Mr. Huges in Dylan shoes...Nelson's Garden Party

Reading the analysis of Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party” by Rico was interesting, and seems spot on in many ways. I would suggest a more plausible identity for “Mr. Hughes”.

If we take Mr. Hughes to be billionaire Howard Hughes, Nelson seems to be commenting on Bob Dylan’s having sold out by this time…possibly corrupted by wealth himself. He is no more than a semblance of himself…a billionaire wearing a Dylan disguise. This is more consistent with the justifiably critical remarks about the presumption of the audience (including John & Yoko, folks!) who only wanted to hear the saccharine teeny bop tunes and early rocknroll of the performers.

By the time of the referenced Madison Square Garden “party”, Nelson had matured and his look was more consistent with his then-current foray into country/folk-rock. The supposedly “open-minded” artists in the audience would rather see Chuck Berry in his Johnny Bojangles Goode costume and hear the old stuff the way they remembered it, rather than supporting their peers (such as Nelson) growing and maturing with the times.

It is a good song, about growing older, avoiding being pigeon-holed, and getting wiser. The very depth and deceptively soft delivery of the lyrics, complete with clear allusions and crisp, simple rhymes, seems to ironically prove Nelson’s point. I think Rico did a good job of answering the question and proposing a viable explanation, though I think association I’ve mentioned above is more literally and thematically consistent with the rest of the song.

Welcome to the SDMB, Joe.

A link to the Staff Report you’re commenting on is always appreciated. Providing one can be as simple as pasting the URL into your post, making sure to leave a blank space on either side of it. Like so: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2173/in-ricky-nelsons-garden-party-who-is-mr-hughes

My goodness…I’d almost forgotten about that one!

That was my first Staff Report. Over 4 years ago.

Very nice interpretation, Joe. Far be it from me to say you’re wrong, either.

In looking at it, I found that two of my three references have been removed from the Web. Guess I’ll have to get them replaced with Wayback Machine versions.

Welcome to the Straight Dope, and thanks for the reminder.

If you guys haven’t read Dylan’s Chronicles Volume Two you ought to. Very interesting, and sheds some light on his “sell out”. Basically, he sold out from the very beginning. He didn’t claim otherwise, the media did.
BTW; the book isn’t truely a chronicle. And I suspect he actually wrote it.
I’m off to my iPod, to listen again to Garden Party.
Peace,
mangeorge

Sure glad I didn’t say “volume two”, since it’s actually volume one.
No matter. :wink:

Was Dylan at the “Garden Party?” The song definitely seems to be referring to someone who was actually there. If Bob Dylan (or, for that matter, Howard Hughes) wasn’t there, I would lean towards Rico’s interpretation. Otherwise, given the info here, it seems like a toss-up.

So if I really, really want it to be Dylan and Hughes I’m okay believing it is?
Cool. :cool:
The very tone of the song makes me think that it is.

Not musical tone, but more like mood.