But what about the woman (I guess) shaken awake by Roy Orbison to hear him tell her that he Drove All Night? It's possible that she hasn't been missing him in quite the way he's been missing her. Yes, I also think about the man shaken awake by Cyndi Lauper in a similar situation, and no, I'm not making any assumptions. I don't think either of them got a mug of tea and breakfast in bed, and nor is there any indication that Roy and Cyndi got what they wanted either (now, there's a pairing). I'd guess not - Roy, do you realise what time it is? - but you never know.
My favourite passive recipient of all these emotional outpourings is the man in the driving seat next to Lucinda Williams, as she starts singing Side of the Road (love that song - hence the link). Does he think about the man in the house? Does he actually wait? Maybe he compiles a shopping list. We should also give an honourable mention to the young woman with whom Marc Bolan wants to Get It On. The song comes up occasionally as on-screen background music; many years ago I owned the album Electric Warrior (T Rex, 1971). Over the years, I've imagined the young woman's increasing perplexity (and bizarre appearance?) as the late Mr Bolan pours out his heart to her. Built like a what, Marc? Love the cloak, darling.
How long did that relationship last?
I wonder if Leonard Cohen ever got a reply to his rather formally signed letter to the owner of the Famous Blue Raincoat. Who gets the love and kisses from Laurie Anderson in Blue Lagoon? Thank you. Yes, thank you, okay, you know - but no, don't tell me. I may wonder, yes, but I prefer to leave some things unlooked-up (including that raincoat - yes, I know, but to go from there to the song...). Yes, I knew that about Joan Baez and Diamonds and Rust. Songs have meanings, and meanings are explained exhaustively online; they have references and significances, and there's always an inspiration, a starting point.
Always an explanation and a collection of facts, and that confusion between knowledge and insight.
It's a reasonable guess that Marc Bolan did have a girlfriend at the time of Get It On, and I whiled away a few more miles of the boring motorway journey on which I started this daydream by thinking about Patti D'Arbanville and Cat Stevens.
But I prefer not to know. Not any of the above. It's difficult, these days, to remain unaware of (for example) Patti D'Arbanville's comment to Andy Warhol about Cat Stevens' song about her (that song, yes), but in this case and all of those above, what do I gain from easy - it is easy; stop complaining - access to the background? To the truth, even? The answer isn't nothing, and the answer isn't that I lose by knowing the facts. But what's at risk here is the fragile thing, the imagination-friendly power of the song that comes from just hearing it and clicking with it - just living for a moment with the emotion of it.
I may think about that man in the driving seat next to Lucinda Williams, but the song itself brings me closer than he's getting to ... well, not exactly to her, but to the "this is what I'm singing about" of the song and her singing. I'd like to preserve the state of wondering. Bolan liked that woman. Williams and Baez expressed interestingly mixed feelings - of a kind that don't submit easily to capture by finite words. So don't tell me. Let's keep on wondering.
And now I've jumped from Lucinda Williams on YouTube to a slightly too perfect (for me, at least) rendering of Jerusalem on YouTube; the paragraph beneath it describes the hymn as "the unofficial national anthem of England", which strikes me as just about right. Needs to be sung by a crowd, though, not just by singers. A slightly out of control crowd, to work as it should.
I kind of like it that the answer to every question posed in the song is a straight no. Not quite sure why, but to have an "unofficial national anthem" which expresses a surge of optimism, some odd wardrobe choices, and a series of questions that can be answered "no, sorry, that didn't happen" cheers me up enormously. Another favourite piece of music, in that category of music never sought and seldom heard but powerful when stumbled across, is the Nunc Dimittis as sung at the end of the 1979 TV adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which of course is the pseudonymous John Le Carre's very popular novel of betrayal.
The past is another country and yet I have lived there for a long time without noticing its strangeness.
We are borne back ceaselessly into the past, as Fitzgerald said at the end of Gatsby.
Where are we now?