Life in a Northern Town
(Gabriel/Laird-Clowes))
Originally recorded by: Dream Academy


The Salvation Army band played.
And the children drank lemonade.
And the morning lasted all day, all day.

And through an open window came,
Like Sinatra in a younger day.
Pushing the town away...all day.

hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om hey oh
Life in a northern town
Hey om, om, om, ah

He sat on the stony ground.
And he took a cigarette out.
And everyone else came down to listen.

He said in Winter 1963
It felt like the world would freeze,
With John F. Kennedy and the Beatles.

Yea, yea, yea
hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om hey oh
Life in a northern town
Hey om, om, om ah
hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om, hey om
All of the work shut down
Hey om, om, om, ah

The evening had turned to rain
Watched the water roll down the drain
As we followed him down to the station.

And though he never would wave goodbye
You could see it written in his eyes,
As the train rolled out of sight, bye bye...

hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om, hey om
Life in a northern town
Hey om, om, om om
hey om, om, om, om boo de nay.
Hey om, om, om, hey om
All of the work shut down
Hey om, om, om, ah
hey om, om, om, om boo de nay.
Hey om, om, om, he om
Hey om, om, om ah
make it easy on yourself

hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om, hey om
Life in a northern town
Hey om, om, om om
Get back

hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om, hey om
Life in a northern town
Hey om, om, om om
all of the work shut down
Hey oh, ma ma ma....
Get back
hey om, om, om, om boo de nay
Hey om, om, om, hey om
Life in a northern town
Hey om, om, om om
take it easy on yourself.......

(playing time: 4:50)

Song Facts: This can be found on The Day After Yesterday.
Rick started performing this in concert on August 17, 2005 at the show in Hampton Beach.

For more check out the cover section.

Footnote - background photo was taken in Red Bank, NJ on 8/19/06 by Renata Hearn during the performance of this song.

 

According to US 

Now this one, I love! I think this has to be my favorite on this CD. I loved this song when it was originally released, and didn't realize I missed it so much until TDAY. The chords are just right for Rick's voice. The words, telling a story (and I just love the story songs) sound as if Rick could've written them. I'm so happy he decided to start performing this one live. I love seeing him break out the acoustic guitar, and wish he could continue on with a few more of his songs with that before he put it away. 

This song also happens to be a favorite of my daughter's. Now, I try to not push Rick's music on my children - and in fact they are so *not* into Rick Springfield that they usually request that I do NOT play any of his stuff while they are within earshot. So imagine my surprise one day when she asked to hear this song specifically. She called it the 'Hey Ma-Ma" song. For a minute, I had no idea what she was talking about, until she started singing the chorus. So I obliged, and popped the CD in while we were driving in the car. We had a short time until we were home, so the song had just ended as we pulled up the driveway. I turn off the car, and she gets out sighing. I asked her what was wrong. She said, "Oh nothing. I just know now why you love Rick Springfield. He sounds soooo good on this song." I just smiled at her, a bit taken aback by this statement. Later when I reflected the moment, I realized she is now at the same age as I when I discovered my first teen idol. (nope, it wasn't Rick - but that's another story) 
Ack! My baby is growing up. :-)

So, I agree with my daughter. Rick sounds sooo good on this song. I could listen to just this one for hours. - Michelle P.


I honestly don't remember ever hearing this song until I heard it on TDAY. I did get a copy of the 45 single and listened to that. Can't say that it rings a bell at all. One thing that sticks out totally for me is the way in the original song they say "the children drunk lemonade", and Rick changed it to "drank". Way to go Rick! Drunk bugs me. This did not stand out as one of my favorites either when listening to the cd. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Then I heard Rick perform it lived and everything changed (kind of like Jesus Saves). It's funny how Rick can do that for a song. It's definitely the first song from TDAY that I heard him perform that I really felt like he was wanting to perform it. He gives this song some real energy doing it live. My favorite part of the song during the live performance is when he yells "get back".....

