David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 3 Sep 03 12:48
Franklin's Tower w: Hunter m: Garcia AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/franklin.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/FRANKLIN.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Thu 4 Sep 03 18:59
Franklin's Tower Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. In another time's forgotten space Your eyes looked from your mother's face Wildflower seed on the stand and stone May the four winds blow you safely home Chorus Roll away the dew Roll away the dew Roll away the dew Roll away the dew I'll tell you where the four winds dwell In Franklin's tower there hangs a bell It can ring, turn night to day It can ring like fire when you lose your way [chorus] God save the child who rings that bell It may have one good ring baby, you can't tell One watch by night, one watch by day If you get confused listen to the music play [chorus] Some come to laugh their past away Some come to make it just one more day Whichever way your pleasure tends If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind [chorus] In Franklin's tower the four winds sleep Like four lean hounds the lighthouse keep Wildflower seed in the sand and wind May the four winds blow you home again [chorus]
from BRANDEN WOLNER (tnf) Fri 19 Nov 04 09:06
Branden Wolner writes: I am reading The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks and stumbled across what I believe is a Franlin's Tower reference. The main character is telling a story about when he was 8 and he and his younger brother found an unexploded bomb on the beach. He is trying to get his brother to "ring" the bell and tells him "It's an old bell and it might only have one good noise left in it." This is very reminiscent of the line in Franklin's Tower: "God save the child who rings that bell. It may have one good ring baby, you can't tell." And by the way, the character's name is Frank.
David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Tue 23 Nov 04 01:48
When was that written?
from BRANDEN WOLNER (tnf) Wed 24 Nov 04 10:06
Branden Wolner writes: In response to the question by David A. Mason, The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks was written in 1984, well after Franklin's was first recorded. Clearly it is a tip of the hat by the author Banks. There is another part of the book after the cite above where the character Frank is in a garbage dump and he mentions the foul wind blowing and then says pieces of paper were swirling in the whirlwind. I don't have the text right in front of me but this could have been a reference to "winds both foul and fair all swarm". I am going to have to go back and reread his other books looking for other Dead references now. Branden
Bill McKenney (gratefulwood) Thu 16 Dec 04 15:56
One of the best shows I ever saw was the Legion Of Mary at the Benjamin(beenjamm'in mon :-) Franklin Tower Theater in Upper Darby,outside of Philly.
beneath the blue suburban skies (aud) Fri 17 Dec 04 08:07
geez, for a minute there I thought you said you say Legion of Mary jamming Franklin's Tower, and I was gonna say...what drugs were YOU on that night?? I didn't hear it :-)
Bill McKenney (gratefulwood) Thu 23 Dec 04 21:44
To be honest, Sugar Cube:-))) The production was put on by midnight sun. The band was the Legion Of Mary The venue was the Bejamin Franklin Tower Theater in Upper Darby. Sometime in the 70's.(after 74) Anybody got a tape? I was playing on the name benjamin... Been jamm'in I snuck down the aisle (to the front)and the usher told me to leave. I put up a finger and asked for "just one minute" Garcia walked over and did the best solo I've ever seen him do!!! "the landlord was knock'in on my front door" He was kicking and sweat was flying off his head! When he was done(about 20 minutes later) he turned and walked back to his spot, and I went back up to the balcony. The sound was/is the best up there in the back. just like a ring in the bell.
David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 23 Jun 08 08:54
Posted on behalf of a correspondent: Hi David, First off I'd like to say that your book/website (annotated grateful dead lyrics) is amazing. I bought the book as a gift for my favorite teacher in high school and I'd never seen him so pleased with me hahaha. Anyway, I recently read somewhere that Jerry Garcia used the "doo do doo" part of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" as a starting point for the music for "Franklin's Tower." Having just listened to "Walk on the Wild Side" I definitely notice similarities, but I was wondering if you could verify this. Thanks Tari Dagogo-Jack
David Gans (tnf) Mon 23 Jun 08 10:23
Both songs use the simplest of chord progressions, I-IV, and the "doot-d'doo" vocals in the Lou Reed song describe the same passing chord as the one in "Franklin's Tower," but I don't think Jerry necessarily took his musical cue from Lou Reed. That structure is as old as Western music, really.
David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 23 Jun 08 10:51
Nevertheless--a fun idea for a quodlibet!
William Jason Baggett (billybaggs) Wed 17 Sep 08 09:27
Does anyone know anything about the process of "rolling away the dew?" Doesn't it have something to do with casting metal? I actually thought I read this at David Dodd's page but could not find anything when searching recently.
