♫ After The Love Has Gone ♫d (Redux)

I have good intentions, but … less energy than my intentions require!  And thus, my friends, I am reduxing one yet again, this one I last played in July 2020, but it is one that I really like … it gives me, somehow, that warm, glowy feeling.  I promise that soon I will come up with a few new ones that you guys have requested … honest I will!!!


Released in 1979, this hit #2 in the U.S. and #4 in the UK.  This was written by David Foster, Jay Graydon and Bill Champlin.  Says Graydon …

“David Foster produced an album for Jaye P. Morgan in 1976. It’s a great record. It’s available in Japan, and never did anything here, really. Then he was at Motown playing some songs with Jaye to try to get a deal over there.

He was in the middle of playing a song and he forgot the chorus, and he ad-libbed the chorus to ‘After The Love Has Gone.’ He comes over to my house, and we went into my little dinky studio. He sits down at the piano, and he says, ‘Listen to this chorus.’ He plays it, and I said, ‘Hey, here’s an idea for a verse.’ And I went, ‘da da dom, A major 7, da-D-minor-6, da da A major 7, bom ba da da da F-sharp minor.’ And he just immediately continued on with that, and we had the whole song written in about half an hour/45 minutes.

We called Champlin: ‘Bill, get over here, we need a lyric.’ David was producing Champlin at the time. David recorded it with Champlin, maybe three different versions. He got one that he really liked, though. But then David was also writing with Maurice White for Earth, Wind & Fire for the I Am album. He played the song for Maurice, and Maurice loved it. David called me and says, ‘Hey, man, Earth, Wind & Fire wants to record it, but I don’t want to tell Champlin that it’s gonna have to get pulled off his record. Will you do it?’ I said, ‘I sure will.’ (laughs) I called Bill and I said, ‘Bill, here’s the story.’ And he says, ‘I’m not an idiot, man.’ (laughing) I said, ‘I’m glad you say you’re not an idiot. Because they say this thing’s gonna be a single for sure. And this could be big.’ Needless to say, that song still generates good money. It’s unbelievable.”

The song won two Grammy Awards. Earth, Wind & Fire took the trophy for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance by a Group, an award they won four times in their career.  The track also won for Best Rhythm & Blues Song, which is bestowed on the writers. It was the first win for David Foster, who would go on to win a total of 16 Grammys. In 1993, he was named Billboard’s Top Singles Producer and Top R&B Producer, while receiving the largest number of Grammy nominations and winning Producer of the Year for Whitney Houston’s soundtrack to The Bodyguard. He also co-wrote the #1 single St. Elmo’s Fire with John Parr.

After the Love Has Gone
Earth, Wind & Fire

For a while, to love was all we could do
We were young and we knew, and our eyes were alive
Deep inside we knew our love was true
For a while we paid no mind to the past
We knew love would last
Every night somethin’ right
Would invite us to begin the dance
Somethin’ happened along the way
What used to be happy was sad
Somethin’ happened along the way
And yesterday was all we had

Oh, after the love has gone
How could you lead me one
And not let me stay around?
Oh, after the love has gone
What used to be right is wrong
Can love that’s lost be found?
For a while to love each other
With all we would ever need
Love was strong for so long
Never knew that what was wrong
Baby, wasn’t right
We tried to find what we had
Til sadness was all we shared
We were scared this affair
Would lead our love into
Somethin’ happened along the way
Yesterday was all we had
Somethin’ happened along the way
What used to be happy is sad
Somethin’ happened along the way
What used to be was all we had

Oh, after the love has gone
How could you lead me on
And not let me stay around?
Oh, oh, after the love has gone
What used to be right is wrong
Can love that’s lost be found?

Oh, oh, after the love has gone
What used to be right is wrong
Can love that’s lost be found
Oh, oh, after the love has gone

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Foster / Jay Graydon / William B. Champlin
After the Love Has Gone lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

♫ You Send Me ♫ (Redux)

Sam Cooke wrote this song, but gave the writing credit to his younger brother L.C. because he did not want his own publisher to profit from the song.

According to Songfacts …

“Cooke was signed to Specialty Records, which was a gospel label. Cooke’s producer, Bumps Blackwell, brought this to Art Rupe, who owned the label. Rupe objected to the use of the choir on this track and was afraid it was too secular and would alienate the label’s gospel fans. He offered Cooke a release from his contract in exchange for outstanding royalties. The song was passed to the Keen label where it sold over 2 million copies.”

