Ken Leighton 4 p.m., July 29
Rewriting pop music history?
Newly discovered artifact points to alternate, original version of San Diego-scribbled song "Peaceful, Easy Feeling."
If you believe the history - and up until now, you would have had no reason to doubt it - then you think that songwriter Jack Tempchin penned the last verse of "Peaceful, Easy Feeling," which was later recorded by the The Eagles and became one of the band's biggest-selling singles, at the Hillcrest Wienerschnitzel on Washington while waiting for his order.
So accepted and enshrined is this bit of accepted pop-cultural mythology that Mayor Jerry Sanders has issued a proclamation - mere days before leaving office - designating tomorrow, December 1, as "Peaceful Easy Feeling Day" in San Diego.
But a recent discovery in the archives at The San Diego Museum of Trash (formerly known as the Mira Mesa Landfill) has cast doubt on the historical record. "What we have found may change everything we know about the history of this important song," attests Dr. David Dumpster-Diver, who acquired the artifact in a complicated grey-market deal involving a half-eaten Big Mac and a swallow of Popov-brand vodka.
The item in question appears to be a Wienerschnitzel paper placemat/menu, heavily stained and deeply crumpled. "But the typography and pricing are correct for the time period," observes Dumpster-Diver. "And the oily residue, which apparently acted as a preservative, is consistent with the fries Tempchin claims to have ordered."
What is not consistent - and this is the really amazing part - is the collection of lyrics scribbled onto the back of the placemat, lyrics that, if they prove to be authentic, could be the original words to "Peaceful, Easy Feeling." And if that's the case, then that's not even the real name of the song. "Rather, the title reflects something much more germane to the moment in which Tempchin was writing. In this version, it's 'Greaseful, Queasy Feeling.' It's our contention that Tempchin was originally writing about his lunch."
Most of the placemat has, unfortunately, been eaten by rats. But Dumpster-Diver points to one faded scrap showing a chorus that may have predated the famous lines, 'Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling/ And I know you won't let me down/ 'cause I'm already standing on the ground. They read, 'Cause I got a greaseful, queasy feeling/ way down deep inside my gut/ 'cause it's already heading toward my butt.
"I mean, sure, it's poetry," concluded Dumpster-Diver. "You could even argue that it's better than the version that eventually made it into the studio with the Eagles. But that's not the point. The point is that the public deserves to know the truth about its pop songs."