Song Lyric Sunday — It’s All Relative

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim is focusing on siblings, with “brother,” “sister,” and “sibling” as our theme words. I remember back when I was a younger (much younger) man and I was madly in love with a beautiful blonde (well, bleach blonde) who had flowing golden hair. And even though, when this song came out, we were no longer dating, I always thought of her when I heard it. The song? “Sister Golden Hair” by America.

“Sister Golden Hair” was written by Gerry Beckley and recorded by the band America for their fifth album, Hearts, in 1975. It was their second single to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Their first number one hit was “A Horse with No Name.”

According to Beckley, there was no actual Sister Gold Hair. He said that the song was based on a composite of different girls. When asked if it was written to anyone, Beckley said, “No, this is all poetic license. With ‘Sister Golden Hair,’ as far as my folks were concerned, I was writing a song about my sister. They must not have listened to the lyrics.”

Beckley also pointed out that the song’s lyrics were largely inspired by the works of one of my favorite recording artists, Jackson Browne. Beckley noted that “Jackson has a knack, an ability to put words to music, that is much more like the L.A. approach to just genuine observation as opposed to simplifying it down to its bare essentials.” Beckley also said that he found that Jackson’s lyrics could depress him a little bit, but only through his honesty; and it was that style of Browne’s that led to the song, “Sister Golden Hair.” The band previewed the song for Browne while touring together with the singer, and Browne suggested the lyric originally written as, “Will you meet me in V.A.” — referring to Virginia — be changed to “Will you meet me in the air.”

Beckley said that all of America’s songs, including “Horse,” are open to interpretation. But “Sister” was a relationship song and contained a variety of elements. He said that the band always combined the elements of a song, as songwriters, so that they were not verbatim, word for word, for a particular circumstance. I love the sounds, the harmonies, and the flow of most of America’s hit songs. But many of their songs’ lyrics are, well, almost nonsensical — to me, anyway.

Here are the lyrics to “Sister Golden Hair.”

Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed
That I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed
I ain’t ready for the altar but I do agree there’s times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine

Well, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, Sister Golden Hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you; can’t you see it in my eyes?
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind

Will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don’t mind sayin’, I just can’t make it

Well, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, Sister Golden Hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you; can’t you see it in my eyes?
Now I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind

Will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don’t mind sayin’, I just can’t make it

Doo wop doo wop …

Song Lyric Sunshine

I’ve been nominated by s.s. at Mindfills for the Sunshine Blogger Award. So thank you, s.s. for the nod.

I don’t follow most of the rules for these blog awards, but I do answer questions, and the questions for this award are intriguing because they come from song lyrics. So here goes.

1. What’s love got to do with it? (Tina Turner)

My question is what “it” is. Before I can tell you what role love has in “it,” I need more information.

2. What if we said goodbye to safe and sound? (Troye Sivan)

I guess we’ll find out if Donald Trump gets re-elected in November.

3. Who’s zoomin who? (Aretha Franklin)

These days, everybody’s zooming everyone else in order to stay in touch with family and friends.

4. How do you sleep? (Sam Smith)

Fine. Thanks for asking.

5. How do you want to be remembered? (Magic)

I’d like to be remembered fondly, but I’ll be dead, so….

6. What if God was one of us? (Joan Osbourne)

He’d probably be lying in the street with a cop’s knee on his neck yelling “I can’t breathe.”

7. Where did all the good people go? (Jack Johnson)

I’ll let you know when I get there.

8. Are you listening? (Paramore)

What? Did you say something?

9. Do you practice what you preach? (Black Eyed Peas)

I don’t preach. I express my opinions, my perspectives, and my observations. Take ’em or leave ’em.

10. What are you waiting for? (Nickelback)

An invitation.

11. Why worry? (Dire straits)

What me worry

I’m going to tag Jim Adams. As host of the popular Song Lyric Sunday series, these questions are right up his alley.

Song Lyric Sunday — Contradictions and Juxtapositions

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us the theme “contrasts.” I thought about this for a long time and was having difficulty, so I went to Dictionary.com and to its thesaurus and entered the word “contrast.” One of the synonyms was “oppositeness.” BINGO! What song is more illustrative of oppositeness than The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye”?

“Hello, Goodbye” was written solely by Paul McCartney, but it was credited to Lennon–McCartney. The song was released as a non-album single in November 1967, and was commercially successful around the world. It reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1967.

Alistair Taylor, McCartney’s friend who was visiting him, asked Paul one day how he wrote his many songs, and how he came up with his ideas. Paul took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration of his hand-carved harmonium. As an experiment, Paul asked Taylor to shout out the opposite of whatever he sang, such as black and white, yes and no, hello and goodbye, etc. From this, the song was born.

John Lennon hated the song. He viewed it as inconsequential, saying it was “three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions.” What further infuriated Lennon was that his “I Am The Walrus,” was issued as the B-side to McCartney’s A-side “Hello Goodbye.” Shortly after the song was released, McCartney, somewhat defensively, given Lennon’s criticism, justified the song, explaining that, “The answer to everything is simple. It’s a song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That’s the amazing thing about life.”

Here are the lyrics to “Hello, Goodbye.”

