Neal Cassady Drops Dead

Album: World Peace Is None of Your Business (2014)
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Songfacts®:

  • This tribute to the beat generation of the 1950s starts by Morrissey presenting us with the image of Allen Ginsberg weeping over the corpse of his fellow Beat writer and sometime lover Neal Cassady:

    Neal Cassidy is dead, and Allen Ginsberg's tears shampoo his beard

    On February 4, 1968 author and poet Neal Cassady went for a walk on a cold and rainy night along a train track wearing only a T-shirt and jeans. He passed out and in the morning was found in a coma by the track. Cassady was transported to the closest hospital, where he died a few hours later.
  • A major figure of the 1950s Beat Generation and the 1960s psychedelic and counterculture movements, Neal Cassady has been referenced by a number of musicians in their music. For instance:

    Cassady was immortalized in "The Other One" section of the Grateful Dead song "That's It For The Other One" as the bus driver "Cowboy Neal."

    Patrick Simmons refers to Cassady in the Doobie Brothers' song "Neal's Fandango" as his incentive for taking to the road. ("Well it was Neal Cassady that started me to travelin' All the stories that were told, I believed them every one. And it's a windin' road I'm on you understand.")

    King Crimson released a song named "Neal and Jack and Me" on their 1982 album Beat. (The 'Jack' of the title is Beat writer Jack Kerouac).
  • Morrissey goes off during the song on a free-associative spiel about "babies with rabies," before asking, "Victim, or life's adventurer?" Producer Joe Chiccarelli told Radio.com that he jokingly called it," "the rap section," much to the singer's chagrin.

    "Moz looked at me and said, 'It's not really rap,'" he added. "He's very quick-witted, he's very colorful. But I thought of the 'babies/rabies' thing as a poem. If you come from the punk rock school, it's about pushing the limits and seeing what you can get away with. He's a master of words, he's a novelist more than anything."

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