I did not know that Aretha Franklin released her own version of this as a B-side in 1968, but naturally I had to listen.  As much as I love Aretha Franklin, I preferred Sam Cooke’s version, but since mine is not the only opinion that counts, I am offering both tonight.

Tragically, at only 33 years of age, Cooke was shot in the chest by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California on December 11, 1964. Franklin claimed that she acted in self-defense after he broke into her office residence and attacked her. Her account was immediately disputed by Cooke’s acquaintances. It’s a long and strange story, still an unsolved mystery

You Send Me was named as one of the 500 most important rock and roll recordings by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In April 2010, the song ranked No. 115 in Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  The song reached #1 in the U.S. and #29 in the UK.

You Send Me
Sam Cooke

Darling, you send me
I know you send me
Darling, you send me
Honest, you do, honest, you do
Honest, you do, whoa

You thrill me
I know you, you, you thrill me
Darling, you, you, you, you thrill me
Honest, you do

At first I thought it was infatuation
But, woo, it’s lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home, woah-woah

You, you, you, you send me
I know you send me
I know you send me
Honest you do

Whoa, oh, oh, whenever I’m with you
I know, I know, I know when I’m near you
Mm hmm, mmm hmm, honest, you do, honest, you do
Woah, oh, oh, I know oh, oh, oh

I know, I know, I know, when you hold me
Woah, whenever you kiss me
Mm, hmm, mm, hmm, honest you do

At first I thought it was infatuation
But, woo, it’s lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home

I know, I know, I know you send me
I know you send me
Woah, oh, you, you, you, you send me
Honest you do.

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Sam Cooke
You Send Me lyrics © Burlington Music Co., Ltd

♫ You Are ♫ (Redux)

I have a list of songs to be played in the not-too-distant-future, but tonight … I wanted one to lift my own spirits, to bring a smile to my own face, so this one’s for me!  (Sorry, Clive … I know you don’t care for Lionel, but you’ll get Juice Newton in the next day or two!)

Lionel wrote You Are with his then-wife, Brenda Harvey Richie, and it was his second ‘solo’ after leaving the Commodores.  Truly, also released in 1982, was his first, and this was a follow-up.  There isn’t a lot of background that I could find about this song, but according to Richard Marx who sang backup on this song …

“Every session I ever did with Lionel, or for him, was a very fun atmosphere. I’ve been on so many sessions where it’s a downer, and you just try to get through it and nobody is having fun. Lionel is always having fun – no matter what.”

Lionel actually did a video for this, but MTV ignored it. The network didn’t give black artists significant airtime until Michael Jackson broke through in 1983. Later that year, Richie was welcomed on MTV with his video for All Night Long.

This one reached #4 on the U.S. charts and #5 in Canada, but only #43 in the UK — what’s with you guys in the UK that you don’t love you some Lionel???

You Are
Lionel Richie

Baby you’ll find
There’s only one love
Yours and mine
I’ve got so much love

And needing you so
My love for you
I’ll never let go
I’ve got so much love

All I want is to hold you
Let me show how much I love you baby (show you)
I don’t mind and I don’t mind (loving you)
Girl I love you
There’s no one above you

[Chorus]
You are the sun
You are the rain
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

Tell me it’s true
I can’t believe you do what you do
I’ve got so much love
And my love you’ll see
We’ll stay together, just you and me
I’ve got so much love

Only you (know me)
Tell me how to love you baby (show me)
I don’t mind and I don’t mind (tell me)
Girl, I love you
Always thinking of you

You are the sun
You are the rain
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

I know you know the way I feel
And I need your love for always
‘Cause when I’m with you
I fall in love
Again and again and again, baby.

You are the sun
You are the rain
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

You are the sun
You are the rain, baby
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

You are the sun
You are the rain
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

You are the sun
You are the rain
That makes my life this foolish game
You need to know
I love you so
And I’d do it all again and again

Songwriters: Brenda Harvey-Richie, Lionel Richie
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

♫ No Easy Walk To Freedom ♫

Tonight’s song is not one you’re likely to remember, nor one that was on your playlist when it was released back in 1986.  It only made it to #173 in the U.S. and did not chart outside the U.S.  However, it is a song with deep meaning, a song that speaks volumes and is a poignant reminder of where we have been, and where we are today as we celebrate Black History Month.

This is the title song of a 1986 studio album by American folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Its release coincided with the group’s 25th anniversary. Produced by John McClure and Peter Yarrow, the album was nominated in 1987 in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards.

The album was their first in almost nine years, and this title song was actually written for Nelson Mandela.  The group sought to connect the causes of Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.  A few years later, Peter, Paul and Mary would perform No Easy Walk to Freedom at an event in Tokyo honoring Mandela shortly after his release from prison.

