“They say he wandered very far
Very far over land and sea…”
eden ahbez insisted that his name be spelled without capital letters, claiming that only “God” and “Infinity” and “Love” were worthy of capitalization.
hbez (sometimes just “ahbe,” and often it’s the only name used) was born George Alexander Aberle on April 15, 1908, one of 13 children in a dirt poor Brooklyn family. Most of the Aberle children were given up for adoption or sent to live elsewhere, and ahbez was taken in by a Chunute, Kansas family at the age of nine, and raised under the name George McGrew.
George Alexander Aberle, known as eden ahbez (April 15, 1908 – March 4, 1995), was an American songwriter and recording artist of the 1940s to 1960s, whose lifestyle in California was influential on the hippie movement.
Ahbez composed the song “Nature Boy,” which became a No. 1 hit for eight weeks in 1948 for Nat “King” Cole. Living a bucolic life from at least the 1940s, he travelled in sandals and wore shoulder-length hair and beard, and white robes. He camped out below the first L in the Hollywood Sign above Los Angeles and studied Oriental mysticism. He slept outdoors with his family and ate vegetables, fruits, and nuts. He claimed to live on three dollars per weeks.
According to eden ahbez’s sister-in-law Pearl Rowe, who wrote about eden in an L.A. Times Sunday feature, dated July 24, 1977, “He wrote songs. Great songs”…
One of them was called “Nature Boy,” about a “very strange enchanted boy” who wanders around “over land and sea,” and who finally realizes “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.”
“…The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved