There was a time when I imagined a harpsichord could make anything sound better, even Billy Joel‘s “Piano Man.” I don’t remember specifically how old I was, but I was probably about 15, the year my head exploded with dreams of becoming a professional musician.
I’d long loved the harpsichord – or some electronically manipulated version of a piano to sound like one – on The Beatles‘ “In My Life.” They used the instrument, or some approximation of it, elsewhere, like “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Fixing a Hole.”
The Rolling Stones used harpsichord to great effect on “Play With Fire.” Oh, the thought of those savages unleashed on an instrument befitting a man in tights and a powdered wig!
“Walk Away Renee” and “Sunshine Superman” featured the harpsichord. And who could forget the chill that ran up their spine the first time they heard it bang out the chords in The Yardbirds‘ “For Your Love”? Not I, not the day I sat down at the harpsichord in my high school music room and painstakingly figured out how to play that song’s four magical chords. Or more likely it was my close, personal friend Townsman Andyr who figured out the chords and showed me how to unlock the magic. His family had a piano, and he already knew how to play the intro to “Evil Woman.”