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Yes, I know the way
The only thing that has bugged me about living in San Jose is the fucking song. You know the one: Burt Bacharach and Hal David, written specifically for Dionne Warwick.

Every time I tell people where I'm living, they start in with the tune. That is... if they are above a "certain age". It's my test for deciding if someone is older than thirty and has or has not seen the Merv Griffin show.

But what strikes me the most about the song is the sad tone of the lyrics. The flugelhorns tend to distract you in thinking that it's a happy song. It's not... there are sentiments like, "Dreams turn into dust and blow away, and there you are without a friend". Yeah, THAT'S a cheery thought. Maybe the couplet, "If I lived in Los Angeles I'd slit my wrists," didn't scan.

Here is a live version in all of its glory. I hope I never hear it again! Are there any songs about Alexandria, Virginia? How about Washington DC?

Do you know the way to San Jose?
I've been away so long
I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I'm going back to find
Some peace of mind in San Jose

L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two
They'll make you a star
Weeks turn into years
How quck they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas

Do you know the way to San Jose?
They've got a lot of space
There'll be a place where I can stay
I was born and raised in San Jose
I'm going back to find
Some peace of mind in San Jose

Fame and fortune is a magnet
It can pull you far away from home
With a dream in your heart you're never alone
Dreams turn into dust and blow away
And there you are without a friend
You pack your car and ride away

I've got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?
Can't wait to get back to San Jose

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I dunno, I kinda like the sentiment (despite the seemingly cheery music). It's basically saying that she's had enough of the soul-draining chasing of movie dreams and it's time to go back to where people are real and nurture her soul. I know of what that feels like.

Personally, I prefer, especially now:

What do you get when you kiss a guy, you get enough germs to catch pneumonia, and when you do, he'll never phone you, I'll, never fall in love again, Don't you know that I'll never fall in love again.... Am actually listening to the musings of Burt Bacharach through the stylings of Ms Dionne Warwick right now...

Of course, not many know I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN is from PROMISES, PROMISES... and the performance by Jill O'Hara and the late Jerry Orbach was pretty great too.

I had no idea! Wow.. you *ARE* gay!

Don't tell me what it's all about...
cause I've been there and I'm glad I'm out
Yeah, and speaking of Promises, Promises, that's another good one :) Or how about "Theme from Valley of the Dolls"

How about a tune about Sacramento written by folks who have clearly never been anywhere near there?

Not to mention this song about San Bernadino [sic]:

Where are the songs for Hayward and Fresno?

Um... never mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLMIJfCk68g

Heh. The first thing I think of for Washington DC songs is The Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"--which doesn't even pretend to be cheerful. (Fan video below.)

And yes, having grown up there I am somewhat sick of the Dionne Warwick version. The Frankie Goes To Hollywood cover of it, however--if you can find it--totally rocks.

I still kinda like the San Jose song, since I don't like LA much. That said, there was a miniseries about Fresno, starring Carol Burnett, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Michael Richards, Charles Grodin and Jerry VanDyke. It was contemporary with Dynasty and the like, but the plot was focused on an evil raisin magnate and his illegitimate child with Carol Burnett. Oddly, there were no California Raisins included in the cast.

HA... I remember that mini-series. I think it was just called Fresno if I remember right.

Well, it's sort of sad, but oh, oops, it's ALexandria, EGYPT.

It goes along with every song of this ilk about California, it is not the land of sunshine and honey that everyone makes CA out to be.

There are plenty of songs about DC, usually about politics.

magnetic fields: washington dc.

bands like: minor threat, bikini kill, bratmobile, unrest, nation of ulysses, faith, slant 6, fugazi remind me of DC .. tho all of them are from a kajillion years ago

Know that Dione Warwick song, oh yeah baby. :-)

That said, how about Mendocino by the Sir Douglas Quintet?

San Franciscan Nights by the Animals?

China Grove by the Doobie Bro's? (it's a small town in California somewhere)

Dirty Water by the Standels (about the River Charles in I think Boston)

And there are others like these out there. :-)

Though it’s set in Texas, I think “China Grove” is actually about Locke.

Todd Rundgren also has “Boat on the Charles.”


Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair (When You Come to San Francisco)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay, could be any of many places...

Ah, thanks, totally forgot about Lodi and I'm well familiar with CCR and the rest you mention, however, Scott McKenzie's song you are referencing is actually titled, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) but you had the right idea.

All good choices too!

while we're on the subject, what about "I left my heart in San Francisco"?

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Seriously? You've never heard it? How about "I'll Never Fall In Love Again"? Or "(They Long to Be) Close to You"? "Wishin' and Hopin'"? "I Say a Little Prayer""? "What's New Pussycat?" Man... the sixties had a whole bunch of great pop tunes.

With the Silicone Valley boom (and bust) in perspective, neither LA nor SJ seems particularly dusty dream free these days. You could also look at the song as a love letter to an SJ that does not exist anymore.

Just say Santa Clara...and you won't hear this. ;-)

And the song is gay...lots of young ones know Dionne Warwick. Hell, there was a vid of her playing at the Midnight Sun. Some kind of mashup, I believe.

I usually just say a little south of SF cause I'm sick of hearing "oh, do you know the way" when I say San Jose :P

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