Persephone

Album: Live Dates II (1980)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written by Wishbone Ash bass player Martin Turner. It sounds like he is longing for a girl, but in our interview with Andy Powell, he said that the song is actually about the group's original guitar player, Ted Turner (no relation to Martin), who left the band. In this context, the stage imagery makes a lot more sense:

    In your time, you could outshine everybody else around
    But your off-stage ways might be a bore


    The song is titled "Persephone" to relate Ted Turner to the Greek legend.
  • Ritchie Blackmore once said that playing the guitar as fast as possible is a bit like having sex as fast as possible, i.e. not necessarily desirable. "Persephone" illustrates this to a tee; although it has the de rigueur Ash twin guitars, this is a slow, lazy track that is a joy to the ear.
  • The song was recorded originally for the 1974 studio album There's The Rub, but Wishbone Ash have always been at their best live. The track found its way onto the second disk of Live Dates II. This double album was released in 1980, and according to the band's official biography, only the first 25,000 copies included both disks. Fortunately, there are several fine recordings floating around in cyberspace, including a 1976 video of the band in Cologne.
  • The original Persephone was the Queen of the Underworld, and Martin Turner's vocal strikes precisely the right morose tone. Andy Powell with custom Flying V, liberal use of the tremolo arm and the full length of the fretboard, shares the lead with Laurie Wisefield's dream like high notes.

    The tempo of the song does increase towards the end, including on the studio version (which fades out), but "Persephone" is like a fine wine, to be sipped gracefully, rather than guzzled down like a stein of beer. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

Comments: 2

  • Robert from Russell, New ZealandI'm a novice guitar player & trying to learn the main riff of this song, that plays throughout, in the background - PLEASE ..... where can I find the tabs for this riff??
  • James from Toronto, OnJust a great song from one of the greatest widely unknown bands.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Mike Love of The Beach Boys

Mike Love of The Beach BoysSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The Devil

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The DevilSong Writing

Just how much did these monsters of rock dabble in the occult?

Lita Ford

Lita FordSongwriter Interviews

Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up Musicians

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.