55 Awesome Lyrics I Wish I’d Written

 Selected and condensed by Christopher Kent

Paul Simon once said that anyone who thinks pop song lyrics are poetry has never read poetry. Of course, he was overstating the case. Pop song lyrics are sometime infantile, but they can also be profound, deeply moving and very funny. Great lyrics spring from a combination of storytelling skill, mastery of wordplay and insight into the human condition. When those three elements are present, the results can be amazing.

I’ve been writing songs since about age 16, and over the years, I’ve received many compliments on my lyrics. To whatever extent I’m a good lyric writer, I owe much of it to the countless other songwriters I’ve learned from. As soon as I decided to be a songwriter I began seeking out writers I could learn from (Paul Simon being one of my earliest choices). A few years later I was singing every night in bars, which forced me to learn hundreds of top 40 songs. Eventually, I spent five years in New York City teaching songwriting to more than 300 students. That forced me to dissect the lyrics of countless songs so I could explain what made them work so well.

Here, I’m sharing excerpts I’ve chosen from 55 song lyrics that have inspired me, moved me and sometimes made me laugh out loud. These represent some of the best work done by more than 40 awesome songwriters. Some, you’ll undoubtedly recognize. Others, I suspect, will be a revelation. I hope you’ll find these lyrics just as amazing as I have! (All of these songs and lyrics are available on the Web, and I’m not making any profit from this, so I hope the writers in question won’t mind my drawing your attention to their exceptional work.)

PS: If you love these excerpts as much as I do, please check out the complete songs via your favorite music service, and other work by these writers!


Some people never say the words “I love you”
It’s not their style to be so bold
Some people never say those words, “I love you”
But like a child, they’re longing to be told

 — Paul Simon, Something So Right


When I died, it was very clear
And the stars that rose above me, they were very near
And I said goodbye to Barbara, but she couldn’t hear

All alone I recall I cried
When I asked God where was heaven, and he only sighed
And he told me I was living there before I died

— Hugh Prestwood, When I Died
(recorded by Chris on his album Doorway. Song available on YouTube)


There are pirates in their fetid galleons, daggers in their skivvies,
With infected tattooed fingers ‘round a blunderbuss or two;
Signs of scurvy in their eyes and only mermaids on their minds;
It’s from THEM I would expect to hear the F-word, NOT FROM YOU!

 We sit down to have a chat,
It’s F-word this and F-word that!
I can’t control how you young people talk to one another,
But I don’t want to hear you use that F-word with your mother!

 — Lou and Peter Berryman, The F-word Song


Guinnevere had green eyes
Like yours, lady, like yours
When she’d walk down through the garden
In the morning after it rained,
Peacocks wandered aimlessly
Underneath an orange tree…
Why can’t she see me?

— David Crosby, Guinnevere


Every generation blames the one before
And all of their frustrations come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner to all my father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage to all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations; I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

I say, “You just don’t see it”
He says, “It’s perfect sense”
You just can’t get agreement in this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning when my father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say
But I think I caught his spirit later that same year;
I’m sure I heard his echo in my newborn baby’s tears…
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

—  B.A. Robertson and Mike Rutherford, The Living Years


It’s like you’re standing in the window
Of a house nobody lives in
And I’m sitting in a car across the way
Let’s just say… it’s an early model Chevrolet
Let’s just say… it’s a warm and windy day
Go and pack your sorrows
The trash man comes tomorrow
Leave them at the curb and we’ll just roll away

 — Jackson Browne, The Late Show


Nibblin’ on sponge cake
Watchin’ the sun bake
All of those tourists covered with oil
Strummin’ my six string on my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp, they’re beginnin’ to boil

—  Jimmy Buffet, Margaritaville


By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song and a celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky
Turning into butterflies above our nation

— Joni Mitchell, Woodstock


I want to be a mysterious woman
I want to write mysterious songs
I want everyone to wonder:
What is she thinking about?
Existentialism? Nihilism?
I’m thinking about defrosting my refrigerator
But I could get into a mysterious mood
Watch me ask the bartender for a drink he cannot make
Watch me order mysterious food
Foods even Julia Child cannot pronounce right
From cookbooks that time has forgot
Then maybe I will read Crime and Punishment for fun…
…Then again, maybe not!

