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Lyrics Analyses - What did they mean?

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Lyrics Analyses - What did they mean?

A place for folks to discuss lyrics, to analyze what they might have meant, and the people and events surrounding them.

Members: 27
Latest Activity: Jul 18, 2013

Discussion Forum

Somewhere Over the Rainbow 1 Reply

This is for Edward and for anyone else who wants to try my arrangement of this great song. As usual, my messages won't go through, from me to another individual, so I am posting here. Edward - I sure…Continue

Started by Michael S. Jackson. Last reply by Michael S. Jackson Jul 16, 2013.

The Boat's on Fire 5 Replies

Do we analyze originals here? I am still not sure what or where this came from...any thoughts?The Boat’s on Fire    The boats on fire and the water looks deep, and smoke is filling the airThe waters…Continue

Started by Edward Sparks. Last reply by Jeff Lustick Jun 30, 2013.

Favorite Sad Songs 15 Replies

There are some songs that give you chills or bring tears to your eyes every time you hear them. What are some of your favorite sad songs?Continue

Started by Rosemary j. Lambin. Last reply by Jud Hair Aug 30, 2012.

Tom Dooley 4 Replies

A couple of us have been sort of discussing this song at another group. The discussion came about as ancillary to someone stating that a relative of his wrote a somewhat well-known song and someone…Continue

Tags: folk, Trio, Kingston, Dooley

Started by Michael S. Jackson. Last reply by Michael S. Jackson Jan 27, 2012.

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Comment by James P. Royle on March 10, 2011 at 10:13am
We all have our beliefs, the way we would like things to be, the way we wish things to be and coming to grips with how they really are. It's about honest communication and not getting hoodwinked by the puppet masters. Mutual respect for others is far more important than any of the bull we've been fed our whole lives. Everyone's opinion is just as valid as mine. I'm here to learn and have fun with my limited remaining time. I've gotten to travel the world and meet people from all walks of life. I've had people in other countries question my beliefs but I've actually never been disrespected by another common man. Militaries don't start trouble, people don't start trouble, politicians do. I'm absolutely with you Michael. Respect for others is where it's at and we will keep it that way here and enjoy each others company and thoughts! Kind of like; Wrote a Song for Everyone! Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth. They could have saved a million people, how can I tell you?
Comment by Michael S. Jackson on March 10, 2011 at 8:23am

You know, back in the 60s I really liked CCR (still do) and thought I understood most of their lyrics but, as James said, Fogerty's writing is a lot deeper than I thought. Regardless of who it was written about, Fortunate Son had a message that, unfortunately, still rings true today. Though I don't agree with Fogerty on all of his beliefs, I certainly don't like the rich, famous, or politicians being given special dispensation for not having to adhere to the same rules to which we all agree to abide. It ain't right.

This group might get political at times because so many great lyrics were written about political subjects. I hope that when we do, we can respect each others' opinions and discuss the lyrics as ladies and gentlemen.

It's also weird to think that the Beatles were not as political in their lyrics as you would expect them to be. What with "bed-ins" and other headliners. But they did throw in their points of view on a wide range of topics. And their stuff is really interesting to study, as Rich said. I know there is a lot of misinformation out there, and we won't always be able to decipher all the meanings of various lyrics, but it sure is fun to discuss it!

I think that's what fascinates me with the Beatles. They wrote so much in such a short time span and almost everything they wrote had a meaning or a representation behind it, whether it be John's brooding reminiscences about Tony Carricke (fellow art school student) his younger days written as a walk through Liverpool down to the docks (re: In My Life). Or maybe George complaining over how much he had to pay in taxes and slamming Prime Minister Harold Wilson (re: Taxman). Or Paul writing of his favorite subject, Jane Asher, (re: All My Loving, And I Love Her, I'm Looking Through You, You Won't See Me, We Can Work it Out, Every Little Thing, Things We Said Today... etc.). And then there's Ringo sitting there with that nose - exceeded in size only by his ever present smile - banging away with the perfect beat of those heavy drums. 

Good stuff!

