sort form Submissions:
submissions
Jacques Brel – Ne Me Quitte Pas Lyrics 2 months ago
@[omega_wdc:26820] Thanks for your translation. I agree; the translation here doesn’t come close to capturing the original French for a song that (let’s face it) is, to this day, one of the greatest love songs ever written.

You have to hand it to us as a country: Few peoples can write a love song like the French, eh?

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil Lyrics 2 months ago
@[dream10827:26734] Last time I checked, it was the Roman authorities who executed Christ. Your argument is valid only if one buys into Christian theology;I don’t), and still doesn’t negate mine.

submissions
The Beatles – From Me to You Lyrics 11 months ago
Surprised none of the comments have been about the song's (and group's) incredibly ballsy, subversive sexual overtones in the early days (this is 1964). "I've got lips that long to kiss you / And keep you satisfied Ooh" is obviously a sophisticated, sly reference to cunnilingus. At the time, the guys got it but the girls, not so much. Their early work is filled with stuff like this. It's actually pretty sexist which is why I find self-proclaimed feminists who profess such love for The Beatles so confusing and a bit odd.

submissions
Grace Jones – Bullshit Lyrics 1 year ago
What a perfect anthem for the bullshit of the age we live in. (Posted 17-Aug-17.)

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
@[NomadMonad:22365] Really like your writing — your WordPress posting about Merry Clayton and Gimme Shelter was terrific. I do some film criticism; if you'd like to check mine out and/or get in touch, https://lecritiqueinconnu.wordpress.com/blog/

Peace out, man.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
@[punkdad:22364] Great post about Merry. Frankly, I'd like to start a petition to get her a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, which (having worked with everybody from the Stones to Linda Ronstadt to Carole King to Neil Young to Bobby Darin, not to mention the truly awesome solo albums she put out) she so richly deserves. The 60s and early 70s wouldn't have sounded the way they did without voices like hers. Anybody have any idea how to start a petition?

submissions
The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds Lyrics 1 year ago
@[Person117:22060] And Captain Buzzkill strikes again . . . .

submissions
The Doors – Light My Fire Lyrics 1 year ago
@[asciipornstar:21810] I think your interpretation is spot on. Part of the appeal of The Doors, especially back in the day, was that no other group so hauntingly and daringly explored the duality and sameness of sex and death, which were the major preoccupations of the 60s.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil Lyrics 1 year ago
I've seen a few postings that suggest the song is from God's POV.

Pardon my frankness, but that's rubbish.

It's more than a bit of a stretch to interpret the point-of-view as being God's. There's just nothing to suggest that, and plenty that doesn't:

And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

It wasn't God who tempted Christ. Also, arguing that it's God speaking is arguing that God was responsible for the crucifixion, which is nonsense.

The song is pretty straightforward: It's the devil, bragging megalomaniacally about his participation in events HUMANS caused. The only time direct intervention is even implied is in the line:

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

And then there's this verse:

I watched with glee as your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades for the gods THEY made (emphasis mine)

Clearly a reference to the Hundred Years' War, during which England and France fought for the largest kingdom in Europe, all the while each side justifying its participation in the conflict on religious grounds.

The most interesting line in the song to me (and the only one about then-current events) is this:

I shouted out "Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all, it was you and me

Bobby was killed the night he won the California primary, June 6, 1968. This song was recorded in sessions in London 4-5 and 6-8 June, 1968. So the assassination literally occurred while this song was being laid down.

I thought at the time, and still do, that these lyrics were really about the Stones calling us out for consuming people like any other product marketed to the public, and who better to comment on this than a megastar? (People forget, but 1960 was really the first time the potential President was marketed like a breakfast cereal).

The Cult of Celebrity exploits, destroys and kills people. In that we're all complicit. And who knows this better than Mick Jagger?

