Come From The Heart

Album: Willow In The Wind (1989)
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • Written by Susanna Clark ("Easy From Now On") and Richard Leigh ("Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue"), this was first recorded by country singer Don Williams in 1987, two years before becoming Kathy Mattea's third #1 hit on the Country chart. It was also recorded by Susanna's husband, folk musician Guy Clark, on his 1988 album, Old Friends.
  • The narrator learns an important lesson from her dad about living life to the fullest:

    You've got to sing like you don't need the money
    Love like you'll never get hurt
    You've got to dance like nobody's watchin'


    The above verse became a popular bit of wisdom and inspired similar aphorisms. Many assume the songwriters borrowed the inspirational sayings from an earlier source. Not so. Richard Leigh explained:

    "For some reason, people have a great deal of trouble attributing this lyric to its creators: Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh. The reason you can not find any printed or recorded support for these assertions dating back any earlier than our song, is because they don't exist... I think the folks out there must be unconsciously disappointed that something that cool came from such ordinary people, so they keep giving it the loftier authorship they believe it deserves."
  • After Mattea brought the song to #1, it became a hot commodity for advertising, much to co-writer Leigh's disdain. He wanted to turn down a lucrative offer from Reebok, thinking the song was too special to sell sneakers, but was overruled by the publishers.

    He recalled in the biography Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark by Tamara Saviano: "Reebok calls, wants the license to 'Come From The Heart' to sell their tennis shoes. Now, I'm so altered by then that I tell my publisher that I don't want to license it for a quarter of a million dollars. I don't care. I said, 'I'm going to call Susanna and tell her that I think it'll bruise the copyright.' This is a magical song. We don't want it selling sneakers. And that's how Guy and Susanna had changed me, and they didn't mean to change me. I started thinking songs were little sermons. They were written in homiletic form. They were meant to help people, not sell tennis shoes, so I was a changed man. But thank the Lord the publishers had control over both our contracts, so we not only got the money, we got to feel good about our decision. It was the best of both worlds."
  • The rock group Hard Working Americans recorded this with Rosanne Cash in 2014.
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