Song Lyric Sunday — Playing It Cool

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us “Cool,” “Freeze,” “Heat,” and “Melt.” I thought I’d play it cool with the Beatles “Hey Jude,” which contains the classic line, “It’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder.”

“Hey Jude,” released as a non-album single in August 1968, was written by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. It was a number one hit in many countries around the world. Its nine-week run at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 tied the all-time record in 1968 for the longest run at the top of the U.S. charts.

The song evolved from “Hey Jules,” something McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s 5-year-old son Julian when his parents were getting a divorce after John left his wife and Julian’s mother, Cynthia, for Yoko Ono. The change to “Jude” was inspired by the character “Jud” in the musical Oklahoma!

The lyrics espouse a positive outlook on a sad situation, while also encouraging “Jude” to pursue his opportunities to find love. McCartney said he wrote the line, “Don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better” while thinking about how he could make Jules feel a little better.

Julian said that growing up he’d always felt closer to Paul McCartney than to his own father, but he didn’t realize that the song was written for him until he was a teenager, which was around the time that he reconnected with his father, John, whom he would visit in New York from time to time until his death.

Here are the lyrics to “Hey Jude.”

Hey, Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey, Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain,
Hey, Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool
Who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah

Hey, Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in,
Hey, Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you,
Hey, Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder

Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah yeah

Hey, Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you’ll begin to make it better, better, better, better, better… oh!

Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (Jude)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (don’t make it bad, Jude)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (take a sad song and make it better)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (oh, Jude)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (Jude, hey, Jude, whoa)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude (ooh)
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
Nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah, nah, nah nah,
Hey, Jude
[fade out]

Song Lyric Sunday —Along Comes Mary

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us the names Maria, Marie, and Mary as the theme. I chose the song “Along Cones Mary by the Association.

“Along Comes Mary” was composed by Tandyn Almer, an American songwriter, musician, and record producer, for the American pop/rock group, the Association. It was recorded in 1966 and released on the Association’s debut album And Then… Along Comes the Association. It was their first hit and reached number seven on the U.S. charts.

There was a lot of speculation regarding what this song was about. Some believed it was a “slice of life” song about a man troubled by all the corruption of his “world.” Then along comes Mary. At first she seems pure as the driven snow. But then he starts to see her as a heartbreaker who uses men and tosses them aside. The song serves as a warning to other men to stay away from Mary, if they can.

Others interpreted the song to be about marijuana, which is also known as “Mary Jane.” And some believed the lyrics were about Mary as the virgin mother.

I used to love this song when it came out, but I never really paid that much attention to the lyrics. Now reading them, they don’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

So listen to the song, read the lyrics, and let me know what you think. Is it about a girl named Mary, marijuana, the Virgin Mary, or just a word salad set to music?

Every time I think that I’m the only one who’s lonely
Someone calls on me
And every now and then I spend my time in rhyme and verse
And curse those faults in me

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to give me kicks , and be my steady chick
And give me pick of memories
Or maybe rather gather tales of all the fails and tribulations
No one ever sees

When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

When vague desire is the fire in the eyes of chicks
Whose sickness is the games they play
And when the masquerade is played and neighbor folks make jokes
As who is most to blame today

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to set them free, and let them see reality
From where she got her name
And will they struggle much when told that such a tender touch as hers
Will make them not the same

When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

And when the morning of the warning’s passed, the gassed
And flaccid kids are flung across the stars
The psychodramas and the traumas gone
The songs are left unsung and hung upon the scars

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to see the stains, the dead remains of all the pains
She left the night before
Or will their waking eyes reflect the lies, and make them
Realize their urgent cry for sight no more

When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

Thursday Inspiration — Paradise

CEEEA178-5F61-46D9-B250-7B25C119D476For this week’s Thursday Inspiration, Paula Light has given us the word “paradise.” The Happy Color image of the hamburger, although it does look yummy, didn’t really inspire me, but as soon as I saw the word “paradise,” the lyric, “They paved paradise / And put up a parking lot” came into my head. It comes from the Joni Mitchell song, “Big Yellow Taxi.”

Since I couldn’t get that song out of my head all day today, I became inspired by Paula’s prompt to share my ear worm with all of you.

Song Lyric Sunday — Hit the Road Jack

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us the names Jack and John. The obvious choice for me was to go with the Ray Charles classic, “Hit the Road Jack.”

“Hit the Road Jack” was written by Ray Charles’ good friend Percy Mayfield, an R&B singer who was badly disfigured in a car accident soon after he started performing. Mayfield cut back his touring and made his mark as a prolific songwriter, with many of his compositions performed by Charles.

The Ray Charles recording of “Hit the Road Jack” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1961, and won a Grammy award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording.

The song is about a woman telling her man that he’s got to leave. She knows she’s stuck with someone who isn’t worth holding onto, and she’s kicking him out. The guy begs and pleads for another chance, but he knows it’s hopeless.

The singers playing the woman’s role in the recording are Charles’ backup group, the Raelettes, with lead singer Margie Hendrix.

Here are the lyrics to the song.

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Oh woman, oh woman, don’t treat me so mean
You’re the meanest old woman that I’ve ever have seen
I guess if you say so
I’ll have to pack my things and go (that’s right)

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Now baby, listen baby, don’t you treat me this way
‘Cause I’ll be back on my feet some day
Don’t care if you do, ’cause it’s understood
You ain’t got no money, you just ain’t no good
Well, I guess if you say so
I’ll have to pack my things and go (that’s right)

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more
What’d you say?

Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

Well (don’t you come back no more)
Uh, what you say? (don’t you come back no more)
I didn’t understand you (don’t you come back no more)
You can’t mean that (don’t you come back no more)
Oh now baby please (don’t you come back no more)
What you tryin’ to do to me? (don’t you come back no more)
Oh, don’t treat me like that, baby (don’t you come back no more)

Music Challenge — Lean on Me

Music Challenge LargeFor his latest Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge prompt, Jim Adams gave us the Bill Withers song, “Just the Two of Us.” The instruction Jim gives for this prompt is to “focus on this song and use it” as inspiration for our own post. But he also says that we can “write about another Bill Withers” song or we can “write about tears, struggling to make a better life, good things coming to those who wait, or the beauty of it all.”

The other day I was driving to the grocery store to pick up a fairly large list of items and the Bill Withers song, “Lean on Me” came on the radio. Now I’m not what you would call an emotional guy. In fact, I would categorize myself as a more stoic type. But for some reason, as I was listening to Withers sing that song, I became overwhelmed with a profound sadness and started to cry. I had to pull over to the side of the road and wait until the song ended so that I could pull myself together enough to resume my drive to the grocery store.

I’m still not sure what came over me. Maybe it was a combination of things — the coronavirus pandemic, the turmoil the country is going through since the brutal murder by four Minneapolis policemen of George Floyd, or the fact that we have Donald Trump as POTUS and he’s destroying the country I live in and love. But when I heard the song, I felt hopeless, like I didn’t know if I could carry on, and that there’s no one left anymore to lean on.

I’m okay now. I’m back to being my stoic, detached, unemotional self. But seeing Jim’s post this morning reminded me of my uncharacteristic reaction to “Lean on Me” and I decided to share it with all of you in this post.