Category: Song Lyric Sunday

Song Lyric Sunday – Who’ll Stop the Rain

This week, the host of Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has prompted us with songs that mention Rain. I have chosen ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ by one of my all time favorite bands, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Enjoy it and have a great Sunday!

The Song

Group leader John Fogerty wrote this song. The song is often interpreted as a protest of the Vietnam War (like “Fortunate Son“), but when he performed it at the Arizona state fair in 2012, Fogerty told the crowd that he had been at Woodstock, watching the rain come down. He watched the festival goers dance in the rain, muddy, naked, cold, huddling together, and it just kept raining. So when he got back home after that weekend, he sat down and wrote “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” making it not a Vietnam protest at all, but a recounting of his Woodstock experience.

This was used in the 1978 motion picture of the same name starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran. The movie was going to be called Dog Soldiers, but when the producers got the rights to use this song, they changed the title to Who’ll Stop The Rain.

This was used in the 1978 motion picture of the same name starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran. The movie was going to be called Dog Soldiers, but when the producers got the rights to use this song, they changed the title to Who’ll Stop The Rain.

This was released as the B-side to “Travelin’ Band.” It’s one of the many CCR singles to stall at #2. Creedence Clearwater Revival never had a #1 hit in the US.

The line, “I went down Virginia, seekin’ shelter from the storm” gave Bob Dylan the idea for the title of his 1975 song “Shelter From The Storm.”

This is one of many rain-themed CCR songs, including “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

When interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, John Fogerty was asked, “Does ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ contain lyrically specific meanings besides the symbolic dimension?” His response: “Certainly, I was talking about Washington when I wrote the song, but I remember bringing the master version of the song home and playing it. My son Josh was four years old at the time, and after he heard it, he said, ‘Daddy stop the rain.’ And my wife and I looked at each other and said, ‘Well, not quite.'”

Bruce Springsteen opened with this song during his summer stadium tour of 2003 whenever it was raining

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

Long as I remember The rain been coming down.
Clouds of mystery pouring Confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, Trying to find the sun;
And I wonder, Still I wonder, Who'll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia, Seeking shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, Wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who'll stop the rain.

Heard the singers playing, How we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, Trying to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pouring, Falling on my ears.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who'll stop the rain.

Writer/s: JOHN C. FOGERTY
Publisher: CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Mr. Tambourine Man

Welcome to another Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by our friend Jim Adams. This prompt today is to find a song that mentions a musical instrument. I have chosen Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds. Nowadays a tambourine is rarely used in modern music and neither is a harmonica for that matter.

Enjoy this song from the 1960s and have a relaxed and peaceful Sunday.

The Song

Bob Dylan wrote “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which was originally released on his fifth album, Bringing It All Back Home, on March 22, 1965. His version wasn’t released as a single, but when The Byrds released their cover on April 12, 1965, it was a transatlantic hit, topping the charts in both the US (on June 26) and UK (on July 22). It’s the only song Dylan ever wrote that went to #1 in America (in the UK, Manfred Mann’s cover of “Quinn The Eskimo” also went to #1).

Dylan claims that despite popular belief, this song is not about drugs. In the liner notes to his 1985 compilation Biograph, he wrote: “Drugs never played a part in that song… ‘disappearing through the smoke rings in my mind,’ that’s not drugs; drugs were never that big a thing with me. I could take ’em or leave ’em, never hung me up.”

This was inspired by a folk guitarist named Bruce Langhorne. As Dylan explained: “Bruce was playing with me on a bunch of early records. On one session, [producer] Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine. And he had this gigantic tambourine. It was, like, really big. It was as big as a wagon wheel. He was playing and this vision of him playing just stuck in my mind.”

Dylan never told Langhorne about it (Bruce had to read about it in the Biograph album liner notes, like the rest of us). He wrote the song and recorded a version with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott that got to The Byrds (known as the Jet Set at the time) before it was ever put on a record. >>
Dylan wrote this on a road trip he took with some friends from New York to San Francisco. They smoked lots of marijuana along the way, replenishing their stash at post offices where they had mailed pot along the way. He started writing it after they got to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and partied there the night of February 11, 1964

.The Byrds version is based on Bob Dylan’s demo of the song that he recorded during sessions for his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan (Dylan’s version was not yet released when The Byrds recorded it). It was The Byrds’ manager, Jim Dickson, who brought in the demo and asked them to record it – the group refused at first because they thought it didn’t have any hit potential. When The Byrds did record it, they took some lyrics out and added a 12-string guitar lead.

“Kudos to Roger McGuinn for taking on ‘Tambourine Man,’ which didn’t knock us out when we first heard it,” Byrds bass player Chris Hillman said in a Songfacts interview. “Bob Dylan had written it in a very countrified groove, a straight 2/4 time signature, and Roger takes the song home and works with it, puts it in 4/4 time, so you could dance to it. Bob heard us do it and said, ‘Man, you could dance to this!’ It really knocked him over and he loved it.”

Only three of the five members of the Byrds performed on this song: Roger McGuinn sang lead and played lead guitar; Gene Clark and David Crosby did the vocal harmonies.

