Friday, February 19, 2010

A reader question for Journey...

Rockmocker reader T.I. of Chicago* writes:
I'm hoping you can pose a rather vexing question to the fellows from Journey. In their song Lights, Steve Perry sings, "When the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay..." Exactly what time of day is Mr. Perry describing? Lights generally go down around bedtime, and yet the sun would shine on the bay during the morning because the bay is east of the city. If the song were about Oakland, the setting sun could perhaps illuminate the bay while the lights are going down. But reportedly the song is not about Oakland, but San Francisco.

I once posed this question to a friend of mine, and she suggested that the song described morning, and that it was reasonable to assume lights (such as streetlights) would be "going down" around this time. But I pointed her to John Stewart's song "Gold," in which we are told "When the lights go down in the California town, people are in for the evening." (And "Gold" had Stevie Nicks singing backup and Lindsey Buckingham on guitar and production, so you know it's authoritative about late-'70s California.)

All of this has me very confused. I hope you can help.

Wow. Now that is a well-considered (and by that I mean “long”) question! Seriously, T.I., we applaud your perseverence in what has obviously been a long search for truth. Normally, we avoid answering questions on this site, considering ourselves to be merely a conduit to the rockers we so admire, but your question piqued my interest so I did some searching. (There’s this little site called wikipedia…). Seems Mr. Perry himself has more-or-less addressed this point. If you believe what you read on the Internet, your answers can be found here. Attn: San Francisco readers! Steel yourselves. Apparently Perry wrote this song about a different cit-tay altogether--one whose abbreviation rhymes with "the bay".

How about you then? Got a question for a classic rocker?
Send it to the rockmocker and we'll pass it along.

A special welcome to all the new tri-state readers who heard me on WLW. Be sure to sign up to get posts via email in the right column.


* Incidentally, did it ever strike you that the song Tra La La by the Banana Splits sounds eerily similar to Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley? Me neither. But it did to T.I. of Chicago who submitted today's question. T.I. is a clever fellow who would like to invite Rockmocker readers to visit his website, a part of which is dedicated to identifying similar-sounding songs. Clever indeed. Thanks, T.I.

1 comment:

  1. :) I love this. Oh the mysteries of the histories of rock'n'roll.