I recall when you came to the rainbow ball-room
Where the soldiers used to drill
And you sang scat, swing and a Christmas song
In the shadow of a strip-steel mill
Well tonight I caught the retrospective
I had very little choice
Did the booze put the padding under your skin
For the winter of your voice?
Born to be re-born
Named to be re-named
Directed but directionless
The blameless to be blamed
Did they make you sleep in the truck your were born in?
Who put the grease in the paint?
Could you breathe in the band and the sequins?
Was there somewhere to fall when you'd faint?
And how many times did your beans make five?
Was the star only tacked to the door?
What's this long, long lane that has no turn?
We're not in Kansas anymore
Blameless like the corn that doesn't sway
By the back-lit, back-drop, back-lot. broad highway
Blameless and then somewhere in the storm
The principal boy couldn't change her uniform
We're going to roll you round and round in the re-runs
And study the chemistry
Re-play the grey Ed Sullivan's
He always looked like Nixon to me
Over your shoulder went more than one care
That could have been your song
Over and over and over and out
You never figured where you went wrong
A song about Judy Garland (1922-1969), real name Frances Gum, a Hollywood star who even in adulthood could only achieve success with child roles. Once forced into the this image, Judy Garland found that she couldn’t break the typecasting and was destroyed by it. Her most famous role was that of the girl (Dorothy) in the “Wizard of Oz” (1939, Director: Victor Fleming.) She is carried off into a fantasy world by a whirlwind, where she has all sorts of amazing adventures. On first arriving, she says: “We’re not in Kansas anymore”. The film used only painted backdrops, which were illuminated from behind when they wanted to simulate daylight.
To be born in the trunk: Metaphor for natural acting talent. Who put the grease in your paint: Who put the unpleasant substance into the makeup? = Who is responsible for your downfall? They put a star on the dressing room door of the lead actor. Was Judy Garland’s fame so short lived that her star was only tacked on? What’s this long, long lane…: Play on the old proverb: “It’s a long long lane that has no turn.” Meaning it may be a long time away, but things are going to change for the better. Principal boy: The main role in English pantomime pieces is always played by a girl. The reference here: Judy Garland always had to play the same roles. Ed Sullivan Show: The most popular entertainment programme on US television in the ’50’s, then still in black and white. Over your shoulder…: Play on “Over my shoulder” (went one care), the most famous song by Jessie Matthew’s, a famous English film star, whose career came to an abrupt end at the beginning of World War Two. Over and out: Phrase used by radio operators to signal the end of the dialogue.