The Journey

52 Lines from 48 Songs


Well, folks, another year has escaped my increasingly-uncoordinated grasp. Since I seem to have started a trend with my last few birthday posts (50/50 on my 50th, 51 Things About 49 Movies on my 51st), I might as well stick with this pattern so I can claim to have been consistent with at least one thing in my life. Herewith, some lyric snippets that have caught my fancy over the years, for reasons both profound and obscure. These are not necessarily my favorite lyrics of all time. They are lines that happened to pop into my head on a random January night, as I reflected on music and things and experiences and what all of it may or may not mean.

Just to make it fun for those who enjoy a challenge, I have listed the quotes first, and then the sources. To be fair, some of these lyrics lose their flavor when taken out of context, but they meant something at one time or still, and these particular phrases are memory triggers for the entire song, at least for me. Enjoy.


The Quotes:

1. “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

2. “And the goodbye makes the journey harder still.”

3. “Every time the time was right, all the words just came out wrong.”

4. “Without a noise, without my pride, I reach out from the inside.”

5. “But the answers you seek will never be found at home.”

6. “The only boy who could ever teach me, was the son of a….”

7. “When the New York Times said God is dead, and the war’s begun…”

8. “You in your false securities, tear up my life, condemning me…”

9. “ ’Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to …”

10. “It’s life’s illusions I recall, I really don’t know life, at all…”

11. “And as hard as they would try they’d hurt to make you cry, but you never cried to them, just to your soul…”

12. “So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been, it’s all been a pack of lies…”

13. “The smell of wine and cheap perfume.”

14. “Oh the long nights, in the small room, with the big dreams…”

15. “And the waitress is practicing politics, as the businessmen slowly get stoned…”

16. “Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies…”

17. “Mercy never lets her face be shone…”

18. “Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear…”

19. “This is for all the lonely people, thinking that life has passed them by…”

20. “I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find, but it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind…”

21. “And the microphone smells like a beer…”

22. “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints…”

23. “Oh won’t you stay, just a little bit longer…”

24. “Some were born to sing the blues…”

25. “We started a story whose end must now wait…”

26. “Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind…”

27. “And the first one said to the second on there, I hope you’re having fun…”

28. “I flipped my channel back to CNN and I lit another cigarette…”

29. “Heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who…”

30. “I’m tired of the excuses everybody uses…”

31. “Who’s gonna pick you up, when you fall…”

32. “Before we go any further, do you love me, will you love me forever?”

33. “I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck…”

34. “Ground control to Major Tom…”

35. “I’m gonna live my time for the rest of my life, then I’ll be comin’ back for more…”

36. “I used to be a rolling stone you know…”

37. “I should have changed that stupid lock…”

38. “Kick em when they’re up, kick em when they’re down…”

39. “And instead of love and the feel of warmth you’ve given him these cuts and sores that don’t heal with time or with age…”

40. “I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm…”

41. “They say time heals everything, but I’m still waiting…”

42. “And the snow turned into rain…”

43. “Just like a paperback novel, the kind the drugstore sells…”

44. “We’re caught in a trap…”

45. “Nothing had the chance to be good, nothing ever could…”

46. “L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time…”

47. “One man come in the name of love…”

48. “I thought that I heard you laughing, I thought that I heard you sing…”

49. “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls…”

50. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

51. “Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night…”

52. “Peace on Earth, was all it said…”


The Sources: (I am listing the singer or band and not the lyricist, as some of these songs have been covered by multiple people and I want to indicate the particular performance that sticks with me.)

