Thursday, November 3, 2005

Some Guys Have All the Luck

This is one of those times when a song is constantly going through my head, in this case "Some Guys Have All the Luck." The song was originally performed by The Persuaders and released in 1973. It made Billboard's Soul charts, but did not make the Pop charts. Nonetheless, it was later remade by Rod Stewart for his Camouflage album, released in 1984, and released as one of the singles from that album. I daresay the Rod Stewart version is the better known of the two. Indeed, I have never heard The Persuaders' version.

Anyhow, I thought I would do something different today and engage in an analysis of the lyrics to the song.

Some guys have all the luck
Some guys have all the pain
Some guys get all the breaks
Some guys do nothing but complain

The chorus is very basic and posits a very simple concept. Basically, some guys get all the advantages in life and love, while others do not. And while the song is unabashedly romantic (as will be seen later), the chorus does seem to be a bit cynical. After all, most romantics would like to think that the nothing can stand in the way of true love, that the right guy and right girl will get together no matter what, that eventually every Miss Right will find a Mister Right. In movies from The Apartment to When Harry Met Sally, the couples get together through sheer perserverance and the strength of true love. On the other hand, the chorus to "Some Guys Have All the Luck" expresses an entirely different idea, that it is all a matter of luck. Of course, with that idea comes the idea that the less worthy guy could actually win the girl in the end simply out of sheer luck.

Alone in a crowd on a bus after work
And I'm dreaming
The guy next to me has a girl in his arms
My arms are empty
How does it feel when the girl next to you
Says she loves you
It seem so unfair when there's love everywhere
But there's none for me

From the first stanza we only learn a little bit about "our hero's" situation. He is quite apparently lonely and unattached, yet he longs to have a rellationship with someone. He could be anyone from a successful businessman to the Star Trek nerd living in his mom's basement. Indeed, there is no indication that he ever has been in love, although he does long for it. One thing is clear, despite his cynicism about finding love (it all comes down to love), he would seem to be a romantic, in that he places a good deal of importance in having a woman to love.


Someone to take on a walk by the lake
Lord let it be me
Someone who's shy
Someone who'll cry at sad movies
I know I would die if I ever found out
She was fooling me
You're just a dream and as real as it seems
I ain't that lucky

In the second stanza things become more clear. The hero of the song continues to long for someone he can love, he someone he can spend time with and enjoy things with. The last two lines of the second stanza makes it clear, however, that it is not a case of not having found someone to love. He is in a situation far worse than simply being lonely and wanting a girlfriend--he is already in love and apparently has little chance of winning her (that is, he "aint that lucky"). Indeed, from the line "Youre just a dream..." it is clear that he is addressing the song to the girl of his dreams.


All of my friends have a ring on their finger
They have someone
Someone to care for them it ain't fair
I got no one
The car overheated
I called up and pleaded
There's help on the way
I called you collect you didn't accept
You had nothing to say

In the third stanza the hero of the song once more bemoans the fact that he does not have someone in his life. All of his friends are married and he doesn't even have a girlfriend. The situation also becomes more clear. Not only has "our hero" found someone to love, but it is quite obvious that "our hero" had had a relationship with the woman he loves. When his car overheats, he calls her collect (I am guessing from a pay phone at a gas station or something). To even call the girl of his dream, he had to have had her phone number. This could indicate that at one point he did indeed have the woman of his dreams. How he lost her we are never told, but given the chorus ("Some guys have all the luck..."), it seems possible he lost her to a rival. I should point out that his car overheating continues the theme of the hero of the song being a Sad Sack with no luck whatsoever.


But if you were here with me
I'd feel so happy I could cry
You are so dear to me
I just can't let you say goodbye

The second chorus makes it clear that at some point he must have won and then lost the woman he loves. After all, how could she tell him "Goodbye" unless they were in some sort of relationship? To a degree, the second chorus also breaks away from the theme of some guys having all the luck. In stating that he can't let her say "Goodbye," the hero of the song is quite obviously expressing a determination to win her back. It seems then that he either believes he will get lucky or, more likely, that he believes that in the end perserverance and the power of love can even overcome bad luck. Ultimately, the song is not about having someone to love, but about having the one he loves. One gets the feeling that not just any girl will do.

Anyhow, I count "Some Guys Have All the Luck" among my favourite songs. I have never heard The Persuaders' version, although I did have the Rod Stewart version on vinyl. To me it is a sad song that expresses a line of thought that all guys have probably had at some point. And, sadly, I do have reason to identify with it.

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