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello

I say high, you say low
You say why and I say I don’t know, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
(Hello goodbye hello goodbye) Hello hello
(Hello goodbye) I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
(Hello goodbye hello goodbye) Hello hello
(Hello goodbye) I don’t know why you say goodbye
(Hello goodbye) I say hello/goodbye

Why why why why why why do you say goodbye goodbye, oh no?

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello

You say yes (I say yes) I say no (But I may mean no)
You say stop (I can stay) and I say go go go (Till it’s time to go), oh
Oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello hello

Hela heba helloa
Hela heba helloa, cha cha cha
Hela heba helloa, wooo
Hela heba helloa, hela
Hela heba helloa, cha cha cha
Hela heba helloa, wooo
Hela heba helloa, cha cah cah [fade out]

Song Lyric Sunday — Seasons of Love

For today’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams is doing something a bit different. Here’s given us “Musical” and “Opera” as our themes and I suppose he wants us to highlight a song from either a musical or an opera. So, I’m going with a song from the Broadway musical “Rent.” The song is “Seasons of Love.”

“Seasons of Love” is a song from the 1996 Broadway musical Rent, written and composed by Jonathan Larson. In case you’re unfamiliar with Rent, the musical is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera La Bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and their struggles with sexuality, drugs, paying their rent, and life under the shadow of AIDS. On Broadway, Rent gained critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Musical. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008, after 12 years, making it one of the longest-running shows on Broadway.

In 2005, a movie adaptation, directed by Chris Columbus, featured six of the original Broadway cast members reprising their roles. Unfortunately, the movie did not receive the same critical acclaim as the Broadway show.

The song is performed by the entire cast in the musical. It starts out with a reference to “five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes” (the number of minutes in a common year). The lyrics ask what the proper way is to quantify the value of a year in human life, concluding in the chorus that the most effective means is to “measure in love.” Since four of the lead characters in the musical either have HIV or AIDS, the song is often associated with World AIDS Day and AIDS awareness month.

Jonathan Larson intended for “Seasons of Love” to be performed symbolically as a song at one of the character’s funeral. But when Larson tragically died suddenly of an aortic dissection the night before the off-Broadway premiere, the cast sang it at the beginning of the show to pay their respects to the composer.

Here are the lyrics to “Seasons of Love.”

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets,
In midnights, in cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles,
In laughter, in strife?

In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes,
How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.
Seasons of love,
Seasons of love.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan,
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes,
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?

In truth that she learned,
Or in times that he cried?
In the bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died?

It’s time now, to sing out,
Though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate, remember a year,
In the life of friends.

Remember the love, (Oh you got to, you got to remember the love)
Remember the love, (You know that love is a gift from up above)
Remember the love, (Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love, (Measure, measure your life in love)
Seasons of love,
Seasons of love (Measure your life, measure your life in love).

Song Lyric Sunday — Evil Woman

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, Jim Adams gave us “cruel,” “evil,” “horrible,” and “monster” as our theme. I guess Jim was having a bad day when he came up with this week’s theme words. Anyway, my choice was pretty obvious. I chose “Evil Woman” from Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO).

“Evil Woman” was written by Electric Light Orchestra’s lead vocalist, Jeff Lynne. It was first released on the band’s fifth album, Face the Music, in 1975. The song became ELO’s first worldwide hit. Originally intended as a filler song for the album, Lynne admitted it was the quickest he had ever written, in thirty minutes. He explained that one morning, while the rest of the band was out, he sat at the piano and played the opening piano riff, which became the basis of the song. Later that same day, the rest of the band came in and recorded the backing track. The song placed in the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in early 1976. The lyric “There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in,” according to Lynne, is a tribute to The Beatles’ song “Fixing a Hole.”

The song is a simple tale of love gone wrong. It’s the story of a man who was used by a woman and who made a fool of him. Once he recognized that, he dumped her and told her to hit the road.

You made a fool of me
But them broken dreams have got to end

Hey, woman, you got the blues
‘Cause you ain’t got no one else to use
There’s an open road that leads nowhere
So just make some miles between here and there
There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in
You took my body and played to win
Ha, ha, woman, it’s a cryin’ shame
But you ain’t got nobody else to blame

Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman

Rolled in from another town
Hit some gold, too hard to settle down
But a fool and his money soon go separate ways
And you found a fool lyin’ in a daze
Ha, ha, woman, what you gonna do
You destroyed all the virtues that the Lord gave you
It’s so good that you’re feelin’ pain
But you better get your face on board the very next train

Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman (hey hey hey)

Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman

Evil woman, how you done me wrong
But now you’re tryin’ to wail a diff’rent song
Ha, ha, funny, how you broke me up
You made the wine, now you drink a cup
I came runnin’ ev’ry time you cried
Thought I saw love smilin’ in your eyes
Ha, ha, very nice to know
That you ain’t got no place left to go

Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman (evil woman)
Evil woman

Evil woman (what an evil woman)
Evil woman (such an evil woman)
Evil woman (what an evil woman)
Evil woman (such an evil woman)

Evil woman (what an evil woman)
Evil woman (such an evil woman)
Evil woman (what an evil woman)
Evil woman (such an evil woman)