Roy Harper – Desert Island – An apology in a song.

I’m sorry about me!

This is a song that appeared on Descendants of Smith (which later came out as Garden of Uranium). It started off as a section in the epic song Burn The World.

Sometimes we’d all like to shut the door and forget about the mess we humans are making of the planet. It is heartbreaking to see how beautiful this planet was and to witness the destruction and pollution we have wreaked upon it. It was paradise.

Wildlife is on the run. We are destroying it daily. We are driving so many creatures to extinction.

Let’s shut the door and pretend that everything is still OK, that the cruelty and mindless pursuit of money isn’t happening.

I’m sorry planet earth – I’m sorry for what we stupid humans are doing – I’m sorry for me.

I was fortunate enough to be there in the late 80s for the recording of this album. Roy was doing it in Lincolnshire and I went down to stay. It was exciting because Roy was experimenting with different styles, arrangements and instrumentation. He was very influenced by Prince’s Sign Of The Times I remember. He had great hopes for the album. It was a bit of a departure and development. Sadly it didn’t take off like it should have done.

I think that Laughing Inside was the wrong single. Desert Island would have been a better choice. It was more commercial.

EMI rather let Roy down. They were going to do a massive publicity drive. The idea was that they released Laughing Inside under different anagrams of Roy Harper (Rory Phare, Per Yarrow and Harry Rope) (Roy had a bit of a stereotyped image at the time that he wanted to break away from). It fell flat as EMI pulled the publicity and failed to give it the push they’d promised.

That album sounded fabulous through the studio speakers and this track was brilliant.

Desert Island

Gonna paint my room like a desert island
With yellow sand and blue lagoon
Invite you all to come and live there
One afternoon
It’ll be when no-one’s looking
More likely that not
We’ll close the door and turn the sky up
Find a good spot
Air fire water earth you were paradise
I’m sorry about me
I was under impression
That you were free and easy
Gonna paint my room like a desert island
With clear skies and rising swell
Leave the clowns on the jaded horizon
In Wall Streets of Hell
I must say goodbye to the blindfold
And pursue the ideal
The planet becoming the hostess
Instead of the meal
Air fire water earth you were paradise
I’m sorry about me
I was under impression
That you were free and easy
(To plunder)

This is an interesting solo Live version:

3 thoughts on “Roy Harper – Desert Island – An apology in a song.

    1. I dunno. Marketing creates weird stuff. So critics had a down on Roy. It got some to listen to it when they wouldn’t. It was a laugh. It created interest. Who knows?

      1. Quite, who does know? But that wasn’t any kind of suitable marketing because it was niche, and when did anybody ever sell quantities of records because of niche marketing? Not ever. I never understood any of that smooching critic stuff as these people are there one minute, gone the next. The only thing that worked was a copy of the album over to Fluff Freeman, John Peel and Kid Jensen and a full page ad in Melody Maker, NME and Sounds. Sorted.

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