One Hit Wonders

I lived in Point Richmond, California on and off for about five years. Some apartments were converted hallways, some were the leftover spaces of a remodel. One apartment was actually an apartment on the top of a hill, at the end of a cul de sac. I didn’t have a view, but if I walked outside and crossed the street, there was a vacant lot, and I had the whole bay spread before me. I would often take my morning coffee there, sitting in the grass and slight breeze.

I had noticed another guy, a neighbor, that periodically walked around the area. He had a bar across his shoulder with two super 8mm film cameras mounted side by side. It looked odd and warranted a question.

Finally, after a few weeks I asked him two questions. 1) what are you doing, and 2) what do you do that allows you to be free most mornings. I had assumed that he had a swing job similar to mine.

His response was that he was trying to master 3D movie making, and he didn’t have a job, he just got a monthly royalty check.

Completely disinterested in his passion, I pressed on to ask “a check? For what reason?” Very rude of me, but I was young.

He said that he wrote a song.

I pondered this quickly. Could I write a song to allow for more free time? He said song, singular. That couldn’t be hard. So I asked the name of his song and did he make a record.

He said he didn’t sing it, he just wrote it. Then he said he really didn’t even write the tune, he just wrote the lyrics. Damn, I could do that!

Apparently he made enough money to live comfortably, buy a car, rent a nice apartment, and walk around with movie cameras. Okay, what wonderful song was this?

He replied, “Puff, the Magic Dragon”!

He became a multi-millionaire, not because of Puff, but Puff allowed him to become the world’s foremost expert on 3D, and his technology is currently in 25,000 theaters world wide.

I focused on the songwriting, the easy one hit wonder. I was young and… stupid.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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2 Responses to One Hit Wonders

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another great story my friend . Amazing

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh…Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i. Summer, 2006 was the last time, sigh…Never did see Puff though.

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