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Harlem Roulette

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Harlem Roulette
TranscendentalYouth

Album

Transcendental Youth

Released

2012

Artist

the Mountain Goats

Length

3:23

Next track

"Cry for Judas"

Next track

"White Cedar"

Harlem Roulette is the fourth song on the album Transcendental Youth.

LyricsEdit

Unknown engines underneath the city
Steam pushing up in billows through the grates
Frankie Lymon's tracking "Seabreeze" in a studio in Harlem
It's 1968
Just a pair of tunes to hammer out
Everybody's off the clock by ten
The loneliest people in the whole wide world are the ones you're never going to see again

Feels so free when I hit the avenue
Nothing like a New York summer night
Every dream's a good dream,
Even awful dreams are good dreams,
If you're doing it right

Remember soaring higher than a cloud
Get pretty sentimental now and then
The loneliest people in the whole wide world are the ones you're never going to see again

And four hours north of Portland, a radio flips on
And some no one from the future remembers that you're gone

Armies massing in the dusky distance
Ghosted in the ribbon microphone
Leave a little mark on something, maybe
Take the secret circuit home

Nothing in the shadows but the shadow hands
Reaching out to sad, young, frightened men
The loneliest people in the whole wide word are the ones you're never going to see again
Yeah, the loneliest people in the whole wide word are the ones you're never going to see again

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "This is a song about the death of Frankie Lymon, who was a wonderful young singer. Then he wasn't young anymore and his voice changed and the world had no further use for him. But he kept trying to work because that was sort of the only line of work he'd ever had. And, uh, he scored a recording contract with a tiny little label out of Harlem called Roulette, there were a lot of tiny little labels in the 1960s, and they let him track like fifteen demos in one night, and he did that, and got a couple hundred bucks, and he went and got some heroin, as you do when you get a couple hundred bucks, and died in his mother's house that night. This is called 'Harlem Roulette'." -- 2012-10-16 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

  • The song describes the last night in the life of singer Frankie Lymon, who died of a heroin overdose in 1968. [1]

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit

Videos of this SongEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.mtvhive.com/2012/10/03/the-tragic-story-behind-a-mountain-goats-lyric/


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