Every Rose Has It’s Pesticide Coating

We folks of a “certain age” (100 to 200 years old), often enjoy music from a “certain era,” (the stone-age) which these days generally dwells under the heading “Classic Rock.” There are literally thousands of great songs included in this genre, and we are right to celebrate them and sing them even though most of us can no longer recognize our own reflections in the mirror. The cursed, evil mirror.

But I digress. What I want to talk about today is the fact that not all of the great songs we love were instant classics. Many had to be written, then rewritten, then abandoned, then uncrumpled and rewritten again before they became the masterpieces we know and love. My extensive research has uncovered several less-than-stellar first drafts to some of your favorite tunes.

rs-102416-mick_jagger_1963The Rolling Stones had a timeless classic in the song “Paint It Black,”  but Mick Jagger struggled with the opening line for quite some time, starting with:

“I see a red door and I want it painted a slightly different shade of red.”



Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors and composer of  “Light My Fire,” was obviously one of the more civic-minded band members, as can be seen in the first attempt at his famous tune:

“Come on baby,
Light my fire,
Making sure to do so safely and within the parameters of local civic regulations.”

led_zeppelin_photo1Led Zeppelin’s rock anthem “Stairway To Heaven” was no so heavenly in its original format:

“There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold,
And she’s buying used sneakers
On eBay.”


00youngPaulPaul McCartney, widely recognized as one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, was told by the other Beatles to sharpen his pencil and try again when he came to them with the first iteration of “Yesterday.”

Love was such an easy game to play
Now it turns out that women have feelings
And you’re supposed to ‘listen’ to them.”


A-261760-1350026782-5487.jpegLynyrd Skynyrd’s celebration of the South, “Sweet Home Alabama,” needed a little retooling when the first version stated,

“Sweet Home Alabama,
Where my sister is also my mom.”




isaac-hayes-220_788892fWe could see where Isaac Hayes was going with his original lyrics to “Shaft,” but we’re thankful he toughened them up from:

“Who’s the black private detective
That is very highly regarded in his community
And has a Triple-A rating with the Better Business Bureau?”



1200px-Elvis_Presley_promoting_Jailhouse_RockAnd even the King of Rock and Roll didn’t always strike gold on the first try, as the original words to “Jailhouse Rock,” clearly show:

“Warden threw a party in the county jail,
But the new meat missed it because
Big Bubba had dragged him into a broom closet
Where he repeatedly sodomized him.”

Clearly not what we ended up with.


577446bdSo we thank these musical geniuses. We thank them for not settling for their first drafts, and for not giving up on perfection. I think Neil Young said it best when he didn’t say:

“Hey, hey, my, my,
Rock and roll is on life support….”


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