No Easy Walk to Freedom
Peter, Paul and Mary

Brother Martin was walkin with me
And every step I heard liberty
Tho he’s fallin’, come a million behind!
Glory, Hallelujah, gonna make it this time!

No easy walk to freedom,
No easy walk to freedom,
Keep on walkin’ and we shall be free
That’s how we’re gonna make history

Across the ocean, the blood’s running warm
I, I hear it coming, there’s a thunderin’ storm
Just like we lived it, you know that it’s true
Nelson Mandela, now we’re walkin’ with you!

No easy walk to freedom,
No easy walk to freedom,
Keep on walkin’ and we shall be free
That’s how we’re gonna make history

In our land, not so long ago,
We lived the struggle, and that’s how we know
Slavery abolished, comin’ freedom’s call
Keep on walking and apartheid will fall!

No easy walk to freedom,
No easy walk to freedom,
Keep on walkin’ and we shall be free
That’s how we’re gonna make history

Oh, bread for the body, there’s got to be
But a soul will die without liberty
Pray for the day when the struggle is past!
Freedom for all! Free at last! Free at last!

You and me!

Songwriters: Peter Yarrow / Tabankim Margery
No Easy Walk to Freedom lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Walk, Don’t Run ♫

Walk, Don’t Run was written and originally recorded by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith in 1954.  Two years later it was adapted and re-recorded by Chet Atkins.  But it was in 1960 that the song received world-wide acclaim when The Ventures released their recording of it.  Ultimately, Rolling Stone magazine would name it #82 of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

This song was The Ventures’ first national release, became a huge hit and vaulted the group to stardom. The song was recorded before the band officially had a drummer. The Ventures’ website lists the drummer on Walk, Don’t Run as Skip Moore. Moore was not interested in touring and never was a full-time member of the band. As payment for his session work, Moore was given the choice of $25 or 25% of any royalties from sales of the single. He took the $25.  Methinks he probably regretted that choice more than a few times!

Bob Bogle played the lead guitar part on this first Ventures recording of the song. The band later rerecorded the song in 1964 and became the first band to score two top ten hits with two versions of the same tune.

Walk, Don’t Run has been covered by too many artists to even list.  In the UK, it was covered by the John Barry Seven, whose version peaked at #11 … as compared to The Ventures’ version that had peaked at #8 in the UK.  And in the U.S. and elsewhere, it was covered by Count Basie, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Glen Campbell, and even Led Zeppelin!!!  For today, I shall stick with The Ventures.

This hit #2 in the U.S. and #8 in the UK.

Lyrics?  There are no lyrics … it’s an instrumental!

♪ Yesterday ♪ (Redux)

Yesterday … we were young, we trusted, we believed that somehow humans were humane, that we all wanted essentially the same things, that we could … trust.  Yesterday, we believed that love could overcome all odds, that right would somehow win out over might, that good ultimately beats evil.  We wore the rosy-coloured glasses, we believed the myths and fairy tales.  Yesterday …


According to Songfacts

This is the most covered pop song of all time, with over 3,000 versions Say WHAT??? recorded according to The Guinness Book Of World Records. For years, it was also the song with the most radio plays, but in 1999 BMI music publishing reported that You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ had passed it. Still, at any given time, some version of “Yesterday” is probably being broadcast somewhere.

Paul McCartney wrote this song and was the only Beatle to play on it. It was the first time a Beatle recorded without the others.

McCartney claimed that while The Beatles were touring in Paris, he tumbled out of bed and this tune was in his head. He thought he had heard it somewhere before, and played the melody to different people in the music industry to make sure he wasn’t stealing it. The working title was “Scrambled Eggs” until Paul could figure out lyrics.  Scrambled Eggs???  smh.

This song caused a rift between McCartney and Yoko Ono. When The Beatles Anthology album was released, McCartney asked that the writing credit on this read “McCartney/Lennon,” since he wrote it. Yoko refused, and it was listed as “Lennon/McCartney,” which is how they usually credited songs written by either Beatle.

Some of the artists who have covered this song include Boyz II Men, Ray Charles, En Vogue, Marianne Faithfull, Marvin Gaye, Tom Jones, Nana Mouskouri, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Supremes, The Toys, Andy Williams, and Tammy Wynette.  Tammy Wynette???  You’ve got to be kidding me!  

