Detour Ahead
Ella Fitzgerald Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Smooth road, clear day
But why am I the only one
Travelin' this way
How strange the road you love
Should be so easy
Can there be a detour ahead

Wake up, slow down
Before you crash and break your heart
Gullible clown

You fool, you're headin'
In the wrong direction
Can't you see the detour ahead

The further you travel
The harder to unravel
The way he spins around you
Turn back while there is time
Can't you see the danger sign
Soft shoulders surround you

Smooth road, clear night
Oh lucky me, that suddenly
I saw the light
I'm turning back away
From all this trouble





Smooth road, smooth road
No detour ahead

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Ella Fitzgerald's song Detour Ahead can be interpreted as a warning about the dangers of blindly following love. The first verse introduces the idea of a smooth road and clear day, but the singer is the only one traveling in that direction. This could be a metaphor for the journey of love and relationships, where the singer is on a path that doesn't seem to be shared by others. The next lines, "How strange the road you love, should be so easy" suggests that the road of love may not always be what it seems, and the ease of it may be an illusion. The question "Can there be a detour ahead?" implies that there may be difficulties or roadblocks coming up.


The second verse is a warning to the singer to slow down, before they "crash and break their heart." The line "Gullible clown, you fool" suggests that the singer is blindly following their heart and may get hurt as a result. The lines "You're heading in the wrong direction, can't you see the detour ahead" can be interpreted as another warning to the singer to stop and consider the potential dangers ahead.


In the final verse, the singer realizes that they need to turn back from "all this trouble." They have seen the "light" and are now on a smooth road with "no detour ahead." The song suggests that it's important to be aware of potential pitfalls and to not blindly follow love, otherwise, you may end up on a detour that's harder to unravel.


Line by Line Meaning

Smooth road, clear day
Life seems easy and uncomplicated but only for a moment


But why am I the only one Travelin' this way
Feeling alone and lost, as if nobody can relate to one's situation


How strange the road you love Should be so easy Can there be a detour ahead
It's odd that the path one has chosen seems simple, yet there might be obstacles that can alter one's course


Wake up, slow down Before you crash and break your heart Gullible clown
Take a step back, evaluate the situation, and don't be naive


You fool, you're headin' In the wrong direction Can't you see the detour ahead
Don't continue down this path, or else there might be a big, unexpected change that you're not prepared for


The further you travel The harder to unravel The way he spins around you Turn back while there is time Can't you see the danger sign Soft shoulders surround you
It gets tougher to leave once you're invested, but there are warning signs to take heed of before it's too late


Smooth road, clear night Oh lucky me, that suddenly I saw the light I'm turning back away From all this trouble
After an epiphany, it's best to make a change for the better and avoid the rough patches


Smooth road, smooth road No detour ahead
Finally, after hardship and near-catastrophe, life is back to normal and clear of any setbacks




Lyrics © O/B/O APRA AMCOS
Written by: HERB ELLIS, JOHN FRIGO, LOU CARTER

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Doug Voice

Smooth road, clear day
But why am I the only one
Travelin' this way
How strange the road to love
Should be so easy
Can't you see the detour ahead ?

Wake up, slow down
Before you crash
And break your heart
Gullible clown

You fool, you're headin'
In the wrong direction
Can't you see the detour ahead ?

The further you travel
The harder to unravel
The web she spins around you
Turn back while there is time
Don't you see the danger sign
Soft shoulders surround you

Smooth road, clear night
Oh lucky me, that suddenly
I saw the light
I'm turning back away
From all that sorrow

Smooth road, clear  day
No detour ahead



All comments from YouTube:

MrMahlerman

I can't get enough of Ella, and hope more and more hidden, missing, "imperfect" recordings surface. She was the best singer of songs.

Freddie D

Thank you for the post. No one can touch Ella on her voice. She had perfect pitch.

Mark Proulx

I absolutely LOVE this song. Beautiful melody and amazingly creative lyrics.

thorenjohn

Wow - what a supple and silky voice. She does an amazing job with this.

Louis Philippe

Thanks for uploading this rarity! Ella should have recorded an album with only guitar accompaniment during her vocal peak in the late 1950s

jude111

Totally agree. I only know of a few tracks, most of which are on the Duke Ellington songbook: Azure, In a Sentimental Mood, and Solitude. Then there's this track and Angel Eyes, plus Wait Till You See Her from the Rodgers & Hart songbook. Well, that's half an album's worth. Wonder if there's more in the vaults... I love Sarah Vaughan, but somehow her voice didn't sound as nice as Ella's with just a guitar (see album After Hours).

franguccio1

One of the best versions of this I've ever heard. Which is not surprising coming from Lady Ella...

Jeff Dowdy

One of my favorites. Every word is clear. Best heard at night with lights off, eyes closed.... Dianne Reeves recording of this song is also very good. Thank you for posting.

wackney hick

A song full of traps for singers whose pitch tends to lapse into flat notes. Ella cruises past all the pitfalls, makes the whole thing seem easy, lays down a marvel, aided by a sympathetic guitarist.

Shari Stevenson

wackney hick I concur!

More Comments

More Versions