Lovin’ Spoonful – Darling Be Home Soon

In the 1980s I had a Lovin’ Spoonful Greatest hits on vinyl made by a small Nashville record company my friend worked at called Gusto Records. After listening to their many hits…this is the one that I zeroed in on. They had bigger hits but this is one of my favorite songs by the Lovin’ Spoonful.

John Sebastion sings it so desperately and sincere that it hooked me.

John Sebastian wrote this ballad for Francis Ford Coppola’s You’re A Big Boy Now, a coming-of-age film. Sebastian was responsible for the whole soundtrack but was tasked to write this specific song for an important love scene. He started thinking about all the songs that dealt with lonely musicians on the road and decided to flip the concept and write about a guy waiting for his girlfriend to come home.

Unfortunately, the movie was largely ignored. The song was mostly forgotten until Sebastian revived it during his performance at Woodstock in 1969.

The song peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100 and #44 in the UK in 1967.

From Songfacts

“From the singer’s perspective, the verses are pleas for a partner to spend a few minutes talking before leaving,” Sebastian explained to Marc Myers for the book Anatomy of a Song. “What made the song interesting is that you never knew if the other person was actually there listening or was already gone.”

After hitching a ride with the helicopter carrying The Incredible String Band’s equipment, Sebastian arrived at the Woodstock festival thinking he’d just be a spectator. But an early afternoon downpour flooded the stage and it needed to be cleared of water before Santana’s amps could be set up. Michael Lang, the concert’s producer, asked Sebastian to fill in. He took the stage in a tie-dyed white denim outfit and sang five songs, the fourth being “Darling Be Home Soon.” He recalled: “The audience didn’t identify the song with the movie, since most probably hadn’t seen it. Instead, they sort of quieted down and took it in as a love song. My job wasn’t to incite but to mellow everyone out until the stage was swept. When I finished, the applause from so many people was loud and wide, and knocked the wind out of me. The feeling was delicious.”

The Lovin’ Spoonful recorded this with a studio orchestra in just one day. The next morning, however, Sebastian was horrified to learn his vocal take had accidentally been erased and had to be re-recorded. “I did that right away, with the wound still fresh,” he said. “What you hear on the record is me, a half hour after learning that my original vocal track had been erased. You can even hear my voice quiver a little at the end. That was me thinking about the vocal we lost and wanting to kill someone.”

Zal Yanovsky, the band’s lead guitarist, hated the song. He thought it was too sappy and accused Sebastian of losing his rock edge. During one live performance, Zal can be seen clownishly mocking the frontman as he sings the heartfelt lyrics.

This was used on the CBS crime drama Cold Case in the 2010 episode “Free Love.”

Several artists have covered this, including Bobby Darin, Joe Cocker, Slade, The Association, and Bruce Hornsby.

Darling Be Home Soon

Come
And talk of all the things we did today
Here
And laugh about our funny little ways
While we have a few minutes to breathe
Then I know that it’s time you must leave

But, darling, be home soon
I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling, be home soon
It’s not just these few hours, but I’ve been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to

And now
A quarter of my life is almost past
I think I’ve come to see myself at last
And I see that the time spent confused
Was the time that I spent without you
And I feel myself in bloom

So, darling, be home soon
I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling, be home soon
It’s not just these few hours, but I’ve been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to

So, darling
My darling, be home soon
I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling, be home soon
It’s not just these few hours, but I’ve been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to

Go
And beat your crazy head against the sky
Try
And see beyond the houses and your eyes
It’s okay to shoot the moon

Darling be home soon
I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling, be home soon
It’s not just these few hours, but I’ve been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to