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The Penguin Discography: I Must Go

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    Song Title »
I Must Go
    Authors »
Lindsey Buckingham

    Year Written »

    This Performance »
Date Performance 1984-00-00
Running Time 4:51
Performers Lindsey Buckingham (All Performances By)
Appears On
Go Insane (1984)
Lindsey Buckingham

    Lyrics »

Iíve been trying to get you
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone
I just canít seem to get through
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone
You leave in the morning but you donít come back
Hey little girl, youíre leaving me all alone

Hey little girl, youíre on the wrong track
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone

Iíve been waiting, contemplating, now I know . . .
If youíre aching, heartís breaking, let the four winds blow . . .

And this is why I must go
Why I must go
Why I must go
Why I must go
I must go

You just canít choose between the lie and the fact
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone
Hey little girl, youíre on the wrong track
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone

    Fan Interpretation »

"If you're committed to something or someone, and things are not as pleasant as they should be, or if you're dealing with some problems, you stay with that situation and hopefully you ride it out and the cycle completes itself and things resolve, and things, you know, get better. But you can only wait so long for things to get better to the point where making a commitment to a situation is analogous, or is tantamount to being a little bit self-destructive as well, and it's all very gray. It gets very, very gray during those times and when you suddenly come out of the gray, you realize that if these bonds aren't just gonna burst, you have to cut them, and that's really what this is about, I Must Go. You get to the point where you just cannot do this anymore."

In 1984, Lindsey Buckingham repeated in various interviews that everyone has the right to "go insane now and then". He denied, at that time, that he was going insane himself. You look at his mile-high hair and you hear the songs in his album, you realize that maybe he was going insane. Fleetwood Mac, his family and his relationship were in turmoil.

The one song that truly captures his relationship status is "I Must Go". Carol Ann Harris had been Lindseys girlfriend since the late 70's. They lived together. In a 1982 People Magazine article he states that they even spoke of marriage. This song clearly shows that was falling apart.

"I've been trying to get to you
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone
I just cant seem to get through
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone."
These first words explain why he must go, why he must end his relationship, and even why he is going insane. Drugs were very popular among rock stars ,their agents and the groupies. It was a status symbol, of sorts, in the 1970's . By the 1980's, all the innocent drug taking became serious and very addictive. Time and time again we saw the drugs take the lives and the creativity of addicts, rocks stars especially. Lindsey had to see it at work and at home. Fleetwood Mac band mates Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks both battled cocaine use. Mick was once a close friend of Lindsey, and Lindsey said it was hard to talk to Mick under the influence of the cocaine. Stevie was Lindsey's live-in girlfriend for many years, and he had to watch her decline. At home, his girlfriend also became a heavy user. It was all around him, but in this song he stresses on Carol Ann.

"You leave in the morning but you don't come back
Hey little girl, you're leaving me all alone
Hey little girl, you're on the wrong track
Hey little girl , leave the little drug alone."
This is where the song gets personal. This is a cry to Carol Ann. She is addicted to a substance and he knows he's losing her. You see pain in those words, but you also see an attempt to reach out. He wanted to save her, but there is a point when you can't do anymore.

"I've been waiting
Now I know
If you're aching
Heart's breaking
Let the four winds blow."
He waited, he did not leave her immediately. He stayed with her and tried to understand her pain and why she was addicted to the drugs. "Now I know", he knew that in an emotional sense, she was gone from him. He realized that he was losing himself in trying to "save" her and he knew now he must go , to save his own sanity.

"Let the four winds blow", the four winds he speaks of could be a variety of things. Whatever they may be, I think its a comforting line. If she gets upset,angry or alone, he tells her to look to the four winds for comfort.

"And this is why I must go
Why I must go
Why I must go
Why I must go
I must go"
Repeating words usually intends that one wants to make that statement very strong and very clear. Lindsey repeats over and over, he must go. He's telling himself this, to assure himself that its the right thing to do. He's telling Carol Ann that she cannot change his mind. It could be taken that maybe he's saying "I must go "insane". In a sense, him leaving her after so many years , would make him lose some of his rationality.. The whole point of his "look" and this album was to go insane, to let out those demons that he held inside.

"You just can't chose between a lie and a fact
They little girl. you're leaving me all alone
Hey little girl you're on the wrong track
Hey little girl, leave the little drug alone."
He is listing more reasons he is leaving. This song is like a letter, stating one by one why he is going. He just cannot handle it anymore. "Hey little girl", its almost as if he sees her as a child, like he had to become a father figure to her, to help her. It was no longer an affair of passion, but a relationship of elder over child.

The music that goes with this song helps cradle his words in a way that is not sorrowful, but of strength. He found the power to leave her. You get the feeling this struggle went on for many years. The music is biting and fast. Sounds overlap each other but his voice crying out is very clear. At the end of the song, he lets out a very long scream , a true showing of how frustrated he became.

You do not get a sense of freedom. He says he must go, but he doesn't say he feels good about it. The song doesn't show him being rid of her. It shows that he made this decision, but that it hurt to make that decision. Basically, it was the only thing he could do. He had to go. Eventually drugs ( among other things) also caused him to leave Fleetwood Mac.

In his whole life, Lindsey refused to let any substance take over him. It's a sad thing to see how long he bore with the pain over again because of his loyalty to the friends he loved. "You get to the point where you cant do this anymore," this song is a cry of chagrin and a ending of love that had become so invisible that it nearly didn't exist anymore. He just had to go.

(The interpretations to these lyrics were compiled through discussions on the message boards of the Penguin, The Ledge. It is entirely possible that the artists had something completely different in mind.)

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(C) 1984 Now Sounds Music (BMI)

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    Last Modified »

    Discography Credits »
Lyrics contributed by Erik Grebner. Interpretation prepared by Janet Strayer, Becky, Les, Barbara II, Stephanie M., and Terri.