For our LCM Classic this week we travel back to 1978 and 'Northern Lights' by the progressive folk-rock band Renaissance. It's taken from their album 'A Song for All Seasons' and was the band's only hit single.
'Northern Lights' entered the UK singles charts on 15 July 1978 and remained there for 11 weeks, peaking at No. 10. There is no actual reference to the Aurora Borealis in the lyrics; it is merely a play on words in the title. The first verse begins with: "Destination outward bound, I turn to see the northern lights behind the wing..." Lead singer Annie Haslam commented "The song is about leaving the Northern Lights of England... and Roy Wood behind, when I was working over in the U.S"
Roy Wood is known for having been a founding member of The Move, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and Wizzard. Annie Haslam and Roy Wood had a four-year relationship. Lyricist Betty Thatcher-Newsinger wrote about the feelings of loneliness and separation Annie was experiencing whilst she was on tour, based on the personal conversations between the two. Hence, the lines "though it's hard away from you" and "I'm missing you near me" accentuate the theme. Earlier songs such as "Ocean Gypsy" and "Trip to the Fair" were similarly founded in Annie's life experiences and friendships, the latter also involving Roy Wood.