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Thread: Lyrics That Matter

  1. #1

    Lyrics That Matter

    The lyrical content of a song is just as important to me as the melody and the performance. Maybe more so. A great beat with stupid lyrics will get none of my time. That said, great lyrics with a crappy melody don't get very far either.

    The decline of lyrical poetry in pop music is evident. Lot sof articles can be found on the subject. We've all seen the comparisons and the jokes.

    When I think about truly great lyrics, I immediately think about "Blood of Eden" the Peter Gabriel song for which I named my daughter.

    I caught sight of my reflection - I caught in the window
    I saw the darkness in my heart
    I saw the signs of my undoing
    They had been there from the start


    And I then I hear song after song of MINDLESS garbage on the radio and think, my god... I've become my Father.

    So what are the lyrics that matter most to you? The ones that compel you when nothing else seems to matter?
    One Life

  2. #2
    Senior Member captdg's Avatar
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    Radio,especially most top 40, has always been about a hook... melody wise and mindless lyrics played over and over and over. Most formats are to appeal to the 13-26 yr old female.

  3. #3
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of Jeff Buckley, these lyrics are to his friend, who has got his girlfriend pregnant and is contemplating skipping out on her. Jeff's dad (Tim Buckley) did the same thing to him, to chase his musical career:

    "Don't be like the one who made me so old
    Don't be like the one who left behind his name
    'Cause they're waiting for you like I waited for mine
    And nobody ever came..."

  4. #4
    Senior Member captdg's Avatar
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    Always been fond of this...

    Blue on black
    Tears on a river
    Push on a shove
    It don't mean much
    Joker on jack
    Match on a fire
    Cold on ice
    A dead man's touch
    Whisper on a scream
    Doesn't change a thing
    Don't bring you back
    Blue on black

  5. #5
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    I'm a sucker for a great lyric as well.

    Mark Knopfler is one of the few guys who can write a great tune, pen amazing lyrics and play guitar like a mofo.

    She took off her silver locket. She said "Remember me by this".
    She put her hand in my pocket. I got a keepsake and a kiss.
    And in the roar of dust and diesel, I stood and watched her walk away.
    I could have caught up with her easy enough but something must have made me stay

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! View Post
    The decline of lyrical poetry in pop music is evident. Lot sof articles can be found on the subject.
    Um...I dunno if lyrics have degraded all that much. There have always been crappy lyrics on popular songs. Here's the lyric from the huge 1958 hit, "Witch Doctor" (this song was #1):

    "I told the witch doctor I was in love with you
    I told the witch doctor I was in love with you
    And then the witch doctor, he told me what to do
    He said that ....

    (Chorus)
    Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang
    Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang...
    Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang
    Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang"

    Here's a huge hit from 1952, sung by Patti Page:

    "How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)
    The one with the waggley tail
    How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)
    I do hope that doggie's for sale"

    You want to go back further? 1925:

    "Five foot two, eyes of blue
    But oh what those five foot could do
    Has anyone seen my gal
    Turned up nose and turned down hose
    Never had another beau
    Has anyone seen my gal"

    For that matter, go back further... how about 1848's "Oh Susanna" (and yes these are the original lyrics):

    "I come from Alabama with my Banjo on my knee--
    I’se gwine to Lou’siana my true lub for to see.
    It rain’d all night de day I left, de wedder it was dry;
    The sun so hot I froze to def -- Susanna, dont you cry"

    Then again, what the heck, here's a little ditty from 1430 with some pretty bad lyrics:

    "I have a yong suster
    Fer biyonde the see;
    Manye be the druries
    That she sente me.

    Whan the cherye was a flowr,
    Thanne hadde it no stoon;
    Whan the dove was an ey,
    Thanne hadde it no boon"

    One of my favorite horrifically bad lyrics from Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold" (translated, proving that even the classics can have lyrics that make one cringe):

    "Sleek as slime
    the slope of the slate is!
    I slant and slide
    With foot and with fist!
    I no safety can find
    On the slippery slobber!"
    Last edited by LSchefman; 11-15-2012 at 08:21 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    Lyric wise I have always been impressed with Gov't Mule...they write pretty heavy duty stuff.
    -Bob

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    Completely not what Hans had in mind...but to add another purely ridiculous tune but one that has always made me feel better....especially when I take stupid things in life too seriously...

