A sign that Summer is almost gone is the arrival of the Scarborough Festival. I see that what’s left of it begins tomorrow with a 40 over match, followed by a Championship game (with Yorkshire in a strong position to win the title). Let’s hope it doesn’t rain!
In days gone by, of course, the Festival was a much grander affair, one of the highlights being the match between T.N. Pearce’s XI and that year’s tourists. And here is a piece of music believed to have been inspired by such a match.
Although Summer’s Almost Gone was not recorded until 1968, it was one of the earliest songs written by the Doors. The story is that, in 1964, before they were signed, they were honing their craft by performing in English seaside resorts, and had reached Scarborough by early September. The brass band who had been booked to appear in the beer tent for the match between T.N. Pearce’s XI and the visiting Australians had to cry off at the last minute and – in spite of the misgivings of the Committee – the Doors were asked to fill in.
Apart from a few pointed comments from Brian Sellers and others about the length of their hair, they were generally reckoned to be a decent turn and a collection raised 5 shillings and sixpence (a decent sum in those days). In the evening the boys spent their takings on fish’n’chips and a bottle of dandelion and burdock, sat down on the beach with their guitars, and – as the glorious September Scarborough sun sank slowly – they improvised this tune.
The lasting impression this experience left on Jim Morrison is suggested in this video by the fact that he appears to be wearing a cricket sweater of some description, albeit a brown one.
(The clip is subtitled for the benefit of my Spanish readers).