|First posted 2/14/2020.|
I Don’t Know Why
Writer(s): Shawn Colvin (see lyrics here)
First Charted: February 20, 1993
Peak: 16 AC, 62 UK, 59 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.3 video, -- streaming
Singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin was born in South Dakota in 1956 and grew up in Carbondale, Illinois, and Ontario, Canada. She started playing guitar at age 10 and had her first official paid gig while in college at Southern Illinois University. She moved to New York City in 1980 and became part of the Greenwich Village folk scene, participating in off-Broadway shows and providing backup vocals to Suzanne Vega’s “Luka” in 1987.
She got a late start on her own recording career, not releasing her debut album until 1989’s Steady On. It won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. She had her greatest commercial success in her forties with the 1997 top-ten hit “Sunny Came Home” won Grammys for Song and Record of the Year.
Her first commercially-available recordings, however, date back to 1988. While not released until 1995, her Live ‘88 collection featured early versions of many of the songs which would appear on Steady On. However, that album also featured “I Don’t Know Why,” the first song she ever wrote. AMG A studio recording of it showed up on 1992’s Fat City and was was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal.
“I Don’t Know Why” could be seen as a conventional love song, but lines such as “I don’t know why the sky is so blue” and “I don’t know where but there will be a place for you” could also be interpreted as a lullaby. Other lines such as “I would lay down my life for you” and “I don’t know why but somewhere dreams come true” also evoke thoughts of a parent’s love for a child. Regardless of the interpretation, the song is an underrated expression of love that deserved a greater audience than its #16 peak on the adult contemporary charts.
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