Smoke From A Distant Fire

Album: Smoke From A Distant Fire (1977)
Charted: 9
  • You left me here on your way to paradise
    You pulled the rug right out from under my life
    I know where you goin' to I knew when you came home last night
    'Cause your eyes had a mist from the smoke of a distant fire

    Lord, I was stung shoulda' seen it come a long time ago.
    When I realized the reality gave me a role
    If things are the same then explain why your kiss is so cold
    And that mist in your eyes feels like rain on the fire in my soul

    This lying, and cryin', is upsettin' and gettin' ya no where
    It don't stack up, so slack up and pack up
    I just don't care
    Don't let the screen door hit you, on your way out.
    Don't you drown when your dream boat runs onto the ground

    I'd just like to know do you love him or just making time
    By filling his glass with your fast flowing bitter-sweet wine.
    He'll taste the aftertaste when you come home late some night.
    With your eyes all a mist from the smoke of a distant fire.

    Girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire.
    (Girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire)
    Girl your eyes have the mist from the smoke of a distant fire.
    (Girll your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire)
    Girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire.
    (Mist in your eyes from a distant fire)
    Girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant
    A distant fire

Comments: 47

  • Steve Phelps from Whetstone, ArizonaFirstly this a great tune! My best friend is Joe Dooley who in his youth jammed often in garage situations and one day as we discussed his past groups which include "The Electric Prunes" He explained he knew the vocalist of ST band. Low and behold, he had old copies from a reel to reel 4 track of early efforts. Even way back then I heard fantastic vocal work from this young man. Just wished they had had more charting hits but still here Smoke all the time on my local oldies channel.
  • Brian Cawhorn from MinnesotaRack! Thud! 20! 20!
  • Doug Murphy from Phoenix Arizona Met Rodger Johnson,lead guitarist for band in Senoma while he was a guide/driver for Pink Jeep tours the broken arrow trail.
    Reminded him that I saw him play while touring with J Giels band in 1976 in Ohio
    Great chat and fun memories!!!
  • Jen from FlSaw them at Great SE Music Hall and Johnny was so sweet...HOT! I was invited to go to LA but refused thinking he was looking for groupie. I think that was September & lo and behold I received a CHRISTMAS CARD from him in December! I was blown away. Cherished it for years. I have absolutely worn out my album so my 30 year old son found it on Amazon
    Must say I love THE WHOLE ALBUM IN ITS ENTIRETY. I think it is one of most underrated of my time. I listen to it over and over when I get nostalgic. Xo
  • Bara from Jackson, MiI’m going to be 76 in April, I’m here to tell you this song is forever! You can ask my kids, grands and greatgrands. They know excellent music because of their Granny!
  • Steve Smith from NavarreOmg. "That mist in your eyes feels like rain on the fire of my soul." They don't writem like that anymore. (not many ever did)
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 13th 1977, the Sanford-Townsend Band performed "Smoke from A Distant Fire" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Two months earlier on June 12th, 1977 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; on September 11th, 1977 it peaked at #9 {for 1 week} and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #44 on the Australian Kent Music chart...
    The song was the band's only Top 100 record.
  • Don from B G, KyI think this could be considered a follow-up song to the great 1950's song titled Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Kinda like the relationship has run its course and the former lovers are parting ways. Great song. Great band. Great times. I lived those years.
  • Sandy from Enterprise, FlThis is a terrific song, catchy, clever and hot.
  • Mooseboy from Lincoln, NeGreat song! The vocal arrangements are quite tough to figure out, but it was a pleasure doing so.
  • Mike from Unicoi, TnOne of the best rock-and-roll songs ever written.
    Mike, Unicoi, Tn.
  • Pamela from Bloomington, IlI've always remembered the line: "don't let the screen door hit you, on your way out", and it was the icing on the cake of this song--besides the jazzy music. I had forgotten the band's name (when you're in your 50's the memory can fail you sometimes), so recently remembering that line, I contacted my lil' sister who I knew had loved the song as much as I did. She had the band's name and appreciated my recalling the song for her as well. We've been listening to it on-line in the last few days to our memories' delight. Funny, that line is sung only once in the song, but it's the best (both to the ear, and to the imagination)!
  • Mike from Freeport, FlGreat song! I don't know much about the band but Steve Stewart has been a family friend for longer then I have been alive. He was lead guitarist in a band with my dad way back in the day. Steve has written some incredible music that just sits on paper or in his head that the world is missing out on. He still can pick up his guitar and come up with something off the top of his head that will blow your mind!! Great story!!
