Thursday, October 30, 2008

Song Hall of Fame: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

New Feature: A new, and likely irregular, feature is to explore specific songs that I put into my favorite 'hall of fame.' I'll try to find decent lyrics and the back-story, and explain my relationship to the song and why I think it's so good.

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Young

Lyrics: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes;
It's getting to the point
Where I'm no fun any more
I am sorry
Sometimes it hurts
So badly I must cry out loud
I am lonely

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard

Remember what we've said, and done
And felt about each other
Babe, have mercy
Don't let the past remind us
Of what we are not now
I am not dreaming

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard

Tearing yourself
Away from me now, you are free
And I am crying
This does not mean
I don't love you, I do, that's forever
Yes, and for always

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard

Something inside
Is telling me that I've got your secret
Are you still listening?
Fear is the lock
And laughter the key to your heart
And I love you

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard
And you make it hard
And you make it hard
And you make it hard

Friday evening
Sunday in the afternoon
What have you got to lose?
Tuesday morning
Please be gone, I'm tired of you
What have you got to lose?

Can I tell it like it is
(Catch me I'm falling)
Listen to me baby
It's my heart that's suffering
(Catch me I'm dying)
It's dyin' and that's what I have to lose

I've got an answer
I'm going to fly away
What have I got to lose?
Will you come see me
Thursdays and Saturdays
What have you got to lose?

Chestnut brown canary
Ruby throated sparrow
Sing a song, don't be long
Thrill me to the marrow

Voices of the angels
Ring around the moonlight
Asking me, said she's so free
How can you catch the sparrow?

Lacy lilting lyric
Losing love lamenting
Change my life, make it right
Be my lady

Que alegria me traiga Cuba (or: Que linda me la traiga Cuba
La reina de la Mar Caribe
Que cielo sol que lo tengan alli (or: Cielo sol no tiene sangreahi)
Y que triste que no puedo vaya
Oh va, oh va, va.

Loose translation of the Spanish lyrics:
What joy Cuba brings to me,
The Queen of the Caribbean Sea.
What sunny skies they have there,
And how sad it is that I cannot go.
Oh go, oh go, go.
Song Facts (from here):
  • Stephen Stills wrote this about his then-girlfriend, Folk singer Judy Collins. In their 1991 boxed set, Stills said: "It started out as a long narrative poem about my relationship with Judy Collins. It poured out of me over many months and filled several notebooks. I had a hell of a time getting the music to fit. I was left with all these pieces of song and I said, 'Let's sing them together and call it a suite,' because they were all about the same thing and they led up to the same point."

  • This runs 7:22. The single is three minutes shorter then the album version. Many FM radio stations played the album cut.

  • The last verse is in Spanish and is about Cuba. It was sung in Spanish because Stephen Stills didn't want it easily understood since it had little to do with the theme of the song. Stills put that part in simply because the song had gone on forever and he didn't want it to just lay there at the end. (thanks, Brian -Grand Forks, ND)

  • Here's the translation: How nice it will (or would) be to take you to Cuba The queen of the Caribbean Sea I only want to visit you there And how sad that I can't, damn! (thanks, Zac - San Antonio, TX)

  • The title is a play on words. "Suite" is a reference to a part of a classical composition, but it can also be interpreted as "Sweet."

  • This wasn't their first single, or even their biggest, but certainly one of Crosby, Stills and Nash's most well-known songs. It established the harmony style that would be the group's trademark for years to come.

  • This opened Crosby, Stills and Nash's set at Woodstock in 1969. The event ran long, so they didn't go on stage until 3am the third night (The Who set a precedent by going on at 3am the night before). They played 16 songs in their set, the first 9 acoustic and the last 7 electric. Those who left to get to work Monday morning not only missed Crosby, Stills and Nash, but didn't see Jimi Hendrix close out the festival.

  • Crosby, Stills and Nash played this at Live Aid in 1985. Organized by Bob Geldof, Live Aid was a benefit for famine relief in Africa. Crosby, Stills and Nash also played "Teach Your Children" and "Southern Cross."

  • Nash Stephen Stills spoke to Rolling Stone magazine about this song: "It was the beginnings of three different songs that suddenly fell together as one. Actually on the demo the middle part is not exactly how they would play. Half of it is it just falls off in its own — but we actually split it in half, and they got started singing and boom, there it went. Once it all was there then we just kept adding parts. When I wrote it I used cardboard shirt-blocking, you know those things from the cleaner's — 'cause they were harder to lose than pieces of paper and they didn't crumple up. I could line them up on music stands and they'd stand up."

  • Nash revealed to Rolling Stone that of the CS&N trio, Stills was the only to play on this song. All three contributed vocals.
Other Notes

Pic is of cover of the album. Backpost finished on 2009-11-25; it's weird, the whole post was basically done I don't understand why I didn't just publish then.

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