1. “For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield

2. “Oh Very Young” – Cat Stevens

3. “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” – Jim Croce

4. “In Your Eyes” – Peter Gabriel

5. “Smalltown Boy” – Bronski Beat

6. “Son of a Preacher Man” – Dusty Springfield

7. “Levon” – Elton John

8. “Why?” – Bronski Beat

9. “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

10. “Both Sides Now” – Judy Collins

11. “Smalltown Boy” – Bronksi Beat

12. “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins

13. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey

14. “Indiana” – Melissa Etheridge

15. “Piano Man” – Billy Joel

16. “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” – Neil Diamond

17. “Blood from a Stone” – Cycle 5

18. “Eleanor Rigby” – The Beatles

19. “Lonely People” – America

20. “Sister Golden Hair” – America

21. “Piano Man” – Billy Joel

22. “Only the Good Die Young” – Billy Joel

23. “The Load Out / Stay” – Jackson Browne

24. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey

25. “Weekend in New England” – Barry Manilow

26. “Summer Breeze” – Seals & Crofts

27. “Band on the Run” – Paul McCartney and Wings

28. “I Take My Chances” – Mary Chapin Carpenter

29. “Take It on the Run” – REO Speedwagon

30. “What’s the Matter Here?” – 10,000 Maniacs

31. “Drive” – The Cars

32. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” – Meatloaf

33. “American Pie” – Don McLean

34. “Space Oddity” – David Bowie

35. “Breath of Life” – Erasure

36. “Philadelphia Freedom” – Elton John

37. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor

38. “Dirty Laundry” – Don Henley

39. “What’s the Matter Here?” – 10,000 Maniacs

40. “Careless Whisper” – Wham

41. “Not Ready to Make Nice” – The Dixie Chicks

42. “Another Auld Lang Syne” – Dan Fogelberg

43. “If You Could Read My Mind” – Gordon Lightfoot

44. “Suspicious Mind” – Elvis Presley

45. “Holding Back the Years” – Simply Red

46. “I Am…I Said..” – Neil Diamond

47. “Pride” – U2

48. “Losing My Religion” – R.E.M.

49. “The Sound of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel

50. “Imagine” – John Lennon

51. “Blinded by the Light” – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

52. “One Tin Soldier” – The Original Caste


P.S. My apologies to Anthony (and others), as he might find many of these to be desecrations, especially #51.

P.S.S. Reading back, I see there are quite a few morose lyrics here, but stream-of-consciousness seemed the way to go, and I did have fun.

P.S.S.S. As always, cheers.


55 replies »

  1. 15 and 20 are in my top songs of all time! So is it your birthday then? Happy 52nd. We are just a few short years apart; I was born in ’61.
    Some of these lyrics are torturing me because they are just ringing loads of bells, but my pre-dementia brain is having too much trouble placing them. I’ll have to copy the list and keep working on it, because I don’t want to cheat and look at the answers.

    If it truly is your birthday, have a glorious day! I’ll raise a glass of wine in your honour this evening. Kat

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is indeed my birthday. (Well, it was. I just realized that it’s now after midnight and the 26th of January is now history, at least in this part of the world.) I was a little hesitant to post the quotes separate from the lyrics, but I was hoping that some folks would have fun with it, so I’m glad you are. And when 15 and 20 come on the radio, I bellow all the lyrics, I don’t care who might be listening… 😉


    • The fact that I got all but two of these, and kept singing along to many just proves that I am on the spectrum somewhere? Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It is much appreciated in the current glumness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m very impressed, although not surprised at your prowess. And yes, this was a much more light-hearted birthday post, instead of the original version I had planned, using bitter sock puppets and some stale Triscuits…


    • Yes, it was posted on the actual day, but I realize that Australia gets a head start on the dates so I should probably clarify that my birthday is January 26th. Of course, since Jersey Girl is here, and a mere 1-hour time difference away, you probably ARE talking about the 26th and therefore I am rambling away needlessly. In any case, cheers to the people born on the 26th…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy birthday, SB! Excellent selection of songs, here – and the artists who performed them! I’m definitely particular about certain versions of songs, as well.
    Great post!

    You probably don’t give a crap about astrology, but you’re an Aquarius – just like my oldest brother, and many of my closest friends! So, we get along even if or when we inadvertently push each other’s buttons. It’s what we do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, DS! And yes, I’m very intrigued by astrology, although I will admit that I am not as savvy as I should be about it. But I will say that every time I read something about the interaction of the signs, the words seem to be spot on…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I learned about astrology in kindergarten, and have been fascinated by it ever since. Even won money here and there with it, during one of my past lives as a bartender / cocktail waitress…it has come in handy, at times!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It concerned me when I didn’t see a post from you this morning, now I see the reason. 😉 Happy Birthday, and congratulations for 52 years/lyrics.
    Are you sure it’s not ‘revved up like a douche’? Really? Truly? Are you sure?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy birthday! Look no further than Journey for a rockin’ shlock power ballad, no further than “Don’t Stop Believing'” for the one at the top of the heap. Hell yeah. That and Van Halen’s less literary “AIn’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” showed the rest of the spandex hair farmers where the head of the line started.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “revved up like a douche in the middle of the night.” I thought I was the only one! I actually had to see the printed lyrics to understand that song. But then I had a friend who thought for years that Jose Feliciano was singing “One ton uh man, yeah.” So maybe there was something about the air in Oklahoma.

