The story of the origins of the song “Lorelei”
It was as strange and surreal a moment as it was wonderful. The moment that is now captured forever in the quarky little 7-second intro to the song “Lorelei”, started out as a simple enough task but soon escalated into a long and deep yet frustrating conversation.
The tune itself had been bouncing around the house for years with various lyrics and themes but by the summer of 2004 I was in the midst of a prolific writing period and decided to take this simple, jazzy melody of this tune and try to revamp it with a new theme. That theme soon arrived by my merely going to work everyday, with plenty of material coming as a result of one asinine remark after from some of my “enlightened” co-workers, especially in the political context of an election year. I would then go home at night and occasionally hear refreshing remarks from my 6-year-old son Jacob, who seemed amazingly just as interested in Campaign 2004, but yet seemed to make statements just as (if not more) profound then those “grown-ups” had made during the day. I had my new song!
I would simply take statements from both sources – the pathetic, boogey-man believing state worker and the intuitive, brilliant 6-year-old ver batim and juxtapose these statements in an entertaining (albeit cryptic) set of rhymes that would become the song “Lorelei” (check out the resultant lyrics here). I also decided to further pay tribute to my young source of inspiration by naming one of the many fictional characters in the song “Mr. Rooski”, the same nick-name that I’d been calling Jacob practically since birth. Then came the above mentioned moment, when I decided to test-drive this new tune on one it’s inspirations by performing it on the living room piano. Jacob was remarkably quiet and still throughout the 6 or 7 minute performance. Then when it was finished he stared back it me blankly for a little while, not letting on what (if anything) he thought about the song. Then, out of the blue, he launched his first remark:
“You didn’t win fair and square, you cheated!”
He was referring to a game of Madden football that we had played earlier in the day. At that point in time, he was just about as good as myself at video games (he’s much better than me now), so when we’d play he would either win and gloat or lose and blame me for somehow cheating to win. I calmly explained that this lyric was in no way about the Madden game and it’s original source actually came from other people that he didn’t even know. Further, I explained, the “Mr. Rooski” that is mentioned in the was in the song was not actually him but was instead was a fictional character, a gonzo temperament, an “abstract facsimile”. At first he seemed to accept this logic, but just as I was about to get up from the piano stool and continue on with this day he continued the argument with an amusing back-and-forth between myself and my 6-year-old son that lasted about a half hour. Everytime that I thought I got the point across that the song wasn’t actually referring to him, Jacob would continue the battle of wits by pointing out other lyrics that “proved” me wrong. After each subsequent argument and counter-argument and several ever-intesifying, open-handed piano bangs with the now-nearly shouted;
“It’s not Rooski! It’s an abstract facsimile of Rooski!”
I had an odd new beginning to this odd and entertaining song.
NOTE: This song’s most recent and final update included a revamping of the lyrics for the 2018 release of the Sinclair Soul album Nine Fine Lines.
Listen to the Song:
Ric Albano, 2005