“Nature Boy” (Nat King Cole)

Written in the 1940s by legendary proto-hippy Eden Ahbez (“ahbe,” to friends), who, according to Joe Romersa, much later disputed his own final, key lines (“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn/Is Just to love/And be loved in return”), arguing, “To be loved in return is too much of a deal, and that has nothing to do with love.” Doubled/echoing structure of this track, as well as other versions (Jon Hassell’s comes to mind), is therefore too safe and cozy.  That is: love, to be love, should not be subjected to economic calculus, exchange, “return,” and must instead approach the (impossible/singular) limit that is the gift. (Again, that is: to be done with “fools and kings,” one needs first to interrogate the final law of Beatledom: “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”)



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