Song of the Week – Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young – Faron Young


This is the first installment of the “Rare Record Series.”

rrs faron

I was crate digging at a local thrift store a few weeks ago and came across an album by country music star Faron Young. I know very little about Young, one of my few touchstones being the great Prefab Sprout song “Faron Young.” But I bought the record because it was so old and in such good condition.

When I got home I cleaned it up and dropped the needle on it. To my surprise I recognized the very first song, “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young”, toady’s SotW.

It took me a while to figure out where I had heard the song. It was on a CD I have by a New York based rockabilly band from the late 90s called The Big Galoots. The Galoots recorded mostly originals, so I never noticed that “Live Fast…” was a cover. What a great choice.

Faron Young took the song to #1 on Billboard’s country chart in 1955. As the story goes, he wasn’t fond of rockabilly and didn’t want to record the song. He preferred more traditional, establishment country music but was happy to have a hit on his hands (and the pay that came with it) once it was released.

The song title and lyrics, written by Joe Allison, were inspired by a line from the Humphrey Bogart gangster movie, Knock on Any Door (1949). In that flick, costar John Derek says his motto is “I want to live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse.” Who could have predicted back in ’55 that this motto would come to define the rock and roll lifestyle until the more current “sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll” espoused by Ian Dury.

In 1979 Blondie updated the saying in their song “Die Young, Stay Pretty” from their hit album Eat to the Beat.

Words to live by!

Enjoy… until next week.

BTW – If you’re interested in record collecting, you may want to read this article by John Harris of The Guardian about the vinyl comeback.

John Harris – Vinyl’s difficult comeback

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