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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All I Wanna Do/Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow's breakthrough hit All I Wanna Do, from her 1993 debut album Tuesday Night Music Club, is based on a poem called Fun by Wyn Cooper, from his 1987 collection The Country of Here Below.  Crow, her producer Bill Bottrell, and their collaborators struggled for months with the song, which at one point was called "I Still Love You."  Then Bottrell came across Cooper's collection at a used bookstore near the recording studio.  "Way at the end, I pulled out a Wyn Cooper poem which provided all the verses, and Sheryl sang or spoke that right into the mic, and I made a chorus out of the line about just wanting to have fun," Bottrell says in Richard Buskin's 2003 book Sheryl Crow: No Fool to This Game.  Buskin also quotes Cooper:  "I wrote the poem in Salt Lake City in 1984.  It was based loosely on a bar there called The Twilight Lounge, although that didn't look out onto a car wash.  It was mostly made up, utilizing a line that a friend of mine had said to me the night before; 'All I want to do is have a little fun before I die.' The next day I wrote that line down and kept going, and I wrote the whole poem in just a couple of hours."  Cooper earned royalties from the song and its popularity helped keep his book in print.  He even recited the poem on stage at a few of Crow's concerts.


  1. Larry,

    This is incredibly accurate, something I don't see often when my poem and the song that came out of it are discussed. Thanks.

    And if you're interested in other songs based on my poems, check out "Night in Wyoming" by David Broza from his "Stonedoors" CD, and "Night in Masada" from his "David Broza at Masada: The Sunrise Concert" CD, both based on my poem "Opal, Wyoming," from "The Country of Here Below."

    Also, many poems from my third book of poems, "Postcards from the Interior," have been turned into songs by the novelist Madison Smartt Bell on the CD "Postcards Out of the Blue," by Bell and Cooper. And two more poems from my second book, "The Way Back," were turned into songs for our first CD, "Forty Words for Fear."

    Wyn Cooper

  2. Wyn, thanks so much for the comment--I'm glad I got it right! I appreciate the additional leads you provided and will see about developing future posts around them.