All-Time Stupid Lyrics: “Ventura Highway”

The early 1970s was a special time in American pop music. And by “special”, of course, I mean “drug-addled”.

One prime example, at least for my money, is the song “Ventura Highway” by America. This was an odd band; on one level, they had quite a few radio hits for a few years, and a pleasant, acoustic guitar oriented, folky/country sound, and could write a decent melody, but on another level, they also wrote some of the stupidest, most drug-induced lyrics of the decade.

And in the 1970s, that, friends, is saying something.

On “Ventura Highway”, the music is actually pretty good, and I generally like the song, but the chorus is … sort of … well, let’s take a look at the refrain:

Ventura highway in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine

The days are longer than … what? Moonshine? That makes no sense whatsoever.

And the nights are … stronger … than moonshine? Are you sure about that?

Those would have to be some pret-ty strong nights. Whatever that means.

You’re gonna go I know
cause the free wind is blowin through your hair

OK, this part is fine. But even a blind squirrel — or a stoned songwriter — finds an acorn once in a while.

And the days surround your daylight there

“The days surround your daylight there”? Um, what?

What does “the days surround your daylight” mean? Is this profound or something?

And the word “there” on the end? What is that? Maybe he just needed a rhyme with “hair”. A good songwriter would say, “OK, I should re-work this line so that the word ‘there’ doesn’t sound so, um, tagged onto the end for a rhyme”. This songwriter, however, opted to leave it tagged onto the end, for a rhyme, sounding stupid.

Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air, in the air

Dude, what in the world are you talking about?!

Put. The bong. Down.

Of course, it’s possible America was not a drug-addled band, writing songs in a haze of pot smoke and spent beer cans.

But that would be more embarrassing, not less. And unfortunately, I’m not fascinated enough by this topic to Google it, so let’s just go with “drug-addled”. It’s a pretty good bet for a song from the early 70s, anyway.

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2 comments
  1. Peter said:

    The urban legend about Three Dog Night’s “Joy To The World” was that they had the music written but no lyrics, and the “Jeramiah was a bullfrog” business were just random words chosen for their rhythm, to match the music so they could do test recordings… and they never got around to writing “real” lyrics so the throwaway ones stuck. Perhaps that’s the case with “Ventura Highway” and their alligator lizards.

    Funny thing, though, assuming they’re talking about the city in California – it’s pronounced “ven-TOO-ra”, not “ven-CHU-ra” and everyone I know pronounces it wrong because of this song. My company does business with the city (we’re on the East coast) and we were corrected on-site 🙂

  2. jb said:

    Re: “Joy to the World”

    Ah … so that would explain why the lyrics are so stupid. 🙂