You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure

Album: Cosmic Slop (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • What does the phrase "you can't miss what you can't measure" mean, exactly? We posed this question to Funkadelic leader George Clinton. "My mother called it 'mother wit,'" he said. "If you don't know how much it was, then you can't miss it. I don't know if that's actually true all the time, but it felt good when we said it."
  • The song is about a guy who is despondent since his woman left him. He calls a plumber to fix the kitchen sink, but it's his tears that are causing the problem. The plumber can't do anything about the pipes, but he does offer some advice: "you can't miss what you can't measure."
  • Much of the lyric was cribbed from a 1965 song by Clinton's group, The Parliaments, called "Heart Trouble." The "I'm trudging water" and "I chew my nails off one by one" bits both came from that one.

    Sidney Barnes, who co-wrote "Heart Trouble" with Clinton, is also credited as the co-writer of "You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure."
  • Garry Shider and Ray Davis share vocals on this song with Clinton. Shider also played guitar on the track.

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