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I went to a garden party, reminisced with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party they all knew my name
But no one recognized me I didn't look the same

But it's all right now
I learned my lesson well
You see you can't please ev'ryone so
You got to please yourself

People came from miles around everyone was there
Yoko brought her walrus there was magic in the air
And over in the corner much to my surprise
Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan's shoes wearing his disguise

Chorus la da da da

I played them all the old songs I thought that's why they came
No one heard the music, we didn't look the same
I said hello to Mary Lou, she belongs to me
When I sang a song about a honky-tonk, it was time to leave

Chorus la da da da

Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
Playing guitar like a ring an' a bell and lookin' like he should
If you gotta play at garden parties I wish you a lot a' luck
But if memories were all I sang I'd rather drive a truck

Chorus la da da da
Repeat chorus



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/ricky_nelson/garden_party.html

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  • n
    +1
    Neil JensenAug 3, 2013 at 6:38 am
    I'm sort of a musician ok,and I've been trying to start a rock band.This song describes how I feel about other musicians and the stupid songs that they ask me to learn.But if someones old memories were all I sang,,,,,, I'd rather drive a truck.
  • U
    +1
    UnregisteredJun 29, 2012 at 8:11 am
    For some reason the words just came to mind and here i am reading the lyrics after listening to the song on youtube. Good commentary on - after all is said and done - what really brings us happiness in life.
  • l
    +1
    loveballadsJul 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I think this song is about a caring and emotionally sensitive man, who thought he was being invited to play at a garden party where he would have the opportunity to meet up and reminisce with his old friends. Instead he was deeply disappointment to learn that because with age they all had changed, that no-one recognized him despite knowing his name, and so they could no longer relate to him as they did when they were young. This being due to his friends being emotionally superficial and immature in their ways, unlike him who despite his advanced years had still kept them vivid in his mind as if it were only yesterday.

    He then made the mistake by projecting his own emotional feelings onto them by trying to please them by singing all their favorite old song, thinking that was what they came there for, but was once again disappointed to learn that they did not bother to listen to any of the songs he sang at all.

    He then goes on to say that people came from miles around and there was magic in the air. That Yoko brough her walrus and Mr Hughes sat in the corner wearing Dylan's shoe like a disguize... I mean, this sounds like these people have failed to grown up and develop their own personalities.

    Then by the time he sang them the Honky tong song, it was time for everyone to leave, so he really did not get any personal satisfaction out of this re-union at all.

    He then mentions about some guy stepping out of closet door and acting as if he was Johnny B. Goode as he played the guitar like ringing a bell and looking like he should, but still he could not see the humour in any of this because it was all too superficial and childish for someone like him who was emotionally mature.

    So, feeling deeply hurt and disappointed, he wished others good luck if they have to play at this sort of garden parties because he knew they too would be deeply disappointed by this sort of thing. Then says to himself that if all he knew were memory songs, that he would rather drive a truck (...than be a singer if he had to be put through this heartache every time).

    However, having gone through this sort of disappointment many times before because of those whom despite him trying really hard to please they failed to meet his expectations in return; that he consoles himself by saying that it's alright. That he has learned his lesson well. That he knows he cannot please everyone, so in this case (...rather than than be sad about this event, that he must forget about and move on) and please himself.

    In other words, if others cannot give him any personal satisfaction, that he would have to find it elsewhere possibly within himself. Maybe this is why he was a Singer in the first place, because Singing allows one to express what they cannot express with anyone else. In this case, Singing would be an emotional release for him, which allows him to express his love he feels for life and humanity even if it is in an indirect fashion.

    The lyrics of this song are emotionally meaningful despite the music sounding kind of boring. But then again, it matches the message of this song which he is trying to convey the love he feels for his friends, but their rejection of him because he's now changed and much older, and their luke warm reception which has left him disappointment.

    Well, at least this is what I feel this song is saying.
  • v
    Vonda GembickiJun 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm
    Yeah I commented in response to what someone else made about trying to please everyone that they should be like Rickey at the "Garden Party".
  • U
    UnregisteredAug 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm
    This song which he is trying to convey the love he feels for his friends, but their rejection of him because he's now changed and much older, and their luke warm reception which has left him disappointment.

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