Isley Brothers – This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)

The song was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. Lamont Dozier said it was inspired by a girl he just couldn’t give up. “The more I tried the deeper I fell,” he said. “I made excuses for her and all the wrong she had done to me. She was a necessary evil that I just couldn’t overcome.”

The song peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100 in 1966.

Rod Stewart later covered this song in 1975 and again with Ronald Isley which reached #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1990.

From Songfacts.

The Isley Brothers became one of the most successful acts of the ’70s, and also one of the most independent – they wrote, produced and released their own music throughout the decade. But in 1966, they were signed to Motown Records, who teamed them with the songwriting/production team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), who put together this heartbreak song for the group.

Released as their first Motown single, it was a hit, but their last Top 40 with the label, who reassigned Holland-Dozier-Holland to other artists. In 1968, The Isley Brothers left Motown to record on their own label, T-Neck Records. Their first T-Neck release was the group’s biggest hit: “It’s Your Thing.”

This is one of those Motown songs with an upbeat tune but heartwrenching lyrics about a guy who is devastated by the loss of his girl. The poor dude just can’t move on, and like the singer in “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” he’s abandoned his pride: “If you leave me a hundred times, a hundred times I’ll take you back. I’m yours whenever you want me.”

Rod Stewart, a huge fan of both Motown and The Isley Brothers, recorded his own version in 1975 and released it as a single. His rendition was a big hit in the UK, climbing to #4, but it only went to #83 in America. He did a lot better stateside when he recorded the song as a duet with Ronald Isley in 1989. This version made #10 in the US.

In the UK, this song originally charted at #47, but it reached #3 when it was re-released to coincide with a promotional tour of Britain from The Isley Brothers.

Motown singer Tammi Terrell made #67 with her 1969 cover version of this song.

This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)

This old heart of mine been broke a thousand times
Each time you break away, I fear you’ve gone to stay
Lonely nights that come, memories that flow, bringing you back again
Hurting me more and more

Maybe it’s my mistake to show this love I feel inside
‘Cause each day that passes by you got me
Never knowing if I’m coming or going, but I, I love you
This old heart darling, is weak for you
I love you, yes, I do
These old arms of mine miss having you around
Makes these tears inside start a-falling down

Always with half a kiss
You remind me of what I miss
Though I try to control myself
Like a fool I start grinnin’ ’cause my head starts spinnin’ ’cause I

I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you
I love you, yes I do, yes I do

Ooh, I try hard to hide, my hurt inside
This old heart of mine always keeps me cryin’
The way you’re treating me, leaves me incomplete
You’re here for the day, gone for the week now

But if you leave me a hundred times
A hundred times I’ll take you back
I’m yours whenever you want me
I’m not too proud to shout it, tell the world about it ’cause I

I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you
I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you

I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you
I love you, yes I do, yes I do
I love you, yes I do, darling is weak for you

Play-Doh…not for consumption.

I’ve been music heavy lately and wanted to live up more to the “eclectic” part of the blog’s name.

In first grade…I found the wonderous invention called Play-Doh. I loved making things and the smell of play-doh… I had a friend in school named Kevin…he would eat Play-Doh at times…I didn’t go that far. Kevin would deny eating it but when he smiled the teacher would see yellow, blue, and red all between his teeth… He would also eat crayons…Lost touch with Kevin after second grade when I assigned to a different school in our area which was closer…maybe that was for the best…

Today if I ever walk by Play-Doh I have to pick it up and do something with it. When my son was a kid we would make all sorts of things. I always loved taking the top off of a new one and trying to keep the colors separated…

Kevin where ever you are now…this post is for you.

In the 1930s Noah McVicker created a substance that looked like putty out of flour, water, salt, boric acid, and mineral oil. His family’s soap company — Kutol Products — in Cincinnati, Ohio, marketed his creation as a wallpaper cleaner.

It wasn’t until after World War II that Noah McVicker’s nephew, Joseph McVicker soon realized that Kutol Products’ wallpaper cleaner also could be used as modeling clay. In 1955, he tested the product in Cincinnati-area schools and daycares. The following year, the Woodward & Lothrop Department Store in Washington, DC, began to sell the clay, which McVicker had named Play-Doh. Noah and Joseph McVicker applied for a patent for Play-Doh in 1958, but the United States Patent Office did not officially patent the clay until January 26, 1965.

