It’s A Dirty Old Shame When All You Get From Love Is A Blog Post

From Wikipedia:

“All You Get from Love Is a Love Song” is a song composed by Steve Eaton. It was popularized by the Carpenters in 1977. It was released to the public on May 2, 1977. Its B-side was “I Have You”, a song released on the A Kind of Hush album in 1976. The song was also included on their 1977 album, Passage.
In the late seventies, this particular track appeared in a Top 10 of misheard lyrics (and is often on similar forums online).[citation needed] This was complied by Noel Edmonds and the misheard lyric sounds like: “Because the best love songs are written with a broken arm,” as opposed to the correct lyrics “Because the best love songs are written with a broken heart.”


Like sailin’ on a sailin’ ship to nowhere
Love took over my heart like an ocean breeze
As seagulls fly I knew that I was losin’
Love was washed away with the driftin’ tide
Oh it’s a dirty old shame
When all you get from love is a love song
That’s got you layin’ up nights
Just waitin’ for the music to start
It’s such a dirty old shame
When you got to take the blame for a love song
Because the best love songs are written
With a broken heart
And now the tears in my eyes are ever blinding
The future that lies before me I cannot see
Although tomorrow I know the sun is rising
Lighting up the world for everyone, but not for me

I like The Carpenters, but I really love this particular song.

I’ve been on a Carpenters kick for the past week, watching documentaries and movies about them on Youtube, and listening to many of their songs I never remember hearing before, such as this one.

It’s poignant watching videos of Karen, knowing that a few years later, she was dead from anorexia nervosa.

Her songs — yes, I know they were written by others, but they seem to come straight out of her life and out of her heart. They feel autobiographical.

I know that Karen was never able to sustain a relationship for long.

This song gets me from the first line: “Like sailin’ on a sailin’ ship to nowhere”

I want my life to go forward. I want it to be linear, but I keep feeling like I’m repeating the same mistakes, the same failed relationships. They never last much longer than a year.

It’s a dirty old shame when all you get from love is a blog post.

It’s such a dirty old shame when you got to take the blame for a love song.

I can’t blame my failed relationships on my demanding touring schedule or on the travails of being rich and famous. I can’t identify that deeply with Karen Carpenter. But the more I read about her, the more I watch about her, the more keenly I identify.

When I speak to an audience, I feel like Karen Carpenter singing. I feel we both display that same open-heart in performance.

Among the most self-destructive things you can do is to write about your love life. It makes people pause before considering a relationship with you. Nobody wants to have their love life written up from another’s perspective.

I guess I learned from my dad that you sacrifice everything to be your best from behind the pulpit. My dad has a PhD in Rhetoric and it shows when he gives a speech. He’s magnificent.

To prepare for a talk, you study, you write, you rehearse, and then you assemble your best self and give it to the public.

It’s rare to find a great public speaker who’s equally warm one-on-one. Many are at their most human in front of a crowd.

Karen put all of her love into her singing and she didn’t have much left for real life.

My frustrations with ordinary human connection drive my blogging.

This Carpenters song was released May 2, 1977, the month that I moved to California from Australia. I was eleven years old and determined to build a new life free from frustrations and failures of my first three years in school (2nd – 5th grade), the same length of time that I was interested in girls (but had no success).

I remember the one time I moved in with a woman. It lasted from August to November 1993. I got a call from an Orthodox rabbi at the time. I told him what I was doing. He said, “You’re going about things the wrong way.”

Orthodox rabbis kept telling me this same thing over the past 20 years and judging by the results of my choices, I guess they’re right.

I feel like I’ve missed out on much of life by grasping for things in the wrong order and I’ve ended up with nothing from love but blog posts (and some fancy duds).

I love the open road. It’s like sailin’ on a sailin’ ship to nowhere, like my relationships. Love took over my heart like an ocean breeze and left just as easily.

There was that Sunday morning one November. I woke her at 4 a.m.. She protested. “You’ve got to be kidding!” I didn’t listen. I picked her up and put her in the shower. “You can sleep in the car,” I said.

I had a rental car for a week because of an obligation (I had crashed a friend’s car and while it was in the shop, I drove him around). It had to be returned the next day. I wanted to see how far we could drive. I had dreams of reaching Big Sur.

We were in Moro Bay by 9 a.m.. She wanted to stop and walk around. We had breakfast. We poked around. By 10 a.m., I was eager to hit the road. She thought three hours of driving was far enough knowing we had to go back the same day.

We asked a guy how far away was Big Sur. “About an hour,” he said.

“That’s too far,” said my girlfriend.

“But how far away does Big Sur actually start? You mean the town is an hour away. But Big Sur starts in 20 minutes drive.”

He agreed. And my girlfriend reluctantly acquiesced to my wishes.

“If we’re going to argue like this, we can’t go on vacations together,” she said.

We stopped on a bluff in Big Sur and carrying a blanket, walked to a secluded spot overlooking the ocean where no one could see us. We took off our clothes and got friendly. The cliff face was just a few feet from where we grappled, falling away 200 yards to the surf below.

The sun shone. The sky was blue. The temperature was about 75 degrees. It was perfect.

We made it to Monterey by 4 p.m. and had an hour to walk around before the sun set. My girlfriend had never been to Monterrey. I felt great that I was taking her to places she’d never been before and making her scream my name.

When we got out of the car, she started making suggestions but I said no. We had to find a coffee shop before anything. I needed a bathroom.

She was surprised at how assertive I was. She liked that. Normally I was passive and supportive and she walked all over me.

Beginning the drive home, I put the Cowboys game on the radio. She felt the loss of my attention. Turning to her phone, she read me a text that she’d gotten from Vicki*, a woman she’d twice left me for.

The text said simply, “Do you want to play?”

The first time my girl left me for this other girl was after we’d gone out for a week in January and had plans to get together that Monday night when she went off the radar and did not pop up for six days to leave me a message that she’d gotten back together with someone.

The second time was in July when she went on a vacation and called me to ask how did I feel about her playing around with Vicki* on her last night in LA.

I was speechless, got off the phone quickly, and cut her out of my life two months.

Now Vicki was popping up again. Driving meant freedom to me, but now I was stuck in a car for at least four hours with somebody taunting me about her lesbian hook-ups.

She’d said that her previous boyfriend would never put up with such behavior but obviously I did. I was a doormat.

I went into shock as I drove the car at about 70 mph along the narrow, twisted and bumpy 101 Freeway South. I needed all of my attention to keep us safe but I felt like I had just been punched in the gut.

“Well, do you?” I kept asking her.

She said no. She apologized for bringing it up. “I just wanted your attention,” she said.

When we stopped for gas, my girlfriend paid for the second time that day. She knew the desperation of my finances.

At the end of the trip, I announced how great it had been. My girl said that she now knew how much I needed reining in. Upon reflection, she should’ve stopped me in Moro Bay. I had no common sense. We’d taken a bridge too far.

“But we didn’t make love in the sun until we got to Big Sur,” I thought. “How could you regret that?”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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