Track 2: The Lights Go Down at Eight O'Clock


If you've read this blog at all or if you know anything about my career, you know that I'm a book writer and book publisher by trade. However, I've also been writing songs since I was a young teen and, starting today, I'm going to release a new song every week from the collection I've been working on for the past few months. I won't be releasing the songs in track order (which you might have guessed since this first song is Track 2), but rather in an order that I feel makes more sense when presenting an individual song weekly than it might if one were presenting the entire set as a whole. This first song, "The Lights Go Down at Eight O'Clock," puts certain themes in play that weave in and out of the rest of the work. My plan for the "album" is that it will start with a cover of Joe Jackson's "Nineteen Forever" and end with a cover of Jethro Tull's "Too Old to Rock and Roll: Too Young to Die," which might give you some idea of the journey I'm trying to take with this, though that probably sounds more grandiose than I'm intending.

Some background. First off, this song is fairly autobiographical. No, my brother didn't leave a keyboard lying around, and my mother was much nicer to me than the mother here, but the nightly "concert" thing is a fairly accurate representation of my teen years. I've never discussed this with my musician friends, so I have no idea how common an experience I've captured here. Feel free to commiserate in the comments. I'm fairly certain, though, that I'm not the only person who did this sort of thing.

Regarding the production, "The Lights Go Down at Eight O'Clock" is the only one in the set that sounds like this. I hadn't originally intended "Lights" to lean so electronic (in fact, in the original lyric, Andy was a guitarist), but I tried it out on keyboard and really liked the way the track came together, so Andy became a keyboard player. All of the instruments and vocals are mine.

This collection is very much a labor of love. While "Andy" had vivid dreams of becoming a rock star, I'm very happy with the career path I chose. Still, I've wanted to get my songs down in a more complete form for a long time, so I'm finally getting to it. And since I was doing that, I thought I'd share them with you. I hope they provide a tiny bit of entertainment.

THE LIGHTS GO DOWN AT EIGHT O'CLOCK

Music and lyrics by Lou Aronica

Andy was a lonely boy; he never had too many friends

He wasn't much of a social type; he only went out now and then

His best friend was a stereo with high-def digital sound

And an electronic keyboard that his brother left around

By the time the boy was seventeen, he'd mastered at his art

Of playing pretty melodies; he's gonna be a star

Every night at seven thirty just after suppertime

Thoughts of a filled arena would creep into his mind

The lights go down at eight o'clock

A spotlight hits the stage

And as the music begins to play, the crowd becomes engaged

The vocal's full of melody

The rhythm section's tight

It's gonna be a good one, 'cause Andy's hot tonight

Andy plays in silence for the first part of the show

Then he walks up to the microphone to let the people know

That he's playing for the audience; he'll give it all he's got

Then he turns around and plays a lick that's especially hot

The music builds to fever pitch as he finishes the half

And in that first full hour, he's made them cry, he's made them laugh

Then he says, "I'm gonna take a break" as they turn on the house lights

"I'll be back in a little while; I'm gonna play all night tonight"

The lights go down at nine-thirty

A spotlight hits the stage

And as the music begins to play, the crowd becomes engaged

The vocal's full of melody

The rhythm section's tight

It's gonna be a good one, 'cause Andy's hot tonight

Andy comes on all alone, and he starts it soft and slow

It's just him and his keyboard for the next half-hour's show

Then the band comes on to join him and they're rocking out again

He plays a lightning solo as they bring it to an end

They come back for an encore, and he does his favorite song

The band is really cooking, and it's fifteen minutes long

The his mom comes in the room and says, "Turn down those records, boy

"Your father's trying to get to sleep and you're making too much noise"

But he'll be back tomorrow when the spotlight hits the stage

And as the music begins to play, the crowd will become engaged

A vocal full of melody

A rhythm section tight

It'll be another good one, 'cause he'll be hot that night

Copyright © by Lou Aronica


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