  • Wayne from Melbourne, AustraliaThis song will STILL be great in another 30 years - fantastic. I'm about to introduce this song to a whole new generation with the staff band playing it at our school - as well as playing it with my blues band around Melbourne. This number makes an old Hammond player feel young again.... Warm regards to 'the guys'.
  • Kimberly from Gastonia, NcI have loved this song since my childhood! I never knew who sang it, no one knew. It just so happened I was in the dentist chair and it came on the easy listening station! While still numb, I'm trying to ask as many people as I see who sings it. One person knew, so I now listen to it 2 or 3 times in a row from my ipod when it comes on! As a funk lover, this song keeps me more pumped than any funk legend! Thanks for such a well written and performed piece of art. You guys have NEVER received enough credit for your work!Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  • Patricia from Niagara Falls, NyJohn Townsend has one of the finest voices ever heard in the last 50 years. The original Sanford Townsend Band was excellent. Tight performances and the guys were obviously pros. "Smoke From a Distant Fire" will always be one of my favorite songs. I just wish I could have a picture of John Townsend when he recorded this song.
  • Pat from Millbrook, AlGreat song and equally a great band. In response to Carolyn from Montgomery, it just so happens that I played music with Steven Stewart just last night at The Keys on Dalradia Road in Montgomery so he's back from California and Montgomery is loving it!
  • Mark from Michigan, MiI fell in love with this song in 1977 - it's still on my Top 5 List. I'm lucky enough to have the vinyl from back in the day. My daughters grew up with this song -- we've danced to it in the living room from the time they were toddlers up until just last week! The rhythm section in this tune is amazing -- literally, they just don't make 'em like this anymore. I'm a midwester who grew up with Motown, but wound up loving Muscle Shoals rock. If you don't simply adore this song, you don't have an ear.
  • Johnny Townsend from Tuscaloosa, AlMan what a kick. What a great feeling to read all these wonderful comments. I love Jerry Masters' words. Jerry is a first class guy and a great engineer. I got a little misty eyed there for a minute. Nothing like Tebow after the SEC Championship Game, but taken none the less.
    Thank you all so much for your comments. It warms my heart on this cold rainy evening.
    Peace and Love,
    Johnny Townsend
  • Pete from Nowra, Australialove this song , they wrote a great song called Starbrite , recorded by Australian Jeff St John , sadly didn't do that well
  • Bill from Glasgow, KyI love this song,the lyrics are amazing.A tremendous way of telling a short story.
  • Carolyn from Montgomery, AlI knew Ed Sanford and Steven Stewart when they lived in Montgomery in the sixties. They were talented musicians then and I always wondered what happened to them. I am so glad to see they were successful. I wish someone knew where they were now.
  • Brian from Wilkes-barre, PaCouldn't agree more with all the comments on this song. One of the truly under-rated and unheralded songs of the 70's. It had everything, strong start, strong finish, fantastic melody, realatable story line, great vocals and scorching solos (sax and guitar). I never get sick of this one. Can't understand how an act like Madonna remains viable for decades and groups like this fade away. Shame, really.
  • Noni from Lancaster, ScSo, why was it not available on CD?
  • Jim from Leesport, PaIn my All-time Top 20. Still sounds great every time I hear it played...has held well over the past 30+ years
  • David from Great Falls, VaI use this song to describe "Beach Music" to people not familiar with the genre.
    They usually know this song.
  • William from Lanett, Al., AlJust simply a well written song & the arrangement kicks butt.
  • Linny from Harrisburg, PaAnd the harmonies on this song are perfect! This is defintely in my top 5 faves of all time and I never get tired of listening to it.
  • Diane from Orlando, FlI love the way this song paints such a vivid picture in your mind. Best, I think is "don't let the screen door hit you on the way out". Always love to hear this song!
  • Cathy from Buffalo, NyThis song is on my list of the all time best songs ever. It has a prominent spot in my playlist and I still marvel at the clean bell tone of John Townsend's voice. I have been a singer for nearly 50 years and I have always tried to have that same clear tone. Kudos to the singers, songwriters and musicians on this song.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdThe song's guest singer is Kenny Loggins. He had written "Peacemaker" with Sanford and Townshead
    for Loggins and Messina. They would also write a song for his debut album after he left Messina.
    Sanford also co-wrote Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You're Near)" and "No Lookin' Back" with Loggins and McDonald.
  • Jack from Huntington, WvGreat vocals and great band! Growing up with Motown music of the sixties, when this blue-eyed soul sound was released in the late 1970's, it renewed the youth of my teenage years. I get pumped every time I hear the tune on an oldies station, even today at age 59!.....Jack(Huntington, WV)
  • Dj Rock from Charleston, ScThis song lives in my Top 10 List - which now consists of more than 10 songs. LOL.

    It sounded great on the radio too, coming off a jingle (roll it on the 2nd call letter). The cold ending was fantatic.

    This piece was a gift from the Music Gods - Thanks to the Townsend's for making history!


  • Linda from Aurora, IlI loved this song for listening, dancing...the themesong of my life at that time. The lyrics were great and I loved John Townsends' of the very best songs of the 70's
  • Pete from St. Paul, MnIt's the finish that really makes this song special (equaled perhaps only by "Afternoon Delight", an otherwise *horrible* song), building up with those soaring vocals and then the abrupt cut. I can't help singing along whenever I hear it. Wonderful!!
  • Terry from Adelaide , AustraliaOne of the best songs of the 70's - still have it on vinyl - love to get it on CD. I'm sure Hall and Oates would have liked to got their hands on this one.
    Terry, Adelaide, Australia
  • Jim from Central, NyI also really like this tune. Dose anyone know if any bass tabs are available for it?
  • Tony from Syosset, Ny(Smoke From A Distant Fire) I'm a classic rock singer in a band called PowerPlay. John Townsend lead vocalist inspired me. With a clean precise voice that you just can't forget. This tune still rocks me today and always will. I do this tune at every gig.. *God Bless Jerry Rightner* and eveyone else who created this masterpiece.
    This song rocks and will live on forever.
    Tony Z. Syosset, NY
  • Mary from Bethpage, NyLoved this soulful tune. One of my all-time favorites and still love it.
  • Bryant Urban from Seattle/born Trenton,n.j., Wacool story, cool tune, another underated, soulful song, with a really hip bridge. another great example of american creativity in popular music.
  • B.l. from Barry, TxThis is one of my all time favorite songs, and what a story behind it! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe I'll just play the song...
  • Mark from Austin, TxGreat song with a GREAT hook!
  • David from Auburn, AlMy friend and former bandmate, Jerry Rightmer from Texas played on this and other STB songs. He passed away on March 4, 2007. He will be missed by a large family and a ton of friends. We love you, Jerry.
  • Hilliard from Kingston, Ny"Smoke From A Distant Fire" is an infusion of something potent. If you're not moving, you're not breathing. The earthy, smooth wide-open pipes of John Townsend are why the no-wear CD was invented.

    Hilliard, Kingston, NY
  • James from Lowell, MaThis is one of the hottest songs I have ever heard. I would love to know who played on it in the studio. Guitar,Sax, Drums, Keyboard, arranger
  • John from New York, NyA great song that went against the 1970s market--disco just catching fire. Also a pretty unlikely story. Why no follow up, I wonder...

    John, Brooklyn, New York
  • Steve from Salt Lake City, UtWOW! What a great story of this song!
    In 1977, I was 16 & totally into music of the 50's & 60's.

    This was one of the rare new songs of the year that grabbed my attention!
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