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KEYS (What a fool believes)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It comes at the end of the seventh episode of Twin Peaks: The Return. It’s a shot inside the Double R Diner. A pretty normal scene, really. Norma Jennings is adding up the days receipts and customers are enjoying their drinks and meals.

But the song playing in the diner is a sync touchstone for me and one I’ve written about here at Dust Devil Dreams before – “Sleep Walk” by Santo & Johnny.

Another evening in the Double R Diner. And a little "Sleep Walk" ... (Showtime)

I noted it, particularly in my May 4, 2015 post "Sleepwalk (Gnik nus)" and, later, my March 22, 2016 post "Keys (King of pain)."

The former post connected "Sleep Walk" to the Beatles track "Sun King," featured on Abbey Road (in the medley), which has been syncing with me of late.

What is it about that song that attracts TV and film directors? I think of Terry Gilliam using it so effectively in 12 Monkeys. It is used in an advertisement for the Florida Keys. And in Twin Peaks, a "key" belonging to Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is discovered by a Las Vegas prostitute named Jade. She drops the 25-year-old key in the mailbox and it is returned to the Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks, Washington where it is recovered by owner Ben Horne (Richard Beymer). He notes that the key - Room 315 - was Agent Cooper's room back in 1989 when he was a guest there, in the midst of the investigation of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). 

(Showtime)

It is used in the 1987 film La Bamba after Ritchie Valens’s family learns of his death in a plane crash – along with Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and the pilot – near Clear Lake, Iowa on Feb. 3, 1959. I wrote a lot about Buddy Holly in recent years, including this post.

“The day the music died,” as Don McLean put it in his 1971 song “American Pie.”

Oddly, almost exactly one year ago to the day, I wrote a sync post titled "Is this your homework, Larry?" where I share this strange dream about the actor Dolph Lundgren pretending to be - Carlos Santana - whose song "Oye Como Va" is featured in a key scene in The Big Lebowski, which I was rewatching the other day. The post dealt with "imposters." Doubles. Seems to be a lot of that "twin" weirdness going around.

Oh, and "Oye Como Va" is a song is featured on Santana's 1970 album Abraxas - a reference to Herman Hesse's novel Demian, which I went on to review, here ...

(Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

So, I’m watching this scene in Twin Peaks, with “Sleep Walk,” and I realize a strange connection it has to my writings and the notion of the Black Lodge featuring denizens who talk backwards, as happened when “Bad Cooper” escapes and says “Yrev” instead of “Very” when addressing Deputy Director Gordon Cole. 

"How do you get that elf to talk backwards?" asks David Letterman of David Lynch during a 1990 interview, referring to Michael Anderson's role as "Little Man From Another Place."

The song "Sun King" was inspired by Fleetwood Mac's 1968 Peter Green-led guitar instrumental "Albatross," which in turn, was inspired by Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk," a song that Santo and Johnny Farina wrote, inspired by a late night "revelation," in the aftermath of that aforementioned plane crash involving Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. On the LOVE compilation from 2006, "Sun King" was turned backwards - into "Gnik Nus." It's all very, very weird - and ties back to "Sleep Walk." 

(Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Santo & Johnny would have a huge hit with the dreamy, steel-guitar-infused song (that actually has lyrics) and would perform the song on Dick Clark's Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show on August 1, 1959.

"The story of this song is very interesting," Clark tells the audience, as he introduces the duo and the story behind the song. "Because It happened at 2 o'clock in the morning, this is a true thing. One brother woke the other brother up and said, 'I have an idea for a song.' Uh-uh. 2 o'clock in the morning. They got up - lived in a two family house in Brooklyn - and they must have very understanding neighbors. They got up at 2 o'clock in the morning and they wrote this song. And it turned into a very, very big hit. It's a thing called 'Sleep Walk.' Ladies and gentlemen, Santo and Johnny ..."

It reminded me of the synchronicity, serendipity, whatever you want to call it ... of when the Grateful Dead were looking for a new band name - the future Velvet Underground had the Warlocks already - and Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh had a dictionary on hand and Jerry opens it to the phrase "Grateful Dead." The song seemed to define what the band was trying to convey, in terms of their being part of a "rebirth" of the culture at large, and they were at the point of the spear in that regard.

(Amazon Video)

As were Santo & Johnny, tapping into the post-Buddy Holly plane crash zeitgeist. Just as the Beatles would arrive in the U.S. as a nation grieved the death of a president. And the Dead took hold of that Sixties ideal of freedom and "discovering America and yourself" and just went forward - continuing, in a new incarnation, even today.

And Twin Peaks, back in 1990, changed the face of television forever. I sense that when David Lynch and Mark Frost - who compliment each other beautifully, when it comes to their art - knew that in 25 years (the amount of time Laura Palmer told Agent Cooper she would see him again - and by gum, here we are) a new path would need to be forged in the culture. Music doesn't seem to be pushing the culture forward as it once did. TV, and to a lesser degree, films, are doing that, it seems to me.

Twin Peaks: The Return has gripped the culture once again. Maybe not in quite the same way as it was in the simpler times that were the early 1990's, but still ... people are coming up with some wild, interesting and amazing ideas about what is going on in the show. What are the themes and what issues are unresolved - after many, many years - not only in "Twin Peaks" but in America and in the world (America's introduction of nuclear weapons into the world - and its use in the form of countless tests and on human beings in Japan. A reason why the Twin Peaks sheriff was Harry S. Truman. And in Fletch, Chevy Chase's investigative reporter character - looking into high-level corruption and drug smuggling in Southern California - uses the name "Harry S. Truman" when asking questions of the criminal's elderly parents in Utah.

Note "Truman" and "Lest We Forget" on the wall in this scene from the 1985 film Fletch. (Universal Pictures)

And yet we continue to "sleepwalk," as it were ... 

Something is playing out in this theater. Whatever you want to call it. I sense it. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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