Skip to main content

In one sense, no - they're incomplete without music. Lyrics are written for performance, backed by or woven into a wall of sound. On the silent page they are thin shadows, lacking the emotional force, the resonance and complexity, of the song they belong with.

But you could say the same of Shakespeare's plays. A good production brings the characters to life, and shows the big picture of the play's meaning more clearly than a thousand footnotes can. Yet we save Shakespeare's plays in books (which he never did), and savor them there. He crammed so much life and meaning into his plays that they can stand upon their words alone.

So which rock anthems stand up as poetry? Which songwriters also rate as poets? Leonard Cohen was an acclaimed poet before he ever wrote a song. Jim Morrison and Patti Smith started off writing poetry, before they thought to put music behind their words. Bob Dylan called Smokey Robinson "America's greatest living poet". I have five dozen favorite lyricists, but I'd put Bob Dylan head and shoulders above the competition. If you disagree, that's fine - I hope you'll make your own case in the comments below. What song is timeless poetry to you? Please share some of its lyrics with us.

All the greatest songwriters share some of the craft of poets. They look beyond the obvious, seeking fresh visions, words and images to amaze us. They edit and shape their words carefully, for maximum meaning and impact. In the most poetic songs, not only are there no wasted words, but the lines reach beyond their surfaces: they tell a story, and they also strike our imagination, tolling echoes that ripple into our unconscious. Just as great poems do.

Here, to show how it's done, are the verses from Like a Rolling Stone:

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About havin' to be scrounging your next meal . . .

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
Nobody's ever taught you how to live out on the street
And now you're gonna have to get used to it
You say you never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say, "Would you like to make a deal?" . . .

You never turned around to see the frowns
On the jugglers and the clowns
When they all did tricks for you
Never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
After he took from you everything he could steal . . .

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're all drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you'd better take your diamond ring, you better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal . . .

I said there were no wasted words in great songs, and yet, I just went through those lyrics to correct them - to add a word or two here, and subtract one there. So they would fit the song as Dylan sings it, which I link to above. Bob didn't sing them the way he wrote them on the page. He didn't improve them so much as fit them to the moment, the music, the rhythm and the flow. This is one of his great strengths as a singer - his sense of phrasing. He has a keen sense of rhythm. He also has a rich and subtle sense of emotion, and layers a lot of detail, a great deal of humanity, into his tales, as he sings them. His voice is an unconventional instrument, but it has much more tone to it than most listeners realize.

Before he sings them, Dylan's lyrics on the page already carry a tumbling rhythm. He writes them so that it's hard even to say them without putting some music into them. They want to be sung, like many poems. Like Shakespeare, he absolutely owns the language. He has a huge vocabulary, of both words and images, and his stories always feel fresh (well, almost always - some of his deliberately folky or Christian songs seem strident now). He has a great command, not just of slang, but of voice: he usually writes from a character's viewpoint, and we recognize his characters and narrators from how they speak.

When Dylan wrote this song, he was absolutely on fire with inspiration. From 1964-66 he just grew from strength to strength. Dylan was selling records, wowing critics, and his ideas were changing the way the Beatles, the Stones, the Beach Boys, the Byrds and Motown wrote songs. He was, as British rock critics are fond of saying these days, in his Imperial Phase. In December of '64, the Righteous Brothers released You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'. DJs were so used to cookie-cutter three minute singles that Phil Spector listed the song's playing time as 3:05. It was actually 3:50, but Phil figured the DJs would either fade it out, or not play it, if they knew how long it was. Eight months later, Dylan brought out Like a Rolling Stone, which clocked in at more than 6 minutes. It was an audacious statement of intent: Show me every established boundary of pop, I'll overwhelm them all. Dylan and the Beatles were the first two rock bands to go on world tours. Dylan wrote the first double album in rock.

Dylan was already king for a second time. He'd been king of the folkies, and now he was king of the hipsters. But everyone wanted something from him, wanted a piece of him, and everyone expected something. People turned off his power when he went electric at Newport, and shouted "Judas" from the darkness at his concerts. And he certainly met every kind of poseur, flunky and hanger-on that travelled in the in-crowd. He was sick and tired of all the mindless bullshit he encountered, but at the same time he's a man full of fight, and being surrounded by enemies and leeches galvanized a ruthless determination in him.

For fifty years Dylan's been writing great songs, yet in these years he was exceptionally prolific, and sparkling with brilliance. This whole album is rich with rhymes and wordplay, and rolls forward like the rapids of a river. Look at just the first four lines of this song: he squeezes in time/fine/dime/prime, then call/doll/fall/all, and he rhymes didn't you with kiddin' you. He owned the language, and it danced at his command.

I never noticed, until I studied Like a Rolling Stone on the page, how tightly structured it is. Look at the verses, they each follow the same arc, the arc of the story. At the top of each verse, Miss Lonely is dressed so fine, or going to the finest school, or surrounded by servants, or thinking she's got it made. In each verse, illusions get ripped away and she's pulled down to street-level, and she hits the pavement harder each time.

If you read the lyrics to the album Highway 61 Revisited, you'll find that all nine songs, from this one which opens it, to the sweeping dirge that brings the curtain down, Desolation Row, they're all full of anger, bitterness and desolation. But when you listen to the album, it doesn't leave you lying in a bathtub with a straight-razor. There is all this darkness coursing through its veins, but it is part of a rich emotional palette with many other hues to it. And, when you listen, you hear the band having a rollicking good time, and that exuberance lifts it out of the darkness, so it doesn't get stuck.

In Like a Rolling Stone, Dylan transcends the darkness before you even get to the music - at least, it reads like that to me. There's very little hope or happiness here. But there is some bedrock of truth, some brutal faith in life itself. Miss Lonely has lost all her finery, and all her fairytales, but in the end she's shown that they were all useless, they just protected her from honest living.

When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal . . .
At least she's finally reached a starting point. Perhaps, if she's forced to look at the real world, she can begin to become her own self.

So, back to the question we started with: Can Rock Lyrics be Poetry? What Song, or Songwriter, has lyrics that sing to you, even when you read them on the page? If you're moved to put some of your favorite lyrics in a comment below, that will certainly delight me. Or if you just want to name which artists write the best lyrics (or, alternatively, the worst), that would be peachy too.

Here are some other writers who I think touch the heavens, in their best work. There are many others I couldn't fit in the poll, like Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Kate Bush, Ian Curtis, Morrissey, Chuck D and Alex Turner. And even these brief lists give short shrift to all the great writers of the last twenty years, and to soul and rap. So, please educate me.

Finally, Happy Birthday Bob Dylan - you've changed the world, and made mine a better place.

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Fri May 24, 2013 at 05:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Protest Music and Community Spotlight.

Poll

Which of these is the greatest lyric writer:

20%24 votes
0%1 votes
0%1 votes
18%22 votes
4%5 votes
23%28 votes
15%18 votes
6%8 votes
1%2 votes
5%7 votes
0%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
1%2 votes
0%1 votes

| 120 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar & (47+ / 0-)

    Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule




    DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
    SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
    Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
    Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
    MON 11:30 AM Political Book Club Susan from 29
    Mon 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29, michelewln
    Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
    TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
    alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
    alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
    Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
    WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
    Wed 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
    Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
    THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
    Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
    Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
    FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
    Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
    SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
    Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 05:31:15 PM PDT

  •  Patti Smith should have been fit in your poll (12+ / 0-)

    since she really does qualify as both

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:10:01 PM PDT

    •  It's hard to measure them fairly as pure lyricists (7+ / 0-)

      because we know their work with music attached. Bowie's one of my favorite songwriters. But he may be more clever than smart: he'll have some very catchy lines ("Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?"), and weave a strong emotional mood, but he often doesn't bother to tell a story. Somehow, with the music, he suggests a story.

      I find Patti Smith's work generally very powerful, but I don't play it that often. Are there any particular songs you'd point to and say, that's one of the best lyrics in rock?

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:31:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Radio Baghdad (18+ / 0-)
        Suffer not Your neighbor's affliction
        Suffer not Your neighbor's paralysis
        But extend your hand Extend your hand
        Lest you vanish in the city And be but a trace
        Just a vanished ghost And your legacy
        All the things you knew Science, mathematics, thought
        Severely weakened Like irrigation systems
        In the tired veins forming From the Tigris and Euphrates
        In the realm of peace All the world revolved
        All the world revolved Around a perfect circle
        City of Baghdad City of scholars
        Empirical humble Center of the world
        City in ashes City of Baghdad
        City of Baghdad Abrasive aloof

        Oh, in Mesopotamia Aloofness ran deep
        Deep in the veins of the great rivers
        That form the base Of Eden
        And the tree The tree of knowledge
        Held up its arms To the sky
        All the branches of knowledge All the branches of knowledge
        Cradling Cradling
        Civilization In the realm of peace
        All the world revolved Around a perfect circle
        Oh Baghdad Center of the world
        City of ashes With its great mosques
        Erupting from the mouth of god Rising from the ashes like
        a speckled bird Splayed against the mosaic sky
        Oh, clouds around We created the zero
        But we mean nothing to you You would believe
        That we are just some mystical tale We are just a swollen belly
        That gave birth to Sinbad, Scheherazade We gave birth
        Oh, oh, to the zero The perfect number
        We invented the zero And we mean nothing to you
        Our children run through the streets
        And you sent your flames Your shooting stars
        Shock and awe Shock and awe
        Like some, some Imagined warrior production
        Twenty-first century No chivalry involved
        No Bushido

        Oh, the code of the West Long gone
        Never been Where does it lie?
        You came, you came Through the west
        Annihilated a people And you come to us
        But we are older than you You come you wanna
        You wanna come and rob the cradle
        Of civilization And you read yet you read
        You read Genesis You read of the tree
        You read of the tree Beget by god
        That raised its branches into the sky Every branch of knowledge
        Of the cradle of civilization

        Of the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates
        Oh, in Mesopotamia Aloofness ran deep
        The face of Eve turning What sky did she see
        What garden beneath her feet The one you drill
        You drill Pulling the blood of the earth
        Little droplets of oil for bracelets Little jewels
        Sapphires You make bracelets
        Round your own world We are weeping tears
        Rubies We offer them to you
        We are just Your Arabian nightmare
        We invented the zero But we mean nothing to you
        Your Arabian nightmare

        City of stars City of scholarship
        Science City of ideas
        City of light City
        City of ashes That the great Caliph
        Walked through His naked feet formed a circle
        And they built a city A perfect city of Baghdad
        In the realm of peace And all the world revolved
        And they invented And they mean nothing to you
        Nothing to you Nothing

        Go to sleep Go to sleep my child
        Go to sleep And I'll sing you a lullaby
        A lullaby for our city A lullaby of Baghdad
        Go to sleep Sleep my child
        Sleep Sleep...
        Run Run...

        You sent your lights Your bombs
        You sent them down on our city Shock and awe
        Like some crazy t.v. show

        They're robbing the cradle of civilization
        They're robbing the cradle of civilization
        They're robbing the cradle of civilization

        Suffer not The paralysis of your neighbor
        Suffer not But extend your hand

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:01:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I couldn't vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht

      There were too many omissions, and it's hard to pick just one as the "greatest" in any case.

      As for the diary...

      Poetry that lives only on the page is boring unless you're e.e. cummings.  A great poem is always better read aloud.  The whole tradition of poetry began as a way to pass history and mythology down through the generations and likely predates the written word by many thousands of years.  Just my opinion, but I usually find poetry written to stay dead on a page to be pretentious and boring.

      A great poem makes me want to read it out loud, the same way a great song makes me want to sing along.  So I'm going to say that, yes, rock lyrics (and hip-hop lyrics and folk lyrics and country lyrics, etc.) are poetry -- lyrical poetry.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

      by CharlieHipHop on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:09:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome to pick 5 or 10 favorite writers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges, dharmafarmer

        If I spent a week working on it, I could come up with a list of 100.

        My poll question, Which of these is the greatest lyric writer?, actually just asks which is the greatest "of these". As my diary states, I think Dylan's the greatest of all, but he's not on the list.

        You make a good point, but it's not the whole story. e.e. cummings is a fine example of a poet who played both to sound, and to sight. He put so much play into how precisely he arranged the words on the page. So an essential part of experiencing his poem is how it reads when you look at it.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:08:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  yes (15+ / 0-)

    at least if you mean Dylan's lyrics. Louie Louie is not poetry; Tangled Up In Blue is. IMO most of the songwriters on your poll have written some pretty good poetry.

