– a song-bite by Tim McKamey
Nature Boy was written by eden ahbez (born George Alexander Aberle; 1908 – 1995). The song was Nat King Cole’s first hit and number 1 on the charts for 8 weeks in 1948 (the year I was born). eden ahbez is a unique figure among American songwriters. He has been called the “first hippie” and lived the life he believed in and wrote about. He preferred not to capitalize his name, stating “only God and Infinity deserve to be capitalized.” His friends called him ‘ahbe’. He carved wooden flutes, played the congas, and spent alot of time in the desert in southern California.
The song Nature Boy became a classic and has been recorded by dozens of artists from John Coltrane to Harry Connick, Jr. You can read more about him at his friend Joe Romersa’s Tribute web site here.
You can listen to my humble rendition of Nature Boy here.
Once when asked about his background, eden ahbez recited this poem which tells the story of his original encounter with the Nature Boy:
Once far into the desert land I went
to search as men are want to search for truth.
And there in meditation, all alone, quite suddenly,
I came upon a youth,
one in who’s face all joy and sorrow blended.
And as the holy book upon whose pages
I saw the quest of birth and death had ended.
And read the eternal secret of the ages.
He spoke to me, this wondrous child.
His voice was strong, his eyes were mild.
I knew not what he said to me,
but blessed was my reverie.
“I am a being of Heaven and Earth,
of thunder and lightning,
of rain and wind,
of the galaxies,
of the suns and the stars
and the void through which they travel.
The essence of nature,
eternal, divine that all men seek to know, to hear,
known as the great illusion time,
and the all-prevailing atmosphere”.