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Greatest lyrics

Please feel free to post here some of what you consider to be the greatest lyrics of all time. However obvious, or not if the case may be.

Re: Greatest lyrics

"Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired, and you can have anyone that you have ever desired..."

First words on first song or Elvis Costello's first album.

Re: Greatest lyrics

If Fashion is your thing, than when you're naked well I guess you must be unemployed... Pulp

Re: Greatest lyrics

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to nought, or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

Re: Greatest lyrics

I tried to leave you, I don't deny
I closed the book on us, at least a hundred times.
I'd wake up every morning by your side.
The years go by, you lose your pride.
The baby's crying, so you do not go outside,
and all your work it's right before your eyes.

Goodnight, my darling, I hope you're satisfied,
the bed is kind of narrow, but my arms are open wide.
And here's a man still working for your smile.

-Leonard Cohen, I Tried To Leave You

Re: Greatest lyrics

From a recent purchase, Smog's WILD LOVE, comes this opening line from "The Candle", so bluntly succinct that it's a wonder no one ever thought of it before:

I was on her body, he was on her mind

Here's another set of lyrics from Elvis Costello, master of the brutally sardonic putdown. From the last verse of GET HAPPY!!'s "King Horse":

Meanwhile, back in some secluded spot
He says "will you please", and she says "stop"
If I ever lose this good thing that I got
I never want to hear the song you dedicated tonight
'Cause you see I knew that song so long before we met
That it means much more than it might

Re: Greatest lyrics

More from Elvis C. Pound for pound, GET HAPPY!! may have more great lyrics (or, at least, more clever ones) than any album ever made, culminating in one of my all-time favorite closing tracks, "Riot Act":

Doesn't mean forever anymore
I said "forever"
Now it doesn't look like I'm gonna be around much anymore
When the heat gets sub-tropical
And the talk gets so topical
Riot act, you can read me the riot act
You can make me a matter of fact or a villain in a million
A slip of the tongue is gonna keep me civilian

Why do you talk such stupid nonsense
When my mind could rest much easier
Instead of all this dumb, dumb insolence
I would be happier with amnesia

They said "forget her"
Now it looks like you're either gonna be before me or against me
I read your letter
And I must say I don't care for the color that it paints me
Trying to be so bad is bad enough
Don't make me laugh by talkin' tough
Don't wear your heart out on your sleeve
When your remarks are off the cuff
Riot act, you can read me the riot act
You can make me a matter of fact or a villain in a million
A slip of the tongue is gonna keep me civilian
Riot act ...

Re: Greatest lyrics

Boy wants a car from his dad/
Dad says "First you gotta' cut that hair"/
Boy says "Hey Dad, Jesus had long hair"/
Dad says "That's right son, but Jesus walked everywhere".

Re: Greatest lyrics

Yes, this one is obvious, but nothing I've heard has beaten it yet:

Dylan's "Desolation Row"

Re: Greatest lyrics

Also, Harold, you're right about Costello's "Riot Act." Man what awesome lyrics, man what an awesome song.

Re: Greatest lyrics

I second "Desolation Row" (and Dylan generally), and I third (?) Costello.

But my nominee for the greatest lyric of all time comes from The Originator, Mr. Bo Diddley:

I walk 47 miles of barbed wire,
I use a cobra-snake for a necktie,
I got a brand new house on the roadside,
Made from rattlesnake hide,
I got a brand new chimney made on top,
Made out of a human skull,
Now come on take a walk with me, Arlene,
And tell me, who do you love?

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Tombstone hand and a graveyard mind,
Just 22 and I don't mind dying.

Who do you love? (x4)

I rode around the town, used a rattlesnake whip,
Take it easy Arlene, don't give me no lip,

Who do you love? (x4)

The night was dark, but the sky was blue,
Down the alley, the ice-wagon flew,
Heard a bump, and somebody screamed,
You should have heard just what I seen.

Who do you love? (x4)

Arlene took me by my hand,
And she said ooowee Bo, you know I understand.

