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Lead singer Adam Duritz wrote this song about denial. It's about when you're in a relationship with someone and you keep denying it's anything but a fling, then you wise up and realize that all along while you were denying it, you were growing closer together.
There is a real Anna - she's a girl from Australia that Duritz met on vacation in Greece in 1989, and she broke his heart. Duritz was far from famous at the time - he saved up money doing landscaping work to afford the trip. At the end of the trip, he and Anna agreed that there was no way for their relationship to continue, and they went their separate ways. "The characters keep saying 'I'm not ready for this sort of thing' until at the end when they find out what they really aren't ready for is the loss, but then it's too late," Duritz explained.
Adam says that they remained friends and occasionally spoke on the phone, even after Anna got married. She is a big fan of the song. (thanks, Beth - Charleston, SC, for above 2)
Duritz says that while Anna is real, the song is really about him, and in this context she is a character.
Adam Duritz often uses real - or slightly varied - names in the songs he writes. "Proper names matter to me, and so I use them," he said in our 2013 interview
. "I think that comes across to other people, even if it's not the name they're thinking of. People ask me questions like that all the time, like, 'Who's Anna?' She's Anna. You don't know her. She's in Australia. But she's every girl you ever felt that way about, too."
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