Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Oldies - You're A Very Lovely Woman by Merry-Go-Round

Today's New Oldie was a very minor chart hit, reaching #94 on Billboard's Hot 100 and #96 on Cashbox in September 1967. It was a pretty big hit in some areas, particularly in Southern California, which is why you probably remember hearing it on the radio. It also found a home on some oldies stations, usually when that station's Program Director grew up in an area where the song was popular.


The Merry-Go-Round was founded by the group's lead singer, Emitt Rhodes, a critically acclaimed songwriter and recording engineer who could also play a wide variety of instruments. Emitt had been the drummer for a group called The Palace Guards. He pulled this group together with a couple of friends, Gary Kato on guitar, Mike Rice on bass, and Doug Harwood on drums, and began rehearsing the band in his garage. Emitt brought in Joel Larson to replace Doug on drums. Joel had been a member of The Bedouins from San Francisco, the group that became the original lineup of The Grass Roots. Songwriters P F Sloan and Steve Barri came up with the concept for The Grass Roots, Lou Adler, who was heading the new Dunhill label at the time, selected The Bedouins to become that group's original members after an audition at the Whiskey A Go Go in San Francisco. Later, when the Grass Roots original lineup changed, Joel was the only original member to stay. Emitt also brought in Bill Rinehart to replace Mike on bass. Bill had been lead guitarist for The Leaves. Emitt took their demo recordings around and landed a contract with A&M Records, which resulted in two hit singles.

I've always been fascinated with this song, but I found it quite difficult to understand the lyrics. One day I decided to decode them by starting, stopping, and replaying parts of the song dozens of times. To save you from that same fate, I'll include my interpretation of the lyrics below.

Here's You're A Very Lovely Woman by Merry-Go-Round on A&M 863 from 1967:



Here's my interpretation of the lyrics. Let me know if you think I've got anything wrong here!

You're a very lovely woman but I think I better turn you down this time.
'Cause you've used all of your charms on me and I kinda miss the things I left behind.

A girl who loves me, is thinkin' of me, and all my friends...
but you're a lovely woman, (a very lovely woman), lovely woman (a very lovely woman).

And now you ask me to forget the things it took me long to get and find.
And go away with you again and follow you in sin and drink your wine.

I've made my mind up, I will not wind up, my life in sin,
but you're a lovely woman, (a very lovely woman), lovely woman (a very lovely woman).

And though even though you're lovely, the world is ugly, so come back no more.
For all that you have to offer, is not enough, to ruin my life for, or...

You're a very lovely woman, very lovely yes you are.

And though even though you're lovely, the world is ugly, so come back no more.
For all that you have to offer, is not enough, to ruin my life for, or, oh...

You're a very lovely woman but I think I better turn you down this time.
'Cause you've used all of your charms on me and I kinda miss the things I left behind.

A girl who loves me, is thinkin' of me, and all my friends...
But you're a lovely woman, (a very lovely woman), lovely woman (a very lovely woman).
Lovely woman, (a very lovely woman), lovely woman (a very lovely woman), lovely woman.


Linda Ronstadt had a #70 chart hit when she did the song in 1971 with the lyrics changed to work from a female perspective. It's an Answer Song on MusicMaster Oldies. It's also a song you should play for anyone who tries to claim Linda Ronstadt never made a rock song!

Here's (She's A) Very Lovely Woman by Linda Ronstadt on Capitol 3021 from 1971:



You're A Very Lovely Woman was actually the second chart hit for Merry-Go-Round. It didn't do as well as their first, a song called Live, that peaked at #63 on Billboard and #57 on Cashbox. That song, in my humble opinion, has lyrics that are even MORE difficult to understand! So, I took the liberty to decipher them for you as well.

Here's Live by Merry-Go-Round on A&M 834 from 1967:



And here are the lyrics, as I understand them, should you care to sing along:

Oh you're, the kind of girl, who's got their self, all wrapped in a ball.
Oh, you think ya live, but how can ya, locked up in four walls?

If you've gotta go you better live your life before you pass away, don't waste a day.
All your life's been spent locked in your room, you never had a chance to roam, away from home.

So, you're gonna go, don't fatigue, don't waste any time.
Fool, in life fatigue, is worth a million, and soon you will find.

If you've gotta go you better live your life before you pass away, don't waste a day.
All your life's been spent locked in your room, you never had a chance to roam, away from home.

Live, live, live, live.
Live, live, live, live.

Now, do what you want, go where you want, it's all up to you.
Fool, in life a rule, is just to do, what you wanna do.

If you've gotta go you better live your life before you pass away, don't waste a day.
All your life has been locked in your room, you never had a chance to roam, away from home.

If, ya don't know now, what life's about, go on now and live.
And if, you don't know how, it's not so hard, just let go and live.

If you've gotta go you better live your life before you pass away, don't waste a day.
All your life's been spent locked in your room, you've never had a chance to roam, away from home.

Live, live, live, live


I love watching the MusicMaster Oldies audience grow bigger every day. I really appreciate all the feedback I've been getting from new listeners, too. Thanks for listening, and thanks to all those who are following this crazy blog. Keep those cards and letters coming!

2 comments:

  1. Here's the real second verse:

    If you've gotta girl, you better live your life before you pass away, don't waste the tea.
    All your life you've been locked in a room, you never had a chance to roam, away from home.

    So, you gotta go, go today, don't waste any time.
    Etc...

    Later Verse:
    For, in life, the rule, it says to do what you wanna do.
    If you gotta girl, you better live your life before you pass away, don't waste the tea.

    Even Later Verse:

    And if, you don't know how, it's not so hard, to smack your lips.

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    1. Interesting. This just proves how difficult it is to understand these lyrics. I think most of yours are more correct than mine. What's your source on this? I know many of the lyrics websites on the Internet are filled with mistakes. I've also seen lyrics published on album jackets that don't quite match what the singer actually sings on the song. Still, on this particular song, without a little help it's really tough to get these lyrics! It's like trying to decipher another tough song, Along Comes Mary by The Association. I did a blog post about that one too!

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