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Thread: Best Lyrics Ever - Prog & Related

  1. #26
    Peter Hammill's 'Just Good Friends'. A great description of an affair that's run its course and is drawing to an end. That would make it a great song in itself but what makes it special for me is knowing that when he wrote it he wasn't describing an actual love affair, but had decided to break with his record company and go it alone, producing his own records ; thus the whole thing is an extended metaphor.

    Drawing back the curtains,
    sluggish city daylight in the afternoon...
    here's that special silence,
    just before you walk out of the hotel room.
    Each time we're so close I assume
    that we'll never be again.
    Oh, how long can we pretend
    that we're just good friends?
    A casual affair is all that you can spare
    from your emotional change;
    a calendar of meetings, strangers on the street
    the best we ever arrange.
    Now I just can't stand all the pain,
    all the constant make and mend:
    how long must we pretend
    that we're just good friends?
    I gave you my devotion,
    hiding nothing up my sleeve.
    If I walked clean out of your life
    would you even notice me leave?
    So much tangled-up emotion,
    should I stay or should I go?
    If I walked clean out of your life
    how long would it take you to know?
    Are we such good friends?
    You used to say "I love you",
    you used to say "You make me feel alive and young".
    Now we're just a habit,
    a flavour, once a month, to titillate your tongue.
    Oh, how sordid this has become
    as the means approach the end –
    oh, how long can we pretend
    that we're still good friends?
    I gave you my devotion,
    hiding nothing up my sleeve.
    If I walked clean out of your life
    would you even notice me leave?
    So much tangled-up emotion,
    should I stay or should I go?
    If I walked clean out of your life
    how long would it take you to know?
    Are we such good friends?
    Are we still good friends?

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    "Take a little trip back with father Tiresias,
    Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through.
    I have crossed between the poles, for me there's no mystery.
    Once a man, like the sea I raged,
    Once a woman, like the earth I gave.
    But there is in fact more earth than sea"
    You mayu already know this, but this entire song is paraphrased lines from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  3. #28
    Pete Townshend:

    The incense burned away, and the stench began to rise,
    And lovers, now estranged, avoided catching each others' eyes.

    And girls who lost their children cursed the men who fit the coil,
    And men not fit for marriage took their refuge in the oil.
    No one respects the flame quite like the fool who's badly burned;
    From all this, you'd imagine that there must be something learned.
    Bernie Taupin (Elton John):
    While Mona Lisas and mad hatters, sons of bankers, sons of lawyers,
    turn around and say Good morning to the night,
    for unless they see the sky
    (but they can't and that is why)
    they know not if it's dark outside or light.
    And for the lovers of word-play, there's Adrian Belew:
    Hat bandanna Graham cracker jackhammer in
    A nail file suit your self-serviceman
    The world's my oyster soup kitchen floor wax museum
    Autographed pictures of Shakespeare fishing
    Gear head phone Madison Square garden hose
    The world's my oyster soup kitchen floor wax museum
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  4. #29
    When I think about the beginnings of the genre I've always felt Dylan was a cornerstone as far as lyrics writing, in much the same way The Beatles were the ones who broke down the barriers to experimentation with the music. Certainly people like Steve Howe and Keith Emerson were influenced by Dylan.

    Bill
    She'll be standing on the bar soon
    With a fish head and a harpoon
    and a fake beard plastered on her brow.

  5. #30
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Too too many to chose from, even if I keep it to Peter Hammill already twice-sighted. Well this one occurred to me right away:

    Dropping the Torch

    We play games and every move
    is noted down as a subsequent cause
    and effectively chains our freedom and will to live;
    we settle in to simple survival,
    hanging on our pleasures grimly...
    we must never let them go.

    Our prison walls are slowly built,
    stone by stone and day by day;
    no provision for escape,
    entombed alive in safety
    and decay.

    Time sets around us in killing frames,
    black border round our names.
    Our fingers lose their grip
    and the torch slips.

    The enemy for everyone
    is everyone, inside.
    I feel the hand of security
    creep on me with ice-cold fingers
    and crush my flower of freedom;
    I've lost the course of my adventure,
    all the things I'd meant to do are lost.

