Cultural Bias #69 – Thinking in Rock Lyrics

More than a few students and colleagues have accused me of thinking in rock lyrics. What can I say? “I’m guilty. And I’ll be guilty for the rest of my life.” (Randy Newman: “Guilty”) So, I thought I’d lay some of my favorites on you. Alphabetical by artist, I’ve limited myself to one quote per artist. That is, of course, after leading off properly with Randy Newman. Hey, I could do this whole thing on Randy Newman—— Good Old Boys alone, even! I mean, there’s never been a better opening to a song than: “Milk truck pulls the sun up.” (“Living Without You.”) Now that I’ve broken the rules (already) and snuck in two by the Ran Man, on with the show:

“Your mind’s on vacation but your mouth is workin’ overtime.” – Mose Allison: “Your Mind’s on Vacation”

“Boards on the windows, mail by the door. Why would anybody leave so quickly for?” – The Band: “Ophelia”

“Tell the teacher we’re surfin’……Surfin’ USA!” – The Beach Boys: “Surfin’ USA”

“Oh Carol, don’t let her steal your heart away.
I’m gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day.” – Chuck Berry: “Carol”

“Too many dirty dishes in the sink for just us two.
You got me wonderin’ baby, who’s makin’ dirty dishes with you?” – Albert Collins: “Dirty Dishes”

“If you’ve never stared off into the distance, then your life is a shame.” – Counting Crows: “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby”

“He hands you a nickel, he hands you a dime.
He asks you with a grin if you’re havin’ a good time.” – Bob Dylan: “Maggie’s Farm”

“I gotta keep rockin’ while I still can. I gotta 2-pack habit and a motel tan.” – Steve Earle: “Guitar Town”

“I know what happens, I read the book.
I believe I just got the good-bye look.” – Donald Fagen: “The Good-bye Look”

“The moon outside my window looks so lonely tonight,
There is a chunk out of its middle, big enough for an old fool to hide.” – Nanci Griffith: “The Wing and the Wheel”

“I’m gonna pull my pony up and hitch my wagon to your star.” – John Hiatt: “Real Fine Love”

“I heard Leadbelly and Blind Lemon on the street where I was born.
Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters singin’ “I’m a Rolling Stone.” – Van Morrison: “Cleaning Windows”

“I’m like a magnet; You’re like a piece of wood.
Can’t get together; Don’t make me feel so good.” – NRBQ: “Magnet”

“There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.” – John Prine: “Sam Stone”

“I’m just sittin’ on a fence. You can say I got no sense.” – Rolling Stones: “Sitttin’ on a Fence”

“Be part of the brotherhood. Chain lightning: It feels so goooood.” – Steely Dan: “Chain Lightning”

“The large print giveth and the small print taketh away” – Tom Waits: “Step Right Up”

“Well, there’s Basie, Miller, Satch-a-mo, and the king of all, Sir Duke.
And with a voice like Ella’s ringin’ out, there’s no way the band can lose.” – Stevie Wonder: “Sir Duke”

Rock On, Malcolm Gauld