    "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

    by esquimaux on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:40:00 PM PDT

  •  Robert Hunter. (10+ / 0-)

    But the poetry/lyric debate is pretty sterile. Are birds reptiles? Are dreams thoughts?

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:42:49 PM PDT

  •  I'll Probably Get Little Sympathy but "Brandy" (9+ / 0-)

    from Looking Glass is, in addition to a fine piece of traditional style poetry, probably the finest match of the emotion of each of its words to the emotion of the melody at that point I ever heard.

    My music is Celtic trad and I am a sailboater who grew up enthralled with the tall ships, during the years of the folk music revival so this song pushes every button in my soul.

    The lyrics could've been written at any time in the history of the US; change "whiskey" to "beer" and it could be as ancient as civilization itself, which is very unusual for a song in which mainstream technology is core to the story line.

    When aired back in the day the pace of this was sped up a shade as was the practice to cram more ad time into an hour. So there was a lot more energy in the song as popularly heard than the clip conveys. I've heard artists of those days speak of tailoring recording performances so that the aired songs would deliver what they intended.

    Definitely poetry, and the number of middle aged women named "Brandy" testifies to its popularity.

    I also like it in a perverse way at times when the poetry crashes and burns.

    This infamous line from Rod Stewart says the absolute exact opposite of the writer's intent:

    "Don't be afraid, my virgin child,
     Just let your inhibitions run wild."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:01:14 PM PDT

  •  Great story for you (7+ / 0-)

    I don't know if you remember this, but the composer John Corigliano, who had apparently been living under a rock. found some "poems" by Bob Dylan and decided to set them to music for Sylvia McNair. It has been recorded, even. The critics found it, well, jarring. The linked review seems a LOT deferential to the composer.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:04:13 PM PDT

    •  Everyone reinterprets Dylan; I admit, Corigliano (5+ / 0-)

      takes it a lot further than most. It is jarring. It seems to me that it pushes against both the natural music in the lines, and their meaning. But directors do that with Shakespeare - they figure we've seen the gist of his classics so much, that to find something fresh they turn it inside out.

      The most ambitious reinterpreter of Dylan is Dylan himself. Some of his classics have gone through more than a dozen incarnations; and there are live albums, like Budokan, in which he rewrites his whole corpus.

      His own favorite Dylan cover is Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower, where Jimi took an elusive folk song and made it into an electric anthem. Ever since, Dylan's played it Jimi's way.

      Bryan Ferry has been stretching Dylan's songs into new shapes for forty years now. Here he takes Positively 4th Street, one of Dylan's most caustic put-downs, and finds in it an etherial beauty. The second half of this video is Ferry being interviewed. He says of Dylan, "He's unique. He did bring poetry into pop-rock music, and revolutionized the industry, him and the Beatles, when they came along, were a breath of fresh air . . ."

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:58:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   Funny, I've never thought of Brandy (5+ / 0-)

        as taking place in a US  port. I've never been able to place the nationality in my head,  though I've tried.

        We can't all be Paul Kersey.

        by furrfu on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:25:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it doesn't have any specifically American (3+ / 0-)

          points of reference. It opens

          There's a port on a Western bay
          And it serves a hundred ships a day
          Lonely sailors pass the time away
          And talk about their homes

          And there's a girl in this harbor town . . .

          and later talks about "a braided chain made of finest silver from the North of Spain", and "gifts from far away".

          So the spell it casts is not US, it's simply harbor town, a bar that sailors pass through on their way to somewhere else. Which is central to the drifting sadness in the song.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:21:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here's Bryan Ferry's "Smoke Gets in your Eyes" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, Monsieur Georges

        By Jerome Kern. From the 1930s.

        "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

        by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:37:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Roxy Music are a favorite of mine - they are a (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dbug, Monsieur Georges

          mother lode of shimmering beauty and invention. Half of Brian Ferry's solo career has been a place for him to steal and reinvent classic songs.

          I enjoyed Smoke Gets in your Eyes. Here's Ferry in '73, performing and transmogrifying Dylan's A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall.

          And here's the tribute Roxy Music released when Lennon was shot, which reached #1 in England - a beautiful version of Lennon's 'Jealous Guy'.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:35:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And you've gotta love Brian Eno (3+ / 0-)

            Who played keyboards and contributed to the first two Roxy Music albums. Plus the album "Low" he made with David Bowie is a classic (one side sounds like Bowie and the  other side is Eno). Another Green World and Takiing Tiger Mountain By Strategy are great (Eno) albums, too, With lots of poetry.

            "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

            by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:27:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, the first two Roxy LPs are most interesting. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Monsieur Georges, RiveroftheWest

              Such an inspired idea, since he lacked the musical chops at the time, to approach the synth as a source of noises, not music. Eno also produced the most adventurous Talking Heads albums (and did a lot to keep U2 and Coldplay interesting).

              I adore Bowie from '69 to '83, but Low is my favorite - such a shockingly new sound palette (OK, he did nick some ideas from Kraftwerk), which reverberated through the '80s electronic revolution and beyond.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:23:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  My sig line says it all for me. (13+ / 0-)

    But, the people in you list are all good, I would add Donald Fagen....just sayin'.

    We had a fun thread using Dylan lyrics in kos' diary earlier.
    Starting with kos' comment here.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:05:25 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for your kindness, Rescue Rangers (10+ / 0-)

    I've had a hard day, and a bad headache, and I really needed some rescuing. I might have a rum and coke, too. I hope that you're all embarking on a very pleasant weekend.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:11:37 PM PDT

  •  I'm partial to a few other rock lyricists as well (10+ / 0-)

    I'd include Don van Vliet (hell yes), Mike Watt, Jack Brewer, Robert Pollard, some Joe Strummer, Ian Mackaye, Andy Partridge, Lou Reed,  and (even) Green Garthside. However, there's one that comes to mind immediately.

    Mark E. Smith: : primary writer, vocalist, and perennial leader of the UK post-punk group The Fall for well nigh 30 years. Smith is also one of my favorite vocalists in rock, although his heavy--at more recently, slurred--Mancunian brogue is an acquired taste to be sure.

    Nonetheless, I rate him so highly because he is one of the most unique and original writers not so much working within the confines of a genre, but working against those confines.

    Drawing on influences ranging from middle and high-brow SF, gothic literature and general junk culture (including the clipped syntax of  print advertisements), his best lyrics remain utterly memorable, if paradoxically as obtuse as (say) mid-60s Dylan.

    And as befitting rock, they read best when heard (if you know what I mean). They don't grab one immediately with their stunning wordplay--25 years on and I couldn't even tell you with complete confidence what "Garden" for example 'means'-- but Smith's best lyrics/ narratives possess a true staying power. Even the most inscrutable seem just on the edge of revealing themselves, only to splinter off into multiple other readings.

    The quality of his output has grown more varied as age and alcohol have taken their toll. His writing on the more recent Fall records (thirty and counting!), seems less incandescent than the bulk of his writing over the first fifteen years or so. Regardless, there is only one Mark Smith.  

    Is it poetry? I’d pay to hear it in itself and would gladly buy it, divorced from its musical bed.

    C'n'c-s Mithering Lyrics
    (in the interests of copyright, just a sample)

    Three days
    Three months
    Three days
    Three months
    A treatise
    A treatise To explain these

    First was cash 'n' carry house dance
    In Lancashire they're A In King Nat Ltd. empire

    Kwik Save is there
    The scene started here

    Then was America
    Then was America
    We went there
    Big A&M Herb was there
    His offices had fresh air
    But his rota was mediocre US purge,
    rock 'n' pop filth
    Their material's filched
    And the secret of their lives Is...

    All the English groups
    Act like peasants with free milk
    On a route
    On a route to the loot
    To candy mountain
    Five wacky English proletariat idiots

    Californians always think of sex
    Or think of death
    Five hundred girl deaths
    A Mexico revenge,
    it's stolen land
    They really get it off on

    "Don't hurt me please"

    Rapists fill the TVs
    And the secret of their lives Is S.E.X..

    I have dreams, I can see
    Carloads of negro Nazis

    Like Faust with beards
    Hydrochloric shaved weirds

    He can also be hilariously deadpan,  as in “He Pep!”
    North of Hamptonshire.
    I believe there's a new drug out.
    [It's called speed I] wrote a song about it
    Conceptually a la Bowie.
    But it's been lost in the vaults of the record company By our manager
    So instead our new 45 is
    'Girlies'!
    -"He Pep!"

    On the page, it may not give Wallace Stevens anything to worry about- within the context of the track (and heard), it strikes this user as an utterly apropos dismissal of the mundane nature of what passes for pop received wisdom in  the music biz.

    This is but an introduction. It really is an essay in itself.
    Discussion:

    My shortlist: "Garden" "Eat Y'Self Fitter" "Free Range" "Leave the Capitol" "He Pep!" "I am Kurious Oranj" "Wings"

    … virtually anything lyric off of Grotesque (After the Gramme) (one  of the greatest lps ever released).

    For the curious (NSFW)
    The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E Smith

    •  MES also gives the writer a certain encouragement (6+ / 0-)

      to leave the typos in! LOL

      Great diary, btw, Brecht.

    •  Of course I love your comment. But there's so much (5+ / 0-)

      to it that it might take half an hour to reply to (I peck slowly), so I'll have to come back in a bit for it.

      Huge props for the Green Gartside shout out - brilliant lyrics and lovely songs. Who could be uncharmed by a man who writes a fan letter to Jacques Derrida, and pronounces his name wrong throughout the song, as a tongue-in-cheek deflation of poseurs?

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:06:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Captain Beefheart was certainly one of a kind. (6+ / 0-)

      You could generally find him mining for veins of rare minerals, when he wasn't exploring entirely different planets. But my favorite song of his, which is so surprisingly sweet and open, is Too Much Time:

      I got too much time, too much time
      I got too much time to be without love, too much time
      I got too much time, I got too much time
      Too much time to be without love
      In my life I've got a deep devotion
      Wide as the sky and deep as the ocean
      Every war that's waged make me cry
      Every bird that goes by gets me high

      Sometimes when it's late and I'm a little bit hungry
      I heat up some old stale beans, open up a can of sardines,
      Eat crackers and dream about somebody that can cook for me. . .

      I've heard Guided by Voices are god's gift, but I saw them in a hole in the wall in Chicago, when Pollard was shitfaced and lousy, and haven't explored further yet. You may mean Jack Bruce - I never heard of Brewer. Watt and Mackaye are both impressive, from what little I've heard of them. Though Double Nickels on the Dime is practically an encyclopedia by itself. Joe Strummer and Andy Partridge are both giants who fractured their own bands, but wrote a lot of great songs first. And the Clash have a huge legacy, just from showing a hundred other bands how much you could do with punk. Some fine fiery anthems along the way. Lou Reed broke an awful lot of rules in the '60s, and wrote a massive songbook. I think he's either the only, or one of two, songwriters whose poetry has made it into the Paris Review.

      Finally, the punk who never quits, Mark E. Smith. You know, he's one of those people I have ten albums by, which I hardly ever play. Usually, when I need a fix of the Fall, I drink a jar of coffee and play Totally Wired. I like Oh! Brother too. I know, there's a lot more there. I do have a pretty good 2CD collection of theirs, I'll see if I can find it in my disordered collection.

      I certainly am drawn to those who stubbornly hoe their own row (and Smith's as stubborn as Lou Reed, and as ornery), until they've cultivated a whole hill of their own (Tom Waits, Nick Cave, John Lydon). I know there are different flavors of the Fall. They sometimes got rather poppy (for them), when Brix was in the band. But it still seems that you can be as idiosyncratic as Neil Young, and achieve a wide emotional range of music and tone - but Smith just doesn't have the breadth in him, or the voice, to achieve that.

      I think I'd better drink a modest quart of coffee, and track down your seven picks of their work, and then let you know how they went down. That'll hold me until I excavate that 2CD set of theirs.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 01:58:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No Kane/Goffen? (7+ / 0-)

    Holland-Dozier-Holland?
    Deke Richards?
    Berry Gordy?

    To answer your question, yes, absolutely.

    SOS - Save Our Sigs!

    by blueoregon on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:25:10 PM PDT

    •  Goffin-King and HDH: absolutely yes. (8+ / 0-)

      I see each team more as storytellers, crafting a memorable narrative for a pop song is underrated skill.

      Both songwriting teams had an uncanny ability of plunking the listener right down in media res in a scenario  ("You Keep Running Away," "Seven Rooms of Gloom," "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," "Pleasant valley Sunday,").

      Hal David (RIP) had that cinematic touch, as well.