Captain Kangaroo had a part in the popularity. 

When it was just a new company with no advertising budget,  Joe McVicker talked his way in to visit Bob Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo. Although the company couldn’t pay the show outright, McVicker offered them two percent of Play-Doh sales for featuring the product once a week. Keeshan loved the compound and began featuring it three times weekly.

Today, Play-Doh is owned by Hasbro that continues to make and sell the product through its Playskool line. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association added Play-Doh to its “Century of Toys List,” which contains the 100 most memorable and creative toys of the last 100 years.

Since its “invention,” over 700 million pounds of Play-Doh have been sold around the world!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play-Doh

https://www.surfnetkids.com/early/4796/history-of-playdoh

 

 

 

Gladys Knight & the Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia

I remember watching Gladys Knight and the Pips perform this on television when I was a small kid.

“Midnight Train To Georgia” was not only a #1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B, but also a #10 on the UK Singles chart. It garnered the group the 1974 Grammy Award for “Best R&B Vocal Performance” and was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

The song was written by Jim Weatherly…here he explained how he wrote the song… Who would have thought Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett Majors would have anything to do with it.

“The song actually came about after a phone call I had with Farrah Fawcett. Lee Majors was a friend of mine. We’d played in the Flag Football League together in L.A. He had just started dating Farrah. One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me. After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes. Something like that. Didn’t take me long at all, ’cause I actually used Farrah and Lee as kind of like characters I guess. A girl that comes to L.A. to make it and doesn’t make it and leaves to go back home. The guy goes back with her. Pretty simple little story, but it felt real to me. It felt honest to me. I played it for them and they loved it. I cut it on my first album as ‘Midnight Plane To Houston.’ And then later on, maybe a year or six months later, a guy in Atlanta wanted to cut the song on Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. They called and said they would like a more R&B sounding title and asked if we would mind if they changed the title to ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ [so that “Houston” wouldn’t appear in both the title and artist name]. We said ‘change anything but the writer and publisher.’ So, he cut the song on Cissy Houston and it was a nice little cross between an R&B and country record. It got on the R&B charts. That’s the version that Gladys heard. Some of the background vocals you hear on Glady’s records were first on Cissy Houston’s record. It wasn’t as much, but just some of the feel of the background vocals. And of course, Gladys’ record was more of a groove-oriented thing. It wasn’t as slow. It just became a monster record.”

Here is a better detailed write up about it by Dave from “A Sound Day”

 

From Songfacts.

This was written and originally recorded by Jim Weatherly, who had a solo hit in 1974 with “The Need To Be”

Gladys Knight & The Pips recorded Weatherly’s “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” in 1973 and released it as a kiss-off record as their contract to Motown Recording Company (Soul Record) was expiring. “Neither One of Us” was their biggest Motown/Soul hit, reaching #2 as the group signed with Buddha Records. When they decided to record an album consisting of only Jim Weatherly songs (Imagination), his publisher sent a copy of the song to Knight. This was the second single from the album, after “Where Peaceful Waters Flow.” It became the group’s biggest hit. The third and fourth singles off the album didn’t do too badly either – “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” peaked at #4 in the US, “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” #3.

This title is name-checked in Billy Crystal’s 1989 TV special Midnight Train to Moscow.

Films and television shows in which “Midnight Train To Georgia” is part of the soundtrack include The Deer Hunter, 30 Rock, House M.D., Broadcast News, and Las Vegas. It also gets its day in the sun in the 1974 episode of VH1’s I Love the ’70s: Volume 2. Richard Pryor (we still miss him) also used it in his 1977 special.

You might ask what, exactly, a “pip” is besides Knight’s backing singers. Well, a ‘pip’ is casino/gaming jargon for the spots on a die or domino. So when you’re at a craps table and you roll a “hard 8” on the dice, that means that there’s four pips showing on the face of each die, as opposed to an “easy 8” which would be the statistically more common 2-6 or 3-5 combinations of pips.

