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Lyric of the Week: SOUNDS AT THE FALL OF NIGHT


It was the last summer of my salad days

And I was bummin’ around the beach alone

Watching the girls fry in the sun’s rays

Bodies shmeared all over with coppertone

I lived on a diet of under the boardwalk sleazeburgers

But I knew it would be over when the summer was gone

I banished the thought and downed another frankfurter

And started walking home with my headphones on

The guys came up with the car top down

They called out C’mon, the Distortions are in town!

They’re playing at the Underground tonight at eight o’clock

And everybody’s gonna be there the places is gonna rock!

CHORUS

The sounds at the fall of night

Made us feel all right

We were dancing in the moonlight

Like spirits in the night

We got caught up in the fever

We got blinded by the light

We were dancing in the moonlight

To the sounds at the fall of night

I made a date with Double A

I said let’s go into the city to see the band play

It’ll be real cool whaddya say

She said Yeah I like it, it’s OK

I made it there in time not a second late

But there was no one there as far as I could see

Then some other girl dressed to the tens came out to the gate

And said Double A got a fever of one oh three!

I looked at her as if to say, what’s up

She shrugged her shoulders we both knew I’d been stood up

And I looked at myself all dressed up like a king for a day

So I took this girl with me and I went out anyway

CHORUS

And the sounds at the fall of night (Sounds at the fall of night)

Made me feel all right (Made him feel all right)

I was dancing in the moonlight (He was dancing in the moonlight)

Turned out into the night

I got caught up in the fever (He got caught up in the fever)

I got blinded by the light (He got blinded by the light)

I was dancing in the moonlight (He was dancing in the moonlight)

To the sounds at the fall of night

Well the band rocked’n’rolled with a sound that must’ve floated

From a car radio lost in the 60s ozone

And Joe Cool the lead singer let out a growl full throated

When you play this music you don’t have to pretend to be full grown!

Well we hung a sign on the door saying PARTY WE MUST

There was revved up and ready to go rocking in the air

There was nothing to stop young innocents like us

You shoulda seen what kind of guys were there

The Danger Stranger looks like he’s all set

With that madman’s smile on his face

The Executive Terrorist closes in like an Exocet

With percussion bombs in his case

The Overlord of Graffiti does his thing

But he doesn’t know I’ve got him in my sights

And when he hit line zero I commenced firing

With the Sounds At The Fall Of Night

Once you start it you can’t let go

We were feeling so good we didn’t want to go home

The girl looked me in the eye and gave a pleased sigh

As if to say These guys really know how to get high

CHORUS

And the sounds at the fall of night (Sounds at the fall of night)

Made us feel all right (Made us feel all right)

We were dancing in the moonlight (We were dancing in the moonlight)

With the weirdly named denizens of the night

We got caught up in the fever (We got caught up in the fever)

We got blinded by the light (We got blinded by the light)

We were dancing in the moonlight (We were dancing in the moonlight)

To the sounds at the fall of night

©2016 The Hesh Inc.

Photo by Russ Meseroll, 1978

This was a fantasy view of the beach life and night life along my usual NY and NJ shore haunts that I was missing while living in Israel in the 1980s. Interestingly, though, it is filtered through some actual experiences I had in Israel, and some of the characters in the lyrics (with names fictionalized, of course) may recognize themselves.

Musically, its influences are just about oozing through the lyrics: Southside Johnny, Bruce Springsteen (of course), Manfred Mann, and even Thin Lizzy. The chords in the verse echo Mann's cover of "Blinded By The Light" and Thin Lizzy's "Dancing In The Moonlight"; the leadup to the chorus shifts to Bruce's "Spirit In The Night," and the chorus itself dives right into it, name-checking them all. I imagined Southside's horn section blasting over the funky grooves in the verses. I freely admit that this is one of my more egregious "Springsteenisms," but hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? (And besides, in Talmudic parlance, it is always commendable, if not actually mandatory, for the student to cite the rabbi he is quoting.)

Written in the summer of 1986, not long before Labor Day weekend, which makes it just about 30 years old. Never recorded.

#originallyrics #AsburyPark #summer #JerseyShore #beach #rocknroll #nightlife

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