Everyone Should Own a Little Jade Box
This deserves a mention - even though there's hardly anything left to print...
Back in the early days - when I discovered Roger Smith's marvellous Nilsson website (now at http://www.harrynilsson.com/ ) it was at jadebox.com in tribute to the little line printed on the cover art of Aerial Ballet. Nobody seems to know the origin of the quote or why it is there (the question was widely discussed once on NilssonWeb but with no definitive answer forthcoming). Anyway...one day I arrived at school with a very sore throat. With few classes to teach that day and near the end of term I had an hour or so to myself. At times like this I often sit at the piano or pick up a guitar and start to sing but my voice was so croaky it was not much fun - until I realised I sounded like Harry circa Pussy Cats!
So I croaked my way through 'Many Rivers' and 'Old Forgotten Soldier' before this line came into my head. I swapped the piano for an acoustic and started strumming a little chorus:
Everyone should own a little jade box.
Don't need no fancy jewels on it
Or pretty little locks...
This was fun! I grabbed a mike and a dodgy old tape recorder that was lying around the classroom - recorded it and played it back. Was that me...or could it have been...? It wasn't beyond the realms of possibility that I could have played a trick on my fellow Nilsson-maniacs and claimed to have found a previously unheard demo!
Time ran out and I left to take a lesson or grab some lunch - whatever - and I remember scribbling out some more lyrics with 'Harry' saying that his mother had given him a little jade box when he was small and told him to keep his little treasures in it - his secrets. I couldn't wait to get back to my room and record it. But I didn't - life must have happened...and next day my voice wasn't so croaky. When I went to find the tape I'd made the day before it was gone - and the moment was lost (save in my memory...) Now I've shared the story here
back to Nilsson poetry
back to Nilsson Menu