Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stay Gold (1983) – Stevie Wonder

The closing theme of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, “Stay Gold” elaborates upon the heart of Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” as the poem reveals its palpable beauty to Ponyboy. Stevie Wonder bids us to recollect days of yore when wide-eyed wonderment still colored one’s worldview. There was a time when each day was without worry or strife, when life’s vicissitudes had yet to taint our starry-eyed naiveté and dictate our paths. Regardless of one’s station in life, those salad days of purity are as precious as gold, for they can never be recaptured once the world pierces its barbed talons into your tender flesh and thrashes you around like so many grunion who will, unbeknownst to them, meet their demise as they spawn in the sand.

Stevie’s trademark harmonica enriches this, one of the few songs (along with “Overjoyed” and “My Cherie Amour”) where Wonder’s soulful voice is paired with a devastatingly beautiful melody, set to a gilded mesh of acoustic guitar, electric and grand piano, bass, strings and clarinet (orchestrated by Francis’ father, Carmine).

“Stay Gold” places into perspective the province of time—the ineluctable thief, stealing that which cannot be recompensed: innocence and youth. Yet, once given the precious gifts of life’s experiences, preserved as memories, we can open and revisit them to recall disremembered riches.

  • Listen to "Stay Gold" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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