Dear Mr. Fantasy – Traffic

trafficTraffic was an English rock band formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group influenced by The Beatles when releasing early pop singles, and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards, reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music.

After disbanding in 1969 during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, Traffic reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band’s line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1975, although a partial reunion took place in 1994.

Dear Mr. Fantasy

Dear Mr. Fantasy” is a rock song by Traffic from their 1967 album, Mr. Fantasy. An extended live version (10:57) of the song also appears on the 1971 Traffic album Welcome to the Canteen. The lyrics were written by Jim Capaldi, while the music was written by Steve Winwood and Chris Wood.

The song has been covered by The Grateful Dead, Big Sugar, Jimi Hendrix and by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Crosby, Stills, and Nash added two new verses to the lyrics:

Each time you choose to sing the rock & roll blues,
you take everybody’s loneliness with you.
What do you lose each time you face down a room?
All of us see our changes through you.

So sing of the ocean of tears you have sailed,
Strangers and lovers that took you.
All of us sang, and all of us failed.
In one way we don’t ever hear you.

The song was on the setlist of Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton’s joint tour in 2009. A live recording appears on the album Live from Madison Square Garden.

In addition the song was performed on multiple occasions throughout the 1980s by the Grateful Dead with keyboardist Brent Mydland on vocals. Phish, Phil Lesh and Friends, Gov’t Mule and Widespread Panic occasionally cover the song. It also appeared on The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper in 1969, where its chord progression morphed into “Hey Jude”.

The song was covered by the American rock band Tesla on the album Real to Reel (2007).

The Chicano rock band Los Lobos has played the song live, segueing into it from one of their own compositions.

In the “Adventures in Babysitting” episode of Supernatural, the song plays at the end.

Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar
Make it snappy

You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years
Oooo Ahhhhh
Oooo Ahhhhh
Oooo Ahhhhh
Oooo Ahhhhh Ahhhhh

Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar
Make it snappy
Yeah, yeah

Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar
Make it snappy

You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years

  • Audio from the 1967 album, Mr. Fantasy:

album-mr-fantasy


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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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