    •  I thought about Holland-Dozier-Holland. Was Gordy (5+ / 0-)

      that good? I'd have guessed there were half a dozen Motown writers or teams ahead of him. Though perhaps he did some good earlier work with Jackie Wilson et al., and he helped the Jackson Five. I think by '65 his main poetic impulse was counting the money. Indeed, one of his greatest gems was:

      The best things in life are free,
      But you can give them to the birds and bees,
      I want money
      Okay, looking at lists of songs, Holland-Dozier-Holland would win Motown. Now, you'll notice from my poll that I was just looking at individuals. Hence Lennon stands alone. In fact, Lennon-McCartney are not only a great team, but one of the minority where they each had equal facility with words and with music - so they had a synergy that Jagger-Richards rarely reach.

      I knew Goffin-King wrote some great songs, but I didn't know just how many. Pleasant Valley Sunday is a very sharp little satire, and Goin' Back is a lovely song.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:32:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i love Macca. He is the Melodymaster. but (4+ / 0-)

        he definitely did not have equal facility with words and music, as his solo efforts prove.  they succeed in spite of strange lyrics, because his melodies are timeless.

        I definitely agree about Holland Dozier Holland insofar as Motown.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:19:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, Macca's inordinately gifted with music: he's (3+ / 0-)

          the most naturally musically gifted of the Beatles, with such a bold sense of melody. His bass inventions, during the last few years of the Beatles, amaze me.

          I could cherry-pick his work to show what he was capable of lyrically - Eleanor Rigby is mostly his, and Band on the Run maintains a high standard. But you're right that the music just rains on his fertile imagination.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:31:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  First, try to define "Music". (5+ / 0-)

    Then, try to define, "Rock Music".
    Then, try to define "Poetry".
    Then, try to define, "Poet".

    If you're not yet tired of the exercise in scholasticism, you can move on to contemplating whether "Rock Music lyrics are Poetry". (The answer, by the way, is that of course they are poetry, although most of them aren't very good poetry.)

    Here is one of my favorite pieces of "rock music".

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:29:57 PM PDT

  •  I realize (6+ / 0-)

    that sometimes the songs I love are not great poetry and that the singer has been panned, but having said that...

    Of course, I hear the voice and the way it was delivered as I put the song down.  Pure nostalgia on my part.

    The song version has different words:

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    The poem:

    Listen to the Warm

    By Rod McKuen

    I live alone.
    It hasn't always been that way.
    It's nice sometimes
                to open up the heart a little
    and let some hurt come in.
    It proves you're still alive.

    I'm not sure what it means.
    Why we cannot shake the old loves from out minds.
    It must be that we build on memory
    and make them more that what they were.
                         And is the manufacture
    just a safe device for closing up the wall?

    I do remember.
    The only fuzzy circumstance
    is something where-and how.
    Why, I know.
    It happens just because we need
    to want and to be wanted too,
    when love is here  or gone
    to lie down in the darkness
                           and listen to the warm.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:47:04 PM PDT

    •  Sorry! No wonder the words are different (6+ / 0-)

      Here is the correct song to the words above...there are two versions of Listen to the Warm.

      I do like the other one, too.

      http://www.youtube.com/...

      Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:51:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It has a lot of soul to it. And it hits my (7+ / 0-)

        sweet spot - I'm always ready to explore the smudged gray horizon, balanced between a seaful of sorrow and a skyful of hope.

        I know what you mean, of course you hear the voice even when you read the words alone. There's a point to looking for the best lyrics. But the more I do it, the more I feel like I'm looking at black-and-white reproductions of great paintings. The music and the words were made to knit together. I guess the main value I'm finding here is, it's interesting to see how good different writers are at this one side of their art, and it's surprising that many words are better or worse than I'd ever have guessed, before I looked at them in silence.

        I have many favorite songs that live on that gray horizon. But this one, though quite unlike yours, seems somehow to respond to it: Here's David Sylvian, with Let the Happiness in.

        Thanks for stopping by, cfk, and have a good weekend.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:55:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Love those gray horizons, too! (4+ / 0-)

          Their liminality opens great spaces for exploration.  Tom Waits' Cold, Cold Ground is a favorite of mine for that reason.  On their own, the lyrics paint a picture of ugly, isolationist deprivation, but Tom's genius is in setting them against a warm, sweet, "couples'-dancing" melody that argues with the words and creates that liminal space.   http://www.youtube.com/...

          Crest fallen sidekick in an old cafe
          never slept with a dream before he had to go away
          there's a bell in the tower
          Uncle Ray bought a round
          don't worry about the army
          in the cold cold ground
          now don't be a cry baby
          when there's wood in the shed
          there's a bird in the chimmney
          and a stone in my bed
          when the road's washed out
          they pass the bottle around
          and wait in the arms
          of the cold cold ground
          cold cold ground
          there's a ribbon in the willow
          and a tire swing rope
          and a briar patch of berries
          takin over the slope
          the cat'll sleep in the mailbox
          and we'll never go to town
          til we bury every dream in
          the cold cold ground
          cold cold ground
          gimme a Winchester rifle and a whole box of shells
          blow the roof off the goat barn
          let it roll down the hill
          the piano is firewood
          times square is a dream
          I find we'll lay down together in the cold cold ground
          cold cold ground
          cold cold ground
          call the cops on the Breedloves
          bring a bible and a rope
          and a whole box of rebel
          and a bar of soap
          make a pile of trunk tires
          and burn 'em all down
          bring a dollar with you baby
          in the cold cold ground
          cold cold ground
          take a weathervane rooster
          throw rocks at his head
          stop talking to the neighbors
          til we all go dead
          beware of my temper
          and the dog that I've found
          break all the windows in the
          cold cold ground
          cold cold ground
          •  What a lovely excursion! Yes, brutal lyrics with a (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

            lilting reel behind them. And such poetry:

            there's a ribbon in the willow
            and a tire swing rope
            and a briar patch of berries
            takin over the slope
            the cat'll sleep in the mailbox
            and we'll never go to town
            til we bury every dream in
            the cold cold ground
            Tom Waits is so prolific, he's hard to keep up with. I love how he started near the mainstream, and evolved so far from there. He took a wise left turn at Swordfishtrombones and never looked back; now he's invented a grid of his own.

            Thanks for the lyrics and the link - I enjoyed both with my morning coffee. Well, the first cup of it.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:45:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Joni above all, then... (10+ / 0-)

    many of the ones you mention in the poll, plus

    David Byrne
    Randy Newman
    Neil Finn
    Ray Davies
    Joanna Newsom
    Allen Toussaint
    Donald Fagen
    Chuck Berry
    Keith Richards
    Robert Hunter
    P.J. Harvey
    Richard Thompson
    Tom Waits
    Jonathan Richman
    David Hidalgo
    Ian Dury

    Boy, I hadn't realized how many good lyricists we had until I started to think about it.

    •  Ooh, that's a fine list. None I'd argue with. (7+ / 0-)

      Kudos for your eclectic and excellent taste, Monsieur Georges.

      Davies (magnificent), Fagen, Thompson, Byrne and Waits (both v. distinctive) had each occurred to me. And Newman should have. Dury has some jubilant, very sharp wordplay. My sense of the Stones is that Jagger does 3/4 of the lyrics, and Keith brings the killer riffs (Though Jagger knocked out the explosive Brown Sugar, and Keith the poetic Wild Horses).

      Yes, Thank God for Joni. She has such humor, a scalpel for observation, and she's so adventurous. She is, in my book, easily the queen of rock.

      Do you know The Listening Wind, off my favorite Talking Heads album?

      Mojique sees his village from a nearby hill
      Mojique thinks of days before Americans came
      He serves the foreigners in growing numbers
      He sees the foreigners in fancy houses
      He dreams of days that he can still remember now

      Mojique holds a package in his quivering hands
      Mojique sends the package to the American man
      Softly he glides along the streets and alleys
      Up comes the wind that makes them run for cover
      He feels the time is surely now or never more

      The wind in my heart, the wind in my heart
      The dust in my head, the dust in my head
      The wind in my heart, the wind in my heart
      Come to drive them away, drive them away . . .

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:32:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The lyrics of Joni Mitchell's "Amelia.... (7+ / 0-)

        ....could easily stand by themselves as poetry.

        I was driving across the burning desert
        When I spotted six jet planes
        Leaving six white vapor trails
        Across the bleak terrain
        It was the hexagram of the heavens
        It was the strings of my guitar
        Amelia, it was just a false alarm

        The drone of flying engines
        Is a song so wild and blue
        It scrambles time and seasons
        If it gets thru to you
        Then your life becomes a travelogue
        Of picture postcard charms
        Amelia, it was just a false alarm

        People will tell you where they've gone
        They'll tell you where to go
        But till you get there yourself
        You never really know
        Where some have found their paradise
        Others just come to harm
        Oh Amelia, it was just a false alarm

        I wish that he was here tonight
        It's so hard to obey
        His sad request of me
        To kindly stay away
        So this is how I hide the hurt
        As the road leads cursed and charmed
        I tell Amelia, it was just a false alarm

        A ghost of aviation
        She was swallowed by the sky
        Or by the sea, like me
        She had a dream to fly
        Like Icarus ascending
        On beautiful foolish arms
        Amelia, it was just a false alarm

        Maybe I've never really loved
        I guess that is the truth
        I've spent my whole life in clouds
        At icy altitudes
        And looking down on everything
        I crashed into his arms
        Amelia, it was just a false alarm

        I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
        To shower off the dust
        And I slept on the strange pillows
        Of my wanderlust
        I dreamed of 747s
        Over geometric farms
        Dreams, Amelia,
        Dreams and false alarms

        The metaphor in the second to last verse is wonderfully apt.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:36:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most of her songs succeed as poetry, I think, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

          that is a particularly fine example. And her music's so distinctive, so unexpectedly catchy - as I read those words, I keep hearing her singing them, and the tune behind. She explodes with talent.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:47:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, Listening Wind is one of my favorites. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht

        I threw Keith Richards in there not really knowing who did what.  I haven't read his book yet, but i understand he's taken credit for just about all of it.  (That may be an exaggeration.)  If he wrote a lot of the lyrics, he grows in my estimation, because there are some mighty good ones.

        •  I enjoyed 'Life', and was surprised at how sharp (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Monsieur Georges

          Keith clearly is. Prince Rupert Loewenstein has been close to the band for 40 years, and managed their business most of that time. He wrote "I saw that Keith was - and I hesitate to say this - the most intelligent mind of the band." Charlie's pretty smart, too, I think.

          You can see that Keith operates on pure intuition - Mick is far more logical and intellectual (and pretentious). I doubt very much whether Keith would be alive today, if Mick hadn't run such a tight ship of the band. He's a control freak, but he is very good at it.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:51:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I was partial to Ian Hunter too ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... of Mott The Hoople.

      THIS song of his evokes any crowded city, and also the poignancy of the dam' road:

      The willow in the wind is gently weeping
      No city lights tonight for she is sleeping
      But in a little while she will awake and gently smile
      My angel of Eighth Avenue, Manhattan morning.

      Somewhere a siren sounds and she is turning
      She moves my arm around 'cause she is burning
      She has so much to give but so little time to live
      My angel of Eighth Avenue, Manhattan morning.

      As i look down the streets are slowly forming
      And the ladies of the night have start performing
      And the trash-collectors horn salutes the dawning
      And soon the workward bound will they wake up yawning
      And soft warm hands behind that give no warning
      Tell me, for just one hour have i been learning

      I have so much to say but so little time to stay
      With my angel of Eighth Avenue, Manhattan morning
      With my angel of Eighth Avenue, Manhattan morning

      He's a favorite of Alejandro Escovedo. David Bowie generously gave his group a song to revive their career back in the early 70's.

      Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do ... Michael Moore

      by MT Spaces on Fri May 24, 2013 at 11:26:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We need an angel ... (7+ / 0-)

        The poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti was also one of England's best painters. The death of model Elizabeth Siddal at a young age turned out to be a trauma that affected his relationships with the world ever afterward.

        Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do ... Michael Moore

        by MT Spaces on Fri May 24, 2013 at 11:48:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like Mott the Hoople - they made several strong (4+ / 0-)

          albums, but lack of success pulled them apart (they lost a fine guitarist to Bad Company). All the Young Dudes is one of Bowie's best songs: "Oh man, I need TV, but I've got T. Rex"; "Is that concrete all around, or is it in my head?"

