Segment 49

They get off the bus every day, coming to Hollywood to become stars. Self gravitating spheres of plasma in hydrostatic equilibrium, with an agent, a manager, and an entertainment attorney who’ll talk about ‘em at lunch. For most people, the nearest star that’s not the sun is Proxima Centauri. But here in Los Angeles you’re just as likely to run into Dustin Hoffman at the bookstore, which happened to me one time. Seemed like a good guy. I gave him a copy of one of my books and we had a nice little chat. He told me that being a star is all about inverse beta decay, electron degeneracy pressure, and getting your hands on the right script and having a director who understands you and knows which is your good side. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a black dwarf, or a red giant. You can have your own star set in concrete on Hollywood Boulevard, people walking right over you. Or if you stick around long enough without having a hit, they’ll walk over you without benefit of the concrete.

The gravitational pull is too much for some people. They come from New Jersey, Texas, Oregon, Mississippi and everywhere else. They just want to see their names in lights. Flashy little shiny little two timin’ mamas. They want to be stars baby and they don’t care what it takes. How badly to they want it? Are they willin’ to sacrifice and be real nice? You bet they are. But stardom can be blinding. As a forgotten movie star once said: “To be a star is to own the world and all the people in it. After stardom, everything else is poverty.” Well, to help put stardom in perspective, we turn to the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking who said: “We’re just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.” Well. No matter how you look at it, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is star-studded: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Sly and the Family Stone, and others. But for starters, let’s go to One Particular Harbour with Jimmy Buffett.

Jimmy Buffett Stars on the Water
The Patti Smith Group So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star)
Deep Purple Highway Star
The Kinks Starmaker
Sly and the Family Stone Everybody’s a Star
Crosby, Stills, Nash Dark Star
Bob Dylan Shooting Star

Wrapping up a star-studded set with a tale of lost love and regret, that’s Bob Dylan as produced by Daniel Lanois down in New Orleans in 1989. The album, Oh Mercy. Before that, another song about relationships, but one that goes in the opposite direction of the one Bob was singing about. “Dark Star” was written by Stephen Stills. “Dark Star” is also the title of a Grateful Dead standard, which is a completely different song composed, if that’s the right word, by the entire band. And I would have included it in this starry little set except the version I have is twenty-three minutes long. By the way, the Crosby, Stills, Nash album featuring their “Dark Star” was called CSN. When it first came out, the photo of the cover showed the trio in serious-artist pose on the deck of a sailboat. After striking this pose, they started laughing and another photo was taken. They later decided they liked the laughing photo better and that’s the one that blessed the cover of all subsequent copies of the album.

And speaking of sailboats, we started the set with “Stars on the Water” from son of a son of a sailor, Jimmy Buffett’s 1983 release, One Particular Harbour. A song written by the great Rodney Crowell. After that, we heard the Patti Smith Group doing “So You Want To Be (A Rock & Roll Star), Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” the Kinks’ “Starmaker” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody is a Star” And that’s it. The star set from The Way Back Studios. Thanks for joining us, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back with a fresh batch next time. And remember, you can trust your car to the man who wears the star and listens to All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here, in the Deep Tracks.

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