Session musicians were brought in to play the other instruments, since the band was just starting out and wasn’t deemed good enough yet by their management. The session musicians who played on this song were the Los Angeles members of what came to be known as “The Wrecking Crew” when drummer Hal Blaine used that term in his 1990 book. This group of about 50 players ended up on many hit songs of the era.

In addition to Blaine, studio pros who played on “Mr. Tambourine Man” were:

Bill Pitman – guitar
Jerry Cole – guitar
Larry Knechtel – bass
Leon Russell – piano

The Byrds who didn’t play on this one were bass player Chris Hillman and drummer Michael Clarke.
This was The Byrds’ first single. In a 1975 interview with Let It Rock, Roger McGuinn explained how the unrefined sound of this song came about. Said McGuinn: “To get that sound, that hit sound, that ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ sound, we just ran it through the electronics which were available to us at that time, which were mainly compression devices and tape delay, tape-sustain. That’s how we got it, by equalizing it properly and aiming at a specific frequency.

For stereo-buffs out there who noticed that ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ in stereo isn’t really stereo, by the way, that’s because when Terry Melcher, the producer, first started mixing records he didn’t know how to mix stereo, and so he made all the singles up to ‘Turn Turn Turn’ mono. The label is misrepresentative. See, when Columbia Records signed us, they didn’t know what they had. So they gave production to someone low on the totem-pole-which was Terry Melcher who was Doris Day’s son who was getting a token-job-in-the-mailroom sort of thing. They gave him the Byrds and the Byrds were supposed to flunk the test.”
“Mr. Tambourine Man” changed the face of rock music. It launched The Byrds, convinced Dylan to “go electric,” and started the folk-rock movement. David Crosby of The Byrds recalled the day Dylan heard them working on the song: “He came to hear us in the studio when we were building The Byrds. After the word got out that we gonna do ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and we were probably gonna be good, he came there and he heard us playing his song electric, and you could see the gears grinding in his head. It was plain as day. It was like watching a slow-motion lightning bolt.” (Quote from Bob Dylan: Performing Artist: The Early Years.)

This was the first of many Bob Dylan songs recorded by The Byrds. Others include: “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” and “Chimes of Freedom.”
The production style was based on The Beach Boys song “Don’t Worry Baby,” which was the suggestion of producer Terry Melcher. Bill Pitman, Leon Russell and Hal Blaine had all played on that Beach Boys song, so it wasn’t hard for them to re-create the sound on this track.

Roger McGuinn explained: “I was shooting for a vocal that was very calculated between John Lennon and Bob Dylan. I was trying to cut some middle ground between those two voices.”
This was the first influential folk-rock song. All of the characteristics of that genre are present, including chorus harmonies, a rock rhythm section and lots of thought-provoking lyrics.

Sure, anyone can strike up a hit with Bob Dylan as your songwriter and The Wrecking Crew as your band, but The Byrds quickly proved their mettle with songs they wrote (and played on) like “Eight Miles High” and “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star.” They entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
The Byrds recorded this under a one-single deal with Columbia Records that Miles Davis helped secure. Davis, who was signed to Columbia, knew a friend of the band’s manager, and as a favor called Columbia boss Goddard Lieberson to ask for the deal. Davis made that case that it was the kind of music young people were listening to.

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you

Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin'
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you

Though you might hear laughin', spinnin', swingin' madly across the sun
It's not aimed at anyone, it's just escapin' on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin'
And if you hear vague traces of skippin' reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it's just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn't pay it any mind
It's just a shadow you're seein' that he's chasing

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you

Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you

Writer/s: Bob Dylan 
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Strange Fruit

The prompt for today’s Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by Jim Adams, is for a song that mentions a fruit. I have chosen this jarring and unforgettable song by Billie Holiday called “Strange Fruit”. I remember the first time I ever heard it. The lyrics were like a dagger in the heart and I was so saddened and moved. I couldn’t get the imagery out of my head. If you are not familiar with the song and what it is about please read below.

What I find shocking today is that some states in this country are trying to whitewash this ugly part of its history and pretend it doesn’t matter, or it is of no significance any more. As much as you want to try America, you cannot ignore or change your history. Own it.


The Song

This was written by a white, Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from New York City named Abel Meeropol, who was outraged after seeing a photograph of a horrific lynching in a civil-rights magazine. The photo was a shot of two black men hanging from a tree after they had been lynched in Marion, Indiana on August 7, 1930. The two men are the “Strange Fruit.”

The original title was “Bitter Fruit,” and the song started as a poem Meeropol wrote. The poem was published in the January 1937 issue of a union publication called The New York Teacher. After putting music to it, the song was performed regularly at various left-wing gatherings. Meeropol’s wife and friends from the local teachers’ union would sing it, but it was also performed by a black vocalist named Laura Duncan, who once performed it at Madison Square Garden.

This was performed by a quartet of black singers during an antifascist fundraiser at a show put on by Robert Gordon, who was also working on the floor show at a club called Cafe Society. Billie Holiday had just quit Artie Shaw’s band and was the featured attraction at the club, and Gordon brought the song to her attention and suggested she sing it. Holiday played to an integrated audience at the Cafe Society, and her version popularized the song.

