Monday, February 27, 2012

Music Monday ~ Joe South ~ The Games People Play

Joe South (born Joe Souter) has a birthday tomorrow - his 72nd. I remember him only from his 1968 hit song, and its interesting and ever-relevant lyrics: The Games People Play. The song's title was taken from a book by Eric Berne, a bestseller on the psychology of human relationships.

By the way, there's a cynical mention of astrology in these lyrics: "read your horoscope........"

Oh the games people play now
every night and every day now
never meaning what they say now
and never saying what they mean
while they while away the hours
in their ivory towers
till they're covered up in flowers
in the back of a black limousine

la da la da da da da,
I'm a talkin' about you and me
and the games people play

You know we make one another cry
we break our hearts and we say goodbye
we cross our hearts and we hope to die
that the other was to blame
we need a woman that will give in
so we gaze at our eight by ten
wanderin' 'bout the things
that might have been
and it's a dirty rotten shame


People walkin' up to ya
singing glory haleuajah
and they try to sock it to ya
in the name of the Lord
they're goin' to teach ya how to meditate
read your horoscope and cheat your fate
furthermore to hell with hate
c'mon and get on board


Look around tell me what you see
what's happening to you and me
God grant me the serenity
to remember who I am
cause you've given up your sanity
for your pride and your vanity
you turn your back on humanity
and you don't give a damn da da da......

As well as being a sought-after sessions musician - played guitar on some iconic albums: Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence, and tracks by Aretha Franklin, Marty Robbins and others - he wrote many successful songs for other performers. He composed Billy Joe Royal's Down in the Boondocks, Lynn Anderson's huge hit I Never Promised you a Rose Garden, Deep Purple's Hush.

His style was a mix of country, pop and southern soul, but his songs aren't the feel-good self-congratulatory ditties, which were fairly common back then. There's more than a hint of bitterness, social commentary and some hostility embedded in them. One reviewer wondered whether his apparent political stances were blocking the way to wider success; his mindset seemed more in line with hippie thinking than southern country conservative.

After success with Games People Play Joe had a few more hits including Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Don't It Make You Want to Go Home; but in 1971 his brother Tommy, troubled by drug addiction, commited suicide. Afterwards Joe left the music business for many years, went to live in the jungles of Maui in the Hawaiian islands. He later returned to music, but mainly publishing rather than performing.

Writers of articles online describe Joe South as having been a better performer in the studio than on stage, where he was never totally comfortable. Prickly, antagonistic, brash, arrogant, or anxious are adjectives used to describe him.

I can find no time of birth for him, so Joe's chart is set for 12 noon. Moon would have been somewhere in the second half of Scorpio whatever his time of birth; rising sign will remain unknown.

Sun and Mercury in gentle, emotional Pisces, Moon in Mars-ruled occasionally paranoid Scorpio, with three personal planets, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, in the other Mars-ruled planet, Aries - a combination that isn't exactly built for comfort! That mixture could well account for Joe South's reportedly "prickly" nature. In spite of barbs though, the gathered wisdom of 12th sign Pisces, last of the line, shines through his songs, especially Games People Play.

Without a birth time I can't be sure about this, but I suspect there's a Yod (Finger of Fate) in his chart, involving a sextile (60*) from Moon to Neptune, both planets linking to Venus by 150* quincunxes. Such a configuration would link creativity from Neptune to emotion from Moon, funnelling out via Venus planet of the arts. Matches a singer/songwriter/musician exactly!

Official website of Joe South


Wisewebwoman said...

I had no idea he had other hits as well as that, T. Thanks for the informative post, I learned more about him!

Twilight said...

It was a long time ago, WWW !
I was surprised that he'd weitten Lynn Anderson's Rose Garden hit.

Vanilla Rose said...

I like Eric Berne's book "Games People Play".

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ I haven't read it - but if I ever see it in a used book store on our travels, will buy it - it sounds interesting.