Thursday Inspiration #199 Helplessly Hoping

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word fly, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Helplessly Hoping’, or by going with another song by Crosby, Stills and Nash, or anything else that you think fits.  This song was written by Steven Stills when he was trying to make ends meet as a session musician, before he became a superstar.  The woman in the song he is writing about is Judy Collins, who he met on September 4, 1967, when Cream played a show at Los Angeles’ Whisky A Go Go.  Stills said that he saw Collins in the audience and made his move.  He was drinking beer at the time because he couldn’t afford whiskey.  He wanted to meet her because he used to listen to her albums before he went to sleep, so he went up to her and kissed her hand.  They started a relationship which did not last, and she already had a son who Steven adored.  This is probably where the “3 together” line comes from.  In 1969, Judy dropped Steven after meeting actor Stacy Keach.

The song is about two lovers who don’t know what to do in a psychological setting and it makes use of both alliteration and wordplay (words with dual meanings) in the lyrics.  Buffalo Springfield was coming apart at the time, and CSN had not formed yet, and Collins was preparing to record a new solo album, to be titled Who Knows Where the Time Goes.  Stephen Stills first recorded this on April 26, 1968, in New York at a Judy Collins session for a demo album Just Roll Tape, which was not released till 2007.  Stephen fell for Judy’s “true gentle spirit”, as they begin a torrid affair.  He decides that she’s the one, so he endears himself to her son Clark and hopes that they will be able to have a future together.  Judy was deeply involved in her own career at the time, and she had no idea about what exactly was going on, so she is saying she is lost.  Stills said this song was inspired a long time ago by his 10th grade English teacher in Tampa, Florida who was a real knockout.  She was able to get all the football players to stand up and read poetry, trying to impress her with how sensitive we were and how much we loved this awful stuff, and Stills felt that some of this stuff must have rubbed off on him.

Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby
Awaiting a word
Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit, he runs
Wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of goodbye

13 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration #199 Helplessly Hoping

    1. When they were asked to play the 1967 Monterey Pop festival, they realized that Stills was the only group member that was good enough to play guitar, so they needed someone else in the group, When Stills asked Young to join, Crosby and Nash felt that they didn’t need him, but Neil told them that nobody could jam as good with Stills as he could.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I finally managed to find your challenge while it was still timely. The more I try to get the emails to slow down, the faster they keep coming. Last night while I was trying to reduce the volume of email, I got 50 new emails. It just keeps getting worse. Unsubscribe doesn’t work. Neither does spam or even block. But at least I found it before it got buried.

    I followed Judy Collins’ career from her first records to today and somehow I never connected Stephen Stiles and her. I seem to be just learning about things everybody else already knew. Better very late than never? My post will be up just after midnight EST.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I should have known because a good friend of mind was her engineer at Elektra records and he knew everything that was going on. I was just awfully busy with my life and I wasn’t paying attention. Oh well. Now I’m retired and I can finally catch up 🎶

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.