"Boulder To Birmingham" as written by Bill Danoff and Emmylou Harris....
I don't want to hear a love song
I got on this airplane just to fly
And I know there's life below me
But all that it can show me
Is the prairie and the sky

And I don't want to hear a sad story
Full of heartbreak and desire
The last time I felt like this
I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire
And I stood on the mountain
In the night and I watched it burn
I watched it burn, I watched it burn

I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham
I would hold my life in his saving grace
I would walk all the way from boulder to Birmingham
If i thought I could see, I could see your face

Well you really got me this time
And the hardest part is knowing I'll survive
I have come to listen for the sound
Of the trucks as they move down
Out on ninety five
And pretend that it's the ocean
Coming down to wash me clean, to wash me clean
Baby do you know what I mean

I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham
I would hold my life in his saving grace
I would walk all the way from boulder to Birmingham
If I thought I could see, I could see your face
If I thought I could see, I could see your face


Lyrics submitted by Bobo192, edited by csharpminor

"Boulder to Birmingham" as written by Emmylou Harris Bill Danoff

Lyrics © Reservoir One Music, RESERVOIR MEDIA MANAGEMENT INC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Boulder To Birmingham song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentYou know, I listened to this song for 10 years before I learned who Gram Parsons was. I've since become very well acquainted with his music, life, and his legacy. So many things come back to Gram, don't they? That tragic, brilliant, charismatic dumbass. It makes sense, of course, that this song is about him.

    But it works equally well as a regular, ordinary heartbreak song of one who loved too hard, or put too much of themselves into a relationship with the wrong person. The one you love doesn't have to die to feel this desolate (although it certainly helps). It reminds me also of the feelings I've had for a friend who committed suicide in a rather more direct and straightforward way than Gram did. A combination of love, tragic loneliness, and anger at the beloved.

    Hauntingly, achingly beautiful. A classic.
    surferbetoon March 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is clearly about her losing Gram Parsons. Such a beautiful love song about loss I think the line "..and that hardest part is knowing I'll survive". I think we can all relate to this line when we've lost something so dear to us.
    Becoon May 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTotal heartbreak - total loss.
    vasnmoGoon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is E. Harris 1st composed song - tremendously sad (when u know topic) but wondrously cataclysmic desert imagery and singing - reflecting on Parsons' death in the desert and caught between trajic memories and need to move on - "And I know there's life below, But all that it can show me
    Is the prairie and the sky = emptiness.
    Phenomenal backing, both vocally and musically - a classic.
    vasnmoGoon August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, although the verses outshine the refrain. I love the last verse. I recently moved to an apartment near an interstate, and when I hear the trucks I try to imagine that it is "the ocean coming down to wash me clean".
    MamboManon January 17, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUS highway 95 passes through more desert than any other highway in the country. I think that's why she used that number. Or maybe because it rhymes with survive.
    unkfredon January 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    QuestionI've loved this song since I heard it (in harmony) on the album by Starland Vocal Band, so about 40 years. Yesterday, I heard it on my car radio sung by Emmy Lou Harris, so I decided to look it up today. I had no idea she wrote it or why she did so. It's a beautiful, haunting song with terrific lyrics that speak of love lost. My only criticism (or maybe it's it's my interpretation) is that with the references to canyons and mountains, maybe you should capitalize Boulder?? Full disclosure: (My daughter lives in Colorado).
    linsam947on August 29, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy intro to this song was hearing Starland Vocal Band's version in 1980, from their 1976 debut album. This was definitely the best song on that album, even better than their big hit "Afternoon Delight". Bill Danoff wrote this song with Emmylou Harris. I didn't hear Emmylou Harris' version till 2016. There's a great YouTube video of her singing this song live on German television in 1977, simply incredible to watch and listen to.
    analog1970on November 08, 2016   Link

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