Okay … my curiosity piqued, I had to go listen to Tammy Wynette’s version.  For those who may not know of Wynette, she is heavy, heavy country … twang and all!  I survived a full 17 seconds before I felt ill and exited.  So now, here’s Paul …

Yesterday
The Beatles

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly

Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday
Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

Songwriters: Michel Jean Pierre Colombier / John Winston Lennon / Paul James Mccartney
Yesterday lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Walk Like A Man ♫

Tuesday night, I couldn’t stay asleep for some reason.  I was trying to think of the name of a particular song to play for a friend, and while I never did come up with that one, this song, Walk Like a Man, popped into my head and refused to leave all day yesterday!  It’s not an all-time favourite, but it has a decent sound to it, so in order to exorcise it from my head, I’m sharing it here with you!  The most interesting bit of trivia is the actual recording of this song back in January, 1963, sixty years ago!

The Four Seasons were recording this at a studio in the Abbey Victoria Hotel in New York, when a fire broke out in the rooms above the studio.  As smoke began to enter the studio, producer Bob Crewe locked the studio door and was determined to get the perfect recording, no matter what!  Soon, water began dripping from the ceiling, but no matter … the recording must go on!  Ultimately, firemen broke into the studio with axes, knocking Bob Crewe to the floor in the process!

This would go on to become the third #1 hit for The Four Seasons, after Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry, and also made it to #1 in New Zealand, and #12 in the UK.

Walk Like A Man

The Four Seasons

Ooh-wee-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-wee
Walk, walk, walk, walk
Ooh-wee-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh
Walk like a man

Oh, how you tried to cut me down to size
Tellin’ dirty lies to my friends (ooh-ah, ooh-ah, ooh-ah, ooh)
But my own father said give her up, don’t bother
The world isn’t comin’ to an end
(He said)

Walk like a man, talk like a man
Walk like a man, my son
No woman’s worth crawlin’ on the earth
So walk like a man, my son

Oh wee ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-wee-ooh
Walk, walk, walk, walk
Ooh-wee-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh

Bye, baby, I don’t-a mean maybe
Gonna get along somehow (ooh-ah, ooh-ah, ooh-ah, ooh)
Soon you’ll be cryin’ on account of all your lyin’
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughin’ now
(I’m gonna)

Walk like a man, fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I’ll tell the world, forget about it, girl
And walk like a man from you

Ooh-wee-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-wee-ooh
Walk, walk, walk, walk
Ooh-wee-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh
Walk, walk, walk, walk
Walk, walk, walk, walk
Ooh-wee-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-wee-ooh

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Robert Crewe / Robert Gaudio

Walk Like A Man lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

♫ I Can’t Stop Loving You ♫

This song was written and originally recorded by a country singer named Don Gibson in 1958.  Ray Charles was known as an R&B singer, but he defied convention and decided to record an album of country and western songs. His producer, Sid Feller, put together tapes containing about 150 classic country songs so Charles could choose which ones to record. Included on the tapes was I Can’t Stop Loving You, which Charles remembered from when he would listen to The Grand Ole Opry.  Funny, but I never thought of this as a country song … I always thought of it as uniquely Ray Charles, but it turns out that some 700 others have covered this song!  The 700 includes Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Jim Reeves, Duke Ellington, Ike & Tina Turner, Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, and a bunch more!

According to SongFacts …

At first, this was not released as a single, but many DJs played it from the album and it started getting popular. A white singer named Tab Hunter heard Charles’ version and recorded his own, which was rushed out as a single. This infuriated Charles, so ABC Records quickly edited down the 4-minute album version and released it as a single with lots of publicity, including a full page ad in Billboard magazine. Charles’ version became a huge hit and went to #1 on the US Pop, R&B and Easy Listening charts.

I Can’t Stop Loving You
Ray Charles

I’ve made up my mind
To live in memory of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday
(Dreams of yesterday)

Those happy hours that we once knew
Tho’ long ago, they still make me blue
They say that time heals a broken heart
But time has stood still since we’ve been apart

I’ve made up my mind
To live in memories of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday

Those happy hours
(That we once knew)
That we once knew
(Tho’ long ago)
Tho’ long ago
(Still make me blue)
Still ma-a-a-ake me blue
(They say that time)
They say that time
(Heals a broken heart)
Heals a broken heart
(But time has stood still)
Time has stood still
(Since we’ve been apart)
Since we’ve been apart

I said I made up my mind
To live in memory of the lonesome times

It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life of dreams of yesterday
(Of yesterday)

Songwriters: Don Gibson
I Can’t Stop Loving You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Never Gonna Give You Up ♫

I don’t know why this one was in my head … did someone mention it in a comment and it stuck in my head, or did my head go wandering during my sleep and stumble across it?  Who knows 🤷  At any rate, it’s in my head, and so as I usually do, I’m sharing it in hopes it will hop into one of your heads now!


