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Blood Sings

When blood sees blood
Of its own
It sings to see itself again
It sings to hear the voice it's known
It sings to recognize the face

One body split and passed along the line
From the shoulder to the hip
I know these bones as being mine
And the curving of the lip

And my question to you is:
How did this come to pass?
How did this one life fall so far and fast?

Some are lean and some with grace, and some without;
All tell the story that repeats
Of a child who had been left alone at birth
Left to fend and taught to fight

See his eyes and how they start with light
Getting colder as the pictures go
Did he carry his bad luck upon his back?
That bad luck we've all come to know

And my question to you is:
How did this come to pass?
How did this one life fall so far and fast?

When blood sees blood
Of its own
It sings to see itself again

Lyrics : Suzanne Vega
Copyright : © 1992 WB Music Corp. / Waifersongs Ltd. (ASCAP)
Album : 99.9° F

"99.9° F" - tracklist :

* Available on the European Release only
Notes:

Suzanne saw a picture of a man among the ones her father had sent her, and she was sure that a man on one of the photographs was her father because of the resemblance. Though it turned out it was her uncle, it could explain the line "One body split and passed along the line, from the shoulder to the hip, I know these bones as being mine, and the curving of the lip." [Ed.]

"There is one song called "Blood Sings" which is about looking at photographs of an uncle that I have never met. We look very much alike but I have never seen him in real life. And he had a very tragic life and a very short one so this is what the song is about; how it feels to see yourself in someone else."
From the fanzine "Language", 1991 (http://www.vega.net/svihow.htm) trancription by Eric Szczerbinski

The title in this song probably comes from Suzanne's grandmother, who was a drummer touring most of her life, that singing was in her blood.
"I never knew my grandmother at all. By the time that I even knew of her existence she had been dead many years. I met my father, my natural father, for the first time ten years ago. So, I was very surprised when I met my father, because he had sent me in the mail a packet of picture, of photographs, of my grandmother. So I was shocked, because I always thought that I had chosen this lifestyle for myself and I that was being original, I was the only musician in my family that I grew up in. So I thought I had chosen it for myself and then all of the sudden, I find out that my grandmother had the same lifestyle I had, but it was fifty years earlier. She toured for most of her life. She gave up my father for adoption. And she had four children during the depression. And she would put them in an institution from time to time, while she continued with her touring. So, I never knew her. But, I felt strange looking at the photographs, because I felt some how it was the idea to be a musician must have been in my blood some how, without my realizing it, because I acting out the very same lifestyle that she had had."
In concert: El Rey Theater, Los Angeles, CA, USA, November 20, 1996 (http://www.vega.net/elreytr96.htm) transcription by William C. Andrews

After Suzanne's father announced he was not her biological father, she hired a private detective to track her real dad down. [Ed.]

"The audience always cries at that song, but they have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm completely cryptic. You'd never guess that I'm looking at photographs of my relatives, and I'm actually singing about an uncle that died before I got to know him.
This is the only time I really dealt with the issue head on. Strangely enough, I react to it more visually. Because my father sent me all these photographs, I found myself wanting to do weird self-portraits or family history scrapbooks depicting the different configurations that my family has gone through."
Salon.com interview, by David Nowman, February 17, 1999 (http://www.vega.net/salon.htm)

"Families are so strange these days. It's so hard to stay connected. All up and down my blood relatives is the story over and over again of people having children and leaving them somewhere. The bloodline to my father's line starts in 1850 when a baby was abandoned on an Indian reservation in Missouri. She was my grandmother's great-grandmother or something."
Salon.com interview, by David Nowman, February 17, 1999 (http://www.vega.net/salon.htm)