one of the focal points of toluca lyric 10, my most recent youtube video to help english learners expand their vocabulary, is that asia lead singer/songwriter john wetton thought of his creation, heat of the moment, as an apology.
wetton credited singer/songwriter joni mitchell with influencing him to write from a personal perspective. mitchell’s most famous song, big yellow taxi, is mostly a song about ecological awareness, but the title comes from the final verse which indeed is a brief glimpse (quick, partial view) into mitchell’s life.
wetton described what joni mitchell meant to him like this…
if you’ve got pain, mate, write about your own. not someone else’s. so it took me a little while to get into first person lyrics, but that’s where i’ve ended up. and consequently, the first asia record was just splattered with my experiences, my emotions… nearly every song on that album is personal experience…so certainly “heat of the moment,” the whole song is just an apology. it’s just saying i fucked up. i hold my hand out and i got it wrong. i never meant it to be like that.
you’ve got is the have got structure. it means the same as have. mate means friend. your own means belonging to u. someone else means another person. first person means wetton was writing/singing about himself. end up means get to after a long process. splattered means wetton’s experiences and emotions were all over the album.
an apron splattered with rainbow paint (etsy.com)
nearly means almost. apology means wetton is admitting he was responsible for problems in the relationship. fuck up is a phrasal verb that means make a mistake. exercise discretion, as with all fuck expressions, some people will be offended by its use. get it wrong (opposite: get it right) is a common phrase that means do incorrectly. it can be found in several popular songs.
the first verse of this huge hit by dua lipa contains the lyric...
had to get it wrong to know just what I like
at 1:55 in santigold‘s amazing track chasing shadows, the second verse starts with the line…
maybe i will get it wrong, no patience with myself
u can hear it in the beatles’ we can work it out too. i like stevie wonder’s version a little better. listen at :25 and again at 2:35 for…
think of what you’re saying, u can get it wrong and still think that it’s alright
wetton believed that the apology that heat of the moment represented was groundbreaking (revolutionary, innovative) …
…you’ve never heard that in a rock song before, either. “i never meant to be so bad to u, one thing i said that i would never do.” it’s not exactly the “macho rock stuff,” is it?
either means in relation to that, moreover. in other words, not only is heat of the moment an apology, nobody in the history of rock prior to 1982 had ever apologized in a song. is it is a tag question. it turns the phrase it’s not exactly the macho rock stuff into a question. because the phrase isn’t it is negative , the tag is it? is affirmative.
john wetton said he was apologizing in heat of the moment
while the rock music on the radio from the end of the 1960s to 1982 mostly fits wetton’s description, it’s not really historically accurate to say u never heard an apology in a rock song before heat of the moment.
elvis presley’s always on my mind was a much more obvious apology than heat of the moment. and the opening lines of the song contain three brilliant examples of past modals to demonstrate hypothetical situations in the past
maybe i didn’t treat u quite as good as i should havemaybe i didn’t love u quite as often as i could have little things i should have said and done
john lennon‘s jealous guy is an obvious apology too
the title done somebody wrong is an admission of guilt. additionally, the lyrics of the song include it was all my fault and i’m to blame. the refrain i musta done somebody wrong appears three times and is another instance of a past modal. must have means it’s very probable.
at the beginning of the song, the allman brothers credit elmore james, who wrote the song,
like the two versions of done somebody wrong demonstrate, rock and roll is a direct descendant of the blues, and several other blues legends have apologies in their song catalogs.
john lee hooker
and james brown, the godfather of soul, had two songs that were clearly apologies. they may not be among his most recognizable hits, but they are apologies nevertheless.
goodbye my love
what do u think? was heat of the moment a groundbreaking apology? share your feelings under leave a reply