— Christine Lavin: Mysterious Woman


Claire had all but given up
When she and Edwin fell in love
She touched his face and shook her head;
In disbelief she sighed and said:
In many dreams I’ve held you near
Now at last you’re really here

Where’ve you been?
I’ve looked for you forever and a day
Where’ve you been?
I’m just not myself when you’re away

He asked her for her hand for life
Then she became a salesman’s wife
He was home each night by eight
But one stormy evening he was late
Her frightened tears fell to the floor
Until his key turned in the door

Where’ve you been?
I’ve looked for you forever and a day
Where’ve you been?
I’m just not myself when you’re away

They’d never spent a night apart;
For sixty years she heard him snore
Now they’re in a hospital
In separate beds on different floors

Claire soon lost her memory,
Forgot the names of family
She never spoke a word again.

Then one day they wheeled him in;
He held her hand and stroked her hair
And in a fragile voice she said:

Where’ve you been?
I’ve looked for you forever and a day
Where’ve you been?
I’m just not myself when you’re away
No, I’m just not myself when you’re away

— Jon Vezner and Don Henry, Where’ve You Been?


Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it’s pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you’ve lived too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage

I’ve proven who I am so many times
The magnetic strip’s worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in
Hours chatter in high places,
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage

Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can’t see what’s round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage
Pacing the cage

— Bruce Cockburn, Pacing the Cage


Guess I might be kind of bitter
You’ve got me feelin’ down in the dumps
‘Cause I’m stranded all alone in the gas station of love
And I have to use the self-service pump

Oh Darlin’, let me help you with that suitcase
No, you’re not gonna break my heart in two
‘Cause I’d rather clean out all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station
With my tongue
Than spend one more minute with you

—  Weird Al Yankovic, One More Minute With You


I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun
There were children crying and colors flying
All around the chosen ones
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun
Flying Mother Nature’s silver seed
To a new home in the sun

— Neil Young, After the Goldrush


The next song (excerpted here) was written by Dar Williams, a woman.

When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom
Climbed what I could climb upon
And I don’t know how I survived
I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew

I was a kid that you would like,
Just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw
My neighbor came outside to say, “get your shirt”
I said “no way, I’m not breaking any law”

When I was a boy, see that picture? that was me
Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees
And like the woods where I would creep,
It’s a secret I can keep
Except when I’m tired, when I’m caught off-guard
I’ve had a lonesome, awful day,
And the conversation finds its way
To catching fireflies in the backyard
And I tell the man I’m with about the other life I lived
And I say, “Now you’re top gun,
I have lost and you have won.”

He says, “Oh no, no, can’t you see?
When I was a girl, my mom and me, we always talked
And I picked flowers everywhere I walked
And I could always cry…
Now even when I’m alone, I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl, too
And you were just like me, and I was just like you”

— Dar Williams, When I Was a Boy


Late one night when the wind was still
Daddy brought the baby to the windowsill
To see a bit of heaven shoot across the sky
The one and only time daddy saw it fly

It came from the east just as bright as a torch
The neighbors had a party on their porch
Daddy rocked the baby, mother said amen
When Halley came to visit in 1910

Now, back then Jackson was a real small town
And it’s not every night a comet comes around
It was almost eighty years since its last time through
So I bet your mother would have said amen too

— Mary Chapin Carpenter, Halley Came to Jackson


Busted flat in Baton Rouge and heading for the train
Feelin’ near as faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained
Took us all the way to New Orleans

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
I was playin’ sad while Bobby sang the blues
With the windshield wipers slappin’ time and Bobby clappin’ hands,
We sang up every song that driver knew

 — Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee


I spent the day in cyberspace…contagious insanity
As goes the human touch, so goes humanity

I learned Amelia Earhart may, in fact, still be alive
And that killer bees in Sicily are learning how to drive
I learned that cats are cute unless you happen to be a mouse
I learned it only takes a suit to be elected to the house
I learned it’s better to build a bridge than burn it
I learned that people taught to turn the other cheek won’t turn it
And that evidence and science, now at that we thumb our noses;
The mention of a dying earth, the conversation closes

I learned that looking good may have a lot to do with lighting
I learned about a war or two we had no business fighting
I learned the highest judges in the land can still be bought
I learned if you play footsie with the next stall, you’ll be caught
I learned you can repent once, but the second time, you’re toast
I learned the ones most guilty are the ones that yell the most
I learned that people cite the constitution ‘til they’re blue
But the only amendment that they know is number two

