Classic Van Morrison Songs: Wonderful Remark

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies, to myself, to myself

TOC


Facts

 

Personnel on first release

 

Personnel on The Philosopher’s Stone

  • Van Morrison – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Lee Charlton – drums
  • Bill Church – bass
  • “Boots” Rolf Houston – flute
  • Ronnie Montrose – acoustic guitar, backing vocals

Lyrics

What is the “wonderful remark” that Morrison sings about here? In his book Small Town Talk, Barney Hoskyns explores the possibility that it came out of an incident that happened between Morrison and Albert Grossman. In 1969, word went out that Grossman wanted to manage Morrison, so the Irishman went to his house to demo some songs. After listening to the tunes, Grossman simply replied, “Burn it” – that’s the “wonderful remark.”
Songfacts.com

Van Morrison on Albert Grossman (2014):

The Philosopher’s Stone Version

How can you stand the silence
That pervades when we all cry
How can you watch the violence
That erupts before your eyes

You can’t even grab a hold on
When we’re hanging oh so loose
You don’t even listen to us
When we talk it ain’t no use

Leave your thoughtlessness behind you
Then you may begin to understand
Clear the emptiness around you
With the waving of your hand

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies, yeah, to myself, to myself
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh

Now, how can we listen to you
When we know that your talk is cheap
How can we never question
Why we give more and you keep

How can your empty laughter
Fill a room like ours with joy
When you’re only playing with us
Like a child does with a toy

How can we ever feel the freedom
Or the flame lit by the spark
How can we ever come out even
When reality is stark

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies to myself, to myself
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh

Listen, how can you tell us something
Just to keep us hanging on, yeah
Something that just don’t mean nothin’
When we see you, you are gone

Clinging to some other rainbow
While we’re standing waiting outside in the cold
Telling us the same sad story
Knowing time is growing old

Touch your world up with some colour
Dream you’re swingin’ on a star
Taste it first then add some flavour
Now you know just who you are

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs, oh yeah
I told a million lies to myself, oh yeah, to myself
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh

Wonderful remark
And that…

That was a wonderful remark, yes it was, right on
I had my eyes closed in the dark, right on
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies to myself, alright, to myself
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh,
Ooh oh, ooh oh, ooh oh

oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Right on, right on
Oh, oh, oh, oh, cut loose
Oh, oh, oh
Cut loose, cut loose
oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

The King of Comedy version

How can you stand the silence
That pervades when we all cry?
How can you watch the violence
That erupts before your eyes?

How can you tell us something
Just to keep us hangin’ on?
Something that just don’t mean nothing
When we see it, you are gone

Clinging to some other rainbow
While we’re standing, waiting in the cold
Telling us the same old story
Knowing time is growing old

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies, to myself, to myself

How can we listen to you
When we know your talk is cheap?
How can we ever question
Why we give more and you keep?

How can your empty laughter
Fill a room like ours with joy?
When you’re only playing with us
Like a child does with a toy?

How can we ever feel the freedom
Or the flame lit by the spark
How can we ever come out even
When reality is stark?

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark, yeah
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies, to myself
To myself
Baby, to myself
Baby, to myself, to myself
To myself, to myself


Live Versions

February 2, 1974 – Winterland, San Francisco, CA

April 1994 Malmo, Sweden

December 17, 1995 – Live at The Point Depot – The Pristine FM Broadcast


August 23, 2014 – Orangefield High School, Belfast as part of the East Side Arts Festival

05-01-2015 – Lyric Theatre, Belfast

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-Egil

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