'Soul In Exile' Lyric/Blog: LOVE RUNS AGROUND
Updated: Oct 16
On a late-summer evening some 31 years before I was born, the cruise ship S.S. Morro Castle caught fire under mysterious circumstances during a nor'easter that struck while making the Havana-New York run. Unable to steer itself and with rescue ships' tow cables snapped, the ship drifted until it crashed just offshore from the Convention Hall complex in Asbury Park. The day the Morro Castle ran aground would become my birthday some three decades later.
I cannot say why this disaster always held some sort of fascination for me. After all, I had not seen it myself, and I am not generally the type of person who slows down to look at car wrecks, let alone something the size and scope of the smoldering remains of an ocean liner. But fascinate me it did; the fact that it had taken place in Asbury Park, one of my favorite places in the world, probably had a lot to do with it. And the coincidence of the dates, 31 years apart, made me wonder if perhaps somehow I was the reincarnation of someone who had died during the catastrophe.
In 1989, I was living in Boston, pursuing graphic design as a career, and I was unhappy about both. My marriage was on the rocks; my wife at the time would use every excuse to go home to mother for the holidays, taking our daughter with her. I would take advantage of their absence to go down to the Jersey Shore by myself. Somehow, in the course of all this, the Morro Castle disaster became emblematic of the state of my personal life: ship bearing newlyweds burns while at sea and crashes offshore, right near the building I used as a metaphor in another song for the institution of marriage.
It was during this time that this song came into being. It started as I noodled on the piano in the empty auditorium at the Hillel House of the Boston University campus, right around the corner from my school, during a break between classes one afternoon. The music I noodled on was "Thundercrack," The Boss' live staple from the early 1970s, with the major key turned into a minor. Lyrically, I thought of Elton John's "Love Lies Bleeding," but tweaked it a bit with the image of the Morro Castle in my mind.
Well, my life in Boston eventually but inevitably crumbled and I moved to the Jersey Shore, and I set about the business of forming a band, making good on something I had wanted to do for a long time but was prevented for any number of reasons. One of the first songs I put in the set list was this one. It became a staple of our shows and pretty much remained in the repertoire ever since.
Interestingly, the coincidence of dates did not end with my birthday. On Thanksgiving Day, 31 years after the Morro Castle disaster, I got married for the second time in the Paramount Theatre—the boardwalk side of the Convention Hall complex. Perhaps now this would be a rectification of the disaster, and the reincarnated soul I suspected I carried would now be able to rest easily.
But no such luck, though; seven years later and a continent apart, the second marriage went to pieces. And I came back to the Shore again to pick the pieces up and get my life back in order. Part of that process was recording the album Soul In Exile 3: Love Runs Aground, which told the story of the demise of the marriage, set amidst the location where the relationship and marriage had originally blossomed.
Love runs aground A wrenching sound Into the shore like a burning ocean liner Drifting, smoking, ramming into this town What happens to a love that couldn’t get much finer Hellstorm Hellfire Seven days and seven nights just like a bad dream Nobody knows if there will be any survivors Such a senseless end was unforeseen
Straight from the wedding
They were heading
Off to a happy ending
But they caught fire out at sea
They lost power
In the fateful hour
Just what went wrong remains a mystery
The burning hulk beached off the convention hall
Destruction meets destruction and the toll rises higher
Spectators from the city
Come one, come all
Is this conflagration
The sorry culmination
Of a romance everybody said
Showed a sea of promise
Sha la la
It was magic
Now it’s tragic
Fairy tale love gone become a nightmare
Save Our Ship
Save Our Survivors
Save Our Souls
It was a class act
Now it's a sad fact
B-movie love affair done gone up in flames
Save Our Ship
Save Our Survivors
Save Our Souls
Love runs aground …
©2017 The Hesh Inc.
Check out the "Love Runs Aground" maxi-single ...
And after that, the expanded "Love Runs Aground/Soul In Exile" maxi-single ...
And now that you have read about and heard the song, you can get the album here ...