So, the wife and I have had a song playing in our heads for a couple of days now. It has an incredibly catchy melody, a mysterious lyric and a charming lesson about the present moment.
“To Be With You” was the the biggest hit from Mr. Big, an early 90’s rock band.
Not long ago, I stumbled across it in my iTunes library and realized that I’d forgotten what a great (well, for a 90’s hair band) song it was to sing along to. But there has always been one line in the chorus that I didn’t understand.
“Waited on a line of greens and blues?” What the hell does that mean? I mean, here I am singing this song in my head…okay, out loud in Trader Joe’s, and I don’t even know what I’m saying. Could I be committing an “Afternoon Delight” fail?
As I started searching for an answer, I thought about what a pain in the ass it would have been to find out what the lyric meant when the song came out in 1991. Even playing the song on demand would be a hassle compared to today. “You mean, I have to walk all the way over there, find the CD, get the disk out, put in the player and press play? Dude.” And yet, in ’91, if you had a CD player, you rocked! And in ’71, if you had a Walkman, you rocked. Same for 8-tracks, LP’s, all the way back to Edison’s talking boxes.
But, that’s the was it goes. Your relationship with any “thing” in this world, be it a song, a person or a situation, will always change with time. That which you makes you “happy” now, will later make you “unhappy”; your attitude toward it will change, or you will lose it. In Shakespeare’s words, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
It didn’t take long to get the info I was looking for. In an interview on the PhoenixNewTimes blog, Mr. Big lead singer Eric Martin told the story behind the song.
It was a true story. Totally simple love lament. There was this girl I was in love with, beautiful goth chick from the late seventies, dark black hair — everything was black — and pale white vampire skin. She would read poetry to me in her father’s car, parked in the back of the house, with no wheels, and weeds growing up in between it. How can you not fall in love with that? This girl had a lot of boyfriends who treated her like shit. I wanted to be the knight in shining armor, wanted to be with her. She wasn’t having it. It never came to play. True story, though, a simple little love song.
I ran into her several years ago. She was working at a clothing store in San Francisco. I said, hey, you know that song is about you? She said, ‘oh, I know – my husband tells everyone.’
So at one time, this girl makes this guy happy, then she makes him sad when she gets it on with all these other guys. This sadness compels him to write a song, which becomes a huge hit and makes him happy. And so on. Oh, and the mystery line?
‘Waiting on a line of greens and blues…’ I had a mood ring when I was a kid. I threw that in to be quirky.
Wow, mood ring. Did not see that one coming.