Tricycle Lyric Reflections from the desk of Brenda Sauter:
The story behind the lyrics to WINGS is more specific because it is entirely about the silent film from 1927 of the same title. I’ve been a silent film fan since I was a kid; and this was one spectacular movie which touched on the tragedy and battles of World War 1, wealth vs. middle class, friendship, women’s contributions during wartime, and love rivalry. It had advanced special effects and won the first Academy Award for best film, and among the stars were Clara Bow, Richard Arlen, and Gary Cooper (Cooper doesn’t fare well in this movie).
Strangely enough, after I started writing this on January 25th, 2023, I discovered that the fully restored Blu-ray/DVD version was released on January 24th, 2012. Serendipity. And while streaming the movie recently, I discovered that the lyrics melded different parts of the movie. Apologies for using poetic license.
Music-wise, Rich was experimenting with playing a single riff/melody within different chords (in this case, C, F, and Dm7. The vocal melody, if my recollection is right, flowed along with the lyrics. Because of the movies’s inspiration, writing lyrics was easy; and the bass melody and vocal melody evolved together.
Watch the film!
He woke that morning to find
his lucky charm had broken
Gliding like that, he must have known
he was taking a chance
Bless my soul, it was the last time
that I saw him
Cross my heart, it was the last time
I saw him.
High in the sky, they were alive
The air felt so thin, started to spin
Then the smoke rose above right to the clouds
I left the crowd to see beyond
I’ve thought a lifetime about him/her.
She didn’t get the chance she deserved
She could have done much better than them
She’d never live to see the day
when she’d get her wings
Her spirit soared, but she was left on the ground.
The hazy blue turns to red during wartime
Flying so high, why fight about clouds?
We all saw him go down near the horizon
A cloud of smoke, and he didn’t return.
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