked Cupid the god of love for using his bow and arrow.  Cupid got insulted, so he shot Apollo with an arrow making him fall in love with the river nymph Daphne.  Cupid then shot Daphne with a different kind of arrow which caused her to reject Apollo.  Apollo appeared in the shape of a man and Daphne called to her father to save her.  Apollo used his powers of eternal youth and immortality to render Daphne into an evergreen.  For this reason, the leaves of the Bay laurel tree do not decay, and this became sacred forever thereafter to Apollo.  Laura Nyro was a proud feminist and women’s rights activist who dug into the sexist assumption that the only thing that causes a young woman heartache, or makes her hide her loving heart, or that can give her a broken heart is a man.

Eli’s comin’
Eli’s comin’ (Eli’s a-comin’)
Well you better hide your heart, your loving heart
Eli’s a-comin’ and the cards say… a broken heart

Eli’s comin’, hide your heart, girl
Eli’s comin’, hide your heart, girl
Girl, Eli’s a-comin’, you better hide
Girl, Eli’s a-comin’, you better hide
Girl, Eli’s a-comin’, you better hide
Girl, Eli’s comin’, hide your heart, girl (hide it)
You better, better hide your heart
Eli’s comin’, better walk

Walk but you’ll never get away
No, you’ll never get away
From the burnin’ a-heartache
I walked to Apollo by the bay
Everywhere I go though,
Eli’s a-comin’ (she walked but she never got away)
Eli’s a-comin’ (she walked but she never got away)
Eli’s a-comin’ and he’s comin’ to git ya
(she walked but… she walked but…)
Get down on your knees
(she walked but she never got away)

Eli’s comin’ (hide it, hide it, hide it)
Girl, Eli’s a-comin’, you better hide
Girl, Eli’s a-comin’, you better hide
Girl, Eli’s a-comin’, you better hide
Girl, Eli’s comin’, hide your heart, girl
(Hide it)
You better, better hide your heart
Eli’s comin’, better walk

Walk but you’ll never get away
No, you’ll never get away from the burnin’ a-heartache
I walked to Apollo by the bay
Everywhere I go though, Eli’s a-comin’
(she walked but she’ll never getaway)
Eli’s a-comin’ (she walked but she’ll never get away)
Eli’s a-comin’ and he’s comin’ to git ya
(She walked but, she walked but)
Get down on your knees
(She walked but she’ll never get away)
Get down on your knees

No-no, no-no
Lord, I said no-no, no-no, no-no

She can
(Hide it) hide it
(Hide it) You better
(Hide it) Somebody
(Hide it) You got t’
(Hide it) Oh, my
(Hide it) Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.).  Alternatively, if you are a musician, and you have played this song solo or in a group, it would be awesome if you could post a video to showcase your own work.  You could write about how you learned to play the chords or how you learned the lyrics.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if there is another Laura Nyro or Three Dog Night song, or a Janis Joplin song, or anything by Blood, Sweat & Tears or The 5th Dimension that you like to write about, so basically this writing challenge is wide open.

Nothing can really prepare you to handle a serious breakup, but was Laura Nyro correct in her assumption that women hurt more after losing someone that they were in a relationship with than men do?  If you would like to write about a breakup that was hard on you, that would work out great for this challenge.  Denzel Washington played the ominous title character, in the 2010 post apocalyptic movie The Book of Eli, which was a film about faith that carried a message that by just believing in something, it could allow you to rise above obstacles so that you could accomplish anything.  What benefits can be obtained from faith and does faith help you to accomplish things?   Jesus talked about having faith as small as a mustard seed and I see this the same way as the ant that thought he would be able to move that rubber tree plant, because of his high hopes.  If you would like to write about mustard seeds, or rubber tree plants, or even jelly beans, that would be perfect for this challenge.

You can also write about feminism, female emancipation and empowerment, women’s rights or the equality of the sexes.  If you like, consider comparing Laura Nyro with Joni Mitchell or Carole King.  You may want to write a story about Apollo, or a tree nymph, or the monsters that live in the mythical Underworld and if you do then go for it.  Write a story about a post apocalyptic world, the coming of a momentous event, or a womanizer, as any of these themes would work.  I am just throwing ideas out there, hoping that some will catch an inspiring wind and take root, for your writing.

Dylan Hughes has next Friday, June 21 with her First Line Friday and then I will be back on Friday, June 28 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’.  When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which I have working now.  This will allow you to instantly link your post after you click on Mr. Linky.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

12 comments on “Eli’s Comin’

  1. Reena Saxena
    June 14, 2019

    Wow! You give a wide range of ideas with the prompt.

  2. pensitivity101
    June 14, 2019

    I didn’t recognise the name, but certainly did the music. 49 is no age, and like Eva Cassidy, cancer took another talented artist.
    The Book of Eli is one of my favourite films with Denzil Washington and was one we kept when we bought the boat.
    Loads of choices where to take a post this week Jim.

  3. Pingback: Un-awareness – Reena Saxena

  4. newepicauthor
    June 14, 2019

    I will have to listen to Eva Cassidy, as I am not familiar with her. I only saw the movie once and it was a while ago, so I should probably watch it again. I wrote my second book Ancient Book Of Eli three years later, but it is a totally different story.

  5. Pingback: Drift Right Into Space – A Unique Title For Me

  6. John Holton
    June 14, 2019

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    • newepicauthor
      June 14, 2019

      Your post was very interesting and I did not think that you would mind me mentioning you.

  7. msjadeli
    June 14, 2019

    Very informative post, Jim. Never heard Laura’s original but I have to say I like it better than Three Dog Night’s cover. Lots of variables to choose from to write on.

    • newepicauthor
      June 14, 2019

      Thanks Li. Laura was a talented musician, but she never got the respect that she deserved,

  8. Pingback: #MM Music Challenges — Eli’s Comin’ and Telephone Line – Tao Talk

  9. newepicauthor
    June 14, 2019

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    Plenty to write about here.

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