A Song I Love – Memo From Turner

I had intended to do only four Stones posts. But writing that series and referencing the movie Performance reminded me of a great song from that flick, “Memo from Turner.” In this 1970 movie, Mick Jagger plays Turner who – according to Wikipedia –  is a “reclusive, eccentric former rock star who has “lost his demon”, and who lives there with his female friends Pherber and Lucy, with whom he enjoys a non-possessive and bisexual menage a trois, and their child maid Lorraine.” Been there, done that!

Anyway, the movie is largely forgotten but “Memo from Turner” is just such a great tune. It is lazy and moody and sounds for all the world like a bunch of guys just picked up instruments and made it up – words and all – right on the spot. The great Ry Cooder plays slide on this and it sets the tone and feel for the whole song. And supposedly, Randy Newman (!) is on piano. But it’s Jagger’s perverse, louche, drunken-sounding, vocal that pulls everything together here.

Gentlemen (and ladies) – your love is all I crave:

Didn’t I see you down in San Antone on a hot and dusty night?
You were eating eggs in Sammy’s when the black man there drew his knife.
Aw, you drowned that Jew in Rampton as he washed his sleeveless shirt,
You know, that Spanish-speaking gentlemen, the one that we all called “Kurt.”

Come now, gentleman, I know there’s some mistake.
How forgetful I’m becoming, now you fixed your bus’ness straight.

I remember you in Hemlock Road in nineteen fifty-six.
You’re a faggy little leather boy with a smaller piece of stick.
Well you’re a lashing, smashing hunk of man;
Your sweat shines sweet and strong.
Your organ’s working perfectly, but there’s a part that’s not screwed on.

Weren’t you at the coke convention back in nineteen sixty-five?
You’re the misbred, grey executive I’ve seen heavily advertised.
You’re the great, gray man whose daughter licks policemen’s buttons clean.
You’re the man who squats behind the man
Who works the soft machine.

Come now, gentleman, your love is all I crave.
You’ll still be in the circus when I’m laughin’
Laughin’ in my grave.

When the old men do the fighting and the young men all look on.
And the young girls eat their mothers meat from tubes of plasticon.
Be wary please my gentle friends of all the skins you breed.
They have a tasty habit – they eat the hands that bleed.

So remember who you say you are and keep your noses clean.
Boys will be boys and play with toys so be strong with your beast.
Oh Rosie dear, doncha think it’s queer, so stop me if you please.
The baby’s dead, my lady said,
“You gentlemen,

Why you all
Work for me!”

8 thoughts on “A Song I Love – Memo From Turner

  1. Yeah those were the days when odd shit like this and Man Who Fell to Earth could get made. Caught the latter on the tube just a few weeks before Bowie died.

    You a Clapton fan CB? (Stupid question, right?) I have a series about him coming up around Christmas, probably week between XMAS and New Year. Might want to bookmark where you are in your journey, go back to the future and check that one out. Just sayin’.


    1. When I was a kid there was this old run down theater that used to play all these cult movies and real out there shit. Seen some great films I wouldn’t have seen in the mainstream. The place had the heat machine with the one shriveled up wiener that was there teasing the hard core pot heads. My buddy ate it on a bet.
      Yeah, EC fan. Go way back with him. Probably the first of those guitar guys that did it for me. I’ll save a comment for your piece. Look forward to it. (Just picked up a CD with him and JJ Cale. ‘The Road to Escondido’. Not disappointed )


      1. If the theater’s still there, I bet there’s another hot dog just sitting there waiting for someone to come out of the midnight Rocky Horror show with the munchies. Same deal for me in Philly. Saw Pink Flamingos totally fucked up then went back with a group to some guy’s house and listened to Free Bird for an hour and a half. Did we know how to have fun or what? 🙂

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        1. ‘Pink Flamingos’ the golden age of the shriveled wiener days. Jim, I might have asked you this before. Are you familiar with Pete Dexter? He’s a Philly guy and one of my favorite writers.


        2. Don’t know him. I was born and raised in Philly and yeh, I visit once in a while. But I’ve been living in the Greater Boston suburbs for many a year, where we pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.

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        3. Ok, You’re in J. Geils territory. Dexter wrote ‘Paris Trout’ Dennis Hopper plays the title character in the film. An alltime headcase. Dexter was doing some research in a tough Philly neighborhood and got the hell beat out of him. He referred to “The Chicken Man” in one of his stories so I got the Springsteen connection. Check Dexters bio you might find it interesting. I’ll peek in on your site again later. CB


  2. Read about him. He took one hell of a whuppin’ huh? I actually saw the movie God’s Pocket on the tube. Pretty good stuff. BTW, Geils, Aerosmith and a whole bunch of indie bands back in the day.

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