SONG LYRICS THAT INSPIRE MY WRITING

Writing

I like poetry as much as the next fella. I even write some myself. But there’s something about a perfectly written song, a set of lyrics that speaks to your head and your heart, words that ride a melody like a longtime lover (or a brand new one), that makes me want to put pen to paper.

Here are some lyrics that speak to me, and, to be honest, lyrics I wish I had written. These were the first songs that came to mind. I’ve just scratched the surface. There are so many more, and I’ll probably do this again.

NEW YORK, NEW Y0RK Ryan Adams

I remember Christmas in the blistering cold
In a church on the Upper West Side
Babe, I stood there singing, I was holding your arm
You were holding my trust like a child

CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD Lucinda Williams

broken down shacks engine parts
could tell a lie but my heart would know
listen to the dogs barkin in the yard
car wheels on a gravel road
child in the backseat about four or five years
lookin’ out the window
little bit of dirt mixed with tears
car wheels on a gravel road

RICH MAN’S WAR Steve Earle

Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm
Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar
Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl
A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world
Been a year now and he’s still there
Chasin’ ghosts in the thin dry air
Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

THE ONLY FLAME IN TOWN Elvis Costello

But you blew hot and cold
Turned my heart to a cinder
And with each passing day
You’re less tender and more tinder
Now you’re not the only flame in town

32 FLAVORS Ani Difranco

and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying back

EVERYBODY KNOWS Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Oh, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
Everybody knows

TENNESSEE Arrested Development

Outta the country and into more country
Past Dyesburg and Ripley
Where the ghost of childhood haunts me
Walk the roads my forefathers walked
Climb the trees my forefathers hung from
Ask those trees for all their wisdom
They tell me my ears are so young
Go back, from whence you came
My family tree, my family name
For some strange reason it had to be
He guided me to Tennessee

WHEN I WAS A BOY Dar Williams

I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw
My neighbor come outside to say, “Get your shirt,”
I said “No way, it’s the last time I’m not breaking any law.”
And now I’m in a clothing store, and the sign says less is more
More that’s tight means more to see, more for them, not more for me
That can’t help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat

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