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The Crest of a Wave

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The Story Behind The Song

  • The Crest of a Wave
  • Nemo James
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I wrote this song in 1989 about a woman I met while living in Los Angeles. It is a city associated with wannabes searching for fame and fortune, but I also met a lot of women who were there searching for rich husbands.

After returning to the UK I put together a home studio and for the first time had access to sampled instruments so went to town on this piece which combined folk, classical and rock music.

Presenting the music industry with anything other than what is “happening” is hard at the best of times but a 35-minute song in a nonstandard genre by an unknown artist has as much chance as England winning the world cup. Even Bohemian Rhapsody, a truly great song by a world-famous band running at only eight minutes was fiercely rejected by the music industry “experts”.

I was happy with the result but knowing there was no point in pushing it I forgot about it until recently when one of my fans insisted I send him everything I have ever written. To my surprise, he singled this out as by far his favourite and he was amazed that I had forgotten all about it.


Zsuzsa was a woman who lived in Hungaria
A simple land where truth can’t be sold
Her sweetness and kindness were a gift so rare
Her innocence and beauty a joy to behold

She loved her home, her family and culture
She loved the sun that followed the rain
But she’d always dream of the City of Angels
so she left her home that she’d not see again

Hollywood was waiting for this woman of beauty
This child of sweetness with soft golden hair
“We love you dear Zsuzsa you brighten our lives
Your youth and your virtue are a breath of fresh air”

“Come play with us dance with us let us surround you
We are the angels we’re truthful and just
Give us your innocence lend us your virtue
We are your friends and it’s we you can trust”

Her life was sweet but with future uncertain
She started to search for a husband and friend
Her virtue demanded a handsome young prince
But she only found vultures with riches to lend

The young men with beauty and bodies like marble
Offered her promises but gave her no bread
“I’ll not marry a man without fame youth and fortune
A man without value will not enter my bed”

Then from the darkness there came a young actor
His fame and his fortune were known through the world
His body and beauty were all she had asked for
He captured the heart of our lovely young girl

“I love you, I love you, I love your dear Zsuzsa”
He said with conviction while combing his hair
I’ll always remain both honest and faithful”
Three years soon passed though she never knew where

Though nothing was said she assumed they would marry
She longed for children a family a home
But one day while walking she saw her young actor
In the arms of her best friend, her true love had flown

She cried and she cried and her friends did console her
They took her to clubs to try ease the pain
In time she got over her handsome young actor
But somewhere in her world it had stared to rain

Her beauty and sweetness were still strong and alluring
But lines could be seen in the cruel light of day
Though her hair was still golden and soft as a child’s
It had to be coloured to hide streaks of grey

Her life free and single was still fun and exciting
But with future uncertain she searched once again
I’ll not marry a man without youth a fortune
A man without value will approach me in vain

Then through the darkness there came a man younger
A businessman rich and every girl’s dream
A house in the hills a Mexican villa
A rock of great strength in a dangerous stream

“I love you, I love you, I love you dear Zsuzsa“
He said with conviction while combing his hair
“I’ll always remain both honest and faithful”
Three years soon passed though she never knew where

With no mention of marriage she could wait no longer
“We must soon be wed and have children three”
His reply was with sadness but their ending was final
He could not marry a woman with less riches than he

She cried and she cried and her friends did console her
They took her to clubs to try ease the pain
In time she got over her wealthy young businessman
But our lovely young Zsuzsa was never the same

Her beauty still shone as she looked in the mirror
But age was now showing in the depth of her eyes
It was back to the fun and the people that loved her
Back to the clubs and the little white lies

Then through forest of dreams came a stranger
A man with great power kindness and truth
A writer of songs a man of creation
An angel of comfort a giver of youth

“I love you, I love you, I love you dear Zsuzsa”
I see deep in your soul you’re a woman of worth
You are all I have searched for in a journey of wonder
From the heavenly skies to the depths of the earth”

“I have nothing to offer but my past and my future
In there you’ll find all that will make you content
Let us be married and build empires together
And finish our days in a happy lament”

“I’m sorry sweet dreamer that’s out of the question
I cannot agree to become your wife
It’s true you are kind, truthful and gifted
But a man without fortune shall not enter my life”

He looked deep in her eyes, something there touched him
And he wrote her the song that you’re hearing this day
She never knew that a part of her died
When she kissed him so gently and sent him away

And she watched him slowly walking away
And she watched him slowly walking away

Zsuzsa returned to the fun and the bright lights
The wine and the dance and the musical chairs
Her answer was simple to stay young forever
Five years soon passed though she never knew where

“Who is the fairest” she would ask her admirers
“Who is the sweetest in this game that we play”
“Why you my dear Zsuzsa your beauty still shines
We’ll love you forever and have a nice day”

Once more she felt the need of a family
So with future uncertain a search she began
Then came a man who’d sold his youth for a fortune
As Zsuzsa was trading her youth just for fun

