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This is widely regarded to be a tribute to John Lennon, who was murdered prior to Mike Oldfield writing the song.
Oldfield has said that this was inspired by the Tony Curtis movie Houdini. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
Maggie Reilly sang on this. She has appeared on several of Oldfield's albums.
The meaning of the line "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" caused confusion for many years. Oldfield was finally asked about its meaning in an interview for his web site in 1995: "Well, it was a hundred and five people, just signifying a large amount of people, and presumably it was a hundred and five rather than a hundred and four or whatever because "five" rhymed with the next line!". A look at the extended version of the song supports this, with the line "The crowd gathered just to leave him" creating the image of a crowd of (105) people around the man's dead body. It didn't make much sense before Mike's explanation, though, as why would 105 people be out on the banks of a river at "4 a.m. in the morning"? Also, the video of the song shows the scene of the incident as totally desolate and lit only by the moonlight. The only crowd of people in the video (which by no means reaches 105) are in the weird mansion house the widow runs in to, presumably in search for help. But the version of the track used for the video is the short radio edit, minus the verse describing the "crowd." So then the line "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" was a real mystery. (thanks, Marcus Smith-Willson - Birmingham, England)
Charlie Benante of Anthrax
The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.
Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")
Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.
Van Dyke Parks
U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.
Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.