Welcome to another Song Lyric Sunday where we are challenged to find songs using he given prompt words. This week, blogger Lady A, has provided the prompts of ‘Devoted, Faithful, Honorable, Loyal and True’
I knew immediately that I wanted to pick “Faithfully” by Journey, released in 1983. It will likely be a popular choice today so I’m also including “True” by Spandau Ballet also released in 1983. I love both of these songs and I hope you enjoy them.
The lyrics for this song were inspired by a crush Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp had on Altered Images singer and Gregory’s Girl star Clare Grogan: “I was infatuated with Clare Grogan,” he told The Guardian. “I met her on Top of the Pops and, at one point, travelled up to Scotland to have tea with her and her mum and dad. Although my feelings were unrequited and the relationship was platonic, it was enough to trigger a song,”
Some phrases in the lyrics were adapted from the novel Lolita, a copy of which Clare Grogan had given Gary Kemp. “The lyrics are full of coded messages to Clare,” Kemp told The Guardian. “I’m still berated for the line ‘Take your seaside arms’ but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which she had given me as a present – although in the book, it’s ‘seaside limbs. The line ‘With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue’ is also a bastardisation of Nabokov.”
One of the song’s producers, Tony Swain, recalls in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, “We made the True album in the Bahamas and I am sure that a lot of that place got into the album. True was not a complicated song but it has really got something. There is something timeless about it: it has had over 2 million radio plays in America and it has been used in the wedding scenes for lots of films. It’s very nice to have made a record that has lasted that long and I still feel good about it.”
This was a huge worldwide hit, going to #1 in 21 countries.
The video for this song helped its chart fortunes considerably. Directed by Russell Mulcahy, it got lots of airtime on MTV, which was just two years old at the time.
There was plenty of production value, but no real storyline in the video, which was intentional. Gary Kemp explained: “I didn’t want to dictate what ‘True’ should be like. I’m sure when people hear that record they’ve got their own idea of what it means and what it looks like. So we just performed it, and lit it well – shooting light through water and broken glass – and it worked.”
Gary Kemp wrote of the song on his website: “I wanted to write a soul song a la Al Green or Marvin Gaye. I still remember sitting on my bed at my parents’ house writing it on guitar and calling Martin (his brother and Spandau Ballet bass player) in to listen to it. It became a song about trying to write a love song to someone who didn’t know your true thoughts, but how difficult it is to spell out your feelings without seeming too foolish.”
“We never realized the full potential of this song until we started to record it at Compass Point. On the ECD’s home movie footage of Nassau you can see the moment where we’re playing back the song, half finished, in the studio, and everybody, including the roadies, are singing along to it. It was at that moment that I knew we had something special.”
The saxophone solo was by the band’s Steve Norman. He told The Guardian: “The solo is actually a composite of two takes. I’d only been playing a year and was listening to Grover Washington Jr’s ‘Just The Two Of Us’ with Bill Withers, over and over. The solo is a reply to that: at the key change things just lift off, giving the song a moment of elation.”
(Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) So true Funny how it seems Always in time, but never in line for dreams Head over heels, went toe to toe This is the sound of my soul This is the sound I bought a ticket to the world But now I've come back again Why do I find it hard to write the next line? I want the truth to be said (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) I know this much is true (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) I know this much is true With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue Dissolve the nerves that have just begun Listening to Marvin all night long This is the sound of my soul This is the sound Always slipping from my hands Sand's a time of its own Take your seaside arms and write the next line I want the truth to be known (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) I know this much is true (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) Ooh, I know this much is true I know this much is true I bought a ticket to the world But now I've come back again Why do I find it hard to write the next line? I want the truth to be I want the truth to be said (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) I know this much is true (Ha-ha-ha, ha-ah-hi) I know this much is true I know this much is true This much is a true This much is true-ooh This much is true-ooh-ooh This much is true-ooh This much is true-ooh-ooh There's a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue Dissolve the nerves that have just begun Listening to Marvin all night long This much is true-ooh This much is true-ooh-ooh This is the sound This much is true-ooh This much is true-ooh-ooh I bought a ticket to the world This much is true-ooh This much is true-ooh-ooh I bought a ticket to the world This much is true-ooh This much is true-ooh-ooh Writer/s: Gary James Kemp Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
Faithfully – The Song
Journey keyboard player Jonathan Cain wrote this song about the challenges of being a married man on the road in a rock band:
Always another show
Wondering where I am
Lost without you
At the time, he was married to his first wife, Tané, a singer who had a #37 hit in 1982 called “Holdin’ On,” which Jonathan co-wrote and produced. He and Tané divorced a few years later, despite him pledging in this song to be “forever yours… faithfully.”
