Svengali

[Image: 'I Predict 1990' Front Cover]

Sections:

Lyrics

Blue shadows
A Venetian parade
Eyes on a starlet who was yet to be made
He had the thin blue lips
And a fingerless glove
He was a hunter for a prey
To put his prints on

Oh, Svengali
Oh, Svengali
Wide eyes mesmerize
Ain't he clever
Oh, Svengali

He set stages from Vienna to Rome
He promised flowers and footlights
If she'd only leave home
When he secured her passage on an Aegean ship
She didn't know of the power
In an evil man's grip

Oh, Svengali
Oh, Svengali
Wide eyes mesmerize
Ain't he clever
Oh, Svengali

Oh, Svengali
Oh, Svengali
Wide eyes mesmerize
Ain't he clever
Oh, Svengali

I knew you when
You saw a scene in the clouds
You saw a man in the moon
And your mood was enthralling
You could weep for a falling star

He'll take you deep in his debt
He's wanting all he can get
Will your heart hold the virtue?
You've never known that power
That the evil men use

Gone cried the madman
As he slapped her to life
And then a cold wind slowly sucked him into the night
So come away to the refuge they can never control
They'll try to steal your body
But they can't touch your soul

Oh, Svengali
Oh, Svengali
Wide eyes mesmerize
Ain't he clever
Oh, Svengali


Recorded Appearances


About The Song

From Clone Club News Flash Winter 1988, Winter 1988:

Inspired by a 19th century French novel, the song tells the story of Svengali, a manipulative music teacher, who takes a young, vibrant singer and turns her into an opera star by developing such power and control over her that she can't sing without him. I used the story to illustrate a type of relationship I often observed while working as a youth pastor, where a young person would subtly be pulled away from the church and God because of a romantic involvement, usually with someone outside the faith. Like the opera singer, the girl or guy would gradually become controlled by their boyfriend's or girlfriend's wishes, to the place where they'd being to lose their sense of identify, morality and even turn their back on their faith.

From Now The Truth Can Be Told Liner Notes & Song-By-Song Essays, Now The Truth Can Be Told Insert Booklet, August 23rd, 1994:

I never really liked this song, and almost tossed it out halfway through the epic making of the I Predict 1990 album. For starters, it presaged an unhealthy obsession with foreign-sounding words that would reach its tragic apex with the naming of an obscure American rock band of which I was a member. The track is too derivative of a certain English pop group, the words are all pomp and no circumstance, and the dreaded live version required my first and last use of the band playing along with a pre-recorded sequencer part on tape. But the album needed a tenth song. And, as fate would have it, "Svengali" was picked as the first single, necessitating its inclusion here.

In short, skip the song and read the novel.