Those of you who are over 50
might remember a haunting melody sung by Nat King Cole
called "Nature Boy."
Here is a link for those who would like to hear it:
Few people know the origin of his beautiful song,
and the history behind it.
The composer of “Nature Boy,”
eden ahbez (no capitals per his request),
was born Alexander Aberle in Brooklyn in 1908.
The original sheet music of the song
shows a photo of ahbez-long hair and beard,
highly unusual for the 1940s.
In some respects,
ahbez was the prototypical hippie twenty years ahead of his time,
for in addition to his appearance he lived a simple life,
wore a robe and sandals,
was a vegetarian,
and even was reputed to be living with his wife
under the “L” letter of the famous “HOLLYWOOD” sign.
Early in his life Aberle and his 12 siblings were orphaned,
some sent to a foster home in Kansas.
Alexander didn’t stay long and embarked on a wandering life,
eventually ending up in Los Angeles.
In 1947 he left a tattered manuscript
of his composition “Nature Boy”
backstage at a Nat “King” Cole performance.
Cole liked the tune and subsequently recorded it for Capitol.
The label’s executives, however, didn’t know what to think about it
and held off releasing the record.
Yet Cole believed in the song and its simple message,
and live performances proved the song’s appeal to the public.
Eventually the Capitol hierarchy released Cole’s recording
and the rest is history, as it’s said.
Many in the music biz refer to people like eden as a “one hit wonder,”
and even though he did write a few more songs
and recorded an album in the early 1960s,
none of his compositions drew much attention.
He continued to live in his simple way and died
in 1995 at age 86,
after being struck by a car.
His unusual story and life
still capture the public’s fancy,
and a television special filmed in 2000
dealt with “Nature Boy” and eden’s experience
with Nat King Cole.
* * *
who was born in Saxony, Germany in 1896.
He left Germany to escape the military service in 1906
and settled in the majestic Palm Canyon
in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs
where he built himself a palm hut from natural materials.
To support himself
he carved walking sticks from palm blossom stalks,
and gave lectures on living a healthy lifestyle close to the earth.
In his own words:
"Man was intended to live in a state of nature.
All man's troubles, sickness, anxieties and discontent
comes from a departure from nature.
I would advise you to go back to nature
if you want to be cured;
give up your extravagant habits,
your high-priced hotel life,
quit taking medicine
and discharge your doctor. "
Bill lived on Cahuilla land
and was loved by the Native Americans.
With his naturmensch philosophy, raw food diet and long hair,
he was mentor to eden ahbez
and to the American-born Nature Boys.
who were the ORIGINAL "hippies"
I suggest reading Children of the Sun by Nivaria Press.
You can find it at a reasonable price if you scour the internet.
Children of the Sun is a tribute to the people
who through scorn, ridicule, and rejection paved the way for the future;
with particular focus on those who were pioneers
in nature cure, raw foods, and social reform
from the conventional lifestyle toward a more natural existence.
And the best part of it all is that this took place from 1883 - 1949.