The song Delta Dawn is about a girl who looks for her lost lover. However, some say that the writer had written the song thinking about her own mother. The song is all about memories.
Let us discuss the meaning of the song in this article.
A girl is in love with a low degree man. The relationship has left negative effect on her. But she is still looking for this man. She is unable to forget him and craves to be with him.
“Delta Dawn..in the sky”
The first verse starts with the words “Delta Dawn”. The writer is addressing to the Delta Dawn. He asks the Delta Dawn about the flower it has. He is asking if the rose is faded just like the girl’s love. Delta is the place where the river flows into the sea. A Delta is fertile and beautiful. The writer compares the girl to a Delta dawn. The fertility of Delta is compared to her age. She still has time to start her age. She can fall in love again and have kids. Delta regions are plush green with flowers. The girl is so beautiful just like the delta. Though she has so much opportunities, she is only looking at the faded rose. The faded rose is her lover.
The lover said he would meet her and take her to his mansion. Here the writer compares the mansion to sky. The sky doesn’t exist for real and is endless. Likewise, the mansion of this person doesn’t exist. The writer says that he made false promises to this girl that he will take her to his mansion. His mansion doesn’t exist only!
“She is 41…dark-haired man”
The age of the girl is 41. But her daddy still calls her baby. The writer says that, though the girl has grown old, she is still a baby at heart. She has only grown in the outside. If she was matured she would have understood the reality and moved on in life. She wouldn’t have been waiting for this person till day.
The folks in the streets call her crazy because she is still waiting for him. She is waiting for him even at this age. She is still searching for this man. His boyfriend has dark colored hair. She is searching for him with a suitcase. This means she was ready to elope with him. Even today she is ready to elope with him. Though she knows this person left her, her blind love for him is forcing her to wait for him.
The writer uses beautiful metaphors here. The girl’s heart is compared to a baby’s heart. Also, it is innocent. The girl is pure and loved him truly. Her love was sincere. In spite of her purity and innocence, people called her crazy. In the first line the writer says she is innocent. In the immediate next line, she calls her crazy. This means the writer pities her but is angry as well. He is angry because the girl lost her life in vain. She put her trust in a wrong person. She was beautiful and had everything in life. She could have loved and married anyone in life. But she adamantly waited for this person. And in the end she got nothing but disappointed.
“In her younger….for his bride”
When she was young people called her the Delta Dawn. She was called so because she was the prettiest in the town. She turned faces. Everyone on the road laid their eyes on her. She was such a beauty. Unfortunately, a low degree man stood by her. She fell for his false promises. He said that he would marry her. But nothing happened. Her heart broke terribly by his actions in the future.
The writer uses metaphors in this verse. The girl is compared to a delta. Her fertility is just like delta. This also has another meaning. The river breaks into smaller streams in delta and finally joins the sea. Just like the river, the girl has broken herself. A river starts its journey in the mountain and ends its journey in a delta. Similarly this girl, just like the river is shattering herself into pieces and is almost at the verge of dying. Her love can make thousands cherish and lead a happy life. Her love is just like a river. A river supports millions of life. She too can have children and therefore can create life. Unfortunately she chose to die. She is ruining herself.
The writer compares the promises made by her lover to sky. His promises were endless. They were all big just like the sky. However, they were all fake just like the sky. We can only see the sky. In reality it is an empty space filled with air. Similarly, the promises of this person were empty.
Story behind “Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker
The first recording of “Delta Dawn” was made by Harvey for his self-titled album released in November 1971. Harvey opened for Helen Reddy at the Troubadour in January 1972, but at the time Reddy (who was also signed to the Capitol Records label) had nothing to do with any of Harvey’s productions. compositions.
Diane Davidson sang a backup of Harvey’s recording. She was the first female singer since Harvey to record a song and chart in 1971–1972.
Tracey Nelson also sang background vocals on Harvey’s recording and performed “Delta Dawn” in her live performance.
After hearing Tracey Nelson sing “Delta Dawn” on the Bottom Line in New York, Bette Midler added the song to her repertoire.
At the time that Tanya Tucker and Helen Reddy recorded the song (see below), Bette Midler recorded “Delta Dawn” for her debut album The Divine Miss M, for which a bluesy version of it was planned as the lead single. The Reddy single was released in June 1973, two days before Midler. The ousting required marketing changes for Midler, so the original B-side “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” was sold to the radio and became a Top Ten hit in its own right.
Before recording Bette Midler, Nashville producer Billy Sherrill heard her singing “Delta Dawn” on The Tonight Show, and wanted to sign Midler to Epic Records and have her do it. After discovering that Midler was already signed to Atlantic Records, Sherrill recorded the song with Tanya Tucker, who had recently signed to Epic, and Tucker’s version was released in April 1972; That spring, he reached number 6 in the C&W.
Record producer Tom Catalano created the instrumental track “Delta Dawn”. Catalano first offered vocal composition to Barbra Streisand, but she turned it down; after that, he gave vocals to Reddy.
A version of Reddy with rising modulation added to Tucker’s imitation and non-stop vocals throughout, entered the Top Ten on August 18, 1973, September 15, 1973 on its way to its only week at #1. “Delta Dawn” was the first of six in a row – and eight overall – Reddy #1 hits on the Billboard Easy Listening Chart.
Reddy reached #2 with “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “I’m a Woman” in her native Australia; “Delta Dawn” became her first No. 1 hit, spending five weeks at the top of the Kent Music Report in August and September 1973. “Delta Dawn” also marked Reddy’s only charting appearance in South Africa, reaching #13 in the fall of 1973.