Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Faves: Burn On

There's an oil barge winding
Down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

Cleveland city of light city of magic
Cleveland city of light you're calling me
Cleveland, even now I can remember
'Cause the Cuyahoga River
Goes smokin' through my dreams

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on
Now the Lord can make you tumble
And the Lord can make you turn
And the Lord can make you overflow
But the Lord can't make you burn

From Randy Newman's Burn On, an ode to Cleveland and the Cuyahoga River, so polluted that it famously caught fire in 1969. It was not the first time. The photo is from a similar eruption in 1952. One of many. The 1969 fire, however, did make a difference. Time magazine said the river: "oozes rather than flows". The publicity led to a realization about the extent of industrial pollution in North America.