Saturday, October 10, 2009

So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

On Simon & Garfunkel’s last album together, Bridge Over Troubled Water, there is a quiet, tender song called So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright. At the time it came out I knew nothing of who Wright was, and though the tune was nice, I never really got what it was about.

Off Topic: One of my favorite tunes on the album was The Only Living Boy In New York, which seemed to contain the somber alienation of youth theme into yet another haunting reflective space, something Paul Simon’s music did easily and well. But for now, our topic is the architect.

While in Sedona, AZ this past spring the Chapel of the Holy Cross (right) which Frank Lloyd Wright designed was suggested as an attraction not to miss. Turns out that last night while gathering more information on this building I discovered that the Chapel, which was quite striking, was not designed by Wright at all, but rather by a student inspired by the great architect.

Here are a few more things I learned. The great architect was also an author of 20 books. Also, Wright’s birth name when he entered the world in 1867 was actually Frank Lincoln Wright, but he changed his middle name to Lloyd during his teen years after his parents’ divorce.

By the time I’d moved to Northern Minnesota in 1986 I was quite familiar with some of his innovatively designed homes. Little did I know that right here in my back yard was a gas station designed by Wright. Of his more than 500 buildings, this was his only filling station. (It wasn’t actually in my back yard, but down the road a piece in Cloquet. I drove there and took a few photos, including this one.)

So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright.
I can't believe your song is gone so soon.
I barely learned the tune
So soon
So soon.

I'll remember Frank Lloyd Wright.
All of the nights we'd harmonize till dawn.
I never laughed so long
So long
So long.

CHORUS
Architects may come and
Architects may go and
Never change your point of view.
When I run dry
I stop awhile and think of you

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright
All of the nights we'd harmonize till dawn.
I never laughed so long
So long
So long.

If you want to find out what the song is really all about you can read the interpretations here. In the end you may know less than you knew to begin with.

As for Mr. Wright himself, the Wikipedia overview appears fairly accurate. His personal heartbreaks did not keep him from achieving his ultimate dreams.

1 comment:

Christella said...

I have always been a fan of Wright. We bought our house in Ann Arbor because it was Wright inspired. That chapel is Sedona is awesome. We visited it several years ago and I hope to go back to see it again.