I think another shading of meaning for this lyric is: Both Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan were, in some ways, everymen. There was nothing particularly special about them, at least UNTIL they became killers. Before that. they'd been everymen, they were nobodies who could have been everybody or anybody.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
I've seen a lot of inaccurate information about Altamont in the comments for Gimme Shelter. I was at Altamont, and am at a point in life where I'm so tired of the misconceptions and inaccurate, unfair finger-pointing (particularly on the part of The Rolling Stone) that I want to set a few things straight:

Both the Stones and the Hell's Angels have taken the lion's share of the blame for what went wrong, with the audience largely being painted as innocent victims of mayhem they couldn't have foreseen, and didn't participate in until they had to defend themselves.

Pardon my French, but this is complete merde.

First, it's highly improbable that the Stones had any idea what they were dealing with. They'd hired motorcycle enthusiasts who styled themselves as Hell's Angels for security at a Hyde Park concert in London, and I think they assumed they were dealing with the same type of people.

Second, why, exactly, was it the Stones' responsibility to hire security for the entire concert? The owner of the venue had hired TONS of plainclothes security officers; they were a running joke all day, as every one of them wore a little white button. I called them "the button brigade." Their only function seemed to be to hover about and kill your buzz to the extent they thought it humanly possible to do so.

And they were nowhere to be found ANYWHERE that trouble broke out. ALL DAY. NOT ONCE.

Third, the choice of venue was just a disaster waiting to happen. The venue had been changed several times (I remember three, the last being 2 days before the concert, but after 48 years this might not be accurate). The stage was at the bottom of a slope, with no protection around it at all, so that the audience was actually on higher ground than the acts. It wasn't what anyone in their right mind would call safe for the artists, and I remember looking at that when we arrived and having my first feelings of foreboding.

The concert should have been delayed until an appropriate, safe venue could be found. We'd all have waited.

Third, THE CROWD BEHAVED AT LEAST AS BAD AS THE HELL'S ANGELS (and from my vantage point, more frequently MUCH worse).

From where I was standing for most of the concert (about 30 feet from the stage on an incline) you really couldn't tell after a time who was starting the fights that broke out around the stage, although initially (until Jefferson Airplane's set had ended) there were more fights between concertgoers than with the Hell's Angels (who didn't intervene with the crowd unless someone was trying to get on the stage, which happened actually quite a lot, including when the Airplane was on).

The only time the concert had relative peace was during The Flying Burrito Brothers' set. That's the only time I remember thinking, "Okay, well this could turn out to be cool after all."

Then things got REALLY nasty. My friends and I thought about leaving when the Dead refused to come on, but decided to hang in to see the Stones perform because we'd heard they'd be performing material from Let It Bleed (which we'd just listened to for the first time the previous night) and we wanted to hear the new material live.

REALLY bad idea.

I remember a girl on a really bad trip being knocked to the ground and almost trampled to death before a Hell's Angel picked her up and got her to relative safety of the back of the crowd. I remember Mick Jagger having to stop Sympathy For The Devil until order could be restored. I remember another pregnant girl who had apparently been struck in the head with a bottle, by one of her fellow concertgoers, unconscious and bleeding badly, and another guy who looked like his leg might have been broken during one of the many times the crowd rushed and pressed toward the stage.

Maybe 10 minutes later (the Stones were performing Under My Thumb) my girlfriend grabbed my hand and started pulling me away, up the incline, away from the stage. I turned and about 10 feet away there was a dude in a heinous lime-green suit, obviously on some pretty bad stuff, with a gun pointed directly at Mick Jagger. I saw a Hell's Angel lunge toward the guy, but at that point we weren't sticking around; we ran as far and as fast as we could. So I never heard the rest of the Stones' set.

So don't blame the Stones and don't blame the Hell's Angels unless you were there. The crowd behaved far worse than they did, frequently provoking and picking fights with them.

