3 Eternal Rock Songs by Counting Crows

It might be hard to imagine, but for a time in the 1990s Counting Crows were maybe the biggest band in the world. Lead singer Adam Duritz was singing his emotional, poetic lyrics while dating some of the biggest stars of the era and his group, which formed in the Bay Area in 1991, was all over the radio and MTV. It was quite a time to be alive.

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Since then, though, the band have proven themselves not to just be a fad or flash in the pan. Many of its hits from the decade have remained important and beloved. And some will stand the test of time for decades and beyond. Here below, we wanted to offer a trio of such tunes. Indeed, these are three eternal songs from Counting Crows.

[RELATED: Behind the Song: “Mr. Jones,” Adam Duritz of Counting Crows]

“A Long December” from Recovering the Satellites (1966)

One of the saddest songs to become a big hit in the 1990s, this song from the Counting Crows’ sophomore 1996 LP Recovering the Satellites was inspired by a car accident in which one of Adam Duritz’ friends was struck while riding a motorcycle. While the song’s lyrics are imbued with a hopeful sense, the tone of the song and its music read rather dour. But that was what made Counting Crows so unique. They could express sadness while somehow keeping it supremely palatable. Sings Durtiz on the mournful track,

A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leaving
Now the days go by so fast

And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven
I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters
But no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

“Omaha” from August and Everything After (1993)

From the band’s breakthrough debut LP August and Everything After, this song tells the stories of many people across middle America. Some are traveling, some are standing in the rain, some are farming and others are wondering about the mysteries of love. In this way, Durtiz shows both the uniqueness and connective tissue of life. Durtiz seemed to like to write about characters in his songs, from the famous Mr. Jones to the man in this song who walks on (rain) water. On “Omaha,” he sings,

Start tearing the old man down
Run past the heather and down to the old road
Start turning the grain into the ground
Roll a new leaf over

In the middle of the night
There’s an old man treading around in the gathered rain
“Hey mister, if you wanna walk on water
Could you drop a line my way?”

Omaha, somewhere in middle America
Get right to the heart of matters
It’s the heart that matters more
I think you’d better turn your ticket in
And get your money back at the door

“Round Here” from August and Everything After (1993)

Truly, the band’s debut 1993 LP reads almost like a greatest hits album, from “Mr. Jones” to “Omaha,” “Anna Begins,” “Rain King,” and many more. But the song “Round Here” is an especially strong standout. It’s as poetic and vivid as any song from the Bay Area-born group and again Duritz describes several different characters. As for the main one, Duritz told VH1, “The more he begins to leave people behind in his life, the more he feels like he’s leaving himself behind as well.” On the song, he sings,

Step out the front door like a ghost
Into a fog where no one notices
The contrast of white on white

And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right

Well, I walk in the air between the rain
Through myself and back again
Where? I don’t know
Maria says she’s dying
Through the door, I hear her crying
Why? I don’t know

‘Round here, we always stand up straight
‘Round here, something radiates

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Photo by Shlomi Pinto/Getty Images

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