    There is only one flame each
    to keep alive in the wind.
    But finally we snuff them out
    all by ourselves.

    We set traps and, in the end,
    fall into our own snares
    and have nowhere to go.

    Time ever moves more slowly;
    life gets more lonely
    and less real.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year — the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  6. #31
    Roy Harper’s The Game (parts 1 – 5) has some great lines. It is a long song so I won’t put them all down, but two of the best verses go:

    There are no certain answers and no time to understand
    The rules are set to paradox, coercion and blind faith
    The goal’s a changing paradise, a moment out of date
    The dream is righteous grandeur fit to flood the
    Universe
    The fact is more than meets the eye but less than runs
    The earth, running the earth.

    And:

    And the prisoner of the present paces up and down
    Inside his cell
    He's the living replacement, somersaulting from this
    Psychic well
    Screaming : ‘I'm the sponsor of a hell’
    Voices like the sea inside a shell
    Telling me I cannot stake a claim
    Possession is a clue but not the game
    So please leave this world as clean as when you came.

  7. #32
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ... and speaking of Pete Townshend, I've always liked the White City Album which has some great lyrics IMO including:

    I Am Secure

    My room looks out to the wide open spaces
    My heart is touched by awakening faces
    I see the panic of people in motion
    I can stand here, look out on an ocean

    I am a wall awaiting a catchword
    I see the city laid out like a patchwork
    Alone, I am free from hatred and blindness
    I hope that this life is frozen and timeless

    My man is here, we grow old by inches
    Tomorrow I'll walk among heroes and princes
    I feed the boys, I hear secrets whispered
    I know the hearts that are battered and blistered

    I am secure in this world of apartheid
    This is my cell, but it's connected to starlight


    Another great trove of great lyrics is found (of course) in the songs of the seminal artist Joni Mitchell. For example:

    Amelia

    I was driving across the burning desert
    When I spotted six jet planes
    Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
    It was the hexagram of the heavens
    It was the strings of my guitar
    Amelia * it was just a false alarm

    The drone of flying engines
    Is a song so wild and blue
    It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
    Then your life becomes a travelogue
    Of picture post card charms
    Amelia it was just a false alarm

    People will tell you where they've gone
    They'll tell you where to go
    But till you get there yourself you never really know
    Where some have found their paradise
    Others just come to harm
    Oh, Amelia it was just a false alarm

    I wish that he was here tonight
    It's so hard to obey
    His sad request of me to kindly stay away
    So this is how I hide the hurt
    As the road leads cursed and charmed
    I tell Amelia it was just a false alarm

    A ghost of aviation
    She was swallowed by the sky
    Or by the sea like me she had a dream to fly
    Like Icarus ascending
    On beautiful foolish arms
    Amelia it was just a false alarm

    Maybe I've never really loved
    I guess that is the truth
    I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitudes
    And looking down on everything
    I crashed into his arms
    Amelia it was just a false alarm

    I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
    To shower off the dust
    And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust


    I could do this literally all day as I recall songs that touch me, but I'll try to refrain and read with interest what others think are great lyrics.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year — the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  8. #33
    John Boegehold
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    How good is this lyric? So good that few notice that there are no rhymes in it

    America
    (Paul Simon)

    Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together
    I've got some real estate here in my bag
    So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner's pies
    And we walked off to look for America

    Cathy, I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
    Michigan seems like a dream to me now
    It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
    I've gone to look for America

    Laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces
    She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
    I said, be careful, his bowtie is really a camera

    Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat
    We smoked the last one an hour ago
    So I looked at the scenery
    She read her magazine
    And the moon rose over an open field

    Cathy, I'm lost, I said though I knew she was sleeping
    And I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
    Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
    They've all come to look for America
    All come to look for America
    All come to look for America

  9. #34
    There Goes (not) Rhymin' Simon

  10. #35
    ↑↑The answer song, “Starbright Park” by Quantum Jump. Lyrics by Martin Hall:

    August at our elbow, like a sandy bitch on heat
    Mongols at the window, beaming in defeat
    We knew the world was out there, whoring in the wheat
    And we thought we all were children