          I didn't know that about Rossetti. He has a sweet style, which I believe was much imitated.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:45:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ian Hunter... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, DuzT, Monsieur Georges, MT Spaces

        ...is one of the great overlooked artists of our time.  Sure he blows hot and cold - who doesn't?  But he's always been introspective even when he's rocking out.  I saw him in February - dude is 73 and still waaaaaay cooler than I will ever be!  He's got one hell of a body of work, and not nearly enough people know about it.

        When you punch enough holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

        by Roddy McCorley on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:03:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great List! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, Brecht, DuzT

      I was gonna mention Randy Newman, Tom Waits, David Byrne, and Jonathan Richman, too.

      And Warren Zevon is one of my favorites. John Lennon and Harry Nilsson. Simon and Garfunkel (some songs, but not all of them -- I despise Bridge Over Troubled Water and Feelin’ Groovy (59th St. Bridge Song)).

      Cole Porter was a poet, too.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:54:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What I love about 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is, (3+ / 0-)

        Simon was pretty sick of working with Garfunkle, but he did know exactly what his voice was capable of, so he wrote him a showcase for it.

        In memory of Warren Zevon, here's his own witty, wistful farewell, My Ride's Here:

        I was staying at the Marriott
        With Jesus and John Wayne
        I was waiting for a chariot
        They were waiting for a train
        The sky was full of carrion
        "I'll take the mazuma"
        Said Jesus to Marion
        "That's the 3:10 to Yuma
        My ride's here..."

        The Houston sky was changeless
        We galloped through bluebonnets
        I was wrestling with an angel
        You were working on a sonnet
        You said, "I believe the seraphim
        Will gather up my pinto
        And carry me away, Jim
        Across the San Jacinto
        My ride's here..."

        Shelley and Keats were out in the street
        And even Lord Byron was leaving for Greece
        While back at the Hilton, last but not least
        Milton was holding his sides
        Saying, "You bravos had better be
        Ready to fight
        Or we'll never get out of East Texas tonight
        The trail is long and the river is wide
        And my ride's here"

        I was staying at the Westin
        I was playing to a draw
        In walked Charlton Heston
        With the Tablets of the Law
        He said, "It's still the Greatest Story"
        I said, "Man, I'd like to stay
        But I'm bound for glory
        I'm on my way
        My ride's here . . ."

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:05:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I waiting for someone to mention Warren Zevon (4+ / 0-)

        I have a few more:
        Jello Biafra, Dead Kennedys (and, yes, I'm serious)
        Chuck D, Public Enemy (ditto)
        Neil Peart, Rush
        Bob Mould, Husker Du
        Matt Johnson, The The

        I can see Canada from my house. No, really, I can.

        by DuzT on Sun May 26, 2013 at 04:14:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like all your choices, and the originality of (3+ / 0-)

          them - though I haven't paid much attention to Rush's lyrics since I followed along to Hemispheres.

          The The was the same - I studied and lived with Soul Mining, but just listened to them as music after that.

          Jello Biafra and Chuck D are both savage urban poets, with great senses of humor and outrage.

          I liked Husker Du's Zen Arcade energy, but I love all the shades of beauty on Warehouse.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:27:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  More generally: (11+ / 0-)

    I find that few rock songs manage to sustain their poetic promise from start to finish; I'm more likely to be struck by just a phrase or couplet that is especially evocative.

    The screen door slams
    Mary's dress waves
    Comes a time when you're driftin'
    Comes a time when you settle down
    Comes a light
    Feelin's lifting
    Lift that baby right up off the ground ...
    Now I act like I don't remember,
    and Mary acts like she don't care.
    I hardly slept, the night you wept
    Your secret's safe, and still well-kept
    Sailing hardships through broken harbors
    Out on the waves in the night
    Or are they heart-ships? The internet cannot decide ... and I'm too lazy to dig out my Neil songbook and remind myself. I don't even remember what I used to think.
    Eighty feet of the waterline
    nicely making way
    (I've always thought it was "on the waterline", but the intertubes almost unanimously disagree. My own sailing knowledge suggests that tubes are wrong, but I cower before the authority of the masses.)
    Delilah Jones went to meet her God
    And the old man never was the same again
    I'll be damned, here comes your ghost again
    But that's not unusual
    It's just that the moon was full
    And you happened to call
    (in a great moment of meta, this song, her most powerful lyric ever -- because, I presume, her most true -- explicitly observes, "My poetry was lousy, you said,")
    You get a shiver in the dark, it's raining in the park, but meantime ...
    And my conductress on the number nineteen
    She was a honey
    Pink toenails and hands all dirty with money
    Greasy greasy hair easy smile
    Made me feel nineteen for a while
    Juliet, when we made love you used to cry
    Diamond Jackie, she's so intact
    As she falls, so softly, beneath him
    War.
    What is it good for?
    Absolutely nothing.
    I was a willow last night in a dream
    I bent down over a clear running stream
    I sang you the song that I heard up above
    And you kept me alive with your sweet flowing love
    Your beauty is familiar, your voice is like a key
    That opens up my heart, and torches up a fire inside of me.
    Your coat is made of magic, and around your table angels play
    And I will cry
    When ye go away

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:27:31 PM PDT

    •  Only six of them spring to mind - I'll come back (6+ / 0-)

      to figure out some of the others (with help from bing) in a while. But Wild West End is a great favorite of mine, and had already occurred to me this evening - it's such a fine marriage of lyrics and music into one mood, like Baker Street, which high uintas posted upthread.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:26:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  interesting that you mention Bruce (4+ / 0-)

      since his early stuff was obviously influenced by Dylan

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:42:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which Neil are you talking about? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, Brecht

      Neil Diamond sucks (his songs all sound the same and the words suck). Neil Young, on the other hand, is a genius.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:58:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Phrase or couplet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Monsieur Georges
      I'm more likely to be struck by just a phrase or couplet that is especially evocative.
      Well, heck - isn't that what good poetry does?  

      Surely it is the special province of the poet to condense essential experience down to its simplest, most elegant expression - such as a couplet.  I would submit that that is the very thing that distinguishes between a clever lyric and actual poetry.  Especially when those phrases or couplets come to you unbidden, outside of the context in which you first encountered them.  

      Think about the sorts of people who pass that particular test (if you want to accept it as a test.)  How about a fella went by the name of Shakespeare?

       In fact, it was a Dylan lyric that first made me aware of this.  When I was  a teenager, a friend of mine quoted Tangled Up In Blue to describe the beginnings of a recently-failed relationship:  "I helped her out of a jam, I guess, but I used a little too much force."  Before that, I had only thought of that line as interesting.  Hearing him apply it to the real world - and take some solace from it - made me realize it was profound.

      When you punch enough holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

      by Roddy McCorley on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:56:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's an apt Dylan quote for 9 experiences out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges

        of 10. It seems to me.

        But to live outside the law you must be honest

        You do what you must do, and you do it well

        Either I'm too sensitive, or else I'm getting soft

        But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

        The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure, to live it you have to explode

        He not busy being born is busy dying

        If I'd lived my life by what others were thinkin', the heart inside me would've died

        An I say, "Aw come on now, you must know about my debutante." An she says, "Your debutante just knows what you need, but I know what you want."

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:09:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  well, yes -- my point being that "good poetry" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges

        implies that you've filtered out the chaff before releasing the poem. many rock lyrics contain some excellent poetry, embedded in a some stuff that is either very bad poetry, or (in the eyes of some folks) not poetry at all.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:45:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Brecht, you have become (12+ / 0-)

    one of my favorite writers on this site.
    Your diaries are not to be read, they are to be savored.
    Thank you.

    I voted for Bob Marley because he was a powerful advocate for the least among us but unlike some of the others, he wasn't asking for equal rights and justice (to throw Peter Tosh in the mix), he was demanding it.
    I have to share that the first argument I had with the man who'd become my husband was over Bob Marley.
    I was gushing about Marley and looked at my militant, irreverent man expecting him to agree with me and he said,
    "He cannot sing."
    "What?" I croaked. Indignant.
    "Did I stutter or whisper? I said, he. cannot. sing! He cannot even talk."
    "Ok, mister, put 'em up!"
    Of course that has nothing to do with his writing skills and my (soon-to-be-ex) husband did concede that I was right about that. Grudgingly.
    My second vote would have gone to Leonard Cohen. I don't care if that man is 78 years old or 178. I hear his voice and I'm in love! His voice sends thrills all up and down my body. That should count for something, shouldn't it?
    Great, great, great! diary.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:29:15 PM PDT

  •  "great" rock poetry sometimes springs from (6+ / 0-)

    unlikely sources -- at least, unlikely to the sufficiently snobbish.

    as far as i can tell, Stevie Nicks is a bit of a dimwit.

    but she wrote this, which is better than anything i can write on the subject:

    You could be my silver spring....
    Blue-green..colors flashin'
    I would be your only dream.....
    Your shinin' autumn....ocean crashin'....
    Don't say that she's pretty....
    and did you say that she loves you...?
    Baby I don't wanna know.

    So I'll begin not to love you...
    Turn around, you'll see me runnin'
    I'll say I loved you years ago...
    And tell myself you never loved me....No......
    Don't say that she's pretty....
    And did you say that she loves you...?
    Baby, I don't wanna know....Oh no.....
    And can you tell me...was it worth it....?
    Baby, I don't wanna know..

    Time cast a spell on you...you won't forget me...
    I know I could've loved you but you would not let me....

    Time cast a spell on you...but you won't forget me...
    (I was such a fool)
    I know I could've loved you, but you would not let me..
    (Give me one more chance)
    I'll follow you down 'til the sound of my voice will haunt you..
    (Haunt you)
    You'll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you..

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:39:22 PM PDT

    •  Uh, Nicks also penned this one (8+ / 0-)
      I took my love and I took it down
      I climbed a mountain and I turned around

      And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
      'Till the landslide brought me down

      Oh, mirror in the sky
      What is love?
      Can the child within my heart rise above?
      Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
      Can I handle the seasons of my life?

      Mmm Mmm...

      Well, I've been afraid of changing
      'Cause I've built my life around you
      But time makes you bolder
      Children get older
      I'm getting older too

      Well, I've been afraid of changing
      'Cause I, I built my life around you
      But time makes you bolder
      Children get older
      I'm getting older too
      I'm getting older too

      So, take my love, take it down
      Oh climb a mountain and turn around
      If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
      Well the landslide will bring you down, down

      And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
      Well maybe the landslide will bring it down
      Oh oh, the landslide will bring it down

      No, she's not my favorite lyricist, but she's done some good ones.

      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

      by Nowhere Man on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:46:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  She has this natural witchy magic to her, which is (6+ / 0-)

      on a very non-cerebral level. She's written a lot of fine songs, but when she hits her sad enchantment (Rhiannon, Landslide, Sara) she does something all her own.

      Fleetwood Mac - the five we think of as the classic line-up - just had a synergy that dropped on them from heaven. So many bands have crashed on the shoals of romantic rupture. Who has two break-ups and finds there best material there? They were something larger than their parts. I'm sorry Christine has bowed out.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:49:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Below is my sig line ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... which I've used since I became a Kossack. Its poetry summarizes my feelings about life, and is IMO, pure Zen. It speaks plainly from nature to describe an existential dilemma, such as the ancient Chinese poets did.

    Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me, "how good, how good does it feel to be free? " And I answer them most mysteriously, "are birds free from the chains of the skyway? " (Bob Dylan)

    by JKTownsend on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:29:23 PM PDT

    •  There are so many shards of wisdom and weirdness (7+ / 0-)

      strewn throughout Dylan's work. I'm sure he has whole songs written from a zen perspective, but I can't think which.

      Maybe Watching the River Flow:

      What's the matter with me,
      I don't have much to say,
      Daylight sneakin' through the window
      And I'm still in this all-night cafe.
      Walkin' to and fro beneath the moon
      Out to where the trucks are rollin' slow,
      To sit down on this bank of sand
      And watch the river flow.

      Wish I was back in the city
      Instead of this old bank of sand,
      With the sun beating down over the chimney tops
      And the one I love so close at hand.
      If I had wings and I could fly,
      I know where I would go.
      But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly
      And watch the river flow.

      People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah,
      Makes you stop and all wonder why.
      Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
      Who just couldn't help but cry.
      Oh, this ol' river keeps on rollin', though,
      No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow,
      And as long as it does I'll just sit here
      And watch the river flow. . . .

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:52:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dylan's "I'll Keep it With Mine" (7+ / 0-)

    has always been one of my favorites. Along with "Chimes of Freedom" too long to quote. Then too I can't ignore "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"

    Today I had a brief fantasy of meeting Dylan. And what to say? It would be "Bob, I hope you live long enough for people to realize your melodies are as brilliant as your lyric." That's what I'd say.

