Song Lyric Sunday — Dock of the Bay

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us “lean,” “sit,” and “stand.” My first inclination was to go with “Lean On Me,” from Bill Withers. And then I thought about “Stand By Me” from Ben E. King. But ultimately I decided on “(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay” from Otis Redding.

The song was co-written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper. Redding ended up sitting on a dock on the San Francisco Bay thanks to Bill Graham, who ran the Fillmore West Auditorium. Redding played three shows there in December 1966 and Graham gave Redding a choice: he could stay at a hotel, or at a boathouse in nearby Sausalito. Redding liked the outdoors, so he chose the boathouse. He started writing the lyrics to the song while sitting on that rented houseboat in Sausalito, and completed the lyrics with the help of Cropper, the guitarist for Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967, a month before this song was released (January 8, 1968) and three days after he recorded it. After Redding’s death, Cropper mixed “Dock of the Bay” at Stax Studios. He added the sound of seagulls and waves crashing to the background, as Redding had requested, recalling the sounds he heard when he was staying on the houseboat.

The end of the song contains perhaps the most famous whistling in music history. It wasn’t planned, but when Redding started whistling at the end of the song, Cropper and Stax engineer Ronnie Capone heard it and knew it had to stay. Cropper said in an article, “Hey man, that’s great, leave that in there. It sure is a cool melody to go out with.”

“(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay” was released on Stax Records’ Volt label in 1968, becoming the first posthumous single to top the charts in the US.

Here are the lyrics to the song.

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the Frisco Bay
‘Cause I’ve had nothin’ to live for
It look like nothin’s gonna come my way
So I’m just gon’ sitt on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Look like nothing’s gonna change
Everything, still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same, yes

Sittin’ here restin’ my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone, listen
Two thousand miles, I roam
Just to make this dock my home
Now I’m just gon’ sit, at the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh yeah
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Walk Away Renee

At first I wasn’t going to respond to Jim Adam’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge this week. Jim gave us the song “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles and tasked us “to focus on this song and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression…that you can share with the writing community.

But Jim is my blogging buddy, and I wanted to show my support. So rather than focusing on walking like an Egyptian, I decided to focus on the word “walk” and to come up with a song using that word that I liked. And I settled on the song “Walk Away Renee,” written by Bob Calilli, Mike Brown, and Tony Sansone, and recorded by the group, The Left Banke.

And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day

Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame

From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide

Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries

Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries

Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small

Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame

As a bonus, here’s the “walk this way” scene from my favorite movie, “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.”

Song Lyric Sunday — Nowhere Man

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us “drifter, loner, transient, and vagabond” as the theme. I was originally going to go with Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man,” but I’ve already included this song in two previous posts, here and here. So instead, I’m going with “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles.

“Nowhere Man” was released in December 1965 on the Beatles album Rubber Soul, except in the United States and Canada, where it was first issued as a single A-side in February 1966 before appearing on the album Yesterday and Today. In the US, the single peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Lennon, who wrote the song (although it was credited to Lennon/McCartney), came up with it after struggling to write a song for the album. Lennon said, “I thought of myself sitting there, doing nothing and getting nowhere. I remember I was just going through this paranoia trying to write something and nothing would come out so I just lay down and tried to not write and then this came out, the whole thing came out in one gulp.”

“Nowhere Man” was one of the first Beatles songs to be entirely unrelated to romance or love and reflects a philosophical look inward that was primarily driven by Lennon.

Here are the lyrics to “Nowhere Man”.

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man, please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

Nowhere Man, don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man, please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

He’s a real Nowhere Man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Weekly Song Challenge — Eclectic

E0991E6D-778C-4B4C-93B3-ACA5BAFA8848For this week’s Weekly Song Challenge, Laura has asked us to post videos of an instrumental song, a song with a woman’s name, and one with a violin or cello solo. An eclectic mix, no?

Her rules are:

  • Copy the rules and add them to our own post, pinging back to Laura’s post.
  • Post music videos for our answers to the musical questions.
  • Tag two people anyone who wants to participate!

So here goes.

1. Post an instrumental you adore.

2. Post a popular ballad that contains a woman’s name in the title.

I think this qualifies as a ballad. Maybe?

3. Post a rock music video that has a violin or cello solo.

Okay, your turn.

Song Lyric Sunday

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us Bus/Truck/Lorry. And the song I chose for this theme is “America” by Simon & Garfunkel, where the singer and his girlfriend boarded a Greyhound (bus) in search for America.

“America,” written by Paul Simon, was released on the duo’s fourth studio album, Bookends, in 1968. It was later released as a single in 1972 to promote the release of Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.

The song is about young lovers hitchhiking their way across the United States, in search of “America,” in both a literal and figurative sense. It was inspired by a five-day road trip Simon took in September 1964 with his then girlfriend Kathy Chitty. They were coming back to America from England, and Paul was deeply confused and unsatisfied, but he didn’t understand why he felt that way. His lyrics include the line, “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.” He just knew that something was missing.

Interestingly, there are no rhymes in this song. The entire song is prose. There’s not one line that rhymes, which is unusual for a pop song.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Let us be lovers,
We’ll marry our fortunes together.
I’ve got some real estate
Here in my bag.

So we bought a pack of cigarettes,
And Mrs. Wagner’s pies,
And walked off
To look for America.
“Kathy”, I said,
As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh,
Michigan seems like a dream to me now.

It took me four days
To hitch-hike from Saginaw.
“I’ve come to look for America.”

Laughing on the bus,
Playing games with the faces,
She said the man in the gabardine suit
Was a spy.

I said, “Be careful,
His bow tie is really a camera.”
“Toss me a cigarette,
I think there’s one in my raincoat.”
We smoked the last one
An hour ago.

So I looked at the scenery,
She read her magazine;
And the moon rose over an open field.
“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said,
Though I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and
I don’t know why.”

Counting the cars
On the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come
To look for America,
All come to look for America,
All come to look for America.