Golden Down

Album: Golden Down (1981)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track from Willie Nile's second studio album. The New York City rocker released his self-titled debut a year earlier, which featured the track "She's So Cold" and led to a tour with The Who. After releasing Golden Down, Nile spent the better part of a decade tending to his family after legal matters pushed him to take a hiatus from music. He returned to the studio in 1991 with Places I Have Never Been.
  • In this rock 'n roll number, Nile finds comfort in the arms of a woman that many listeners assume is a prostitute. He told American Songwriter in 2013 that he was partly inspired by the 1954 movie The Barefoot Contessa, which stars Ava Gardner as a nightclub performer who becomes a Hollywood star and the multitude of men who desire her. "And I think also just New York street life," he added. "People I'd see on the street - from prostitutes to the rich to the poor. The thing that fascinates me about New York is the extremes. You know, you've got very poor people, sleeping on the street. And you've got the very rich. When I first moved here, I thought 'This reminds me of Dickens.'"

    He continued: "The music came to me, and the idea. It was very much a street song. Someone played it the other day on the radio and he said, 'It's a song about a prostitute.' It's actually about a woman who men desire and don't respect. What's the line in the second verse: Street princess/on a throne of cream. I remember writing that and going, 'Okay. That'll work.'"
  • The frenetic guitar work was provided by Clay Barnes and Peter Hoffman, both of whom played on Nile's first album.

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