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Songwriting

Where oh where?

Posted on 2006.07.08 at 23:33
Current Mood: sillysilly
Current Music: I Write the Songs - Barry Manilow
[Note: See now, this is why God gave us the blog. There probably isn’t any other place where this essay could see the light of day!]

There is a song called Last Kiss that you might know. At least 3 different groups have charted with recordings of it, most recently Pearl Jam, although the most popular version was recorded by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in the early 60s – it reached #2 on the pop charts. I bring this up because the song was unaccountably running through my head this morning. Some old nagging questions began to resurface, so I began to dig a little deeper. I came up with some pretty startling information. Let us begin by reviewing the lyrics:
______________________
LAST KISS
[Refrain] Oh where oh where can my baby be? The lord took her away from me.
She’s gone to heaven so I got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world.

We were out on a date in my Daddy's car. We hadn't driven very far.
There in the road straight up ahead, a car was stalled the engine was dead.
I couldn’t stop so I swerved to the right. I’ll never forget the sound that night.
The screaming tires the busting glass, the painful scream that I heard last.

[Repeat refrain]
When I woke up the rain was pouring down. There were people standing all around.
Something warm flowing in my eyes, but I found my baby somehow that night.
I lifted her head she looked at me and said, “Hold me darling just a little while!”
I held her close I kissed her our last kiss, I found the love that I knew I had missed.
Well now she’s gone even though I hold her tight, I lost my love my life that night.

[Repeat refrain]
______________________

To begin with, it must be stated that this is the most appallingly maudlin song ever to “crash” into the Billboard top 10. But looking past that, a few troubling facts begin to emerge. Let’s start with that refrain – “…I’ve got to be good so I can see my baby when I leave this world.” There’s a clearly implied sense of guilt coming out there. Guilt? Hey, it wasn’t his fault there was a car stalled in the road, was it? Let’s look at that. I think we’ve all had to avoid cars that were stalled in the road, haven’t we? We go around them, slowing down considerably if necessary. But our – ahem – hero couldn’t seem to accomplish that, could he? Later in the song, he casually mentions that “the rain was pouring down.” Oh really? This doesn’t seem to have concerned him before the crash. A little preoccupied there, Romeo?

And then the capper – she’s lying there in the highway in critical condition. We need an ambulance here stat! And what does he do while she’s in such a tenuous state? He grabs her and kisses her! More than that, he picks her up and holds her tight! And the result? She dies, right then and there! Is anyone surprised at this? One imagines him in the back of the room during Health class, industriously sketching fighter jets on the back of his notebook while life-saving tips are being taught to the rest of the students. And he sums it up with “I lost my love my life that night.” Yeah, it’s all about you now, isn’t it? Any leftover sympathy there for your “baby” or her family?

So I kept on digging, sensing that there were some very damning specifics hidden just beyond my view. And I found them. Yes, it turns out there are some long-buried forgotten lyrics to the song Last Kiss. They pick up right where the popular version leaves off. I offer them here as a public service:
______________________
I closed her eyes after our last kiss, then a voice was saying, “Breathe into this!”
They stood me up, I told them I was fine, so they asked if I could walk a straight line.
I thought I did well, but they disagreed; in the darkness I’d walked into a tree.
The test result said that I had failed, so they hauled me off to jail.

[Refrain:] Oh where oh where can my lawyer be? The breathalyzer said point-one-three.
I need to find a way that I can go free; my baby would have wanted me to cop a plea.

On the trial date, my baby’s parents came, they somehow thought that I was to blame.
They said I should have given her my keys. I said “Your Honor, she was drunker than me.”
I showed him a photo where she blew me a kiss, I said, “Who wouldn’t want a piece of this?”
“If you’d have known what that girl could do, you’d have smashed your car up too!”

[Repeat refrain]

They found me guilty on the evidence, of drunken driving and negligence.
They said if I liked I could address the court. The judge muttered, “Keep it short.”
I faced the judge and got right to the point: “Baby wouldn’t want me in the joint!”
“I know she forgave me during our last kiss.” The judge said “Let me tell you this.”

[Refrain:] “In prison is where you will be. Up for parole in 2003.”
“Your story might make a helluva song, if you leave out the part where you done wrong.”
______________________

Postscript: There was other startling information that came to light during my research, not the least of which was the suppressed sequel to Last Kiss. It tells the tragic, maudlin story of a circumcision gone terribly wrong. It’s titled Last Bris and its lyrics are too shocking for even this blog to relate.

Comments:


(Anonymous) at 2006-07-10 16:21 (UTC) (Link)

"Last Kiss"

Once again, my dear roommate leaves out of this story MY influence in it. It was I who started the thought that the driver might have been plowed. Really, Charles. I do tend to ignore you, but do you think I NEVER look at this blog? I'm going to start charging royalties! CC
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