A Bit Like You And Me Radio

May 06, 2013

The Association - Requiem for the Masses (1967)

In the early to mid-sixties, a traveling salesman named Terry Kirkman was visiting Hawaii and befriended a man enlisted in the Navy, Jules "Gary" Alexander. After finding a mutual passion for playing music, they jammed together for a while until Kirman headed back toward the mainland, promising that they’d play together again when Alexander was discharged. Kirkman headed to Los Angeles and played in a few band with Frank Zappa (pre-Mothers of Invention) and Alexander eventually met up with him. The duo formed an impromptu band known as The Inner Tubes with a rotating lineup that performed at The Troubadour nightclub throughout 1964, at some points featuring members like Cass Elliot, Doug Dillard, and David Crosby. Thirteen of the people who had been rotating in and out of The Inner Tubes decided to create a real band in late 1964 and The Men were formed as a result. The Men became the house band at The Troubadour for a while until disbanding in late 1965. Six members of The Men (Terry Kirman, Jules Alexander, Russ Giguere, Brian Cole, Ted Bluechel, Jr., and Bob Page) decided to continue on together in 1966, first calling themselves Tony Mafia’s Men and then, at the suggestion of Kirman’s fiancĂ©e Judy, changed their name to The Association.

Written by Terry Kirman, this song was initially released as the B-Side to the band’s 1967 hit, “Never My Love.” With “Never My Love” reaching number one and this song just barely reaching the charts, it was the only single in the band’s history to feature hits on both sides of the single. The song below was also included on the band’s 1967 album Insight Out. This period of the band no longer featured Jules Alexander, and instead had Larry Ramos, previously of The New Christy Minstrels, in his place. The lyrics subtly protest the Vietnam War through the indirect comparison of a bull-fighting matador dying far away from home in the bullring. Interestingly, the song uses the same Latin phrase, "Kyrie Eleison"/"Lord, have mercy" found later in a 1968 song by The Electric Prunes, "Kylie Eleison," featured on this site. I suppose it's possible that the Prunes were inspired to write their song based on this song's lyric.

album art

The Association - Requiem for the Masses (1967)

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Lyrics:

Latin Lyrics English Lyrics

Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam

Mama, mama, forget your pies
Have faith they won't get cold
And turn your eyes to the bloodshot sky
Your flag is flying full
At half-mast for the matadors
Who turned their backs to please the crowd
And all fell before the bull

Red was the color of his blood flowing thin
Pallid white was the color of his lifeless skin
Blue was the color of the morning sky
He saw looking up from the ground where he died
It was the last thing ever seen by him

Kyrie Eleison

Mama, mama, forget your pies
Have faith they won't get cold
And turn your eyes to the bloodshot sky
Your flag is flying full
At half-mast for the matadors
Who turned their backs to please the crowd
And all fell before the bull

Black and white were the figures that recorded him
Black and white was the newsprint he was mentioned in
Black and white was the question that so bothered him
He never asked, he was taught not to ask
But was on his lips as they buried him

Rex tremendae majestatis

Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam

Eternal rest
Eternal rest

Mama, mama, forget your pies
Have faith they won't get cold
And turn your eyes to the bloodshot sky
Your flag is flying full
At half-mast for the matadors
Who turned their backs to please the crowd
And all fell before the bull

Red was the color of his blood flowing thin
Pallid white was the color of his lifeless skin
Blue was the color of the morning sky
He saw looking up from the ground where he died
It was the last thing ever seen by him

Lord, have mercy

Mama, mama, forget your pies
Have faith they won't get cold
And turn your eyes to the bloodshot sky
Your flag is flying full
At half-mast for the matadors
Who turned their backs to please the crowd
And all fell before the bull

Black and white were the figures that recorded him
Black and white was the newsprint he was mentioned in
Black and white was the question that so bothered him
He never asked, he was taught not to ask
But was on his lips as they buried him

King of Supreme Majesty

Eternal rest
Eternal rest

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