The original version of this song was recorded at my new studio in Santa Fe in 1995, for the album ‘Opium’, which was released by Epic Records on 12. March 1996.
It’s funny how memory works, because for many years I believed that I wrote this song after a special night we spent in a former Ottoman palace in Istanbul on the 19th of December of 1996. We had performed for a private party, and a couple of good friends had joined us in the bar of the hotel after the concert – guys I had known since I was fifteen years old. One of them had become a journalist, reporting for a German broadcasting station from Ankara, the capital of Turkey. He told us that people in Turkey drink cherry juice the way Americans drink orange juice. I suggested that we drink Screwdrivers, but that we mix vodka with cherry juice instead of orange juice. A ‘Turkish Screwdriver’, we called it, and then we proceeded to drink the entire supply of cherry juice the bar had. The next morning’s hangover was tremendous, but the evening was worth it.
The truth is that the song was written, recorded, and titled about a year BEFORE the event I discribed happened. Prescient, really.
Memory… it’s a funny thing, isn’t it.
The reason I thought of this today is that I am working on an album that will be called ‘The Complete Santa Fe Sessions’. This album, to be released next Spring, will contain a new mix of a Luna Negra XL version of ‘Turkish Night’ – with horns.