I learned that even when you think you are, you’re not alone
I learned that Walmart shoppers are a breed unto their own
I learned the body politic is now severely broken
I learned the best opinions are the ones that stay unspoken
I learned we’ve got a stack of bills, and nothing left to pay ‘em
No more things to say, and now a hundred ways to say ‘em
I learned this in an hour, here at laptop college
So much information—so little knowledge

But still I sing this song to you, despite my own advice
Believe me, soon it will be over and I’ll sing something nice
I spent the day in cyberspace…contagious insanity
Here’s to the human race and all of its vanity

— Kenny White, Cyberspace


Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
Talk to God and listen to the casual reply
You know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly

—John Denver & Mike Taylor, Rocky Mountain High


And we pray to our Lord
Who we know is American
He reigns from on high
He speaks to us through middlemen
And He shepherds His flock
We sing out and we praise His name
He supports us in war
He presides over football games
And the right will prevail
All our troubles shall be resolved
We have faith in the Lord
Unless there’s money or sex involved

Frail grasp on the big picture
All waiting for that miracle elixir
A frail grasp on the big picture

 — Glenn Frey/Don Henley/Stuart Smith, Frail Grasp on the Big Picture


You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls wished that they’d be your partner…
You’re so vain

I hear you went up to Saratoga, where your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
You’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend…
You’re so vain

 — Carly Simon: You’re So Vain


She took her love to gaze awhile upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell, as her hair came down among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me? Will you be my love, among the fields of barley?
We’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we lie in fields of gold…
See the west wind move like a lover upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth among the fields of gold

I never make promises lightly
And there have been some that I’ve broken
But I swear in the days still left
We’ll walk in fields of gold
We’ll walk in fields of gold

— Gordon Sumner (aka Sting) and Dusan Bogdanovic, Fields of Gold


Don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet

 — Jackson Browne, The Road and the Sky


Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain

 — Dan Folgelberg, Same Old Lang Syne


You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught

— Oscar Hammerstein II: You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught   (from the musical South Pacific)


Goodnight my angel, now it’s time to sleep
There are still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I’m rocking you to sleep
The water’s dark and deep

Inside this ancient heart
You’ll always be a part of me

Goodnight my angel, now it’s time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me

Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That’s how you and I will be

 —  Billy Joel, Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)


Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

— John Lennon, Imagine


I have plans for the future—everything coming in time
And some things are not whole yet, but still, I see them working out fine
And the unexpected benefits that occur as I work toward these dreams
Make my life full of beauty, and my heart full of joy, and serene…
Unimagined levels of achievement,
Joy, and deepening grace
Ooo, when we’re loving each other
How everything falls into place

— Andy Pratt, Everything Falls Into Place


I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea

— Paul Simon, American Tune


Now Railroad Bill was a hard living man
He took his women two at a time
And everyone agreed he was the baddest engineer
That ever motored down the Santa Fe line

Well one day Bill was walking along,
He saw a kitten stuck in a tree
When he saw what was the matter he ran to get a ladder
To set that kitty cat free

Bill said “No! I won’t do it!
I’m not gonna climb that tree!
This is a stupid song, and no folksinger’s
Gonna make a fool out of me!”

I said “Wait a minute Bill, you can’t argue with me—
For God’s sake, I just made you up!
I got the pen in my hand, I want you up in that tree
I want that cat unstuck!”

Bill said “No! I hate cats!
I’m not gonna climb for no cat.”
He said, “Maybe I could rescue a beautiful maiden
Tied down on the railroad tracks.”

A war of words between the writer and his creation ensues, escalating as the writer begins to send natural disasters and other calamities to assault Railroad Bill into doing the author’s bidding. Finally, the writer and his creation end up in a fistfight, which ends abruptly when the writer sends a bolt of lightning to smote his creation.

… The cat came down from the tree, had a bowl of warm milk
And went to sleep for the night
Railroad Bill is survived by a wife and three children…

Dear God, I love to write!

