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Tim Hardin (1941-1980)--like a bird on a wire...

It was the WOW (Workers of the World) hall in the Eugene, a town both Tim Hardin and I considered home. From the stage, he joked about the photographer in the pit and some of the social purists in the crowd began to boo my prescence...apparently feeling that photography would infringe upon their enjoyment of the music. "Why would you booo the photographer?" Hardin asked, "he's just working hard, doing his job." I'd liked him before, I loved him now. Yeh. Yeh, boo birds.


So it was with sadness that I learned he died shortly after that show, in Los Angeles, California of a heroin and morphine overdose. Hardin's songs are classics, "If I were a Carpenter", "Reason to Believe", "Red Balloon", "Black Sheep Boy", many gaining their greatest success when covered by other artists. Ironically, Hardin's biggest hit may have been his own cover of Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire."


"Like a bird on the wire,

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a worm on a hook,

Like a knight from some old fashioned book

I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

If I, if I have been unkind,

I hope that you can just let it go by.

If I, if I have been untrue

I hope you know it was never to you.


Like a baby, stillborn,

Like a beast with his horn

I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

But I swear by this song

And by all that I have done wrong

I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,

He said to me, you must not ask for so much.

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,

She cried to me, hey, why not ask for more?


Oh like a bird on the wire,

Like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free."

Bird on a Wire (Cohen version, can’t find Tim’s anymore)


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Taken on May 7, 2007