“She’s Gone”

“She’s Gone”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

John Oates
“She’s Gone”

Written by John Oates and Daryl Hall
Recorded by Daryl Hall and John Oates

“She’s Gone” is the quintessential Hall and Oates song for many reasons. It demonstrates the way we work together and the nature of our personalities.

Set the scene. It is December 1972 in Greenwich Village. I had been carousing in the middle of the night. It was about 3 AM in the Pink Teacup on Bleecker Street and I’m sure I was wearing some outlandish outfit of the day. Some girl came in wearing a pink tutu and cowboy boots and we had a midnight psychic contact. I started to see her and asked her out for New Year’s Eve.

I was sharing an apartment with Daryl (Hall) and his longtime girlfriend Sara at the time. I was waiting for my date on New Year’s Eve at the apartment. Time began ticking by, first minutes then hours. It suddenly dawned on me that she wasn’t coming. I picked up my guitar and started writing:

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

better learn how to face it

The next day, Daryl came back and heard it. He sat down at the piano and added his signature piano riff at the beginning of the recording. I wrote the verse in about as much time as it took him to play it. We pooled our emotions of loss at the moment and turned a simple idea into a universal expression. People relate it to their own personal losses.

Up in the morning, look in the mirror,

I’m worn as her toothbrush hanging in the stand.

The images are everyday images, using a utilitarian thing, that no one usually thinks about, in an unusual way.

The record itself took the song to another level. Arif Mardin produced it and there were great musicians on the recording. It was like a rose that bloomed in the studio. There was modulation in half steps that took it to another key and helped to bring the thought home.

It was a great marriage of music and lyrics, which is important. All of the elements came together. There’s a cohesiveness that I think is very hard to capture.

“She’s Gone”

Everybody’s high on consolation,

Everybody’s trying to tell me what’s right for me.

My daddy tried to bore me with a sermon

but it’s plain to see that they can’t comfort me.

Sorry Charlie for the imposition

I think I’ve got it, got the strength to carry on.

I need a drink and a quick decision.

Now it’s up to me, ooh what will be?

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

better learn how to face it.

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

pay the devil to replace her.

She’s Gone — what went wrong?

Up in the morning, look in the mirror,

I’m worn as her toothbrush hanging in the stand,

my face ain’t looking any younger

now I can see love’s taken her toll on me.

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

better learn how to face it.

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

pay the devil to replace her.

She’s Gone — what went wrong?

Think I’ll spend eternity in the city

let the carbon and monoxide choke my thoughts away

and pretty bodies help dissolve the memories,

but they can never be what she was to me.

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

better learn how to face it.

She’s Gone Oh I, Oh I’d

pay the devil to replace her.

She’s Gone — what went wrong?

Words and Music by Daryl Hall and John Oates. © 1973, 1974 by Unichappell Music Inc. Copyright Renewed. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.

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