So…about five or six years ago, I went out for a couple of years with this gorgeous redhead, whose name I shall for reasons of decorum not share here. Unfortunately, things did not work out, partly because I am simply an “eejit” (as my Scottish family might say). Amazingly, however, we managed to stay friends and keep in touch. A little while ago, I met up with her and she told me she was seeing someone new. Of course, I was happy for her. We all want the people we care about to prosper and flourish. But part of me also felt bittersweet about this development. Wondered what might have been. (I always felt that “Red” was “the one who got away”).
So I did what I always do…and wrote a song about the situation. About complicated emotions I suddenly had to negotiate. This is the result.
Written in the unusual key of C# minor (NOT quite the saddest of all keys; according to Nigel Tufnel of spoof super-group “Spinal Tap”, that is still D minor!), it is entitled simply “Red” and juxstaposes the colour of her hair with me being “blue” (in all senses). The song just poured out of me. I wrote the music in a single day (the day before I went skiing with my son Willem and his friend Christian, in Val Thorens in in April 2014). The words I wrote the following day in Val Thorens itself. Whilst my son Willem and his friend Christian were off in ski-school and I was waiting to collect the key for our chalet, I sat in a bar with a few beers, listening to the music on a loop on my iPad and wrote the words. I recorded them later that evening, again on the iPad.
I sent the result to Joe. He did overdubs, added harmonies and the classical guitar piece in the middle and the “pouring water” effect which he solemnly told me symbolised three things: 1) tears of sadness; 2) drink (“to drown away your sorrows”); and 3) the sea (as in “there’s plenty more fish in the sea”). That’s very Joe!
Joe and I both like the result. We hope you do too!
exceptional writing, I love the imagery and use of red despite the blues. I get a sense of depression within this, your subtleness and understanding words are very refreshing.
I was with Henk on a skiing trip when the inspiration for this song came to him, and hearing the riff develop during the week with new lyrics appearing each day was interesting, as I know this is a process that every song undergoes. Henk spent hours tweeking the riff here and there, and it is great to hear when a song as moving and passionate as this is finally finished. Great work, Henk.
Thanks Chris — appreciate it!
Love the guitar solo at the end and such a great story behind it.