manfred mann's earth band - "living without you" (from the manfred mann's earth band lp, available for purchase here.)
there was this dream i once had. then, i woke up--and to my greatest joy, my dream was still there. the dream stayed w/ me all the day through, occasionally making vivid appearances in waking life. all of a sudden, though, i lost that dream; now only traces of it remain.
i thought nights would be the most difficult, hopelessly interminable, even as i longed for them. still, one is meant to sleep through the night and there are pills to help w/ that. on the other hand, i've yet to encounter the drug that enables one to get up in the morning, even when one has, in the words of this song, "something to get up for." once i cross that hypnopompic threshold, leaving behind the comfort of dreams, regardless of content--my God, it's miserable.
randy newman's "living without you," then, is brilliant in its suitability, b/c he rightly posits morning as the toughest part of the day--soooo hard--for someone living w/o someone. i didn't know doo wah diddly a/b manfred mann's earth band until i saw it ranked conspicuously high in robert christgau's favorite albums of the 70s. newman's own version of the song sounds exactly how i feel; manfred mann's gives it structure and a pulse and makes it into a viable hit, all of which makes it probably the only definitive performance of a randy newman song ever recorded.
"structure," the purists lament? yes. structure is just what this song needs--the give in the refrain of "so hard" is both rocksteady musically and unquestionably shakey emotionally--but it is more importantly exactly what the person singing this song needs, whether that person is newman, singer mick rogers, or myself. one needs to find something to get up for, a reason to get through the hours and then the hours that follow that. after all, if one wishes to someday reclaim the dream he once had, he has to live to dream another day.