Songs of falcons, snowmen and Christopher Boyce
It’s got to be the strangest thing in the world to have people you’ve never met write songs about you. In the case of Christopher Boyce, that happened in 1985 with the soundtrack to The Falcon and the Snowman. Written and recorded by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, the album featured a track called “Chris” which is basically an instrumental version of the David Bowie-fueled hit single “This Is Not America.” But in my research, I’ve discovered a handful of other songs I never even knew existed until recently.
In 1995, ten years after Metheny and Mays did their amazing thing (in my opinion delivering a soundtrack that was actually better than the movie it was written for), a dream pop band called Luna released the album Penthouse. It featured a song titled “Moon Palace” which included the somewhat random lyric: “You’ve got no choice, feel like Christopher Boyce.”
The song “Christopher Boyce” by L.A. punk musician Johanna Went appeared on her 1982 album Hyena and actually predates The Falcon and the Snowman movie and soundtrack by three years. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first song ever written about Chris Boyce and probably the least widely known. Went’s distinctly Yoko Onoesque vocals (there are no lyrics, at least none that I can discern) are certainly an acquired taste.
On his 2003 album Rip the Jacker, Jamaican-American rapper Canibus recorded a song called “Levitibus” in which he makes this interesting reference: “Got a message from the Falcon and the Snowman in an unopened Coca-Cola can. Showed the whole planet in coded program, encrypted by a pro-scan modem with a low-band.”
Do you know of any other songs written about Christopher Boyce or inspired by The Falcon and the Snowman? If so, we’d love to hear them. Let us know what you find by leaving a reply below. In the meantime, enjoy this incredible live version of “This Is Not America” from 1995 by the Pat Metheny Group.
Vince Font is the co-author of the book American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman with Christopher Boyce and Cait Boyce. Font is also the founder of Glass Spider Publishing, an independent publisher headquartered in Utah that helps bring visibility to the works of underrepresented writers.