And don't believe everything you see in the Gimme Shelter documentary. Believe me when I tell you the producers were HIGHLY selective in the footage they used. Heaven forbid they alienate paying customers by depicting the fact that THE CONCERTGOERS are responsible for Altamont.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – You Can't Always Get What You Want Lyrics 1 year ago
@[Dilbert714:21775] 100% incorrect, according to numerous interviews by both Jagger and Richards over the years. Both of them have spoken of Mr. Jimmy at various times over the years.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – You Can't Always Get What You Want Lyrics 1 year ago
@[stevethegreat:21774] Actually WhiteWolf is 100% correct, at least according to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in several interviews over the years.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – You Can't Always Get What You Want Lyrics 1 year ago
I remember vividly standing on line at the Tower Records at Bay and Columbus in San Francisco on the first Friday morning in December, 1969, waiting to buy Let It Bleed, the album this song was released on. (The track had been released as a single in July of '69, but went nowhere on the charts until Let It Bleed was released).

One of the reasons this memory is so vivid is that my girlfriend and several of our friends had waited in the queue to buy the album before driving to Alameda County for the Altamont concert the next day.

We camped out in a VW camper that night. Someone had brought a portable record player and I remember all of us sitting cross-legged, passing around joints, listening to both sides of the album in complete silence. This song was the last track on the record. When it had ended, my girlfriend said simply, "Well, that's that then. The 60s is over. The dream is dead. Where to now?"

No album recorded by any group, before or since, has so accurately and completely captured the zeitgeist of the time in which it was recorded. 1968 had been just a hellish, awful year. Despite all our efforts, the war machine was grinding on in Vietnam. Dr. King had been assassinated, and not three months later, Bobby Kennedy. Nixon had won the '68 election in a landslide. The "counterculture" was for sure on the way out, with many of us who had participated in it disgusted by its degeneration into an excuse for self-indulgence and a justification for narcissism and excess.

The Movement had never been that way until the horrifically violent summer of '68.

And then in August 1969 came the Manson murders, which incidentally occurred ten miles or less from the studio on La Cienega where the album was completed.

For me (at the time, and ever since) this song is essentially a telling of the 60s as it had unfolded: The overblown (and, in retrospect, incredibly naïve) optimism; the inevitable, ineluctable disillusionment and cynicism; the grudging, grief-stricken resignation.

All four verses deal in turn with some of our major preoccupations during the 60s: Love, Politics and Drugs (though not necessarily in that order of importance). Along with several other tracks on Let It Bleed (most notably, Gimme Shelter) it perfectly captures the dread and sense of impending doom that was in the air everywhere at the time.

There is a lot of misinformation about what actually occurred at Altamont which has bothered me for years, and which I see in the comments for this song. As someone who was actually there, I'll address these in a separate comment.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
@[Rockinrollnsight:21756] I don't think the song is about heroin use at all, and didn't think so at the time.

This song, more than any other, captures the zeitgeist of '69. It was ALL over. At the time (and to this day) I see Gimme Shelter as a musical announcement that the 60s era was over, everything and everyone has gone too far.

I think the more interesting question for me is: What impact did the Tate-LaBianca murders (which a lot of us realised at the time spelled the end of the era) have on this track as it was finally produced? Did it have anything to do with Jagger's last-minute decision to add a female vocal backup?

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
@[jsper:21755] Gimme Shelter was a track on Let It Bleed, which was recorded in sessions in February and November, 1969. I'm not sure about the entire track's history, but I do know that a very pregnant, sleepy Merry Clayton recorded the female vocals after being summoned to the studio one night in November, 1969.

Here's a bit of bitter irony (not to mention, spectacularly bad timing): Let It Bleed was released on December 5, 1969, THE DAY BEFORE Altamont.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
@[BatmanB:21754]

Actually, Let It Bleed (the album Gimme Shelter) appeared on was recorded in sessions in both February and November, 1969.

The album was, ironically and with spectacularly bad timing, was not released until ONE DAY BEFORE Altamont.

How's that for crappy timing?