    I'll keep it with mine
    You will search, babe,
    At any cost.
    But how long, babe,
    Can you search for what's not lost?
    Ev'rybody will help you,
    Some people are very kind.
    But if I can save you any time,
    Come on, give it to me,
    I'll keep it with mine.

    I can't help it
    If you might think I'm odd,
    If I say I'm not loving you for what you are
    But for what you're not.
    Everybody will help you
    Discover what you set out to find.
    But if I can save you any time,
    Come on, give it to me,
    I'll keep it with mine.

    The train leaves
    At half past ten,
    But it'll be back tomorrow,
    Same time again.
    The conductor he's weary,
    He's still stuck on the line.
    But if I can save you any time,
    Come on, give it to me,
    I'll keep it with mine.

    Love Minus Zero/No Limit
    My love she speaks like silence
    Without ideals or violence
    She doesn't have to say she's faithful
    Yet she's true, like ice, like fire
    People carry roses
    And make promises by the hours
    My love she laughs like the flowers
    Valentines can't buy her.

    In the dime stores and bus stations
    People talk of situations
    Read books, repeat quotations
    Draw conclusions on the wall
    Some speak of the future
    My love she speaks softly
    She knows there's no success like failure
    And that failure's no succes at all.

    The cloak and dagger dangles
    Madams light the candles
    In ceremonies of the horsemen
    Even the pawn must hold a grudge
    Statues made of match sticks
    Crumble into one another
    My love winks, she does not bother
    She knows too much to argue or to judge.

    The bridge at midnight trembles
    The country doctor rambles
    Bankers' nieces seek perfection
    Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
    The wind howls like a hammer
    The night blows rainy
    My love she's like some raven
    At my window with a broken wing.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:48:04 PM PDT

  •  I've always taken Dylan to be smack (12+ / 0-)

    in the tradition of Western Romantic Poetry. And I think consciously so on his part.

    Looking at it all, you've got a full inventory of the possible emotions, thoughts, and perceptions a guy could have about their beloved.

    Much in the way Kate Bush has built an encyclopedia of the inner life, and the inner life of women in particular. But I think Kate relies on music and performance more than just lyric-as-poem.

    btw, when I was a kid I met Dylan on the train. I was a messenger, got on a crowded train, and holding the strap I look down and see the guy with the NY Times full-open is Dylan. Now, you have to understand, all my friends were in AP English, and probably the night before, like every night, we'd spent an hour discussing the nuance of one of his songs.

    So I'm ready to shout "OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!" But because we read everything about him, I knew that drawing attention was the absolute no-no. So I said
    --Excuse me. Do you live up near Woodstock?
    He looked up at me, put his paper down some
    --Sometimes. Why do you want to know?
    --Well, you look like a song-writer who lives up there.
    He smiles, relaxes
    --Well, what is you'd tell that songwriter if you could?
    --I'd want to thank him for the many hours of pleasure his songs have given me.
    He gives a big grin
    --I'm sure he'd be real glad to hear that.
    Pulled the paper up again. Interview over.

    Of course I wanted to shout "the most brilliant lyric and melody whatever was!!!" But the music papers made it clear he saw himself as just a songwriter.

    Later, my friends and I, through various means, got hold of a bunch of songs never released (until the Basement Tapes years later) and put out a bootleg album we called, from something Dylan said in Time Magazine: If I told you what my music was really about, we'd probably ALL get arrested.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Fri May 24, 2013 at 11:09:13 PM PDT

    •  Yes, Dylan has devoured the Western tradition, in (7+ / 0-)

      poetry and in song. If you've listened to his radio show, he has an encyclopedic awareness of his forebears, and he still keeps his ear to the ground. Like Picasso, he learned all the established rules so that he could break them better.

      He appears to aim, not just for "a full inventory of the possible emotions, thoughts, and perceptions a guy could have about their beloved", but about every aspect of living and dying. I don't think anyone has a richer rock vocabulary than he has, though the Beatles would have got there if they'd stayed together, and John had lived. But Dylan's been a supernova of inspiration, and he's still burning.

      You clearly played it just right when you met him (you lucky, and crafty, devil). A friend of my brother's bumped into him in an LA record store. He said, "You're Bob Dylan!", and Dylan replied "No I'm not."

      Have you seen Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid? Dylan plays a quiet man called Alias. When Garrett meets him, he asks "What's your name?"; Alias replies, "That's a good question."

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:31:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Supernova and still burning, but Tempest (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, Monsieur Georges

        left me flat. All of his work in his later years has really been wonderful to listen to and his poetry has been great. Tempest just felt like a collapse, something like the spark of life going out but the creativity continuing anyway. Do you have a take on Tempest?

        Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

        by Bob Guyer on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:10:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oops. My brother gave it to me for Christmas, but (3+ / 0-)

          I haven't listened to it yet. I get two music magazines (Mojo and Uncut), and I think they gave it 4 and 5 stars. But, ever since his triumphant comeback with Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft, he's achieved rock sainthood. Fair enough - even compared to Neil Young, Bowie, and Lou Reed, Dylan's an exceptional evergreen. Leonard Cohen is maintaining very high standards, but Dylan has such a huge body of work.

          I have grown up on Dylan's '60s and '70s work. I just haven't put in the time to burrow into his more recent albums, to savor their subtleties, the same way I've lived inside his earlier albums. So the short answer is, no.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:05:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Comparing Tempest-Dylan with Old Ideas-Cohen (4+ / 0-)

            The most recent efforts by both these poets show two different guys possessed by their creative spark and going in different directions. I think Old Ideas is one of Cohen's best and Tempest one of Dylan's worst. Not really fair to say that either artist's worst is really bad in any way, many would sell their soul to reach the height of the lower rungs of either artist's brilliance.

            Leonard really gets me with his deep appreciation of wound and flaw and how that can lead to personal transformation. As an older dude I like where he is headed his song "Come Healing" is a good example sort of like a previous song of his "Anthem".

            O, gather 'round the brokenness
            Bring it to me now
            The fragrance of those promises
            You never dared to vow

            The splinters that you carried
            The cross you left behind
            Come healing of the body
            Come healing of the mind

            And let the heavens hear it
            The penitential hymn
            Come healing of the spirit
            Come healing of the limb

            Behold the gates of mercy
            In arbitrary space
            And none of us deserving
            Of cruelty or the grace

            O, solitude of longing
            Where love has been confined
            Come healing of the body
            Come healing of the mind

            O, see the darkness yielding
            That tore the light apart
            Come healing of the reason
            Come healing of the heart

            Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

            by Bob Guyer on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:33:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Not really fair to say that either artist's worst (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

              is really bad . . ."

              Dylan said, of the critics that sometimes cruelly dissect his work, "I'd like to see them try to write just one song". Also, whatever flaws he has disappear, measured against all of his ambition and accomplishment. That said, he has at times shown a lack of patience, and a poor sense of quality control.

              It's certainly amusing that this titan of songwriting also recorded Wiggle Wiggle:

              Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a gypsy queen
              Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle all dressed in green
              Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle 'til the moon is blue
              Wiggle 'til the moon sees you

              Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle in your boots and shoes
              Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, you got nothing to lose
              Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, like a swarm of bees
              Wiggle on your hands and knees

              Wiggle to the front, wiggle to the rear
              Wiggle 'til you wiggle right out of here
              Wiggle 'til it opens, wiggle 'til it shuts
              Wiggle 'til it bites, wiggle 'til it cuts . . .

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:34:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Funny, they are different here too (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Monsieur Georges, Brecht

                Cohen very slow and selective, Dylan like a fire hose. They treat their relationship to their muse differently. I like both ways of although in my own creative process I mix the two impulses so I can appreciate the virtues of either way of treating the demands of ones creative impulses. With Dylan there is more and more to criticize but the process in total is glorious.

                Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

                by Bob Guyer on Sat May 25, 2013 at 03:57:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I like Tempest a lot (3+ / 0-)

            Stern and frail all at once.  I have to say that the collection of songs on Tell-Tale Signs is amazing and regularly hits my car CD and stays there for days.  The sequence of songs starting with "Girl from the Red River Shore" and going through "Can't Wait" is astounding in my book.  Its grown man music.

            . On ne gagne que les combats que l'on mène

            by NearlyNormal on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:13:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What a great story! (5+ / 0-)

      And you booted Zimmo early on... quite cool.

      One of my favorite Dylan lyrics (and tune) is "Yea! Heavy! And a Bottle of Bread"

      Probably wrote it in 20 min (if many of the lyrics on the Basement Tapes are any inidication, save "I Shall Be Released" perhaps not that that matters), but his take on 'Dylanesque' wordplay is fun and infectious.

      Reminds me: love the Band's "Ferdinand the Imposter"

      Then of course Ferdinand
      Started out doing Charlie Chan
      That last atlas honky's fall
      He says he's gonna do them all
  •  With this week's passing of Ray Manzarek, I'm (8+ / 0-)

    thinking that the Doors (primarily Morrison) wrote some pretty raw lyrical pieces.  No, not Light My Fire but songs like LA Woman and The End.

    Joni Mitchell indeed is a fine writer - her album Blue is one of my all-time favorites.

    Paul Simon is a wonder - A Simple Desultory Phillippic predates rap yet captures the essence of the rhythm and rhyme of the genre including his sampling of Hit the Road Jack.  His guitar musicianship and harmonies with Art Garfunkel have inspired musicians over the years.

    •  Morrison sometimes got lost in his ego, but he had (3+ / 0-)

      a fine poetic gift when his mind was sharp. The first album's outstanding, Strange Days and Morrison Hotel are very strong, and LA Woman is rich and extremely original. Lots of great songs.

      Blue is as true and direct as the sky on a winter morning - a lot of people were deeply touched by it. Very courageous, but Joni always is.

      Paul Simon is such a master of his craft. I admire how he layers a rich bed of sound, but keeps his voice so clear and calmly to the fore - his tunes stay with you, but his best lines ring in your head for years.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:42:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Check out Belle and Sebastian, if you haven't (5+ / 0-)

      already. Quite influenced by S+G muscially, and Simon lyrically.

      The priest in the booth had a photographic memory
      For all he had heard
      He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called
      "The State I Am In"
      So I gave myself to God
      There was a pregnant pause before he said ok
      Now I spend my day turning tables round In Marks & Spencer's
      They don't seem to mind

      I gave myself to sin
      And I've been there and back again
      I gave myself to Providence
      The state that I am in

    •  I was listening to NPR yesterday (3+ / 0-)

      and they were talking about how Robbie Krieger wrote the first verse of "Light My Fire" and Jim the second one.  The difference is sublime.  There is great nascent poetry there and Jim's ambition to be a poet is what I think makes him great:

      You know that it would be untrue
      You know that I would be a liar
      If I was to say to you
      Girl, we couldn't get much higher

      * * *

      The time to hesitate is through
      No time to wallow in the mire
      Try now we can only lose
      And our love become a funeral pyre

      "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

      by Publius2008 on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:15:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rodriguez - Poet for the anti-apartheid movement (4+ / 0-)

    The video below was shot at Amoeba Records in San Francisco in 2008, four years before "Searching for Sugarman."  I have been so entranced by his story that on a recent trip to SF I went to Amoeba to try to get the story on how they had him there.  Seems that somebody at the store had played in one of his back-up bands at some point in time, so when there was a re-release of an old CD, this guy suggests getting him to come to SF to play.  So the guy who is now playing in front of crowds of thousands (I saw him in Denver last month) was standing on a small stage at Amoeba, playing to an audience of tens - and they were mainly wandering around the store shopping.

    What a freaking trip.  To have been there then.

    I wonder how many times you've been had
    And I wonder how many plans have gone bad
    I wonder how many times you had sex
    I wonder do you know who'll be next
    I wonder l wonder wonder I do

    I wonder about the love you can't find
    And I wonder about the loneliness that's mine
    I wonder how much going have you got
    And I wonder about your friends that are not
    I wonder I wonder I wonder I do

    I wonder about the tears in children's eyes
    And I wonder about the soldier that dies
    I wonder will this hatred ever end
    I wonder and worry my friend
    I wonder I wonder wonder don't you?

