Song Lyric Sunday — Baby Please Don’t Go

Jim Adams has given us the words “come,” “go,” “leave,” and “stay” for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme. My choice for this week is “If You Leave Me Now” from the group Chicago.

“If You Leave Me Now” was written and sung by Chicago bass player Peter Cetera. It was released as a single on July 31, 1976 from Chicago’s album Chicago X. It topped the U.S. charts on October 23, 1976, and stayed there for two weeks, making it the first number one hit for the group.

Lyrically, this is a surprisingly simple song, where the singer is making his case for why his girl shouldn’t leave him. Cetera specialized in ballads, adding variety to the band’s sound, which typically featured many more rock-oriented songs. The popularity of this song, along with other romantic ballads from Cetera, enabled the group to find a new audience, and it became much more successful.

But the band got tagged as a soft rock group, which took the focus away from the grittier, horn-heavy songs that had been its early calling card. This musical and stylistic shift became a point of contention for Chicago’s famed horn section, leading to constant battles to get the horns higher in the mix. This rift ultimately led to Cetera leave the group in 1985, when he embarked on a solo career.

Here are the lyrics to “If You Leave Me Now.”

If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me
Ooohh no
Baby please don’t go
And if you leave me now, you’ll take away the very heart of me
Ooohh no
Baby please don’t go
Ooohh girl
I just want you to stay

A love like ours is love that’s hard to find
How could we let it slip away
We’ve come too far to leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way
When tomorrow comes and we’ll both regret
The things we said today

A love like ours is love that’s hard to find
How could we let it slip away
We’ve come too far to leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way
When tomorrow comes and we’ll both regret
The things we said today

If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me
Ooohh no
Baby please don’t go
Ooohh girl
I just got to have you by my side
Ooohh no
Baby please don’t go
Ooohh mama
I just got to have your loving here

Song Lyric Sunday — She

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams focused his attention on personal pronouns: I, me, them, us, you, and we. After long consideration, I ended up choosing “She’s Leaving Home” by the Beatles.

“She’s Leaving Home” was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and was released on their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. McCartney wrote and sang the verse and John Lennon wrote the chorus, which they sang together.

The song, according to McCartney, was based on a newspaper story he read about a girl who was 17 years old and had run away from home, leaving everything behind. Her father was quoted as saying, “I cannot imagine why she should run away, she has everything here.”

McCartney said that there were a lot of stories like this at the time and that was enough to give him the storyline. “So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and the parents wake up, it was rather poignant,” he said. “When I showed it to John, he added the Greek chorus and long sustained notes. One of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly.”

Interestingly, no member of the Beatles played instruments on this. John and Paul contributed vocals, which were double-tracked to sound like a quartet, and session musicians played strings. The first female to play on a Beatles album, Sheila Bromberg, played harp.

I wasn’t a parent when I first heard this song in my late teens, and I could understand the girl’s desire to get out of her parents’ home, where she felt somewhat estranged (“She’s leaving home, after living alone, for so many years”). But after becoming a parent and watching my own children grow up and go out on their own, I could understand the melancholy the girl’s parents felt. Fortunately, our kids never snuck out and ran away from home like the girl in the song. But these days, I do find this song to be heartbreaking whenever I listen to it.

Here are the song’s lyrics.

Wednesday morning at five o’clock
As the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more

She goes downstairs to the kitchen
Clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside, she is free

She (we gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (we gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home, after living alone, for so many years (bye bye)

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that’s lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband
“Daddy, our baby’s gone.
“Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
How could she do this to me?”

She (we never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (never a thought for ourselves)
Home (we struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home, after living alone, for so many years

Friday morning, at nine o’clock
She is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from the Motortrade

She (what did we do that was wrong)
Is Having (we didn’t know it was wrong)
Fun (fun is the one thing that money can’t buy)

Something inside, that was always denied, for so many years
She’s leaving home, bye, bye

Song Lyric Sunday — Terms of Endearment

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams asked us to pick a song about pet names we use as terms of endearment for that special someone in our life. I was thinking about going with Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back,” but then I noticed that Jim asked us to focus on more endearing terms, like “babe,” “cutie,” “doll,” “honey,” and “sweetie.” And so, for the third time in five weeks, I’m going with a Van Morrison song, “Tupelo Honey.”

“Tupelo Honey” was written by Van Morrison and was the title song from his 1971 album, Tupelo Honey. The song was released as a single in 1972, and it reached number 47 on the U.S. pop chart. Tupelo honey, for your information, is honey made from the sweet flowers of the tupelo tree, which grows abundantly in swampy areas of the southeastern United States.

“Tupelo Honey” was written as an homage to the domestic happiness Morrison had found once he’d married his wife Janet. They’d met during his time with Them, an Irish R&B band. She was also his muse for several of Morrison’s earlier songs, including “Crazy Love,” a song I featured in my December 29, 2019 Song Lyric Sunday post. In fact, the song’s melody, which has a catchy, soulful, and almost mystical feel to it, was borrowed from Morrison’s song “Crazy Love,” released the previous year.

Here are the lyrics to “Tupelo Honey.”

