September 28, 2010

Harry Nilsson, Ron Sexsmith//Good Old Desk

Today is my last day at the company I’ve been working for for almost four years. Crazy. I didn’t really expect it to feel traumatic, but it does a little. I suppose I’m terribly nostalgic under this thin veneer of snark when it comes down to it.

What ended up being the weirdest part was packing up my desk, so I thought I could discuss this song, a perfect ode to the virtues of the desk, and by extension, the dependable pleasure that can come with a job well done.

The original version of this song was written and recorded by Harry Nilsson (do you guys remember the unofficial Nilsson Week?) on his 1968 Aerial Ballet album. Speaking of work, the album was named after the highwire circus act of his grandparents. Speaking of the album, it features many Nilsson gems (and one tremendously popular cover—“Everybody’s Talking”), including the fantastic “One.”

An amusing tidbit from Wikipedia:
Guest-starring on Playboy After Dark, Nilsson told host Hugh Hefner the song was really about its initials... "G-O-D". Even though Nilsson later admitted that he was just joking around, it is still commonly believed that the song actually is about God.

It’s obviously not about God. It obviously is about a desk. The most wonderful desk, in its way.

I also came across this cover and very much enjoyed it, so thought I would post it here too. My stepbrother first turned me on to Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith when I was in high school. I accidently saw him play a solo show in a church in Montclair, NJ, which was very moving. I think he does a great job with this tune…both versions are really solid in different ways.

Good Old Desk.mp3 (Harry Nilsson Version)

Good Old Desk.mp3 (Ron Sexsmith Version)

Such a comfort to know
It’s got no place to go.
It’s always there.
It’s the one thing I’ve got.
A huge success,
My good old desk.


JoyCorcoran said...

I thought about this song while shopping for a desk here in Portland, OR. I started to sing it to my husband and realized I'd forgotten the lyrics so I googled it and found your sweet website. I'm having a lovely time poking around and listening to music here. Thanks for putting this good energy out into the universe. I'm pondering the concept of a desk as God though, it's a great concept, just something we can use to get our work done.

g said...

Thanks so much for reading, Joy.