song Morning Glory is Tim Buckley's most covered song.
It has been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Blood Sweat and Tears,
This Mortal Coil, Fairport Convention, and Chrissie Hynde.
It was Tim's first popular song, but what does it mean?
most complicated lyrics are "And he stood before my fleeting
house". We all wonder what Tim and Larry meant by the
fleeting house. Tim sang Morning Glory all six times
that I saw him perform. The song appears on the Goodbye
And Hello, Dream Letter,and The Peel Sessions recordings.
Tim must have sung that song a thousand times. I think it
meant something more to him than meets the eye. My take on
this is that the house in question was a metaphor for either
success, good fortune, or fame.
you imagine that the first person narrator of the song (I)
represents an avid fan, and the hobo is a metaphor for a hippie
singer/songwriter, then it might be easier to follow my line
of thought here. Tim and Larry might have been making a statement
about how short-lived(or fleeting) fame can be. In the mid-sixties
Andy Warhol said that everyone at sometime or other in his
or her lifetime would achieve fifteen minutes of fame. He
was simply pointing out that fame is fleeting for most people.
I think that later,Tim saw himself as the hobo, and just like
the hobo, Tim wanted no part of the adulation that comes with
fame. He couldn't come into the fleeting house because it
was too high a climb.
Tim feel that you had to give up too much of yourself and
your freedom to grow as an artist once you achieved pop stardom,
which after all, would probably only last a short while? In
the song, the avid fan called out for the hobo to tell more
stories...stories of old. He smiled and even knelt to the
hobo. However, when the hobo said no, the adoring fan changed
his attitude. He cursed the hobo and told him to go away.
morning glory plant grows to twenty feet in height.
It's flowers range in color from purple through blue
and pink, with heart-shaped green leaves. The flowers
open in the morning and last for only a few hours..."
this what both Tim and Larry believed, or did they inadvertantly
predict what was going to happen to Tim? Remember, fresh in
their minds in 1966 was all the attention that fans and the
media gave to groups like the Beach Boys, who's fans did abandon
them for a while once flower power and psychedelic music arrived
upon the music scene.
also saw the adulation that was being bestowed upon the musical
poets of the sixties. A lot of people were already touting
Tim as the next Bob Dylan. If you listen to the banter and
the wisecracks and the small talk that transpired in-between
a lot of the songs Tim performed live when he was the toast
of the town, you might come away with the impression that
Tim didn't respect his audience.
It was almost laughable to him that people were taking him
so seriously, and that they would hang on his every word the
way they did. It might have frightened him a little or maybe
even a lot. It later became clear to me - when he released
Lorca and followed it with Starsailor - that Tim Buckley
was trying to avoid pop culture notoriety. I actually saw
Tim being booed off the stage once. He seemed to be thumbing
his nose at his audience and walking away from that fleeting
© Jack Brolly 9/17/99
Brolly is a photographer and videographer who lives and works
in New York.
He is also the founder of several Tim Buckley wbsites, including:
timbuckleyandfriends.com and Room 109