— Andy Breckman, Railroad Bill


She is fixed in his mind like the picture
He’s kept in his wallet for years
And the image has never been tarnished
By the blood, sweat and tears…
And to him it appears

That the moon is still over her shoulder
And the stars are still falling above
And she never gets one minute older
And he is still falling in love

 — Hugh Prestwood: The Moon is Still Over Her Shoulder


I am a lineman for the county, and I drive the main road
Searching in the sun for another overload
I hear you singing in the wire
I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation, but it don’t look like rain
And if it snows, that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

— Jimmy Webb, Wichita Lineman


At sixty-five years old
My mother, God rest her soul
Couldn’t understand
Why the only man she had ever loved had been taken
Leaving her to start with a heart so badly broken
Despite encouragement from me,
No words were ever spoken

 — Gilbert O’Sullivan, Alone Again Naturally


AND NOW we pause for a holiday interlude!
Here are eight Christmas songs you WON’T be hearing over the holidays!
(OK—one of them you will!)


Hey! It’s another Christmas song!
Yay! Another oft’-returning, royalty-earning Christmas song!
I’ve got plenty more, so go buy a modem
Log on to iTunes and pay to download ’em
Pay! For another Christmas song!

Chestnuts glisten on a silent night
Sleighbells kissing by candlelight
The tree is frozen, the winter’s bright
Who’d have thought the wise men look so white?

You! Don’t you want to sing along?
To! My humble yuletide, dreamed up poolside Christmas song?
Make it a part of your holiday canon!
Make it the heart of my retirement plannin’!
Do! Sing another Christmas song!

— David Javerbaum & Adam Schlesinger, Another Christmas Song


There are others who know about this miracle birth
The humblest of people catch a glimpse of their worth
For it isn’t to the palace that the Christ child comes
But to shepherds and street people, hookers and bums
And the message is clear if you’ve got ears to hear
That forgiveness is given for your guilt and your fear
It’s a Christmas gift you don’t have to buy
There’s a future shining in a baby’s eyes

Like a stone on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever
Redemption rips through the surface of time
In the cry of a tiny babe

— Bruce Cockburn, Cry of a Tiny Babe


The next song, Christmas in the Trenches, tells the story of the unplanned Christmas truce during World War I when soldiers on both sides began singing Christmas songs and ended up becoming friends…until the sun came up and the war resumed.

…Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night:
“Whose family have I fixed within my sights?”

My name is Francis Tolliver. In Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War One I’ve learned it’s lessons well
The ones who call the shots won’t be among the dead and lame—
And on each end of the rifle
We’re the same

 — John McCutcheon: Christmas in the Trenches


We come in from our travels
Lay our gifts beneath the tree
My mother’s in the kitchen
The parade is on TV
My father’s with his father
They’re setting out some toys
The kids all want the train he’s had
Since he was a boy

To be with you, to be with you
I love this time of year
It always brings me here
To be with you

I fall in with my sisters
Just like when we were young
My grandma holds the baby
She rocks and softly hums
We gather by the fire
Reminiscing by its light
The kids will be up early
But it’s hard to say goodnight

To be with you, to be with you
I love this time of year
It always brings me here
To be with you

— Sara Groves, To Be With You


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
Everybody knows
A turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight

— Mel Tormé & Robert Wells, The Christmas Song


Thinking back on my best Christmas day
I see snow-covered fields of red Georgia clay
My grandmother there was hardened and gruff
‘Cause she never had more than just enough.
I remember hearing her say,
“There’s work to be done even on Christmas day.
There’s no time or money for ribbons and wreaths
Or trimming a house with a Christmas tree.”

My dad just ignored my grandma’s decree.
He took me hunting for a Christmas tree.
There in the field with the rabbits and squirrels,
Were more shotgun shells than I’d seen in the world.
We crunched through the snow to a place he knew well.
While he picked out a tree I was picking up shells.
I already saw them there in my mind,
Tied to the tree with pieces of twine.

We hung shotgun shells on a little scrub pine,
Red and green and brass that would shine.
They still decorate my memory
Shotgun shells on a Christmas tree.

That house had a tree for the very first time—
A Christmas red-clay north-Georgia pine,
And even my grandmother came in to help
When we strung it with four, ten and twelve-gauge shells
I’d never seen such a smile on her face
And she laughed as we set out the table places
About what a sight it was to see
Shotgun shells on a Christmas tree.

We hung shotgun shells on a little scrub pine,
Red and green and brass that would shine.
They still decorate my memory—
Shotgun shells on the Christmas tree.

— Robin and Linda Williams, Shotgun Shells on a Christmas Tree


We guard our world with locks and guns
And guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If generosity should seize us;
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor,
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

— Jackson Browne, The Rebel Jesus


There are cynics, there are skeptics
There are legions of dispassionate dyspeptics
Who regard this time of year as a maudlin, insincere,
Cheezy, crass commercial travesty of all that we hold dear.
When they think that, well, I can hear it,
But I pity them their lack of Christmas spirit
For in a world like ours, take it from me—
There are much worse things to believe in.

