Frank Turner’s Lyrical History of Mankind – 1st Addendum

So, that nerd-y history / lyrics project of mine -“A Brief History of Mankind As Told By Frank Turner (Through His Lyrics)” – was well received in the fan community, which made me quite happy. It’s so good to know I’m not the only one who gets a kick out of discovering these smart little references all over his lyrics. 

I will update the original post at some point, probably over Christmas and then also possible change the title to the one of this post here, because it’s a bit shorter and more on point. I was just glad I had an idea – even if a borrowed one – for the original post to start with. A few people in the Frank Turner Army Facebook Group, shared some more references with me. Some I had clearly not thought about and others I had just overlooked. Thanks to Zoë, Mark, Thomas, Eric.

Here is the first addendum. Again in chronological order.

80 – 100 AD

Around that time the Gospel of Luke was written / put together and Luke 4:23 says: 

“And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.”
[King James Bible

Hey physicians, heal thyself.
I’ll make my own way down to hell without your help.
(Demons, 2018)

Late 9th Century

England – well the West-Saxons and the Anglo-Saxons – was ruled by Alfred the Great, who did not just defended the country against the Vikings, but also codified a set of laws, the Doom Book, also known as the Laws of King Alfred [Wikipedia].

That Winchester’s should be the only law across the land,
The law of old King Alfred’s time, of free and honest men.
(Sons of Liberty, 2009)

12th century

“The Fisher King” is a part of the whole King Arthur / Holy Grail legend from the 12th century [Wikipedia]. 

And in Battersea power station, the Fisher King
Ponders on his ruin, among many other things.
(The Fisher King Blues, 2013)

14th Century

I mentioned this in the other post, but I admit it might have had the wrong focus. I mentioned Richard II crushed down the  1381 revolt, without saying too much about the revolt. The Peasant’s Revolt had a lot of causes, political and socioeconomical and was triggered by a new poll tax. It had a bit of an early success, but was crushed down in the end. Wat Tyler, one of the leaders was killed shortly after he met the king [Wikipedia].  

Wat Tyler led the people in 1381
To meet the king at Smithfield to issue this demand:
(Sons of Liberty, 2009)

18th Century

The age of revolutions…

In 1755 Benjamin Franklin, a scientist, writer, philosopher, politician, diplomat (once again, all those jobs!) included the following in a letter written on behalf of the Pennsylvania Assembly:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” [Source]

Because a man who’d trade his liberty for a safe and dreamless sleep
Doesn’t deserve the both of them, and neither shall he keep.
(Sons of Liberty, 2009)

10 years later, in 1765 a revolutionary organisation in the American Colonies, called the “Sons of Liberty” fought taxation by the British crown [Wikipedia].

Stand up, sons of liberty, and fight for what you own.
Stand up, sons of liberty, and fight, fight for your homes.
(Sons of Liberty, 2009)

While American colonies fought for indepence and the French people fought against oppression,  the Italian adventurer and authour Giacomo Casanova (1725 – 1798) travelled around Europe on a variety of missions. He’s mostly known now for the many compliacted affairs with women, but just from the bit on Wikipedia, I think he might have led a quite interesting life. I might add his autobiography to my long list of books to read. One day. Anyway, here’s a song title…

Casanova Lament, 2008

20th Century

I can’t believe I forgot to include all the references from “I Am Disappeared”. A bit embarrassing. Let’s round them up in chronological order.

Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961), of course, should be known by name anyway to most of us. Novelist, journalist, Nobel Prize laureate for Literature (1954) [Wikipedia].

Another Nobel Prize laureate for Literature in 2016 is, of course, Bob Dylan. I feel weird trying to give you some context for Bob Dylan. I admit I know songs of course and some of his life and the influence he so obviously has on folk music and culture and everything [Wikipedia].

Posters of Dylan and of Hemingway,
An antique compass for a sailor’s escape.
(I Am Disappeared, 2011)

There also of course is the Song to Bob.

Well hey hey Bob Dylan, I covered your song.
About a funny old world that is coming along.
(Song To Bob, 2011)

Chronologically and back to “I Am Disappeared” the next reference is Patrica Hearst, granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randoph Hearst, who was kidnapped aged 19, by left-wing organisation in 1974. She joined that revolutionary group and particapated in various criminal activities, out of Stockholm Syndrome possibly [Wikipedia].

Dreams of pirate ships and Patty Hearst
Breaking through a life over-rehearsed.
(I Am Disappeared, 2011)

The 1970s also bring us to… Bruce Springsteen. No context needed here, I think. I should admit that I still need to catch up with a lot of music he wrote. I know the hits of course, but really should spend more time getting to know his other stuff. I should make that my next lockdown project, maybe? There’s no link for further information on Bruce, I’d just feel silly. 

I was walking home to my house through the snow from the station,
When the Springsteen came clear in my headphones with a pertinent question:
Is love really real, and can any of us hope for redemption?
(Redemption, 2011)

One of my favourite ‘hidden’ references is the one below. I have no idea how I worked that out, because – as I said above I’m still a Springsteen illiterate. In 1982 he released an album: Nebraska.

Well I’ve been to Texas state, I didn’t think it was that fucking great,
And Nebraska is just a bunch of songs,
(Nashville Tennessee, 2008)

Let’s see how long it will take me to find enough references for addendum #2.

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