Other songs involving trains include “Last Train To Clarksville,” “City Of New Orleans”, “Love Train”, “Runaway Train”, and of course Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”, which also has a “midnight train.” Train themes seem to be most popular in folk music and R&B.

This song has special relevance when you consider 21st century online dating, which unites partners over the internet who are separated by a great distance. The decision the protagonist has to make, choosing to move to Georgia to “live in his world,” is a common one that people have to eventually face if they start a long-distance relationship.

Midnight Train to Georgia

L.A. Proved too much for the man
Too much for the man, he couldn’t make it
So he’s leavin’ the life he’s come to know uhoo
He said he’s goin’
He said he’s goin’ back to find
Goin’ back to find
Ooh, what’s left of his world
The world he left behind
Not so long ago

He’s leavin’ (leavin’)
On that midnight train to Georgia
Leavin’ on the midnight train
Said he’s goin’ back
Goin’ back to find
To a simpler place in time
Oh yes he is

And I’ll be with him (I know you will)
On that midnight train to Georgia (leavin’ on the midnight train to Georgia)
I’d rather live in his world
Than live without him in mine
That world is his, his and ‘ers alone

He kept dreamin’ (dreamin’)
That someday he’d be a star
A super star, but he didn’t get far
But he sure found out the hard way
That dreams don’t always come true
So he pawned all his hopes
And he even sold his old car
Bought a one way ticket back
To the life he once knew
Oh yes he did
He said he would

Oh oh he’s leavin’
On that midnight train to Georgia (leavin’ on the midnight train)
Said he’s goin’ back to find
Oh a simpler place in time

And I’m gonna be with him (I know you will)
On that midnight train to Georgia
I’d rather live in his world
Than be without him in mine

The world is his, his and ‘ers alone
Oh he’s leavin’
On that midnight train to Georgia (leavin’ on the midnight train)
Said he’s goin’ back to find (goin’ back to find)
Oh a simpler place in time

And I’ve gotta be with him (I know you will)
On the midnight train to Georgia
I’d rather live in his world
Than be without him in mine

The world is his, his and ‘ers alone
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia

For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia

For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia
For love gonna board
The midnight train to Georgia

Ringo Starr – It Don’t Come Easy

Maybe Ringo’s best solo song. Ringo is the only songwriter credited on this, but he had a lot of help from George Harrison, who was very generous in giving him full writing credit. The track (less Ringo’s vocal and horn parts) was already completed when Harrison gave it to him, and it included a scratch vocal by George (youtube video at the bottom).

The song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada and  #4 in the UK in 1971.

Pete Ham and Tom Evans from Badfinger are on this track.

From Songfacts.

If you listen carefully during the guitar solo, the backup singers throw in a “Hare Krishna,” which was mixed way down. This is a nod to George Harrison’s 1970 hit “My Sweet Lord,” where he sings the mantra. 

This was Ringo’s first big hit as a solo artist (his cover of “Beaucoups of Blues” made #87 US a year earlier). From 1971-1975 he had a string of hits, including two #1s: “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen.”

Peter Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger sang on the intro to this song (“It don’t come easy, ya know it don’t come easy”). Badfinger was signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records, and helped out George Harrison’s first solo album. 

This song served Ringo well throughout his career. When he assembled his first “All Starr Band” in 1989 (featuring Dr. John, Clarence Clemmons, Joe Walsh and Billy Preston), this was the opening number on their tour. Throughout several subsequent incarnations of the band, “It Don’t Come Easy” typically remained at the top of setlist when they performed live.

Ringo performed this song with his good friend, musical cohort, and brother-in-law Joe Walsh when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Here is the George Harrison version

It Don’t Come Easy

One, two,
One, two, three, four!

It don’t come easy
You know it don’t come easy
It don’t come easy
You know it don’t come easy

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues
And you know it don’t come easy
You don’t have to shout or leap about
You can even play them easy

Open up your heart, let’s come together
Use a little love
And we will make it work out better

I don’t ask for much, I only want your trust
And you know it don’t come easy
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time
And you know it don’t come easy

Peace, remember peace is how we make it
Here within your reach
If you’re big enough to take it

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues
And you know it don’t come easy
You don’t have to shout or leap about
You can even play them easy

Peace, remember peace is how we make it
Here within your reach
If you’re big enough to take it

I don’t ask for much, I only want your trust
And you know it don’t come easy
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time
And you know it don’t come easy

“What’s my name?” Ringo!
“What’s my name?” Ringo!

