Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Starry Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh and Don Mc Lean

June 1889 (210 Kb); Oil on Canvas, 72 x 92 cm (29 x 36 1/4 in); The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Starry Night was completed near the mental asylum of Saint-Remy, 13 months before Van Gogh's death at the age of 37. Vincent's mental instability is legend. He attempted to take Paul Gaughin's life and later committed himself to several asylums in hopes of an unrealized cure.

Van Gogh painted furiously and The Starry Night vibrates with rockets of burning yellow while planets gyrate like cartwheels. The hills quake and heave, yet the cosmic gold fireworks that swirl against the blue sky are somehow restful.

This painting is probably the most popular of Vincent's works.


Don Mc Lean's lyrics:

Starry
starry night
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 the 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.

They did not listen
they did not know how
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 bloddy 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...


The words and imagery of this song represent the life, work and death of Vincent Van Gogh. "A Starry Night" is one of the Dutch impressionist's most famous paintings.

The lyrics "paint your palette blue and gray" reflect the prominent colors of the painting. The "ragged men in ragged clothes" and "how you tried to set them free" refer to Van Gogh's humanitarian activities and love of the socially outcast as also reflected in his paintings and drawings. "They would not listen/They did not know how" refers to Van Gogh's family and some associates who were critical of his kindness to "the wretched." "How you suffered for your sanity" refers to the schizophrenic disorder from which Van Gogh suffered.

5 comments:

Anvita Thapliyal said...

u have forgotten me ???:(
a

Eastmancolour said...

like each time
just...utterly...beautiful :D

the first time i heard the song... had no idea what it was about.. but ..was..just wonderful.

>:D< >:D< >:D<
miss ya

Anonymous said...

The first time I heard this song was in highscool back in 1980. My teacher in english playd it for us. Then we used a lot of time to talk about the meaning of the words. We came to the same conclusion as you. I think it is the most wonderfull song Don Mc.Lean ever have done!!
I come from Denmark and is a female 44 years.
I say hi to you in India, have a nice life

Three drinks ahead...as always! said...

Hi Anon! I hope you have a nice life too. :)

Anonymous said...

sang this song to my lover on some tiny island in malaysia, under the starry night, somehow reminding me of gauguin a little further away . it was great and wishin star crossed them skies and bowed to us .