Lonely People

The day before yesterday, in the car just getting on the road, I flipped on the Sirius XM soft-rock radio channel, The Bridge, as I wasn’t yet sure what playlist of my music I wanted to hear. (We still have Sirius as, whenever I call to cancel, they offer me a ridiculously cheap, six-month extension of the original, three-month, new-car deal from over a year ago.)

One of the first songs that came on was the band America’s “Lonely People,” a 1974 hit from their album, Holiday. A Wikipedia article I read yesterday highlights and draws from Dan Peek’s 2004 autobiography, An American Band: the America Story, telling why he and his wife Catherine wrote the song. From the article:

“‘Lonely People’ was written as an optimistic response to the Beatles’ song ‘Eleanor Rigby.’ Dan Peek considered ‘Eleanor Rigby’ an overwhelming ‘picture… of the masses of lost humanity, drowning in grey oblivion’ and would recall being ‘lacerated’ on first hearing the lyrics of its chorus which run: ‘All the lonely people: where do they all come from…where do they all belong.’ ‘Lonely People’ was written within a few weeks of Dan Peek’s 1973 marriage to Catherine Mayberry: Peek- ‘I always felt like a melancholy, lonely person. And now [upon getting married] I felt like I’d won.’ The lyrics of ‘Lonely People’ advise ‘all the lonely people’: ‘Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup,’ a metaphor which Dan Peek thus explains: ‘It’s possible to drink from another’s well of experience…and be refreshed.'”

Like yesterday’s selection, “Eleanor Rigby,” I remember the Peeks’ beautiful answer to it in “Lonely People,” from my youth (though I only learned yesterday about it being a response to The Beatles’ song). Hearing both songs brings back sad and dark memories of feeling lonesome a lot of the time as a young person. I could be in a crowded place like school or a party, even sometimes in more intimate gatherings and still feel alone, unlikable and invisible, which I am sure many others also felt, too, but I never knew for sure. No one talked about such things in those days, and many still do not feel they can due to the ongoing and evil stigmatization of emotional and mental health. Hearing “Lonely People” sometimes brought hope that maybe someday I’d “drink from the silver cup,” too, so, not to give up.

It’s a beautiful song, written from a place of deep compassion. (Sadly, I also learned Dan Peek died in 2011, at my current age.)

“This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And ride that highway in the sky

This is for all the single people
Thinking that love has left them dry
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
You never know until you try

Well, I’m on my way
Yes, I’m back to stay
Well, I’m on my way back home

This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And never take you down or never give you up
You never know until you try”

(“Lonely People,” by Catherine Peek, Dan Peek)

Nowadays, loneliness is seldom a problem. I often enjoy solitude, but that is a far different thing than loneliness and invisibility.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And, please leave a comment to tell me how this or any other music may have helped you with loneliness in your life. I’d love to hear from you.

Here is the official audio for the song from America’s YouTube channel. Please remember to click on “thumbs-up” in the video if you appreciated the artists’ work. 

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