Meeropol made headlines when he adopted the orphan sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after their parents were executed for treason in 1953. He also wrote the lyrics to the song “The House I Live In,” which was recorded by Frank Sinatra, as well as “Beloved Comrade,” which was often sung in tributes to Franklin Roosevelt, and “Apples, Peaches, and Cherries,” which was recorded by Peggy Lee. Meeropol died in 1986.

In 1971, Meeropol said, “I wrote ‘Strange Fruit’ because I hate lynching, I hate injustice, and I hate the people who perpetuate it.”Victims of lynchings were people who were marginalized from society, and most were black men. They were lynched for a variety of reasons, often because they did something to upset a prominent member of the community, who would then organize a mob to track down and kill the victim. Many times, the victims broke no laws but were lynched out of jealousy, hatred or religious difference. In America, lynchings were more common in the South, but could happen anywhere.In a lynching, people could be hanged, burned, dragged behind cars and killed in a number of different ways. Most lynchings were carried out by small, clandestine groups, but some were public spectacles. The one that inspired this song was in front of about 5,000 people in Marion, Indiana. Extra excursion cars were set up on trains so people could come to watch.

In her autobiography, Holiday claimed she wrote this, which was not true. Toward the end of her life, she had a lot of drug problems and made some unreliable statements.

Meeropol often had other people put his poems to music, but with this he did it himself.

Columbia Records, Holiday’s label, refused to release this. She had to release it on Commodore Records, a much smaller label.

This was always the last song Holiday played at her concerts. It signaled that the show was over. (Thanks to Gode Davis, director of the film American Lynching for his help with these Songfacts. You can learn more about this song in David Margolick’s book Strange Fruit.)

In 1999, Time magazine voted this the Song of the Century. When the song first came out it was denounced by the same magazine as “A piece of musical propaganda.”

Nona Hendryx would often perform this song, adding in parts of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Hendryx told us: “It’s a cathartic performance for me to do that song. It’s like healing, and healing’s what happens. And hopefully it can reach the ears and the minds and the hearts of people who are still feeling any bigotry, hatred, racism, to understand that this was a painful time in our history, in our past and in America. And that we need to move on from there.”

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

Writer/s: Lewis Allen 
Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., MUSIC SALES CORPORATION
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – I Just Died In Your Arms

Another week rolls around and the prompts for today’s Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by our friend Jim Adams, are Death, Destruction, Pestilence and Famine. Hmmm, I wondered if Jim was having a bad week. Anyway I looked on the bright side of the prompts and chose a somewhat romantic song about trying to reconnect with someone. “I Just Died In Your Arms” by Cutting Crew. I like it and hope you do too.

Enjoy your Sunday!

The Song

This was written by Cutting Crew lead singer Nick Van Eede, who told Songfacts it was inspired by a real relationship. Says Nick: “Yes, I cannot tell a lie. It’s a song written about my girlfriend (who is actually the mother of my daughter). We got back together for one night after a year apart and I guess there were some fireworks but all the time tinged with a feeling of ‘should I really be doing this?’ Hence the lyric, ‘I should have walked away.’

I know it sounds corny but I awoke that morning and wrote the basic lyrics within an hour and wrote and recorded the demo completely within three days.”

Richard Branson started Virgin Records in England in 1972, but it wasn’t until 1987 and the release of Cutting Crew’s Broadcast album that Virgin broke through in America. Nick Van Eede told us about his experience with the record company: “We were signed to Siren records which was part of Virgin so we were always a little bit on the outside but it was the ’80s and they certainly put their money where their mouth was. We were flown to New York for the initial recordings of the album and this is where we got a great recording of ‘I’ve Been In Love Before.’ Then we were flown to Australia to shoot videos… all a bit crazy really. We gave them their first US #1 with ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms’ but the company soon outgrew us as music stars were changing in the early ’90s. We wrote one slightly veiled song having a pop at US A&R antics in our ‘Between A Rock And A Hard Place’ from The Scattering (1989) album. I sang, ‘I got a brick but I can’t find a window,’ as they continually blocked our album’s release for months making us lose so much momentum.”

Mika used a great deal of this song on his 2007 track “Relax (Take It Easy).” Says Nick: “I know as well as any other song writer that these things can happen and its just the way of the composing world. I am completely confident Mika stumbled in to it accidentally and I am proud to be given the co write… Kerching!!!”

This song has been sampled or interpolated by a number of rap and R&B artists. Jay-Z did a remake of the song, and Amerie used it on her track “I Just Died.”

This was used in the Stranger Things episode “Suzie, Do You Copy?” (2019) and the Cold Case episode “Lonely Hearts” (2006). It also appears in these movies:

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
Hot Rod (2007)
Never Been Kissed (1999)

In a 2020 Planters commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in 2020, Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes are riding the Peanutmobile, singing along as this song plays on the radio. Mr. Peanut is driving. When he swerves to avoid an armadillo, the vehicle goes off a cliff and the three are left hanging by a tree. To save the others, Mr. Peanut plunges to a fiery death. His elegy reads: “Mr. Peanut. 1916-2020.”