    Aztecs in the market for a Barry Gabardine
    Filling up old Kodaks in the Terrapin Ravine
    We drew a little confort from a terrible routine
    And we thought we all were children

    Cathy, we were all wrong
    Driving in the dark
    Moby and America said their au revoirs
    Oh in Starbright Park

    Rabble on the turnpike from the city of St. John
    Cathy in a raincoat, ready to be gone
    And we thought we all were children (Cathy we were all wrong)

    Me and Moriarty taking turns behind the wheel
    Anybody out there? Anybody real?
    And we thought we all were children

    Cathy, we were all wrong
    Driving in the dark
    Moby and America said their au revoirs
    Oh in Starbright Park

    Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes
    We smoked the last ones an hour ago
    Oh I'm empty and I'm aching and it's all I've ever known
    And we thought we all were children
    Cathy I'm alone

    Full of codeine and remorse
    And we thought we all were children
    Children of divorce
    Quote: "living is a horizontal fall"
    And we thought we all were children
    Listen to me

    Cathy, we were all wrong
    Driving in the dark
    Moby and America said their au revoirs
    Oh in Starbright Park

    All gone to look for America
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  11. #36
    Profondo Giallo Crystal Plumage's Avatar
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    The "best" is not easy. Being a big Paatos fan, the lyrics to Paatos' Precious always get to me. Written before we found out Petronella's sister died of cancer later.

    Not long, not long
    That's what he said – there's nothing you can do
    You were young and in love
    Your life was still ahead of you
    And in silence you prayed
    Be strong, be strong
    Will you find the strength to carry on?
    Without hope and all is fear
    There's no one looking out for you my dear
    And in silence you prayed
    How long the nights that you stayed awake
    So sleepless
    And alone
    All alone
    Did you know how precious life would feel
    When time's your enemy?
    Did you know how precious life would feel
    When time's your enemy?
    No words, no words
    Just keep it all inside, inside
    It's a curse but denial
    Might just be what's keeping you alive
    And in silence you prayed
    How long the nights that you stayed awake
    So sleepless
    And alone
    All alone
    Did you know how precious life would feel
    When time's your enemy?
    Did you know how precious life would feel
    When time's your enemy?
    HuGo
    ..:: Right, bring in the perverts! ::..
    "Very, very nice," said a man in the crowd,
    When the golden voice appeared.
    She was gold alright, but then so is rust.
    "Such a shame about the beard."

  12. #37
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    you mayu already know this, but this entire song is paraphrased lines from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.

    No, I didn't realize that is was taken from that source. Thank you for pointing it out.

  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Adm.Kirk View Post
    When I think about the beginnings of the genre I've always felt Dylan was a cornerstone as far as lyrics writing, in much the same way The Beatles were the ones who broke down the barriers to experimentation with the music. Certainly people like Steve Howe and Keith Emerson were influenced by Dylan.

    Bill
    Sorry, Bill, but Dylan has to take a second seat to the late great Leonard Cohen (IMIO). He should have won the Nobel for literature...
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  14. #39
    OK, some Cohen snippets:

    Bird on the Wire (1969):
    I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
    he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
    And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
    she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"
    Who By Fire (1974):
    And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
    who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
    and who by avalanche, who by powder,
    who for his greed, who for his hunger,
    and who shall I say is calling?
    Dance Me to the End of Love (1984):
    Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
    Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
    Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
    Dance me to the end of love
    And one complete song, Joan of Arc (1971):
    Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
    as she came riding through the dark;
    no moon to keep her armour bright,
    no man to get her through this very smoky night.
    She said, "I'm tired of the war,
    I want the kind of work I had before,
    a wedding dress or something white
    to wear upon my swollen appetite."
    Well, I'm glad to hear you talk this way,
    you know I've watched you riding every day
    and something in me yearns to win
    such a cold and lonesome heroine.
    "And who are you?" she sternly spoke
    to the one beneath the smoke.
    "Why, I'm fire," he replied,
    "And I love your solitude, I love your pride."

