The Best Songs Lyrics of Modern America – Part 11

By November 11th, 2019

Blog No 108 
November 12, 2019 

The Best Song Lyrics of Modern America- Part 11

READING TIME: Just 4 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
Recipient of Eight National Book Awards.  For a “cleaner” / non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, essays, and articles, please go to my website at   


Song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America. The lyrics of our favorite songs roll around in our heads for decades. Almost unconsciously, every day we honor the words of America’s songwriters who said something in that perfect, poetic, or clever way.

Here is Part 11 of my assembled list — done over the last nine years in conjunction with my research for my last series of books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America.  For an explanation about the background of this Best Lyrics project, see below.

To order copies of my books for Christmas gifts, just go to .

But, now, … The Best Lyrics of Modern America – Part 11

– From 1957 through 2015 – Enjoy. 

The Sixties

For What It’s Worth (1966) (Buffalo Springfield) (Group) (Years Active 1966-1968; 2010-

2012) (Included members such as Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and Jim Messina).           

“There’s something happening here

What it is ain’t exactly clear

There’s a man with a gun over there

Telling me I got to beware. …”

“I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sounds

            Everybody look what’s going down.

 There’s battle lines being drawn

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong

Young people speaking their minds

Getting so much resistance from behind ….”

  “A thousand people in the street

 Singing songs and carrying signs

 Mostly say, hooray for our side.”


The Seventies 

Running on Empty Sundown (1978) (Jackson Browne) (B: 1948, Heidelberg, Germany).

“Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels

Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields

In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one o one*

I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on….”

“Running on – running on empty

Running on – running blind

Running on – running into the sun

But I’m running behind. 

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive

Try not to confuse it with what you do to survive….”

*  As a write this blog, this author is only about ¼ mile from “one-o-one” (Highway 101) in Santa Barbara, California.   


The Nineties 

Candle in the Wind (1997*) (Elton John) (B: 1947, Middlesex, England) and Bernie Taupin

(B: 1950, Lincolnshire, England).  Note: This song was originally written and released in 1973 in honor of Marilyn Monroe, who had died 11 years earlier. However, the even more famous version of this song was written and released in 1997 in honor of Diana, Princess of Wales).

“Goodbye England’s rose

May you ever grow in our hearts

You were the grace that placed itself

Where lives were torn apart.

You called out to your country

And whispered to those in pain

Now you belong to heaven

 And the stars spell out your name. 

And it seems to me you lived your life

Like a candle in the wind

Never fading with the sunset

When the rain set in

And your footsteps will always fall here

Along England’s greenest hills

Your candle’s burned out long before

Your legend ever will….”


 Country Western

This Week’s Blog –  Some of the Best-Said, Short Lines Ever 

Feels So Right (1981) (Alabama) (Group) (Years Active 1969-2004, 2006-2007, 2010 –


“Whisper to me softly,

Breathe words upon my skin” 

Don’t Rock the Jukebox (1991) (Alan Jackson) (B: 1958, Newnan, GA). 

“I don’t feel like rockin’

Since my baby’s gone

So don’t rock the jukebox

Play me a country song”

It’s Your Love (1997) (Tim McGraw with Faith Hill Lyrics)(Tim McGraw – B: 1967, Dehli, LA) (Faith Hill (B: 1967, Ridgeland, MI).

“Better than I was

More than I am

And all of this happened

By takin’ your hand.”

The Most Beautiful Girl  (1973) (Multiple Artists and Multiple Release Dates) (Charlie Rich)

(B: 1932, Colt, AR – D: 1995, Hammond, LA)(Age 62).

“I lost my head and I said some things

Now comes the heartaches that morning brings”


Explanation and Background of These

“The Best Lyrics of Modern America” Blogs

As noted above, song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America, and about nine years ago, in 2010, when I started my research for my books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America, I spent much of the initial year assembling, sorting, and selecting those “memorable” song lyrics to be included in my books.

However, I eventually decided that it was necessary to exclude song lyrics from my books. This was done partly in deference to the needs of book brevity and in bowing recognition to the unavoidable subjectivity of making such selections. But it was also done because most songs are almost definitionally “intra-generational” in that they remain the separate and proud province of each generation. They are a part of each generation’s formative and collective memory – but not beyond that.

Nevertheless, as a result of that year of research, I assembled a relatively massive collection of what may be, by some measures of broad consensus, the greatest song lyrics of Modern America.

I have decided to start presenting them here for your remembrance and enjoyment. I confess that this is partly triggered by the fact that I have already done the fun, but painstaking, work of such assemblage. However, these lyrics blogs are also triggered by the fact that America needs – maybe now more than ever — to reach back and enjoy something or, as best said in 1967 by the Beatles in their song A Day in the Life” — “I read the news today, oh boy.”

Thus, starting about a year ago — on October 9, 2018 with Blog No. 83, I have started posting some excerpts of this author’s humble suggestions of The Best Lyrics of Modern America.

– – –

New Blog Feature – The Fancypants Word of the Day

Picaresque (Adjective; Origin: Spanish)) 1) Related to a mischievous character; 2) A type of fiction concerning the adventures of roguish but likeable characters.

Examples of uses in sentences:

“His new novel was full of picaresque characters ….”

“She wants to settle down, but she’s constantly drawn to picaresque sorts who will never give up their life of adventure.”


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