The best rock song lyrics?

I recently went to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. He put on a high energy show that was reminiscent of a southern gospel revival. It was a 27 year wait that was well worth it. Except for one thing. He didn’t perform the song which I consider to contain the best lyrics ever written.

There are many reasons why we like a song. Perhaps it’s the melody, or the drum line, or the guitar riff, or the chord progression. Or perhaps it’s the lyrics. Well written song lyrics capture the imagination. They create visualizations. They take you away.

There are several songs that contain lyrics that I absolutely love:

  • “These half finished bottles of inspiration lie like ghosts in my room,” from Blue Rodeo’s Til I Am Myself Again, written by Jim Cuddy.
  • “Ice meets metal, can’t you drive me down to the Big League,” from Tom Cochrane’s Big League, written by Tom Cochrane.
  • “Where every step I took in faith betrayed me,” from Sarah McLachlan’s, Sweet Surrender, written by Sarah McLachlan.
  • “I met a gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis,” from The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Some songs, like the ones list above contain one or two lines of great lyrics, while others are filled with them. Songs like Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin, Let it Be, by the Beatles, and High Flying Bird, by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Whether it’s one line or the entire song, it’s hard to beat good lyrics.

I think what makes song lyrics special is that they are personal. Perhaps they have special meaning or maybe it’s simply because we just like them. Whether somebody else likes them or not, is irrelevant. We like them and that’s all that matters. (“Hey that song by what’s their name sucks!” “No, you suck!”) 🙂

Which brings me back to my favourite lyrics … from the song Bruce didn’t perform … hopefully, I’ll get over it some day 🙂  They’re the opening lines from Thunder Road

The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves

Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays

Roy Orbison singing for the lonely, hey that’s me and I want you only

Don’t turn me home again, I just can’t face myself alone again

There are other great lyrics in the song (All the redemption I can offer girl is beneath this dirty hood), but it’s the opening lines that for me, are magic.

What are your favourite song lyrics?

Have an awesomely lyrical day!


6 comments on “The best rock song lyrics?

  1. One soft infested summer me and Terry became friends ….
    Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Doge
    Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
    And many, many more …

  2. Sometimes I think it’s a shame
    When I get feelin’ better when I’m feelin’ no pain
    I can picture every move that a man could make
    Getting lost in her lovin’ is your first mistake
    Sundown ya better take care
    If I find you been creepin’ ’round my back stairs
    Sometimes I think it’s a sin
    When I feel like I’m winnin’ when I’m losin again

  3. Almost any line from one of the six verses of “Chimes of Freedom” by Bob Dylan. A song of freedom and human rights all inspired by a thunderstorm. (But I like Springsteen’s cover of it the best)

    • Bob Dylan, considered the best rock lyricist of all time. My personal Dylan fave is ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ but Chimes of Freedom is pretty awesome. Thanks for weighing in Leo 🙂

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