    I wonder how many times you been had
    And I wonder how many dreams have gone bad
    I wonder how many times you've had sex
    And I wonder do you care who'll be next
    I wonder I wonder wonder I do

  •  Crimson flames tied through my ears... (5+ / 0-)

    BOB DYLAN - MY BACK PAGES

    Crimson flames tied through my ears
    Rollin' high and mighty traps
    Pounced with fire on flaming roads
    Using ideas as my maps
    We'll meet on edges soon said I
    Proud 'neath heated brow
    Ahh, but I was so much older then
    I'm younger than that, now

    Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
    Rip down all hate, I screamed
    Lies that life is black and white
    Spoke from my skull, I dreamed
    Romantic facts of musketeers
    Foundationed deep somehow
    Ahh, but I was so much older then
    I'm younger than that now

    Girls' faces formed the forward path
    From phony jealousy
    To memorizing politics
    Of ancient history
    Flung down by corpse evangelists
    Unthought of, though somehow
    Ahh, but I was so much older then
    I'm younger than that now

    A self-ordained professor's tongue
    Too serious to fool
    Spouted out that liberty
    Is just equality in school
    Equality, I spoke the word
    As if a wedding vow
    Ahh, but I was so much older then
    I'm younger than that now

    In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
    At the mongrel dogs who teach
    Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
    In the instant that I preach
    My existence led by confusion boats
    Mutiny from stern to bow
    Ahh, but I was so much older then
    I'm younger than that now

    Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
    Too noble to neglect
    Deceived me into thinking
    I had something to protect
    Good and bad, I define these terms
    Quite clear, no doubt somehow
    Ahh, but I was so much older then
    I'm younger than that now

  •  Jackson Brown's poetry/lyrics were printed in (4+ / 0-)

    EYE magazine and really got people to loook for his music before he had much airpaly. Songs that are personal, or romantic, or political, or just fun stud his playbook. Current concerts have the age range found in G. Dead audiances from the original Grays to kids who discovered the power of words and music in their parents or Grandparents vinyl and CDs.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. The TSA would put Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad on the no-fly list.

    by OHdog on Sat May 25, 2013 at 03:56:05 AM PDT

    •  Jackson Browne reminds me of Paul Simon, with (3+ / 0-)

      his perfectly crafted tales, and his phrases that punch and linger. He's very good at cutting down imperialism and mindless consumerism. His '70s slice of life vignettes still haunt me:

      I'm going to find myself a girl
      Who can show me what laughter means
      And we'll fill in the missing colors
      In each other's paint by number dreams
      And then we'll put our dark glasses on
      And we'll make love until our strength is gone
      And when the morning light comes streaming in
      We'll get up and do it again
      Get it up again

      I'm going to be a happy idiot
      And struggle for the legal tender
      Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
      To the heart and the soul of the spender
      And believe in whatever may lie
      In those things that money can buy
      Though true love could have been a contender
      Are you there?
      Say a prayer for the pretender
      Who started out so young and strong
      Only to surrender

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:09:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exceptional diary, Brecht (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you.

    I believe there's at least one good argument for the recent inclusion of lyrics (Dylan's among them) in the literary canon: their aesthetic quality requires it in many cases.

  •  ah (4+ / 0-)

    a lotta fine songwriters out there..
    Read the lyrics of Lou Reed (buy the book or get it from the Library) and a guy who did not live very long named James Morrison( who did have his poetry published)..another guy with a body of words is Bruce Springsteen...

    but yeah..nobody can be sweater or more cruel than Dylan..Blood on the Tracks man Blood on the fuckin Tracks..

    But nobody..I mean nobody..changed the way their songs sounded the way Bob Dylan did and does..
     Saw him last year and did not recognize Watchtower even after he started singing...

  •  I'd add Paul Simon just for these two (12+ / 0-)

    Kathy's Song

    I hear the drizzle of the rain
    Like a memory it falls
    Soft and warm continuing
    Tapping on my roof and walls.

    And from the shelter of my mind
    Through the window of my eyes
    I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
    To England where my heart lies.

    My mind's distracted and diffused
    My thoughts are many miles away
    They lie with you when you're asleep
    And kiss you when you start your day.

    The Dangling Conversation
    It's a still life water color,
    Of a now late afternoon,
    As the sun shines through the curtained lace
    And shadows wash the room.
    And we sit and drink our coffee
    Couched in our indifference,
    Like shells upon the shore
    You can hear the ocean roar
    In the dangling conversation
    And the superficial sighs,
    The borders of our lives.

    Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

    by BOHICA on Sat May 25, 2013 at 05:26:35 AM PDT

    •  I love Paul Simon (6+ / 0-)

      it's hard to pick a "favorite" favorite since I love so many songwriters but he was the first songwriter whose lyrics I ever studied in depth, and of course he was influenced by Dylan too!  But I didn't discover Dylan until 1972, and Joni until 1973.  Bruce ruled the late 70s and I didn't really fall in love with Elvis until Imperial Bedroom, whereupon I went back and listened to all his previous work with new ears.  I know hundreds of my favorite lyrics from memory.

      getting back to Paul Simon, i've posted elsewhere that I am very fond of this unrhyming lyric for the visual and emotional picture it paints:

      let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together
      i've got some real estate here in my bag
      so we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
      and walked off to look for America

      kathy I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
      Michigan seems like a dream to me now
      it took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
      I've come to look for America

      laughing on the bus
      playing games with the faces
      she said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
      i said be careful his bowtie is really a camera

      toss me a cigarette i think there's one in my raincoat
      we smoked the last one an hour ago
      so i looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
      and the moon rose over an open field

      kathy i'm lost i said though I knew she was sleeping
      i'm empty and aching and I don't know why
      counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
      they've all come to look for America

      "...and the moon rose over an open field" for some reason is my favorite line in this lyric.  it perfectly sets up those two lines that follow.

      the wanderlust of a generation, the existential longing, the deep loneliness even when there is a dear friend sitting right beside you... few ever captured it better.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:23:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are all poets. My housemate and I, back in (5+ / 0-)

        college, had a running argument over whether Dylan or Costello was the greatest lyricist.

        Paul Simon is so smart with the perfect little details, like Dickens bringing a character to life with three quick strokes. Simon will drop little pebbles of observation into the pool, and you find the meaning just ripples through your heart from there - like the way the symphony of tones builds up in the verses you quote.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:27:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting choices, off the beaten track. (3+ / 0-)

      He always puts so much care and craft and heart into his work.

      Did you know that Simon & Garfunkle had broken up, through lack of success? Several months later their producer overdubbed Sounds of Silence, and made a huge hit out of it, so they reformed.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:23:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a big fan of "I Am A Rock" (4+ / 0-)

      And I love the line from the song (I forget the name of it), where the line goes, "He so unhip, when you say Dylan, he thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas, whoever he was. The man ain't got no culture."

      Which makes me think of the movie "Dangerous Minds," where the teacher asks the students to find a parallel between Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:14:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The greatest rock poetry? Louie Louie! (8+ / 0-)

    The Kingsmen's version is the most supreme work of literature.

       Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
        yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow

    Ayfain liyelkurwl away onee
    eektatsh ahip oconstalee
    ale wine shit wine all alowe
    eenever acow aamay gitome

        Aloowee loowhy nanananana heywegowgow
        Oh no addeeloowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegoddegow

    Wenite andayo afaildefee
    kaykogorld ocontoflee
    a on ay shit awayteedair
    agul ayrow mowinherrair

        Aloowee loowhy oh no heddewegowgow
        ya ya ya ya ya sadday loowee loowhy oh bebay heddeweegowgow

        OWKAYLITSGITITOOWERITENEOW

        (Guitar solo)

        teey....

        (Short drum break)

    teteeynow ingamymoowabow
    theymuppeelow they peepeealow
    theypayinarhear my artegen
    aymebber ay mebbelayergen

        Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
        yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow

        Ayseddewegoddegownow

        Beybeeconnoweekot

        Etco!

    And they’'ll drink 'til their eyes are red with hate for those of a different kind. -Richard Thompson

    by lazybum on Sat May 25, 2013 at 05:49:32 AM PDT

  •  Steve Earle (7+ / 0-)

    Seriously, I can't believe that Steve Earle's name has not come up in the comments here. Earle, in my opinion, is the greatest writer of story-songs at this moment.

    Take, for example, "Ben McCulloch", in which Earle details a Confederate recruit's disillusionment about his general. Note one line that shows that the Civil War was all about the Slavery, and not about the goddamn States' Rights.

    And on the way to Fayetteville we cursed McCulloch`s name
    And mourned the dead that we'd left behind and we was carrying the lame
    I killed a boy the other night who'd never even shaved
    I don't even know what I'm fightin' for, I ain't never owned a slave

    So I snuck out of camp and then I heard the news next night
    The Yankees won the battle and McCulloch lost his life

    (chorus) Goddamn you Ben McCulloch
    I hate you more than any other man alive
    And when you die, you'll be a foot soldier just like me
    In the devil's infantry

    I'm out, but I hope that somebody comment about Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt (not to mention Earle's hilarious quip about Van Zandt and Dylan's coffee table.)

    And they’'ll drink 'til their eyes are red with hate for those of a different kind. -Richard Thompson

    by lazybum on Sat May 25, 2013 at 06:25:16 AM PDT

    •  A very soulful song, thank you. Best thing I've (3+ / 0-)

      heard by Steve Earle - but I don't know him very well.

      And you've got Richard Thompson in your sig line, who's crafted an awful lot of gems. I have three different box sets of his (and almost twenty albums, between solo, + Linda, and with Fairport).

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:46:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd nominate Neil Young as a missing artist (9+ / 0-)

    for your poll. Many wonderful pieces.

    Just one, for instance - Cortez, the Killer

    He came dancing across the water
    With his galleons and guns
    Looking for the new world
    In that palace in the sun.

    On the shore lay Montezuma
    With his coca leaves and pearls
    In his halls he often wondered
    With the secrets of the worlds.

    And his subjects
    gathered 'round him
    Like the leaves around a tree
    In their clothes of many colors
    For the angry gods to see.

    And the women all were beautiful
    And the men stood
    straight and strong
    They offered life in sacrifice
    So that others could go on.

    Hate was just a legend
    And war was never known
    The people worked together
    And they lifted many stones.

    They carried them
    to the flatlands
    And they died along the way
    But they built up
    with their bare hands
    What we still can't do today.

    And I know she's living there
    And she loves me to this day
    I still can't remember when
    Or how I lost my way.

    He came dancing across the water
    Cortez, Cortez
    What a killer.

    Though I could just as easily have tipped a hat to Hurricane - or a dozen others
    Once I thought I saw you
    in a crowded hazy bar,
    Dancing on the light
    from star to star.
    Far across the moonbeam
    I know that's who you are,
    I saw your brown eyes
    turning once to fire.

    You are like a hurricane
    There's calm in your eye.
    And I'm gettin' blown away
    To somewhere safer
    where the feeling stays.
    I want to love you but
    I'm getting blown away.

    I am just a dreamer,
    but you are just a dream,
    You could have been
    anyone to me.
    Before that moment
    you touched my lips
    That perfect feeling
    when time just slips
    Away between us
    on our foggy trip.

    You are like a hurricane
    There's calm in your eye.
    And I'm gettin' blown away
    To somewhere safer
    where the feeling stays.
    I want to love you but
    I'm getting blown away.

    •  Not to mention this one (6+ / 0-)
      City lights at a country fair
      Never shine but always glare
      If I'm bright enough to see you
      You're just too dark to care
      (By the way, can you say which song these lines come from, without resorting to Google? I'm testing you to see how much of a Neil Young fan you really are.)

      And they’'ll drink 'til their eyes are red with hate for those of a different kind. -Richard Thompson

      by lazybum on Sat May 25, 2013 at 06:45:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When he was stretching out epically in the '70s, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

      which I think of as his Imperial Phase. Though he's never lacked confidence (well, he did get a bit confused in the '80s - as so many did).

      He has an enormous amount of poetry in his guitar. As does Dave Gilmour, though very different stylistically in how he conveys emotion: Young is so raw, and Gilmour so polished (though Animals has some nice raging).

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:52:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  About time, thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Monsieur Georges

      As long as we're discussing the poetic talents of white men (and a few women) from Dylan's era, please don't forget Neil Young!

      I would also add my favorite song of his, Don't Let It Bring You Down. It's only castles burning . . .

      Old man lying
      by the side of the road
      With the lorries rolling by,
      Blue moon sinking
      from the weight of the load
      And the buildings scrape the sky,
      Cold wind ripping
      down the alley at dawn
      And the morning paper flies,
      Dead man lying
      by the side of the road
      With the daylight in his eyes.

      Don't let it bring you down
      It's only castles burning,
      Find someone who's turning
      And you will come around.

      Blind man running
      through the light
      of the night
      With an answer in his hand,
      Come on down
      to the river of sight
      And you can really understand,
      Red lights flashing
      through the window
      in the rain,
      Can you hear the sirens moan?
      White cane lying
      in a gutter in the lane,
      If you're walking home alone.

