Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

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Dear Mr. Fantasy

New MM Music Badge

‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ is the final track on Side 1 of Traffic’s 1967 debut album of the same name Dear Mr. Fantasy and even though it was never released as a single, it became Traffic’s defining song.  Jim Capaldi wrote the lyrics while Steve Windwood and Chris Wood wrote the music.  Traffic was made up of Jim Capaldi on drums, Steve Winwood on electric guitar and vocals, Chris Wood on organ and multi-instrumentalist Dave Mason on bass.  Jimmy Miller played maracas on this song.  The song appears to be about a tortured artist who sacrifices his own happiness to make the audience happy.  The audience tells the performer, “Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy” suggesting that the entertainer listen to their demands.

For some unknown reason this audience is gloomy and they feel that the artist is the only one who can make them laugh again.  They begin ordering him around like he is only there for their entertainment, and this compounds his misery.  They hope that he won’t break down and cry, as his listeners seem to feel that they know him on a personal level. Mr. Fantasy was able to play music and sing or possibly do anything just to make everyone else feel better.  The problem with this is that when a person is constantly entertaining others, those people tend to want him to do it all the time, even when he is not having his best day, they still want to be entertained, because he has become their only escape from reality.  Mr. Fantasy keeps pleasing others although he is not deriving any pleasure for himself, so he doesn’t have his mind straight, although other people still like him, because he can make them feel better.  This song is about a life that hasn’t been perfect, but Mr. Fantasy won’t change it, because it got him to where he is now and he enjoys having all of the friends that he made along the way.

Capaldi said that he wrote ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ one early morning while he was coming down off LSD, sketching in front of a log fire.  Bubbling out of his acid-fired subconsciousness and through his pencil came the image of a man playing a guitar hanging on puppet strings and wearing a spiked hat with the words, “Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune, something to make us all happy” scrawled under him.  Jim Capaldi went to sleep and when he awoke the next day, he discovered that Winwood and Wood had
found his sketch and had already written a song around the doodle that he drew.  They added some words, worked out a larger arrangement with Wood setting a bass line to it. That evening they drove into the city and recorded the song while burning incense in the recording room and turning the lights low to capture the mood that this song was meant to have.  Mason left the band before the album was released.  The album reached #16 in the UK album chart and went to #88 in the American Billboard charts.

Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and CSNY recorded their own versions of this song later.  The Dead shared a few bills with Traffic in the late 1960s and in November 1970, and members of Traffic jammed with the Dead in New York City for a concert benefiting the Hells Angles.  The Grateful Dead performed the song regularly in the 1980s around 60 times and Jerry Garcia even joined Traffic for a version during their 1994 reunion tour, documented on the live set CD The Last Great Traffic Jam.

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy
You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years
Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy, yeah yeah
Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy
You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or a poem that you can share with the WordPress writing community.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if you like to write about another Traffic song or anything by Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood or Dave Mason, or a song that is about making someone happy, that would work.  You might also go with a song that is about entertaining others, or feeling gloomy.  If you would like to write about something that is dear to you or if you care to share a fantasy that you have, then go with that.

The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate.  This challenge is very loose, so pretty much whatever you come up with will be acceptable.  I try to throw some ideas out there for you and if they seem right, then go with it.  You could write about what it takes to make you laugh, or what made you cry the last time.  If you want to write about being a tortured artist sacrificing your own happiness to please others, or giving into the demands of others, that would be perfect.

Dylan Hughes will be here on next Friday May 22 with her First Line Friday and everybody should check out this fun prompt challenge.  I will be back on Friday, May 29 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘Midnight on the Oasis’.  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 will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, and permit everyone to read your post sooner that way, and then follow the directions that are given.

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.

18 comments on “Dear Mr. Fantasy

  1. Pingback: From Primal Gold Fantasy Petals That Fall – A Unique Title For Me

  2. newepicauthor
    May 15, 2020

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    Take a gander and get to know thyself, a saying that was chiseled into the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Let’s say that you decide to plant some Black-eyed Susan just to try something new in your garden, but at the same time you have a fairly stable idea about what type of person you are, so you open up a can of worms and add them to the soil in order to increase the amount of air and water that gets to your flowers. While you are shopping, you come across a display case of Lazy Susans, those rotating tray turntables that are placed on a table or countertop to aid in distribution of food, or other items. Then the clerk comes along and asks you if you need any help and her nametag says Susan and suddenly there are Susans everywhere. Then you realize that the Black-eyed Susans don’t actually have eyes that are black, as they are more of a purplish-brown and they used to be called the Brown Betty, which is your name. Then just as you thought that things could not get any more confusing, over the intercom you hear the Ram Jam song ‘Black Betty’ playing.

    • msjadeli
      May 15, 2020

      Now if that isn’t psychedelic tuning in I don’t know what is.

      • newepicauthor
        May 15, 2020

        Jim Capaldi began working a book “Mr Fantasy: The Lyrics of Jim Capaldi” before his death in 2005 and I think that his Mr. Fantasy sketch is included in it. I would love to take a look at it some day.

      • msjadeli
        May 15, 2020

        Yes that does sound like it would be worth taking a look at.

  3. Pingback: Till you are blown – Reena Saxena

  4. msjadeli
    May 15, 2020

    This song rocks. I like the prominent bass, and I love Steve’s voice.

    • newepicauthor
      May 15, 2020

      I love everything that Steve does.

      • msjadeli
        May 15, 2020

        I know Steve got a real early start in the music biz. I saw a special with him and Eric Clapton and was awestruck by it. Eric Clapton is an *excellent* “team player,” meaning he makes anyone sound better when he’s playing. I just ordered a couple of CDs by one of my favorite guitarists, Doyle Bramhall II, and Eric is featured on one of the songs. I can’t wait to hear it.

  5. Pingback: Fantasy – The_tenth_zodiac

  6. Pingback: #MM Music Challenge — Mr. Fantasy ripples… – Tao Talk

  7. badfinger20
    May 16, 2020

    Not only my favorite song from Traffic but one of mine of all time. I like the dreaminess of it and then it really kicks in.

    • newepicauthor
      May 16, 2020

      I think that I only know about 5 songs from Traffic. This one, Low Spark, John Barleycorn, Rock and roll Stew and Paper Sun, but maybe a few more would come back to me.

      • badfinger20
        May 16, 2020

        That is about my limit…them and “Light Up Or Leave Me Alone”

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