    Phish....Contact -

    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The car is the thing on the road that takes you back to your abode.


    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The car is the thing on the road that takes you back to your abode.


    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    Bummed is what you are when you go out to your car and its been towed.


    I woke up one morning
    In November
    And I realized I love you.
    Its not your headlights in front
    Or your tailpipe
    Or the skylight above you.
    Its the way that you cling to the road
    When the wind tries to shove you.
    I'd never go driving away and come back home without you.


    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The car is the thing on the road that takes you back to your abode.


    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The car is the thing on the road that takes you back to your abode.


    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road.
    -Bob

  9. #9
    Then there's the old Stooges song proving that every so often what one needs is something very, very basic:

    "No fun my babe no fun
    No fun my babe no fun
    No fun to hang around
    Feeling that same old way
    No fun to hang around
    Freaked out for another day"

  10. #10
    Administrator james's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyMoonsRJT View Post
    Completely not what Hans had in mind...but to add another purely ridiculous tune but one that has always made me feel better....especially when I take stupid things in life too seriously...

    Phish....Contact -
    I was listening to the Chicago '94 box set this week. "Rift" stood out lyrically...at least for the syncopation

    Last night, in the moments my thoughts were adrift
    And coasting a terrace, approaching a rift
    Through which I could spy several glimpses beneath
    Of the darkness the light from above could not reach
    I spied wings of reason, herself taking flight
    And upon yonder precipice saw her alight
    And glared back at me one last look of dismay
    As if she were the last one she thought I'd betray

    So much better I said to myself
    And drawing quite close to the top of the shelf
    I struggled with destiny upon the ledge
    And gasped when defeated he slipped off the edge
    And silence contagious in moments like these
    Consumed me and strengthened my will to appease
    The passion that sparked me one terrible night
    And shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite

    So much better I said to myself
    And drawing quite close to the top of the shelf
    I struggled with destiny upon the ledge
    And gasped when defeated he slipped off the edge

    And silence contagious in moments like these
    Consume me and strengthen my will to appease

    The passion that sparked me one terrible night
    And shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite
    I've historically been completely uninterested in lyrics, but I've been more interested recently.

    Joanna Newsom -"Emily"...intimidating stuff

    The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow
    Set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport over the pharaoh
    A little while later the Pharisees dragged comb through the meadow
    Do you remember what they called up to you and me, in our window?

    There is a rusty light on the pines tonight
    Sun pouring wine, lord, or marrow
    Down into the bones of the birches
    And the spires of the churches
    Jutting out from the shadows
    The yoke, and the axe, and the old smokestacks and the bale and the barrow
    And everything sloped like it was dragged from a rope
    In the mouth of the south below

    We've seen those mountains kneeling, felten and grey
    We thought our very hearts would up and melt away
    From that snow in the nighttime
    Just going
    And going
    And the stirring of wind chimes
    In the morning
    In the morning
    Helps me find my way back in
    From the place where I have been

    And, Emily - I saw you last night by the river
    I dreamed you were skipping little stones across the surface of the water
    Frowning at the angle where they were lost, and slipped under forever
    In a mud-cloud, mica-spangled, like the sky'd been breathing on a mirror

    Anyhow - I sat by your side, by the water
    You taught me the names of the stars overhead that I wrote down in my ledger
    Thoough all I knew of the rote universe were those Pleiades loosed in December
    I promised you I'd set them to verse so I'd always remember

    That the meteorite is a source of the light
    And the meteor's just what we see
    And the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee

    And the meteorite's just what causes the light
    And the meteor's how it's perceived
    And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee

    You came and lay a cold compress upon the mess I'm in
    Threw the window wide and cried, "Amen! Amen! Amen!"
    The whole world stopped to hear you hollering
    You looked down and saw now what was happening

    The lines are fading in my kingdom
    (Though I have never known the way to border them in)
    So the muddy mouths of baboons and sows and the grouse and the horse and the hen
    Grope at the gate of the looming lake that was once a tidy pen
    And the mail is late and the great estates are not lit from within
    The talk in town's becoming downright sickening

