"Lines – lines from songs - that you think are great. Or maybe almost great. Or maybe just lines that stick in the mind."The million-dollar question is, do I skip the obvious sources and lines or stick to them? I am not sure but I will NOT quote from "Like a rolling stone". Done. To. Death.
I have to kick this off with a line from a more recent band that has entered my Great Line Database:
"Are we human or are we dancer?"
It is a genuine head-scratcher, lyrically and grammatically. It could also serve as a zen koan and is a sort of a companion to another line written more than 40 years ago by the Beatles, which is also a favorite of mine:
"you may be a lover but you ain't no dancer"
"God is a concept by which we measure our pain"
"How can I go forward when I don't know which way I am facing?"
"I have tended my own garden for much too long" (one of the most underrated songs in the S&G songbook)
"Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust"
"I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die"
"I'm goin' to California where they sleep out every night" (I know, it's not profound or anything, but it's a line I love.)
"Maybelline, why can't you be true?"
"Crusin' and playin' the radio, with no particular place to go"
"She whispered in his ear "Exactly Odo Quasimoto" (John Prine is a genius. Please listen to "The Missing Years" album if you are not familiar with his music. You *will* thank me later.)
"your cracked country lips, I still wish to kiss" (Of all Dylan lines, is there one more precise and evocative than this? Of course there is.)
"Yes to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free"
"We are stardust"
"Water in the milk from the hole in the roof where the rain came through" (Waylon Jennings is my man)
I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned" (*the* saddest song about Sundays. Period.)
"Sitting on park benches like bookends" (though, to be sure, "Parsely, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" is their most quotable album)
"I saw a shadow touch a shadow's hand" (a pretentious Paul Simon lyric, but the line's been seared in my brain)
"I am 22 now and I won't be for long" (a *serious* teenage crush will forever be associated with this song and album. Ahh, teenage.)
"and after all, we're only ordinary men" (pass me the doobie, brother)
"Have no fear for atomic energy"
"You can fool some people sometime, but you can't fool all the people all the time"
"Wake me up before you go-go" (stop smirking - it is *almost* a good line)
"it's a long way to the top if you want to rock 'n roll"
Damn, I can do this all day :) So I will end with my *most* favorite line:
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make"
P.S.: Not *one* Cole Porter line? Yes, but only because it is unfair competition.