Miller time at the bar where all the English meet
She used to drink in the hills
Only now she drinks in the valleys
Where every road has a name like Beachwood Avenue
or so it seems
A Croydon girl could really hope to find a home
But with a thousand miles of real estate to choose from
You begin to see the value of your freedom...
The moon is bright in the haze above old Hollywood
And deer look down from the hills
And it's three o'clock in the morning
Pill in hand you can hear his golden surfer boys
Crying out, mummy won't come out of the bathroom
And you'd hoped he'd say he's sorry if he hit you
but he's buried in the screenplay of his feature

Screen kiss, one screen kiss
Straight from a film I forget who was in
Screen kiss, one screen kiss
Blue filter lens, a pool of vaseline
But all the rushes look the same
Only there's a movie I wouldn't pay to see again
If it's the one with him in

You and I could be a mile above the earth tremors
Hold to me and we'll climb
You could sneak out while he's sleeping
Suicide in the hills above old Hollywood
Is never gonna change the world
Change the world overnight
Any more than the invention of the six-gun - child
Any more than the discovery of Radium,
Or California tipping in the ocean

Screen kiss, one screen kiss...

Lyrics submitted by JpnGht, edited by countrygirljo, RadCon

Screen Kiss song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThe story is set in California, where Dolby was living at the time. He talks about a 'bar where all the English meet' in Hollywood, CA.

    She used to drink in the hills, only now she drinks in the valleys. I think this line is a clever way of saying that when she used to drink, she was more upbeat, more of a party girl. Now, she drinks to forget, she is depressed.

    The girl in question is from a generally well-to-do large town south of London (Croyton). As England is an island, it's an amazing thing to move to a place like California and have 'a thousand miles of real estate to choose from'. She has means, but money isn't everything...

    The lyric above is wrong - it should say, "Pill in hand, you can hear his golden surfer BOYS..."

    This suggests that the boys aren't hers, or doesn't seem like they are. Her partner is abusing her, and she's probably taking a pill to calm her nerves. He's 'buried in the screenplay of his feature' - he doesn't even acknowledge her or her hurt.

    I think the chorus is a wistful look at how she feels love should have been for her, after all, she is in Hollywood. Blue filter lensing and Vaseline were used to blur the picture for close ups and conceal lines in the actor's faces. Look at movies from the 50's and 60's (and even some TV shows!), and you'll see this effect often. In this context, I think it means she's getting older, perhaps losing her looks.

    'Rushes' or 'dailies' are quickly developed, unedited film snippets. When a director wants to see how a scene looks, he calls for that day's rushes - usually with a 24 hour turnaround time. These days, of course, everything is digital, but back then, this is how it was done.

    'All the rushes look the same', means that her life is the same film over and over again, every single day.

    Dolby is not happy. I think this was a real friend of his and he's saying here that it's a movie he wouldn't pay to see again if it's the one with 'him' in. 'Him', presumably being the abusive husband figure.

    He wants to rescue her (hold to me and we'll climb), but instead she commits suicide. He suggests that her death, while meaningless to some, is VERY important to Dolby.

    Listening to the surf at the end, the radio reports the PERFECT weather for surfing...

    My favorite Dolby song - ever...
    ctlizyrdon March 28, 2012   Link
  • +2
    it's funny how you can sing a song forever and much later come to the lyrics when you "see" them
    pcgardenon June 12, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningSuch a wonderful, sad, loving song.

    My take on the "surfer boys" line has always been that they ARE her kids, yet the level of her pain and despair, the cultural alienation she is feeling, the violence she is suffering from her husband, make them seem like they're not - in the gilded cage of Hollywood where all is appearance and the pain is hidden. I write from London (hey, about 10 miles from Croydon)...the juxtaposition of the dull suburban, characterless nature of Croydon and the glitz and excitement of Hollywood is really pointed. It carries with it all that sense of pathos about 'escape'...and yet look what she escaped too? And there's the undercurrent of the 'lost' expat, far from home, friendless...there's just this one bar "where all the English meet", and that's all she has...

    The "Suicide in the hills above old Hollywood is never gonna change the world" lines are so powerful...because he then sings "Any more than the invention of the six-gun / Any more than the discovery of Radium / Or California tipping in the ocean" that had a profound effect on the world (first two) or would (no 3). So this turns the meaning of the suicide line around - it becomes a declaration of the narrator's love for her, an indication of what a massive difference the loss of her would make to him...
    countrygirljoon July 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"She used to drink in the hills, only now she drinks in the valleys". This refers to where the successful actors (screen, TV, as well as music) would live in the "Hills" -- you've seen them. The mansions in the Hollywood hills, behind the relic "HOLLYWOOD" lettering. And if you don't make it, you live in the valley (which doesn't have to be Hollywood, it could be LA, victorville, palmdale, lancaster, etc. If you have heard Warren Zevon's "Even a dog can shake hands", he references success and failure (Sign page forty-two / We'll do the rest for you / Find a way to make it pay Don't lose your head You'll end up dead Or you'll be living in the Valley someday)

    As to the reference to Croydon Girl. I've been to Croydon, which is outside of London neare Gatwick International Airport. The short stint in Croydon, well it reminds me of Brooklyn New York before they fixed it up. I'm sure it's beautiful now (I was there in the late 80s on "holiday")
    jim4755376on May 18, 2017   Link

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