(Sevens, a new feature on Aquarium Drunkard, pays tribute to the art of the individual song.)
This song has been a go-to mix tape/cd staple for years. Similar to last month’s Sevens entry on David Bromberg’s “Sharon,” Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party” also tells a story, except, unlike Bromberg’s imaginary carnival tale, the events here are a veiled nod to an actual “party.”
In 1971 Nelson was invited to perform at Madison Square Garden with a handful of other ’50s rock luminaries only to be subsequently booed off the stage by an audience not expecting Nelson’s, then, newfound love of country-rock. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke, right? The next year Nelson and The Stone Canyon Band released the Garden Party LP with the title track recounting the night’s events. In addition to lyrics referring to John Lennon’s prescence in the audience (“Yoko brought her Walrus”), Nelson sings “Mister Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes, wearin’ his disguise”, which is reportedly a reference to Bob Dylan’s duds that night.
“But it’s all right now, I’ve learned my lesson well. “You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself”