Wednesday 7 March 2012

Born a Classic

In the unlikely event that he'd lived so long, the singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt would have been 68 today. For most of his life - outlined here (and it makes pretty grim reading) - he seems to have been hell bent on self-destruction, both personal and professional. But happily for us he found the time to write some seriously great songs along the way. Here he is in 1993 performing the greatest of them all - the immortal Pancho and Lefty, about which Van Zandt said, 'I realise that I wrote it, but it's hard to take credit for the writing, because it came from out of the blue. It came through me.' That's easy to believe; it's one of those songs that seem to have been around for ever - it was born a classic.


  1. Yes, it is a classic. And in a way it's a heartening story. Had most of us had to labour under his burdens - including severe brain damage at the hands of doctors - we would have sunk without trace in our twenties at best. He continued to give music to the world until he was past fifty, despite it all. He must have been tough as nails.

  2. Yes, that is very true Mark - one tough man.

  3. I loved the Willie/Merle version of that song for years, not even knowing who Van Zandt was. When I finally heard Van Zandt sing it, it was a revelation.

    Thank you for this post.