Kris Kristofferson once penned these lyrics that made many stand up and notice his wordsmanship.
“Well I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head, that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast
Wasn’t bad so I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt
And I shaved my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.”
Now many of us likely don’t feel that hungover anymore, but I would wager many of us can relate to these lyrics at some time in their lives. Being a guy, the line “And found my cleanest dirty shirt” resonates as guys tend not to be the most diligent of laundry users. When I see a woman do the same thing in a movie, I think now that is equal opportunity slobbery. Yet, to generalize, most women are likely better at keeping clothes clean than the average dude.
Last night, the rain was coming down, So, as I awoke in the middle of the night, the rain was a soothing melody to put me back to sleep. Yet, for some reason, I am still tired.
It has often interested me in the number of great songwriters who are not the best of singers. But, many still try and pass muster, sort of. Kristofferson is one of those. His greatest hit was made popular when Janis Joplin changed the name and gender of Kris’ Bobby McKee to “Me and Bobby McGee.” Randy Newman, Paul Wiliams, and Jimmy Webb all come to mind, as great songwriters and poor singers.
Even Nobel Prize literature winner Bob Dylan was not known for being a great singer. Of course, that one statement caused an argument with my brother once. Dylan passed muster, but his songs are often better sung by others. Thank goodness Carole King eventually got around to singing her own songs and for a while her album “Tapestry” was the biggest seller of all time, but she felt others sang her songs better.
Like Dylan and King, four other songwriters come to mind who were quite prolific writers and singers. Roger Miller, Neil Sedaka, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn all penned thousands of songs. I was watching a documentary on Loretta Lynn’s life and one songwriter noted that Lynn had a unique style where she would write two different choruses to many songs. And, then she would make them work.
To me, music is wonderful, but I love good lyrics. Together, they lift us up and make mileposts in our lives. There is nothing like a car trip when a favorite song comes on, even if you only know the chorus (or two in Lynn’s case).