Track 17 Ten Thousand Midnights Ago

file_199345_0_Sunset_Blvd-642x362Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded March 28, April 3 and 4, 2015. Mixed April 27, 2016.


Genesis: I love black and white movies from the 1940s and 1950s. One of my favorites is Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, a film that dissects Hollywood of the early 1950s. In 2005 I read a book about the making of the film: Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard by Sam Staggs. One of the chapter titles used a line from William Holden’s opening voiceover: “Ten Thousand Midnights Ago.” I immediately wrote that line in my songwriter’s notebook, knowing there was a song inside it.

I came up with the music on September 8, 2005, written in 4/4 time. Five days later I changed the meter to 3/4 or waltz time. As for lyrics, all I had was the title line as the concluding line of each verse.

I fooled around with lyrics but didn’t come up with a final version until August 7, 2007. It is an enigmatic lyric: the story mysterious, the narrator imitating Holden’s voiceover, referencing the film’s themes and movie storytelling in general. I would be interested in hearing what listeners think is going on, as I resisted a straightforward approach and let my subconscious prevail.

Production: Acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, pedal steel, drums.



Sipping a whiskey

And watching the northern night sky

The stars that I dreamed on

Have gone to the sweet bye and bye

The first chill of winter

Descended tonight

Along with a dusting of snow

The moon was much fuller

Ten Thousand Midnights Ago


Exterior morning

The camera pans wide for the shot

A man and a woman walk slowly

Then stop at a plot.

The woman starts crying

The man holds her tight

The close up shows more than we know.

Life was a mystery

Ten Thousand Midnights Ago


Falling from grace in a heartbeat

Suddenly yesterday’s news

Pushed off the track

Slow fade to black

And you’re gone


Sunrise is tricky

It promises more than it gives

I prefer sunset

It knows where the other half lives

Only a stranger

Could see through this town

And wait to deliver the blow

Fate drew a pistol

Ten Thousand Midnights Ago

The world changed direction

Ten Thousand Midnights Ago

The floodgates were opened

Ten Thousand Midnights Ago

The moon was much fuller

Ten Thousand Midnights Ago


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved



Track 17 Ten Thousand Midnights Ago

6 thoughts on “Track 17 Ten Thousand Midnights Ago

  1. One more comment – you have chosen excellent pictures to go with the songs.
    And I just noticed before sending that the word ‘songs’ in this comment had a ‘d’ instead of the first ‘s’. Mended.


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