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must have been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight

I keep looking for something I can't get
Broken hearts lie all around me
And I don't see an easy way to get out of this
Her diary, it sits by the bedside table
The curtains are closed, the cats in the cradle
Who would've thought that a boy like me could come to this

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away

Is there any just cause for feeling like this?
On the surface, I'm a name on a list
I try to be discreet, but then blow it again
I've lost and found, it's my final mistake
She's loving by proxy, no give and all take
'Cause I've been thrilled to fantasy one too many times

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away
It was a long hot night
She made it easy, she made it feel right
But now it's over the moment has gone
I followed my hands not my head, I know I was wrong

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away

Writer/s: Nicholas Eede 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Automatic

I didn’t think too hard about this week’s prompts for Song Lyric Sunday. Our host Jim Adams said ‘it might be challenging to find something to fit”. He suggested we just go with anything if we’re stuck. So after reading the prompts, Automated, Mechanical, Modern and Robotic, suggested by Melanie B Cee of Sparks From A Combustible Mind, I just went with the first thing the came into my head. “Automatic” by The Pointer Sisters. Close enough, right? 

The Song

“Automatic” is a song recorded by American vocal group The Pointer Sisters for their tenth studio album Break Out (1983). The song was released by the Planet label on January 13, 1984 as the second single from the album

Written by Brock Walsh and Mark Goldenberg, this song is an amusing take on the way technology was becoming an increasingly dominant part of music in the 1980s. The singer is no more than a controlled automaton in the hands of her lover.

The eldest Pointer Sister Ruth sang lead on this song. Her deep vocals played a prominent part in the success of this track.

It won the 1984 Grammy Award for Best Arrangement for Two or More Voices.

“Automatic” reached position number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became one of their signature songs. Eventually, three other singles from Break Out reached the top-ten on the Hot 100 consecutively. Billboard named the song number 94 on their list of “100 Greatest Girl Group Songs Of All Time”.[1]

“Automatic” was the group’s first Top 40 hit to feature Ruth Pointer’s distinctive contralto on lead.

According to Ruth Pointer, “Automatic” was the final song chosen for Breakout: “We were taking a break from recording in the office of Jim Tract, who was Richard Perry’s right-hand man, and Jim mentioned that he had a stash of tapes we might want to listen to [while on] a breather…We all sat up straight when we first heard [‘Automatic’] and told Richard we wanted to include it on the album. ‘Okay,’ he said ‘But who would sing the low part?’ ‘Are you kidding me?’ I said, ‘I’ll do the low part!’

Although Break Out largely comprised dance tracks, its lead single was the ballad “I Need You”, chosen by producer Richard Perry in hopes of reinforcing the Pointer Sisters presence at R&B radio: the dance track “Jump (for My Love)” was intended as the second single but the heavy airplay afforded “Automatic” as an album cut by both dance clubs and radio stations caused the substitution of “Automatic” for “Jump…” as the second single release from Break Out, although “Jump…” would become the most successful US single off Break Out when it became the album’s third single.[3] The first Top 40 hit to feature Ruth Pointer’s distinctive contralto on lead, “Automatic” reached #5 on the Hot 100 in Billboard in April 1984, also charting on the magazine’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play rankings, its #2 R&B chart peak making “Automatic” the highest charting R&B hit by the Pointer Sisters as a trio (in their original four-woman format the Pointer Sisters did score an R&B #1 hit with “How Long (Betcha’ Got a Chick on the Side)”). Holding “Automatic” out of the top position of the R&B chart (for three weeks) was “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.

In the United Kingdom, “Automatic” would afford the Pointer Sisters their all-time biggest hit, spending two weeks at #2 on the UK chart in May 1984 while stuck behind The Reflex by Duran Duran when it also reached #1 in Ireland. “Automatic” also afforded the Pointer Sisters Top-Ten success in Belgium (#5 on the Flemish chart), the Netherlands (#9), and New Zealand (#8). In Australia, “Automatic” reached a chart peak of #15. The B-side of “Automatic” was “Nightline” featuring June Pointer on lead. “Nightline” was also originally featured on Break Out but was dropped from later pressings of the album to allow for the inclusion of the remix of “I’m So Excited”.

Courtesy of Wiki

The Lyrics

Look what you're doing to me
I'm utterly at your whim
All of my defenses down

Your camera looks through me
With its X-ray vision
And all systems run aground

All I can manage to push from my lips
Is a stream of absurdities
Every word I intended to speak
Winds up locked in the circuitry

No way to control it
It's totally automatic
Whenever you're around
I'm walking blindfolded
Completely automatic
All of my systems are down
Down, down, down
Automatic (automatic)
Automatic (automatic)

What is this madness
That makes my motor run
And my legs too weak to stand

I go from sadness
To exhilaration
Like a robot at your command

My hands perspire and shake like a leaf
Up and down goes my temperature
I summon doctors to get some relief
But they tell me there is no cure
They tell me

