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7.05-HEAVEN IS IN YOUR MIND (Traffic)

Traffic

LISTEN

[Intro]

You ride on the swing in and out of the bars,
Capturing moments of life in a jar,
Playing with children, acting as stars.

     Guiding your vision to heaven
     And heaven is in your mind.

Take extra care not to lose what you feel.
The apple you're eating is simple and real.
Water the flowers that grow at your heel.

     [Chorus]

[Repeat 1st verse]

     [Chorus]

[Repeat 2nd verse]

     [Chorus]

[Coda]


Heaven is in Your Mind was the name of the Mr. Fantasy album in the UK. The song begins with Winwood laying down double time chords on the piano followed by a rest of the band as if a stiff march, with Wood weaving through the harsh piano clunks with a saxophone. The verse then becomes more fluid with a falling simple melody repeated thrice, the last note sung as a drone (much like We Love You by the Rolling Stones) before the tune changes into a waltz time rhythm for the choruses. A long coda features a guitar improvisation that degenerates into a general hubbub, ending with voices wandering off as if someone were singing alone in a gym shower, and with someone imitating a dog barking in the background. (The barking dog has found its way in psychedelia through the Beach Boy’s Caroline No to the Beatles’ Good Morning Good Morning and would soon appear again in Blood Sweat and Tears’ House in the Country.)

Donovan had contemporaneously released Wear Your Love Like Heaven. The pair of songs were the first and only time “heaven” was used as a concept in the psychedelic music collected here. Both songs came out at the critical turning point in the development of psychedelic music. Donovan’s heaven is abstract, having most to do with colors; ironically his heaven is in the sunset, while Traffic had sung of colored rain. Traffic’s heaven is here on earth: “The apple you’re eating is simple and real.” Donovan had appealed to God to fill him with song; Traffic appeals to the listener to take “care not to lose what you feel”.

The first verse of Heaven is in Your Mind conjures swinging saloon doors, which is somewhat odd, since drinking alcohol hasn’t been in psychedelic lyrics since Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb Blues in 1965, back when being “stoned” could still mean drunk. The second line eerily echoes Bing Cosby’s Swinging on a Star’s “carry moonbeams home in a jar”, which advises children to be better than they are or they’ll turn into brutes. Winwood’s lyric suggests the opposite however; that by returning to childhood innocence, they will be stars. His intent seems to be much like John Lennon’s 1970 song Instant Karma when he sings “we all shine on / like the moon and the stars and the sun.” Sly Stone also seemed to echo the feeling of Heaven is in Your Mind in the Family Stone’s release of Everybody is a Star, released about the same time as Instant Karma.

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