“Just in case anybody forgot”

The Mindbenders – A Groovy Kind of Love

I can’t listen to this every day but once in a while, it’s alright. It’s very mid-sixties plus it has the word groovy in it. Winner winner …

They were a beat group from  Manchester, England. They were known as Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders but Mr. Fontana decided to quit in the middle of a concert in 1965…  Eric Stewart (later in 10cc) became the lead singer.

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100 in 1966.

Phil Collins covered the song in the 1980s and it peaked at #1 in 1988.

From Songfacts.

This was written by New York songwriters Carole Bayer Sager and Toni Wine; Sager was 22 when they wrote it, and Wine was 17. They wrote the song for Screen Gems publishing, and Jack McGraw, who worked at Screen Gems’ London office, thought the song would be perfect for the British group The Mindbenders. The song became a huge hit in England, and was released in America a year later, where it was also very successful.

Sager was still teaching high school when she wrote this, and Wine was still in high school. Both went on to very successful careers in the music industry, with Sager writing popular songs for stage productions and movies (including “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”), and Wine writing the hit “Candida” and singing on many famous songs, including Willie Nelson’s version of “Always On My Mind” and “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies. They wrote this in Sager’s apartment.

In our interview with Toni Wine, she explained: “We were talking about ‘Groovy’ being the new word. The only song we knew of was 59th Street Bridge Song, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. You know, ‘Feelin’ groovy.’ And we knew we wanted to write a song with that word in it. Because we knew it was the happening word, and we wanted to jump on that. Carole came up with ‘Groovy kinda… groovy kinda… groovy…’ and we’re all just saying, ‘Kinda groovy, kinda groovy, kinda…’ I don’t exactly know who came up with ‘Love,’ but it was ‘Groovy kind of love.’ And we did it. We wrote it in 20 minutes. It was amazing. Just flew out of our mouths, and at the piano, it was a real quick and easy song to write. Those are incredible things when those songs can get written. Like some you can just be hung on for so long, and then others just happen very quickly. And that was one of them. And it’s been so good to us.”

In 1966, this was also recorded by Patti LaBelle And The Bluebelles, but the version recorded by The Mindbenders, who released it as their first single without lead singer Wayne Fontana, became the hit.

Wayne Fontana left the Mindbenders after numerous singles failed to chart after their hit “Game of Love.” To quote an angry Eric Stewart after Wayne just walked off the stage while they were playing: “All we lost was our tambourine player. Wayne had been threatening to leave the band for some time and drummer Ric Rothwell had reached the end of patience with his groaning an moaning. Ric was urging him to take his ego trip and p–s off.” 

This was a #1 UK and US hit for Phil Collins in 1988. His version was used in the movie Buster, where Collins plays the title role of Buster Edwards. Collins put together the soundtrack using various ’60s songs because that’s when the movie was set (he enlisted Motown hitmaker Lamont Dozier to co-write “Two Hearts,” another US #1 hit used in the film). According to Toni Wine, “Separate Lives” composer Stephen Bishop wanted to record a cover and brought a demo to his pal Collins, hoping he would produce it. Instead, Collins convinced Bishop to let him record it for the movie. 

A child actor, Collins was wary about taking a movie role after becoming famous as a musician, and he made sure the song didn’t appear until the end of the film so musical perceptions wouldn’t taint his performance. The film was a box office flop, but Collins stood by it, saying it was an excellent film.

The music is based on the Rondo from “Sonatina in G Major” by Muzio Clementi.

Collins’ version was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards, but lost to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”

Sonny & Cher recorded this for their 1967 album, In Case You’re In Love.

A Groovy Kind Of Love

When I’m feelin’ blue, all I have to do is take a look at you,
Then I’m not so blue.
When you’re close to me I can feel you heart beat 
I can hear you breathing in my ear.

Wouldn’t you agree, baby, you and me got a groovy kind of love.
We got a groovy kind of love.

