Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Music – Song #115

The Wallflowers
“6th Avenue Heartache” —

The Wallflowers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1989 by singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan (son of Bob Dylan) and guitarist Tobi Miller. The band has gone through some personell changes but has remained centered on Dylan.

The Wallflowers released their first album in 1992, but their second release would become their best-known highest-selling album and Bringing Down The Horse was released in 1996 and featured the groups two biggest hits ever in “One Headlight” and “6th Avenue Heartache.” In 1998 the group won 2 Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance by a group and “One Headlight” for Best Rock Song which is also listed at #58 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 100 Greatest Pop Songs.

“6th Avenue Heartache” was written by Jakob Dylan and is considered as the first song he ever wrote at age 18. The lyrics are based on his experiences while living in New York City, in particular the story of a homeless man who would sit outside Dylan’s window and play the same songs every day on his guitar. One day, the man was gone, but his guitar and things were still there, until gradually people started taking them. Dylan was concerned for the missing homeless man that had been a fixture under his window for so long and so he crosses his fingers that the old guy moved on just as he had.

Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries screams out loud
I had my world strapped across my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Below me was a homeless man
Singin’ songs I knew complete
On the steps alone, his guitar in hand
It’s fifty years, stood where he stands

​​And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Look out the window, down upon that street
And gone like a midnight where was that man
But I see six strings laid against that wall
And all his things, they all look so small
I got my fingers crossed on a shooting star
Just like me he just moved on

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

See an entire collection of songs relating to homelessness here!

 

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About the Author

Tim Houchen
Tim Houchen was homeless and living at the Santa Ana Civic Center between 2011 and 2015. He began advocating for the homeless community there while he was still homeless as a founding member of the infamous Civic Center Roundtable. The “grass roots” organization was composed of homeless individuals living at the civic center and Houchen was elected to serve as the groups first official spokesman in 2014. Tim is now in permanent supportive housing and lives in the City of Anaheim where he serves as a Commissioner of Housing and Community Development. Tim is also a member of the Orange County Continuum of Care and serves as Co-Chairman of the Homeless Providers Forum. He founded the nonprofit, Hope 4 Restoration, in 2017 and serves as Executive Director of the organization. Houchen created this site as a vehicle to share his knowledge, information and most of all, his experience which allows him to view the current homeless crisis in Orange County from a different and very unique perspective, a “Homeless Perspective.”

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