I was chatting with an old friend via email this morning, and we were discussing song lyrics. It’s a favorite topic of mine, because I’ve always wanted to write them.  After all, they’re just a hugely abbreviated form of writing. Mini Flash Fiction, with poetry thrown in.

I love how songwriters can capture a mood or a situation with one stanza. As an author, I’m held captive by the words. Music styles change (a huge amount, in just my lifetime!) but for me, the lyrics are the magic.  It’s funny; I didn’t used to care for country music (before I moved to Texas), but I think they have the best lyrics of any genre.

Here are a few snippets that I’ve loved for years:

We had no cameras
to shoot the landscape
we passed the hash pipe
and played our Doors tapes
and it was dark
so dark at night
and we held onto each other
like brother to brother
we promised our mothers we’d write
and we would all go down together

Billy Joel  – Goodnight Saigon

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Sting – Fields of Gold

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

Sting – Russians

And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance

Garth Brooks – The Dance

I’m gonna love you forever
Forever and ever, amen
As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
As long as old women sit and talk about old men
If you wonder how long I’ll be faithful
I’ll be happy to tell you again
I’m gonna love you
Forever and ever
Forever and ever, amen

Randy Travis – Forever and Ever, Amen

Fat man sitting on a little stool
Takes the money from my hand while his eyes take a walk all over you
Hands me the ticket smiles and whispers good luck
Cuddle up angel cuddle up my little dove
Well ride down baby into this tunnel of love

I can feel the soft silk of your blouse
And them soft thrills in our little fun house
Then the lights go out and it’s just the three of us
You me and all that stuff were so scared of
Gotta ride down baby into this tunnel of love

                Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love

 

I swear I’m going to try writing some!

Aren’t you captivated by powerful lyrics?  Share your favorites in the comments!

2 Comments

  1. Christopher Lentz on April 20, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Lyrics are also amazing writing prompts. Sometimes I’ll listen to the Broadway channel in the car…and because songs are REALLY storytelling tools in a musical, the lyrics can be powerful. Not always. But often!

  2. Laura Drake on April 21, 2020 at 5:51 am

    I know what you mean, Chris. My book, The Last True Cowboy, was inspired by Carly Simon’s, song Jesse!

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