House on the Ocean

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Audio excerpt: Verse 1 into chorus

Lyrics & notes

12 Jan 1978

I've always wanted a house on the ocean
all made of glass, perched high on a hill
then every morning I'd wake with the sunrise
and every night rock to sleep with the waves
all down the stairway that leads to the water
flowers are dancing in time with the breeze

but I'd be content with a room in the city
if you'll just live with me
we could grow flowers in pots by the window
you could whisper the breeze in my ear

I've always wanted to be a composer
I'd write refrains in my house by the sea
I'd fill all the country with music and dancing
laughter and teardrops would walk hand in hand
and no one would think what they feel unimportant
all would be one and would not be the same

but I'd be content with a tune to be humming
if you'll just live with me
I'll hear a symphony each time you touch me
and your love is the song I will sing

since I remember, I've always wanted
to live in a future just like my dreams
everything I'd wish—that's what would come true
think about flying and flying I'd be
riding on clouds over moonshadowed mountains
sliding on rainbows and chasing the stars

but I'd be content with only this moment
if you'll just live with me
I'll find my future in vows left unspoken
I can find all the stars in your eyes

℗ © Love's Music 1979, assigned to Creative Measures (ASCAP)

1979 Notes:

This song is only for you.

2007 Notes:

I can still remember being there. I was on the freeway, heading North. (I almost always headed North in those days.) It was playing in my head, and I was writing it down, like dictation. I think this is my favorite song, really. It's just always seemed perfect to me. Maybe that's because the person I was writing it about seemed perfect to me, too.

Lonnie and Joe were over once and we were talking about rhyme schemes and types (I was reading Jimmy Webb's book about songwriting at the time, and had just read the part about perfect versus imperfect rhymes). Lonnie loves the song, too (and, by the way, she can sing it like nobody else; in fact, she sang it for our ceremony), so we were both anxious to figure out what kinds of rhymes the song had. I went and scrounged up the sheet music and we started reading through the lyrics. Slowly, it dawned on us. Wow, that's funny, we realized. There's no rhyme scheme at all! It was true. The song seemed perfect, but it didn't rhyme.

Of course, at the time I wrote it (or took it down as dictation, depending on your point of view), I wasn't really concerned about rhyming anything. It was a plea, that's all. A desperate plea that didn't work. But somehow I lived on, and years later I finally came to see that the song was as much about me as it was about him.