A lazy sleep filled with dreams. My eyes flickered, opening slowly to the darkness of our cool underground bedroom. My CPAP mask softly on my face regulating the air pressure and keeping my throat open to receive oxygen, allowing me to breathe easily, lowering my blood pressure, keeping me healthy.
Under the even sound of my breath, Nat King Cole sings, “There was a boy, A very strange, enchanted boy.” The song – “Nature Boy.”
I doze, sleep and dream. I explore a sensual jungle. Selva en español. The vines and tropical leaves part. I see a couple. Two beautiful naked men. Embrace. I reach forward and become one of them. I feel his firm, loving touch. The lush Mid-Century arrangement swells. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, Is just to love and be loved in return.”
“Nature Boy” is a gorgeous, mysterious song. This image filled my eyes and heart. I rushed to the computer to make the dream manifest. I wanted lush and erotic. Simple, supple shapes. Graphic.
Recorded in 1947, the song is written by eden ahbez (yes, all lower case). He was a hippy before there were hippies. He lived in Griffith Park in Los Angeles and ate fruit, vegetables, and nuts, lecturing on street corners about Oriental mysticism.
ahbez attended a Nat King Cole concert and approached his manager with the completed song “Nature Boy.” Rejected, he delivered the completed song to Cole’s valet after a performance. Nat King Cole was so taken with the song that he immediately recorded it. Cole and Capitol searched for ahbez to acquire the rights. But he was nowhere to be found. Eventually, they discovered him camping under the Hollywood sign.
This is the first song Nat King Cole recorded where he was credited as a solo artist. His previous recordings were as The King Cole Trio, where he was the piano player and lead vocalist. However, on “Nature Boy,” he didn’t play the piano, which was a turning point for Cole, who became known for his vocal talents and lush orchestral arrangements.
Paul McCartney said in an interview that “since I was a kid, I’d always loved the melody and words to that song. The writer was one of these guys who came and went… He wrote this strange little song when you look at the lyrics – it’s rather gay! In a nice way!”
I love that sentiment. To quote McCartney and Lennon, “Could it be anybody? I want somebody to love.”
We all need love. I am blessed to be loved.