The late Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt was always known for writing clear, straightforward lyrics that don’t leave you wondering what it is he’s trying to say. In the midst of the late sixties/early seventies, it wasn’t easy to find singers who told you just what it was they had on their minds. That said, Townes did write a few cryptic lines. Today, we’ll look at a section of his song “Nothin.”
Almost burned out my eyes
Threw my ears down to the floor
I didn’t see nothin’
I didn’t hear nothin’
Here, Townes is describing two moments of don’t-try-this-at-home experimentation. When he was a boy, he was told not to look directly into the sun, so, being Townes, he of course did, and almost burned out his eyes. Years later, he took to hiding in his apartment all week, drinking and writing songs. Come weekend, he would throw a party. At one of these parties, Townes, wanting to know what it would feel and sound like to fall off his fourth-floor (some say third-floor) balcony, did just that, and fell the four (or three) stories to the ground. Witnesses say he got right up, without even spilling his wine. That there was a born songwriter.