      Don't let it bring you down
      It's only castles burning,
      Just find someone who's turning
      And you will come around.

      Don't let it bring you down
      It's only castles burning,
      Just find someone who's turning
      And you will come around.

      •  'After the Gold Rush' is sort of his 'Blue' - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges

        it's such a personal album, so moving, a perfect expression of its time. Though I've grown to love the raw honesty of 'Tonight's the Night' too.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:14:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Powderfinger" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Monsieur Georges

      If you want to start a long argument among Neil Young fans, just ask them why the white boat is coming up the river.

      The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

      by raboof on Sun May 26, 2013 at 05:38:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a very fine album, throughout. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges

        Of course, being Neil, he saw punk as a breath of fresh air. This was the man who said he preferred Skynyrd's angry reply (Sweet Home Alabama) to his song which inspired it (Southern Man).

        "The king is gone but he's not forgotten,
        This is the story of Johnny Rotten . . ."

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:32:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been reading "And They All Sang" (6+ / 0-)

    by Studs Terkel these last weeks. He interviewed Dylan for his radio show in 1963.

    They were talking about what it was like for Dylan to come to New York and try to find a place where he could break into the music business.


    Bob:  You know like I was talking about pounding a nail in a board: it seems like there's a board there and all the nails are pounded in all over the place, you know, and every new person that comes to pound in a nail finds that there's one less space, you know. I hope we haven't got to the end of the space yet.

    Studs: You're looking for a fresh piece of wood.

    Bob:  No I'm content with the same old piece of wood, I just want to find another place to pound in a nail.

    I'd say Bob found his space. Thanks so much for a delightful read this morning - for me anyway. I'm always late to the party. Happy belated birthday to Bob who provided the soundtrack to my life.

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Sat May 25, 2013 at 06:34:33 AM PDT

  •  Bob Dylan (5+ / 0-)

    In my mind is a master poet and songwriter. I have the DVD and CD set of The Traveling Willbury's in which the whole story of their idea and execution of the group takes place. During their sessions Dylan is filmed writing the songs as they practice and record them. It is very interesting to observe these fine musicians in action.

    •  That's neat. I actually own fold-out map of the US (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

      that does the same thing, but your link is more up-to-date and complete. Though, if you've seen the comment thread, everyone's looking for places Dylan mentioned that they forgot to mark, like Juarez and Tangier.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 03:01:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My rock poet is Bruce. (9+ / 0-)

    or the song I often play driving to work:

    or the song they'll play at my funeral, because it's about me:

  •   For sociopolitical commentary, Paul Simon's (6+ / 0-)

    An American Tune.

    For social commentary, Bruce Springsteen's  Jungleland.

    Sorry, my smart phone isn't smart enough to post the lyrics.

    Still think Dylan is head and shoulders above, though.

    We can't all be Paul Kersey.

    by furrfu on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:19:36 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for a great post (5+ / 0-)

    And for all the wonderful comments. I think talk about "the best" is usually pointless, though Dylan certainly belongs in any discussion, but I had a great time looking through the comments and being reminded of just how many rich and fine songs there are from the last forty years or so.

    Some of those mentioned don't do much for me, but hey, I'm not going to pick any fights today. Let a thousand flowers bloom. And keep on rockin.

    •  I don't need a fight, but I'm happy with little (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

      skirmishes. Arguments can help me work out and clarify what I really think.

      Yes, the "best" of anything is usually just a construct to shape debate, to find angles, and pros and cons, to help grasp the unique and immeasurable quiddity that actually matters in a work of art.

      That said, Dylan being the best songwriter and the Beatles being the best rock group seem to me more defensible than many such claims. But, if I spent an hour backing that up (as I have before), I'd put a lot into how influential they were on their peers and descendants. The Beatles did everything first, and all their innovations became the standards. Dylan turned every other rock songwriter inside out, and taught them to dream in color.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:30:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "He owned the language & it danced at his command" (4+ / 0-)

    Beautifully---and poetically---put.

    Dylan is certainly a master of imagery, and Like a Rolling Stone may indeed be his best, though I agree that the entire Highway 61 album was a fiery cascade of word pictures, second to none. Blonde on Blonde is right up there lyrically, as well. One of my faves for word play is Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, but virtually the entire album is a lyrical and musical masterpiece.

    Like any singer, Dylan had his lyrical duds when he was too literal or just plain boring, and I have to agree that a lot of that happened during his religious periods, and to some degree in the early folky stuff. Sometimes good music doesn't need lyrics.

    Fortunately for us, Dylan seemed to be a master of combining the two on an amazing number of occasions.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:14:55 AM PDT

    •  I'm glad you enjoy my own smatterings of lyricism. (3+ / 0-)

      I think Blonde on Blonde is Dylan's largest album, with Highway 61 and Blood on the Tracks right behind. Dylan said Blonde on Blonde was where he came closest to capturing that "thin, wild mercury sound" that he heard in his head.

      I think there's some unevenness in the tracks on Blonde on Blonde, but that's partly because Dylan's charging in all directions at once (as the Beatles did on the White Album). Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again is epic and hilarious; Visions of Johanna is perhaps my favorite Dylan song; and I Want You is the most perfect pop gem he ever crafted.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:41:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That wild mercury sound indeed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, Monsieur Georges

        Someone should (and probably has) count the number of times the word mercury shows up in Dylan tunes. It seems like a lot...though maybe not as many times a backstreet jellyroll shows up in Van Morrison songs.

        I listened to all of Blonde on Blonde again today, and was struck by how much fun it is, mostly, and especially by the delightful I Want You.

        Visions of Johanna is a great song, but it's such a downbeat tune musically that I can't say it's a favorite. Of course the same could be said about Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, which I love nonetheless.

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:38:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's also a Gemini, so he's ruled by Mercury. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Monsieur Georges, willyr

          I'm a great fan of Van Morrison too. He does repeat himself a lot: as on Astral Weeks, when he chants the same phrase until his words drift beyond consciousness; and, as Blake did, with his touchstone images. But every poet gathers favorite images.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:07:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I used to sing Dylan songs with my daughter (4+ / 0-)

    while driving her to her continuation high school. She was a drug addicted kid in her early recovery, now an 8 year sober adult, and her favorite song was "Hurricane". We both would sing it at the top of our lungs and enjoy the release of shouting down the injustice and hyprocacy that flourishes all around the lives of teenagers and adults. Thank you Bob and happy birthday and thanks for this great diary where we can share and appreciate a small bit of what Dylan's poetry means to us.

    Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
    But he never did like to talk about it all that much
    It's my work he'd say and I do it for pay
    And when it's over I'd just as soon go on my way
    Up to some paradise
    Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
    And ride a horse along a trail
    But then they took him to the jailhouse
    Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

    All of Rubin's cards were marked in advance
    The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance
    The judge made Rubin's witnesses drunkards from the slums
    To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
    And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
    No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
    And though they could not produce the gun
    The DA said he was the one who did the deed
    And the all-white jury agreed.

    Rubin Carter was falsely tried
    The crime was murder 'one' guess who testified
    Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
    And the newspapers they all went along for the ride
    How can the life of such a man
    Be in the palm of some fool's hand ?
    To see him obviously framed
    Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
    Where justice is a game.

    Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
    Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
    While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
    An innocent man in a living hell
    That's the story of the Hurricane
    But it won't be over till they clear his name
    And give him back the time he's done
    Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
    The champion of the world.

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:27:15 AM PDT

    •  It's astounding, looking back over 50 years of Bob (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, Bob Guyer

      how many fine albums and classic songs he's come up with. But my two favorite peaks of his are Bringing it All Back Home/Highway 61 Revisited/Blonde on Blonde and, a decade later, Blood on the Tracks/Desire/Street Legal. In both periods he was really feeling his oats, and stretching out in a few longer songs on each album. Desire has such fine songs on it. Hurricane was his most socially/politically engaged song since he'd crashed his motorbike and retreated from society a decade before.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:16:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  looking @ some of the other choices here I am bold (3+ / 0-)

    to mention the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    Gordon Lightfoot is not a favorite of mine in general but there is something about that lyric, even in its obviousness of construction, that captures the memory.

    it tells its story so vividly that millions of people hearing it believe the song to be more true than the historical events the song describes

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:46:29 AM PDT

    •  It's so long since I heard that song. I went and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges

      found a video with the lyrics. Yes, you can tell how much Gordon Lightfoot was feeling it when he wrote. The top comment on the link says

      damn,,after hearing this song i almost felt like i was on that boat during that time period,,i could envision the wives and children as they prayed in church during the memorial..
      this song is so good it takes you there,,you feel the terror and emotion of it all,,thats what good song writing is all about...very few songs make this grade..

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:05:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Poetry....is whatever you make it is (3+ / 0-)

    A long time ago, I learned never to criticize poetry or say ANYTHING wasn't poetry. I certainly have a right not to like poetry, but I'm not qualified to tell anyone that theirs isn't.

  •  Insight: (3+ / 0-)

    when Dylan is criticizing a woman, he is often speaking about a side of himself.

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:03:22 AM PDT

  •  Great diary!!! Charlie Pierce just wrote about (4+ / 0-)

    how Dylan's songs just keep deepening & deepening for his as he ages.  Yup.  Though a near contemporary of The Bob,  early  on I was never much of a fan (grhaving grown  up in Newark on the local R&B & Gospel stations, with a heavy later topping of Motown, etc.).  Then for some reason I bought "Desire" when it came out, my sons ( both future musicians) played it until it basically disintegrated and  I was hooked.  

    One thing Dylan does that the greatest posts do is juxtapose but synthesize the most disparate and even conflicting thoughts & feelings into the fewest number of words (think Shakespeare), with the same thing thrown in by  the music for added effect.  My great favorite in that regard is "Highway "61" -- a total hoot both lyracally & musically but condensing into as few words as possible some of the most awful -- in several senses -- aspects of Judeo-Christian monotheism.

    God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son."
    Abe says, "Man, you must be putting' me on."
    God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
     God say, "You can do what you want, Abe, but
    Next time you see me comin', you better run."
    Abe say, "Where you want this killin' done?"
    God say, "Out on Highway 51."

            Depending on how grandiose you want to get, an entire Bible episode, a big chunk of the OT, or a huge portion of the Judeo-Christian struggle to cope with an angry, jealous God -- all in 7 lines and totally undercut by the sardonic  rhetoric & music.  That one song made me laugh so freely at my religious anxiety that it really played a major role in my giving up the last vestiges of my cradle-Catholic theism.

    Dylan not poetry?  Please.

    P.S.  A sidelight.  A guitarist friend of one of my sons toured with Dylan on and off for several years around 2000 on.  He described the experience in very similar terms to those used by Baez in "No Direction Home" -- often you don't know what the playlist is going to be until right before the show and you almost never know what style Dylan's going to want to do the song in until right before he starts or even until after he starts -- an exhilarating but nerve-wracking & exhausting high-wire act.  The man's not just a poet but a very great musician -- or at least that's what I'm
    told by my sons & their friends.  

    "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

    by Oliver St John Gogarty on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:18:26 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for an interesting comment. I went and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges

      found the Charlie Pierce post you mentioned. The man claims there are five or six better Dylan songs than Like a Rolling Stone. Firstly, that's heresy; secondly, he has some very good choices. I was particularly impressed by the one I'd never heard, an alternate Blind Willie McTell.

      As for the song Highway 61, when I started this diary, I was planning to include three verses from each of two more songs off that album: Highway 61 and Desolation Row. Aside form the fact that I didn't have time to do that, if I had the diary would have been more than twice as long, and a lot less people would have read it. I'm very pleased with how it worked out - turning up so much in one song, and being rescued and all.

      The opening verse of Highway 61 is perhaps my favorite verse in rock. Perfect pithy storytelling, scary hilarious, and a bucket of cold water thrown on all that's sacred. It is three times as effective if you were brought up on the bible or the Torah.

      Someone who was Dylan's bandleader for years - the guy who translated what Dylan did so the band could try to keep up with him - said that you had to watch Dylan's hands very carefully, and just hang on, as it might well be the only take you got.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:24:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It really is brilliant. I love that he pivots (3+ / 0-)

        the whole thing rhythmically on the "but" at the end of the middle line, which is the only one that isn't end-stopped and that there's no much meaning condensed into that single "but." And, yeah, 16 years of Catholic education with plenty of theology & comparative religion in college definitely adds something to the effect.

