Totally Free

In 1980, Christopher Cross had a hit with ‘Ride Like The Wind’, and in 1981 Frank Zappa parodied the song as ‘Teenage Wind’.  Arthur Barrow is a multi-instrumental musician, that played bass guitar for Frank Zappa and later he worked with Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Billy Idol, The Motels, and many others.  Barrow went to high school with Chris Geppard, aka Christopher Cross and when he heard Chris’s song on the radio, he told Frank about it and Frank told him that he could write a song like this in 5 minutes and this song is the result.  Frank Zappa recorded ‘Teenage Wind’ on his album You Are What You Is and another version of this song appears on You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 4, but this does not contain any references to the Grateful Dead. 

Frank’s music is an acquired taste, but he has always been unique.  Frank didn’t drink or take drugs and he wrote impossibly complex music that had no real form or structure, but this was how he expressed his artistic freedom and he ended up becoming one of music’s most eloquently passionate opponents of censorship.  The thing that I like most about this song is that it is about enjoying freedom without taking on the burden of responsibility.  The teenaged character in this song wants to go to a Grateful Dead concert, sniff glue, and get ripped while listening to Jerry’s guitar solo.  The teen also mentions going to see a show of 200 Motels, which is a 1971 surreal musical film was written and directed by Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer.  This musical is a tale of life on the road mixed with performances by the Mothers and the Royal Symphony Orchestra.  Ringo Starr played ‘Larry The Dwarf’ (dressed as Zappa), Keith Moon was ‘the Hot Nun’, but critics were distinctly underwhelmed by this film.

It’s a miserable Friday night
I’m so lonely
And nobody’ll give me a ride
To the grateful dead concert…oh rats!

I got to be free
Free as the wind
Free is the way
I got to be

Maybe I’m lost
Maybe I sinned
I got to be
Totally free

Our parents don’t love us
Our teachers they say
Things that are boring
So we’re running away
And we will be free
And people will see
That when we are free
That’s the way we should be

Nothing left to do but get out the ‘ol
Glue
(sniff it good now…)

Our parents don’t love us
Our teachers they say
Things that are boring
So we’re running away

And we will be free
And people will see
That when we are free
That’s the way we should be
(we must be free!)
The glue! the glue! I can’t find the glue!
(we must be free as the wind)
If I was at the concert now, I’d be ripped!
(we were free when we were born)
I could tighten my headband for an extra rush
During jerry’s guitar solo
Then I could go to a midnite show of 200 motels!
(we were born free, but, now we are not free anymore!)
“opal, you hot little bitch!”
“you can take this pin n’ hang it in yer ass!”
“you ain’t the devil!”
“where’s my waitress? “
But we wanna be free
An’ were gonna be free

Yes, we want to be free and we’re gonna be free
… did you know that
Free is when you don’t have to
Pay for nothing
Or do nothing
We want to be free
Free as the wind

Free is when you don’t have to
Pay for nothing
Or do nothing
We want to be free
Free as the wind

Free is when you don’t have to
Pay for nothing
Or do nothing
We want to be free
Free as the wind

Free is when you don’t have to
Pay for nothing
Or do nothing
We want to be free
Free as the wind

7 thoughts on “Totally Free

  1. Hey, I’m reading your blog these days, and you’re doing a good job. I hadn’t known that there was a song with lyrics like those, in this post. They’re pretty good, eh?

    The friends I’ve had with a taste for his music gave me an idea of what the music is like. I never felt great, taking into account they thought it’s phenomenal, yet I see verses like those, sort of a clever story in a melody. Thanks for helping me better understand what people see in that.

    Liked by 1 person

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