2021 Song Draft- Round 5 Pick 5- Mike and Paul’s Music Blog selects- ‘Lyin’ In A Bed Of Fire’- Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul.
Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul – Lyin’ in a Bed of Fire
This is my favorite song off one of my favorite albums, Men Without Women, which was Little Steven’s first solo album released in 1982. Steve Van Zandt would go on to become more famous in a number of different areas (political activism – the Sun City project; TV – as Silvio Dante in the HBO series The Sopranos; radio – the Underground Garage) as well as numerous writing and production credits. But at the time, he was best known as a member of Springsteen’s E St. Band as well as well as the creative force behind the early work of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
I really enjoyed those Asbury Jukes albums – what you might call rock and soul – R&B based rock with a horn section – and so when I became aware of Men without Women I immediately checked it out and was blown away. AllMusic perhaps described the album best:
“…blends the muscle and swagger of Jersey shore rock & roll with the horn-fueled heart and soul of classic R&B…” and “… merged the brassy swing of a classic Motown side with the sweaty blare of a amped-up garage band.”
Van Zandt has a real knack for horn arrangements – legend has it he came up with the horn arrangement for Springsteen’s 10th Ave Freezeout on the spot and sang the session players their individual parts during the Born to Run sessions when recording had reached an impasse. In Van Zandt’s songs the horns are integral to the song’s melody and progression.
Lyin’ in a Bed of Fire is a great example of this – it leads off the album. A short drum roll, guitar riff, keyboard entrance, and the horns take over – as fellow blogger CB would say – it just really grabs me! 😊
As the first song on his first solo album, Van Zandt felt that Lyin’ in a Bed of Fire had to set the theme not just for the record but for the rest of his solo career. As he put it:
“The song essentially addresses all of us 60’s people who were going to change the world. What happened? Where did we all go? Did we all simply get exhausted by living through the rapidly evolving events of the extraordinary renaissance that was the 60’s or what? The song ultimately suggests that the birth of consciousness opened a lot of new doors that we now take for granted. While we got preoccupied with the business of growing up, various forces co-opted and diluted a lot of the revolutionary ideas we had, rendering them a harmless part of the status quo. In other words, some of the doors we’d opened have been quietly closed again.” (from LittleSteven.com)
As I was born in 1964, I can’t claim to be a “60s person” but I understand what he’s getting at – the song is about the importance of not letting what you really believe in get taken away – yes by all the forces of society that are trying to co-opt and dilute, but also to indifference, distraction, and just the daily grind of dealing with everyday life. Something I try to remember every day, and something that is highlighted every time I listen to this song.
I hope you enjoy it!