Jim Adams, the host of Song Lyric Sunday, has deferred to Angie, from The blog King Ben’s Grandma for this week’s prompts. She has suggested ’Illness, Injury or Scars’. An interesting subject. I came across a song by Avril Lavigne called ”Head above Water”. It was about her struggle with Lyme Disease.
Avril Lavigne’s album “Head Above Water” includes several songs (including the title track) that shine a light on her journey with Lyme disease. The singer explained on her blog she wrote and recorded songs from her bed and couch while she was ill. “Words and lyrics that were so true to my experience came pouring out of me effortlessly,” she wrote. “By keeping my spirits up, having goals to reach and a purpose to live for, my music helped to heal me and keep me alive.” She added:
[‘Head Above Water’] is also the first song I wrote from my bed during one of the scariest moments of my life. I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current. Unable to breathe. Praying to God for Him to help me just keep my head above the water. To help me see through the stormy weather.
“Head above Water” is the first single from Avril Lavigne’s sixth studio album, and the first new music she’d released since 2015’s “Fly.” She hadn’t released a studio album since her self-titled effort in 2013.Lavigne wrote a letter to fans explaining that “Head above Water” is about her battle with Lyme disease, which can cause fatigue and joint pain, and is potentially fatal. She had faded from the public spotlight for a while because she was fighting off the disease. In bed and on the couch, she turned to writing music to get her through the situation.”Those were the worst years of my life as I went through both physical and emotional battles,” the singer wrote. “I was able to turn that fight into music I’m really proud of.”
“Head Above Water,” according to Lavigne’s letter, was the first song she wrote from her bed while battling her sickness. She felt like she was drowning in a river and found herself praying to God to help her. That’s what she’s talking about when she sings:
God, keep my head above water
Don’t let me drown, it gets harder
I’ll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knee, don’t let me drown“
One night I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die,” Lavigne told ABC News. “My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the songwriting of this album began.”After coming up with the lyrics, Lavigne met a “beautiful soul” named Travis Clark (from the band We The Kings), who helped her form the rest of the song. The pair took the song to Stephen Moccio to finalize the music.In the same letter addressed to her fans about the song, Lavigne announced that she was funding efforts to help fight Lyme Disease and to assist those already suffering from it.
The video was shot in Iceland and filmed by director Elliott Lester, whose other credits include the movies Blitzand Aftermath. The visual sees an ethereal looking Lavigne, wearing a flowing white gown, roaming on her own across mossy cliffs and a serene black sand beach.
Avril Lavigne’s former husband, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, offered up sessions for the Head Above Water album at his recording studio, and lent his vocals to the title track. “He was a really great soundboard,” Lavigne told USA Today. “I would call him and send him songs to get his opinion, and if I was ever stuck on something, he’d help me out, which is super cool.”
Avril Lavigne wrote “Head Above Water” with We the Kings vocalist Travis Clark. She started the song on her own when she was still battling Lyme disease. One night when she was starting to feel better, the Canadian had a party at her house. Clark had somehow scrounged an invite, even though she had never met him before.”I found him on my piano and I just thought he was so unbelievably talented, and I asked him to finish the song with me,” Lavigne recalled. “We worked so hard on this track and were able to take my story and put it out in the world.”
Courtesy of Songfacts
I've gotta keep the calm before the storm I don't want less, I don't want more Must bar the windows and the doors To keep me safe, to keep me warm Yeah, my life is what I'm fighting for Can't part the sea, can't reach the shore And my voice becomes the driving force I won't let this pull me overboard God, keep my head above water Don't let me drown, it gets harder I'll meet you there at the altar As I fall down to my knees Don't let me drown, drown, drown Don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown So pull me up from down below 'Cause I'm underneath the undertow Come dry me off and hold me close I need you now, I need you most God, keep my head above water Don't let me drown, it gets harder I'll meet you there at the altar As I fall down to my knees Don't let me drown, drown, drown Don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown Don't let me drown, drown, drown Keep my head above water, above water And I can't see in the stormy weather I can't seem to keep it all together And I, I can't swim the ocean like this forever And I can't breathe God, keep my head above water I lose my breath at the bottom Come rescue me, I'll be waiting I'm too young to fall asleep God, keep my head above water Don't let me drown, it gets harder I'll meet you there at the altar As I fall down to my knees Don't let me drown Don't let me drown (don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown) Don't let me drown (don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown) Keep my head above water, above water Writer/s: Avril Ramona Lavigne, Stephan Moccio, Travis Clark Publisher: A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING, BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
Great post and an inspirational song.
Thanks so much. I too found a story behind my song ☺️
Wow, I had no idea she was suffering from this! Poor girl…
Thanks Paula. It was news to me too. 😢
A very inspiring song to keep fighting and hanging on to life. The world needs more music like this, great choice Christine.
Thanks Jim. It’s amazing what you discover when you go looking for it.