Monday, January 17, 2011
Van Morrison's TB Sheets is not only explicitly about Tuberculosis but is also quite possibly one of the most uncomfortable songs ever recorded.. Van Morrison was born in 1945 and the song is based on an experience he had as a young man - or at least this is the rumor.
There's a very good review of the song at Paste Magazine.
“T.B. Sheets” is one of the most real songs about death you’ll ever hear. As life saps steadily from the singer’s beloved, tuberculosis-ridden Julie, there is no trite drama, no nostalgic sugar coating or grand deathbed epiphany, but rather an “Is That All There Is?” fatalism—a mild, detached, slowly-suffocating bleakness.
What makes this track so moving and powerful—beyond its stark, unapologetic realism—is Morrison’s unflinching courage to deliver a story that spotlights a moment of such unabashed selfishness: While this girl is dying in front of his eyes, he actually has the nerve to snivel about his own problems, whining, in so many words, What about me? This is hard for me, too. Of course, this reminds us that we’re only human—even the selfless have their breaking points. It’s no surprise that Morrison fell apart after recording “T.B. Sheets,” so distraught after revisiting that dark place that he cancelled the remaining sessions.