Saturday Night Classics: Long Cool Woman by the Hollies

 

This is a song that never gets old for me.  Although I don’t believe I have ever seen Melissa Praemonitus wearing a black dress, I think of her whenever I hear this song, as she’s about the longest, coolest woman I know.

There are a few lines in this song that I never have been able to decipher, so I looked up the lyrics.  I’ll share them in case any of you have also wondered what that third line is.  Or the fifth line, or whatever.

Lyrics:

Saturday night I was downtown
Working for the FBI
Sittin’ in a nest of bad men
Whiskey bottles piling high

Bootlegging boozer on the west side
Full of people who are doing wrong
Just about to call up the DA man
When I heard this woman sing a song

A pair of 45’s made me open my eyes
My temperature started to rise
She was a long cool woman in a black dress
Just-a 5’9, beautiful, tall
With just one look I was a bad mess
‘Cause that long cool woman had it all

[Instrumental Interlude]

I saw her heading to the table
Like a tall walking big black cat
When Charlie said I hope that you’re able boy
‘Cause I’m telling you she knows where it’s at

Then suddenly we heard the sirens
And everybody started to run
A-jumping out of doors and tables
When I heard somebody shootin’ a gun

Well the DA was pumping my left hand
And a-she was a-holding my right
Well I told her don’t get scared
‘Cause you’re gonna be spared
I’ve gotta be forgivin’ if I wanna spend my living
With a long cool woman in a black dress
Just a 5’9 beautiful tall
Yeah, with just one look I was a bad mess
‘Cause that long cool woman had it all

Had it all

Had it all

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  1. Melissa Praemonitus Member
    Melissa Praemonitus
    @6foot2inhighheels

    I’ll bring a dress for the next meetup, but I apologize ahead of time for the lyrics inevitably shifting in your mind to “Long old lady in a black dress,” lol.

    • #1
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Great post, Randy! And if anything, I gather that Melissa is even three or four inches taller than the girl in the song. 

    • #2
  3. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    I’ve heard that song probably hundreds of times, and I could never make out half the lyrics. I looked them up a while back so I could finally know what they were.

     

    • #3
  4. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Good one! Always enjoyed it.

    • #4
  5. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Dig it!

    I wonder how many people thought it was Creedence the first time they heard it.

    • #5
  6. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    For me that song always recalls the tilt-a-whirl at the Celina County Fair. 

    (I just thought I’d offer that up just in case everyone was wondering what that song recalls to me)

    • #6
  7. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    For me that song always recalls the tilt-a-whirl at the Celina County Fair.

    (I just thought I’d offer that up just in case everyone was wondering what that song recalls to me)

    Man, that is funny. Cracked Me up.

    • #7
  8. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    One of my all-time favorites!  I’ve been listening to this for 50 years and I never knew all the lyrics! I have it on a 45 RPM (revolutions per minute for those of you under 45 years of age) single.

    • #8
  9. Sam Thatcher
    Sam
    @Sam

    That is so fantastic! Thanks. 

    • #9
  10. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    For me that song always recalls the tilt-a-whirl at the Celina County Fair.

    (I just thought I’d offer that up just in case everyone was wondering what that song recalls to me)

    Man, that is funny. Cracked Me up.

    Did they play it on that or something?

    • #10
  11. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    This song made the Hollies compilation I got years ago kinda disappointing, having not heard very many of their earlier songs.  

    • #11
  12. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Dig it!

    I wonder how many people thought it was Creedence the first time they heard it.

    Allen Clarke apparently wrote it imitating John Fogerty’s vocal style, based on the Creedence song “Green River”. According to Clarke, the song was written “in about five minutes”. (The Hollies – Epic Anthology: From the Original Master TapesEpic Records EGK 46161, liner notes)

    Yeah, with just one look I was a bad mess
    ‘Cause that long cool woman had it all

    Who hasn’t experienced that?

    • #12
  13. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Some of those short hot women have it all too!

    • #13
  14. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Some of those short hot women have it all too!

    Indeed!

     

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Randy Weivoda: A pair of 45’s

    Probably fake . . .

    • #15
  16. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Stad (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda: A pair of 45’s

    Probably fake . . .

    …and was carrying a gun

    • #16
  17. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I look up the lyrics every few years, but when I hear the song, I still can’t make many of them out.  I finally have solidified “just a 5′ 9″ beautiful tall” though.  When I was young and the internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye, the only thing I could come up with was “justified my beautiful song”

    • #17
  18. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I look up the lyrics every few years, but when I hear the song, I still can’t make many of them out. I finally have solidified “just a 5′ 9″ beautiful tall” though. When I was young and the internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye, the only thing I could come up with was “justified my beautiful song”

    ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy!

