Bang The Drum Slowly

Album: Red Dirt Girl (2000)

Songfacts®:

  • Guy Clark helped Emmylou Harris write this elegy for her father, who died in 1993. She told American Songwriter magazine: "You would think something like that is so important that you should write about it. I had a great level of difficulty dealing with something so close to home. It took me a while to get some distance … My dad, he worked on cars… there were so many things I could have learned from him but I was too busy being an artist. Sometimes, [with writing] you just forget: you think it has to come from above when it actually just comes from your heart."

    "Guy Clark said we should write the song, because he knew my dad," Emmylou added. "When my parents would come to visit, I would always have Guy and Susanna over. Guy really appreciated that my father flew Corsair jets, and also how grounded he was, with the way he could make coffee and such. You know how Guy is, he can see people in a frame. And I felt that he could pull that out of me."

    "So we worked on that song one day and then we would phone each other," she continued. "He once said, 'Is your father buried in Arlington?' I said 'no' and then he said, 'That's such a great word.' So that is one thing in the song that is in a sense not true."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Queen

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

Jimmy Jam

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.