    "Then fire, make your body cold,
    I'm going to give you mine to hold,"
    saying this she climbed inside
    to be his one, to be his only bride.
    And deep into his fiery heart
    he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
    and high above the wedding guests
    he hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

    It was deep into his fiery heart
    he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
    and then she clearly understood
    if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.
    I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
    I saw the glory in her eye.
    Myself I long for love and light,
    but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  15. #40
    Some great ones so far.

    Peter Hammill for sure wrote tons of great lyrics. The other Peter, Gabriel, also wrote some great lyrics.

    I find it hard to beat Pain of Salvation's, "A Trace of Blood" for the shear palpability you can feel for the anguish Daniel Gildenlow and his wife felt when she had a stillbirth.

    These lyrics puts one in the medical room with Gildenlow and his wife as they experience her stillbirth.

    A Trace of Blood

    Touching ground
    Going home to those I miss
    Safe and sound
    Weeks of exile turn to bliss
    But there's something in her voice
    when she is calling me
    A trace of blood to lead me through roads of agony
    With blood taste in my mouth
    and clouds before my eyes,
    I kneel beside the bed where my bleeding dryad lies

    Three young souls in misery

    Hitting ground
    Nausea wakes me up at dawn
    Hopes are found
    Dissected, turned and then withdrawn
    A chair of steel and wire
    Her legs are open wide
    Helpless in myself I stand there cold beside
    The doctors stay away
    Leave us with this dismay
    To see the colours of a miracle fade and turn to grey

    Then a cry and rivers of blood
    flow so sadly, bringing you
    Our dreams pour into a cold tray
    Two young souls in misery
    Missing you

    I never knew your name, but I will miss you just the same
    I was to live for you
    I lost the will to live at all the day you came
    It'll never be the same, but I will love you just the same
    You were to be the first, how wonderful
    Now I will always fear to hope again

    The irony of seeing me whispering through her skin
    so joyfully to our child there deep within
    Or of when she called to me to tell me cheerfully
    that she had seen your shape on a hospital screen
    And of nurses being concerned
    that you never moved or turned
    Too late we see the warnings
    Too late we learn!!

    I never saw your face and now you're gone without a trace
    Except the trace of blood
    that's deeply scarred into my eyes to fill your place
    It'll never be the same, but I will love you just the same
    I was prepared to be your father
    How can I ever prepare for that again?

    Still I follow that trace of blood
    always leading back to you
    Hollow years of damming that flood
    Two young souls in misery
    Missing you... missing you...
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  16. #41
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    Too too many to chose from, even if I keep it to Peter Hammill already twice-sighted.
    And cited.

  17. #42
    Speak to me of summer,
    Long winters longer
    than time can remember
    setting up of other roads
    to travel on in old accustomed ways

    I still remember
    the talks by the water
    the proud sons and daughters
    that knew the knowledge of the land
    spoke to me in sweet accustomed ways

  18. #43
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Innes
    Hey mister man on the street
    Excuse me
    Do you have a few moments to spare?
    Oh yeah
    Don't worry I'm not trying to sell you anything you wouldn't want
    I'm just a questionnaire

    Tell me what you think about this low-fat diet shampoo
    Do you think it's crunchy, half-crunchy or not crunchy at all?
    Put a tick in the appropriate box
    There's nothing to it

    Yes no don't know I don't care
    I'm only a questionnaire
    Only a questionnaire

    Please mister man on the street
    Believe me
    I'm only doing my job and I need to know
    Oh oh ho
    Everything about you
    Take it easy all you gotta do is answer yes or no

    Tell me what you think about the devil and the deep blue sea
    Do you think there's one true god, a false god or
    No god at all?
    (no god at aaaaaaaall)
    Put a tick in the appropriate box
    There's nothing to it

    Yes no don't know I don't care
    I'm only a questionnaire
    Yes no don't know I don't care
    I'm only a questionnaire
    Only a questionnaire

    Now can ya
    Tell me what you think about how easy it can be to buy a gun
    Do you think it's crazy, half-crazy or not crazy at all?
    Put a tick in the appropriate box...
    ..