In his Songfacts interview, Jonathan Cain said, “God gave me that song,” as he wrote it so quickly. “I started it on the bus heading to Saratoga Springs,” he said. “I woke up the next day with a napkin on the side of my nightstand and I looked at the lyrics, ‘Highway run into the midnight sun.’ Then I got this supernatural download: This is the rest of the song.
I wrote rest of it down, almost frantically. I’d never had a song come to me so quickly that it was anointed, supernatural. Literally, in 30 minutes I had written that song. I had the napkin in my pocket and I put it on the piano. I had a big grand piano there by the orchestra. I played through it and I thought, ‘Man, this is good.’
The Lord gave me permission to finish it. Normally I would go to Steve Perry or somebody and say, ‘Help me finish this song.’ No. God gave me the mind to finish it, and the rest is history. That would be a love song to God, absolutely.”
According to the liner notes in Journey’s Time3 compilation, Cain paid tribute to Journey road manager Pat Morrow and stage manager Benny Collins in the line, “We all need the clowns to make us smile.”
“He told me he got the melody out of a dream,” said Neal Schon. “I wish something like that would happen to me.”
“Basically it’s a road song,” Cain said. “You know I’m being a good dog out here – don’t worry about it.”
Like “Rosanna” by Toto, this contains lyrics delivered by the lead singer but written by another member of the band, which led many fans to believe Steve Perry wrote the song about a particular girl.
Journey’s first music video was for this song. At the time, finding a director for a video wasn’t easy, especially in America, so the band’s manager, Herbie Herbert, hired the guys from NFL Films to shoot footage of the band on the road and onstage. So the same guys who filmed Walter Payton scoring touchdowns also filmed Steve Perry shaving his mustache.
Journey hated making videos, but couldn’t ignore the promotional impact of MTV. The network favored acts like Journey at the time because they were trying to position themselves with a rock format.
The song was performed by Lea Michele and Cory Monteith in the first season finale of Glee, along with several other Journey songs in the same episode. In the week after the transmission of the episode, download sales of the Glee version were sufficient to return the song to the Top 40 of the Hot 100.
When he was young, Jonathan Cain wanted to be a priest. He attended the Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago and survived the 1958 fire there that killed 95 people. He stepped away from his faith, and after going through turmoil with Journey and enduring two failed marriages, he had an epiphany on a road in Florida, where he found himself calling out to God.
He joined the New Destiny Christian Center in Orlando, Florida, and in 2015 married its pastor, Paula White. In 2016 he released his first album of worship music, What God Wants to Hear. Looking back on “Faithfully,” he saw it in a different light. “If you take ‘Oh girl’ and you put ‘Oh God’ in there, you’ve got a Christian song,” he told Songfacts.
Highway run Into the midnight sun Wheels go round and round You're on my mind Restless hearts Sleep alone tonight Sendin' all my love Along the wire They say that the road Ain't no place to start a family Right down the line It's been you and me And lovin' a music man Ain't always what it's supposed to be Oh girl you stand by me I'm forever yours, faithfully Circus life Under the big top world We all need the clowns To make us smile Through space and time Always another show Wondering where I am Lost without you And being apart ain't easy on this love affair Two strangers learn to fall in love again I get the joy Of rediscovering you Oh girl, you stand by me I'm forever yours, faithfully Oh, oh, oh, oh Faithfully, I'm still yours I'm forever yours Ever yours, faithfully Written by Jonathan Cain
Courtesy of Songfacts