VINCENT

Music and lyrics by Don McLean


Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered
for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered
for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true.

And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life, as lovers often do.

But I could've told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for
One as beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world
and can't forget

Like the strangers that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered
for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen.
They're not listening still
Perhaps they never will



After reading a biography of Vincent Van Gogh, Don McLean, an American singer-songwriter, wrote the song "Vincent".

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in the Netherlands where his paintings met criticism from his family, the public and fellow artists. He sold only one painting during his short lifetime. Since his death, Van Gogh’s works have been recognized and highly valued for their genius of color, composition and technique.

The themes in McLean's lyrics are respect and admiration for Van Gogh’s art and, moreover, for Van Gogh as a man who was little understood during his lifetime; a man so alone, who painted the blank canvas with courage, determination and resilience.

Read more about "Vincent" and resilience.