Friday, May 6, 2016

John's Children – "Desdemona" (1967)

Desdemona, just because
You're the daughter of a man

In Shakespeare’s Othello, the man that Desdemona is the daughter of is Brabantio, a Venetian senator.

The Grand Canal in Venice
In the opening scene of the play, Brabantio is awakened and told that Desdemona has eloped with the much older Othello, an African prince and general in the Venetian Army:

'Zounds, sir, you're robbed; 
For shame, put on your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. 

The enraged Brabantio tracks down the newlyweds and accuses Othello of using witchcraft to seduce the innocent Desdemona.  But Desdemona swears that she married Othello because she truly loved him.

"Othello and Desdemona in Venice"
by Théodore Chassériau (1850)
In the final scene of the play, we learn that Brabantio has died of grief over the loss of his daughter.

*     *     *     *     * 

John’s Children was an English band known for its outrageous live performances and lack of musical talent.  (The group’s manager, Simon Napier-Bell – who also managed the Yardbirds – said John’s Children was “positively the worst group I’ve ever seen.”)

In 1967, the band toured Germany with the Who, who fired them mid-tour.  Pete Townshend said John’s Children was “too loud and violent,” which is a case of the pot calling the kettle black if I ever heard one.

“Desdemona,” the group’s most famous single, was written by Marc Bolan.  Bolan was a member of John’s Children for just a few months before leaving to form Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Here’s “Desdemona”:

Click below to order the song from Amazon:

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