I rarely remember my dreams when I wake up from a night’s sleep, even though I’ve tried many tricks to aid my recall. I do, however, often wake up with songs in my head and almost always with a distinct memory attached to them. I always wonder if the song has something to do with what I was dreaming about. And for some reason, the songs are almost always from the mid to late 1970s.
The music in my head when I woke up today was “Blinded by the Light” from 1977. This song instantly places me in the upstairs of my childhood house where I lived from first through eighth grades. My older sister’s room was directly across the hall from mine. She was six years older and I felt lucky to be able to soak in some of her coolness when she allowed it. My friends were envious. She would play music on her fancy stereo and teach me dance moves as we spinned and shimmied from her room to mine and back. Then later I would teach my friends the dance moves because they were from my cool older sister.
She taught me all the Saturday Night Fever disco moves to the Bee Gee songs that she learned at Skilley’s Dance Studio. We danced to S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y — NIGHT! She even bought that one for me on a 45 for my little blue plastic record player with the little thing in the middle that held the record in. And when she played the ‘Blinded by the Light’ song, I would always try to sing along. I remember she gave me a hard time because I thought they were singing “wrapped up like a douche … another runner in the night.” She explained to me how that was a word related to feminine hygiene and not something to be singing about. Maybe she told me what word she thought they were really singing, I can’t remember. But that sticks with me every time I hear that song and I’ve never figured it out.
So, when I woke up this morning the first thing I said to my husband was, “If they weren’t saying wrapped up like a douche in that “Blinded by the Night” song, what were they actually saying?” Without pause, he just shrugged because it was early and he already knew his wife was crazy. He offered up the word deuce as a possibility and shrugged again. I quickly Googled it on my phone as my day began. I had to know.
It’s interesting that certain phases of my life I can more vividly remember than others. And how certain songs put me in the Star Trek transporter and beam me right to that childhood house. (We watched every Star Trek episode there – my sister was sort of a Trekkie.)
I can see our yellow painted, glass top kitchen table against our yellow and brown lattice design linoleum (which matched all of the Harvest Gold appliances and even our counter tops). And hear the screeching sound the kitchen drawers made as they were opened, and my mom’s voice calling me from the bottom of the stairs, usually without my middle name which was saved for serious exceptions.
I can remember the rough texture of my pink and white sear-sucker bedspread with eyelet trim. And see the tire swing on the tree outside my room’s window that I concocted from a tire I found in the woods. My mom always thought that was industrious of me and I think that’s why she allowed it to remain even though it was visible from the street. And how my mom’s room always reminded me of Mentholatum because she kept a huge green jar of it by her bedside and must have used a lot of it.
And the music, oh the music. Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Dust in the Wind by Kansas, and the Bee Gees’s Tragedy song that became our sarcastic theme song whenever we were jokingly giving sympathy to each other. (My kids are very familiar with this and hate it when I sing our joking version, which makes me sing it more.)
So… the truth is finally revealed (to me anyway). It turns out that ‘Blinded by the Light’ is a song that has some of the most commonly misunderstood lyrics of all time (I wasn’t alone). It was written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen in 1973. But Manford Mann’s Earth Band modified the chorus before covering it in 1976, when it became a huge hit.
The newer version of the chorus changed Springsteen’s “cut loose like a deuce” to “revved up like a deuce.” And as Wikipedia explained, this phrase was commonly misheard as “wrapped up like a douche” because of the lead singer’s New Zealand accent. And if you were wondering what deuce was referring to in the first place like I was, it turns out to be ’60s slang for a 1932 Ford, a “deuce coupe,” which explains why it can be revved up and run.
So there you have it. Mystery solved. For that I am grateful.
excerpt of lyrics:
Some silicone sister with a manager mister told me I got what it takes
She said “I’ll turn you on sonny to something strong,
play the song with the funky break”
And go-cart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather chart to see if it was safe outside
And little Early-Pearly came by in his curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride
Asked me if I needed a ride
But she was…
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light ………..