Motel Blues

Album: Album II (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • A track from Wainwright's second album, "Motel Blues" was inspired by life as a touring musician and what happens when the show is over. Fueled by boredom, the singer tries to lure a girl to his motel room, enticing her by offering to write a song about her and even buy her breakfast in the morning.
  • This was included on the 2008 album Recovery, which is a re-working by Wainwright of 13 tracks from his back catalog, all of which were written before 1973. He explained to Billboard magazine the difference between the original version of this song and its re-interpretation. Said Wainwright: "I wrote it when I was probably 25. It's about me trying to get a girl up to my motel room, and I actually say in the song, "sleep with me and save my life." Now, I'm in a hotel, and it's not that you're not very attractive! But now when I'm in a hotel room, whenever I try to get someone to come up its usually to fix the television or figure out why the WiFi isn't working or to open the windows. So that's the difference between a 25-year-old guy and a 61-year-old guy. But in another way, when a 61-year-old guy sings, "come up to my motel room, save my life," I think it has a different quality to it. It's desperation. It's interesting; I was obsessed with growing old even when I was young. And that's a theme. I don't know what that was about. And now of course I am older, so I think it's an interesting project."
  • Among the artists to cover this track are Big Star and Alvin Lee.
  • Many of Wainwright's songs deal with his family, which led some listeners to interpret this one as a jab at his first wife, Kate McGarrigle, but it's not - they didn't become a couple until after he wrote the song.

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