Eddie's First Wife

Album: Gretchen Peters (2001)

Songfacts®:

  • Eddie's first wife, in singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters' imagination, lived in a house with a Frigidaire refrigerator in the kitchen. Then one day she packed her things and left - for another woman - with poor Eddie shaking his head wondering what just happened.
  • Peters loves to create characters like these and give them breath. In this case, she saw a painting featured on the front cover of New Yorker Magazine entitled "Eddies First Wife." Her pen hit the paper and she began to write.

    She tells the story: "Well, the way that song came about is so bizarre. I was reading New Yorker Magazine and there was an article about an art exhibit that happened in New York. And there was a painting illustrated, a picture of a painting in this article. And the title of the painting was 'Eddie's First Wife.' And it was a painting of a kitchen, an empty kitchen, circa 1963, very early '60s. Almost looked like an ad for Frigidaire or something like that, it was that kind of style. But it was supposed to be very ironic. And it just intrigued me. I just thought, I want to write the story of what happened in that kitchen. Why is the kitchen empty? Who was Eddie's first wife? And my mind just went from there. I thought, Well, something clearly happened here, and she's not in the kitchen anymore, so she's flown the coop. What was it that happened? And I don't know, I just got this whacked out story that she left him for another woman. I can't fault her, because I sort of envisioned Eddie as being this hapless guy from 1963. I just pictured it all in that kitchen, and I thought, well, he's this unsuspecting, hapless guy. And what would be the thing that would happen to a guy like that that would come from left field? What would be the most unimaginable thing for him that could happen? That was it. And it allowed me to use a couple of icons, like Brigitte Bardot and Betty Crocker. Just a little bit of skewering of the domestic stereotypes. It's a lot of fun playing that song. If people haven't heard it, they really don't know what's coming. It's one of the most oddball songs I've written, but I love writing songs like that." (Check out our interview with Gretchen Peters. Her website is gretchenpeters.com.)

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