Zero She Flies

Album: Zero She Flies (1970)
  • "Zero She Flies" is the title track of Al Stewart's third album. The liner notes give no clue as to its genesis, but a live version - running to some 7 minutes 49 seconds - appears on Volume One of the unofficial triple CD set Oceans Of Delphi. (Previously released as Meridian XVII, this collection includes recordings made between 1970 and 1996). Before performing the song, Al explained that it was inspired by his love of obscure writers of fantasy fiction in the fashion of Tolkien. Mervyn Peake was not as famous as the good professor, but said Al, in its own way, his body of work was just as good as The Lord Of The Rings and similar epics.
    On the dust cover of Titus Groan - part of Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy, it was stated that he was a "Gothic surrealist writer", which impressed Al immensely, even though he wasn't sure exactly what that was, so he went away and "thought Gothic surrealist thoughts to myself", and the result was "Zero She Flies", his Gothic surrealist song. Peake (1911-68), published the first of these books, the aforementioned Titus Groan, in 1946.
    On this particular recording, which was just Al and his acoustic guitar, he stopped after the second verse saying that he intended to recite the last verse because it was written almost as a poem.
  • Al Stewart's first three albums were re-released as a triple CD set called To Whom It May Concern; the accompanying mini-booklet by Al's official biographer Neville Judd says the album was written mostly in the spring of 1970, but the title track (the last track on both the original vinyl and the triple CD), was debuted on John Peel's radio programme in March 1969. Through this programme, Al met Pete Morgan whose poem My Enemies Have Sweet Voices (which he set to music) opens the album.
  • The studio version of "Zero She Flies" runs to 5 minutes 31 seconds. It was recorded at Sound Technique Studios, London, and was produced by Roy Guest. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Classic MetalFact or Fiction

Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. TelevangelistsSong Writing

When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.

Joe ElySongwriter Interviews

The renown Texas songwriter has been at it for 40 years, with tales to tell about The Flatlanders and The Clash - that's Joe's Tex-Mex on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

Jon Anderson of YesSongwriter Interviews

From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon Anderson talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.