Warwick Avenue, London, England

Warwick Avenue by Duffy

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When I get to Warwick Avenue
I'll tell you, baby
That we're through Read full Lyrics
You've heard of Bond Street, you've heard of Oxford Circus, and chances are good that you've also heard of at least half a dozen other places in Central London. But you probably haven't heard of Warwick Avenue, a least until you heard Duffy's hit song of the same name. And chances are even greater that you still have no idea where in the world it is, if you are not familiar with London.

So where is Warwick Avenue and why did Duffy write about it?

Well, to begin with, Warwick Avenue is in Central London, and according to Duffy herself, she has "only been there twice, once by accident."

Warwick Avenue tube station, London<br><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warwick_Avenue_tube_entrance.jpg">Oxyman</a>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>, via Wikimedia CommonsWarwick Avenue tube station, London
Oxyman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
It is nondescript, in the middle of nowhere, although it does have a tube station (that means train station or subway for those of you not familiar with the quirky moniker for the London Underground system).

It might also be the most depressing place to be if you want to break up with the person you once thought was the love of your life.

"Warwick Avenue" (the song, that is) shows us just how hard it is to say goodbye and leave the other person for good. You know it's not the right thing for you to continue, but then again, you aren't quite ready to give up the ghost just yet. That stolen hour ("but no more than two") is all you will have together before you go your separate ways, before the train leaves for good and you find yourself alone in the back of a cab crying for what was and what could have been.

In fact, when shooting the music video for her song, Duffy was caught unawares by the strength of her feelings. The tears she sheds are real ones, and if you have ever gone through a breakup, then you know how she was feeling.

Interestingly enough, the director hadn't intended for the entirety of the music video to be shot in the cab. However, with the real tears and the feelings that came through from Duffy that day, he felt the scene to be just right, and so continued shooting; which turned out to be a good thing because the music video rang a bell with a lot of people. The simplicity and the stark reality of it were a good showcase for Duffy's voice; so much so, in fact, that it was nominated for the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

But what does "Warwick Avenue" (the song, not the tube station) mean to Duffy? According to an interview with Duffy in the Daily Star, "There are lyrics in 'Warwick Avenue' about certain exes," and "being there on the video set, I got a bit upset."

Warwick Avenue tube station is a place that leads to nowhere in particular, and is, in effect, a way station of sorts – not only for Duffy in her song, but for the hundreds of people who pass by there on a daily basis. So why did she pick Warwick Avenue?

Apparently, it wasn't intentional. She didn't wake up one morning thinking that she had to write about Warwick Avenue. Said Duffy, "I got off at that stop and the name just took me by surprise. The next day, we were writing songs and it just sort of came out."

It turned out to be a good hook for a song, and the millions of people who tuned in to it all found that the laid back music, and Duffy's whisky smooth voice, were a great backdrop for what is, in essence, a very sad song, made even more stirring by Duffy's emotional ties.

Cen Fox
December 12, 2010
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