streaming irreverent commentary (pauli) Thu 18 Sep 08 17:28
The reference is there: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/AGDL/shalit.html As you probably know, Robert Hunter has a great of love of American History. The song is about events during the American revolution. 'Franklin' refers to Benjamin Franklin. The 'Bell' in the tower is the Liberty Bell. Casting large metal objects is a complicated process. Casting bells is additonally complicated by the fact that bells must be able to withstand the stress of ringing, and they must produce a good tone. The Liberty Bell was not only very large, but it needed to ring loudly and clearly enough to be heard around the world. This was pushing the limits of 18th century technology. As you probably know, Benjamin Franklin was not only a philosopher and statesman, he was an inventor. He was involved in the design of the Liberty Bell in the following way: Franklin postulated that a process which he called "dewing" could be used to improve the production process of large bells. Dewing basically involves exposing the freshly cast bell to large quantities of steam while the bell is still hot. The steam causes a rapid cooling, producing droplet of 'dew' on the bell. After the dew is formed, the bell is rolled between large cotton sheets. He described this process as "rolling away the dew". Unfortunately, Franklin's contempories had a very hard time understanding his technology. He showed them sample bells, asking him to simply look at the results without trying to understand the process. This was when he uttered the now famous quote, "if you get confused, listen to the music play." In the end, Franklin couldn't convince the foundry to use his dewing process. Instead they used an alternate process developed by a Frenchman named Simon Legree (who eventually turned out to be a British agent). Simon's process involved planting small ice crystals (seeds) into the metal while the bell was being cast. As we all know, the Liberty Bell didn't last very long. I believe it had one good ring, but you can't really tell because it was so long ago. Apparently the one time it was rung was during a storm. After ringing, the famous crack developed in the side of the bell and the wind blew through the crack. They tried ringing the bell again, but the only sound was of the wind blowing through the crack. Benjamin Franklin was understandably disgusted. When asked later about the incident, his only comment was "They planted ice, so they harvested wind." The ice refers to an alternate dewing process they used at the suggestion of a rival inventor (I'll spare you the details, but he turned out to be quite a Tory). The wind, of course, is the lack of sound from subseqent ringings.
William Jason Baggett (billybaggs) Thu 18 Sep 08 20:41
Thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 18 Sep 08 20:43
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 18 Sep 08 20:43
I loved this, pauli!!!
Tim Lynch (masonskids) Fri 19 Sep 08 03:48
And I always thought it was about snorting coke through a $100 bill! ;)
Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Sun 21 Sep 08 03:13
<pauli> very nice! All comes clear as cracked crystal!
it all rolls into one (sffog) Tue 1 Sep 15 17:30
Most people Ive talked to describe an upbeat hopeful interpretation of the song Franklins Tower. Franklins Tower is seen as a mystical watchtower or lighthouse, which is a beacon of sound and light to watch over and guide you safely home if you lose your way. To roll away the dew is to roll back the morning fog into the sunshine and to bring clarity to your path. And Franklin becomes Benjamin Franklin and the bell becomes the liberty bell to spread freedom across the land. There is a more apocalyptic interpretation passed down through deadhead folklore from soon after the songs debut. Franklin becomes Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president who authorized the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb which eventually led to the policy of MAD (mutually assured destruction) between the USA and Russia. The lyric One watch by night, one watch by day describes their position on opposite sides of the planet. The tower is the silo, containing the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which when shortened lyrically becomes the ice in if you plant ice you are going to harvest wind. The bell is the bomb and ringing it explodes it so that it rings like fire, turn(s) night to day, and the shockwave unleashes the 4 winds in all directions. The wildflower seed becomes the radiation fallout or dew referring back to the song Morning Dew. And roll away the dew is to prevent the dew from happening. The mother in your eyes looked from your mothers face becomes mother earth. Every lyric can be fit to this interpretation. The apocalyptic interpretation correlates somewhat to a prior famous song All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan. That song also has apocalyptical interpretations and lyrical content similarities. Both songs have a tower. Both speak of confusion There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief versus If you get confused just listen to the music play. Both allude to those who do not take the situation seriously in There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke versus Some come to laugh the past away. And All Along the Watchtower has the apocalyptic interpretations of the verses The hour's getting late and Outside in the cold distance, A wildcat did growl, Two riders were approaching, And the wind began to howl. The riders can be seen as two of the horsemen of the apocalypse: war and death. In an interview (Going Down the Road, Blair Jackson, 1992, p. 115) discussing his lyrics, Hunter said I think what looks like obfuscation in my work is a predilection. I will sacrifice some meaning for the sound of something, because that is a lot of what it is about for me interesting turns of phrases and colorful ways of expressing things. That is how ICMB can be shortened to ice. In an interview discussing Franklins Tower (No Simple Highway, Peter Richardson, 2015, p. 106), Hunter explained the lyrics were elusive, not because they were meaningless, but because the associative patterns produced a surfeit of meaning.
David Gans (tnf) Tue 1 Sep 15 22:46
Interesting. I never heard that second take on the song.
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Wed 2 Sep 15 23:30
Very interesting indeed, rings true to me.
Iceninedawg (icenine) Thu 3 Sep 15 05:26
Years ago, on the old Dead.net site, Hunter used to have an clickable icon in the Space of that page and it led to Hunter's own Journal, Notes on Lyrics and discussions by Hunter on various schtuff. Following one of those threads, one day, I came across a long dissertation Hunter wrote in response to somebody about the lyrics of "Franklin's Tower" many years earlier. God only knows if I could find it again today but then I read every word and it was so fascinating and dense, I think I even figured out way back when how to print it. Anyhoo, IIRC and not to put words in Hunter's mouth, one thing he did explain in this piece was that the Franklin's Tower in the lyrics was a reference to the building in Philadelphia known now as Liberty Hall and he connected the Tower of that building as Benjamin Franklins. Further to that, he explained that the bell in the lyrics was the Liberty Bell. There was way more in the explication of lyrics response but those two items I remember pretty well. Does anybody here remember that piece? I do remember that it was buried pretty deep in all of the exclusively Hunter schtuff. Later
David Gans (tnf) Thu 3 Sep 15 06:34
I do have a vague memory of seeing that piece.
Tim Lynch (masonskids) Thu 3 Sep 15 06:44
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Thu 3 Sep 15 16:37
Hunter says there is a Morning Dew allusion (which Hunter attributes to Tim Rose, I thought it was a Bonnie Dobson tune). So there is a nuclear war aspect in Hunter's original conception.
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