This week’s TunesDay featured a couple of new videos from Jeffrey Dean Foster, including one for “The Summer of the Son of Sam,” which is maybe the best song on Million Star Hotel, which is in turn one of the best CDs that way too few people have ever heard in the history of popular music.
Anyhow, it’s always nice when a listener/reader/viewer sits down and truly invests themselves in a work of art, and that’s exactly what happened over at Secondat a couple of days ago. Not only do they examine the music, they also reflect back, in great detail, on the summer of 1977 – the Summer of the Son of Sam itself. That was an eventful three months, to be sure. As the writer points out, a lot happened during
the long summer of 1977: New York City’s historic blackout, the deaths of Elvis Presley and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a radio telescope reception from deep space. The song also evokes some of the turmoil of the time: political kidnappings, murders, airplane hijackings, and the deaths of Andreas Baader and other members of the Red Army Faction; expulsion of the Gang of Four from the Chinese Communist Party; and conflicts between Anita Bryant and gay activists. It was a time of NASA launches and of wild enthusiasm for the first of the Star Wars films. We saw then the beginning of the disco fad. Early in the year the Episcopal Church ordained its first woman priest and President Carter pardoned draft evaders of the Vietnam War.
It was also the summer in which the “Son of Sam” killer, David Berkowitz was captured. Berkowitz claimed to be a Satanist, pursued by devils, including demon sent by a neighbor of his, Sam Carr.
When Jeff found this link and sent it to me the other night, he suggested that he may not be entirely worthy of the reading that Secondat gives the song. If that is true – operative word there being “if” – then all I can really say is that it’s better to dive too deeply into a great work of art than not deeply enough (or not at all).
Great artist. Great song. And a truly thoughtful, reflective examination of it. Thanks to all.