Who do you love? (x4)

Re: Greatest lyrics

i love india arie

Re: Greatest lyrics

sad eyed lady of the lowlands by bob dyaln

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There's an old couple on the bus
Sitting next to us, my boy and I
And pointing to the graveyard, my boy says to the old man
"This is where you goto when you die,
My papa told me so
The old man says "Yes, we know"

Ron Sexsmith "Pretty Little Cemetery"

Re: Greatest lyrics


I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come up with a failsafe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it's already too late
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
And I never come back to this town
Again in my life
I hope I lie
And tell everyone you were a good wife
And I hope you die
I hope we both die

I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow
I hope it bleeds all day long
Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises
We're pretty sure they're all wrong
I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn't over
And I hope you blink before I do
Yeah I hope I never get sober
And I hope when you think of me years down the line
You can't find one good thing to say
And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You'd stay the hell out of my way
I am drowning
There is no sign of land
You are coming down with me
Hand in unlovable hand
And I hope you die
I hope we both die

Re: Greatest lyrics

Long distance in formation, give me Memphis Tennessee
Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me
She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call
'Cause my uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall

Help me, information, get in touch with my Marie
She's the only one who'd phone me here from Memphis Tennessee
Her home is on the south side, high up on a ridge
Just a half a mile from the Mississippi Bridge

Help me, information, more than that I cannot add
Only that I miss her and all the fun we had
But we were pulled apart because her mom did not agree
And tore apart our happy home in Memphis Tennessee

Last time I saw Marie she's waving me good-bye
With hurry home drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye
Marie is only six years old, information please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis Tennessee

-- "Memphis Tennessee," Chuck Berry

Re: Greatest lyrics

Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
You say...

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it's...

Too late
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
Have you come here for forgiveness
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much
More than a lot
You gave me nothing
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt
One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other



-- "One," U2

Re: Greatest lyrics

"She's sixty-eight, but she says she's fifty-four."
-- "Maggie's Farm," Bob Dylan

"Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks."
-- "Maggie's Farm," Bob Dylan

"From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen."
-- "Father and Son," Cat Stevens

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries
'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
The child needs a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
Are we too blind to see,
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way

Well the world turns
And a hungry little boy with a runny nose
Plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto

And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the streets at night
And he learns how to steal
And he learns how to fight
In the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
A young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car,
Tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
Face down in the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto

As her young man dies,
On a cold and grey Chicago mornin',
Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries

In the ghetto
In the ghetto

-- "In the Ghetto," Elvis Presley

Re: Greatest lyrics

Just listened to a webcast of Liz Phair doing Exile in Guyvile... she's never been any good live, but goddamn if those aren't great songs. I often find imperfect rhymes grating, but don't mind them here:

"Divorce Song"

And when I asked for a separate room
It was late at night
And we'd been driving since noon
But if I'd known
How that would sound to you
I would have stayed in your bed
For the rest of my life
Just to prove I was right
That it's harder to be friends than lovers
And you shouldn't try to mix the two
Cause if you do it and you're still unhappy
Then you know that the problem is you

And it's true that I stole your lighter
And it's also true that I lost the map
But when you said that I wasn't worth talking to
I had to take your word on that
But if you'd known
How that would sound to me
You would have taken it back
And boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Burned it up and thrown it away

Re: Greatest lyrics

Smog - "Dress Sexy at My Funeral"

Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
For the first time in your life
Wear your blouse undone to here
And your skirt split up to here

Oh Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
For the first time in your life
Oh Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
Wink at the minister
Blow kisses to my grieving brothers

Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
And when it comes your turn to speak before the crowd
Tell them about the time we did it
On the beach with fireworks above us

On the railroad tracks with the gravel in your back
In the back room of a crowded bar
And in the graveyard where my body now rests

Oh Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
For the first time in your life

Also tell them about how I gave to charity
And tried to love my fellow man as best i could
But most of all don't forget about the time on the beach
With fireworks above us

Oh, Oh, Oooooh ...

Re: Greatest lyrics

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering
experience…I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you
imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with
yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you
succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe
you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body,
use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people
think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever
own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for
good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you
should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and
lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund,
maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one
might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will
look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth. But trust me on the sunscreen…

--"Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)," Baz Luhrmann

Re: Greatest lyrics

Randy Newman, "Old Man" (1972)

Everyone has gone away
Can you hear me, can you hear me
No one cared enough to stay
Can you hear me, can you hear me
You must remember me, old man
I know that you can if you try
So just open up your eyes, old man
Look who's come to say goodbye

The sun has left the sky, old man
The birds have flown away
And no one came to cry, old man
Goodbye, old man, goodbye
You want to stay, I know you do
But it's useless now to try
'Cause I'll be here, and I'm just like you
Goodbye, old man, goodbye

