Van Morrison’s 50 Greatest Songs Countdown – #26 It’s All In The Game/You Know What They’re Writing About

You know, yeah
You, you know what they’re writing about
Baby, you, you know what they’re talking about

TOC

  1. Facts
  2. Quotes
  3. Lyrics
  4. Live versions

Facts

These two brilliant songs belong together.

Wikipedia:

From his 1979 album Into the Music.

Musicians

Live:

  • Known Performances: 872 / 322
  • First performance: August 19, 1979 – Bilzen, Belgium / August 23, 1979 – Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Last performance: January 2, 2020 – Belfast, Northern Ireland / November 8, 2015 – London, England

Here is the Copenhagen 1979 version:

Quotes

A pulverizing rendition of Tommy Edwards’ “It’s All in the Game,” delivered in a style that might be called high-requiem soul, puts everything in perspective, the pain as well as the triumph. It’s there as a sort of sweet caution, just the way that the last tune, “You Know What They’re Writing About,” stands as a summary and makes clear that Into the Music is a vastly ambitious attempt to reconcile various states of grace: physical, spiritual and artistic.
Both “You Know What They’re Writing About” and side one’s “Troubadours” (with its wistful penny-whistle sound provided by Robin Williamson of the late Incredible String Band) concern themselves with songwriting as an act of lyric passion and as a way of testifying to a certain continuity, to a kind of rescuing wisdom. “You Know What They’re Writing About” ends the LP with an injunction (“Meet me down by the river/Meet me down by the water…/Meet me down by the pylons”) that uses one of Morrison’s favorite images — water — as an invitation to wholeness.
–> Jay Cocks. Rollingstone.com

The album ends with one of Morrison’s great feats of interpretation. Taking crooner Tommy Edvards’ 1958 hit, “It’s all in the game”, as a mere sketch for a masterpiece, he embarks on an 11-minute act of exploration (the unedited studio version apparently lasted a full half-hour). Incorporating  his own improvised refrain, “You Know What They’re Writing About”, it’s a vaulting exercise in musical telepathy, the entire band locked in tight, following each twist as Morrison takes a stately love song by the scruff of the neck and turns it into a jubilant, spontaneous hymn to love itself. By the end of it all, he is lost in the transformation. The song, and the album, slips away in a muted symphony of sighs and whispers. Having travelled so deeply into the music, Morrison has finally emerged on the other side, ready for the next journey – into the silence.
–> Graeme Thomson (The Ultimate Music Guide – Van Morrison  – UNCUT Magazine)

It’s All In The Game is a companion song to You What They’re Writing About. When Van sings the two songs together it becomes his master class. Amongst Van aficionados this song has become simply known as ‘Game’.
–> Patrick Corley (Vanatic – The Story of a Van Morrison Fan)

It’s all in the Game fades into the album closer, You Know What They’re Writing About. Both songs showcase Morrison at his most expressive. What a surprise – the song starts off with a combination of emotional violin and gentle piano. It is superbly executed…again. The way You Know What They’re Writing About builds to its stirring climax is particularly impressive. Morrison sings/speaks gently to begin with but you can feel him holding the intensity back. Just before the two-minute mark he ups the ante and the brass becomes more prevalent.  I’m not sure you could spell the words (sounds) that sometimes escape from Morrison’s mouth at this stage, but it is all good stuff. This is ideal late night music, especially accompanying your favourite tipple.
–> Mark Holmes (Van Morrison 20 Best Albums: A Guide)

Lyrics

It’s All in the Game
Yeah
Yeah

Many a tear has to fall
Oh, but it’s all, it’s all in the game, child

It’s all in the wonderful game
That we know as love, ooh

Yeah, you had words with him
And your future’s looking dim
But these things, your heart can rise above

Once in a while he won’t call, he won’t call
But I heard you, it’s all in the game

Soon he, soon he will be there
With a small, a small bouquet, he will

And he will kiss your lips
And caress you, just like that, touch you
Yeah, and your heart will, yeah
Fly away

You had words, wordes with him
And your future was looking, don’t you know, darling
But these things your heart, these things, can rise above

Once in a while he won’t, he won’t, he won’t call
But you gotta be patient

Soon he’ll be there by your side
With a small, with a small bouquet

And he’ll kiss your lips
And caress your fingertips
Just like that
And your heart will fly away
Listen, listen, listen, listen
He will kiss
Your lips, and, and, and touch you
And you will feel, you will feel like you’re gonna fly
Fly

You Know What They’re Writing About

You know, yeah
You, you know what they’re writing about
Baby, you, you know what they’re talking about
Baby, you, you know what they’re writing about
Baby you know, you know, what they’re talking about
It’s a thing called love down through the ages
It makes you want to cry sometimes
Makes you feel like you want to lay down and die sometimes
It make you high sometimes
But when you really get in it, in it, in it, in it
It lifts you right up

You know what they’re
You know what
You know what they’re talking about
Baby you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you know what
What they’re writing about
It’s so funny, it’s so funny
It’s love, baby
Ain’t it a wonderful game, ain’t it a wondeful, oh, a marvelous game
Yeah, ain’t it a wonderful, ain’t it a wonderful, ain’t it a wonderful game?
And when there’s no more words to say about love, I’ll go

Y-y-y-y-y-y-yeah
Y-y-y-y-y-y-yeah
You know what I’m talking about

Meet me down, yeah, meet me down
Meet me down by the river, baby
Meet me down, meet me down, meet me by the river
Meet me down, meet me down, meet me by, by the water
Meet me down by the water
Baby, you know, I say you know what they’re
You know what they’re talking about
I want you to met me, meet me down by the pylons
Meet me down by the pylons
Meet me down by the pylons
Meet me down by the pylons

Meet me, ah, I said, meet me
I got something I wanna give you
I got something I wanna give you
I want you to meet me, I want you to meet me?
I want you to meet me, I want you to meet me, are you there?
I want you to meet me, are you there?
I want you to meet me, are you there?
Are you there, are you there, are you there?
I want you to meet me
And know, know, know, know, know, know
And know, know, know, and know, and know, and know, know, and know, and know
I want you to meet me, are you, are you there?
I want you to meet me, are you there?
I want you to meet me, are you, are you there?
I want you to meet me, there, are you there?
I want you to meet me, are you there?
I want you to meet me, are you there?
And know, know, know, and know, and know, and know, are you there?
I want you to meet me
I want you to meet me

Live versions

October 6, 1979 – Capitol Theatre, Passaic, US

March 1983, Grand Opera House, Belfast, Northern Ireland

October 23, 1984 – Belfast, Northern Ireland

January 22, 2000 – Reno, US

February 25, 2000 – York, England

April 20, 2000 – Blackpool, England

October 28, 2014 – RAH, London, England

Sources

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