I also like Rick's recorded version much better than the original. His voice is so smooth and the song totally flows. Now the question, is this a song Rick could have written? I just don't feel it. It's kind of too sweet. Now if the children's parents were splitting up, or one of the siblings was pregnant and contemplating suicide, well maybe :-P There are points of references that are very much Rick - Frank Sinatra (who he mentioned on Larry King Live), The Beatles, and John F Kennedy (who he mentions in My Depression). This song has moved up on my list of favorites, though. - rlh


Rick does a very nice job covering this song. His voice is strong and sensual and has a longing to it that makes you believe the story he is telling. LIANT is a great song and I can see where Rick would include it in the songs that he wished he had written. But what I like best about this song is the way Rick performs it live. It’s kind of like how I felt about Jesus Saves. . .I liked it on the CD but it doesn’t hold a candle to hearing it in person at a show. LIANT is a lot of fun, and you can tell that Rick is having fun performing it. I think I have the chant down pat, but I would have no way of putting it down on paper, so kudos to whoever typed up the lyrics to this song.  - Charlotte P.


Another fav from back in the day. 

I love this live. I love to watch the audience, they really seem to get into this song. 

I like the harmony that rick sings during the chant. I STILL don't like his raspy voice. 

in winter 1963, felt like the world would freeze, with John F Kennedy and the Beatles. 
I always wondered why the old guy thought Kennedy and the Beatles were the end of the world. The world would freeze, I had always thought that this was a reference to the cold war, the bay of pigs, and how close to nuclear war we seem to have been. On looking up the bay of pigs, I've learned that it happened (or nearly did) in 1961, but Kennedy was assasinated in 1963. (sorry, we never got this far in American history...) Rick would have lived thru this, although I can't imagine that it would have had the impact on a kid in Australia that it would have had on someone in this hemisphere (except for that he was a military kid--maybe they were put on alert?) on more research, it appears that Beatlemania began in 1963, but they didn't come to the US until 1964 (ie, Ed Sullivan, etc). ok, so the end of the world. Kennedy is dead, and the Beatles are changing music as we knew it. funny how new music always seems to threaten the establishment.
i've also wondered who the old man was. in my mind, it was someone very charismatic, like John Wayne, or James Stewart (its a wonderful life). 

that's how this song seems to me, like an old movie. it's easy to put yourself there. (born out of time?)

assorted musical references:
the salvation army band, Sinatra, the Beatles
the things that go to make up a life. :) not a wide spectrum, but familiar. :) 

when all of the work shut down
so that's what that line is! 
at red wing, Rick said that he came from a place like this town. 
huh? I had the impression that he moved a lot, and that his family was military. why would a factory closing effect them? wouldn't they just move on? they wouldn't be like the people that i imagine are left abandoned in this town. 
because they do seem abandoned. he never would wave goodbye, you could see it written in his eye, bye bye. 
I didn't grow up in a factory town, i grew up on a farm. desolation and hopelessness were not strangers to us. Billy joel's "Allentown" and movies like "all the right moves" made it seem like i could relate to these stories. 

he never would say goodbye, you could see it written in his eye, bye bye.
is he sneaking away? can't be. they are having a celebration, a goodbye parade, if you will.
is he just too much of a manly man? that must be it. the remote father figure, being taken away, or just plain leaving. it brings to mind "what would the children think" or "like father like son."

the chant. 
Ive always thought of this as either just filler noise (shalala, doodowop) or something native american. especially with the drums behind. 
listening today, i wondered if it wasn't something like a prayer, like a rain dance or something. a prayer to the gods of factories/big business and the patron saint of unemployed parents. i really like this idea, even if it's 180 degrees off. 

instrumentation:
how many top 40 songs have ever included an oboe? so very kewl. 
the guitar doesn't carry the melody, unusual for rick. and the drums are atypical also, almost syncopated. 

as the train rolled out of sight
such a romantic thought. :*( sigh. 
makes me wonder tho, who's leaving? it would be easiest if it were the old man, but maybe it's the kids, they have to leave to find work. 

Love this song. It's romantic and melancholy, but fun to sing to, and works in concert. two thumbs up. (but please lose the raspy voice!) -sgeorge