No way to control it
It's totally automatic
Whenever you're around
I'm walking blindfolded
Completely automatic
All of my systems are down
Down, down, down
Automatic (automatic)
Automatic (automatic)

Automatic
Automatic
Automatic
Automatic

Look what you're doing to me
I'm utterly at your whim
All of my defenses down

Your camera looks through me
With its X-ray vision
And all systems run aground

All I can manage to push from my lips
Is a stream of absurdities
Every word I intended to speak
Winds up locked in the circuitry

No way to control it
It's totally automatic
Whenever you're around
I'm walking blindfolded
Completely automatic
All of my systems are down
Down, down

No way to control it
It's totally automatic
Whenever you're around
I'm walking blindfolded
Completely automatic
All of my systems are down
Down, down, down

No way to control it
It's totally automatic
Whenever you're around
I'm walking blindfolded
Completely automatic
All of my systems are down
Writer/s: Brock Patrick Walsh, Mark Goldenberg 
Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Capitol CMG Publishing, Songtrust Ave, Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Don’t!

The prompts for today’s Song Lyric Sunday are Can’t, Don’t, Shouldn’t and Won’t. The first song that came to mind was Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, but on checking I realized I had used it before in 2019. So back to the drawing board. I found this pretty cool song by Ed Sheehan called “Don’t”. I really like it! Hope you do too.

The Song

This angsty breakup tune is about an ex, and Sheeran doesn’t hold back with how he feels about her. “The story in ‘Don’t’ is 100 percent true,” Sheeran told Billboard magazine. “I could have gotten nastier – there was more s–t that I didn’t put in. I was seeing someone for a bit of time, and then they ended up physically involved with one of my friends in the same hotel that we were staying in, while I was downstairs. And I feel like: Treat people how you want to be treated.”

Speaking with MTV News, Sheeran refused to name the mystery person that the song is directed at, but is sure they will know who they are. “I’ve always been the sweet, innocent, ‘Oh my God, he’s English!’ kind of thing, so having a bit of bite,” he told MTV News, “I don’t know how that’s going to go down, but based on the reaction of people that have heard it, I think it will go down just fine.”

Fans have speculated that the song could be about Ellie Goulding. Sheeran dated the “Burn” singer during the summer of 2013. She was rumored to have been seen kissing One Direction’s Niall Horan at the V Festival around the same time. Some of the speculation that Goulding is the subject of the song was because of the lyrics, “We make money the same way. Four cities, two planes the same day,” and “You were looking for a lover to burn.” Not only does Sheeran allude to the pair having the same career, but he also includes the word “burn,” the title of Goulding’s hit single.Goulding apparently responded with a line in her song “On My Mind” (“You wanted my heart but I just liked your tattoos”), but she denied ever being involved with Sheeran.

Littering the lyrics with possible clues is a hallmark of Sheeran’s friend Taylor Swift. He confirmed to Rolling Stone that the Country-Pop princess is not the subject of the song. “It’s 100 percent not about Taylor,” he said. “Taylor’s one of these people that if you piss her off and she writes a song about you, it’s not good news for you. I’ve never dated Taylor. I’ve dated a few singers, though.” Sheeran did play the song for Swift after writing it. He said: “She was just like, ‘Whatever happens, ever, between us as friends, I never want to piss you off that much.'”

The song was co-produced by Benny Blanco, who has worked on hits from such pop artists as Katy Perry and Maroon 5. and production legend Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Run-DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers), who is known for his naturalistic approach. “I loved elements of both,” Sheeran told Billboard, “and I knew that together they could make something really super-powered, between Benny’s pop sensibility and Rick’s raw, earthy, gravelly coolness. So Benny went to LA and sat with Rick.” 

This was set to be the lead single from Sheeran’s x album until early March 2014, when it was decided that “Sing” would be the first song to be released from the project. With a chorus hinged on the lyric “Don’t f—- with my love.” the change of mind was most likely prompted by a wish to give Sheeran’s young fans something less sweary as a first release.Also Sheeran was struggling with coming up with a clean radio edit. “I tried other words, I tried ‘mess,’ I tried ‘funk,’ lots of other things, but none of them worked,” he laughed to MTV News. “But I’m definitely giving radio an edit they can play, because I’d be mental not to.”

Sheeran debuted the song on the April 12, 2014 episode of Saturday Night Live. He also performed “Sing” on the same show. 

Ed explained the story of the song during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “With that song… I’m a carefree, happy guy and I feel like everyone goes through things that annoy them and they get angry, and I feel the way I get my anger out is to write songs,” he explained. “And that song was literally, I felt something, I put it down and I felt a lot better afterwards.””I wasn’t going to put it on the record and then people kept telling me it was an alright song, ’cause it is a good song, so it ended up on the record,” Sheeran added. “But yeah, that one’s a bit personal.”

