Round Here ~ Counting Crows

counting-crowsCounting Crows is a rock band originating from Berkeley, California. The group gained popularity in 1994 following the release of its debut album August and Everything After, which featured the hit single “Mr. Jones”. The band’s influences include Van Morrison, R.E.M., Mike & The Mechanics, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, and The Band. They received a 2004 Academy Award nomination for the song “Accidentally in Love” due to its inclusion in the film Shrek 2.

Singer Adam Duritz (former member of the Bay Area band The Himalayans) and guitarist Dave Bryson formed Counting Crows in San Francisco in 1991. As well as his experience in The Himalayans, Duritz had contributed to recordings by the Bay Area group Sordid Humor, though never a member. Counting Crows began as an acoustic duo, playing gigs in and around Berkeley and San Francisco.

By 1993 the band had grown to a stable lineup of Duritz, Bryson, Matt Malley (bass), Charlie Gillingham (keys) and Steve Bowman (drums), and it was a regular on the Bay Area scene. The same year, the band signed to Geffen Records. On January 16, 1993, the band, still relatively unknown, filled in for Van Morrison at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and was introduced by an enthusiastic Robbie Robertson. They remain the only unknowns ever to play the ceremony.

At some point before signing to Geffen, the band recorded demo versions of a number of songs, known as the ‘Flying Demos’. These later surfaced among the Counting Crows fanbase. Tracks include “Rain King”, “Omaha”, “Anna Begins”, “Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)”, “Shallow Days”, “Love and Addiction”, “Mr. Jones”, “Round Here”, “40 Years”, “Margery Dreams of Horses”, “Bulldog”, “Lightning” and “We’re Only Love”.

Various songs from this tape would later resurface on the band’s debut album August and Everything After; the songs contained on the tape featured different music and in some instances different lyrics.

Round Here

Duritz explained on VH1’s Storytellers the meaning to the song:

“The first way Counting Crows ever sounded, it was me and Dave in bars and coffee houses playing open mics, doing this song this way. The song begins with a guy walking out the front door of his house, and leaving behind this woman . But the more he begins to leave people behind in his life, the more he feels like he’s leaving himself behind as well. The less and less substantial he feels like he’s becoming to himself. And that’s sorta what the song’s about because he feels that even as he disappears from the lives of people, he’s disappearing more and more from his own life. The chorus is, he sorta keeps screaming out these idioms these lessons that your mother might say to you when you were a kid, sorta child lessons ya know, ’round here we always stand up straight’..’carving out our names’.


Step out the front door like a ghost
Into the fog where no one notices
The contrast of white on white.
And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.
I walk in the air between the rain
Through myself and back again
Where? I don’t know
But Maria says she’s dying
Through the door I hear her crying
Why? I don’t know

Round here we always stand up straight
Round here something radiates

Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
She said she’d like to meet a boy who looks like Elvis
And she walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land
Just like she’s walking on a wire in the circus
She parks her car outside of my house
Takes all her clothes off
Says she’s close to understanding Jesus
She knows she’s more than just a little misunderstood
She has trouble acting normal — well I have trouble acting normal

Round here we’re carving out our names
Round here we all look the same
Round here we talk just like lions
But we sacrifice just like lambs
Round here she’s slipping through my hands

Sleeping children better run like the wind
out of the lightning dream
Mama’s little baby better get herself in
out of the lightning

I woke up Wednesday morning
Sometime Wednesday evening
She was looking for something easy to believe
When you live out on the border of everything and nothing
There’s nothing but waking
Then dreaming
I’m barely out of Tuesday
No one to receive me
And nothing is changing
Maybe you could leave a light on
Maybe you could leave a light on
Maybe you could leave a light on
For me

Oh, can you see her waiting there
Down by the sea
Look, I know there’s a light on
But there is no one there for me
If you see me
If you see me coming home
Just turn me away
‘Cause everybody tries to go back somewhere

So just leave the light on
Everybody tries to go back somewhere
So just leave the light on for me
So that I can see
Just leave a light on for me
So that maybe I can see
‘Cause there’s a girl
in a car
Out in the parking lot
She says “Man, c’mon, just take a shot”
She says, “Can’t you see me?”
She says, “Can’t you see me?”
She says, “Can’t you see my wall start tumbling down?”
“Can’t you see them tumbling down on me?”
Can’t you see?
Can’t you see?
Can’t you see?

But the girl on the car in the parking lot
Says “Man you should try to take a shot
Can’t you see my walls are crumbling?”
Then she looks up at the building
Says she’s thinking of jumping
She says she’s tired of life
Everybody’s tired of something

Round here she’s always on my mind
Round here hey man I got lots of time
Round here we’re never sent to bed early
and nobody makes us wait
Round here we stay up very, very, very, very late
Just leave the light on
Just leave the light on
Just leave the light on

She lives alone on her private archipelago
With the palm trees and her seashells

She sits in the waves all day
She’s scared of dying
Well I’m scared of dying

She sends a boat out on the sea with a little note for me
It says why are all the girls so hungry
Say why are all the girls so hungry
Why are all the boys so lonely

Why can’t anybody see me
And why is it you don’t believe me
Hey monkey, why did you wanna leave me
Why can’t you leave a light on
Just leave the light on
Just leave a light on…. for me

  • Audio from the 1993 album, August and Everything After:


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