If you’ve ever zoomed down a California highway and tuned your Pandora or SiriusXM or the iPod that your Uncle Keith sold you, the one who now lives on a commune called the Vegan Scrumptious Dirt ‘n’ Bits o’ Gravel Farm — if you switched one of them to “Classic Rock,” you might have heard the band America.
Well, America is so American, their labeling is total bullshit. They’re British. They also contain trace amounts of riboflavin.
And they recorded the worst love song ever by a man who has no idea what love is, or even simple human decency, for that matter.
It’s called “Sister Golden Hair.”
If you guessed “Sister Golden Hair” is really about nuns, you’re wrong. Although that might be better. Nuns understand that they’re never going to marry the man they love, but in their case it’s Jesus, so that’s a pretty unrealistic expectation off the bat.
No, “Sister Golden Hair” is a bouncy, wind-in-your-hair tune about a man who has JUST DUMPED HIS BRIDE AT THEIR WEDDING.
Well, I tried to make it Sunday,
But I got so damn depressed.
Starts off not so bad. They had weekend plans and he had to bail. That happens. Except he didn’t call. Didn’t leave a message.
Not cool, bro. An apology is in order. You’re just telling her you didn’t show up. She already knows that, because you didn’t show up.
Depressed is a big clue here — they didn’t have Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, or even affordable cocaine in 1975 when this song was recorded. We want to extend this guy some sympathy, especially when he insists he’s “damn” depressed, because maybe his illness makes him angry and self-loathing, and in 1975 there weren’t as many comedy clubs, either.
So I set my sights on Monday,
And I got myself undressed.
Sounds like he fell asleep for 24 hours, then woke up and remembered to take off his clothes. Definitely a symptom of clinical depression. Or a lot of heavy drinking.
But these are the opening chords of a melancholic love song, so we’re giving the guy the benefit of the doubt.
I ain’t ready for the altar —
WHAAAAAAT???? What did you just say?
"The altar" is a clear reference to a wedding. He wasn’t, say, being sacrificed. You can’t R.S.V.P. "regrets" to that kind of thing and not expect somebody to come and escort you to the festivities.
And he’s clearly the groom in this scenario. He’s not a friend or family member in attendance. You don’t sit anywhere close to the altar. He’s not a groomsman, either, or he would’ve said, “I ain’t ready near the altar” or “I ain’t ready by the altar” or “I ain’t ready for the altar, like, just off to the side.”
This wasn’t some hippie flowers-in-your-hair gathering in a field of clover, either. This was a Sunday church wedding that required wardrobe.
We’re talking invitations, floral arrangements, a bridal gown, maybe out-of-town travel on the part of guests, a cake, a DJ or band of some kind. All that takes planning. It takes LOGISTICS. Ever heard of the Invasion of Normandy? AMATEURS. They didn’t have catering.
But hey — our guy ain’t ready for all that. He just decided. And didn’t bother to tell anybody. Just pulled the plug and took a nap.
(And “I ain’t ready”? That’s a little casual for a jilting. He’s already screwed up so stupendously, so agonizingly, but “I’m not ready” would go a long way.)
But I do agree there’s times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine.
Fantastic! Your once-future-husband, who just embarrassed you in front of dozens or even hundreds of your friends and relatives — not to mention blowing twenty grand or more of your dad’s money on a party, that soon after it started, nobody wanted to be at — well, that fine gentleman WANTS TO BE FRIENDS. What plucky gal wouldn’t just LEAP at that chance?
Well, I keep on thinkin’ ‘bout you,
Sister Golden Hair Surprise.
Okay, wait a second.
We met, we dated, we fell in love, you asked me to marry you, we planned a big church wedding, we talked about it, we looked forward to it with giddy anticipation — we even had a goddamn REHEARSAL the night before, for Christ’s sake — and then you took a big wet shit over everything.
You didn’t even leave a note.
I was left standing there, alone, with these stupid flowers in this ridiculous, bulky, dumbass dress I’ll never wear again, I can’t return because I had it altered, and I won’t hand down to my daughter, even if I eventually have a daughter, because that would be the sickest curse laid on a child since Rosemary’s Baby.
Then you say you want to be friends.
Now you say you keep thinking about me.
"Damn depressed," you bet. That’s me. For not seeing what a bipolar asshole you are.
And I just can’t live without you.
Can’t you see it in my eyes?
If I see your eyes again, I’ll stab them with the knife we were going to use to cut our wedding cake, you SOULLESS BASTARD.
I’ve been one poor correspondent,
And I’ve been too, too hard to find.
This just keeps getting worse. We’ve been “correspondents”? Like, writing letters? Why have you been so far away? Were you traveling for work? Were you in the miliary? Is that why you were too, too hard to find? Your unit kept moving? Were you in Vietnam? Were you in the shit? Were you in the cool Vietnam like Apocalypse Now or the gray, rainy Vietnam like Platoon?
Why didn’t I see this? Why am I so stupid? Is this really my fault? Am I an unlovable monster? Should I change? Dear God, can I change?
Now I’ll have to go read and re-read your love letters all over again, except I can’t, because I fucking burned them.
Will you meet me in the middle?
Will you meet me in the air?
"Meet you in the middle," right. You already said you want to be friends. Between "friend" and "wife" is — let me guess — "fuckpunch." Am I close?
You expect me to be able to get naked with you after all this? Are you insane? (Well, clearly.) But are you fucking stupid?
"Meet you in the air"? Are you really trying poetry right now? Like we’re, I don’t know, fairies or something? ("Peter Pan" fairies, not "gay" fairies. I have to mention that because of Ramon, my florist. And Daniel, my wedding planner. And at least three of the waiters, I’m sure of it.)
Will you love me just a little,
Just enough to show you care?
Is that what you think love is? Some measurable quantity of emotion that you can dispense with an eye-dropper? One drop, you care. Two drops, we’re fucking on that hideous couch you spilled a lava lamp on in your studio apartment. Three drops, we’re married and living happily ever after in a four-bedroom in Encino.
No, I don’t love that way. I love all the way or nothing. I love with my whole heart and soul, the fiber of my being, the very essence of my existence. Except for that one time in college with my sociology professor. I was experimental then.
Well, I tried to fake it.
I don’t mind sayin’
I just can’t make it.
Oh, just fuck off and die. Seriously.