Richard Twice

10 minutes

What happens when rock stardom doesn’t quite work out?

When I was younger the days were like candy 
now I’m older and the days are like wine 
I used to sing songs of the young happy freedom 
I knew as a child, no feeling for time

After losing part of his leg in a motorcycle accident in the early 1960, Richard Atkins took to playing guitar and writing songs, quickly landing a coveted deal for his debut album Richard Twice (1968) with Mercury Records. But what appeared to be a fast track to folk-rock stardom came to a sudden halt when a make-or-break performance brought his dreams crashing down. Traumatised, he stopped listening to the radio and playing on stage for 40 years, deciding instead to dedicate his life to woodworking. Using expressive, psychedelic animations and featuring Atkins’s original music, the US director Matthew Salton’s film is a bittersweet reminder that many dreams go unfulfilled, and while past failures are always with us, they needn’t define us.

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Stories & Literature
Sweet artifice

Dandies in the age of decadence favoured synthetics over nature, nowhere more so than in perfumery’s fabulous counterfeits

Catherine Maxwell

Cultures & Languages
The deep roots of writing

Was writing invented for accounting and administration or did it evolve from religious movements, sorcery and dreams?

Michael Erard