Favourite Song: Richard & Linda Thompson “The Calvary Cross” – the things you do for love

So, I recently watched “The Night House”, a horror movie about grief and how far you would go to protect someone you dearly love and this song was playing in the background a few times. I actually thought it was a modern song but lo and behold, this song is from the album “I want to see the bright lights tonight” by Richard & Linda Thompson from 1974. Goes to show that the term “timeless” really can describe songs that feel at home across decades.

The lyrics are – typically for the 70s – covered in myths and therefore a little difficult to grasp but I personally interpret it as a song about death. It’s about a pale-faced lady and her one green eye and how she’ll hurt the protagonist till he needs her. And how everything the protagonist does is for her. Which is somewhat a metaphor how so much we do in life eventually leads to death but also is shaped by death. What we want to achieve, how much we want to take in, experience, who we want to meet, how we want to grow, all before it finally gets us.

The Calvary Cross or “Cross’ of Cal’vary” is a cross with steps beneath it, apparently a representation of the structure on which Jesus was crucified. It is used as an emblem to Christianity. This could give the song a Christian meaning but the pale lady with her green eye makes me thing that the cross is more a symbol of dying or maybe sacrificing everything for something or someone.

Which in turn fits The Night House. If you like horror movies that not necessarily get to the bottom of the scares, feature weird architecture and a bit more psychological horror, this might be for you. I am not yet sure I think it’s a great movie but it was quite unique in some ways that is always interesting and I am sure some of the visuals will stay with me. The idea of specific architecture achieving some sort of protection or deceit that the movie touches upon is just incredibly fascinating and as someone who loves all things impossible spaces, I loved the premise.

5 thoughts on “Favourite Song: Richard & Linda Thompson “The Calvary Cross” – the things you do for love

  1. Funny how you got to this song. I did the same. In my mind I was convinced that it was an obscure track from Magnolia Electric Co. and was shocked when I tracked it down to Richard and Linda.


  2. This is exactly how I came to know this song as well. It’s so hauntingly familiar and oddly significant feeling for me. I came to search for any significance I could find for the song and your story popped up. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I swear, TV shows and movies have replaced radios and it really did wonders for the kind of music I stumble over because it’s not the newest hits and the same oldies but so many different cool treasures from all decades. This song is a masterpiece and I really recommend the whole album, it’s wonderful.


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