Guest Column | December 28, 2020

Water Quotes From Song Lyrics

Jim Lauria

By Jim Lauria


For as long as I can remember, I have felt a deep connection between water and music. From mix tapes (remember those?) to my current iTunes playlists, water themes have dominated my song selections.

And it does my heart good to see that some of my fellow water colleagues have a similar appreciation of music. Over many a lunch, Joe Zuback and I laughed over his penchant for writing song parodies using popular tunes. More recently, at a California Agricultural Irrigation Association meeting, Dan Keppen and I spent a few hours overlooking the Pacific Ocean talking about our favorite rock bands.

During a recent podcast interview, George Hawkins told us that when it comes to managing a water utility, he thinks of himself as a conductor of a jazz band; and while not playing any of the instruments, he keeps the musicians all playing the same tune. And during another podcast session, Paul O'Callaghan related the story of how Liam Neeson, narrator of his documentary Brave Blue World, convinced Bono to let them use U2’s song Every Breaking Wave to end the film.

On LinkedIn, Will Sarni just posted a version of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five performed by The Sachal Studios Orchestra based in Lahore, Pakistan. The tabla portion of the piece had a special significance for me because when we first started dating, my wife Laurie Lauria was taking tabla lessons and insisted we go see Zakir Hussain accompany the Alonzo King contemporary ballet company. And Patrick Decker has chosen LinkedIn to post inspirational performances by Black Pumas, Eddie Vedder, Marvin Gaye, and the Talking Heads, one of my favorite bands.

Speaking of bands, if there is ever a Water Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the first inductee is obvious. With their hits — The Ocean, The Rain Song, Fool in the Rain, When the Levee Breaks — Led Zeppelin is a one-band hydrological cycle. Honorable mentions go out to Bob Dylan (Watching the River Flow, Shelter from the Storm), The Beatles (Rain, Across the Universe), Dire Straits (Water of Love, Down to the Waterline), and The Grateful Dead (Box of Rain, Ripple).

Ladies, please don’t fret. My all-time favorite water-related song is Natalie Merchant’s Where I Go

“Well I go to the river

To soothe my mind

To ponder over

The crazy days of my life

Watch the river flow

Ease my mind and my soul

Where I go”

Here are my other top song lyrics that reference water:

1. “I was born by the river in a little tent, Oh and just like the river, I’ve been running ever since...” - Sam Cooke, A Change Is Gonna Come

2. “Only love, Can make it rain, The way the beach is kissed by the sea...” - The Who, Love, Reign O’er Me

3. “Like a bridge over troubled water...” - Simon & Garfunkel

4. “You better get your coat, dear, it looks rain...” - Elton John, Madman Across the Water

5. “...All this time the river flowed endlessly to the sea...” - Sting

6. “Looking out on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired...” - Aretha Franklin, Natural Woman

7. “Riders on the storm...” - The Doors

8. “...I've seen fire and I've seen rain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end...” - James Taylor

9. “I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay, watchin' the tide roll away...” - Otis Redding

10. “I know to you, it might sound strange, but I wish it would rain...” - The Temptations

11. “Have you ever seen the rain comin' down on a sunny day?” - Creedence Clearwater Revival

12. “Don't cross the river if you can't swim the tide.” - America

13. “Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head...” - B.J. Thomas

14. “Smoke on the water, fire in the sky...” - Deep Purple

15. “If you need water, I’ll be your river.” - Cyndi Lauper

16. “Thunder only happens when it's raining....When the rain washes you clean, you'll know, you'll know” - Fleetwood Mac, Dreams

17. “Old black water, keep on rolling...” - The Doobie Brothers

18. “...I wanna know, Take me to the river. I wanna know, Want you to dip me in the water. I wanna know, Won't you wash me in the water...” - Al Green

19. “Rock me on the water, Sister will you soothe my fevered brow...” - Jackson Browne

20. “I can’t stand the rain, against my window...” - Tina Turner

If you have any to add, please post them in the comments section.

Thanks, and please check out the other posts from my series “Water Quotes from…”

Water Quotes from Around the World

Water Quotes from Leonardo da Vinci

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