It starts quietly, a single guitar picks out notes in 3-3-2 rhythm in a minor key while a second guitar softly strums open-fretted as accent, then adds its own descant beneath the first.  Once the melody which really isn't a melody is stated, a recorder, probably an alto, makes itself known in a second descant and the theme restates its pattern, weaving a mood which words may not be competent to encompass. 

At last, a single male voice sings:

The summer had inhaled and held its breath too long.
The winter looked the same, as if it never had gone.
And through an open window where no curtain hung...

I saw you, I saw you,
Comin' back to me.

One begins to read between the pages of a book.
The shape of sleepy music and suddenly your hooked.
And through the rain upon the trees that kisses on the run...

I saw you, I saw you,
Comin' back to me.

You can't stay and live my way,
Scatter my love like leaves in the wind.
You always say you won't go away,
But I know what it always has been.
It always has been...

A transparent dream beneath an occasional sigh.
Most of the time I just let it go by,
But now I wish it hadn't begun.

I saw you, yes, I saw you.
Comin' back to me.

Strolling the hills, overlooking the shore,
I realize I've been here before.
The shadow in the mist could have been anyone.

I saw you, I saw you,
Comin' back to me.

Small things like reasons are put in a jar.
Whatever happened to wishes, wished on a star?
Was it just something that I made up for fun?

I saw you, I saw you,
Comin' back to me.


Likely I first heard "Comin' Back to Me" roughly 40 years ago, and in the midst of the psychedelic rock which characterizes much of Jefferson Airplane's classic album, "Surrealistic Pillow," "Comin' Back to Me" is a powerful and startling contrast in its simplicity and the plaintive beauty of its words. 

It was perhaps about 20 years ago that I was flying back to Cleveland from some field service trip in April, looking down at the snow-covered ground as we were on approach to Runway 28 into Hopkins, and I wondered if indeed, "The summer had inhaled and held its breath too long."  I don't know that I have any other specific memories tied up with "Comin' Back to Me," other than once attempting to pick out the lead guitar part on a friend's six-string.  Still, I found myself leaking tears even as I recalled the lyrics from memory.

There are songs that have that kind of power.  "Comin' Back to Me," without a doubt, is one of them.

Please listen.  Please enjoy.


Tags: Comin' Back to Me, Jefferson Airplane

Views: 37

Replies to This Discussion

Great song, great group. I saw them live once at a popular Hollywood venue where they staged the West Coast production of Hair. The Airplane was a great American band.

Thanks for sharing, Loren! Real quality.

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