When I was about ten, I was at a friend’s house when a song came on the radio. It sounded at first like just a regular pop song about lost love, when the singer’s voice suddenly went from a calm tenor to a wailing soprano. To my horror, I realized the man was going insane, and the song was all about his steady descent into madness. He’d alternate from measured, reasonable sounding speech, to the desperate gibberings of the deranged.
I was listening in mounting sympathy and horror when my friend told me we should go outside. I followed, to embarrassed to ask to stay and hear the end. I couldn’t get the image of the poor lunatic, probably trussed up in a padded cell, out of my head. I kept trying to discuss it with my friend, who was more interested in talking about the recently released TERMINATOR movie.
I never could forget that haunting song. I often hoped that maybe it had ended on a happy note, but I knew in my heart that the poor singer was doomed to be a lost soul. This was in the days before the internet, so I never could track it down. Years later, I finally heard it on one of my uncle’s novelty records, right after ‘A Boy Named Sue.’