The reality behind the love songs

Renee Fladen

Michael Brown, the keyboard player of The Left Banke wrote Walk Away Rene, Pretty Ballerina and She May Call You Up Tonight about Renee Fladen, with whom he was in love. Unfortunately for Michael she was the girlfriend of Left Banke guitarist Tom Finn.

Fladen was present when Brown tried to record his harpsichord part for Walk Away Renee. According to Brown: “My hands were shaking when I tried to play, because she was right there in the control room. There was no way I could do it with her around, so I came back and did it later.”

It was not to be for either Brown or Finn, however. Renee eventually parted ways with the group, feeling uncomfortable with the situation. In Brown’s words: “It’s not a love song about possession. It’s about loving someone enough to set them free.”

Unfortunately, YouTube has disabled embedding for Pretty Ballerina and Walk Away Renee but click the links and hear them there. It’s worth it.

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