LOVE IN VAIN

LOVE IN VAIN

States_of_Mind-_The_Farewells_by_Umberto_Boccioni,_1911
Umberto Boccioni (1911) – States of Minds – The Farewells

Well I followed her, to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Yeah, I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Well, it’s hard to tell, it’s hard to tell
When all your love’s in vain

 

When the train, come in the station
I looked her in the eye
Well the train come in the station
And I looked her in the eye
Well, I felt so sad so lonesome
That I could not help but cry

When the train left the station
It had two lights on behind
Yeah, when the train left the station
It had two lights on behind
Well the blue light was my baby
And the red light was my mind
All my love was in vain
All my love’s in vain

 

Love in Vain” (originally “Love in Vain Blues”) is a blues song written by American musician Robert Johnson .  He sings of unreciprocated love, using a departing train as a metaphor for his loss. During the final verses, Johnson called out to his lover, Willie Mae.
In 1969, the Rolling Stones recorded their version adding an electric slide guitar solo. Their rendition sounded more country than the original blues version, which was more dreary and gloomy. The popularity of their adaptation led to a lawsuit regarding the copyright for the song. In 2000, the court held that the songs were not in the public domain and resolved in favour of the Estate of Robert Johnson and its successors.

The song seems simple, just three verses. On the surface it talks about a train trip that the narrator wishes to take with his woman. He follows her to the station, but then she leaves him behind.  In his loneliness and desperation, he depicts the train departure through the vivid imagery of its lights, creating a poignant idea of desolate love

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