On Saturday Afternoons in 1963

When I was little (I mean really little) one of my most distinctive memories of that time is Ricky Lee Jones. My mom had gotten her self titled album and she would play and play that thing so much I thought for sure she would break the stereo she played it on. One of the songs that stood out to me, even to this day, is, On Saturday Afternoons in 1963. It’s a beautifully sad song (though I don’t think it’s meant to be so sad). I won’t pretend to know what she’s talking about in the song exactly, but to me it sounds like the lament of friendships that have moved on though you want to try and hold on to them, despite the years going by. 

There’s a kind of hopeful sadness in Lee’s voice that I think is so beautiful and touching. The way she sings, “Years may go by,” pulls every emotional chord available in the listener and to this day I don’t know why. To me this song is so complicated in its simplicity, arrangement, lyrics and vocals that even after all this time I don’t quite know if Lee is looking back in regret over the friends she’s moved on from yet tried to hold on to or a fondness for those friends and years that have gone by. What I do know is that all these years later, this song is one of my all time favorites. It’s a song that I never grow tired of and can listen to whenever. It’s a classic that has stood the test of time as a moving, beautiful and listenable piece of art.


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