Mindful of the fact that I have claimed my upcoming album Through Darkened Glass to be a collection of songs reflecting upon a handful of a lifetime’s varied experiences, one can be excused, quite readily, for thinking: “Night in Spain? What’s that all about then, Ms Palmer?”
Well, the idea for the song came to me following a simple gesture made by a couple of female fans at Los Angeles Airport in January, 1975.
Earlier in January, I had flown to LA for a few days to work with Ian Anderson on the songs to feature on the next Jethro Tull album, “Minstrel in The Gallery” and was sharing a rented house with him, up in the canyons.
(Incidentally, the last tenant of the house had been Marty Feldman, and he’d left lots of empty, small cigar tins lying around. I’ve often wondered since if there was a connection between that and one of Ian’s later songs… I must ask him sometime.)
On several evenings during my stay, Ian was invited to appear as guest DJ on a late night, local LA radio station. I usually took myself off to Barney’s Beanery, down in West Hollywood, for delicious burgers and lots of fun!
On the day we departed LA, Ian and I arrived at the airport and the two girls just came up to us and handed a rose to each of us. Simple as that and, though not necessarily a regular event in my life, I accepted my rose, as Ian did his.
(We were on our way to North Carolina, for Ian to pick up on the second half of the Warchild Tour and for me to spend a few more days working on the songs while the band rehearsed; on the plane, Ian gave his rose into my keeping).
When we checked into the Smokey Mountains Hilton in Ashville, NC – I remember it well! – I asked the desk clerk for a vase to be delivered to my room. The vase arrived and I placed the two roses in it (having first cut back an inch or so of the stems.)
Next morning I was saddened to see that both roses were dead!
A cue for song if ever there was, so I got out my lyric book and wrote:
The words you spoke won’t rhyme the way
you made them sound when we first met:
When was it now?
It was quite some time before I got round to finishing the song and, when I did, I chose to embrace that much revered advice of Charles Dickens; namely, write what you know and make up the rest!
And so the narrative of this cautionary tale deals with those issues which some young (and not so young) holiday-makers, having departed to various holiday destinations in Spain, may have to face (a week or so later at Luton Airport or some other godforsaken place following their return at 2.00 a.m, alone and on some cold, grey, English morning) after having travelled – in one week – to the Moon or Mars (and back) with someone they are unlikely ever to see or hear from again – or not – as the case may be.
The trick of this tale is in the last two words.
I invite you to buy the album to find out the sting in the tail and enjoy!
December 23rd, 2017
(click on the arrow of the audio player below to listen)