Confessions of A One Time Lyric Lord


Fragments of Song and Lingering Lyrics

Simply because Covid has gifted me stay at home time, yesterday I took a moment to view a You-Tube video of a concert held on the forecourt of the iconic Sydney Opera House in 2016 and at one stage the camera panned out from the stage and onto the vast audience assembled in that great open space. 

Breasting the stage, the audience smiled, waved and danced their way through a collection of treasured songs from the legendary 'Crowded House.' They sang every word of every song loudly and proudly. Judging by their appearance, their ages seemed to predominantly range from 18-35 years old. Anyway, they were younger than me, without doubt.

As I watched, my thoughts turned to a time in my life when I truly believed I knew the words to- all the words, to all the songs. Well, not all the songs, but certainly all the popular songs of that time. I took quite some pride in being able to recall lyrics with such consummate ease. It seemed to come so naturally. I listened. I remembered. I recalled.

Many of us possess this skill at some point in our lives. It is fleeting though. At some point it vanishes. It slips away as other matters take precedence in our lives. It is like trying to hold oil in the palm of your hand. It is a mercurial wonder and while you have it, it is a gift, quite wonderful. Total recall…

These days I am reduced to watching crowds at concerts. Attendees in the momentary zone of total lyric recall. Then, I remember how I too once resided there. 

Their time of reckoning will come just as mine did. The words will mysteriously elude them and they will face the humiliation of having to hum, or take a wild word guess.

  Mondagreens will occur with increasing regularity. When you reach this stage, you are increasingly more likely to utter songlines in the manner of the following:

 ‘Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you.’ 
Paul Young’s Actual lyric: ‘Every time you go away you take a piece of me with you.’ 

Worse still, you might even find yourself uttering indecipherable gibberish in the place where real words once shone brightly. As certain as the sun fades each day, you reach a time in your life where gaps emerge in lyric world.

These days I take consolation in lyric grabs. Flashes and fragments of recall that remind me of my former status as a Lyric Lord. Here’s one now for you to ponder.

‘She walked through the corn,
Leading down to the river. 
Her hair shone like gold in the hot morning sun.
She took all the love that poor boy could give her
And left me to die like the fox on the run.’

and another...

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six-foot-four and full of muscles
I said, 'Do you speak-a my language?'
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

and finally,

Sometimes you picture me
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said
Then you say, "go slow"
And I fall behind
The second hand unwinds


  1. Favorite lines: It is like trying to hold oil in the palm of your hand. It is a mercurial wonder and while you have it, it is a gift, quite wonderful. Total recall…
    This so captures the theme of your slice. I also appreciate you teaching me the word mondegreen and sharing examples! I heard a speaker once say that people with alzheimer's can hear a tune from their life and suddenly recall the words. There is something about music that imprints those memories longer than others. Your slice also has me thinking about all the concert crowds not gathering due to the pandemic. What is the effect when one hasn't had the chance to, as you descirbe: "They sang every word of every song loudly and proudly."?? Your slice gives me lots to ponder. Thanks for sharing and for including the lyrics and photos, too.

    1. Thanks for your considered response Sally and the questions you ponder. I hope the day is not too distant when audiences can gather and experience the joy of live music. It is such an important part of our collective culture and well being. Play that funky music...

  2. It was a Tuesday for song posts, it would seem! I have a knack for remembering popular songs from the 70s and 80s, and even some 90s...but alas, the skill is waning, as you so eloquently described. I have purchased quite a bit of new and new-to-me music lately, and while I enjoy the listening, I've wondered if I'll ever be able to sing along. Maybe that mental file cabinet is full already. Or maybe my energy is invested elsewhere; the younger me would have listened to the same cassettes over and over and over...without doing the cooking, laundry, and dishes at the same time.


Post a Comment

Popular With Other Visitors

Learning How to 'Zoom In' When Writing

Writing About Reading - Reading Reflection Journals:

Answering Questions Posed by Young POETS

Fun With Blackout Poems

Writing Opposite Poems