Break Out in Tears

‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ is a song by the rock group Traffic that featured Steve Winwood on guitar and lead vocal, Dave Mason on bass guitar, harmonica, backing vocal, Chris Wood on organ, backing vocal, Jim Capaldi on drums, backing vocal and Jimmy Miller on maracas.  It comes from their 1967 album titled Mr. Fantasy.  One evening, Capaldi was sketching out ideas for an album cover that had a Statue of Liberty-like figure which eventually became Mr. Fantasy and he composed a short poem next to it, but he lost interest and went to bed.  Capaldi was doodling in the battered old notebook that he kept for potential song lyrics and ideas when he drew this cartoon character with a spiky hat that was playing a guitar, but not using his hands.  He was operating a pair of hands on the end of puppet strings that were playing the guitar and next to him.  Capaldi scribbled, “Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune, something to make us all happy”, as if it was a letter to his new character.  Capaldi retired to bed, thinking that what he wrote was nice, but that it was never intended to be a song.  When he woke later, he heard Winwood and Wood playing in the music room, so he went downstairs and he discovered that they had found his drawing and stayed up all night and put a melody to his letter.

This fictional character named Mr. Fantasy plays music and sings or possibly does anything just to make everyone else feel better.  There is a problem when you are constantly entertaining other people, as they tend to want you to do it all the time, even when you get sad or when you break out in tears starting to cry, they still want to be entertained, because you have become their only escape from reality.  His so-called friends don’t really care much about him, as they tell him to make it snappy.  Mr. Fantasy keeps pleasing others although he is not deriving any pleasure for himself, so he doesn’t have his mind straight, as he is not happy with his life, although other people still like him because he can make them feel better.  This song is about a life that hasn’t been perfect, but Mr. Fantasy won’t change it because it got him to where he is now and he enjoys having all of the friends that he made along the way.  Steve Winwood was just shy of 19 when he formed the group Traffic in the spring of 1967, but he was already a veteran performer fronting the pop/R&B-flavored Spencer Davis Group by the age of 15.

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy

You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy, yeah yeah

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything,…

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy

You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years

Written for 7/15/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is “break”.

24 thoughts on “Break Out in Tears

    1. Traffic did a lot of different music including pop, rock, jazz, psychedelic, R&B, folk and blues. Some of their more popular songs are Paper Sun, John Barleycorn, Feelin’ Alright, Glad, Empty Pages and The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

      Liked by 1 person

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