Into the Night

The Story Behind the Song

We plot and we scheme to recover our stolen dream…

The Story

Soon after I moved to the Los Angeles area from San Diego back in the ’80s, I went on a quest to find a lyricist collaborator — the Bernie Taupin to my Elton John, so to speak. It’s not that I hadn’t written songs in the past (I had been writing since childhood), but I always felt much more confident in music than lyrics. My background in film scoring had elevated my instrumentals above my songs in my mind as well. Composing had always come naturally to me, but words were a different story. It was a lot easier to sit down at the piano and improvise — and this kept everything abstract so that I wasn’t letting anyone know what might be on my mind. (Often, I didn’t have any idea myself––since I would just go into some improv trance anyway.) The music was up to interpretation; adding words would make the message concrete.

Other people’s poetry and lyrics would be a great inspiration to me. I met so many wordsmiths when I came out to Los Angeles. Many of them would give me a few samples of their work, and I would instantly write music to their words. It was a no-brainer for me — but for some reason that still evades me to this day, all of these potential collaborations never came to fruition. That didn’t stop me from preserving all the music I wrote — some of which became the basis of my first solo piano cinematic classical-jazz album.

The Instrumental

The album, Reign of Fire (which pre-dated the film by the same name by several years), was a concept piece that connected the lifetime of a human being to the cycle of various stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The album contained four suites (think Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons)but each encompassed a “season” in a human life. Each suite contained four pieces — and each of these contained the name of a star as an alternative title.

Although the album’s concept was envisioned on a star-gazing trip to Sapello, New Mexico, some of the instrumental pieces were still in my head from that short stint I spent looking for lyricists. “Aldebaran (Night)” became the fourth and final piece in the Autumn Suite on Reign of Fire — and the 12th piece on the album. “Aldebaran (Night)” has some classical elements, but it incorporates primarily jazz progressions and transitions.

Here’s the instrumental as it appeared on Reign of Fire:

Aldebaran is a red giant — the brightest star forming the eye in the constellation Taurus (“bull”), which signifies “follower.” The video depicts an image of the Taurus constellation from Johannes Hevelius’ 1690 star atlas, Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia.

I named the instrumental piece “Night” and placed it at the end of the Autumn Suite because I viewed it as a transition from early to late adulthood — representing maturity and hope.

The Song

I continued to focus on instrumental music for many years after Reign of Fire was released — trying my hand at writing songs (either taking a stab at lyric-writing or working with lyricist collaborators) at various intervals. In 2012, I even released MOONRISE — an album of songs with some lyrics that were written by me and my husband Luis Levy … with the exception of one track (“Lost”) with words that were written solely by myself. “Lost” ended up being the first song I had ever officially recorded that contained my own original music and lyrics. But it was only nearly seven years later, in 2019, that I had a burst of lyric-writing energy.

In addition to starting completely from scratch and writing words and music in what could only be termed a songwriting “frenzy,” I also went through my instrumental music and wrote words to some of them — even a few from Reign of Fire. And that’s how “Aldebaran (Night)” became “Into the Night.”

Here’s the vocal version of “Into the Night” on Spotify:

And the YouTube video from the unmastered version:

And finally, the lyrics:

There’s no more light
The birds have taken flight
No obligations in sight

Fade into night
We’ll make it right
Things aren’t as bad as they seem
We’ll mend our broken dream

Enter the night
Try as we might
We plot and we scheme
To recover our stolen dream

Ever so slightly
My thoughts begin to fight me
Without taking either side

Maybe tonight
We’ll make it right
Things aren’t as bad as they seem
We’ll mend our broken dream

Into the night
Try as we might
We plot and we scheme
To recover our stolen dream

This is the dream we left so long ago
Sometimes I wonder if we’re right
Aching through our fearful trying
Is it any wonder it won’t take flight

Things aren’t as bad as they seem
We’ll mend our broken dream

© 2019, 2021 Jeannie Novak

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Jeannie Novak

author/editor (short fiction/novellas/poetry, game development essentials series), musician (piano/voice), photographer, entrepreneur (novy | indiespace)