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You Can't Be Too Strong

by

Graham Parker



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song sure sounds like it is describing an abortion: "Did they tear it out, with talons of steel," "It's just a mistake, I won't have to face," "The doctor gets nervous, completing the service."

That's certainly part of it, but Parker tells us, "That's the kind of thing where people are putting up a rigid interpretation on a song based on ideology." In other words, there's a lot more to it.

When The National Review published their list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs, this song was at #30. It's also the song Parker singled out when we asked him in 2012 which of his songs were the most commonly misinterpreted. Said Parker, "They decided it was an anti-abortion song. And of course it's a much more questioning song than that. It's a deeply emotional song that is not making any rules for anyone at all. But people do see it that way. I wrote some blogs on my Web site a few years back. One was deeply anti-religion, and the other one was a message to President Obama, which basically I was telling him to tell the Republicans to go f--k yourself. Because that's what they did to Democrats for eight years under Bush. Get with the program, Obama. Don't be wimp. He still hasn't taken my advice yet. But probably a good thing.

Anyway, somebody had a CD table at a gig came up to me and said, 'So you're finished with that conservative kind of thing, are you?' Because they suddenly found out I'm a raving liberal. I'm anti-religion and I'm anti-republican. [laughing] And I looked at him and said, "Well, yeah, for whatever." I just didn't know what to say really."
A lyric from this song, "everybody else is squeezing out a spark," provided the album title. Squeezing Out Sparks was Parker's fifth album and his first distributed by Arista Records in America. It was lauded by most music critics in the UK, and although Parker has earned a dedicated fan base and released over 20 albums, he never dominated the charts like many in the industry expected.
Graham Parker
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