words and music by Steve Schalchlin

"Going It Alone" was the third song that came during the first batch. (They were written simultaneously. Three songs plus other titles going at once.)

This song began as a war song. It started out to be the song that "Friendly Fire" eventually became. I remember the first words that appeared bacame the first verse.

Though you've been a rock for me to stand on
Beside me every moment of the fight
Even though you make it so much better
when I go to sleep at night

The fight that I am fighting is my own
and it feels as though I'm going it alone

Simple. Directly from the heart. An honest confession.

Now and then my friends take me to dinner
They tell me how they're with me all the way

There was a time during this whole thing that Jimmy and I were absolutely broke without enough money to even pay the electric bill or the rent. When someone took us out to dinner, it was the greatest favor. Even McDonald's seemed like Le Cirque.

They lean across the table
and they say they're thinking of me
then they take the bill so I don't have to pay

Marie Cain said "they lean across the table" is one of her favorite lines in the whole show.

And they tell me they're so proud of how I've grown
and they say they know I'm going it alone

It's difficult to talk about that line. It affects me everytime I hear it.

Okay, here the story gets murky. I had a whole different section of lyrics here. It was a whole war scenario. I just loved it.

How can I complain
when I'm surrounded by the kind of love
most people in their wildest dreams would die for

But at night when it's so quiet
there's a battle raging somewhere
and I cannot see the casualties I cry for

Just a microscopic Armageddon
A battlefield of blood
where the dead are whisked away and soon forgotten
and there are no next of kin for me to phone
just the feeling that I'm going it alone

So I send in the Marines in little pills
They attack the foe and fight for my survival
But the enemy can change
rearrange its DNA
and my forces are soon dead upon arrival

With the news of reinforcements overblown
I soon realize I'm going it alone

And then I got stuck.

I fooled around and fooled around and nothing was working. Then one day I found myself writing these words:

But is it such a lonely battle
Have I been so wrapped up in myself
What about what you've been through as well?

Do you lie awake and worry
Never falling back to sleep
Are you going through some private kind of hell?

Do you also feel you're out there on your own?
Do you feel as though you're going it alone.

And I just sat and looked at those lines for a few days. I tried every way I could to make them fit with the big Armageddon imagery above, but it was like tapping a dry hole. Nothing.

Then it hit me. This is a love song. The battle stuff will have to go.

OH! Cut my wrist!!! Slice my flesh!!! NO!!!! I loved those lines. They were so flashy and dramatic! But I knew. They would have to go. It really was a love song.

In the final version of the song, the song goes back to the top of the bridge and plays a bit instrumentally returning to:

Do you wake at night and worry
Never falling back to sleep

And I remembered that during my sickness Jimmy waited on me hand and foot, all day long. He never said one word about it. Never even joked about it being a burden on him.

Are you going through some private kind of hell?
I'd have to read your mind to even tell.

Just before I turned to go to sleep
I brush a little hair back from your eye
Suddenly the loneliness I felt just melts away

(internal rhyme: felt and melt)

And I smile because I know the reason why

Can we really say we're out there on our own?
Can we really say we're out there on our own

When together we've been going it alone.


That last line.

TOGETHER we've been going it alone. It totally thrilled me when it appeared on the page. I jumped up and started screaming silently, pacing the room like a cat, panting and breathing heavily.

It doesn't deny the alone-ness but it also says "we're doing it together." As a songwriter, you dream of being able to fuse concepts in ways you haven't heard before, furiously working to avoid cliches. But that line was special.

When I got to the piano, I had another finished lyric. Instinctively, I decided on B flat. It just felt rich and right. And why I began playing B flat 7 to the 4 I'll never know. It just felt right and that became the musical figure that opens the song.

For the bridge, I kept the chord structure simple. The trick in playing it right is getting the right inversions in the left hand. Each chord on the chorus is played in the first inversion.

"Going It Alone" has always been the showstopper for TLS. From the very first performance, this song was like a ten pin strike. Maybe because it is a love song (which never uses the word "love) or maybe because we've had a string of brilliant singers performing it.

If I were to pick only one song out of all the songs as the one song I could take to a desert island, I'd pick "Going It Alone." I've never been so proud of a song.

The Group copyright 1996 by See No Evil/Lil Shack O Tunes