John Francis: The Songs I Wish I Would Have Written

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Tonight XPN Welcomes John Francis to the Tin Angel. The show is a CD release party for his excellent new album The Better Angels
that we featured here when it was released. John recently did a little guest blogging for us and while we were exchanging some e-mails we decided to ask him “what songs do you wished you’d written?” Considering Francis sets the bar pretty high as a songwriter himself, we were curious about what his answers would be.

“Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones
Its speculated among Gram Parsons loyalists and folklorists that Gram actually penned this one, then the Stones made it their own. Either way, this is one of those songs that has always existed since from time immemorial, out there in ether where songs live. I wish I’d wrote it, yes, but in a way that’s like saying I wish I’d ‘discovered’ electricity. It was always there, it just took some lunatic with a key on a kite string to capture it. “I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie, I have my freedom but I don’t have much time. Faith has been broken, tears must be cried, let’s do some livin’ after we die.” What the hell does it mean? Well, I don’t know, but you sure can feel it. What a strong and brave statement of the nature of a real love…to really love somebody…its messy, bloody, brutal, but transcendent and eternal. “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.”

“One” by U2.
Such a tactile description of those universal feelings…”You act like you never had love, and you want me to go without,” and “Love is a temple, love the higher law”. And the melody and the chord progression…the build and the climax at the end…its just a perfect song.

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
The original version with all the verses. This song levels me. Romance, sex, spirituality, existentialism. “I tried my best, it wasn’t much. I couldn’t feel so I learned to touch. I tell the truth, haven’t come here to fool ya. And when its all been said and done, I’ll stand before the Lord of song with nothin’ on my tongue but “Hallelujah.”

John Francis’s CD Release Party is at Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 10:30 tonight. Tickets are $10

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  • jesselun

    My man…he knows