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 …

One-Liner Wednesday — Changing the Past

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“While the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it seems, it would be easier sometimes to change the past”

Jackson Browne, American singer and songwriter

I’m quoting a lyric form the 1974 song, “Fountain of Sorrow” by Jackson Browne. I’ve always loved this song, even though it’s a bit melancholy. And this line, in particular, resonates with me. You can take actions that could change your future, but you can never do anything to alter your past, right? But in this song, Browne laments that he has little hope for being able to change the future, saying that “it might be easier to change the past.”

In case you’ve never heard this song, here it is.


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday Prompt.

MLMM Music Challenge — Unfulfilled

Music Challenge LargeFor his Music Challenge this week, Jim Adams has given us the Pat Benatar song, “Promises in the Dark.” Jim asks us to use that song as inspiration for our own post.

What came to mind for me was a song by Jackson Browne. While looking at some old photographs of his wife (or girlfriend?) he came across one of her. What he saw was unexpected. He noticed that, at the instant he took her picture, there was a trace of sorrow in her eyes.

In his song, Browne realizes that what he was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all. For a while, their relationship had such promise to it, but then he notes that “when you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger, and your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool. So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger….” I mean, who hasn’t done that?

Then, in what to me is a profound observation that many couples feel when their relationship starts to unravel, Browne writes,

“Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past”

Jackson Browne’s “Fountain of Sorrow” is one of my favorite songs from that artist. It’s a rather melancholy song about the promise of love going unfulfilled. But I would venture to say that few people who have suffered from a love lost can’t relate to the theme of the song.

Here is the song.


Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge and for today’s WordPress Discover Prompt, “song.”

Weekly Song Challenge — Satire Theme

Musical notesFor this week’s Weekly Song Challenge, Laura has asked us to post videos of satirical songs, less popular songs from our favorite artists, and TV show or movie themes.

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 a satire of a hit song.

You can’t beat Weird Al for satires of hit songs. And, being a word nerd, this is one of my favorites.

2. Post a song that you love by an artist that was not one of their biggest hits.

I’m a big Jackson Browne fan, but this is one of his lesser known songs.

3. Post a song that was featured in a tv show or in a movie.

Do you remember the TV hospital drama St. Elsewhere from the 80s?

Okay, your turn.

Song Lyric Sunday — The Boulevard

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday  prompt, Jim Adams gave us the words Avenue, Boulevard, Drive, Lane, Road, and Street to use as our theme. I was originally going to use “Takin’ It to the Streets” by the Doobie Brothers, but then I remembered that I already used that song back in July of last year when Jim’s predecessor, Helen Vahdati gave us the word “street.” So instead I decided to go with “Boulevard” by Jackson Browne.

Written and performed by Jackson Browne from his 1980 album Hold Out, “Boulevard” peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in June 1980 and it spent 16 weeks on the chart, making it Browne’s fifth-biggest Top 40 hit.

In an interview, Browne said the song is about Hollywood Boulevard. He said, “I used to live right above Hollywood Boulevard, and there’s a place called The Gold Cup and there were a lot of runaway kids and a lot of teen prostitution around there. It was partly written from the point of view of a young person on that street, yet it’s not really immersed in that. You’re sort of empathizing with them to some degree, and also trying to say ‘it’s only time.’ It’s time on the boulevard, but this doesn’t mean this is who you are and where you’ll always be.”

Here are the song’s lyrics.

Down on the boulevard they take it hard
They look at life with such disregard
They say it can’t be won
The way the game is run
But if you choose to stay
You end up playing anyway
It’s okay…

The kid’s in shock up and down the block
The folks are home playing beat the clock
Down at the golden cup
They set the young ones up
Under the neon light
Selling day for night
It’s alright…

Nobody rides for free
Nobody gets it like they want it to be
Nobody hands you any guarantee
Nobody

The hearts are hard and the times are tough
Down on the boulevard the night’s enough
And time passes slow
Between the store front shadows and the street lights glow

Everybody walks right by like they’re safe or something
They don’t know…

Nobody knows you
Nobody owes you nothin
Nobody shows you what they’re thinking
Nobody baby

Hey, hey, baby
You got to watch the street, keep your feet
And be on guard
Make it pay baby
It’s only time on the boulevard