Glenn Diamond | Vincent, My Friend

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Vincent, My Friend

by Glenn Diamond

This song is my tribute to the great song: "Vincent", by Don McLean, and also a tribute to the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh.
Genre: Country: Americana
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1. Vincent, My Friend
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Album Notes
This song is my tribute to the great song: "Vincent", by Don McLean, and also a tribute to the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh. The song by Don McLean is absolutely brilliant. I have loved it ever since I first heard it. My song is intended as a complement to Don McLean's work, and to the life of Vincent Van Gogh.

It was Don McLean's music, lyrics, and performance, that inspired me to write my song. And, it was a recent 60 Minutes broadcast, on CBS, about Vincent, and how he actually died, that triggered the completion of my song.

I have also created a video, which can be see on my You Tube channel at:

In this video I have used images of the art of Vincent Van Gogh, and also some scenes from the great 1956 film: "Lust for Life", starring Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh, and Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin (Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor). Kirk Douglas looks so much like Vincent Van Gogh in this film that it is scary.

The video of this great film, directed by the legendary Vincente Minnelli, is available from Warner Video, and I have found a copy of it at at this link:

It is truly a treat, so do see it -- if you haven't done so already.

One more thing -- in the Bonus Features, your video should have a segment called: “The Making of Lust for Life”. This is the "behind the scenes" account of how the film was made, and it is a fascinating documentary. In one scene, the filming is suddenly interrupted by an old woman, who starts to speak to actor Kirk Douglass in French. He immediately stops the scene, and replies to her in fluent French. I did not know that Kirk Douglas was fluent in French, but he is, and it's a treat to see him interact with this woman, who was in this scene as a "village extra".

It turns out that this woman was saying that she knew the real Vincent, and that when Kirk Douglas was playing the scene, she though he was so much like the real Vincent that she suddenly thought she was back in her youth, and started talking to Douglas as if he was Vincent himself. This is just a fascinating segment in the production.

Of course, whether or not she did, or did not, know the real Vincent, we can't say for sure. Since this film was made in 1956, and Van Gogh died in 1890, she would have had to be more than 66 years old at the time of the filming, and certainly a lot older than that if she had such a clear memory of the real Vincent, as she said. But it is definitely possible.

Another good story is that 60 Minutes episode, where new clues about Van Gogh's death were revealed. It seems that he did not commit suicide after all, as is the current history. Indeed, even the film with Kirk Douglas ends with Vincent committing suicide in the fields of corn, shortly after completing the painting: “Fields of Corn with Crows”. However, as this 60 Minutes documentary points out, Van Gogh actually completed that painting some two weeks before he died, and had in fact painted several other paintings after that.

At that time, in 1890, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show was in France, and a lot of the young teenagers of the time played "Cowboys and Indians". Except, they did so with real guns!

In the 1950's, a Frenchman -- whose name I can't remember -- told the story of how he and his friends, then 16 years old, would mercilessly tease the "crazy painter", Van Gogh, and would make endless fun of him, and his mental illness. Although he did not confess, the evidence suggests that he, and his friends, then dressed as Cowboys, and wearing a real hand gun, accidentally shot Van Gogh as he was coming home from the fields of corn one late afternoon.

Since Van Gogh was shot in the abdomen, at an angle which precluded a self-inflicted wound, the forensic evidence -- such as it exists after all this time -- does lead to a reasonable suspicion that Van Gogh was in fact murdered. Or, at least shot by malicious youths, trying to play Cowboys and Indians, just like in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show they just saw.

Van Gogh himself told the local police not to look for anyone. As his last act of love, he covered up his own murder.

And that’s why I wanted to tell the story in my song.

Here are the lyrics:

Vincent, My friend

I heard a song that made me sad,
About a life that made me glad,
It was about a man named Vincent,
And how his life touched the world;

He was a soul lost in a world
That couldn’t see the colors
Through his eyes,

Vincent, my friend
The colors you saw fill my life,
Vincent, my friend,
I wish that you could see
What those colors of your life mean to me;

I heard a song that made me cry,
About a man who soon would die,
It was a story of a life much too brief,
About a man full of grief,

He was a soul lost in a world
That couldn’t see the colors
Through his eyes,

Vincent, my friend
No one you knew could see
How you changed the rainbow
For all the world to see;
Vincent, my friend,
Your love gave life to me;

I heard a song about a man,
Who painted his soul
In a night of stars,

He may not have known
That through his eyes we now see,
The colors that only from his love
Came to be;

Vincent, my friend
I wish that you could see
What those colors from your life
Mean to me;

What those colors from your life,
Mean to me.

© Copyright 2011 by Victor H Royer. All rights reserved. Property of GSR Holdings Inc., Las Vegas, NV, USA.


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