Won't be no God to comfort you
You taught me not to believe that lie
You don't need anybody, nobody needs you
Don't cry, old man, don't cry
Everybody dies

Re: Greatest lyrics

gnarls barkley - crazy

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control

Well, I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
Just like me

simon & garfunkel - the boxer

Asking only workmans wages, I come lookin for a job, but I get no offers
Just a comeon from the whores on 7th avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there

the smiths - i know it's over

"If you're so funny
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
And if you're so clever
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you're so very entertaining
Then why are you on your own tonight ?
If you're so very good-looking
Why do you sleep alone tonight ?
I know ...
'Cause tonight is just like any other night
That's why you're on your own tonight

the beach boys - god only knows

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
Ill make you so sure about it

God only knows what Id be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

what i like about all of these is how so little is said, but they paint such a clear picture. it has always amazed me.

Re: Greatest lyrics

"Cloudless everyday you fall upon my waking eyes
inciting and inviting me to rise
And through the window in the wall
Come streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning

And no-one sings me lullabies
And no-one makes me close my eyes
And so I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky"

(Pink Floyd - Echoes)

"If a fiddler played you a song, my love
And if I gave you a wheel
Would you spin for my heart and loneliness
Would you spin for my love

If I gave up all of my pride for you
And only loved you for now
Would you hide my fears and never say
"Tomorrow I must go"

Everywhere there's rain my love
Everywhere there's fear

If you tell me a lie I'll cry for you
Tell me of sin and I'll laugh
If you tell me of all the pain you've had
I'll never smile again

Everywhere there's rain my love
Everywhere there's fear

I can plainly see that our parts have changed
Our sands are shifting around
Need I beg to you for one more day
To find our lonely love

Everywhere there's rain my love
Everywhere there's fear"

(Tim Buckley - Phantasmagoria in Two)

Re: Greatest lyrics

Not Dark Yet

Shadows are falling and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

Well my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

Well, I've been to London and I've been to gay Paree
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain't looking for nothing in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm moving, but I'm standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear a murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

Re: Greatest lyrics

And when October comes
With his hair all greying
It's then I'm overcome
To hear those children playing
Of recess and schoolyards
I've memories so clear
And when this old heart
Just longs to disappear
Their laughter's music to my ears

Ron Sexsmith - Music To My Ears

Re: Greatest lyrics

Nicolas, I love those lyrics too! so pretty and original

Re: Greatest lyrics

Thanks !
I've just posted about Ron's new album in my blog

Re: Greatest lyrics

No, don't ask me to apologize
I won't ask you to forgive me
If I'm gonna go down
You're gonna come with me

Elvis Costello,
Hand in Hand
This Year's Model

Re: Greatest lyrics

I didn't think that hip-hop was getting enough love, so I wanted to pick out some lyrics that I especially like.

I hope that you're the one
If not, you are the prototype
-"Prototype" by OutKast

You baby MCs drink Pedialyte
While underground doesn't like you, the media might
-"Quality Control" by Jurassic 5

Lyrical optometrists with 20/20 vision
Are serving rounds like my granny used to serve provisions
Chaotical amniotical fluid
The rap druid that's fluent with the art of onomatopoeia
Metaphysical microscopic topic-dropper
When I was a kid I wanted roller skates and a bike chopper
But alas, pop-pop never thought to keep me in style
That's why I'm schizophrenic now so God bless the child that's got his own
-"The Love Song" by k-os

When I drill, I don't spill, even if she's on the pill
Keep my weapon covered, concealed, and in a shield
'Cause I don't need that A-I-D-S
A "D" and an "A" missin' out my Adidas
We don't need no DNA mixin' between us
We just need to keep this thing friendly and hush-hush
On the down-low like R. Kelly and youngsters
But over 18 only, 'cause baby, I'm no perv
-"A.D.I.D.A.S." by Killer Mike (Featuring Big Boi)

Yes indeed, Ludacris I'm hotter than Nevada
Ready to break the steering column on your Impala
-"Number One Spot" by Ludacris

So we journeyed to her house, one thing led to another
I keyed the door, I cold hit the floor, looked up and it was her mother
I didn't know what to say, I was hangin' by a string
She said, "You two, I was once like you and I liked to do the wild thing"
-"Wild Thing" by Tone-Loc