    In due time we will see the far butte lit by a flare
    I've seen your bravery, and I will follow you there
    And row through the nighttime
    Gone healthy
    Gone healthy all of a sudden
    In search of the midwife
    Who could help me
    Who could help me
    Help me find my way back in
    There are worries where I've been

    Say, say, say in the lee of the bay; don't be bothered
    Leave your troubles here where the tugboats shear the water from the water
    (Flanked by furrows, curling back, like a match held up to a newspaper)
    Emily, they'll follow your lead by the letter
    And I make this claim, and I'm not ashamed to say I know you better
    What they've seen is just a beam of your sun that banishes winter

    Let us go! Though we know it's a hopeless endeavor
    The ties that bind, they are barbed and spined and hold us close forever
    Though there is nothing would help me come to grips with a sky that is gaping and yawning
    There is a song I woke with on my lips as you sailed your great ship towards the morning

    Come on home, the poppies are all grown knee-deep by now
    Blossoms all have fallen, and the pollen ruins the plow
    Peonies nod in the breeze and while they wetly bow
    With hydrocephalitic listlessness ants mop up-a their brow

    And everything with wings is restless, aimless, drunk and dour
    The butterflies and birds collide at hot, ungodly hours
    And my clay-colored motherlessness rangily reclines
    Come on home, now! All my bones are dolorous with vines

    Pa pointed out to me, for the hundredth time tonight
    The way the ladle leads to a dirt-red bullet of light
    Squint skyward and listen
    Loving him, we move within his borders
    Just asterisms in the stars' set order

    We could stand for a century
    Staring
    With our heads cocked
    In the broad daylight at this thing
    Joy
    Landlocked
    In bodies that don't keep
    Dumbstruck with the sweetness of being
    Until we don't be told
    Take this
    Eat this

    Told
    The meteorite is the source of the light
    And the meteor's just what we see
    And the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee

    And the meteorite's just what causes the light
    And the meteor's how it's perceived
    And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee
    Smog - "Teenage Spaceship"

    Flying around
    The houses at night
    Flying alone

    A teenage spaceship
    I was a teenage spaceship
    Landing at night

    I was beautiful with all my lights
    Loomed so large on the horizon
    So large, people thought my windows
    Were stars
    So large on the horizon
    People thought my windows
    Were stars

    A teenage spaceship
    A teenage spaceship

    And I swore I'd never lay like a log
    Bark like a dog

    I was a teenage smog
    Sewn to the sky

  11. #11
    Administrator james's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Then there's the old Stooges song proving that every so often what one needs is something very, very basic:

    "No fun my babe no fun
    No fun my babe no fun
    No fun to hang around
    Feeling that same old way
    No fun to hang around
    Freaked out for another day"
    I just got that RAT pedal in the mail today. My Ted 245 through that pedal and the DRRI screamed "T.V Eye" to me instantly

  12. #12
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    +1 to Knopfler. The writing on Privateering is right up there with his best IMHO.

    I always felt Pink Floyd's Roger Waters was a great writer.

    Hello?
    Is there anybody in there?
    Just nod if you can hear me.
    Is there anyone at home?
    Come on, now,
    I hear you're feeling down.
    Well I can ease your pain
    Get you on your feet again.
    Relax.
    I'll need some information first.
    Just the basic facts.
    Can you show me where it hurts?

    There is no pain you are receding
    A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
    You are only coming through in waves.
    Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
    When I was a child I had a fever
    My hands felt just like two balloons.
    Now I've got that feeling once again
    I can't explain you would not understand
    This is not how I am.
    I have become comfortably numb.

    O.K.
    Just a little pinprick.
    There'll be no more aaaaaaaaah!
    But you may feel a little sick.
    Can you stand up?
    I do believe it's working, good.
    That'll keep you going through the show
    Come on it's time to go.

    There is no pain you are receding
    A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
    You are only coming through in waves.
    Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
    When I was a child
    I caught a fleeting glimpse
    Out of the corner of my eye.
    I turned to look but it was gone
    I cannot put my finger on it now
    The child is grown,
    The dream is gone.
    I have become comfortably numb.

    -----------------

    Hey you, out there in the cold
    Getting lonely, getting old
    Can you feel me?
    Hey you, standing in the aisles
    With itchy feet and fading smiles
    Can you feel me?
    Hey you, dont help them to bury the light
    Don't give in without a fight.

