"L.A." as written by Elliott Smith...
The gentleman in the lane
Spinning his hat on a cane
Stepping out, out for change
Good morning all, it's a beautiful day

The generals are winning a war
Seemed suicidal before
You came alone, now
I'll protect you, long as you stay

One of a kind
You'll be walking in the sun
Living in the day
Last night I was about to throw it all away

If patience started a band
I'd be her biggest fan
Look at me, I'm talking to you
I don't want the lead in your play

The star's just a part of the scene
The gentle man in green
Paying off, out on the street
I can't go home, it's not on my way

Things are never done, car's parked in the sun
Living in the day
Last night I was about to throw it all away
Last night I was about to throw it all away
Last night I was about to throw it all away
Last night I was about to throw it all away

Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by Dottt, JohnTheDropper, Jate

"LA" as written by Mark Edward Smith Brixe Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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L.A. song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentWhat an underappreciated song. Pure pop, but better than anything you're likely to hear on the radio these days.

    I think the juxtaposition of "living in the day" and "cars parked in the sun" with "last night I was about to throw it all away" says a lot about Elliott's disposition not being in sync with his sunny California environment. Also, if you believe what Benjamin Nugent has to say in his book "Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing," "things I'd never done" could be an allusion to heroin or crack. That's right, kids: according to Nugent, Elliott didn't become a junkie until the final years of his life in L.A.
    mfluder2676on October 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGod, who transcribed these lyrics? They're included in the liner notes! Pay attention! "The Gentleman's in the lane, spinning his hat on a cane." And don't type it phoenetically. "L.A." not "lllllaaaaa" Also, it's "Morning never come" not "one of a kind" also there's usually a "but" before "last night I was about to throw it all away" (except in the last verse)
    Welles-radioon January 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like this song because, to me, there are so many themes present. You can kind of choose one in order to relate to the song...
    doyou missmeon January 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with many of you its a very unappreciated song. It reminds me of sunny days and just being glad to be alive. Smith says that he was going to commit suicide in this song but he realises the day is worth living for its just the night thats hard to get through.
    MaKaV3L!on May 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is really growing on me....such a flawless album.

    LA, seems to be written from a happy perspective even though it alludes to tough times
    bubbamooon December 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentin autumn de wilde's new book in one of her interviews with Joanna Blome she points out that L.A. is about how elliott is glad he moved there and is actually happy
    mooniniteson December 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt maybe be so that the Nugent book wasn't based on facts
    But neither is this thread
    Its all just a matter of opinion and ideas and critique or analysis
    Placeholderon October 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is going to be on guitar hero :)
    murder13dollson August 07, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought about that one line "But last night I was about to throw it all away" haunting stuff even it wasnt meant to be.....
    SatellitesOverCityon September 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"THE GENTLEMAN IN THE LANE...spinning his hat on a cane." Hahaha, Elaine.. AKA Charlie Chaplin. Fix the line please.
    Dottton May 13, 2014   Link

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