Dear Mr. Fantasy

Take a gander and get to know thyself, a saying that was chiseled into the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Let’s say that you decide to plant some Black-eyed Susan just to try something new in your garden, but at the same time you have a fairly stable idea about what type of person you are, so you open up a can of worms and add them to the soil in order to increase the amount of air and water that gets to your flowers. While you are shopping, you come across a display case of Lazy Susans, those rotating tray turntables that are placed on a table or countertop to aid in distribution of food, or other items. Then the clerk comes along and asks you if you need any help and her nametag says Susan and suddenly there are Susans everywhere. Then you realize that the Black-eyed Susans don’t actually have eyes that are black, as they are more of a purplish-brown and they used to be called the Brown Betty, which is your name. Then just as you thought that things could not get any more confusing, over the intercom you hear the Ram Jam song ‘Black Betty’ playing.

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‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ is the final track on Side 1 of Traffic’s 1967 debut album of the same name Dear Mr. Fantasy and even though it was never released as a single, it became Traffic’s defining song.  Jim Capaldi wrote the lyrics while Steve Windwood and Chris Wood wrote the music.  Traffic was made up of Jim Capaldi on drums, Steve Winwood on electric guitar and vocals, Chris Wood on organ and multi-instrumentalist Dave Mason on bass.  Jimmy Miller played maracas on this song.  The song appears to be about a tortured artist who sacrifices his own happiness to make the audience happy.  The audience tells the performer, “Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy” suggesting that the entertainer listen to their demands.

For some unknown reason this audience is gloomy and they feel that the artist is the only one who can make them laugh again.  They begin…

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