      Liked by 2 people

    • This is where I must admit that, for years, I actually thought the line was “wrapped up like a douche”, which makes absolutely no sense, but that didn’t stop me from wailing away during car karaoke. We all must face challenges in life… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday! Great choices there. Am humming away a few of those now. Does it ever happen to you that you’d mishear the lyrics of a song, somehow I don’t think you’d be prone to. I on the other hand…, well, I not so long ago realised that it’s not calling Jamaica, but rather, what was it again, call him when you wake her.. I think. Googled this and turns out I’m not alone at least ;-). It’s a lot of words for less than a handful of notes, that’s my excuse… With apologies to the wonderful REM

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will proudly raise my hand as someone who OFTEN misunderstands lyrics and then is eventually shamed in a public setting. And even after I learn the truth, I have a problem with breaking the old habit… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great, now I’ll lay awake half the night singing, “If you could read my mind”.. turn.. “Holding back the years”! I gotta start reading your post earlier.

    I know it isn’t on the list, but the first time I sang along with “Strange Magic” by Electric Light Orchestra, I thought they were saying “streeetch my dick”, so that’s how I sang it.. when I was alone! It wasn’t until I made a fool of myself at a party one night after drinking a bottle of “Strawberry Hill” that I found out I was sooo wrong.

    Happy Birthday Brian!

    Liked by 2 people

      • (sniff) Thank you Brian. I will dust off the mantle right now.

        Thank you Mom(may she rest in peace) for raising me in a household with no television, phone or car and only a shitty, little radio!

        I owe it all, though, to my favorite radio station in Tulsa, Ok. who was always by my side during those crazy, emotional nights and days of my short lived, teenage years.

        THANK YOU 97.5 KMOD, for always knowing how I was feeling each time that shitty little radio was turned on, and despite all the static, you hung in there and held me close.

        (sniff) I need some coffee!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, yes, the fine and faithfully-there spot on the radio dial known as KMOD. And in an interesting twist of fate, I just got back from my birthday weekend with the family in Tulsa, and we actually dropped by “Starship Records and Tapes”, which used to advertise constantly on KMOD in my formative years and was a place I visited religiously. Sadly, it’s no longer in it’s former location near the University of Tulsa, where it inhabited an old house that had been there forever, giving it a funky charm. It’s now further west from downtown, in an ugly prefab-metal building that has no charm whatsoever. I’m going to pretend like I didn’t visit the new location, and instead retain the fond memory of working my way through the immense stacks in that crowded house, with a punk-rocker and a head-banger and jazz lover and a New Wave enthusiast all flipping through the albums in the same aisle and always finding treasure…

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday for yesterday – from my spot of the world today. I confess that I have no idea what day it is where you are, I have enough trouble remembering what day it is here.

    Anyway, interesting list – some I knew, some I didn’t, some I almost saw hiding in the cottonwool in my head. Music is for the moment, don’t question it’s reasons, just accept them – much like birthdays really.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy belated birthday!

    I must admit, my inner geek – or inner teenager full of woe – was stoked to see #46. I used to play my Hot August Night album over and over, singing loudly at the top of my lungs. Love the shout out to I Take My Chances….I still love that one! And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include one of my own favorite lines from a song….Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she’s got the Mercedes bends….

    This was fun! I found myself singing along to the lines. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Neil Diamond has a special place in my music heart, at least his 70s songs. (Some of the later songs got a little bit… well, it wasn’t the same.) As for Mary Chapin Carpenter, I got to see her and Shawn Colvin in concert a few years ago, and it was just the two of them and their guitars, nothing else. It was fantastic. And I probably should have included something from “Hotel California” (maybe “you can check out any time but you can never leave”) but there just wasn’t time and space. I do think I need to do another one of these, though…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My head now hurts from banging it on the desk after being unable to identify numerous songs that I know, but not as much as I thought I did. Good challenge. I am now off to seek medical care while we still have any of it left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm. I wonder if “music trivia malfunction” is considered a pre-existing condition and I may soon be trapped with the same healthcare provider until one of us files for bankruptcy? So many questions, so little time…


  9. If today’s visit has taught me anything, it’s taught me to listen to song lyrics a bit better. I made double figures but not by much. Oh well, happy belated birthday, Brian, educations always a wonderful thing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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