My One-Night Stand With Kevin Ayers

Published on January 30th, 2008 in: Issues, Music, Pop Culture Holy Grail, Retrovirus, Teh Sex |

By Hanna

Ayers, Nico, Cale, Eno

Kevin Ayers, both as a member of Soft Machine and as a solo artist, is one of the most respected musicians alive today. Because of his easy-going good-humor and extensive back catalogue of avant garde music, he has been revered by music lovers for decades. Similarly, his collaborations demand respect and admiration, and confirm his position as a mainstay of what is considered intelligent music. His work with John Cale, Andy Summers, Ollie Halsall, and Mike Oldfield are examples of his eminent good taste in other music as well as his own.

The pivotal manifestation of his position among the aristocracy of intellectual rock is the so-called ACNE gig, or the concert done by Ayers, Cale, Nico, and (Brian) Eno at the Rainbow Theatre in London on June 1,1974. This gig, legendary before it even took place and heavily publicized at the time, was released on record afterwards as June 1, 1974. There was, however, a song that interests me and a bunch of his other fans more than any other. This song was not included on the record. It was not included on any record, for that matter. That song is “One Night Stand (I’ve got a hard-on for you, baby).”

As you’ve probably inferred from the title, this is a song about having a really, really raging hard-on. And it’s hilarious. My favorite lines are:

Wake up in the morning, can’t even button my jeans
Can’t get them round my horn
It’s interfering with my line of vision!
Feel like a woodpecker or a unicorn.

If a mental image of Kevin Ayers with an erection up to his eyes isn’t amusing I don’t know what is!

Sadly, the song is only available on a bootleg, and because of the bad quality of the recording, some parts are unintelligible. But the lyrics are unavailable anywhere, as is any information about this song.

There are a only a few snippets available online. From a John Cale website we find out it that “the encore ‘I’ve Got A Hard-On For You, Baby’ by Kevin Ayers has Cale joining in with the chorus, but has never been released.” This confirms that it was only a live track. One article mentions a cover performed in 1994 as a tribute to the ACNE gig, by members of the “Why Are We Sleeping Society,” apparently a Kevin Ayers appreciation community of some sort. The author of the article says, “Personal highlights for me included (to my knowledge) the first public performance for 20 years of Kevin’s encore ‘I’ve Got A Hard-On For You, Baby’ (and almost certainly the first time it’s been sung by a girl).”

June 1, 1974
“Somehow the word ‘erection’ just
doesn’t have the same ring to it.”

At least one person likes it, then. Another source which discusses the song’s existence is a mailing list, whose members are uniformly derisive about the song, calling it both “slight and inane” and “yucky.”

There isn’t even any information about whose song it is, whether it is a cover version, or an original song. Nor on why they chose to play it that night, or whether Ayers had ever played it before or ever played it afterwards. Finally, there isn’t anything about why there isn’t any information about it. What I’ve described here is all the internet has to offer about the song.

That said, searching for “kevin ayers one night stand” is its own reward. (Just saying, for the fans out there.)

It’s bizarre, because Ayers, with his whimsical, suggestive sense of humor and great beauty, must have had many hilarious fans who were overjoyed he was singing about hard-ons. They all seem to have disappeared, or at least been isolated from other fans, not imparting their knowledge to us newbies. This is a great shame, because now current and future generations are deprived of this. We will have to make do with the outtakes.

At least the internet allows us to share things widely so things will not be lost again. Yes, it’s hard being a fan, but it’s not as hard as. . . well, you know.


Fear: A John Cale website

“Treading on Moonshine,” by Nick Smith

Fegmania Archives

6 Responses to “My One-Night Stand With Kevin Ayers”

  1. emilyc:
    February 16th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I think Kevin Ayers and John Cale had a slight altercation over a lady (Cale’s wife at the time). Yikes.

  2. astralmarc:
    February 17th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, he slept with CaleĀ“s wife Cindy just before the show, it allegedly inspired John Cale to write the song “Guts” about him.

  3. emilyc:
    February 17th, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    John Cale is probably one of my heroes, his propensity for sheer rock excess and on-stage nervous breakdowns in the late 1970s remain unrivaled to this day…

  4. astralmarc:
    February 18th, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Aw yes, bless him and his psychopathic phase.

  5. JOhn D:
    March 30th, 2009 at 4:38 am

    I had a tape of that back in 1975, which has long since been lost. But I notice it’s available on some massive torrents. Although without the interesting Eno interview in which he explained how the John Cale track on ‘1974’ got out of synch with Cale’s vocals since he couldn’t hear the foldback – which if you listen to ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, makes sense. What a great era when being a muso kind of mattered.

  6. astralmarc:
    March 30th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Yeah, I’ve got the song, on mp3. You wouldn’t happen to know more about the song an sich, would you?

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