1941
Harry Nilsson Lyrics


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Well in 1941 a happy father had a son
And by 1944 the father walked right out the door
And in '45, the mom and son were still alive
But who could tell in '46 if the two were to survive

Well the years were passing quickly
But not fast enough for him
So he closed his eyes through '55
And then he opened them up again
When he looked around he saw a clown
And the clown seemed very gay
And he set that night to join that circus clown and run away

Well he followed every railroad track
And every highway sign
And he had a girl in each new town
And the towns he left behind
And the open road
Was the only road he knew
But the color of his dreams
Was slowly turning into blue

Then he met a girl, the kind of girl
He wanted all his life
She was soft and kind and good to him
So he took her for his wife
And they got a house not far from town
And in a little while
The girl had seen the doctor
And she came home with a smile

Now in 1961, a happy father had a son
And by 1964 the father walked right out the door
And in '65 the mom and son were still around




But what will happen to the boy
When the circus comes to town?

Overall Meaning

The song '1941' by Harry Nilsson tells the story of a man's life from his birth in 1941 to his son's birth in 1961. The story is one of sadness, with broken relationships and a constant search for something more. The father's life is marked by significant events that uproot him from one place to another, seeking something but never quite finding it. The lyrics follow the timeline of his life and the decisions he makes along the way.


The song starts with the story of the man's birth and quickly moves onto his father leaving in 1944. The next verse reports that the mother and son are still alive in 1945 but questions whether they would survive the next year. The lyrics here indicate the difficulties faced by a single mother during this time.


As the years continue to pass, the father becomes restless and seeks adventure. He meets a clown and decides to join the circus, leading him to travel the country and have relationships with women in every new town. The open road becomes his new home, but the song suggests that his dreams were slowly turning blue, meaning that he was losing hope for the future.


In the final verse, the man finds the love of his life and settles down. He has a son, and for a brief moment, everything seems perfect. But in 1964, history repeats itself, and the father leaves, leaving behind a son with an uncertain future when the circus comes to town.


Overall, the song '1941' tells a sad story of a man's life filled with broken relationships and a sense of restlessness. The lyrics suggest that no matter how far he traveled or what he did, he never found what he was looking for, and his past continued to repeat itself.


Line by Line Meaning

Well in 1941 a happy father had a son
In 1941, a man became a father for the first time, and he was very happy about it.


And by 1944 the father walked right out the door
By 1944, the father had abandoned his family and left them to fend for themselves.


And in '45, the mom and son were still alive
In 1945, the mother and son were still alive despite their difficult circumstances.


But who could tell in '46 if the two were to survive
But it was unclear whether the mother and son would be able to survive the challenges that lay ahead in 1946 and beyond.


Well the years were passing quickly
Time was moving rapidly.


But not fast enough for him
It wasn't moving fast enough for the singer, who was impatient for change.


So he closed his eyes through '55
He ignored the passage of time and did not fully experience the years between 1946 and 1955.


And then he opened them up again
Suddenly, he became aware of the passage of time again.


When he looked around he saw a clown
The artist encountered a clown in his travels.


And the clown seemed very gay
The clown appeared to be happy and carefree.


And he set that night to join that circus clown and run away
The singer was inspired by the clown's carefree spirit and decided to run away and join the circus with him.


Well he followed every railroad track
He traveled extensively, following every railroad track he encountered.


And every highway sign
He also followed every highway sign he saw.


And he had a girl in each new town
In every new town he visited, the singer had a relationship with a woman.


And the towns he left behind
He would then leave those towns and the women he had been with behind him.


And the open road
The artist's life was characterized by the open road, with no particular destination or plan.


Was the only road he knew
He was familiar only with the open road and had no other frame of reference.


But the color of his dreams
Over time, his dreams began to change.


Was slowly turning into blue
His dreams, which had once been vibrant and colorful, were now becoming more bleak and depressing.


Then he met a girl, the kind of girl
At some point, the artist met a woman who was perfect for him.


He wanted all his life
She was the kind of woman he had always wanted and been searching for.


She was soft and kind and good to him
She was gentle, caring, and treated him well.


So he took her for his wife
They got married.


