Wednesday, January 4

Tears in Heaven

OK.  Our song for today is a serious one.

But it’s definitely one of the greats.  ;-)

Today I’m going to talk about the lyrics of “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton.

Eric Clapton wrote this song for his son Conor, in 1991.

Conor, who was 4 years old that year, died after falling from the window of a 53rd-floor apartment in New York.  

It was a great tragedy.

Eric Clapton spent some time by himself after the accident. Later, he came back to writing music. One day at work, he told his partner Will Jennings:

I want to write a song about my boy.

The song “Tears in Heaven” was born.

And it reached the No.2 spot on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart in America  - with a classical guitar as the lead instrument.

In the words and melody of the song, you can feel the love of a father to his child; his pain and grief.

In the first part:

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?

These words might allude to the fact that his child was very young. Either this or the fact that Clapton had only started to make a deep relationship with his son, right before the tragedy struck. 

Either way, Clapton wants his son to remember him; he doesn’t want to be forgotten. In the same way he doesn’t want to forget his child.


I must be strong

And carry on,

'Cause I know I don't belong

Here in heaven.

These lines can mean either :

1.       I want to stay with you, but my time hasn’t come yet. (It isn’t time for me to stay in heaven).

-          Or    -

2.       My purity and innocence (in relation to my son or maybe a standard/ ideal set by religion) isn’t enough to grant me permission to stay in heaven. I feel that I don’t deserve to go there (yet)

The “release” part was added by Will Jennings, who hesitated at first because the theme was very personal and sensitive:

Time can bring you down,

Time can bend your knees.

Time can break your heart,

Have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door,

There's peace I'm sure,

And I know there'll be no more

Tears in heaven.

So, this is a good song for those who are looking for strength in the face of the death of a loved one. The song provides a kind of purging and, indeed, release.

Finally, this is what Eric Clapton says about his songs in general:

I almost subconsciously used music for myself as a healing agent, and…it worked… I have got a great deal of happiness and a great deal of healing from music.

Keep on learning !

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