Everybody’s Gotta Have Something

I wrote this song in my head wandering home drunk after work one night — from 97th and Madison to the East Village. Sometimes when you have a band, it makes it easy to write this way — what’s playing in your head will somehow be pre-tailored to the musicians’ individual styles and strengths, anticipating what everyone will do with their parts. Or rather, everyone’s styles and strengths will inform (and dictate to a certain extent) what’s playing in your head. At any rate, it’s distinctly different from going in with just chords and a melody and working it out.

The verses were my sincere attempt to write a love-that-nobody-else-understands song, a sideways homage to Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know” which I played endlessly in those days. (That would be the Tracy Ullman version, of course — I had barely heard of Kirsty MacColl back then.) I found the notion of unsanctioned romance utterly captivating. I did not know then what I know now, which is that if no one you know approves of your paramour it’s usually because he or she is bad news or the relationship is wildly unhealthy. (Though there are exhilarating exceptions, god knows, and thank god for that.)

The chorus was meant as a semi-joke: a list of over-the-top romantic attributes followed by a verbal shrug. I vaguely had in mind the famous scene in “Caddyshack” where Bill Murray talks about caddying for the Dalai Lama and being given the gift of total consciousness on his deathbed in lieu of a tip. As virtually everyone reading this already knows, Bill tries to play off his bragging with typicallly masterful nonchalance and says something like, “So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

Everybody’s Gotta Have Something

People talking about you, baby
Saying you’re no good
I pay no attention, darling
Though I probably should

‘Cause I see something special
When I look into your eyes
I see a burning pool of fire
And a love that never dies
And everybody’s gotta have something

All the things that they’re saying, darling
I don’t wanna hear
I’ll meet you in the Marlin, baby
And we could have a beer

And we could sit in the back and they’d leave us alone
For a little while
‘Cause nothing’s ever wrong when I’m holding your hand
And I see you smile

3 Replies to “Everybody’s Gotta Have Something”

  1. i had forgotten all about this song. and suddenly i was sitting with you and eleanor watching ben hur in your six by ten studio on lexington avenue in the washington what, arms? or is that the restaurant on the post road…it must have been december 26th or something.

  2. Dude, now I remember that day, too! The George Washington Hotel. And yes, this song is totally Eleanor. For some reason, that fact didn’t even enter my mind when I posted it. Interesting, the things one’s memory will blithely skip over.

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