  19. #44
    Two excerpts from Schooltree's the Big Slide (part of the brilliant Heterotopia):

    my illustrious career
    in handjobs blow and beer
    it’s the end beginning all too clear
    my degeneration is complete
    the end of history
    when icons crumble to the sea

    ...

    my head is a hole
    someone please amputate my soul
    in this perfect world
    all the bullshit swirls
    the mind of the everygirl
    all the lights that catch your eye
    the glittering of lies
    where hope can go to die

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by thos View Post
    Speak to me of summer,
    Long winters longer
    than time can remember
    setting up of other roads
    to travel on in old accustomed ways

    I still remember
    the talks by the water
    the proud sons and daughters
    that knew the knowledge of the land
    spoke to me in sweet accustomed ways
    Yeah, it sounds nice, fits the music very well, but what the Hell is it about? I don't believe even Anderson could answer that one coherently.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  21. #46
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ I doubt he could say hello coherently.
    "If you want to see the true nature of humanity, just look at the internet."

    http://www.discogs.com/user/moecurlythanu/collection

  22. #47
    Tony Banks' masterpiece

    One for the Vine - drink up!

    Fifty thousand men were sent to do the will of one
    His claim was phrased quite simply
    Though He never voiced it loud
    I am He, the chosen one

    In His name they could slaughter
    For His name they could die
    Though many there were believed in Him
    Still more were sure He lied
    But they'll fight the battle on

    Then one whose faith had died
    Fled back up the mountainside
    But before the top was made
    A misplaced footfall made Him stray
    From the path prepared for Him
    Off of the mountain on to a wilderness of ice

    This unexpected vision
    Made them stand and shake with fear
    But nothing was His fright compared
    With those who saw him appear
    Terror filled their minds with awe

    Simple were the folk who lived
    Upon this frozen wave
    So not surprising was their thought
    This is He, Gods chosen one

    Who's come to save us from
    All our oppressors
    We shall be kings on this world

    "Follow me
    I'll play the game you want me
    Until I find a way back home"

    "Follow me
    I give you strength inside you
    Courage to win your battles"

    No, no, no, this can't go on
    This will be all that I fled from
    Let me rest for a while

    He walked into a valley
    All alone
    There He talked with water
    And then with the vine

    They leave me no choice
    I must lead them to glory
    Or most likely to death

    They traveled cross the plateau
    Of ice up to its edge
    Then they crossed a mountain range
    And saw the final plain
    Still He urged the people on

    Then, on a distant slope
    He observed one without hope
    Flee back up the mountainside
    He thought He recognized Him by His walk

    And by the way He fell
    And by the way He stood up
    And vanished into air

  23. #48
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Yeah, it sounds nice, fits the music very well, but what the Hell is it about? I don't believe even Anderson could answer that one coherently.
    I actually think this is one of Jon's better lyrics - I agree it doesn't necessarily make sense but it has a nice impressionistic feel and rhythm to it. Jezus, what the hell happened to me? Now I'm defending Jon Anderson lyrics!
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year — the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  24. #49
    Profondo Giallo Crystal Plumage's Avatar
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    Peter Nicholls' (IQ) lyrics sometimes have that Jon Anderson feel. The sound of the words is more important than the actual meaning. Here's one of my favorites (Fascination;a song about obsession):

    Roses, I am chrome
    No, she's not at home
    Shot down to the bone
    Sitting here alone
    She walks towards me now
    She lives, I don't know how
    I can hardly move
    I can hardly believe in even nothing
    I hide you in bullets, I had it all
    Still dragged from shock to shock
    One drink to let me sink
    If I never see you again
    If I'm jaded, stretched or cleaned
    Don't tell me, I guessed
    While you bled for me less
    I love what you used to be
    HuGo
    ..:: Right, bring in the perverts! ::..
    "Very, very nice," said a man in the crowd,
    When the golden voice appeared.
    She was gold alright, but then so is rust.
    "Such a shame about the beard."

  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    I actually think this is one of Jon's better lyrics - I agree it doesn't necessarily make sense but it has a nice impressionistic feel and rhythm to it. Jezus, what the hell happened to me? Now I'm defending Jon Anderson lyrics!
    Well, it *is* his 75th birthday today...

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