Songs Of The Day 8/30/2013: Porter Wagoner - "The Rubber Room" + "Committed to Parkview"


Mental Health Week: Porter Wagoner was famously sent to Nashville's Parkview medical center. As he told it shortly before his death in 2007, his hospital stay happened primarily because he was suffering from exhaustion. Apparently Parkview used to be a popular rehabilitative center for Nashville stars who were in need of a little "rest." In other words, it was a psychiatric hospital. I'm not sure it was for people completely off the wall or psychotic, or how long-term it was. Wagoner stayed somewhere around eight to ten weeks. Is that long-term? Not that I'm planning ahead or anything.

Parkview inspired two songs that found their way into Wagoner's repertoire: "The Rubber Room" which he wrote, and Johnny Cash's "Committed to Parkview." The former is part of the boomlet of late '60s country songs that handled slightly more dangerous subject matter. (Like this one.) Cash recorded his song in 1976, then covered it later with The Highwaymen. He meant to send it to Wagoner but apparently just kept forgetting, so Wagoner finally got around to it for his final album Wagonmaster.

Parkview Hospital. If you stand a half a chance of going postal in Music City, make sure it's on your chauffeur's GPS.

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