Great Lines in Songs (Part 1)

Brilliant, clever, or that I just enjoy hearing over and over.

As I’ve listened to songs, over the years, I always have found certain lines that just make the song for me. This is the first post that showcases some of those phrases that I thought were brilliant, clever, or that I just enjoy hearing over and over.

Crazy on You” from the band Heart where Nancy and Ann Wilson wrote :

I was a willow last night in a dream 
I bent down over a clear running stream
Sang you the song that I heard up above
And you kept me alive with your sweet flowing love

It was on their 1975 debut studio album, Dreamboat Annie, and peaked at number 25 on RPM’s Top Singles chart in Canada in May of that year and at number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100 the following month. The song opens with Ann playing an acoustic guitar intro called “Silver Wheels”, inspired by The Moody Blues 1970 song “Question”, and the riff created by Roger Fisher.

The song’s lyrics tell of a person’s desire to forget all the problems of the world during one night of passion. During an interview on the television series Private Sessions in 2007, Ann Wilson revealed the song was written in response to the stress caused by the Vietnam War and social unrest in the United States in the early 1970s.

Just Give Me a Reason” is a song by Pink (Featuring Nate Ruess – of the band Fun[1]) which was written in 2012 by Jeff Bhasker and Alecia Moore. It includes the lyrics:

Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough
Just a second we're not broken just bent and we can learn to love again

It is a pop ballad about the desire to hold on to a relationship even when it appears to be breaking down. In the US, it became Pink’s fourth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100. Pink realized that she needed someone else to sing the song with her because she thought that it was more of a conversation than a one-perspective song.

Behind Blue Eyes” is a song by the Who from their 1971 LP, Who’s Next. It was written by Pete Townshend for his Lifehouse project[2] and contains the lyrics:

And if I swallow anything evil 
Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

Townshend said, “‘Behind Blue Eyes’ really is off the wall because that was a song sung by the villain of the piece, the fact that he felt in the original story that he was forced into a position of being a villain whereas he felt he was a good guy.” It reached #34 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rocket Man” is a song by Elton John from his 1972 album Honky Château. It was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Taupin wrote the lyrics:

She packed my bags last night pre-flight 
Zero hour, nine AM
And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then

The song was inspired by the short story “The Rocket Man” in The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury and describes a Mars-bound astronaut’s mixed feelings at leaving Earth to do his job. The song reached number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Peg” is a song by Steely Dan from their 1977 album Aja and written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen. They wrote:

Then the shutter falls 
You see it all in 3D
It's your favorite foreign movie

It reached number 11 on the US Billboard chart in 1978. “Peg” has been described by AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine as a “sunny pop” song with “layers of jazzy vocal harmonies”. Donald Fagen said “There’s no hidden meaning. We just wanted a dotted half note for that spot and ‘Peg’ was short enough to fit with the music.” Fagen added that the song “takes place at a seedy photo shoot in L.A…from the perspective of [a] jilted boyfriend.”

Addicted to Love” is a song written by Robert Palmer in 1985 and on his eighth studio album Riptide. It contains the lyrics:

The lights are on, but you're not home
Your will is not your own
Your heart sweats, your teeth grind
Another kiss and you'll be mine

It became Palmer’s signature song, thanks in part to a popular video featuring high fashion models. Originally intended to be a duet with Chaka Khan, the song was made without her because her record company at the time would not grant her a release to work on Palmer’s label, Island Records. Chaka Khan is still credited for the vocal arrangements in the album liner notes.

Long, Long Way from Home” is a song from Foreigner’s debut album. It was written by Mick Jones, Lou Gramm & Ian McDonald that was initially released in November 1977. It contains the lyrics:

It was a Monday 
A day like any other day
I left a small town
For the apple in decay

According to Gramm, the lyrics are autobiographical, reflecting his experience moving from Rochester to New York City. Gramm and Jones stated that this was the first song they worked on together. It reached number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1978.

Radar Love” is a 1973 song by Dutch rock band Golden Earring from their album and written by George Kooymans and Barry Hay. It reached #13 On the US Billboard Hot 100. It contains the lyrics:

The radio is playing some forgotten song
Brenda Lee's comin' on strong

The song is written from the point of view of a truck driver who says he has some sort of psychic connection with his girlfriend — “radar love”. He senses that she urgently wants him to be with her, and it makes him reckless. His recklessness causes him to have a fatal accident, but even in the afterlife the song’s narrator and his lover still have radar love.

Castles Made of Sand” is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience for their 1967 second album, Axis: Bold as Love. It contains the lyrics:

And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually

The song is a biographical story about Hendrix’s childhood. It was described in his biography as “a sharply observed reflection on life’s bitter ironies”. It is said to be written about his uncertain and transitional childhood involving “different homes, different schools, different careers, and a mother who was here one minute and gone the next”.

  1. Fun is an American indie pop band formed in New York City in 2008. The group consists of Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, and Jack Antonoff, and is known for their catchy, anthemic pop songs with heartfelt lyrics. The band’s breakthrough came with the release of their second album, “Some Nights,” which included the hit singles “We Are Young” and “Some Nights.” The album earned the band two Grammy Awards in 2013, including Best New Artist. Despite their success, the band went on hiatus in 2015 to pursue individual projects. [Back]
  2. Pete Townshend’s Lifehouse project was a conceptual rock opera intended to explore the relationship between music, technology, and spirituality. The project was never fully realized as intended, but elements of it were incorporated into The Who’s 1971 album, “Who’s Next.” Townshend’s original vision for Lifehouse was a complex multimedia experience that would involve audience participation and an interconnected network of synthesizers and computers. The project ultimately proved too ambitious and expensive to produce, but it remains a fascinating glimpse into Townshend’s creative process and his innovative approach to music. [Back]

Further Reading

  • Song Meanings
  • Wikipedia
  • “Pete Townshend’s Lifehouse Method: The Music, the Madness, the Methodology” by Chris Charlesworth (1999)
  • “The Who: The Ultimate Collection” liner notes (2002)
  • “Pete Townshend: Who I Am” by Pete Townshend (2012)
  • “Fun Biography” by James Christopher Monger, AllMusic
  • “Fun Explains Why ‘We Are Young’ Was Such A Slow Burn” by James Montgomery, MTV News
  • “Fun Interview: Nate Ruess on Reaching Rock Bottom, Reinventing Himself with Solo Debut” by Steve Baltin, Billboard

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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