Friday, April 24, 2009

VE's Summer of 69 Analysis

After the success of the first two songs I analyzed, I have been flooded with requests for another. This time around, I’d like to pay tribute to all my followers from North of the Border (Canadians for the geographically challenged) and take a look at one of their all-time faves, Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69.

Before we get into the song, I’d like to note that Mr. Adams recorded it in 1984, at the age of 25. In 1969, he was only 10 (I was 8) so I think it’s safe to say the song is entirely metaphorical. Now that you’ve all got 69 on your minds, let’s get to it…
I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it till my fingers bled
It was the summer of 69

What kind of rock n roll guitar are you going to find at the five-and-dime? Remember this cheapness as it may help explain a few things later on. On a side note, what could a metaphor for a six string be? And if it wasn’t his fingers, what bled?

Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit and jody got married
I shoulda known we’d never get far
Oh when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Ya - Id always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life

If you tried real hard, why’d you think you’d never get far? Was it the crappy five-and-dime guitar? Is that why Jimmy quit? And how come Jody couldn’t still focus on the band after he got married? For a summer filled with the best days of your life, a lot seemed to go wrong.

Aint no use in complainin
When you got a job to do
Spent my evenins down at the drive-in
And thats when I met you

For someone who says “Ain’t no use in complain’” you seem to have done some complain’ in the previous verse. And, let’s be honest, rock n roll ain’t about doing a job, it’s about rebelling. I’d also like to know who you met at the drive-in?

Standin on your mama’s porch
You told me that you’d wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Back in the summer of 69

This is where I start to wonder what’s really going on with this song. Whose mama’s porch are you standing on? And if you’re on someone else’s mama’s porch, why are they waiting for you? Which begs the question, did they wait forever? And again, were those really the best days of your life if you knew it was now or never? It sounds to me like the summer of 69 was really confusing for you.

Man we were killin time
We were young and restless
We needed to unwind
I guess nothin can last forever - forever, no

Hold on a sec. I thought you tried real hard. Now you tell us you were killin time and needed to unwind. That might explain why Jimmy quit and you never got far. Plus, at the age of 10, we know you were young and restless, but I have to ask, how did you kill time? But what really throws me off is that you earlier you said the summer seemed to last forever, yet now nothing can last forever. Why not? What really happened?

And now the times are changin
Look at everything that’s come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old six-string
I think about you wonder what went wrong

Now you’ve really lost me. The times have suddenly changed. What exactly changed? I’m beginning to suspect that you experimented with a lot of drugs during the summer of 69. It would explain a few things. Although I do know what’s come and gone: Jimmy, Jody, your band, holding hands, the best days of your life, and, I think, forever. I also believe those are some of things that went wrong, though I’m not sure why you’re left wondering about that. I guess it’s the drugs.

Standin on your mamas porch
You told me it would last forever
Oh the way you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Back in the summer of 69

We still don’t know whose mama’s porch your standing on or why you’re waiting for them. But we do know that, thanks to your work ethic, or lack thereof, it ends up being never. So, I’m left wondering why, exactly, you still believe those were the best days of the your life? The only thing that comes to mind is that, in the metaphorical sense mentioned earlier, it seems you’re really into 69’s. But you were 10 at the time, so I have to wonder what kind of freaky girls you were hanging with?


Moooooog35 said...

I was one.

Good times...good times.

I Am Woody said...

You gotta wonder about those Canadians. After all, they did sic Celine Dion on the music world.

lime said...

it is a conundrum, isn't it. the canadians are a wily musical bunch. i mean they got a group of fully clothed guys calling themselves barenaked ladies too.

Nessa said...

It must be hell to peak at 10 and in such a mediocre way.

Gladys said...

I am guessing since he was 10 that he in fact couldn't last forever but his rebound was probably incredible. Also since he was 10 Viagra was still in research as a depression medication so he would not have had access to it.

Maybe Momma's Front Porch is a metaphor for the local Whore House. The one in my little town was called Pandora's Box. That is a story for another song.

Kurt said...

I don't believe I've ever heard that song. I must have been living in my van at the time.

Anonymous said...

Another one of life's musical mysteries solved by the one, the only, the great....VE!

Ha! Funny, Mister Dude, mucho funny!

BTW, I'm so glad my guitar-playing song has graduated from this song. Unfortunately, my eye-tic has not graduated...yet!

hee hee

BTW, I have a question for you. Is your name pronounced VEEEEEEEE, or V. (pause) E. I've always used the latter in my mind.

Curious quirky minds want to know.

Abbie said...

