I guess the older we get the more we think about things like this. Funeral Songs. Have you ever? A few years back I remember visiting my family back in the UK and my cousins were remarking on a time when they had all got together and after several drinks discussed their own funeral songs. I thought that was hilarious as it was something that had never occurred to me. Fast forward a few years and now I seem to hear about it all the time. It certainly got me thinking and so I was very prepared for today’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, provided by Di from the blog Pensitivity 101. In fact I am sharing at least two that I would appreciate being played at my funeral. I can’t wait to see what everyone picks today.
The First Song – Dust In The Wind
Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote this after reading a book of Native American poetry. The line that caught his attention was, “For all we are is dust in the wind.”
This got him thinking about the true value of material things and the meaning of success. The band was doing well and making money, but Kerry realized that in the end, he would eventually die just like everyone else. No matter our possessions or accomplishments, we all end up back in the ground.
Kerry Livgren wrote this song when he was under pressure to write a follow-up to the group’s hit, “Carry On Wayward Son.” While playing his acoustic guitar exercises, his wife suggested that putting lyrics to the patterns would yield his hit song. “I didn’t think it was a Kansas-type song,” he told Bruce Pollock. “She said, ‘Give it a try anyway.’ Several million records later, I guess she was right.”
Kansas was almost done writing and rehearsing the Point of Know Return album when their producer, Jeff Glixman, asked if they had any more songs. Livgren reluctantly played this song for his bandmates on acoustic guitar, insisting they wouldn’t like it because it was notKansas. To his surprise, they loved the song and insisted they record it. Livgren then fought against his own song, but was overruled. “Dust In The Wind” became their biggest hit, but Livgren never did think very highly of it. “I tend to like the more bombastic things, like ‘The Wall,’ he said in his interview with Pollock.
This slow, acoustic song was not typical of Kansas, whose previous singles included “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Point Of Know Return.” It put the band in the position of having their best-known song be one that doesn’t reflect their sound
The phrase “dust in the wind” shows up in the Bible:
You are dust, and to dust you shall return
Kerry Livgren became an evangelical Christian in 1980. He says of his songwriting in the ’70s, “I was only expressing my own searching for something,” adding, “If you look at my lyrics, even ‘Dust in the Wind’ is a song about the transitory nature of our physical lives. That falls under the umbrella heading of God.”
This was the second big hit for Kansas, following “Carry On My Wayward Son.” With two hits under their belt, they were able to headline arena rock shows into the late ’70s. Later hits for the band include “Play the Game Tonight” (1982, #17 US) and “All I Wanted” (1986, #19 US).
In the movie Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted go back in time and share philosophy with Socrates, who is impressed when Ted, played by Keanu Reeves philosophizes “All we are is dust in the wind.”
This was the first acoustic Kansas song, and perhaps the most famous acoustic rock song ever recorded. It crossed over to a variety of formats, as Rock, Country, and Adult Contemporary radio statins all played it.
Courtesy of Songfacts
I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity Dust in the wind All they are is dust in the wind Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see Dust in the wind All we are is dust in the wind Oh, ho, ho Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky It slips away And all your money won't another minute buy Dust in the wind All we are is dust in the wind All we are is dust in the wind Dust in the wind Everything is dust in the wind Everything is dust in the wind The wind Writer/s: Kerry Livgren Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
The Second Song – Into The Mystic
This is about a sailor at sea thinking about returning to his lover, who is back on land. Normally a foghorn signals danger, but in this case it means he is close to home and his love.
There is room for interpretation beyond the superficial meaning. It might be interpreted as expressing an understanding that life is finite (the ship sailing on its round trip) and must be lived to its fullest (“I want to rock your Gypsy soul”), and an acceptance of its inevitable end (“We will magnificently float into the mystic, when the foghorn blows I will be coming home”). When you have seen the world and loved someone, you should have no reason to fear the end because you have lived your life to the fullest. >>
The original title was “Into the Misty.”
According to Morrison, he couldn’t decide whether the first line should be “We were born before the wind” or “We were borne before the wind.”
This was played in the 1989 Mary Stuart Masterson movie Immediate Family. She played a woman who was young and pregnant and planning to give her baby to Glenn Close and James Woods, who couldn’t have a baby of their own.
According to a BBC survey, because of this song’s cooling, soothing vibe, this is one of the most popular songs for surgeons to listen to whilst performing operations.
Jen Chapin, the daughter of Cat’s In The Cradle singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, covered this on her 2008 CD Light of Mine.
We were born before the wind Also younger than the sun Ere the bonnie boat was won As we sailed into the mystic Hark, now hear the sailors cry Smell the sea and feel the sky Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic And when that foghorn blows I will be coming home And when the foghorn blows I wanna hear it I don't have to fear it And I wanna rock your gypsy soul Just like way back in the days of old And magnificently we will float into the mystic When that foghorn blows You know I will be coming home And when that foghorn whistle blows I gotta hear it I don't have to fear it And I wanna rock your gypsy soul Just like way back in the days of old And together we will float into the mystic Come on, girl Too late to stop now Writer/s: Van Morrison Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc. Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind