Trees

Album: Wake Up The Nation (2010)
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Songfacts®:

  • This conceptual piece about growing old was inspired by the visits Weller made to his dad, John, when he was in a respite home. His father managed Paul for his entire career from the early Jam days, and was his best friend and confidante, but ill health had limited his involvement since the mid 2000s. John finally passed away in April 2009. Weller recalled to The Observer March 28, 2010 the residents as "little fossilised trees, all gnarled and curled up. But there were pictures on their doors of when they were young. They were mothers, beautiful young women, strong, proud, young men… reduced to this strange level, this in-between world where they're just waiting to go, waiting to die. 'Trees' was me imagining what their lives were like before."
  • Weller told Spinner UK: "The whole song is about old age and waiting to go and move on to their next phase in life, whatever you care to believe in. I really like the metaphor of people waiting to be planted back into the world. The song was born out of my experience, but if I was going to write a song about him at all I would write something very positive and celebratory, because that was the man, that's the spirit of him. That's how I dealt with it, looking at the positives, the things he's left to me and of his time on earth. I think it was harder on the rest of my family, but I've just cracked on. That's what you've got to do in life, you've just got to get on with it."
  • Producer and co-writer Simon Dine had the idea for five different musical parts to interpret Weller lyrics and the Modfather's cousin Mark was drafted in to play guitar.
  • The origins of this song are a poem that Weller wrote. He told Mojo magazine May 2010: "I'm always writing, thoughts, bits of prose. Trees and She Speaks on the new album started out as poems. Trees I wrote very quickly and I was happy to have written it for myself, expressed what I was feeling and what I wanted to say. It's another means of getting stuff out of your head. The process takes over."

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