A redeemer and a savior,
An obese man giving toys for good behavior
The faith in what might be, and the hope that we might see
The answer to all sorrow in a box beneath the tree

Find it foolish, sentimental?
Well you’re clearly none too bright, so I’ll be gentle;
Don’t even try to start vaguely conceivin’
Of all much worse things to believe in

Believe in the judgment, believe in Jihad
Believe in a thousand variations on a dark and spiteful god
You’ve got your money, you’ve got your power
You’ve got your science, and the planets’ going to end within the hour
You’ve got your dreams that don’t come true
You’ve got the ones that do
And then, you’ve got your nothing
Some folks believe in nothing
But if you believe in nothing
Then what’s to keep the nothing from coming after you?

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year
Now if you’ll forgive me there’s a lot to do here
There are stockings still unhung, colored lights I haven’t strung
And a one-man four-part Christmas carol waiting to be sung
Call me silly, call me sappy
Call me many things, the first of which is happy…
You doubt, but you’re sad;
I don’t, and I’m glad.
I guess we’re even…
At least that’s what I believe in—
And there are much worse things

— David Javerbaum & Adam Schlesinger, Much Worse Things


And now we return you to our previously scheduled, non-Christmas program!


I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that came before;
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
But in my life, I love you more

 — John Lennon, In My Life


The man said get out of here,
I’ll tear you limb from limb.
I said, “You know, they refused Jesus, too”
He said, “You’re not him”

— Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream


I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying “How do you do?”
They’re really saying I love you

— Robert Thiele, George Douglas & George David Weiss, What a Wonderful World


We have no secrets
We tell each other everything…

The beach was empty but for one
You were lying in the sun
Wanting and needing no one
Then some child came, you never asked for her to come
She drank a pint of your rum
And later when you told me
You said she was a bore

Sometimes I wish
Often I wish
That I never knew some of those secrets of yours

 — Carly Simon, No Secrets


I was so much older then;
I’m younger than that now

— Bob Dylan, My Back Pages


Needles, guns and grass
Acid, booze and ass
Lots of laughs, lots of laughs
Everybody’s saying that hell’s the hippest way to go
Well I don’t think so
But I’m gonna take a look around it, though

Blue…I love you

Here is a shell for you
Inside you’ll hear a sigh
A foggy lullabye
That is my song for you

— Joni Mitchell, Blue


The father:

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to go through
Find a girl, settle down
If you want, you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not

The son:

How can I try to explain? When I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way, and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

— Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam) Father and Son


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

— Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue


The sting of reason, the splash of tears
The northern and the southern hemispheres
Love emerges and it disappears

— Paul Simon, I Do It For Your Love


I love that organic cooking, I always ask for more
They call me Mr. Natural on down to the health food store
I only eat good sea salt—white sugar don’t touch my lips
And my friends are always begging me to take them on macrobiotic trips

Ah, but when that clock strikes midnight and I’m all by myself
I work that combination on my secret hideaway shelf
I pull out some Frito’s corn chips, a Dr. Pepper and an Ole Moon Pie
Then I sit back in glorious expectation of a genuine junk food high

In the daytime I’m Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I’m a junk food junkie—
Good Lord have pity on me!

— Larry Groce, Junk Food Junkie


Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be

He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me,”
As the smile runs away from his face
“I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”

— Billy Joel, Piano Man


It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
When dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me

— Janis Ian, At Seventeen


Don’t go changing to try and please me—
You never let me down before

— Billy Joel, Just the Way You Are


I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter
I think it’s about
Even if you don’t love me anymore

— Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter


Drifting through time and space
On the face of a little blue ball falling around the sun
One in a million, billion, twinkling lights
Shining out for no one in the middle of the night

Here we are
Sparks in the darkness
Speaking of our love
Burning down forever and forever

I don’t know if I told you, but you hold my heart in your hand
And I found out something about you—
Without you I’m a lonely man

So though I never say that I love you
I love you,
Darling I do love you
And though we are as nothing to the stars that shine above
You are my universe
You are my love

Here we are
Like children forever
Taking care of one another
While the world goes on without us
All around us

—  James Taylor, There We Are