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Vincent | Starry Starry Night Lyrics – Don McLean

 

Starry Starry Night (Vincent) Lyrics Sung by Don McLean

(scroll down to watch a video of the song)

Paint your palette blue and grey

Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land.

And now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen they did not know how,
Perhaps they’ll listen now.

Starry starry night
Flaming flo’rs that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of China blue.
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

And now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free.
Perhaps they’ll listen now.

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight on that starry starry night.
You took your life as lovers often do;
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.

Starry starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.
Like the stranger that you’ve met

The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

And now I think I know what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen they’re not list’ning still
Perhaps they never will.

Enjoy This Video of Starry Starry Night by Don McLean

 

 

Interesting Facts About Starry Starry Night and Don McLean

“Vincent” is a song by Don McLean written as a tribute to Vincent van Gogh. It is also known by its opening line, “Starry Starry Night”, a reference to van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. The song also describes different paintings done by the artist.

McLean wrote the lyrics in 1971 after reading a book about the life of the artist. The following year, the song became the number one hit in the U.K. and No. 12 in the U.S.

In 2000, PBS aired Don McLean: Starry, Starry Night, a concert special that was filmed in Austin, Texas.

The song clearly demonstrates a deep-seated admiration for not only the work of Vincent Van Gogh, but also for the man himself. The song includes references to his landscape works, in lines such as “sketch the trees and the daffodils” and “morning fields of amber grain” – which describe the amber wheat that features in several paintings. There are also several lines that may allude to van Gogh’s self portraits: perhaps in “weathered faces lined in pain / are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand”, McLean is suggesting that van Gogh may have found some sort of consolation in creating portraits of himself. There is, too, a single line describing van Gogh’s most famous set of works, Sunflowers. “Flaming flowers that brightly blaze” draws not only on the luminous orange and yellow colours of the painting, but also creates powerful images of the sun itself, flaming and blazing, being contained within the flowers and the painting.

In the first two choruses, McLean pays tribute to Van Gogh by reflecting on his lack of recognition: “They would not listen / they did not know how / perhaps they’ll listen now.” In the final verse, McLean says “They would not listen / They’re not listening still / Perhaps they never will.” This is the story of van Gogh: unrecognised as an artist until after his death. The lyrics suggest that van Gogh was trying to “set [people] free” with the message in his work. McLean feels that this message was made clear to him: “And now I understand what you tried to say to me,” he sings. Perhaps it is this eventual understanding that inspired McLean to write the song.

It is also thought that the song intends to portray van Gogh’s tough relationship with his family. They were a wealthy family who did not accept him for his schizophrenia (“for they could not love you”) and never understood his will to help the poor. It is thought that Van Gogh felt that in killing himself he would make the point to his parents. This is seen in the line “Perhaps they’ll listen now.” Many believe that the song is a touching tribute to van Gogh in respect of the hardship he faced with regards to his mental illness and his admirable good natured ways.

There are also references to van Gogh’s sanity and his suicide. Throughout his life, van Gogh was plagued with mental disorders, particularly depression. He “suffered for his sanity” and eventually “took [his] life, as lovers often do.” In theory,the word “lover” puts into context how McLean saw the relationship of van Gogh with his art – a relationship of love. This love was strong enough for van Gogh to persevere with his art even without acceptance from his contemporaries: “For they could not love you, but still your love was true.”

Another theory is that the lines consort to Van Gogh’s sordid relationship with Paul Gauguin, whom he had, as with many others, a complex sort of relationship, which was so intense as to lead Van Gogh to think it rational to cut off a part of his left earlobe as a sign of cutting Gauguin out of his life and heart.That lead Gauguin, who had also had severe bouts of depression and suicidal tendencies, to seperate himself from van Gogh out of his life, tumbling the already troubled artist into a schizophrenic depression, the theoretical straw that broke the camel’s back.

 

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