FOUNTAIN OF SORROW

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

FOUNTAIN OF SORROW

 

“Fountain of Sorrow” is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. Released as the second single from his 1974 album Late for the Sky, at 6:42, it was the longest song on the album, and the longest song Browne had yet released (“For Everyman” was approximately 6:20). Two minutes were removed from the single release of “Fountain of Sorrow”, but the song still failed to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100.The song wass generally assumed to have been inspired by Browne’s brief relationship with Joni Mitchell.

Many critics have written of the relationship song (and the album it is from) as reflecting a larger, general zeitgeist for the post-Vietnam War, post-Nixon era Baby Boomer audience, particularly the notable “You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight” line in the chorus. “The fondly reflective ‘Fountain of Sorrow,’ is typical of Browne’s ability to make personal experience seem universal,” said Gil Asakawa, in Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Indeed, Joan Baez immediately recorded her own version of the song for her 1975 solo album, Diamonds & Rust, placing it directly in the song listing after her title track, a remembrance song of her relationship with Bob Dylan in the 1960s and 1970s.

Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer

I was taken by a photograph of you

There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more

But they didn’t show your spirit quite as true

 

You were turning ’round to see who was behind you

And I took your childish laughter by surprise

And at the moment that my camera happened to find you

There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes

 

Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small

Though it hasn’t really been that long a time

What I was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all

Although for a while, our path did seem to climb

But when you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger

And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool

So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger

While the loneliness seems to spring from your life

Like a fountain from a pool

 

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light

You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight

You’ve had to hide sometimes, but now you’re all right

And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight

 

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams

But that magic feeling never seems to last

And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it’s seems

It would be easier sometimes to change the past

I’m just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you

In my lessons at love’s pain and heartache school

Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you

There’s this loneliness springing up from your life

Like a fountain from a pool

 

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light

You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight

 

You’ve had to hide sometimes but now you’re all right

And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight

 

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light

You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight

You’ve had to struggle, you’ve had to fight

To keep understanding and compassion in sight

You could be laughing at me, you’ve got the right

But you go on smiling so clear and so bright