♫ A Thousand Miles ♫

I really didn’t think I could find a song in this heart tonight, for the heart is heavy.  But, as I was listening to another song, trying to find a reason for being, this song came up as a recommendation.  The title sounded vaguely familiar, but I had to listen to see … ahhhhh yes … this song!  Perhaps not the tune to lift me from the rabbit hole, but a good song nonetheless, and … one that I haven’t played here before!

Released in February 2002, this song is the debut single written and recorded by American pop singer Vanessa Carlton.  The song received Grammy nominations for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year, but like just about everything else that year, it lost both to Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones. (Hmmmm … another for a future post!)  Carlton performed this on the show.

Produced by Curtis Schweitzer and Ron Fair, the song was released as the lead single for Carlton’s album Be Not Nobody (2002). Her signature song, it became Carlton’s breakthrough hit and one of the most popular songs of the year. To date, it remains Carlton’s biggest hit in the United States, and her only single to reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number five.

The song had widespread success worldwide, reaching number one in Australia, where it was most successful, the top five in Ireland, and the top ten in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Carlton wrote the song’s piano riff in the summer of 1998 at her parents’ house in Philadelphia. Her mother, who had been listening to her, said, “Vanessa, that’s a hit song.” Carlton was unable to finish the song because of a case of writer’s block, and did not return to it for several months. While looking for a record label that would sign her, Carlton played the beginning of the song for a record producer, who said, “You have to finish that.” She returned to her parents’ home and finished it in an hour one evening, naming it Interlude.

Some years later, Carlton recorded a demo tape (which featured several tracks, including Interlude) and sent it to various producers and labels in the hopes that one would sign her. Some expressed interest, but Carlton did not agree with their suggestions for alternative titles for the song. One of the tapes found its way to Ron Fair, head of A&M Records, who recalled that …

“It was extraordinary, but also in some respects kind of screwed up as a record. It didn’t press the emotional buttons the way I envisioned it.”

Carlton met with Fair for a piano session to alter the arrangement of the song, “so the heartbeat came in a different way”.  The selection of the song’s title was accompanied by a minor disagreement between Carlton and Fair, who was reportedly “adamant” about changing it. Fair said …

“Vanessa Carlton is an incredible talent, but she’s also very stubborn… I had to say, ‘Look, I’m the president of the label, we’re not calling it “Interlude”. ‘ When you’re trying to launch a career, people need a handle to pick things up from, and the word ‘Interlude’ is never in the song”.

Carlton told the website Contactmusic.com of the first time she watched the single’s music video, in which she is seen playing the piano while traveling through a variety of settings:

“I was in the studio and had just taken a break, when someone ran in the room and said, ‘You’re on MTV!’ We put it on and I just stared at the screen. After a few minutes, I just covered my eyes and started to laugh. It seemed so surreal. The night after that, I heard the song on the radio for the first time. It was all so unbelievable.”

A Thousand Miles
Vanessa Carlton

Making my way downtown
Walking fast, faces pass and I’m homebound
Staring blankly ahead
Just making my way
Making a way through the crowd

And I need you
And I miss you
And now I wonder

If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass me by?
Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you tonight

It’s always times like these
When I think of you
And wonder if you ever think of me
Cause everything’s so wrong and I don’t belong
Living in your precious memory

Cause I need you
And I miss you
And now I wonder

If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass me by?
Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you tonight

And I, I don’t wanna let you know
I, I drown in your memory
I, I don’t wanna let this go
I, I don’t

Making my way downtown
Walking fast, faces pass and I’m homebound
Staring blankly ahead, just making my way
Making a way through the crowd

And I still need you
And I still miss you
And now I wonder

If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass me by?
Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you, oh, oh

If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass me by?
Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you
If I could just hold you tonight

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Vanessa Carlton
A Thousand Miles lyrics © Rosasharn Music, Songs Of Universal Inc.

19 thoughts on “♫ A Thousand Miles ♫

    • Thanks Anne! The first time I saw the video, it was a bit offputting but it grew on me during my second viewing. Ah, my friend … my heart is broken by the ever-increasing hatred and racism in this country today, not to mention that one political party, the one in the minority as it happens, is determined to ensure that we lose our rights to vote and that no meaningful, people-oriented legislation gets passed. It’s too much for this old mind … it seems that society is moving backward, not forward. Sigh. Hugs, dear friend!

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