BIG HOUSE

29 May 2020

1/4

BEHIND THE TRACK

Frank Musker on the origins of ‘Big House’, the debut release from World Goes Round… 

 

‘I don’t have a specific memory of writing Big House with Jeff and Marty but I do think it was essentially concept/lyric driven initially.  I had visited the Amazon (not the online retailer!) about four times in Peru, Brazil and Venezuela.  I was amazed by its pristine beauty, the sheer size of everything, the animal life and I had become a bit obsessed with South America generally.  I still am. When I read that an area of forest equivalent to a thousand football fields was being destroyed at some impossibly rapid rate I was in despair and needed to express it in some meaningful way - hence the line ‘In the time it takes to sing this song, Another thousand acres will be gone.’

 

Also it was a couple of years before the Berlin Wall came down and I had become increasingly aware of the rumblings in the news of refugees fleeing from behind the Iron Curtain and the dangers they faced - ‘Well there’s a man in East Berlin, All he wants is a ticket on a westbound train’ - seems like not a lot has changed now.....if anything the refugee problem has got much worse.  They all want the good life we enjoy in the west - and who could blame them?

 

So all these environmental and social things were going on in my head at the time but when I spoke about them to people in California and the UK they seemed completely oblivious. Actually I remember they thought I was a bit nuts and it was clear they felt quite uncomfortable talking about it. It was all so far away. Why is it our problem?  So I got the idea of a bunch of ridiculously hedonistic people living it up in a big mansion up on a hill while down below the world was burning and choking on filthy polluted air. Nero fiddling while Rome burns.  ‘So we do the dance - take it for granted,  You tell the truth - they don’t understand it.’

 

Amongst my musical heroes at the time were Don Henley and Peter Gabriel - they seemed to have the platform to talk about difficult stuff in their music without people thinking they were being preached to.  I remember Jeff and Marty coming up with the perfect musical feel for the song I wanted to write.  The melody came very quickly and naturally with Elizabeth adding her amazing ad lib vocals and harmonies.  It was very satisfying for me to sing.  I found a way of expressing real anger and passion which I hadn’t been able to express before because the song itself was so powerful.  It feels even more relevant today than it did then because of the likes of Extinction Rebellion, David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg etc.  It’s now an urgent subject which is in the mainstream of public and political debate.  

 

The song was written as a wake up call thirty years ago.  It’s time to wake up now.

LYRICS

Big House

 

What kind of damn do you give?

Do you know how the other three quarters live?

You say that you do but you don't have a clue

 

Sing - oh weh oh weh oh weh oh 

Oh weh oh weh oh etc

 

You can see it on the streets in your neighbourhood

What you mean? We never had it so good

 

Chorus

Living in a big house - up on the hill

We're all living it up while somebody else - pays the bill

Well it's a sweet life - as long as it lasts

Living in a big world - but it's shrinking fast

Living in a big house

Living in a big big house up on the hill  (let me in)

 

Well there's a man in East Berlin

All he wants is a ticket on a westbound train (ya see)

It's not the same everywhere but I guess you don't care

 

So we do the dance - take it for granted

You tell the truth - they don't understand it

 

In the time it takes to sing this song

Another thousand acres - will be gone

 

Chorus

Living in a big house - up on the hill

We're all living it up while somebody else - pays the bill

Well it's a sweet life - as long as it lasts

Living in a big world - but it's shrinking fast

Living in a big house

Living in a big big house up on the hill  

 

Bridge

Real life

You can have it - you can keep it to yourself

You can feed it to the sharks - I don't wanna know

We can only - help you if you don't need help

Oh no no no - Sorry!

 

Chorus

Living in a big house - up on the hill

We're all living it up while somebody else - pays the bill

Well it's a sweet life - as long as it lasts

Living in a big world - but it's shrinking fast

Living in a big house

Living in a big big house up on the hill  

 

Outro

Save me save me save me save me etc

Music & Lyrics: Hull, Musker, Walsh.

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ROUND THE WORLD

17 July 2020

BEHIND THE TRACK

Bruce Springsteen once remarked that all the best rock tunes are ultimately based on We Gotta Get Outa This Place by the legendary Eric Burdon and the Animals.  

 

The classic Born to Run was the perfect example of that deep rooted desire to escape a life which is going nowhere. It speaks of the rock and roll dream of getting on a motorcycle, tearing off into the sunset and never looking back.

 

In the case of Round the World the song deals with an escape from a negative relationship  which is going nowhere. But it's written from a more optimistic perspective - that a new love has brought new hope for a better future. 

 

Making that final break with the past and setting off to find the big beautiful world that's out there waiting to be discovered and experienced is the theme of the sunny light filled chorus. 

 

It swells the heart with positivity, warmth and the hope that people all over the world want the same things - love, freedom, joy, adventure and fulfilment.  

 

After all the unprecedented trauma and fear of Covid 19 and the worldwide restrictions of lockdown this song looks forward to a time when it's okay to dream of travelling again - taking to the road and embracing this precious life in all it's beauty.

LYRICS

Round the World

Tell you something babe OK

Took my love wrong the usual way

Everybody's scheming on this 'friend' of mine

Don't you worry bout me coming home tonight yeah

 

They might tell you that you see

I held my breath timelessly

I've got to leave you girl in a final way 

Well I won't carry you - I'm gone to stay 

 

Well I defy the notion 

I got a feeling it's all the way

Cause I'll be taking her baby, far away 

 

Round the World 

One love to get me through

Round the World

Oh we'll shine on through

 

Later on the telephone 

Got another quarter and I'm calling home

Got to tell you baby if you don't mind 

That it's really not up to you this time 

 

Well I defy the notion 

From sea to shining sea

I'd rather take you on baby 

Come fly with me

 

Round the World 

One Sun one sunshine

Round the World

Oh I'll make you mine in time yeah

 

Well I don't know if we'll make it

I may lose all track of time

I'll be calling you baby from time to time 

 

Round the World 

One sun one sunshine 

Round the World 

Oh I'll make you mine in time

Round the World

Sun is a shining through

Round the World 

For me and you 

Yeah - round and round we go

RTW - smiles and lies a baby cries for you you say 

RTW - you'll see people everywhere 

RTW - people care

Yeah - round and round we go

Music & Lyrics: Musker, Cawley, Tyler

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© 2020 World Goes Round

Photo Roberto Nickson