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 …

My Question and My Answer

FPQI rarely post an answer my own weekly Provocative Question prompt. I’m more interested in reading what you guys think than in posting my thoughts on the subject. But then I read Karyn’s response to today’s provocative question and I decided to give a brief, but heartfelt and somewhat depressing response to the question, “What is something you’ve long believed to be true, but you now realize is not true?”

I was taught in school and I’ve always believed that the United States is a representative democratic republic and that the U.S. government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. But now, in the age of Donald Trump and Trumpism, I realize that my long-held belief about what America is supposed to be is no longer true.

Weekly Song Challenge — Red, White, and Blue

054C35C1-F2B2-4D2B-B1F0-C81F813A7661For this week’s Weekly Song Challenge, Laura has asked us to post videos reflective of Veterans Day in the United States.

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 a song that is about your country.

2. Post a song that is patriotic.

3. Post a song that has the color — red, white, or blue — in either the title or lyrics.

Okay, now it’s 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.

God Help America!

2507021E-A074-4446-9AB3-8669A896A4D4“So have you decided who you’re going to vote for in the 2020 election next year?” Dave asked his coworker.

“Yeah, I’m going to vote for Trump,” Steve said. “The value of my 401(k) has jumped by almost half a million since the 2016 election. How could I not vote for him? What about you?”

“First of all, that’s a very self-serving reason to vote for Trump. Second of all, let me assure you that wild horses couldn’t make me vote for that moron,” Dave said. “There are some good candidates on the Democratic side who would be so much better than he is.”

Steve let out a robust laugh. “That’s wishful thinking, bud,” he said. “The Dems can’t get out of their own way. They’re coming across as weak, disorganized, and divided. You’d think with all the shit Trump has pulled, impeachment would be a no-brainer, but they can’t even agree to do that.”

“Okay, I have to concur with you on that,” Dave admitted. “But Trump is destroying our environment, spending billions on the stupid vanity wall of his, treating people inhumanely at the southern border, is in bed with foreign autocrats, and is breaking all kinds of laws. Even the worst Democrat would be better than he is.”

“But the stock market is going gangbusters,” Steve said. “Listen, you might as well bite the bullet, pal, and get used to the Trump name. He’s going to win in 2020 and he’s got a nest full of kids to keep the dynasty going, starting with Ivanka, who is being groomed to be America’s first female president.”

Dave shook his head. “God help the United States of America,” he sighed.


Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (election), Ragtag Daily Prompt (horses), Your Daily Word Prompt (laugh), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (wishful), Word of the Day Challenge (concur), and Daily Addictions (nest).