In the Arms of What’s-Her-Name

Must true love last decades? Brief and Intense, as we’ve explored before, can produce such powerful creative moments. Moments whose legacies will find immortality long after a divorce paper is signed, wardrobe contents thrown from the 3rd floor or you’ve forgotten her name.

Bob Dylan’s marriage to Sara Dylan was well and truly on the rocks by the time his brilliant record Desire was released in 1976. “One More Cup of Coffee” is said to be a tale of unrequited love. Given the context of Dylan’s love fading, it seems to speak to us of a love in its final throes, a final grasp at recapturing love before it takes its final breath… Ultimately we as the listener will decide the meaning for ourselves.

“One more cup of coffee for the road,

One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go,

To the valley below…”

The uncharacteristically confessional track “Sara” documents in lyrical poetry reminiscings of a marriage now coming undone.

“Stayin’ up for days in the Chelsea Hotel

Writin’ ‘Sad-Eyes lady of the Lowlands’ for you”

Heartbreak has been the songwriters muse for time immemorial, surely. The country music genre surely owes at least a third of its success to a bad break up. “Angie” by the Rolling Stones (1973) is often interpreted as a example of a relationship having run its course. A relationship which needs to be paid tribute to and let go. Then, in this letting go, the song falls into the needy embrace of us as listeners who grasp onto its meaning, trying to wrangle our own truths out of lyrics such as these;

“But Angie, Angie, you can’t say we never tried

Angie, you’re beautiful, but ain’t it time we said


However you view it, a quick background check into this song will lead one to more myth than ancient Greece.

Arms of Mary” leaves little to the imagination. Originally written and released in 1976 by Iain Sutherland of Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, it has been recounted and covered many times since, from The Everly Brothers to Keith Urban. A timeless tale of first times with an experienced older woman, Mary sure left an impression on the writer, and resonates still when you hear it decades later.

“She took the pains of boyhood

and turned then into feel good, oh,

how I wish I was lying in the arms of Mary”

Then, of course, there’s the old love ’em and leave ’em, or one night stand. Or, in this case, three. Holly Williams sings of hookin’ up in Paris in Three Days In Bed, and I challenge you to not be taken back to an unforgettable hook up of your own. Go on…

“We drank all our wine on the Champs Elysees
We got carried away on the banks of the Seine

Woke up on old boulevard St.Germaine

I spent three days in bed with a stranger”

So, over to you. And while you’re musing, send us your own gems from your own music history vaults. What makes a better song, everlasting love or love lost?

Copyright  Creative Couples Project 2013

Image of Sara and Bob Dylan sourced here.


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