A few days ago, James recommended Gordon Lightfoot for our Morning Music. We had discussed the darkness of “If You Could Read My Mind.” Maybe some day I will do that I song. I’m very fond of it. But I need to make my peace with the song “Don Quixote.” It’s a pretty song. And I quite like the lyrics. What I don’t like is the title. It makes me think that Gordon Lightfoot had never read Don Quixote.
Now I know better than most that Don Quixote means many different things. There is an often repeated quote that every man should read the novel three times in his life: when young, middle aged, and old — because it will mean different things each time. That’s very true. For myself, Don Quixote doesn’t mean anything in particular. There are simply elements that stand out more some times than others.
But I don’t see how Gordon Lightfoot’s song has anything to do with the book. The song is about the parts that we play in life and how we are really very complex. The horseman stands above this, accepting his contradictions. And part of this is, “Tilting at the windmills passing.” That’s the only reference to Don Quixote. But Don Quixote tilts at windmills because he is hallucinating. And he is hallucinating because he has totally lost his grip on reality and submerged himself into the part of a knight errant.
But “Don Quixote” is a good song. I just wish he would have given it a different title. But maybe I’m the one who’s wrong. If someone can explain to me why the song is corrected titled, I’d very much appreciate it.