I think I can clear up a little of the ambiguity. First, I will admit that I have seen Bryan Adams in concert (he gives a great show). Before performing this song he basically said that the year isn't literal and that we all knew what he was really talking about. I can only assume his 1969 was actually sometime in the mid-70s. The summer of 1974 just didn't sound as good.

The Style House said...

As a Canadian, I can tell you we're mostly ashamed of Celine Dion and apologize for all the time you've had to spend with her.

As for Mr. Adams, a lot of the stories up here have something to do with the song being about masturbation.

Anonymous said...

To me, this just goes to show that we Canadians are a sexually advanced bunch. I mean 10 years old talking about 69ers. Nuff said.

VE said...

Moooooog: Being 1 was a good time. 69s, well, you know.

The Incredible Woody: No one, anywhere in the world, should have to put up with Celine Dion. Though I do commend our northern neighbors for getting rid of her.

lime: Let's just say I was somewhat disappointed when I figured out who the barenaked ladies really are.

Nessa: If by hell you mean getting it on at such an early age, then yes, I agree.

Gladys: Ha! That would be quite the rebound. Somewhat like the rebound that took place in the 40-year Old Virgin I imagine.

I like your theory about momma's front porch. I'll have to send some scouts to decipher the truth to that one.

Kurt: YouTube is a wonderful thing.

Quirkyloon: Why thank you. You can pronounce my name any way you like. Though I prefer the latter.

Abbie: The mystery begins to unravel. Thank you.

Style House: Just when I thought I was closer to the truth, I have a new possibility throw my way. 69s, masturbation. Either way, he's one horny guy.

Free The Unicorns: I'll take your word for it. But I do agree, 69s at the age of 10 is interesting.

Elizabeth said...

Oh man am I tired of this song. My husband is musicaly stuck in the '80s and this is one of his favorites. I loved your analysis! I think I'll forward it to my husband. Maybe when he realizes how confusing and silly it is, he'll stop turning it up and signing really loud to it!

Me-Me King said...

Too funny!!!

Now, I've just gotta get this damned tune out of my head!

*walks off to dunk head in tub of water*

VE said...

Elizabeth: Happy to help.

Me-Me: Touche.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

If having your band break up and your friends get married makes for the best days of your life, I'd hate to see what his crappy days were like. My guess is he's on some serious anti-depression meds about now.

ReformingGeek said...

Good analysis, VE. I think he must have been writing from an older brother's perspective.

I love the song!

VE said...

Jeff: That's what I'm saying. If those were the best days of my life, I'd consider my life to pretty shitty.

Reforming Geek: Thanks. I guess your older bro likes 69s huh? Sorry for that mental picture.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Now that stupid song is stuck in my head too. Since I was only toddling around in '69 I had a good decade or more before my best days.

Baino said...

This could easily be the beginning of a whimsical meme you know. All I think of when someone says Bryan Adams is his awful pock marked skin . . shame there wasn't any roaccutain in 69 he might actually have got laid!

Janna said...

(*reading StyleHouse's comment which says the song's about masturbating...*)Wow.

I still can't get past the part about his fingers bleeding.

If that's how he masturbates, he's doing it wrong.

No wonder the summer seemed to last forever.

VE said...

Perpetual Chocolate: So many people are saying that that I'm starting to wonder if this is actually a really good song.

Baino: According to some theories, he was getting laid – by his right hand.

Janna: Maybe Canadians masturbate differently?

Jaime said...

i always thought that jody was a girl. *maybe* the problem was that jody married one of the other band members and the marital discord caused the band to fall apart?

Maureen said...

You have waaaay too much time on your hands.

As Bryan had as well, it seems.

Megan said...

1969 was a good year.

Hale McKay said...

The year I remember - not so the song.

Mrsupole said...

I had my 69 Chevy Malibu in 74, and it was a really fast car. Oh and I had married my Canadian hubby that year too. 74 not 69, but 69 we did. Oh and 69 was a good year, but I guess not if you were Brian Adams. Funny do you not think that he should have used the year 79, maybe it was a typo and he got stuck with 69, things make more sense for him if it was 79, although it does not sound as good when you sing the song with 79 instead of 69. Why is this song now going through my head. I think I am going to go back and play Bruce Springsteen's Fire video again. much better.

God bless.

Ronda Laveen said...

In folk traditions the guitar is often a metaphor for a woman. Her shape with hips, belly, waist and chest. She has a mouth, teeth, neck and head. She talks, weeps, sings. She needs to be played and touched, tuned and tempered. She is held on your lap or in your arms.

In some instances such as the violao and the tiple, the name of the instrument is masculine. Hmmm.

In the summer of 69, he evidently bought a fem or non-fem lover at a discount warehouse. Obviously getting his money's worth, he ground himself down to the nubbin'.