Comment by James P. Royle on March 10, 2011 at 7:35am
I still have the Fortunate Son thing spinning in my head. I remember two different versions now, I think; One was the Al Gore story, the other, David Eisenhower scootching up to Julie Nixon to try and save his skin. I've gotten a couple of Fogerty songbooks recently and even though they appeared to be sinple tunes, I'm gaining a far greater appreciation for Mr. Fogerty's music and lyrics. A lot deeper than I thought they were and braver than I remember. I only have seen him once, back then, but I regret not making more time to appreciate what he has done. Thanks Michael, you've got me thinking! Who will keep the promise, that you don't have to keep? Don't look now, it ain't you or me!
Comment by Rich McDonough on March 9, 2011 at 9:59am
I must say, this is the most interesting group I have seen on this site.I especially like and enjoy the comments by Mr. Jackson, I have always enjoyed analyzing what John & Paul had to say.Thanks Mr. Jackson, I look forward to reading more.
Comment by Michael S. Jackson on March 6, 2011 at 9:00am
You know, I've been playing My Back Pages since the '60s and have wondered the same thing. In addition to the lyrics you mentioned, how about "...leaving high and mighty tracks?" (if memory serves). I always took this song to be completely about war and maybe the title is a reference to growing old before his time? Dunno...
Comment by James P. Royle on March 5, 2011 at 4:48pm
My Back Pages always facinated me too. What are the Crimson Flames representative of? Certainly there are war/conflict references later in the song, but is it about Vietnam, war in general, a philosophical bash at military solutions in any circumstances? I've always loved the song, played it for 40 years and have been wondering/analyzing/guessing/making up the meaning in my own mind the whole time. Obviously some parts sound literal but then other lines are about what? Or is it just the roaring of internal conflict over the exposure to the uncertain time of history, like we don't have that now, HUH!
Comment by Michael S. Jackson on March 1, 2011 at 9:58am
I had forgotten about all of that. Hey, Rocky bugged me when I was a kid! I find it kind of cute now... It's the rocket J. Squirrel a neighboring city had for a mayor a while back that REALLY bugged me!
Comment by James P. Royle on March 1, 2011 at 9:43am
I have a busy day planned, but what a great idea Michael and if it's not too corny to say, exciting. I will get back and yes, I have several ideas. And I'm sorry that Rocket J. Squirrels voice and behavior bothered you! That was some dumb s$#% I started. LOL
Comment by Michael S. Jackson on March 1, 2011 at 9:25am

I believe you are on the right track and, as I think Karen said she does, I tend to take a lot of things as impressionistic unless it's obvious it might have another meaning. That's what fascinates me about other peoples' writing, whether it be songs or literature. I like to ask, "Now, why did they use THAT word?" a lot. And then there is the music (why did it resolve upward instead of down, why did the tempo change? etc.) but we won't get into that here.

I have written two books and am on my third. My second book is about The Beatles' songs. It's not necessarily an analysis of their music. Even the biographers closest to them quite often  don't agree on the meanings. As a matter of fact, neither did John and Paul agree what they meant and John often slipped stuff in that Paul had no idea was about him (e.g., And Your Bird Can Sing). And it gets worse. John had fun with it. He thought it funny that folks tried to look for the hidden meaning and messages in his music. I imagine he must have had a good laugh over those teenagers who played the records backwards and who steamed off the cover from their White Album to see what was underneath. The Difficulty with Paul was that he could not remember later in life what he wrote about or what he meant. He was very careful not to plageurize anyone and worried about where he came up with a melody or words, and researched his ideas thoroughly before he went forward with them, but in several instances he could not recall what he wrote about.

My book was more about the people and places they wrote about (Strawberry Fields, Lucy in the Sky, I Saw Her Standing There, etc.). It has a short description about the song (as I mentioned in John's reference to Dylan in my earlier post) and photos of the person, place, or thing that inspired the song.

We'll probably never know a lot of the meanings behind words of the songs we listen to, and I sure do wish the cover of my White Album was still intact! Dylan might have meant "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" to be just a plain old good sounding song about taking it easy in the winter time (with a few drugs, of course). I was just curious to learn what others thought of it.

Any other ideas about Dylan or any other songs? Thanks - m

Comment by James P. Royle on March 1, 2011 at 8:24am
Hmmm? I think I mostly agree with you Michael, but Karen has a good point too. How to tell literal from interpretive or impressionistic. I remember reading Tarantula in the early 70s. and wondering what this guy was on that I couldn't find!LOL And I remember seeing Dylan interviewed and he repeated a couple times, "What do you want from me." Does everything I do or say have to mean something special or mysterious." I remember feeling a little bit of sympathy for him. What if some of it is just poetry, simple rhyme? That's not what I ever wanted to believe at that time, wanting to believe in Sister Bluebird, Starship Troopers, that there was a Stairway. I think after a time, Dylan may have even become disgusted with what and how his lyrics and music were received and or interpreted. I hope I'm on the right track here Michael?
 

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