Any time you want to you can turn me on to anything you want to. 
Any time at all.
When I taste your lips 
Oh, I start to shiver can’t control the quivering inside.

Wouldn’t you agree, baby, you and me got a groovy kind of love.
We got a groovy kind of love.

When I’m in your arms nothing seems to matter 
If the world would shatter I don’t care. 
Wouldn’t you agree, baby, you and me got a groovy kind of love.
We got a groovy kind of love.
We got a groovy kind of love.
We got a groovy kind of love

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

Heard this in the nineties when I still listened to the radio on a daily basis. I remember the song being used to find missing children. The music video for “Runaway Train” featured photographs and names of missing children in the style of a public service announcement.

At the end of the video, lead singer Dave Pirner appeared and said, “If you’ve seen one of these kids, or you are one of them, please call this number” before a missing children telephone helpline number appeared. The video was edited for use outside the US to include photos and names of missing children from wherever the video was to be shown. The video drew awareness to the problem and was instrumental in reuniting several children with their families.

Runaway Train peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100 in 1993.

 

From Songfacts.

Soul Asylum lead singer Dave Pirner wrote this song, which is about depression. It took him a few years to complete the song; at first it had different lyrics with a refrain of “laughing at the rain,” which he knew was too similar to the Neil Sedaka song “Laughter In The Rain.”

Pirner had the tune in his head, but it wasn’t until he went through some dark times that the runaway train/depression metaphor hit him, and he wrote the lyrics in a single sitting.

.

The message of the video became bigger than that of the song, and the Soul Asylum singer embraced that message. In our interview with Dave Pirner, he explained: “I really got closer to an issue that I was concerned about and open to being concerned about, and thrust into a position where I was dealing with the Polly Klaas situation. There’s so much raw emotion and so much reality to a situation like that that you can’t exploit it.”

Polly Klaas was a 12-year-old girl who went missing in October 1993, a few months after the song had peaked on the charts. The case made national news, drawing more attention to the issue of missing and exploited children. It was later learned the Klaas was abducted and murdered.

Soul Asylum had released five albums prior to Grave Dancers Union. They developed a small following and did well on college radio, but “Runaway Train” was their first Pop hit and changed their fortunes. The song’s hit potential became obvious when they played it live at the University of Minnesota before recording it – the crowd responded to it and some commented that they thought it was a cover, as the tune sounded somehow familiar. This convinced the band to put some resources into developing the song, so they hired a producer named Michael Beinhorn to work on it with them.

The band had signed with Columbia Records after splitting with A&M, and Columbia was ready to invest in the album, and especially this song. They booked a high-end recording studio in New York City – The Power Station – and the band recorded it there. Recording the track went well, but Pirner had trouble getting comfortable with his vocals, so Beinhorn left him alone to record his part with just the band’s guitarist Dan Murphy present. The result was a very emotive vocal that served the song.

The video was directed by Tony Kaye, who would later direct the movie American History X. Kaye came up with the idea of using images of real missing children in the clip, and the band loved the idea, as it was truly original and could also do some good. And while Kaye’s literal interpretation – runaway children – wasn’t the real meaning behind the song, Dave Pirner didn’t mind going in that direction for the video, since he didn’t think visuals attached to a song were that important. “I had been searching for meaningfulness in the MTV world,” he said. “The tool of the video seemed like either just a raw promotion piece or just an opportunity to send a visual that isn’t really relevant. I don’t need to see a visual representation of ‘Free Bird‘ to understand what a free bird is.”

Acoustic guitars are the lead instruments on this song, but listen carefully and you’ll hear an organ in the mix. This was a Hammond B3 organ played by Booker T. Jones, who was a member of the group Booker T. & the M.G.’s (“Green Onions“). Jones played on many Soul classics of the ’60s and ’70s, mostly the Stax Records recordings, as his group served as their house band.

Getting Jones was a coup for Soul Asylum, and an opportunity to let a master do his work – producer Michael Beinhorn flew to Los Angeles to record Jones, but gave him very little direction, as the organist had been around the block a few times and knew just what to play for the seven songs he contributed to on the album.

