"Will To Love" as written by and Don Sampson Skip Ewing....
It has often been my dream
To live with one who wasn't there
Like an ocean fish who swam upstream
Through nets, by hooks, and hungry bears.

When the water grew less deep
My fins were aching from the strain
I'm swimming in my sleep
I know I can't go back again.

Got the will to love, the will to love.
I'll never lose it, never lose the will to love,
Never lose the will.
It's like something from up above.

I can be like a fire in the night
Always warm and giving off light
But there comes a time when I shine too bright
Oh, I'm just a fire in the night.

And now my fins are in the air
And my belly's scraping on the rocks
I still think someone really cares
And I'll keep swimming till I stop.

Got the will to love, the will to love.
I'll never lose it, never lose the will to love,
Never lose the will.
It's like something from up above.

I'm like a singer on the stage
With the golden lights and liquid rage
Down from the mountains to the sea
Cool running love keeps cleansing me.

It keeps my gills from getting dry
But it distorts things in my eyes
Sometimes I see what really isn't there
Like my true lover, and I care.

Got the will to love, the will to love.
I'll never lose it, never lose the will to love,
Never lose the will.
It's like something from up above.

Sometimes I ramble on and on
And I repeat myself till all my friends are gone
And get lost in snow and drown in rain
And never feel the same again.

I remember the ocean from where I came
Just one of millions all the same
But somewhere someone calls my name
I'm a harpoon dodger, and I can't, won't be tamed.

Got the will to love, the will to love.
I'll never lose it, never lose the will to love,
Never lose the will.
It's like something from up above.

Baby, if I see boredom in your eyes
I'll know my river has run dry
But I won't turn back with that lonely tide
I bought that ticket and I'll take that ride.

If we meet along the way
Please sway beside me, let us sway together
Our tails together and our fins and mind
We'll leave this water and let our scales shine
In the sun above and the sky below
So all the water and earth will know

It has often been my dream
To live with one who wasn't there.


Lyrics submitted by planetearth

"Will to Love" as written by Skip Ewing Don Sampson

Lyrics © SUSSMAN & ASSOCIATES

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Will To Love song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favorite Neil tunes, pretty obscure and sort of under the radar for the casual fan. I understand that Neil recorded this one while sitting next to a campfire, thus the crackling and popping of the burning wood adds to the moody tone of this lamenting love song.

    As far as its meaning, Neil uses the metaphor of salmon swimming upstream to spawn to express how strong his resolve is in regards to his search for love and happiness. I suppose it could be pretty easy to slip into the "I'm never going to put myself out there again, I'm never going to let myself get hurt again" mode, but Neil shuns that with this song.

    "It has often been my dream to live with one who wasn't there." Perhaps my favorite Neil song line of all time. Not sure what that part means and I actually found this website hoping I could get some ideas. Anybody??
    danvtemton June 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love this song. None of the lyrics have any sober meaning. I love the man and analyzing his work, but, he was f***ing gone when he did this one. He came up with this song on the spot while under the influence of at least a handful of substances. He was in a borrowed (rented?) house and the crackling/popping is from the fireplace. He recorded it on a 4-track I believe. Took it to studio, tried to redo it, but he could not. The verses and choruses have no set length or timing. Impossible to do again. So he did some minor tweaking on it, who knows what, and here it is. At about 1 minute or so in, if you're real quiet, you can hear him during the production/engineering of it and saying, "Turn it down..." Kind of cool.
    terryfunkuon October 31, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEven if he was drunk at the time, the fella can write. Good song.
    Lateralus518on December 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard this song for the first time last night and was hugely impressed. I found myself identifying very strongly with the lyrics, as I have done many times previously with Neil Young's words, particularly those about love.

    I wasn't aware that it was recorded at a campfire - but this explains the slightly lower than normal volume, as well as the crackling which, I will admit, I found slightly distracting at first. Now I know this, however, I'm sure it will only add to my appreciation of the song.

    As for the line you mentioned - "It has often been my dream to live with one who wasn't there." - this one also jumped out at me. To me it either means simply that he feels he has never been able to find his 'soulmate', if you will, or more likely, that he has often found himself alone and 'dreaming' that there was someone there living with him.
    Songmeaningsuseron September 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot drunk, I mean under the influence =p
    Lateralus518on December 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCurrently reading 'Shakey' by Jimmy McDonough, a very long book. I never realized what a crazy prick Neil is (was?) until I read this book. Ever since I was a teenager, I somehow felt that Neil 'spoke to me' in a way that no other singer could. Decades later, in the months it has taken me to get through McDonough's biography, I have dug into Neil's work like an obsessed geek. Neil's music is inconsistent, emotional, and deeply personal. Wikipedia is a great reference for critical reaction to Neil's various songs and albums. Anyone who has criticized "Will to Love" has likely not listened to it while stoned off their ass driving through the desolate Flint Hills of Kansas. Holy shit what an intense song. Neil, I cannot ever know or understand you, but you understand me to the depths of my soul even though you have no idea who I am.
    kcmetsfanon June 14, 2017   Link

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