I love Whitney Houston. I’ve loved her since my first grade teacher sang “The Greatest Love Of All” at the end of the year. I can’t say exactly when I got her first album and learned all the words to all of the songs, but I finished first grade in 1986, so let’s go with that summer. (The album came out in 1985, so that’s probably pretty close.)
Anyway, I still know all the words to every song on that album, and if I hear them on the radio, I will always sing along. The thing is, I don’t hear most of those songs very much anymore, and I’ve known them so long, I don’t really put much thought into them. The words just come out, like muscle memory.
That’s how I had an epiphany, in real time, while singing along to “Saving All My Love For You” in the car with John this past Sunday.
The song starts.
“A few stolen moments is all that we share”. My brain pricks up a bit. Why stolen? Why can’t they be together?
“You’ve got your family and they need you there.” Hang on a sec. Maybe she just means he has kids.
“Though I’ve tried to resist being last on your list” Could still be that he has kids…
“But no other man’s gonna do
So I’m saving all my love for you.” Inconclusive. But now I’m suspicious. Let’s see what happens next.
“It’s not very easy living all alone
My friends try and tell me find a man of my own.” Huh. He’s not hers. She’s having an affair with a married man!
Skip ahead to the third verse, and any question in my mind was answered:
“You used to tell me we’d run away together
Love gives you the right to be free
You said be patient just wait a little longer
But that’s just an old fantasy.”
How did I not know this? I can understand not getting it when I was 7, but I’ve known every word and note of this song for 32 years, and it NEVER OCCURRED TO ME to think about what it was about. Except to giggle inwardly when I got to “we’ll be making love the whole night through”.
I mean, it’s a fantastic song, and I still love her. (Heh. I will always love her.)
But what else have I been missing about my favorite songs?
Butcher de Conejos
I have the exact same problem and I never knew it until Christine pointed out that some song I was singing along to was about something sordid and I was just blithely wailing along to it (and had been for years). Now it’s almost a joke:
Her: Do you even KNOW what this song is about??
Her: But he’s singing about murdering baby animals!
Me: Don’t care, it’s a great melody, quit ruining it for me!!
Glad it’s not just me. 🙂 I had a similar revelation about another one, although I got there after only a year or so. I’m PRETTY sure it’s about heroin, not a person. WAY less wholesome to belt out, but that’s not stopping me. It’s a GREAT song.