The Lyrics

Hit the corner, burnin' rubber like a stunt driver
Burning marijuana, bitch, I'm a bit liver
Gotta keep a bitch in check, microphone check
Killed your boy's career, still no arrest yet
Snow white yacht in my red Yeezys
Ed Sheeran got the city streets tweakin'
On a back block you may catch the boss
M-cig, love to vape so we liftin' off
With a weapon, go to steppin' like I'm Kevin Spacey
No prom date, women they would love to hate me
It's such a pretty thing, life is such a bitch
Went to sleep as friends, waking up to this
See it my way or see me at the top
Built an empire, bitch, off a nickel rock
Microphone check, microphone check
We came to party, smoke until there's nothing left

I met this girl late last year
She said "don't you worry if I disappear"
I told her I'm not really looking for another mistake
I called an old friend thinking that the trouble would wait
But then I jumped right in a week later and returned
I reckon she was only looking for a lover to burn
But I gave her my time for two or three nights
Then I put it on pause until the moment was right
I went away for months until our paths crossed again
She told me "I was never looking for a friend
Maybe you could swing by my room around ten
Baby, bring the lemon and a bottle of gin
We'll be in between the sheets 'til the late AM
Baby, if you wanted me then should have just said, she's singing

Don't fuck with my love
That heart is so cold
All over my arm
I don't wanna know that babe
Don't fuck with my love
I told her she knows
Take aim and reload
I don't wanna know that babe

And for a couple weeks I only wanna see her
We drink away the days with a takeaway pizza
Before a text message was the only way to reach her
Now she's staying at my place and loves the way I treat her
Singing out Aretha, all over the track like a feature
And never wants to sleep, but guess that I don't want to either
But me and her, we make money the same way
Four cities, two planes, the same day
And those shows have never been what it's about
But maybe we'll go together and just figure it out
I'd rather put on a film with you and sit on a couch
But we should get on a plane or we'll be missing it now
Wish I'd have written it down, the way that things played out
When she was kissing him, how I was confused about
Now she should figure it out, while I'm sat here singing

Don't fuck with my love
That heart is so cold
All over my arm
I don't wanna know that babe
Don't fuck with my love
I told her she knows
Take aim and reload
I don't wanna know that babe

On my hotel door
I don't even know if she knows what for
She was crying on my shoulder, I already told ya
Trust and respect is what we do this for
I never intended to be next
But you didn't need to take him to bed, that's all
And I never saw him as a threat
Until you disappeared with him to have sex, of course
It's not like we were both on tour
We were staying on the same fucking hotel floor
And I wasn't looking for a promise or commitment
But it was never just fun, and I thought you were different
This is not the way you realised what you wanted
It's a bit too much, too late if I'm honest
And all this time, God knows I'm singing

Don't fuck with my love
That heart is so cold
All over my arm
I don't wanna know that babe
Don't fuck with my love
I told her she knows
Take aim and reload
I don't wanna know that babe

Don't fuck with my love
That heart is so cold
All over my arm
I don't wanna know that babe
Don't fuck with my love
I told her she knows
Take aim and reload
I don't wanna know that babe

Writer/s: Ali Shaheed Jones-Muhammad, Benjamin Joseph Levin, Conesha Monet Owens,
Dawn Sherrice Robinson, Edward Christopher Sheeran, Raphael Saadiq 
Publisher: Downtown Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., MISSING LINK MUSIC, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Courtesy of Songfacts

Song Lyric Sunday – 2000 Light Years From Home

I have to admit that I was not excited about today’s prompts for Song Lyric Sunday Songs featuring. Space, Planets and Aliens in the title or lyrics was suggested by Di of the blog pensitivity101. Sorry Di!

I have never been a space fan and could only think of two songs that relate to the prompt, and I am certain they will be picked by someone else. So I did a little research and found this gem from the Rolling Stones – 2000 Light Years From Home. I don’t actually remember it but it fits the prompt and the psychedelic video is awesome. Hope you enjoy it!

The Song

Space exploration was big at the time, and was probably an influence on this song. Pink Floyd was making music with a similar sound.

The psychedelic sound reflected the times. It was the summer of love (1967).

Mick Jagger got the idea for this while in jail on drug charges.

The Stones played this on their Steel Wheels tour in 1989. A show in Atlantic City was broadcast with this song shot in 3D, which viewers could see using those goofy glasses.

Various echo effects and drum sounds were added in overdubbing.

On this track, their lead guitarist, Brian Jones, played a Mellotron, an early synthesizer. Jones played a number of unusual instruments in his time with the band, which lasted from their founding in 1962 until 1969, when he was fired after a number of clashes with his bandmates over his reliability and contributions. Just weeks after leaving the band, the 27-year-old Jones drowned in his swimming pool.

The ’90s psychedelic group The Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded a tribute to the Stones’ psychedelic period (and this song) called Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request.

The Lyrics

Sun turnin' 'round with graceful motion
We're setting off with soft explosion
Bound for a star with fiery oceans
It's so very lonely
You're a hundred light years from home

Freezing red deserts turn to dark
Energy here in every part
It's so very lonely
You're six hundred light years from home

It's so very lonely
You're a thousand light years from home
It's so very lonely
You're a thousand light years from home

Bell flight fourteen you now can land
See you on Aldebaran
Safe on the green desert sand
It's so very lonely
You're 2000 light years from home
It's so very lonely
You're 2000 light years from home

Writer/s: Keith Richards, Mick Jagger 
Publisher: Abkco Music Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – The Way We Were

This week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt is Lights, Camera, Music. Yes, we are looking for memorable movie music scores. This was easier than I thought. An old favorite movie and song of mine is “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand. The movie featured her and Robert Redford and is definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it.

