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Album: The Indigo GirlsReleased: 1989Charted:
and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls write separately, and this song was written by Saliers, who told us it is based on real experiences. Said Saliers: "All of my songs, they're a combination of real experiences and what I observe through other people's behavior and experience. I was with my family in Vermont, and we were sitting in this rustic cabin, and I was sitting on a front porch and looking out into the trees, which, you know, whenever you're in such a bucolic setting, it can make you feel very philosophical. So that's how I was feeling. And that song is about not beating yourself up too hard to get your answer from one place. There's no panacea, that in order to be balanced or feel closer to fine it's okay to draw from this or to draw from that, to draw from a bunch of different sources. So it's about being confused but looking for the answers, and in the end knowing that you're going to be fine. No seeking just one definitive answer."
Regarding the "Doctor of philosophy" in the lyrics, Saliers explains that it wasn't a real person: "It's sort of a stereotype. I remember in high school one of my teachers had a poster of Rasputin on his door, and his pictures just looked so bizarre to me, and always struck me. I sort of put those images together, and it was sort of a poke at academia and the way it can sometimes be removed from reality. So I was saying I don't think this professor has the right to judge me in terms of real life, when we're caught up in this insular, sort of strange academic world."
This was the first hit song for The Indigo Girls, and the album was their major-label debut. They paid their dues playing small venues before they were signed to Epic Records, and this was reflected in the lyrics about a late night/early morning trip to a bar. Says Saliers: "Amy and I used to be a bar band, and we would play 'til 3 a.m. like every night, practically for 13 nights in a row, 3 sets, finishing at 3 a.m., so I had some early experiences at bars at 3 a.m., certainly." (Check out our interview with Emily Saliers
. The official Indigo Girls website is indigogirls.com
This won the 1989 Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. The Indigo Girls were nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy, but lost to Milli Vanilli, who later lost the award when it was discovered they did not sing on their album.