70: Something in Red

70: Something in Red

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Something in Red

Story by Angela Kaset

Song written by Angela Kaset

Recorded by Lorrie Morgan

I’d been writing in town professionally as a staff writer for one company or another for about fifteen years. I had gotten a few album cuts but had not had a hit. I was signed with a publishing company and when my contract came up for renewal, they chose not to renew it. I guess it was the first time that I really got canned from a writing gig.

That hit me pretty hard. It happened in the fall, so I went through a pretty tough winter both emotionally and financially. In the spring, I went looking for a new publishing deal. Of course, as luck would have it, one of our cars died, too. One day I was driving my husband to work. He was working out of town, so I was driving him to a halfway point where he was going to get a ride with someone who was going to take him the rest of the way. It was just another one of those gray Nashville days and if I had had any money, I probably would have gone and done a little shopping — a little retail therapy — but I was broke so I couldn’t even do that!

And I was driving down I-40 in Nashville and I remember looking up and seeing some of the first hints of green. It was just some ivy or weeds or something. It fed my soul. I thought, “Wow, there really is going to be a spring. There is going to be a break to all this darkness and gloom.” And then I remember thinking, “It’s so good to see something in green.”

And right away, my brain went, “Incoming! Song idea!” So I thought I might write a song called “Something in Green” that would be about jealousy, where a woman is out shopping and the clerk asks if she can help her and she says, “I’m looking for something in green.” I really liked that idea but then I realized that I couldn’t write a whole song just about jealousy. I needed another place to start. So I took the story back a few notches in my mind. I thought, “If this woman were in the store looking for something else, what other colors might she choose?” I thought colors would be a fun thing to work with. There are so many colors that have emotional significance, and they were also good rhyming words, too. I didn’t have to deal with orange or chartreuse or burgundy!

Red seemed to be the color of attraction and the color that calls attention to itself. So when I said the words, “I’m looking for something in red,” I knew that would be the starting point. So instead of going shopping, I spent the rest of the day writing that song and I finished it by the time my kids got home from school. It was one of those rare occasions when you get an idea when you’re by yourself, and you don’t have a co-writer to help you along with it, but you’re still able to finish it in one day. It was a good day.

The song was really quite transformative. To quote another famous song, “You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.” That time, I got what I needed to help me get through the day. And I also was able to get a new publishing deal. When my new publisher heard this song, they were ready to ink a deal.

I pitched it to Lorrie Morgan and she actually passed on it three times. Her producer at the time, Richard Landis, told her to listen to it again. She said, “I did and I already passed on it.” Then he told her to go back and listen to it all the way through very carefully again, and she did. When she did, she called him up right away and said, “I’m so glad nobody else decided to cut this,” and she took it into the studio and cut it. It went to #7, but stayed there a really long time. That can be just as good as a #1 hit.

The most interesting thing about this song is that I have had a number of men come up to me and say that it really moved them. I was surprised at that because I thought it was just going to appeal to women.

When I play it live, it really seems to bring out a lot of tears. After it had been a hit, the label forwarded a letter to me from a woman. She said, “I’m surprised the writer of this song didn’t know the best way to end it. I’m sending her another way to end it, and if the song ever gets recorded again, I’d be happy to come in as a co-writer on it.” She had written the song with the woman looking for something in black and the guy dying! I had actually considered that at one point but it just seemed so dark that it would take away from the rest of the verses. And it also seemed to me that to kill the guy off right after they had a baby together would be pretty mean, too.

Something in Red

I’m looking for something in red

Something that’s shocking to turn someone’s head

Strapless and sequined and cut down to there

Stockings and garters and lace underwear

The guaranteed number to knock the man dead

I’m looking for something in red

I’m looking for something in green

Something to out-do an ex-high school queen

Jealousy comes in the color of jade

Do you have some pumps and a purse in this shade?

And a perfume that whispers “Please come back to me”

I’m looking for something in green

I’m looking for something in white

Something that shimmers in soft candlelight

Everyone calls us the most perfect pair

Should I wear a veil or a rose in my hair?

Well, the train must be long and the waist must be tight

I’m looking for something in white

I’m looking for something in blue

Something real tiny, the baby’s brand new

He has his father’s nose and his chin

We once were hot lovers now we’re more like friends

Don’t tell me that’s just what old married folk do

I’m looking for something in blue

I’m looking for something in red

Like the one that I wore when I first turned his head

Strapless and sequined and cut down to there

Just a size larger that I wore last year

The guaranteed number to knock a man dead

I’m looking for something

I’ve gotta have something

I’m looking for something in red

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