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
My two cents' worth: To the extent this song is about something, it's about 1969—NOT Altamont. (This was recorded prior to Altamont, but Let It Bleed, the Album this single was on, was actually released ONE DAY before Altamont.) I always felt that this song, more than any other, perfectly captures the zeitgeist of 1969, following the absolutely hellish year of 1968.

Back then it seemed that the end of civilised society was, indeed, Just A Shot Away.

I thought at the time this album was released that, musically speaking, it was an announcement that the 60s were truly over. Most of us had had that moment of realisation the previous August, when Sharon Tate (whom I believe Jagger had met casually a couple of times) was so brutally murdered by the Manson family in Benedict Canyon.

I have always wondered what relation there is between that event, this song and the apparently-very-last-minute decision to have a female vocal.

I'll tuck it away in my List of Things to Ask Mick Jagger if I'm Ever Lucky Enough to Meet Him.

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter Lyrics 1 year ago
A shout-out for Merry Clayton, the most famous female backup vocalist you never heard of, who recorded the vocals in just a few takes when summoned to the studio (literally) in the middle of the night in curlers and VERY pregnant. (She subsequently miscarried, and some blame the strain of this recording session).

Ms. Clayton is still alive, but sadly lost both her lower legs following a car crash in June 2014.

It's literally impossible for me to imagine this song without her vocals. I'm not sure Gimme Shelter would have become the instant classic it did without her voice.

We're thinking of you, Merry—and thanks for the memories!

submissions
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil Lyrics 1 year ago
You have to hand it to lyricists who can work the word 'politesse' into song lyrics.

Of course, this was recorded way back when musicians (or probably more accurately, the music business) didn't assume the public were mindless consumerists . . . .

submissions
Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper Lyrics 1 year ago
Grace Jones is way too underrated. Songs like this, 'Warm Leatherette,' her cover of 'La Vie en Rose,' 'Walking in the Rain,' 'Private Life'—she and David Byrne are the parents of New Wave.

Don't know why she's not as recognised as she rightfully should be.

submissions
Grace Jones – Warm Leatherette Lyrics 1 year ago
It's hard to overstate the importance this track had on the development of New Wave music. She is overlooked these days, but I think she and David Byrne are the parents of New Wave.

submissions
Shirley Bassey – I (Who Have Nothing) Lyrics 1 year ago
"I (Who Have Nothing)" is a cover of Italian song "Uno Dei Tanti" (English: "One of Many"), with music by Carlo Donida and lyrics by Giulio "Mogol" Rapetti. "Uno Dei Tanti" was released by Joe Sentieri in 1961. The English lyrics for "I (Who Have Nothing)" were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also produced the June 1963 Ben E. King record using the backing track from Joe Sentieri's record (orchestra conducted by Luis Enriquez Bacalov).

Dame Shirley Bassey released the song (produced by George Martin) in September 1963, where it reached #6 on UK charts. She has performed the song at almost every live concert she has given since, and (even though Ben E. King first recorded it in English) this standard is almost universally associated with Dame Bassey. (And in my opinion rightly so; no singer who has covered this song has ever brought to it the passion and gut-wrenching emotion Dame Bassey has. The Tom Jones version, released in 1970, is a good cover which reached No. 11 in the US. Nobody has ever made it their own like Dame Bassey has.)

While the song is a heart-wrenching tale of unrequited love, there is an unmistakable and unavoidable, subversive class dimension to the lyrics. This is one of the reasons it was so wildly popular in the UK.

submissions
Roberta Flack – I (Who Have Nothing) Lyrics 1 year ago
Actually it's a bit more nuanced than that.

"I (Who Have Nothing)" is a cover of Italian song "Uno Dei Tanti" (English: "One of Many"), with music by Carlo Donida and lyrics by Giulio "Mogol" Rapetti.[1] "Uno Dei Tanti" was released by Joe Sentieri in 1961. The English lyrics for "I (Who Have Nothing)" were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also produced the Ben E. King record using the backing track from Joe Sentieri's record (orchestra conducted by Luis Enriquez Bacalov).