    • #18
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I look up the lyrics every few years, but when I hear the song, I still can’t make many of them out. I finally have solidified “just a 5′ 9″ beautiful tall” though. When I was young and the internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye, the only thing I could come up with was “justified my beautiful song”

    Yeah, I always thought it sounded like the last word in that line was “song.”  The music is so good, it could be sung in Arabic or Polish and it would still be great to listen to.

    • #19
  20. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Yep, an all time favorite!

    • #20
  21. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I look up the lyrics every few years, but when I hear the song, I still can’t make many of them out. I finally have solidified “just a 5′ 9″ beautiful tall” though. When I was young and the internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye, the only thing I could come up with was “justified my beautiful song”

    ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy!

    ‘Scuse me while I eat this fly!

     

     

    • #21
  22. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    kylez (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    For me that song always recalls the tilt-a-whirl at the Celina County Fair.

    (I just thought I’d offer that up just in case everyone was wondering what that song recalls to me)

    Man, that is funny. Cracked Me up.

    Did they play it on that or something?

    I think one of the carnys must have brought a tape with “Long Cool Woman” & “Burnin’ Love” (Elvis) played very loud and on perpetual repeat . . . so 50 years later I still have those ear worms.

    • #22
  23. Michael Minnott Member
    Michael Minnott
    @MichaelMinnott

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Dig it!

    I wonder how many people thought it was Creedence the first time they heard it.

    Allen Clarke apparently wrote it imitating John Fogerty’s vocal style, based on the Creedence song “Green River”. According to Clarke, the song was written “in about five minutes”. (The Hollies – Epic Anthology: From the Original Master Tapes, Epic Records EGK 46161, liner notes)

    Yeah, with just one look I was a bad mess
    ‘Cause that long cool woman had it all

    Who hasn’t experienced that?

    Fogerty wound up suing The Hollies, resulting in an undisclosed settlement.

    Personally, I think he should have accepted that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery rather than suing.

    • #23
  24. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    For me that song always recalls the tilt-a-whirl at the Celina County Fair.

    (I just thought I’d offer that up just in case everyone was wondering what that song recalls to me)

    What was the name of the girl?

    • #24
  25. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Michael Minnott (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Dig it!

    I wonder how many people thought it was Creedence the first time they heard it.

    Allen Clarke apparently wrote it imitating John Fogerty’s vocal style, based on the Creedence song “Green River”. According to Clarke, the song was written “in about five minutes”. (The Hollies – Epic Anthology: From the Original Master Tapes, Epic Records EGK 46161, liner notes)

    Yeah, with just one look I was a bad mess
    ‘Cause that long cool woman had it all

    Who hasn’t experienced that?

    Fogerty wound up suing The Hollies, resulting in an undisclosed settlement.

    Personally, I think he should have accepted that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery rather than suing.

    If Fogerty received anything, it must have been of the “throw him a few bucks and make him go away” variety.  While the song is reminiscent of Green River, copying only a “style” is not, to my knowledge, actionable plagiarism.

    Tony Joe White should’ve tried it too.

    • #25
  26. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    For years I have wondered if one of those lines was, “Everybody’s pilots were wrong.”

    • #26
  27. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Thanks.  Frankly, I’ve heard that song all my life and had no idea what 75% of the words were or what the song was even about.  

    • #27
  28. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Hoyacon (View Comment): …If Fogerty received anything, it must have been of the “throw him a few bucks and make him go away” variety.  While the song is reminiscent of Green River, copying only a “style” is not, to my knowledge, actionable plagiarism.

    I seem to recall that Fogerty had other legal issues with – maybe even the other members of CCR – about him owning his “style”. 

    • #28
  29. ToryWarWriter Coolidge
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Got me to listen to another song of theirs again

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    https://youtu.be/Jl5vi9ir49g?si=rrAgAOHLMVKk_ZD0

     

     

     

    • #29
  30. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    It isn’t unusual to come across a case where a bluegrass band has done a cover of a classic rock song.  I took a look on Youtube and found some examples of this but don’t have time to select one right now, as they mostly look like amateur recordings and the audio quality of those tend to be spotty.  I’ll look more later.

    I did, however, find that Ronnie Dunn (half of the legendary country duo Brooks & Dunne) has done a solo album of classic song covers.  So if you’re wondering what the song sounds like with steel guitars and legible lyrics, here we go.

    • #30
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