A bugger to write and sing. I put off doing this one for months. Trying to count to eleven when you're sustaining at full volume is one of the most difficult things this singer's ever had to do in the studio :-) This is another of those tracks where Graeme and I were unable to come up with a complete version of a song, but individually we came up with different ideas that meshed together. In this case Graeme had pulled together a verse/bridge section and I had a middle and an ending. In fact we both had a middle and we thought it'd be interesting to put both of them on - and it works!
Ah Ronnie, what a guy he is!! We had had a meeting in the studio to whittle down our pool of ideas and to focus on what would make it thro' to preproduction and become tracks on the new album. I recall Ron in his painfully modest way saying "I've got this idea but I dinna ken if its ony good". He then played a tape of what is now this track to us. It was of course PROGTASTIC. I love it. I was always an ELP fan as a lad and there's a lot of wonderful Emersonesque moments here. The rest of us were certainly left with plenty to get our teeth into after Ron and Denise departed on their travels round the world, with the complex timing changes here.(Colin called Ron names I've never heard before)
Alan and I combined our separate lyrical ideas to good effect here with an excellent team effort. I wanted a German voice for Einstein but was overuled as being "too cheesy". No sense of humour this lot. Now this track has for me, one of the best guitar solos,Niall has ever recorded. I just want you to know that it was played grudgingly at gunpoint with Mike B. and I threatening him with death!! Niall was angry as he wanted to keep it folky and to feature his "3 stringed thing".( He gets his way on the bonus disk).
Originally called Ron's 11; 8 this was a hard one to do for me. Because it was an almost complete piece featuring mostly keyboards, and it was always a problem to known just how much guitar to put in without standing all over Ron's intricate key work. I had, for a long time, wanted to record my little Thai 3 string guitar which I was at last, able to use on the middle section do think this turned out rather well.
This was originally called 11/8 because.............it is in 11/8, although the intro isn't. I cold have killed Ronnie for this (he wrote it), the time signature changes 16 times in the intro section and was a real Bastard to count (as the bonus disc will prove). It also does it again in the middle of the song but is different (the swine!)! However, the rest of the song is pretty straightforward apart from the fact it is in 11! There are some nice wee tight bits with the drums and guitars. Nialls solo in the middle is great, hence the sparse parts during the solo. A Pallas classic!
This is pretty much my main contribution to the album – with the exception of the vocals. (For anyone that doesn’t get out much), the main themes are largely written in 11/8 – a fab time signature that lends itself to the use of unusually extended melodic phrases that wouldn’t sit nearly as nicely in common time. It’s a remarkably inspirational time domain to write in – the melodies almost write themselves once the first few notes arrive. The guys wrote and added the lyrics in my absence, taking the piece to a slightly different place than I had first had in mind. Still though – I’m quite pleased at where it’s ended up
Picture this, it started with a kiss
A broken promise, an apple and a hiss
Banished to the wilderness to the end of days
Lost and lonely, so Satan had his way
Locked in the labyrinth till the end of time
Betrayed by a trecherous king
Daedaelus and Icaros planned their escape
All they'd need was a pair of wings
With beeswax and feathers to freedom they would fly
Out of the maze, and then up to the sky
Don't fly too close to the sun
Albert solved the universe with MC squared
Oh dear what had he done
Oppenheimer broke the lid on Pandora's box
And in a flash we flew too close to the sun
Over the sea, beyond the sky, watch our imaginations fly
Don't fly too close to the sun, the wax may melt
The skies grow dark above us, obscure our destiny
We're trapped despite our powers, earthbound eternity
The years go slowly on and on, each leap of faith becomes a fall
Three steps back with each false dawn, seems we'll never make it
Inspiration fills the air, the stuff of dreams is everywhere
The common goal that we all share - pursuing dreams of freedom
We search for the key that will let us break free
We hope that we'll find ways to make it come right
Just when it seems that paradise is finally within the grasp of men
Our talent for insanity ensures our fate's endangered once again