You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around all the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t keep us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor bent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey, baby, from the bee

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t stop us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey, baby, from the bee

You know she’s alright, oh she’s alright with me
You know, you know, you know she’s alright, she alright with me
You know, you know, you know you know
You know she’s alright, alright with me
She’s alright, she’s alright
She’s alright with me
She’s alright
She’s alright with me
She’s alright
She’s alright with me

She’s al, she’s alright, she’s alright
She’s alright with me
She’s alright, she’s alright, she’s alright, she’s alright

You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail it right around all these seven oceans
Drop it smack dab in the middle of the deep blue sea
Because, she’s as sweet as Tupelo honey, yes she is
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey, baby, from the bee

She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like the honey, from the bee
She’s alright, she’s alright with me
She’s my baby, you know she’s alright
She’s my baby, she’s my baby, she’s alright
She’s my baby

Song Lyric Sunday — It Takes Two

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams asked us to come up with songs by duets, songs where two performers sing in unison and have equal importance to the piece. The song I chose for this prompt is a duet performed by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, “It Takes Two.”

“It Takes Two” was written by longtime Marvin Gaye collaborator William “Mickey” Stevenson, and Sylvia Moy. The song was centered on a romantic lyric that depicted many things in life (dreams, love, wishes, etc.) being better with two people instead of one. It was produced by Stevenson, Kim Weston’s husband, and was released in December 1966 from the album Take Two. The song peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Pop charts and number 4 on Billboard’s Soul Singles chart in January 1967. “It Takes Two” was also Gaye’s first major hit in the UK, where it peaked at number 16 on the British singles charts in the spring of that same year.

Shortly after the album Take Two was released in August 1966, but before the single “It Takes Two” was released the following December, Kim Weston left Motown in a dispute over royalties. Weston’s replacement as Gaye’s duet partner was Tammi Terrell, who recorded several successful hit singles with Gaye during the late 1960s.

There have been several covers of the song, the most notable being this one from Rod Stewart and Tina Turner in 1990.

Here are the lyrics to “It Takes Two.”

One can have a dream, baby
Two can make a dream so real
One can talk about being in love
Two can see how it really feels

One can wish upon a star
Two can make a wish come true, yeah
One can stand alone in the dark
Two can make a light shine through

It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby,
Me and you
You know it takes two

It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby
Make a dream come true
It just takes two

One can have a broken heart
Living in misery
Two can really ease the pain
Like a perfect remedy
One can be alone in a bar,
Like an island he’s all alone
Two can make just any place
Seem just like bein’ at home

It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby
Me and you
It just takes two
It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby,
To make a dream come true
It just take two

Just takes two
Just takes two

One can go out to a movie
Looking for a special treat
Two can make that single movie
Something really kind of sweet
And one can take a walk in the moonlight
Thinking that’s it’s really nice
But two lovers walking hand in hand
Is like adding just a pinch of spice

It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby
Me and you
Just takes two
It takes two, baby
It takes two, baby
To make a dream come true

Song Lyric Sunday — Tom, Dick, and Harry

Jim Adams asked us to look for songs “that are written or sung by someone named Tom, Dick, or Harry or a song that includes one of these names in the lyrics” for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. So how could I possibly pass up thinking about my favorite folk rock duo, Tommy and Dickie Smothers, aka “The Smothers Brothers”?

The Smothers Brothers are American folk singers, musicians, and comedians. Tommy played acoustic guitar and Dick played the string bass. Their shtick when singing usually led to comedic arguments between the siblings. Tommy’s signature line was, “Mom always liked you best!” Tommy (the elder of the two) acted “slow,” while Dick, the straight man, acted “superior.”

According to Wikipedia, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the brothers frequently appeared on television variety shows and issued several popular record albums of their stage performances. Their own television variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, became one of the most controversial American TV programs of the Vietnam War era. Despite popular success, the brothers’ penchant for material that was critical of the political mainstream and sympathetic to the emerging counterculture led to their firing by the CBS network in 1969. Naturally, I was a big Smothers Brothers fan.

The Smothers Brothers song I chose to feature in this post is their rather unique rendition of “They Call the Wind Mariah,” which is an American popular song with lyrics written by Alan J. Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe for their 1951 Broadway musical, Paint Your Wagon. The song is a beautiful ballad of lonely prospectors hungering for their women in the California gold rush days.

I hope you enjoy the Smothers Brothers cover of the song.

Here are the lyrics to the song.

Mariah Mariah They call the wind Mariah
Way out here they got a name for rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess , the fire’s Joe, and they call the wind Mariah
Mariah blows the stars around, sends the clouds a’flyin?
Mariah makes the mountain sound, like folks were up there dyin’
Mar-i-ah, MARIAH !, they call the wind Mar-i-ah
Before I knew Mariah’s name and heard her wail and whining
I had a girl and she had me and the sun was always shining
But then one day I left my girl
I left her far behind me, and now I’m lost so god darn lost
not even God can find me
Mar-i-ah, MARIAH !, they call the wind Mar-i-ah
Out here they got a name for rain wind and fire only
But When you’re lost and all alone there ain’t no word but lonely
I’m a lost and lonely man without a star to guide me
Mariah, blow my love to me, I need my girl beside me
Mar-i-ah, Mariah,
They call the wind Mar-i-ah.
Mariah, Mariah blow my love to me