    Hey you, out there on your own
    Sitting naked by the phone
    Would you touch me?
    Hey you, with you ear against the wall
    Waiting for someone to call out
    Would you touch me?
    Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?
    Open your heart, I'm coming home.

    But it was only fantasy.
    The wall was too high,
    As you can see.
    No matter how he tried,
    He could not break free.
    And the worms ate into his brain.

    Hey you, standing in the road
    always doing what you're told,
    Can you help me?
    Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
    Breaking bottles in the hall,
    Can you help me?
    Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

    ---------------------------------------

    So, so you think you can tell
    Heaven from Hell,
    Blue skys from pain.
    Can you tell a green field
    From a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?

    And did they get you to trade
    Your heros for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees?
    Hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change?
    And did you exchange
    A walk on part in the war
    For a lead role in a cage?

    How I wish, how I wish you were here.
    We're just two lost souls
    Swimming in a fish bowl,
    Year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have we found?
    The same old fears.
    Wish you were here.

    One of only a few bands where the lyrics resonate as much as the guitars - for me at least.
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, SE Custom 24 2012, Fender Strat
    Laney Lionheart L5T-112, Fender Mustang 1
    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
    Click here for SE Bernie Marsden demo!
    Lessons, covers, backing tracks, etc...www.youtube.com/mikegarveyblues

  13. #13
    Senior Member captdg's Avatar
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    I knew Floyd was comin on this thread. Alan Parsons wrote some great stuff too.

  14. #14
    Senior Member 11top's Avatar
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    Patrick Monahan is a poet:

    Now that she's back in the atmosphere
    With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey
    She acts like summer and walks like rain
    Reminds me that there's a time to change, hey, hey
    Since the return from her stay on the moon
    She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey

    Tell me did you sail across the sun
    Did you make it to the milky way to see the lights all faded
    And that heaven is overrated

    Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star
    One without a permanent scar
    And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there

    Now that she's back from that soul vacation
    Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey
    She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo
    Reminds me that there's room to grow, hey, hey
    Now that she's back in the atmosphere
    I'm afraid that she might think of me as plain ol Jane
    Told a story about a man who is too afraid to fly so he never did land

    Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
    Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
    And head back to the milky way
    And tell me, did Venus blow your mind
    Was it everything you wanted to find
    And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there

    Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken
    Your best friend always sticking up for you... even when I know you're wrong
    Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance five-hour phone
    Conversation
    The best soy latte that you ever had... And me

    Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
    Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
    And head back toward the milky way
    Sh*tter's full

  15. #15
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    "Humidity is rising - Barometer's getting low
    According to all sources, the street's the place to go
    Cause tonight for the first time
    Just about half-past ten
    For the first time in history
    It's gonna start raining men.

    It's Raining Men! Hallelujah! - It's Raining Men! Amen!
    I'm gonna go out to run and let myself get
    Absolutely soaking wet!
    It's Raining Men! Hallelujah!
    It's Raining Men! Every Specimen!
    Tall, blonde, dark and lean
    Rough and tough and strong and mean"


    But seriously, I happen to absorb mostly one-liners from songs and could care less about the lyrical content unless it's REALLY BAD, like I find to be the case with some of the songwriters who are presently successful right now.

    Sometimes I just want to dance and not think too hard.

  16. #16
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    I've mentioned his name before around these parts, but Charlie Terrell is one of my favorite lyricists as well as a great musician. Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite songs of his called "Make Your Bed Hard"...

    I'm on the road, baby
    Tires in the rain
    I can't shake your ghost, mama
    It's like rust on a chain
    Oh, I feel like my memory's gonna drown

    Make your bed hard, baby
    'Til I get back in town

    Pain is my woman
    I see her once in a while
    She ain't like you, baby
    I pay her by the mile
    Oh, I feel like my time is winding down

    Make your bed hard, baby
    'Til I can't touch the ground

    I can see you dancing
    Dancing in my head
    Your hips are swaying
    Your lips are red
    Oh, I feel like I'm scattered on the ground

    Make your bed hard, baby
    'Til I come back around

    It won't be long, baby
    I'll be in your bed
    But you know I get restless
    I get lost up in my head
    I can't stay baby, the circle turns around

