Cinderella

Album: Firefall (1976)
Charted: 34
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Songfacts®:

  • This song shares its name with the title character in Disney's classic Cinderella, but that's the only thing it has in common with that fairytale. Firefall founding member Larry Burnett wrote this song about a girl who wants the fairytale ending, but when she gets pregnant, her boyfriend kicks her out to raise their son on her own.

    This wasn't, however, based on personal experience. Burnett was 16 years old when he wrote this song and says, "I certainly didn't have a wife or a girlfriend who was pregnant and I was working my butt off trying to support us. None of that was going on. But it was certainly happening around me in other people's lives."
  • It took Burnett about 15 minutes to write this song. He says it happened so quick he almost never saw it coming. "It was already there, and I was just sort of this vessel. And *poof* I went, whoa, that was interesting. It was a nice moment."
  • Larry absorbs things happening in his surroundings, "like a reporter," without even realizing it, and turns them into song lyrics. He's not what he calls a "typical" songwriter, as he usually doesn't know what he's going to write about until he puts pen to paper. He says, "I know guys who sit down, and they have a concept and they want to work a song around the concept, and rhyming words and yadda, yadda. It's like a construction project. And I have attempted that, and in my view failed miserably, or come up with a lesser product, I guess, at the end of something like that. But what I noticed when I was really young is that, wow, this thing happened, and if there's a way I can access that environment, then perhaps it will happen more. And so that's kind of me."
  • Most of what Larry wrote on the first couple of Firefall albums were written when he was between 16 and 19. So he was prepared when the opportunity - in the form of Rick Roberts - presented itself to form a band. In a Songfacts interview with Burnett, he explained: "I lived in Washington, D.C. At the time there was a widely known club called The Cellar Door. They had Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt, they had all these people there during the week, and on Sunday nights they had something that today would be called open mike day, I guess. I used to go down there on Sunday nights and I'd play these little songs that I'd written. And the sound man there, who I am still friends with to this day, Jimmy Geisler, he used to record me. He thought I was really good, he recorded me. He had a little tape deck and a light and sound booth. And then during the week when all of these real people would be coming through, he'd be handing them these tapes going, 'Hey, I've got this guy writing songs, I think they're pretty good. Give him a listen.' I think he handed tapes of me on stage Sunday night at The Cellar Door to everybody that came through.

    Anyway, Rick Roberts was playing solo, and he came through as the headline act. And Jimmy gave him one of these tapes. And Rick went, 'Ooo, I'd like to meet him.' So Jimmy hooked me and Rick up. He called me up and said, 'Come down to the club tonight, this guy wants to meet you finally.' And so those songs that I was performing then when I was like 18 and 19 on this little stage at The Cellar Door, I had a boatload of them. And two or three years later when we finally got Firefall together, that's what we started out with, I had all this stuff already written. Believe me, the first time I heard 'Cinderella' on the radio, I kind of went, 'Whoa, that's pretty wild.'"
  • Just after Firefall was formed, the band was looking for a good publicist to get their name out and get their product heard. They met with Howard Blume, who was the go-to publicist in Los Angeles at the time. Larry Burnett told Songfacts, "We were thinking of engaging him and his servitude. And," he says laughing, "we had some idiots in this band, and I was one of them. We were nuts. Anyway, at that meeting, everybody in the band was very concerned about controlling what was said in the press about us. And we were looking to Howard to be the guy to do that. And Howard listened to everybody, and he was kind of smiling and chuckling, and he said, 'Look, here's the deal guys. Honestly, I don't care what they say about you, as long as they're saying something. My job is to make sure that they spell your name right.' I thought about that and I thought, Well, of course. You want to get famous, he doesn't care what for, he's just there to make sure everybody knows who you are. So I will repeat that because I thought that was a giant pearl of wisdom. Make sure you spell my name right."

Comments: 9

  • Gth from TxBased on the words in the last verse, "Shoulda left that mornin' left that day," implies she didn't leave with the child. That is reinforced by a verse just before this one that writer, Larry Burnett, has in his solo version of the song that is not in the Firefall version. It goes, "Nickle by nickle and dime by dime, daddy's heart started to break. Didn't take long for it all to go wrong from one unforgiven mistake." The lyrics deal with a tough situation, but the music is great. I love the harmonica in the beginning. Great song.
  • Roger To me this is a song from a young frightened young man's perspective. He can't see how he will ever be able to support his girlfriend nicknamed Cinderella and her baby. He tries to make her leave with a shoo shoo gesture but her response is all the no no no no as many times as it takes for him to understand she's not leaving. The boys response to her is ohh ohh no, ohh ohh no kind of like oh no..what have I got myself into. Last verse man is old sitting on the front porch looking back on his life which turned out fine, if only average. He realizes with both gratitude and humility that Cinderella actually deserve so much more than he was every able to give her even though their child, the son, did have all the joys and toys he should have. He then turns toward her sitting in the rocking chair next to him and puzzled with how it worked out asks her why she had never left such an underachiever when she she had every reason to do so and probably could have done so much better than him. I guess it turns out Cinderella knew all along the meaning of the word LOVE, not the other way around
  • Bill from UsI always felt that last line, him looking back on everything, was at that point saying to himself HE should have left that day he first met her. Then the verse falls into remembering her (and the son) one more time. The what should have, could of, about the whole thing.
  • Luc from Los Angeles, Ca.I have always love this song because it happened to me except he never stuck around or even cared about my boy! The strangest thing was I ran into him 40 years later and he pretended not knowing me but I recognized him right away! Thank God I was able to give my boy a good life and he gave me three beautiful grand kids in return! Who needs a loser dad!
  • Hugh from Carmel, CaI've always thought it meant that Cinderella didn't leave and then. in the last stanza, as an older man, he's wondering if he had been as good a father as he could have if he embraced the situation instead of fighting it.
  • Roger from Wyandotte, MiIt’s nice to see that others have wondered about that last line. I’ve often thought that as a young hippie he wanted to send her away, since back then no one wanted to be married. (as mentioned in Brooklyn Bridge’s ‘Worst That Could Happen”) But perhaps she didn’t leave and now as an older man he thinks about the mistake he almost made of sending her away and he wonders if he provided for the boy properly over the years. Did the boy get to have all the joys … At some point we all want to think that we are good parents and did the right things.
  • Becky from Glenville, WvThe last refrain to me means that he thought the woman should have left on her own, instead of him having to force her to leave. He has always regretted it. If she had left one her own...he wouldn't have known that she was pregnant and things would not transpired the waythat they did (he kicked he out).
  • Jack from Mesa, AzI love this song but the last refrain kind of throws me. Did she leave when he kicked her out or end up staying? He says "SHOULD HAVE left that morning left that day . . ." Guess it doesn't matter, if he was just 16 when he wrote it, even he probably didn't know what he meant.
  • Bill from Downers Grove, IlAlways one of my Firefall faves, love the guitar and flute work. Fun to sing along with, too.
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