“I love you, I love you, I love you dear Zsuzsa”
He said with conviction while counting his gold
“Your position is weak you have nothing to offer
You must realise it’s your body you’ve sold”

“You can have all that your heart may desire
You can look at the young men but don’t ever touch
But kids I’m afraid are out of the question
They’re a pain in the neck and they cost far too much”

We’re having a party, we’re having a party,
We’re having a party, we’re having a ball

The first year of marriage was all she had hoped for
Security friendship a house and a home
But the love for a child she stared to long for
And the love for a man that she’d never known

The years soon slipped but then came the boredom
The networking cocktails and lunches with friends
The man she had married was becoming a stranger
Fights that are bitter time never mends

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you dear Zsuzsa”
Suddenly her husband announced from the blue
“A man with my fortune can find someone younger
And that this time of your life all are younger than you”

“You keep the house keep all your diamonds
I’ll still give you all that your heart may request
Your age disgusts me you have nothing to offer
Now your beauty is spent you can keep all the rest”

She laughed at his words she laughed at his leaving
“Now I’m secure what more can I need
I’m still the fairest you’re just stupid or blind
I’ll soon find a young man, just wait and see”

But after ten years of marriage the world had now changed
Her beauty no longer opened the doors
Fun had now moved from the places she’d left
She played the same game but they’d changed all the laws

The friends that she had gave her no comfort
For now there was nothing they could take in return
Still who needs friends when there’s help in a bottle
But life only hands out the help that you earn

Through half-conscious eyes she searched for a young man
Who once in a while she’d manage to find
They’d stay for a while till they got what they came for
They took all her love and left nothing behind

Deeper and deeper into darkness she fell
Till the drink and the drugs had no more effect
Then out to of the blue obesity found her
And at last went the one thing she’d swore not to neglect

“I just can’t go on there’s nothing to live for“
she cried day and night though no one could hear
Loneliness slashed at her chest like a knife
Her life was now over in its forty fifth year

And she felt it slowly slipping away
And she felt it slowly slipping away

To the Malibu ocean she went in desperation
A place where she’d always found peace of mind
The sand felt so good and she savoured the clean air
But hope in her world was still hard to find

Then her attention was drawn to a family
Three happy children playing in the sand
A mother and father wrapped in affection
Holding a world of love in their hands

Zsuzsa felt pain like she’d not known before
At the sight of a world that she’d never know
Her life had been spent in a world full of strangers
Where love had depended on which way the wind blows

Then to her surprise the father came over
Looked deep in her eyes and then understood
“Excuse me old lady but is your name not Zsuzsa
The child of Hungaria the woman of Hollywood”

“Yes my name is but I’m no old lady
And who are you stranger that you know me by name
I can’t see you clearly but your face is familiar
What do you do and have your fortune and fame?”

“Don’t you remember I’m your young dreamer?
The writer of songs the man of great truth
I loved you more deeply that you can imagine
Just one more admirer far back in your youth”

He rested his hand on the side of her cheek
The warmth from his soul tore her apart
“Well my dear dreamer what of your life
And what of the dreams that were deep in your heart”

He said “that is my house on these Malibu sands
My fame and my fortune are known through the world
Here are my dreams and here is my future
But there is my life two boys and a girl”

“The woman you see there I do love most dearly
She is all I could ask for she is honest and true
But each day I reflect on my journey of wonder
And my soul is tormented by the memory of you”

“Is it too late she asked her young dreamer”
With tears in her eyes from his pitiful glance
“I have nothing to offer but my present and future
So if you still love me, please give me a chance”

“It’s true I still love that woman from Hungaria
But now she belongs to the Hollywood streets
Anther sad victim of the city of angels
Another life ruined by the Hollywood cheats”

“It hurts me so deeply to see you in sorrow
But you are what you’ve made and I’m sure that you know
My love and my loyalty lies with my family
I wish you good luck but now I must go”

For Zsuzsa at last the moment had come
To pay for the wasted days of her youth
For where there’s no truth there is no meaning
And where there’s no purpose there is no truth

She watched as her dreamer played with his children
And knew but for fortune they could have been hers
To be their mother for just five simple minutes
She’d have given her riches her diamonds and furs

With all of her strength she held back her tears
And with dignity walked through the Malibu sands
She stopped at a place where no one would see her
Collapsed in great sorrow her face in her hands

She lay there for hours crying and shaking
Some people passed by but nobody cared
It was just another story of the city of angels
Another lost soul with eyes dull and scared

The evening was warm and the sea seemed so gentle
As she walked through the sand to the edge of the world
With beauty now gone her life was now over
It was hard to imagine our lovely young girl

She put on her make up brushed her hair gently
Placed her bag neatly onto the ground
She stared to walk to the Malibu ocean
Never looked back never made a sound

And she walked slowly into the sea
And she walked slowly into the sea

So there is the end of our child from Hungaria
An innocent angel that love could have saved
If you go to the sands by the Malibu waters
You can still hear her crying on the crest of each wave.