    Make your bed hard, baby
    'Til I can lay you down

    Make your bed hard, baby
    'Til I get back in town
    -Jon

    "I'm a sinner and I hope I never change"

  17. #17
    Member thieves&foxes's Avatar
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    I agree with Paul when he says that the instruments he makes are just tool for musicians (pretty darn nice ones though!) and as a vocalist/songwriter/guitarist I've always put importance on lyrics and melody (and incredible vocalists). Yeah a musical hook can get you moving, but my favorite songs have always had great lyrics. Springsteen, Dylan et al.
    Location: Beautiful Cape Town, South Africa
    Current Herd: PRS P22 Eriza Verde / PRS Singlecut Hollowbody II Trampas Green / PRS SE 30 1x12
    Future additions to herd : Pauls Guitar / Angelus Custom / SE Korina One / Archon and 2x12 and if they ever release a SE or S2 Bass

  18. #18
    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    For You - Bruce Springsteen

    Princess cards she sends me with her regards
    Barroom eyes shine vacancy, to see her you gotta look hard
    Wounded deep in battle, I stand stuffed like some soldier undaunted
    To her Cheshire smile. I'll stand on file, she's all I ever wanted
    But you let your blue walls get in the way of these facts
    Honey, get your carpetbaggers off my back
    You wouldn't even give me time to cover my tracks
    You said "Here's your mirror and your ball and jacks"
    But they're not what I came for, and I'm sure you see that too
    I came for you, for you, I came for you, but you did not need my urgency
    I came for you, for you, I came for you, but your life was one long
    emergency
    And your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free
    Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak
    Reveal yourself all now to me girl while you've got the strength to speak
    `Cause they're waiting for you at Bellevue with their oxygen masks
    But I could give it all to you now if only you could ask
    And don't call for your surgeon even he says it's too late
    It's not your lungs this time, it's your heart that holds your fate
    Don't give me money, honey, I don't want it back
    You and your pony face and your union jack
    Well take your local joker and teach him how to act
    I swear I was never that way even when I really cracked
    Didn't you think I knew that you were born with the power of a locomotive
    Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?
    And your Chelsea suicide with no apparent motive
    You could laugh and cry in a single sound

    And your strength is devastating in the face of all these odds
    Remember how I kept you waiting when it was my turn to be the god?
    You were not quite half so proud when I found you broken on the beach
    Remember how I poured salt on your tongue and hung just out of reach
    And the band they played the homecoming theme as I caressed your cheek
    They ragged, jagged melody she still clings to me like a leach
    But that medal you wore on your chest always got in the way
    Like a little girl with a traphy so soft to buy her way
    We were both hitchhikers but you had your ear tuned to the roar
    Of some metal-tempered engine on an alien, distant shore
    So you, left to find a better reason than the one we were living for
    And it's not that nursery mouth I came back for
    It's not the way you're stretched out on the floor
    `Cause I've broken all your windows and I've rammed through all your doors
    And who am I to ask you to lick my sores? And you should know that's true
    I came for you, for you, I came for you, but you did not need my urgency
    I came for you, for you, I came for you, but your life was one long
    emergency
    And your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free
    ---Jamie---

    My Gear

  19. #19
    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    And then there's this...

    Why don't we do it in the road? Mm
    Why don't we do it in the road? Ah
    Why don't we do it in the road? Mm
    Why don't we do it in the road? Mm
    No one will be watching us
    Why don't we do it in the road?

    Why don't we do it in the road?
    Why don't we do it in the road?
    Why don't we do it in the road?
    Why don't we do it in the road?
    No one will be watching us
    Why don't we do it in the road?

    Ooh

    Why don't we do it in the road?
    Why don't we do it in the road?
    Why don't we do it, do it in the road?
    Why don't we do it in the road?
    No one will be watching us
    Why don't we do it in the road?
    ---Jamie---

    My Gear

  20. #20
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1985
    Location
    Stevensville, MD
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMintzer View Post
    For You - Bruce Springsteen

    To her Cheshire smile. I'll stand on file, she's all I ever wanted
    This is a great line- I think I dated the same girl.



    I've had many different girls inside my bed
    but only one or two inside my head
    - Frank Turner

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