Sonny Bono – Inner Views [ATCO, 1967]

Sonny Bono - Inner ViewsHi guys!

I am assuming you are a guy if you are reading this. Let’s be frank, most music obssesives are guys, or rather butch hairy girls (in which case, Hellloooo! Leave you number) but, I am assuming you are a guy, probably single and with slightly dubious personal habits.

Hey, don’t cry! It’s not a criticism, it’s like a recovering alcoholic type thingy, you need to admit it to yourself.

Stand up (Hey! Are you wearing HEELS!) and say out loud “Yes! I am a music nerd!”

There, feel better? Sure you do.

Anyway, if, like me, you are a nerdy kind of guy (or gal), you probably like to make lists (mental or otherwise): “My favourite songs about badgers” or “100 songs that feature the word “Penguin”. That sort of thing.

Well, one of the things you should consider is a list of music to play at your funeral.

Yeah! I know! Creeps you out a bit don’t it but, brothers (and sisters) we all have to die. You got to be prepared, otherwise your brother, wife, mother or dog is gonna pick some godawful tune to send you off with.

Do you really want to shuffle off this mortal coil to the strains of “Candle in the Wind” or “The Wombling Song”?

No, course not. So get thinking. Write down the songs YOU want played.

Which brings us, eventually, to the point of this piece. My song. The song of my death. The tune that I want played so that I am not the only one to suffer. To learn about this song we need to board my time machine.

Come on! It’s totally, well reasonably, safe. There is only a slight chance of you waking up as an amoeba and, let’s be frank, no one is going to notice much different.

Off we go then. You’ll have to make your own “Time Travelly” noises (Hawkwind is good). Time travel is actually silent. Apart from the noises eminating from distressed digestive systems. Oh, you might want to bring some air freshners and a packet of mints too.


And here we are.

The year is 1967. The world has suddenly discovered colour. Everywhere bright young things are “freaking out”, “Turning on” and “dropping off”.

One young hipster, however, has a problem.

His name Sonny Bono (no relation).

Sonny’s problem was this. He was a genius. He had written songs, he had had huge international hits with his wife Cher, he had become an icon. The hippest hipster in all hipdom. The guy who wore bell bottoms before people even knew bells had bottom.

His problem?

A new, younger breed of “in crowd” was muscling in on his scene (man!) and, unlike Sonny, they freely embraced the use a mind altering substances.

Now, mind expanding drugs are fine, not that I am endorsing them personally you understand, but, well , to be honest, you need to have something to expand in the first place.

And here lay Sonny’s problem. For Sonny’s genius was that of a vacuum. He was a conduit, a channel through which the music flowed. He was creative with a small “c”. He knew “how to do it” but he didn’t know how it was done and so Sonny decided to go solo.

He would assemble the finest musicians L.A. had to offer and HE, Sonny, would show the world who was the King of Cool, the Nabob of the New Age, the Grand Poobah of Psych. Yes! He Sonny would make the most farest outest record ever seen by man.

And so, gentle reader, it came to pass that, one sunny day, the crew were all ready in the studio. Amps were warm and buzzing, guitards tuned and ready and organs poised for prodding with eager fingers.

Enter SONNY!

“Guys” says Sonny, “We are going to make a record for the kids, man. We are going where no man has been, or wanted to go, before and I, Sonny, am going to take you there”.

“What do we play, Oh Great one?” queried the guys.

“Oh! Just some eastern type stuff” replied Sonny. “You wing it, I’ll just follow on. Feel the freedom, man”.

A small cheer went up from the assembled musicians. This was their dream number. They could play this stuff with their eyes shut. In fact the bass player had even been known to eat a sandwich whilst still playing. They had been doing this “eastern” crap since the days of “Eight Miles High”,so , without a further thought they got going.

“Yeah!” thought Sonny “Fab!” and, as the musicians droned on and on, he reached into the pocket of his hairy, afghan goatskin waistcoat and pulled out the paper with his lyrics on.

“Inside, outside, upside down” he began.
“Everything is turning round”.

And, so it was, brethern. That my song, my funeral song, came into being. Entitled “I just sit there” and to be found on Sonny’s sole solo album “Inner Views” it is 12 1/2 minutes of pure Psychedelic wonderment. The sound of a mind so expanded that it has, like a black hole, collapsed in on itself.

“The closer we get to the sky, the less we see with the naked eye”. Intones Sonny. “WoW” he exclaims and, as his mind melts so does ours.

It is, I contest your honour, the perfect song for me. For I too “Just sit there”. Tap tapping away on a keyboard or listening to the far out sounds I am static, like a golden Ubshanti of Sonny, left to honour his name and his passing (should definitely have passed that tree Sonny. R.I.P.).

The rest of the album, of course, can hardly dream of matching the magnificence of this opening cut. Sonny tried hard and nearly succeeds with “Pammie’s on a bummer” which contains Sonny’s Guiness Book of Records “Most elongated pronounciation of a word on record” attempt. ( Pam-m-m-e-e-e-z o-na-b-u-mmmmmmmm-e–rrrr, I a guessing Sonny though that this made him sound “stoned”. It doesn’t, it makes him sound retarded.

To top it all off. In a stroke of marketing genius, at a time when the world was full of day-glo colours, Sonny decided to put his album out in what is possibly the worst cover ever seen by human eyes.

A black and white “chalk” drawing that appears to be the work of an Orang-Utan with artistic pretentions.

Anyway, I am rabbiting on here.

All I can say is that this is an album you NEED to hear. Really. Dont’ wait for my funeral (to which you are, of course, all invited. Do come, we”ll have cucumber sandwiches and pass the parcel).

You can get your sticky little paws on a copy easily these days. Thanks to the good folks of Rhino records.

What are you waiting for? You never know when the Grim Reaper is gonna get ya.

What’s that noise? Could it be skeletal hooves? Was that the swish of an ethereal scythe?


The Pube

Back to reviews
Buy Inner Views from Amazon.com
Sonny Bono @ Wikipedia
Sonny Bono @ Last.fm