The Song

This was the title track to the movie of the same name, which starred Streisand and Robert Redford. The song is about a couple who fall deeply in love despite being complete opposites. They are looking back on fond memories of their time together.

Alan Bergman and his wife Marilyn wrote the lyrics to this song, and Marvin Hamlisch wrote the music. The Bergmans also wrote lyrics for “The Windmills Of Your Mind” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”

Streisand recorded this song on September 12, 1973 with Marty Paich doing the arrangements. The song was released as a single later in the month, and the movie came out on October 19, 1973. The film was very successful and helped popularize the song, which entered the Top 40 on December 22, 1973 and became Streisand’s first #1 hit on Groundhog Day, 1974. The next week it was bumped from the top spot by “Love’s Theme” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, but reclaimed #1 a week later and stayed there until “Seasons In The Sun” bumped it on March 2. A total of three weeks at #1, but also the beginning of a chart hiatus for Streisand, who wasn’t seen again on the Top 40 until 1976, when “Evergreen” from A Star Is Born entered. This one also spent three weeks at #1.

This song is famous for its opening line, “Memories, light the corners of my mind,” which sets the nostalgic tone for the song and makes it perfect for the movie. Early demos of the song reveal that the first word was written as “Daydreams,” and Streisand came up with the idea to change it to “Memories,” although needing it shortened to two syllables to fit the music, it becomes “Mem’ries.”

In January 1974, a soundtrack album to the film came out featuring this song as the first track and instrumental scores from the film written by Marvin Hamlisch. Around the same time, Streisand also released an album called The Way We Were featuring the song, and was sued by the movie’s producer for using the same title. Streisand’s album was re-issued as “Barbra Streisand Featuring ‘The Way We Were’ and ‘All In Love Is Fair.'” Despite the awkward title, Streisand’s album went to #1 and eventually sold over 2 million copies, far outselling the soundtrack. The film, single, and Streisand’s album all went to #1.

“The Way We Were” won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1974 and the Grammy for Song Of The Year in 1975.

The Song

Mem'ries light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored mem'ries of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we

Mem'ries may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember 
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were

The way we were

Writer/s: Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tratore
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Angel

This week our host of Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has prompted us with tribute songs. What a fun prompt and I am hoping we will see a broad range of music honoring those who have died. My choice for this prompt is the beautifully moving song “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.

Many of us who write, can relate to McLachlan’s description of the ease in which the words to this song flowed from her mind with little effort. Those are the times when we feel we have a deep connection with someone or something and the words need to be heard. I have included the album track and a live performance of the song. I hope you enjoy it.

The Song

McLachlan wrote this about a drug-addict’s struggles with the world. The “angel” symbolizes the drugs the addict gives in to repeatedly.

As McLachlan explained on VH1 Storytellers, this song is about the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996. McLachlan didn’t know him and was never a heavy drug user herself, but when she read about his death in Rolling Stone, she felt a connection, as she had just come off two years on the road where “there’s nothing constant but everything becomes the same.”

On the same Storytellers show, McLachlan said that this song only took a few hours to write, stating it was a “very easy labor.”

This is the song McLachlan’s fans ask her about the most, and the one many seem to relate to. “I have the same real, visceral attachment to it that that they do,” she told the Charlotte Observer. “It was one of those beautiful songs, for me, that came out quickly and easily. I felt like more of a conduit. There wasn’t all that blood, sweat and tears attached to it. It just kind of happened. Those are blissful moments that seldom happen for me as a songwriter.”

This was used in the 1998 movie City of Angels during a pivotal scene. McLachlan said this was the best use of any of her songs in a TV series or movie.

The song has had enduring popularity and has been used in a number of different ways, with some uses (such as in a child memorial) misconstruing the lyrics. McLachan said during a Reddit AMA that she doesn’t mind that it gets used in so many different ways. “I think once an artist puts a song out there, it becomes open to interpretation, and I purposefully leave a certain amount of ambiguity in songs so that people can relate the songs to themselves and to their stories,” she said.

“And it’s for me, it’s a great validation as an artist to know that something I’ve created has gone out there in the world and helped people to heal, or to feel something, in a profound way like that.”

This is the song that soundtracks those ubiquitous ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) commercials that have been running since 2007. The spots are a serious downer, showing frightened and abused animals in slow motion interspersed with messages like “they suffer alone and terrified.” They often come on late at night when TV stations donate unsold advertising time to charity, so you could be enjoying an old movie in the wee hours when suddenly you’re looking at a caged kitty that seems to be crying for help. Many change the channel.

A bane of insomniacs, the spots nonetheless proved incredibly effective, generating over $30 million dollars in donations. They also inextricably linked McLachlan, who appears in some of the spots, with abused dogs and cats.

