Posts Tagged ‘Walter Egan’

Nicks, Egan, Buckingham. 1977

Blasting from someone’s car radio last summer, I heard the familiar strains of Magnet and Steel by Walter Egan, a song from his Not Shy album. It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 (US) and #9 in Canada. “It spent 22 weeks on the American charts.” It was featured in the movies Boogie Nights (1997), Overnight Delivery (1998) and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999).

I’m a sucker for tracks that serve as the title of the album but only via the lyrics. For instance, the Nirvana album Nevermind contains the hit Smells Like Teen Spirit, which features the word Nevermind.”

Likewise, Magnet and Steel has the lyric:
With you I’m not shy, to show the way I feel
With you I might try, my secrets to reveal
For you are a magnet and I am steel…

As is true of a lot of Fleetwood Mac-related songs, this has a complex story. From Songfacts, Egan explains:

“In 1976 I was living in Pomona, California and I had a notion to write a song with the ‘stroll’ beat… and so began the rough outline of what was tentatively called ‘Don’t Turn Away Now.’ Now, this was also at the time of putting together my first album, Fundamental Roll, and my two new friends and producers, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks and I were starting the recording process.

“On the night when Stevie did the background vocals for my song ‘Tunnel o’ Love,’ my nascent amorous feelings toward her came into a sharper focus – I was smitten by the kitten, as they say. It was on my drive home at 3 AM from Van Nuys to Pomona that I happened to be behind a metal flake blue Continental with ground effects and a diamond window in back. I was inspired by the car’s license plate: “Not Shy.”

“By the time I pulled into my driveway I had formulated the lyrics and come up with the magnet metaphor. From there the song was finished in 15 minutes.

Egan and Nicks dated briefly when Nicks and Buckingham had broken up.

“It was especially satisfying to have Stevie sing on ‘Magnet,’ since it was about her (and me).”

Listen to Magnet and Steel:

Walter Egan here or here

Matthew Sweet here with Buckingham on guitar

Third World here

I happen to catch the song Magnet and Steel by Walter Egan at my bank, which is also a Starbucks You can LISTEN to it HERE. The backstory: Stevie Nicks sang on this track, and provided inspiration for the lyrics.

I’m a sucker for albums that have a title song but isn’t the title of the album. The album title is Not Shy, a reference in the song. “With you, I’m not shy.”

In Kill to Get Crimson by Mark Knopfler, the lyrics of Let It All Go include “I’d kill to get crimson on this palette knife.”

The title song of Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is Scarborough Fair/Canticle. Negotiations and Love Songs, and Shining Like A National Guitar are collections of Paul Simon’s songs. The titles are taken from lines in the songs Train in the Distance and Graceland, respectively.

And of course, Nevermind by Nirvana is in reference to a word/words? in Smells Like Teen Spirit. (Oh, speaking of that song, a cover by 2 Cellos.)

Got any other examples of lines of songs that provide the title of an album?

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