The music video for this song changed its perception, as many viewers assumed the song was about runaway children. According to Dave Pirner, the song deals with a feeling of something missing, but associating it specifically with missing children is a stretch. “The video initiated the runaway children aspect of the song,” he told us. “It is fascinating to me that MTV was such a vehicle that it practically reinterpreted the song. I don’t think that anybody that really loves that song thinks about the video that much.”

At the 1994 ceremony, this won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, which went to its writer, Dave Pirner. Dave didn’t attend the ceremony, as he didn’t like the idea of proclaiming one song superior to another. When he won, Meat Loaf accepted the award on his behalf.

When this song started climbing the charts, Soul Asylum embarked on MTV’s Alternative Nation tour, a 56-date trek with Screaming Trees and Spin Doctors that had them playing shows nearly every night. They made several TV appearances as well, including at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards where Peter Buck and Victoria Williams joined them to perform the song.

The group, and especially Pirner, were getting burned out at this point from touring and promotion, and for a while Pirner refused to perform the song in an effort to prove that there was more to Soul Asylum than “Runaway Train.”

The band’s drummer, Grant Young, didn’t play on this track, as producer Michael Beinhorn wasn’t happy with his takes. Sterling Campbell, who was a top session player, was brought in for the job, which caused a great deal of tension in the band. Young ended up quitting Soul Asylum before they recorded their next record. Campbell is credited on the album as a “percussionist.”

Runaway Train

Call you up in the middle of the night
Like a firefly without a light
You were there like a slow torch burning
I was a key that could use a little turning

So tired that I couldn’t even sleep
So many secrets I couldn’t keep
Promised myself I wouldn’t weep
One more promise I couldn’t keep

It seems no one can help me now
I’m in too deep
There’s no way out
This time I have really led myself astray

Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Can you help me remember how to smile
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded
Life’s mystery seems so faded

I can go where no one else can go
I know what no one else knows
Here I am just drownin’ in the rain
With a ticket for a runaway train

Everything is cut and dry
Day and night, earth and sky
Somehow I just don’t believe it

Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Bought a ticket for a runaway train
Like a madman laughin’ at the rain
Little out of touch, little insane
Just easier than dealing with the pain

Runaway train never comin’ back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Runaway train never comin’ back
Runaway train tearin’ up the track
Runaway train burnin’ in my veins
Runaway but it always seems the same

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

This was on the great album Blood on the Tracks. In my opinion Bob’s best album of the seventies. When I first got this album I couldn’t quit listening to it and I really wore this song out. I could sing this song in my sleep…I know every word because it’s ingrained in my head.

This would make my top 10-15 Bob Dylan songs. I’ve seen Bob 8 times and the first 6 times I saw him I kept waiting for this song because with Bob you don’t know what you will get live. He finally played it on the 7th time and I was surprised the next time because it was the only older song he played.

The song peaked at #31 in the Billboard 100 in 1975.

Talking to  Ron Rosenbaum, Bob Dylan once told him that he’d written “Tangled up in Blue”, after spending a weekend immersed in Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue.

From Songfacts.

Dylan wrote this in the summer of 1974 at a farm he had just bought in Minnesota. He had been touring with The Band earlier that year.

Blood On The Tracks was Dylan’s first album under his new contract with Columbia Records. He left the label a year earlier to record for David Geffen’s label, Asylum Records.

This was influenced by the art classes Dylan was taking with Norman Raeben, a popular teacher in New York. Dylan credits Raeben for making him look at things from a nonlinear perspective, which was reflected in his songs.

This is a very personal song for Dylan. It deals with the changes he was going through, including his marriage falling apart.

Dylan sometimes introduced this on stage by saying it took “Ten years to live and two years to write.”

Tangled Up In Blue

Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
I was layin’ in bed
Wondrin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like
Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bank book wasn’t big enough
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues
Gettin’ through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin’ away
I heard her say over my shoulder
We’ll meet again some day
On the avenue
Tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was workin’ in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept lookin’ at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I’s just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me “Don’t I know your name?”
I muttered somethin’ under my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
I thought you’d never say hello, she said
You look like the silent type
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And everyone of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin’ coal
Pourin’ off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin’ on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I’m goin’ back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point
Of view
Tangled up in blue