Funny/WeirdOngoing History of New MusicStupid History

Ongoing History Daily: Eden Ahbez the strangest hit songwriter ever

This doesn’t have anything to do with rock, but the story of Eden Ahbez is fascinating. This guy was a hippie-type dude back in the 1940s who lived in acave—yes, a cave—and had no permanent address. He ate nothing but fruits, vegetables, and nuts, living on about three dollars a week.

He was somehow able to get Nat King Cole, one of the premiere musical stars of the late 1940s, to record a song he’d written called “Nature Boy.” Cole loved the song but by the time Cole was ready to go into the studio, Ahbez had disappeared. He had to be tracked down so Cole could get permission to record the track.

After a long search, they found Ahbez living under the first “L” in the Hollywood sign above Los Angeles. Ahbez happily gave Cole the rights to “Nature Boy” and it became a big hit. But that was the only hit Ahbez ever had, even though he wrote music well into the 1960s and became friends with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Ahbez died in a car accident in 1995 at the age of 86. Someone needs to make a movie about this guy.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38542 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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