Circle In The Sand

Album: Heaven On Earth (1987)
Charted: 4 7
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • You complete me
    - Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) to Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire

    In this song, the "circle in the sand" represents two people who complete each other. It's a forever bond:

    you complete the heart of me
    Our love is all we need

    But in the second verse, we learn that something is amiss:

    Cold wind, tide moves in
    Shivers in the salty air
    Day breaks, my heart aches
    I will wait for you right here

    Ellen Shipley, who wrote the lyric, explained the storyline to Songfacts: "They met at a certain time in life and then they completed each other. It was great, and you don't know why they're not together but at some point they fell apart. I think life just takes a turn and suddenly you're not with somebody because you need to do something else but you still wish and hope that you might get back with that person. Or else you're left with a memory, and memories are very strong. In my writing, I have a lot of stuff about memories that you walk around with, stories that affected you, and then your life goes on. But you don't kill the memory. So, you may not be with the person but you always remember what it felt like."
  • Rick Nowels produced the album and co-wrote this song with Ellen Shipley. It was released as the third single from the album, following the #1 hit "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" (also written by Nowels and Shipley) and "I Get Weak (written by Diane Warren.
  • Ellen Shipley was on the beach when she got the image that formed the basis of this song. She told Songfacts: "I was sitting there one day and I was just making circles and I went home and I thought of this whole lyric, 'Circle In The Sand.' I heard like a Peter, Paul and Mary kind of innocent thing about it when it went: [sings] "Sun down, all around." I hear this innocence about it, but this is a theme that I have in my writing where people separate and you don't know if they're going to come back together or not."
  • "Circle In The Sand" was Carlisle's biggest hit on the Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at #5. When she launched her solo career in 1985 after her group The Go-Go's split up, she adopted a softer, more adult pop sound.
  • Like the video for her first single, "Mad About You," Carlisle spends most of "Circle In The Sand" fully clothed on the beach, which is appropriate considering the imagery in the lyric. Peter Care, who also did Carlisle's "Leave A Light On" video, was the director.
  • Thomas Dolby, who is known in the US for his '80s hit "She Blinded Me With Science," played keyboards on this track. Dolby contributed to some of the biggest albums of the decade, including Foreigner's 4 and Def Leppard's Pyromania.
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Comments: 2

  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesShe sounds as if she's channeling Stevie Nicks in the chorus...
  • Vagelis from Athens, --In a strange way, it reminds me of a hot summer day...
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