When she made the commercial, she didn’t think it would be a very big deal; she simply donated a few hours of her time and use of her song. And while she supports the cause, she isn’t as passionate about it as many believe. “I love animals as much as the next person, but if I really wanted to attach myself to something, it would be kids and education,” she told the Charlotte Observer in 2015. She also admits that she can’t watch the spots.

The Lyrics

Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance,
for a break that would make it OK.

There's always some reason
to feel not good enough,
and it's hard, at the end of the day.

I need some distraction,
Oh, beautiful release.
Memories seep from my veins.

Let me be empty,
Oh, and weightless,
And maybe I'll find some peace tonight.

In the arms of the angel,
fly away from here,
from this dark, cold hotel room,
and the endlessness that you feel.

You are pulled from the wreckage,
Of your silent reverie.
You're in the arms of the angel,
may you find some comfort here.

So tired of the straight line,
and everywhere you turn,
there's vultures and thieves at your back.

The storm keeps on twisting.
Keep on building the lies
that you make up for all that you lack.

Don't make no difference,
escape one last time.
It's easier to believe in this sweet madness,
Oh, this glorious sadness,
that brings me to my knees.

You're in the arms of the angel,
may you find some comfort here.

Written by Sarah McLachlan

Courtesy of Songfacts

Song Lyric Sunday – Happiness is a Warm Gun

The prompts for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by our friend, Jim Adams, are Bomb, Gun, Knife and Weapon. I have chosen probably something that will get multiple picks today. Happiness is a Warm Gun. In my opinion Lennon’s version is incredible, but I have chosen to use the one from the movie, ‘Across the Universe’ as the video clip is amazing. I really enjoyed this movie and if you haven’t seen it, and if you’re a Beatles fan, it’s must!

The Song


The title came from an article in The American Rifleman, a magazine published by the National Rifle Association. The story was titled “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.” In it, the author recalls the special time when he took his 7-year-old son shooting for the first time. It struck John Lennon as “fantastic, insane… a warm gun means you’ve just shot something.” Said Lennon, “I thought it was so crazy that I made a song out of it.”

This complicated song, which involved various different time signatures, (the 6/8 middle section was made more convoluted by Ringo continuing to drum in 4/4), took 15 hours and over 100 takes to nail. The first half of one take was combined with the second half of another to form the complete song.

Like the composer Wagner, Lennon felt that a song must have increasing excitement, climax and redemption. The song is built from pieces of several different little songs, with different melodies and rhythms, and one after another, the excitement is increasing. The climax is the falsetto, and finally the redemption is in the continuing call and answer.

When The White Album was released in 1968, it was not commonly known that Lennon was a composer, as many people thought that he was only a lyric writer. After The Beatles broke up, their individual songwriting contributions were revealed in greater detail. 

Lennon said of this song: “It’s sort of a history of rock ‘n’ roll.” Much of the imagery in the lyrics is about his sexual passion for Yoko.

Lennon considered this one of his favorites. It’s also Paul McCartney’s favorite song on The White Album.

In the last section of the song, the backing vocals are “Bang, Bang, Shoot, Shoot.”

A popular theory is that Lennon meant for this to be a drug metaphor for doing heroin:

“Needing a fix”

“Jump the gun” – meaning to cook it up

“Bang, Bang, SHOOT, SHOOT”

“When I hold you in my arm, nobody can do me no harm” – heroin addicts tell how when you’re on it, nothing can do you no harm and Lennon’s overall nature seem to point to this >>

This was banned by the BBC for sexual symbolism. They thought the gun was a phallic symbol.

The original line “When I hold you in my arms and feel my finger on your trigger…” appears in unreleased, bootlegged versions of “I’m So Tired” as “When I hold you in your arms, when you show me each one of your charms, I wonder should I get up, and go to the funny farm.” This could mean the line was originally sexual but was put in as a metaphor for a gun later on. 

The final doo-wop chorus of this song has the exact same chord progression as “This Boy,” just in a different key.

The phrase “happiness is a warm gun” is a play on a Peanuts comic strip from 1960 where Lucy hugs Snoopy and says, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” That phrase became a popular slogan, appearing on mugs, T-shirts and lots of other merch.

Tori Amos covered this on her 2001 album Strange Little Girls. All the songs on the album were written by men – Amos took on different characters to interpret them from a woman’s point of view. Yoko Ono had to approve this, and she did.

The Breeders covered this on their 1990 album Pod.

This is the song that inspired 2Pac to cast his gun as his girlfriend in “Me and My Girlfriend”: “She’s the only woman I need!” 

The Lyrics

She's not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do, oh yeah
She's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane
The man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
Working overtime
A soap impression of his wife which he ate
And donated to the National Trust

I need a fix 'cause I'm going down
Down to the pits that I left uptown
I need a fix 'cause I'm going down

Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun

Happiness is a warm gun (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, momma (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)

When I hold you in my arms (ooh, oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (ooh, oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (ooh, oh, yeah)
Because

(Happiness) is a warm gun momma (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm, yes it is, gun (happiness, bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Well, don't you know that happiness is a warm gun momma?
(Happiness is a warm gun, yeah)

Writer/s: John Lennon, Paul McCartney 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Courtesy of Songfacts

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