The story behind “A Night Like This”

As you know, almost all of the songs we write tell stories. We want to share those stories with you. We’ll post the story behind the story for each song on 13 here for you to read. The plan is to feature one song each week for the next 13 weeks. And this is IT!

Here is the story behind A Night Like This as related by Clark Hansbarger.

From The Bitter Liberals CD 13

The song “A Night Like This”

This has been fun.

For thirteen weeks now, Allen and I have been tag teaming blog entries about our songs. It was Gary’s idea. Initially, I balked. I’m not much of a blog guy. Blogs seem so self-absorbed, so self-promoting. Who really cares what I’m thinking?

But then, once we got going, I enjoyed the process and we know that more than a few folks out there have been reading these things. The feedback has been great.

Truth is, this process of writing things up has helped me see better. I now tend to be even more careful and spare in my songwriting, working a little harder to find the right line, one that says less, but resonates more.

So, thanks, Gary, for being such a schoolmarm and making us do our “homework.” [Uh, don’t you mean “superprofessor,” Clark?! I can’t believe I am letting that label be published.]

Without further ado, the last song entry…

A Night Like This is a bar song. For about thirty-five years, I played in bars where most people come not to listen but rather to meet and greet and drink quantities of beer. I’ve seen way too many mating dances. I can tell when a guy is about to cross the room to speak to a gal, and I can predict pretty accurately how she’ll react. This comes from hours of observation, standing there, strumming and watching.

I’ve overheard about every line a man could invent, (and, fellow men, I recommend you don’t use any lines at all. Just say hello, be yourself, and maybe something will work out if you’re a lucky bastard.)

I like to perform this song because it might be the only one I’ve ever written that’s playful and sexy. It’s kind of an “everyman’s song” about a night when the stars aligned and the boy got the girl.

Usually when a drunk man approaches a woman, it’s not pretty. In this song, somehow, maybe by magic, the enebriated narrator is not spurned—and he can’t quite figure out why. So the song is really his marveling at his luck to have wooed a woman so far out of his league.

Whenever I sing this, people ask me if this is about how I met Ginger. It’s not. Ginger would have walked away had I been drunk.

It’s an old song actually, one I wrote years ago when I played with the band Hammer. David Saunders, one of my local music heroes, used to put a beautifully simple lead at the end of it. Totally open. Just a few lovely notes.

I don’t think I would write this song now. I’m too far removed from the mating dance scene. But it still plays well, particularly with the otherworldly violin Gary opens with. This and the soulful humming the guys do on the chorus make this pretty simple song unusually ethereal.

Anyway, that’s it!

And now some good news. We’ve been writing steadily since recording 13 and should have enough songs ready to go for another CD release soon. When we do, look for more stories like the 13 we have just published.

Don’t tell anybody, but I think I like blogging now.

Clark Hansbarger

Read the lyrics to A Night Like This.
Learn the story behind Time We Wasted

4 thoughts on “The story behind “A Night Like This”

  1. Pingback: All of the stories behind 13 | The Bitter Liberals

  2. Pingback: Stories, stories, stories | The Bitter Liberals

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