It was the most inspiring voyage of Arlo Guthrie’s itinerant music career, but a lot of the details are a bit of a blur now, like so much of the late 1960s. “I was flying from London to L.A. I don’t know what airline it was. It was around 1968 — well, I know it was after 1965. It was between 1966 and 1968. I was like 18 or 19. I’m sorry. It was a long time ago.” The one thing Guthrie absolutely remembers is the turbulence:-
“It was one of those bumpy flights where the whole plane just drops and you feel like you’re in a car that just bottomed out on the road.”
The ride was so rough that stewardesses were dropping chicken dinners off their trays. Passenger Guthrie had another reason for jangled nerves; his London friends had sent the young American home with some gifts and, after takeoff, he opened one and found some contraband inside that left him in a smuggler’s sweat and, later, inspired a song.
Coming in from London from over the pole, Flying in a big airliner
Chickens flying everywhere around the plane, Could we ever feel much finer?
Coming into Los Angeles, bringing in a couple of keys
Don’t touch my bags if you please, Mister Customs Man
The son of Woody Guthrie was already a counterculture star thanks to the 1967 folk epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,” and he only added to his rep as a troubadour prodigy when he performed “Coming Into Los Angeles” at Woodstock in 1969. (source LA Times)