While the song IS about unrequited love, there is an unmistakable class dimension in the lyrics that you can't escape.

While the original English-language version and lyrics were recorded by Ben E. King, the most commercially successful version was recorded by Dame Shirley Bassey (produced by George Martin) in September 1963, where it reached #6 on UK charts. She performs the song at almost every live concert she gives. Fair or not, the song has always been closely identified with Dame Bassey, so much so that many people are unaware that Ben E. King originally recorded the English language version.

The most popular version in the United States was by Tom Jones, peaking at #11 in Cashbox and at #14 in Billboard in the fall of 1970.

submissions
Pennywise – California Dreamin Lyrics 1 year ago
@[ManoStuart:21391] I think you're reading things into the song that just aren't there. There may, as you suggest, be an anti-religious sub-theme, although that would be a bit bizarre for The Mamas and The Papas (every member of whom flirted with Eastern religions during the period in which it was fashionable to do so—and there is absolutely nothing in the lyrics to suggest an attack on Christianity).

I think your homelessness comment is more than a bit of a stretch. The song was released in 1966 (roughly 2 years after LBJ launched his Great Society legislative agenda, and the highly-supported 'war on poverty' entered the national vocabulary). Less than 25 million people in the US were below the poverty level (as compared to over 43 million in 2016), and while homelessness wasn't unknown, it certainly wasn't anything close to either common or epidemic (as it is today, June 2017). Further, unemployment was below 5% for almost the entire decade.

Over and above those figures, like most of the white, over-privileged young people who made up 'the movement,' The Mamas and The Papas were not notably (or even moderately) concerned with the plight of the poor—and both their 'activism' (such as it was) and the thematic preoccupations of their material during this time period bear this out. 'The movement' (and this is coming from someone who was part of it) wasn't all that interested in the plight of the poor—unless they lived in the so-called 'Third World.'

The song is about a young hippy who would prefer to be 'safe and warm' in a highly-idealised, unrealistic LA, but feels constrained by his commitment to a woman. It's a pretty straightforward song.

submissions
Steely Dan – Third World Man Lyrics 1 year ago
@[taverner:21318] I think you're spot on. These days people tend to forget how politicised Hollywood was during and after the Reagan election. I was a film student in L.A. when this was released, and it makes most sense to me. It captures that moment's liberal and progressive zeitgeist concerning all the corrupt regimes the US was propping up (and had been for years).

submissions
Steely Dan – Gaucho Lyrics 1 year ago
The 'Dan has been one of my favourite bands since the early '70's—EXCEPT for this song. I have to ask:

Is no one offended by the song's blatant homophobia?

submissions
Steely Dan – Dirty Work Lyrics 1 year ago
@[Bazooka27:21236]

Like so many of Steely Dan's lyrics, I think you're spot-on: These lyrics could obviously apply to the protagonist's addiction to an illicit affair with a married woman, but (without too much of a stretch) one could interpret it as addiction to alcohol, or drugs, or work, or achievement—anything that you know is self-destructive or unhealthy for you, but gives you an incredibly addictive high.

I think it's indicative of Steely Dan's brilliance that, 45 years after the release of Can't Buy A Thrill, people are still not only listening to their music—but finding personal meaning in their lyrics.

submissions
Steely Dan – Deacon Blues Lyrics 1 year ago
Everyone's comments are so insightful.

What's interesting about some Steely Dan lyrics is that you can come back to them at various stages in your life with a different understanding. This song doesn't mean to me today what it did in '77.

To me, the protagonist is a man who has come to the realisation that his affluent, suburban lifestyle, its trappings and the people who populate its landscape are empty, shallow and mean nothing. His consciousness has expanded—but almost to the point where his psyche has disappeared into the reality of the futility of his existence.

He decides to strike out on a new path—but is finding that, no matter the drastic lifestyle changes he's made, he just can't escape the meaninglessness and the void.

Just my two cents' worth . . . .

* This information can be up to 15 minutes delayed.
Back to top