Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to attend an interview given by Jenny Boyd, author of “It’s Not Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Formerly married (twice) to Mick Fleetwood, and the sister of Patty Boyd (whose ex-husbands include George Harrison and Eric Clapton), Jenny’s writing reads like a Who’s Who of rock. It was Clapton who first inspired her to write the book, when he was “drinking fiercely”, and appeared unable to handle his musical talent. When asked by Jenny if he drank because his “gift” was too much for him, Clapton replied “Yes. It’s like staring into the face of God.” Intrigued as to the extent such talent could influence a musician’s behaviour, Jenny embarked on researching her book, originally her psychology PhD dissertation.
The book is a fascinating insight into the lives and minds of some of the most talented musicians of our time, and something I recommend anyone, who is even remotely interested in music, should read. However, what I want to share with you today is Jenny’s recollection of the time she spent in India, alongside her sister, Donovan (for whom Jenny was the inspiration for his number 5 UK hit “Jennifer Juniper”) and the Beatles, for transcendental meditation sessions with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in 1968.
Jenny recalled watching the Beatles sitting on the roof of their bungalow in India, writing the White Album – something she describes as “creativity at its peak”. She also detailed how Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, fell into a drug-induced “psychotic trance” which went on for days. Members of the group tried a number of things to bring her out of the trance, including Jenny playing the flute, and John Lennon playing the guitar and singing to her. The latter is how “Dear Prudence” came to be written.
Although I have heard the original, I must confess that my initial exposure to this song was in 1983, through Siouxsie and the Banshees, and remains my favourite version. Knowing the background to how the song came about, I think Siouxsie Sioux, Budgie and co. captured the essence of the song beautifully. What do you think?