♫ Southern Cross ♫

When Clive mentioned this song by Crosby, Stills & Nash a few nights ago, the title vaguely rang a bell, but I couldn’t put a tune to it.  So, I listened, I remembered, I liked, and here we are!  It’s not among my top three by the group, but I do like it and hope you guys will too!

Just as if they had been dotted on top of the myriads of glowing suns in the Milky Way, this image depicts some of the brightest stars of the southern sky: on the right, in a rhomboidal shape reminding that of a kite, are the four stars of the constellation Crux, the Southern cross; in the lower left part, instead, shine the two most brilliant stars of the constellation Centaurus, the Centaur.

The “Southern Cross” is a constellation also known as the Crux Constellation that can be viewed from most of the Southern Hemisphere. The four brightest stars within the constellation form a cross pattern. Sailors have relied on the Southern Cross to help in navigating their boats; it appears on the national flags of Australia and New Zealand.

The song was written by Stephen Stills with help from Richard Curtis and Michael Curtis. Stills explained …

“The Curtis Brothers brought a wonderful song called ‘Seven League Boots,’ but it drifted around too much. I rewrote a new set of words and added a different chorus, a story about a long boat trip I took after my divorce. It’s about using the power of the universe to heal your wounds. Once again, I was given somebody’s gem and cut and polished it.”

They recorded the song in 1981, when, as Nash explained, David Crosby had crossed a rubicon when drugs were more important than music. By the time the album was released in 1982, he had been arrested on drug charges for which he eventually served an eight-month prison sentence. When he got out in 1986, he was sober, and Neil Young honored his pledge to make music with him if he got clean. In 1988, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released American Dream, their first album with all four members since Déjà Vu in 1970.

The video for this song, with a ship a-sail, got Crosby, Stills & Nash on MTV, providing a soft rock respite from the European pop acts that dominated the network at the time. They never became video stars but found a welcoming home on the adult-oriented VH1 when that network launched in 1985.

Southern Cross
Crosby, Stills & Nash

Oooh …

Got out of town on a boat goin’ to Southern islands
Sailing a reach before a followin’ sea
She was makin’ for the trades on the outside
And the downhill run to Papeete

Off the wind on this heading lie the Marquesas
We got eighty feet of the waterline nicely making way
In a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you
But on a midnight watch I realized why twice you ran away

Think about
Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me larger voices callin’
What Heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten

(Around the world) I have been around the world
(Lookin’) Lookin’ for that woman girl
(Who knows she knows) Who knows love can endure
And you know it will

When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
You understand now why you came this way
‘Cause the truth you might be runnin’ from is so small
But it’s as big as the promise, the promise of a comin’ day

So I’m sailing for tomorrow my dreams are a dyin’
And my love is an anchor tied to you tied with a silver chain
I have my ship and all her flags are a’ flyin’
She is all that I have left and music is her name

Think about
Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me larger voices callin’
What Heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten

(I’ve been around the world) I have been around the world
(Lookin’) Lookin’ for that woman girl
Who knows love can endure
And you know it will, and you know it will

Oooh …

So we cheated and we lied and we tested
And we never failed to fail, it was the easiest thing to do
You will survive being bested
Somebody fine will come along, make me forget about loving you
In the Southern Cross

Writer(s): Stephen Stills, Richard Curtis, Michael Curtis

19 thoughts on “♫ Southern Cross ♫

  1. Jill, good choice. Clive is a wise man to suggest this one. It was released a few years after their earlier stuff. I remember being excited when it came out as we had not heard from them in awhile. Keith

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  2. Pingback: SOUTHERN CROSS. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. Thank you for playing this. In one of those ‘music is for all tastes’ things this is still my favourite of all of their songs. Their first album is fabulous and stuffed with great songs, but this one just beats them, for me. I never tire of watching that video!

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  4. Pingback: ♫ Southern Cross ♫ — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • I’m so glad!!! I thoroughly enjoy learning the background of songs I’ve loved for decades … not to mention I can finally know the lyrics! I had no idea about the Southern Cross, either … I love learning these tidbits! Glad you’re enjoying them too!

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