Me and "some guys" from school (no surprise there-see paragraph 2). Jimmy quit (again, hmmm). Jody got married...she didn't fit with this band of brothers. They didn't get far because they were caught in this time space continuum where perpetual summer existed. Who wouldn't choose to be in a world where women did not tread and men do as they please. Not me but probably most men. They would probably say they "were the best days of my life."

Spent his evenings going "down at the drive-in." I wouldn't complain either.

"That's when I met you. Standin on your mama's porch You told me that you’d wait forever. Oh and when you held my hand I knew that it was now or never. Those were the best days of my."

Okay, now you're probably not going to like this twist, but here it is and fairly undeniable. Who is it that shall remain nameless? Yahweh. God. Who is God's momma? Mother Mary. God's promise? I'll wait forever. Choose: now or never. Best days of his life? Guess you know what he chose.

"Back in the summer of 69." I'm thinkin' God was born from June 21-22 to July 22-23. This the astrological Sun cancer which is represented by a sideways 69. Some Famous people with Moon in Cancer: Drew Barrymore, Yahweh (God), Boris Becker, Mary J. Blige, Clint Eastwood, Farrah Fawcett, Harrison Ford, Woody Guthrie, Julio Iglesias, Kurt Kobain, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Courtney Love , Mike Myers, Olivia Newton-John, Jimmy Page, Sean Penn, Keanu Reeves, Kurt Russell, Adam Sandler, Suzanne Somers, Robin Williams.

Of course they were young, restless, unwinding and killin' time. Unless you accept the big guy, it is hard to believe that something can last forever.

Times were a changin.' There had been LOTS of COMING and GOING. When he goes back to that original wo-MAN, he wonders about God. Normal.

Back to Mother Mary's porch, God's promise, holding hand asking for choice of days of life...back to sideways 69.

Ronda Laveen said...

Or: I vote for Gladys's interpretation of the metaphor.

Dalton J. Fox said...

He had a lot of shit going on for a 10 year old.

MJ said...

I don't know why, but I have always despised that song. Maybe just because I've heard it so damn much!

Hey, I'm blogging for a worthy cause this weekend. Mind stopping by?

GAB said...

First off I have never heard that song. Second of none of it even seems to make sense it doesnt seem to have a point other than things went wrong and like you said at 10 nothing is ever right!

VE said...

Jaime: Ah, the mystery of the love triangle. I guess it inspired Bryan a write a song. But again, this only provides further evidence as to why these really weren't the best days of his life.

Maureen: I know.

Megan: I know.

Mrsupole: I would love to have a ride like that.

Ronda: Wow! Guitars are women. Waiting for God. All that other stuff. Either Bryan Adams is brilliant or you've got quite an imagination.

Dalton: He had a lot of shit going on for a 30-year old.

MJ: According to previous comments, you're not alone.

gab: No, it doesn't make sense. Or does it?

Bunk Strutts said...

I remember 1969. It was the first year I had sex, and I was really nervous. After all, I was all alone. =)

Unknown said...

A sage analysis, I think.

Last week, I saw the man who was "Guitar George" in "Sultans of Swing" - great musician. Sorry, don't have any funny things to say about the lyrics!

Ronda Laveen said...

I'd say Bryan is brilliant. My imagination sucks.

Candie said...

LOL,I just love what you've done with that song!lol.So great!:D

VE said...

Bunk Strutts: Sounds like you and Bryan have a lot in common.

Chris: Thanks. Bryan Adams also doesn't have any fun things to say about the lyrics.

Ronda: Bryan would I agree. I'm still thinking about it.

Candie: Thanks.

Bunk Strutts said...

VE-- Reminds me of the time Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) came to campus. Because of the size of the crowd, he decided to have a mass confessional.

To simplify things, he said he was going to announce various sins, and anyone who had committed those sins should raise their hands.

"Okay. How many of you masturbate?"
No hands went up as he looked around the audience, nodding his head.

"Very good. Next. How many of you are liars?"

Ed said...

bunk - Ah Father Guido Sarducci...that brings back memories. I use that same speech at family reunions...

I am Arizona; a person, not a place. said...

I should've stopped reading after the post about the spicy diarrhea because I HATE this Bryan Adams song and now its stuck in my head. I'd much rather be thinking of spicy diarrhea!

I am Arizona; a person, not a place. said...

Oh, and in the summer of 69 my mom was still waiting to pop me out. I arrived in the fall...according to her, I was a happy accident. Nice.

Ed said...

arizona - Yeah...his 'spicy diarrhea' reference is classic! Yikes...