Song Lyric Sunday – 29 November 2020 – Bird on the Wire

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Bird /Cat /Dog /Fish /Pet this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week there was no option for me other than to choose this classic song from my youth. Often played in dingy students’ rooms, lit by candlelight, joss sticks burning in the background. We were all in love, we were all in love with this song and this album. I received the album as a 21st birthday present from a sumptuous girl from Walton, in Liverpool. She was a student teacher, I was in the army. We were passing ships in the night and almost docked permanently. It was that intense. I think of Jen every time I hear this song.

Bird on the Wire appeared on the album Songs From A Room, recorded on 26 September 1968 in Nashville and released in 1969.

In the 1960s, Leonard Cohen lived on the Greek island Hydra with his girlfriend Marianne Ihlen, the woman depicted on the back cover of the album. She has related how she helped him out of a depression by handing him his guitar, whereupon he began composing “Bird on the Wire”, inspired by a bird sitting on one of Hydra’s recently installed phone wires.

Cohen said “I always begin my concert with this song. It seems to return me to my duties. It was begun in Greece and finished in a motel in Hollywood around 1969 along with everything else. Some lines were changed in Oregon. I can’t seem to get it perfect.”

Bird on the Wire

Leonard Cohen

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee
If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you

For like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”
Oh, like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire lyrics © BMG Rights Management

And for something totally different, and outside the rules

Song Lyric Sunday 08/09/2019 – Blackbird on the wire?

img_1345-3Thank you to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday and gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week Jim has given us the word prompts of Bird /Fly /Sky /Wing and my immediate thought was to go for Leonard Cohen singing “Bird on the Wire”. (click on the link if you wish to hear it), but then I thought it’s yet another chance to turn to my all time favourites The Beatles, and another fabulous song from the White Album.

This song is performed by Paul McCartney alone, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.

McCartney explained on Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road, aired in 2005, that the guitar accompaniment for “Blackbird” was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Bourrée in E minor, a well-known lute piece, often played on the classical guitar. As teenagers, he and George Harrison tried to learn Bourrée as a “show off” piece. The Bourrée is distinguished by melody and bass notes played simultaneously on the upper and lower strings. McCartney adapted a segment of the Bourrée (reharmonised into the original’s relative major key of G) as the opening of “Blackbird”, and carried the musical idea throughout the song.

The first night his future wife Linda Eastman stayed at his home, McCartney played “Blackbird” for the fans camped outside his house. The fingerpicking technique that McCartney uses in the song was taught to him by folk singer Donovan. (wikipedia)

Here, for your, and my, enjoyment, is Blackbird. This is the 2009 remastered version which I consider to be the best available.

Blackbird

The Beatles

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney

Blackbird lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tratore

Other versions that you may like are below – just click on the link to listen:

1968 original White Album

Glastonbury 2004 version

Crosby Stills and Nash version