When the Light Appears Boy

Album: When I Was Born For The 7th Time (1997)
  • songfacts ®
  • "When the Light Appears Boy" is the eight track on Cornershop's album When I Was Born for the 7th Time. The song features the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who was previously a friend (some say mentor) to Bob Dylan. Ginsberg was suffering from cancer at the time Cornershop approached him to record, but the poet hid it well.

    "He didn't show it, other than that he looked a little frail," lead singer Tinder Singh said in a Songfacts interview. "We walked to his apartment. Yale [University] had looked him up in the Yellow Pages and he agreed to collaborate. We got permission from Yoko to do a cover of "Norwegian Wood," and we also met Sean, which helped secure that, and we went to his flat and we recorded it.

    He said that he'd written the poem and always thought that it would lend itself to being a song. So, we then recorded it in his kitchen. And the way that we recorded it was simply on cassettes, because we wanted to try to get the figure that he used to have in the halls and in live recordings that he would have done in the '60s and '70s."

    The main instrumental parts were recorded in Punjab, India.
  • The day after they finished recording, Cornershop had a performance. They invited Ginsberg, but he had to decline because he was too tired. Ginsberg died not long after, which makes "When the Light Appears Boy" one of the last (if not the last) recordings of Ginsberg reading his poetry.
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