Thursday, October 24, 2019

VDP and “Southern Nights”

This story is new to me. Allen Toussaint on his song “Southern Nights”:

“That was the last song for the album, the very last song. I had written and recorded all of the other songs, and for some reason I couldn’t come to terms that I was finished with the album. I had trouble being satisfied. I always take forever to do an album, because when I do an album, I don’t plan to do another. The only reason I ever did another album after any album was because I got a request by some company. Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t record me.

“While I was finishing the album Van Dyke Parks visited me in the studio. He was a wonderful guy, a genius of a guy. He said, ‘Well, consider that you were going to die in two weeks. If you knew that, what would you think you would like to have done?’ And after he said that, I wrote ‘Southern Nights’ as soon as he left. I stood right there and wrote it. It all came at once, because I lived that story.”
“The album” turned out to be Southern Nights (Reprise, 1975). Toussaint and Parks recorded “Southern Nights” as a piano duet for American Tunes (Nonesuch, 2016), Toussaint’s final album.

Related reading
All OCA Van Dyke Parks posts (Pinboard)

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