        "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

        by Oliver St John Gogarty on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:55:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Answer Is Yes. (4+ / 0-)

    ...but if the absence of music leaves the words without much force, then it's bad poetry. With reasoning similar to Brecht's, Tolkien wrote that drama is not literature because it's meant to be acted, not read silently.  That idea leaves the ancient epics the Iliad and Odyssey possibly on the outside of the world of literature looking in.  I think it's a pretty foolish position.

    When Sammy Hagar described his lyrics as great poetry, I could only think that he'd never read any great poetry, much less written it.

    Good poetry--really good poetry--creates feeling in the reader all by itself, regardless of accompaniment.  A. E. Housman once said something to the effect of, if he recites something to himself while he's shaving and it gives him goose bumps, then he knows it's poetry.  I agree.

    •  I know. Trying to legislate literature is like (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, dharmafarmer

      setting rules for correct English. In the end, English is just what people speak and write to each other, and the rules are something we lay on top after the fact.

      I adopt positions as a way of prying things apart, to inspect them more closely. In the long run, great art is what survives, and all else gets swept away by the tides.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:29:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If it moves you, it's poetry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Monsieur Georges

    If it doesn't, then it isn't.

    Pretty simple really.

    •  That works, but only stretches as far as your own (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, dharmafarmer

      taste (which is, indeed, the essential starting point to enjoy art).

      There's plenty of poetry which doesn't do much for me, but moves many others who know how to listen - so it must be poetry, it's just not my poetry. I think and feel that Dylan's the most inspired person in rock, but I can see why he doesn't move friends who require a sweet-voiced, pitch-perfect singer.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:35:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those of you who know me know I'm a massive (3+ / 0-)

    Kinks fan, and I think Waterloo Sunset would rank in the "poetry" contest, and I think a lot of what Ray Davies has written could be thusly classified, though much of it is also too quirky and music-hallish for that.

    I've always felt that Road Runner (Modern Lovers) was pretty poetic in a sort of early 70's TS Eliot kind of way.

    •  'Road Runner' is a fine anthem, especially after (3+ / 0-)

      I lived in Boston for eight years. Great album, sui generis.

      Ray Davies is an immense talent. He had his own Imperial Phase, from You Really Got Me until around '72. The band, and especially the two brothers, always had a lot of friction. Being banned from the US for several years, and never getting the huge success they clearly deserved, wore them down in the end - somewhat, as they continued to come up with occasional great tunes until they finally fell apart.

      In the second half of the '60s, Ray Davies wrote a jukebox full of gems. Just marvelous songs, that nobody else would have thought of. Many people say Waterloo Sunset is the greatest pop song of all.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:44:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To answer your question, yes (3+ / 0-)

    and perhaps my favorite lyricist isn't mentioned...

    His Purple Badness Himself, Prince

  •  I love Dylan, but... (3+ / 0-)

    I find him somewhat inconsistent.  But if you want to talk about underrated just listen to "Boots of Spanish Leather."

    But when I listen through his catalog, I find way too many songs that just don't work for me.

    However, with that being said I have always believed (and said many times in many places) that Springsteen's "Thunder Road" is as close to poetry as rock and roll comes.  And as the years go by I believe that more than ever.

    •  That's why there are so many Dylan greatest hits (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, RiveroftheWest

      sets, trying to collect the cream of the cream. I don't know a single Dylan studio album without a couple of good songs on it, not even Self Portrait or the lost years in the late '80s. But I have a lot of patience for his meandering ways.

      Agree about Springsteen who was, with that album, determined to grab on to heaven and not let go.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:51:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love Springsteen, and I love thunder road.. (3+ / 0-)

    I used to put it on when the first good day of spring would come and I had the kids in the car.  I would wait for the moment and drop all 4 windows at the appropriate time.  My young children loved that.  When they were teenagers, it still worked.

    But Dylan has written more that 100 songs that are better poetry than that.

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    •  'Tangled up in Blue' is one of Dylan's favorites - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, RiveroftheWest

      you can tell by how many times he's tinkered with it, changing words and tone.

      He wrote Blood on the Tracks after a few years of learning to paint, and rethinking his approach to songwriting. He said it was the first time he'd learned to do consciously what he'd done by accident in the mid-'60s.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:55:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  John Hartford (3+ / 0-)

    He's dead now. Probably his most famous -- and most lucrative -- song was "Gentle on my Mind" (which was made famous by Glen Campbell).

    But here's a poetic song called "First Girl I Loved," which makes me think of my first girlfriend when I was a teenager. Incidentally, Norman Blake, Vassar Clements, and Randy Scruggs played on this album. I don't know if they played on this song, but probably they did. This song brings tears to my eyes. It's an older guy looking back on his life.

    The words are here (if you want to follow along):

    I was in love with you well before I knew
    it meant more than just wanting to be with you.
    I used to look for other girls that looked like you.

    But the laws of nature said, "forget it, son,"
    'least that's what somebody told me.
    I worried about it a little bit, but that's all.

    I dreamt that you were Joan of Arc
    And I was Don Quixote.
    And everywhere we went the world was tinfoil.

    But I gave up dreaming, and became a priest.
    I put it right out of my system.
    I worried about it a little bit, but that's all

    Now you used to play the guitar,
    We worked in a country band.
    We hung out down on the river bank, on Sunday.
    Your brother was my closest friend,
    he drove a pickup truck,
    he used to bring me home sometimes, from high school.

    Now I was fifteen, oh the very first time
    Love broke completely inside me.
    We were young, and we were learning about it together.

    And we had enough of what we thought we'd need
    Of those well-known secret fables.
    We worried about it a little bit, but that's all.

    I regret my life won't be long enough
    To make love to all the women that I'd like to
    Or least of all, to live with the ones I've loved

    And I've never regretted a love affair,
    except one and that's all over.
    I worried about it a little bit, but that's all.

    Now I heard you lived a-way up north --
    Your kids are fat and plenty.
    And I haven't seen your brother since a-way last Easter.

    And if every other girl in the whole wide world
    Was just a little bit more like you,
    I'd worry about it a little bit, but that's all.

    Now, you used to play the guitar.
    We worked in a country band.
    We hung out down on the river bank, on Sunday.
    Your brother was my closest friend,
    he drove a pickup truck,
    he used to bring me home sometimes, from high school.

    That's my vote for poetic lyrics.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:12:58 PM PDT

  •  No mention of Sting? Or Suzanne Vega? (4+ / 0-)

    I adore Bob Dylan -- don't get me wrong.  I also love John Lennon and Paul Simon.  Joni Mitchell is amazing.  But you cannot eave these to out of your poll!  They write exquisite songs, and their music is beautiful.

    “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” ~Socrates

    by Vijaya on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:26:52 AM PDT

    •  Sting, hell to the YES (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Monsieur Georges
      FORTRESS AROUND YOUR HEART

      Under the ruins of a walled city
      Crumbling towers and beams of yellow light
      No flags of truce, no cries of pity
      The siege guns had been pounding all through the night
      It took a day to build the city
      We walked through its streets in the afternoon
      As I returned across the lands I'd known
      I recognized the fields where I'd once played
      I had to stop in my tracks for fear
      Of walking on the mines I'd laid

      And if I built this fortress around your heart
      Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
      Then let me build a bridge
      For I cannot fill the chasm
      And let me set the battlements on fire

      Then I went off to fight some battle
      That I'd invented inside my head
      Away so long for years and years
      You probably thought or even wished that I was dead
      While the armies are all sleeping
      Beneath the tattered flag we'd made
      I had to stop in my track for fear
      Of walking on the mines I'd laid

      And if I built this fortress around your heart
      Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
      Then let me build a bridge
      For I cannot fill the chasm
      And let me set the battlements on fire

      This prison has now become your home
      A sentence you seem prepared to pay
      It took a day to build the city
      We walked through its streets in the afternoon
      As I returned across the lands I'd known
      I recognized the fields where I'd once played
      I had to stop in my tracks for fear
      Of walking on the mines I'd laid

      And if I built this fortress around your heart
      Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
      Then let me build a bridge
      For I cannot fill the chasm
      And let me set the battlements on fire

    •  But my poll just wasn't big enough! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges, RiveroftheWest

      (no pun intended).

      I met Suzanne Vega, backstage after her first album. She was very sweet.

      I like your choices, but that was half the point of the diary, for people to bring their own choices in the comments. I didn't quite aim to put only Olympian songwriters in the poll - I made sure to get a couple of rappers and modern picks in. But I only put in people who I felt had a claim to being poets.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:40:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  These are the lyrics I like best (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Brecht

    Hey, Brecht, I came late to this party because I was out of town for the weekend. Most enjoyable diary, thank you!

    Some may say these are mawkish, perhaps they are.  I don't care.  I heard this sung by either the Ray Conniff Singers or the Percy Faith Chorus, 1,000 years ago when there was a station here in DC called WGAY ("Your Connie B. Gay station").

    Softly Whispering I Love You   

    (R. Cook/R. Greenaway)

    Softly whispering I love you
    Echoes of your voice are calling still through my dreams
    Softening the chill of the breeze
    Through my window I can see the moon glow
    Painting silver shadows on a rose coloured land
    A world that we walked hand in hand
    In a day of gold coloured by the glow of new love

    I can feel your warm face ever close to my lips
    And the scent of you invades the cool evening air
    I can close my eyes and you're there
    In my arms still and I feel your soft kiss
    Turning into music ev'ry beat of my heart
    When I hold you close to my heart
    And I hear your voice whispering I love you.

    A group called The English Congregation was the first to sing this but having heard their version, I prefer the first version I heard.  I'd also quarrel with the use of "invade" in the second stanza:  "pervade" would be more accurate.

    But anyway, I really like it.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue May 28, 2013 at 01:04:01 PM PDT

    •  I hope you had a lovely weekend, Diana in NoVa. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Diana in NoVa

      So I poked awhile on bing and YouTube, but I couldn't find a version by either the Ray Conniff Singers or the Percy Faith Chorus.

      Just reading the lyrics, I'd say they're effectively sentimental, not mawkish: "Through my window I can see the moon glow
      Painting silver shadows on a rose coloured land" casts a nice picture and mood.

      I listened to the English Congregation's version, and found the first verse enchanting, reminiscent of services back in Canterbury Cathedral. Then it got all rocky in the second verse, and I felt it spoiled the mood they'd created.

      It's very hard to separate lyrics from music, once we know them together - they feed each other, and the music echoes in our mind as we read the lyrics. This is especially true of songs that had a strong impact on us in our youth, whose emotional spell reaches far beyond our conscious measurement of their surface meanings.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Tue May 28, 2013 at 02:13:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Brecht, you have nailed my feelings EXACTLY (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, RiveroftheWest
        I listened to the English Congregation's version, and found the first verse enchanting, reminiscent of services back in Canterbury Cathedral. Then it got all rocky in the second verse, and I felt it spoiled the mood they'd created.
        I felt the same way! That's why I preferred the choral version.  Well, I'm sure that version is long gone.  The radio station went out of business. Too bad, a lot of people really liked it, including me.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Tue May 28, 2013 at 07:00:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I looked for a 'Softly Whispering I Love You' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest

          that seemed to fit how you described it. But I think The English Congregation ruined the song - all six other versions I found had the same dynamics. I found Paul Young's version charming, but it's mostly solo voice, and it gets rather rocky. I'm sure it's far from what you first heard.

          But I thought I'd share some poetry with you, in a song that blends rock, jazz and classical. Here's Van Morrison with Sweet Thing:

          And I will stroll the merry way
          And jump the hedges first
          And I will drink the clear clean water
          For to quench my thirst

          And I shall watch the ferry boats
          And they'll get high.. on a bluer ocean
          Against tomorrow's sky
          And I will never grow so old again

          And I will walk and talk
          In gardens all wet with rain

          Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
          My, my, my, my, my sweet thing

          And I shall drive my chariot
          Down your streets and cry
          Hey it's me, I'm dynamite
          And I don't know why

          And you shall take me strongly
          In your arms again
          And I will not remember
          That I ever felt the pain

          We shall walk and talk
          In gardens all misty wet, misty wet with rain down
          And I will never, never, grow so old again

          Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
          Oh oh sweet thing...
          My, my, my, my, my

          And I will raise my hand up
          Into the night time sky
          And count the stars
          That's shining in your eye

          Just to dig it all an' not to wonder
          That's just fine.. and I'll be satisfied
          Not to read in between the lines

          Yeah and I will walk and talk
          In gardens all wet with rain
          And I will never, ever, ever, ever grow so old again

          Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
          Oh oh sugar baby
          Sugar baby, sugar baby with your champagne eyes

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Tue May 28, 2013 at 08:58:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site