And they got a house not far from town
They settled down and got a house close to a town.


And in a little while
Not long after they got married,


The girl had seen the doctor
The woman had gone to the doctor.


And she came home with a smile
She returned home happy, presumably because she had good news.


Now in 1961, a happy father had a son
In 1961, the artist became a father and was very happy about it.


And by 1964 the father walked right out the door
However, by 1964, the father had once again abandoned his family and left them behind.


And in '65 the mom and son were still around
The mother and son were still alive and together in 1965, despite the father's absence.


But what will happen to the boy
However, it was unclear what the future held for the son.


When the circus comes to town?
Especially when he would inevitably encounter the circus that his father had once run away to join?




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: HARRY NILSSON

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@HorkPorkler

Well in 1941 a happy father had a son
And by 1944 the father walked right out the door
And in '45 the mom and son were still alive
But who could tell in '46 if the two were to survive?
Well the years were passing quickly
But not fast enough for him
So he closed his eyes 'til '55
And he opened them up again
When he looked around he saw a clown
And the clown seemed very gay
And he said I'd like
To join that circus clown and run away
Well he followed every railroad track
And every highway sign
And he had a girl in each new town
And the towns he left behind
And the open road
Was the only road he knew
But the color of his dreams
Slowly turning into blue
The he met a girl, the kind of girl
He wanted all his life
She was soft and kind and good to him
So he took her for a wife
And they got a house not far from town
And in a little while
The girl had seen the doctor
And she came home with a smile
Now in 1961 a happy father had a son
And by 1964 the father walked right out the door
And in '65 the mom and son were still around
But what will happen to the boy
When the circus comes to town



@LeoDopeland

Well, in 1941 a happy father had a son
And by 1944, the father walks right out the door
And in '45 the mom and son were still alive
But who could tell in '46 if the two were to survive

Well, the years were passing quickly but not fast enough for him
So he closed his eyes till '55 then he opened them up again
When he looked around he saw a clown, and the clown seemed very gay
And he said, I'd like to join that circus clown and run away

Well, he followed every railroad track and every highway sign
And he had a girl in each new town and the towns he left behind
And the open road was the only road he knew
But the color of his dreams was slowly turning into blue

Then he met a girl, the kind of girl he wanted all his life
She was soft and kind and good to him so he took her for his wife
And they got a house not far from town, and in a little while
The girl had seen the doctor, and she came home with a smile

Now in 1961 a happy father had a son
And by 1964 the father walks right out the door
And in '65 the mom and son were still around
But what will happen to the boy when the circus comes to town?



All comments from YouTube:

@bobtittel7100

I will flatly state that Harry had the finest voice of all. More importantly, he knew how to USE it!

@mero77rus

Ф

@jonnocrap

it's a shame this video doesn't have more views. this man was a terrific singer/songwriter. He chose to remain in a state of obscurity throughout his career and it's unfortunate because he really could have been absolutely HUGE. RIP Harry, I wrote a song for you today

@jeraldcuccurullo2497

The best singer songwriter and a great piano playing Humble man of the last 1000 years!!! No comparison to any other singer, Nillson was the most unique and original artist Ever!!! Love You Harry as do my parrot's

@yinyangja

He didn't do any touring so there is not many videos of his live performances. Thank God he did this live special on an empty studio. This rendition is so much better than the record version. So much emotion.

@michaelgordon5399

Recently introduced to Nilsson's music within the last 2 years - He is now one of my favorites. I understand why The Beatles took such a liking to him. He was one of the great ones of all time.

@tobiasbremer7655

Nilsson was one of the least appreciated artists of is generation. The only reason I know about him is that my dad was a big fan of his, I grew up watching the Point. I wish kids my age would listen to him, but they're to busy listening to crappy pop music the major record labels put out and don't want the masses to listen to other music

@maggiealderton8363

Tobias Bremer hey ain't he nice, so is Randy newman, Nilson sings Newman rock's , old dad and c,c,c cold

@elroyaston6277

Good point.

@ryanrobinson255

I saw The Point on television in 1972 when I was 2 years old. It blew my mind and I KNEW I was Oblio. Loved Nilsson ever since.

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