Artist: The Wallflowers

One Headlight ~ The Wallflowers

The Wallflowers are a Grammy Award-winning rock band from Los Angeles, California.

The original members of the Wallflowers include Jakob Dylan (vocals and guitar), Barrie Maguire (bass guitar and vocals), Peter Yanowitz (drums and percussion), Rami Jaffee (keyboards and vocals), and Tobi Miller (guitar). This quintet broke up shortly after the album’s release due to conflicts within the band, and with the record company.

For the band’s 1996 release of Bringing Down the Horse, a four-time platinum album, Dylan and Rami Jaffee from the original lineup were joined by Michael Ward (guitar), Mario Calire (drums and percussion) and Greg Richling (bass guitar and vocals) were called in to form the new band.

One Headlight

Literally, the lyrics tell a fragmentary story about a former friend and her death (they said she died easy of a broken-heart disease), and the singer’s emotions in the aftermath (man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same). The use of strong words and images (through this maze of ugliness and greed), (it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes / this place is always such a mess) and the incomplete story have resulted in many different interpretations of the song, which include suicide, drug abuse, death of a lover and depression.

Jakob Dylan, the lead singer and songwriter of The Wallflowers, has said that the song is about “the death of ideas” and that the many metaphors and images in the lyrics were not meant to be taken literally. Dylan explains that he and the band had very little support when they were putting together the record, hence the shout-out (c’mon try a little). The last two lines of the chorus (we can drive it home / with one headlight) are a reference to how the band were able to get through with their ideas despite being hindered (i.e. with one headlight) by the lack of support.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/the-wallflowers_one-headlight.flv[/flv]

So long ago, I don’t remember when
That’s when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin’ up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste
She always had a pretty face
So I wondered how she hung around this place

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me & Cinderella,
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

She said it’s cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can’t break away from this parade
But there’s got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed
And I seen the sun up ahead
At the county line bridge
Sayin’ all there’s good and nothingness is dead
We’ll run until she’s out of breath
She ran until there’s nothin’ left
She hit the end-it’s just her window ledge

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me & Cinderella,
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn
I’m so alone, and I feel just like somebody else
Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same
But somewhere here in between the city walls of dyin’ dreams
I think her death it must be killin’ me

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me & Cinderella,
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

  • Audio from the 1996 album, Bringing Down the Horse:

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