Running on Empty by Jackson Browne (1977)
Even if this wasn’t already one of my favorite driving songs it would be perpetually on my play list simple for all the great lines it contains. Seriously, how can you beat these?
Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive.
I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too
Finally, this classic verse which is how I actually try to live my life:
Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don’t know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that’ll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave
Blue Rodeo probably makes my list more than any other group simply because both my wife and I listen to them a lot and go see them in concert any chance we get. The fact that they are a Canadian band and have seemingly been around forever doesn’t hurt either. Some classics that spring to mind:
Til I Am Myself Again (1990)
But the half-finished bottles of inspiration
Lie like ghosts in my room
This reminds me of my dorm room at university where we would wake up in the morning and there would be beer bottles spread around from a party the night before.
The night before we were always the coolest people on campus but the next morning we were just tired losers like everyone else.
English Bay (1993)
And I wonder if you think of me
As I dream of you
Do you hear the song
That I sing from this hotel room
This has an immediate impact on anyone who has ever been in a situation where you have a special someone stuck in your head but you’re not sure whether you ever cross their mind. Add in the image of the loney hotel room devoid of any personality and you have a mental picture that is hard to shake.
Last To Know (1992)
Memory works in strange ways
Cuts you down makes you pay
One day you’ll be walking fine
The next day lightning hits you from behind
The contrast in this verse is what gets me. Look behind you and your memories will cut you down and make you pay, but fail to pay attention and you get hit from behind. It’s the balance we all need to strive to achieve — enjoying the past while remembering no one knows what our futures hold.
And, my last one to add to this list for tonight goes to one of the best heartbreak, drinking, country tunes ever written:
Killin’ Time by Clint Black (1989)
You were the first thing that I thought of
When I thought I drank you off my mind
Ask any guy who ever tried to drink to forget a woman and they’ll tell you how true this one is — adding alcohol doesn’t do anything to kill the thoughts you are trying to shed, all it does is intensify the pain.
(Not that I am speaking from personal experience here, of course!)
OK, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll do another post with more great lyrics another time. And, naturally, I’ll also one day do a “worst lyrics of all-time” list too — the ones where you hear them and think “THAT was the best they could come up with for a line?” Until then, cheers!