Released in 1987, this is among British singer/songwriter Rick Astley’s most popular songs, going to the top of the charts in the UK and staying there for five weeks, but also peaking in the #1 spot in many other nations, including Canada, the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Zimbabwe.  Not many can claim so many #1 spots!

This song was written by the British production team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. It was inspired by a woman Pete Waterman had been seeing for three years. Rick Astley was staying with Waterman at the time, and after a three-hour phone call with the woman, Astley said, “You’re never gonna give her up.” Aitken and Waterman then changed the story a bit and made him the one who was vulnerable.

Rick Astley worked in Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s studio for two years, operating tape machines, singing on recordings for other singers, learning the trade and famously making the tea before the production trio wrote and produced this song for him, which became his first hit. It was recorded in October 1986, but wasn’t released until July 1987, as the producers were waiting for the right environment to break a new artist.

The music video, directed by Simon West, finds Astley singing at various West London locales, including an empty club where he gradually inspires a bartender (played by dancer Clive Clarke of the Top of the Pops dance troupe Zoo) to bust a move. Apparently, Clarke had been nursing a serious hangover when his attempt to do a stunt flip went awry and he landed on his head. Luckily, he wasn’t injured and nailed the stunt on another take.

Astley was a very pragmatic pop star who understood that his runaway success came with an expiration date. When the hits dried up after his 1991 album Free, his ego was in check and his finances in order …

“I didn’t leave my career penniless and kind of crazy, on the verge of insanity, which is how an awful lot of people tend to end up in pop music. I got away with it really. I ended up making what I considered to be real money, keeping hold of most of it, and having a very comfortable, relatively sane, great life since. That’s not a normal story for people who got into pop music the way I did.”

Astley kept making music, but with limited release. He stayed out of the spotlight until the Rickrolling trend, when he participated in some well-paid stunts like appearing from a float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in 2008, but he didn’t push any product or make any new versions of the song to capitalize on its newfound notoriety. His next album didn’t come out until 2016.

Never Gonna Give You Up

Rick Astley

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I (do I)
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching, but you’re too shy to say it (say it)
Inside, we both know what’s been going on (going on)
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

And if you ask me how I’m feeling
Don’t tell me you’re too blind to see

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching, but you’re too shy to say it (to say it)
Inside, we both know what’s been going on (going on)
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Peter Alan Waterman / Matthew James Aitken / Michael Stock

Never Gonna Give You Up lyrics © All Boys Music Ltd., Sids Songs Ltd., Mike Stock Publishing Limited

♫ Vincent ♫

I last played this in 2019 … it’s one of those that you don’t think about until you see it mentioned or hear it played, and then you say, “Oh yeah … I remember that one!”

Van GoghVincent by Don McLean was released in 1972.  The words and imagery of this song represent the life, work, and death of Vincent Van Gogh. The Starry Night is one of the Dutch impressionist’s most famous paintings.The lyrics, “Paint your palette blue and gray” reflect the prominent colors of the painting, and are probably a reference to Vincent’s habit of sucking on or biting his paintbrushes while he worked. The “ragged men in ragged clothes” and “how you tried to set them free” refer to Van Gogh’s humanitarian activities and love of the socially outcast as also reflected in his paintings and drawings. “They would not listen/They did not know how” refers to Van Gogh’s family and some associates who were critical of his kindness to “the wretched.”

According to McLean …

“It was inspired by a book. And it said that it was written by Vincent’s brother, Theo. And Theo also had this illness, the same one Van Gogh had. So what caused the idea to percolate in my head was, first of all, what a beautiful idea for a piece of music. Secondly, I could set the record straight, basically, he wasn’t crazy. But then I thought, well, how do you do this? Again, I wanted to have each thing be different.

I’m looking through the book and fiddling around and I saw the painting. I said, Wow, just tell the story using the color, the imagery, the movement, everything that’s in the painting. Because that’s him more than he is him.

One thing I want to say is that music is like poetry in so many ways. You have wit and drama and humor and pathos and anger and all of these things create the subtle tools that an artist, a stage artist, a good one, uses. Sadly, this has really gone out of music completely. So it makes someone like me a relic, because I am doing things and people like me are doing things that utilize all the classic means of emotional expression.”

This hit #1 in the UK, #3 in Canada, and #12 in the U.S.

Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)
Don McLean

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in the ragged clothes
The silver thorn, a bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

Songwriters: Don McLean
Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group