Now I ain't sayin' you a gold digger, you got needs
You want a dude to smoke, but he can't buy weed
You go out to eat, he can't pay, y'all can't leave
There's dishes in the back, he gotta roll up his sleeves
But while y'all washin', watch him
He goin' make it to a Benz out of that Datsun
He got that ambition baby, look in his eyes
This week he's moppin' floors, next week it's the fries
So, stick by his side
I know his dudes ballin', and yeah that's nice
And they gon' keep callin' and tryin', but you stay right, girl
And when you get on, he leave yo' ass for a white girl
-"Gold Digger" by Kanye West

She got a light-skinned friend, look like Michael Jackson
Got a dark-skinned friend, look like Michael Jackson
-"Slow Jamz" by Twista, Kanye West & Jamie Foxx

Re: Greatest lyrics

He's the guy on the street with the sign that reads
Please help send this Vet home
But he is home
and there's no Xmas in February
no matter how much he saves

LOu Reed - Xmas in february

Re: Greatest lyrics

Another hip-hop lyric that I really like...

I don't have no trouble with you f***in' me
But I have a little problem with you not f***in' me
-"Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty Bastard

Re: Greatest lyrics

For sale? dumb cunts same dumb questions
Virgin? listen, all virgins are liars honey
And I dont know what Im scared of or what I even enjoy
Dulling, get money, but nothing turns out like you want it to
And in these plagued streets of pity you can buy anything
For $200 anyone can conceive a God on video
Hes a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him rita if you want
I eat and I dress and I wash and I still can say thank you
Puking - shaking - sinking I still stand for old ladies
Cant shout, cant scream, hurt myself to get pain out
I t them, 24:7, all year long
Purgatorys circle, drowning here, someone will always say yes
Funny place for the social, for the insects to start caring
Just an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff
In these plagued streets of pity you can buy anything
For $200 anyone can conceive a God on video
Hes a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him rita if you want, if you want
I eat and I dress and I wash and I can still say thank you
Puking - shaking - sinking I still stand for old ladies
Cant shout, cant scream, hurt myself to get pain out
Power produces desire, the weak have none
Theres no lust in this coma even for a fifty
Solitude, solitude, the 11th commandment
The only certain thing that is left about me
Theres no part of my body that has not been used
Pity or pain, to show displeasures shame
Everyone Ive loved or hated always seems to leave
And in these plagued streets of pity you can buy anything
For $200 anyone can conceive a God on video
Hes a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him rita if you want, if you want
Power produces desire, the weak have none
Theres no lust in this coma even for a fifty
Solitude, solitude, the 11th commandment
Dont hurt, just obey, lie down, do as they say
May as well be heaven this hell, smells the same
These sunless afternoons I cant find myself.

manic street preachers- yes

Re: Greatest lyrics

I'll post some sections of lyrics I really like:

"You say love is a temple
love is a higher law
Love is a temple
love the higher law
You ask for me to enter
but then you make me crawl
And I can't keep holding on
to what you got
Cause all you got is hurt"
--"One," U2

"So be it, I’m your crowbar
if that’s what I am so far
Until you get out of this mess
and I will pretend
that I don’t know of your sins
until you are ready to confess
But all the time, all the time
I’ll know, I’ll know
And you can use my skin
to bury secrets in
And I will settle you down
And at my own suggestion,
I will ask no questions"
--"I Know," Fiona Apple

"And so we finished the Moet and
started feeling liberated
And I surrendered as you took me
in your arms
I was so caught up in the moment
I couldn't bear to let you go yet
So I threw caution to the wind
and started listening to my longing heart
And then you softly pressed your lips to mine
And feelings surfaced I'd suppressed
for such a long time
And for a while I forgot
the sorrow and the pain
and melted with you as we stood
there in the rain"
--"The Roof," Mariah Carey

"Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
the dizzy dancing way you feel
as every fairy tale comes real;
I've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
and if you care, don't let them know,
don't give yourself away.
I've looked at love from both sides now,
from give and take, and still somehow
it's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all
--"Both Sides Now," Joni Michell

"Mother, mother
there's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
there's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
to bring some lovin' here today
Father, father
we don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
for only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
to bring some lovin' here today
Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on"
--"What's Going On," Marvin Gaye