This song, written and performed by Rick Nelson, was the tale of his experience playing a concert at Madison Square Garden in October 1971. He had changed, his music had changed, but the fans wanted the old “Ricky” Nelson so they booed during a countrified version of the Stone’s “Honky Tonk Woman” called “Country Honk.” Nelson’s look had changed from his teen idol days so even when he did sing his old songs like “Hello Mary Lou,” they “didn’t look the same.”
So what is this all leading too? The key line in the song is: “You can’t please everyone, you’ve got to please yourself”. This is a concept I have struggled with for a long time and finally believe I have the truth.
In Nelson’s case, he had changed his appearance to match both the times and his new approach to music. The audience didn’t want a long haired version in bell-bottoms (even if they dressed that way). They didn’t want the new music either. They were quite comfortable with their clean-cut teen idol singing the old songs. But that is not who Nelson saw himself at that point in his career.
I have changed dramatically over the last several years. My appearance is still pretty much as it has been in the last 25 years; however, I am nothing like I was in my 20’s when hair, make-up, clothes and of course, shoes, had to be perfect. I had the money to spend on my image, and I did – in turn, my image helped me excel in my career… or, at least, it did until mental illness swept in and turned my world upside down.
However, I am also not as I was during the tough times with my illness. My appearance, habits, personality, etc. are somewhere between the two extremes. The problem is that some close family and friends are finding it difficult to accept me as this new, strong yet compassionate person I am today. In other words, I have my own “Garden Party.”
Most people do see changes for the better in me and I have to realize that as I am getting stronger mentally and emotionally, my physical disabilities are getting worse.
To those who are having difficulties separating the old from the new me, I do understand. I burnt a lot of bridges during the times when I was without a diagnosis. However, give this new Lydia a chance. You might just like her – I know I do! And to those who accept me as I am no matter what the circumstances – I thank the Lord for you every day.
So what of Rick Nelson’s Garden Party? He walked out on the booing fans and wrote the song, which was released in 1972. It went to number 6 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 and spent 2 weeks at the top of the easy-listening charts. (statistics from Wikipedia). It seems like people didn’t mind the song about them not liking the songs! LOL.