Monday, December 15, 2008

Music Monday/Lyric Lundi

I saw Neil Young Friday night in Philadelphia (I also saw Wilco, but that's going to be another post). That means it's very appropriate today for me to post the lyrics to my favorite Neil Young song. It's difficult to choose a favorite Neil Young song, isn't it? He's been around forever, and he's so prolific.

I've spent a good deal of my life wishing I'd been born about ten years before I was. For some reason, when I was in my twenties (things have changed now), all of my best friends seemed to be people who were at least ten years older than I was. I was so jealous of them, because they could truly remember the sixties. I had one friend who was furious with her mother, because a friend had a ticket for her to see The Beatles in 1964, and her mother (for one of those stupid, minor reasons that parents sometimes say "no" to their kids. I think she hadn't cleaned her room or something) didn't let her go. Of course, she was only nine at the time. I'm pretty sure I would have been the sort of mother who didn't let her nine-year-old daughter go to rock concerts, had I been a mother in 1964, but still. Can you imagine actually having a ticket to see the Beatles on their first American tour and not being allowed to go?

Unfortunately, I grew up with things like the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young as background music, not as anything new and exciting. By the time I was becoming aware of music, and what I did and didn't like (which means I, at age five, was idolizing my professor father's students and thinking it was so cool when they brought Simon and Garfunkel and Peter, Paul, and Mary records to parties at our house -- it was the 1960s. Professors and students partied together in those days), The Beatles were on the verge of breaking up (as were Simon and Garfunkel). I really have no idea what it was like to be alive and listening when all this stuff was so new and different. As the same friend who didn't get to see The Beatles once said to me, "Emily, you have no idea what it was like to hear Neil Young do what he was doing back when no musicians had ever done anything like it.

No, I don't. I still don't. I'm green with envy. Oh, yeah, I can pretend punk rock, of which I was cognizant, was different. No one had ever done this stuff before. So was new wave, which I embraced with open arms when I finally made it to teenage-dome myself. It's not the same, though, is it? So, here's something I give to anyone who reads this blog who can really remember that era and who is worried about being old: you are so, so lucky to have been around during such an exciting time musically. Not much compares, I'm sure. And Neil Young (who looks, at this point in his life, not like the young hippie I never would have seen live at age six, but like Jack Nicholson playing an aged rock 'n' roller -- but don't let him fool you. He was fantastic on stage! Just amazing) was a part of that.

The song I'm highlighting today is "Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere." Here's my dirty little secret. I loved this song long before I moved to Pennsylvania (I also love Dar Williams's take on it), but last fall and winter, when I was quite depressed, and wondering what the hell we had done leaving New England and moving down here, this song become somewhat of an anthem to me. I played it over and over again. I've moved past that now, am actually quite content to be living where I am, no longer think of Connecticut as home (of course, knowing full well, that I will live in New England again one day), but still, it's just a great song, isn't it?

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
by Neil Young

I think I'd like to go
back home
And take it easy
There's a woman that
I'd like to get to know
Living there

Everybody seems to wonder
What it's like down here
I gotta get away
from this day-to-day
running around,
Everybody knows
this is nowhere.

Everybody, everybody knows
Everybody knows.

Every time I think about
back home
It's cool and breezy
I wish that I could be there
right now
Just passing time.

Everybody seems to wonder
What it's like down here
I gotta get away
from this day-to-day
running around,
Everybody knows
this is nowhere.

Everybody, everybody knows
Everybody knows.

7 comments:

ZoesMom said...

Love that song! And Neil Young. Posting song lyrics was such a great idea. I've really been enjoying it.

Can't wait to hear about Wilco. I am a Wilco fan too.

Danny said...

Great post. I loved Neil Young when I heard him at the Bridge School Benefit in October. And I hope you enjoyed Wilco, I look forward to hearing more about that. Tomorrow night my nephew will be playing drums with Wilco at Madison Square Garden on his 13th birthday. How fun is that? We'd be there in a heartbeat, but my daughter is appearing as Snoopy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" tomorrow night. Snoopy trumps Neil Young, I guess!

Pete said...

Cool song. I also went through a big Neil Young phase. And you got to see him live on Friday. Respect!

Emily Barton said...

ZM, I know, I've been really enjoying it, too. And the post on Wilco is coming...

Danny, well, yes, how cool is that, to play drums at age 13 at MSG? (Well, I guess it's almost as cool as being Jeff Tweedy's son.) Still, you can tell Leah I'd rather see her as Snoopy.

Pete, so THAT'S what it takes to get your respect, huh? :-)!

knitseashore said...

I'm more of a New Wave girl, so can't really comment too much here, except to say the lyrics are really like poetry, and I love a good poetic lyric.

I am only beginning to appreciate how hard it must have been for you both to move.

Emily Barton said...

Ms. Knits, yes, poetic lyrics are great, aren't they? And the move WAS an adjustment, but now we're pretty content down here.

Anonymous said...

Em -- I do feel lucky. Every time I hear Sgt Pepper's, I remember how blown away I was the first time I heard it. What was going on in music in the 60s evolved out of and fed into that sense we all had then that ANYTHING was possible. We could change the world.

But, those times were also really hard. A lot of us were at war with the adults in our lives -- parents, teachers, the government, storekeepers who wouldn't let us in because of how we dressed our how long our boyfriends' hair was. It amazes me that my daughter and I have never fought like I fought with my parents. I think the first time I realized that a young person could have a really nice relationship with her parents was when your mother came up to help you move apartments. Remember that? It blew me away to see how supportive she was and how well the two of you got along. None of my friends from the 60s had that with their parents.

Hope to talk soon.

L