Shazam to the rescue once again.
I was walking through a store the other day, and the song playing over the speakers caught my attention. Since I didn’t recognize it, it was time to fire up my Shazam app, and within a couple of seconds, I discovered the song was Dead Flowers, performed by Townes van Zandt.
I’ve heard of Townes before, but really can’t admit to knowing any of his music, but this was good. Here’s the song:
So I thought it was time to learn a little about Townes, so I headed over to Wikipedia; here’s what it had to say:
John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997) was an American singer-songwriter. He wrote numerous songs, such as “Pancho and Lefty”, “For the Sake of the Song”, “Tecumseh Valley”, “Rex’s Blues”, and “To Live Is to Fly”, that are widely considered masterpieces of American songwriting. His musical style has often been described as melancholy and features rich, poetic lyrics. During his early years, Van Zandt was respected for his guitar playing and fingerpicking ability. In 1983, six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song “Pancho and Lefty”, reaching number one on the Billboard country music chart.. Much of Van Zandt’s life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms and backwood cabins. For much of the 1970s, he lived in a simple shack without electricity or a telephone.
He sounds like an interesting guy, who lived for his music, and not fame and fortune.
As it turns out, the song Dead Flowers was not written by Townes, but by the Rolling Stones. I’ll share their version at the end, but before I do, I thought I’d share one of Townes’ own songs, Pancho and Lefty:
Something about him reminds me a bit of John Prine.
And finally here’s the Stones singing Dead Flowers:
I think I’ll go with the Townes version…
*image from Wide Open Country