Song Lyric Sunday: Pretending – ‘Tears Of A Clown’

Everyone pretends, at least sometimes. The public face often bears no relation to what’s going on in the internal dialogue. It’s not surprising, therefore, that there are many songs that would fit Helen’s theme this week of ‘pretending’.

Bob Dylan almost certainly had his tongue wedged firmly in his cheek when he famously described Smokey Robinson as ‘America’s greatest living poet’, but there’s no denying that this classic, co-written with Stevie Wonder and Hank Cosby, is all about that public/private dichotomy.

Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey, that’s quite a different subject

But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really, I’m sad
Oh, I’m sadder than sad
You’re gone and I’m hurtin’ so bad
Like a clown I pretend to be glad

Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around

Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
In order to shield my pride I’ve tried
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness

But don’t let my show convince you
That I’ve been happy since you
Decided to go
Oh, I need you so
I’m hurt and I want you to know
But for others I put on a show

Oh, there’s some sad things known to man
But there ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around, oh yeah

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my sadness hid
Smiling in the public eye
But in my lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around

Oh yeah, baby

Now if there’s a smile on my face
Don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don’t let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don’t care
Really, I’m sad
Hurtin’ so bad

And as a bonus this week, since this song’s lyrics refer to it, why not give yourself a treat and let Luciano Pavarotti blow your socks off with ‘Vesti la giubba’ (‘On With The Motley’) from the opera ‘Pagliacci’? Same theme but very different treatment.

Song Lyric Sunday 17 December 2017

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