Sunday, August 7, 2011

There's Water Over You (Dedicated to Joe Gorman)

First, I’d like to try a little experiment (of sorts) – it doesn’t require much, other than the ability to follow two simple instructions and the courage to post your honest reaction.  Sounds easy enough, right?


Step 1: listen to the Youtube clip below, while reading the lyrics to the song, "There's Water Over You" by the remarkable Colin Hay

Step 2: scroll down and go straight to the comments. DO NOT READ THE EXPLANATION (or other’s posts!) until you have posted your own response to the song.  Nothing formal or elaborate, just a few sentences sharing your interpretation of the title and the meaning of the song. Only then, after clicking submit, can you go back and read the explanation that gives the “real” story behind the artist's inspiration for the song. Make sense? Good, then let's do it!

Be yourself, be brave, and be honest!

I can feel your love come shining
Over and across the sea
There never was a light more blinding
Ever watching over me

I walk into the swirling wind
It carries me away
Back to where my life begins
Can you hear me say?

I can see you where you're hiding
And there's water over you
I know that you are pretending
And there's water over you

I walk beside you on the wall
Oh, so far away
You will catch me if I fall
Can you hear me say?

Love and all security
These are things you give to me

I can touch you when I'm dreaming
Long into the lonely night
You hold me when I wake up screaming
 Everything will be alright

And if I had to choose
between meeting God or you
I would wake my king and queen
There's water over you

Love for all eternity
This and more you give to me

Now, skip the explanation and post your reaction/interpretation in the comments BEFORE reading on!

EXPLANATION: (Note, this is not a verbatim quote, just my recollection of the story Colin told prior to performing the song)

As a kid, Colin was a big fan of cowboy movies, especially ones with John Wayne, which he would watch repeatedly with his dad. They both found it amusing how when someone was knocked out by a punch, or passed out drunk, they could be instantly revived by a bucket of water getting dumped on them.

The act of throwing water became an inside joke between father and son. Often they would play hide and seek, and the dad would seek out hiding spots that would allow him to catch a quick nap while his son looked for him. When found, the dad would continue to pretend to be asleep, and Colin would be like, “Wake up Da’, c’mon. There’s water over you…” at which point the dad would pop up like one of the drenched cowboys in the movies.

As Colin got older, his dad would use the phrase to get his sleepy teenager out of bed. “Get up, Son, let’s go – there’s water over you.”

Of course, the dad gets older too, and Colin ends his story with a sad account of being at his dad’s wake, looking wistfully at the coffin and tearfully thinking, “C’mon Da’, it’s time to wake up. There’s water over you…”


I should close this by explaining that I just returned from a wake for the father of a good friend, and as such things go, you start to think about your own parents, etc. And on the way home,  this song started playing on the CD player, and having seen him perform it live, and hearing the backstory above, I found it to be a wonderfully apt and poignant song to be playing at that moment – but it got me wondering what others would think of the song who were not privy to the artist’s explanation.

And that’s my experiment. I told you it would be easy. The hard part comes next...

Go back and relisten to the song, knowing what you know now, and try not to get choked up.

Finally, for Casey and his family, and anyone who has lost their dad (and those still fortunate enough to have theirs around), remember that the world, and every human in it, is made up of 70% water - meaning there's ALWAYS water over you too. So if you're hanging on to resentment, let it be water under the bridge. If you're missing him, let it be tears. If you're angry, let it cool your heels. And if you love him, let it pour right out. I know Casey and I are fortunate to have had great relationships with our dads, so this may be easy for me to say, but if water can ease the effects of John Wayne's best punch, then it can be a wake-up call for you too.


  1. Parents...good enough ones at least, allow us to take for granted that the world is a dangerous and unforgiving place...and, that when we fall, because we will, they will be there to catch us...this is the security this song represents...that, the love of a parent for their child!

  2. Missing a parent and longing for the security of the simple times in life.

  3. Missing someone (parent, loved one) who has passed, or perhaps has traveled far away, but still feeling their presence. The water represents that they can still be seen/felt, and though perhaps the image is blurry, the presence of this person can still pass through.

  4. First impression was a song to a long lost love or a wife. Water over me could be a representation of how their love fills him over & over.

  5. Is he singing about his bed?

  6. While i was listening to this song I thought of the love you have for Eli,and the love I have for you and your brothers.I still have a sense that Bobby is still around me,some times more at certain times.
    I did not understand the the part of choosing meeting God or you and the king and Queen part.

  7. Nice work everyone!

    And Mother, I have no clue what the king and queen parts means either!

  8. Okay, it sounds like a guardian angel kind of thing to me. I didn't try to break it down line by line, since most lyricists will throw in some things just for the sake of imagery or rhyme scheme. I have to admit that my response is slightly tainted. Although I didn't read ahead, I did know that you attended a wake the same afternoon you posted this, so likely had mortality on your mind.

  9. Sweet and simple song of devotion. Just heard the song for the first time today. Posted this very video earlier as my new favorite Colin Hay song. Now here I am looking for his intent. Looking forward to see what following the rules gets me. I love rules. "Thanks for playing: ~ oh wait that's your line!

  10. I woke up screaming the other night,and my sweet girlfriend Julia,was hugging me and telling me everthing was ok . So the song always reminds me of her and the way she's always there when I need her . I've been trying to figure out what "water over you " meant for weeks now. And now I know.
    We are going the Colin Hay concert in Charlotte in February