Euphonious Fridays – All The Things I Wasn’t


The 80s were renowned for music’s transition from the disco era.  There were lots of synths…lots of fluorescents…and lots of big hair.  In the early part of the decade, a little known band was formed that bucked the trends of the day, and put out some good Canadian folk rock.  Emerging from Kelowna, British Columbia, two brothers and their friend choose the name of a very well-known book and movie that none of them had read or seen:  The Grapes of Wrath.  They signed with Nettwerk Records, arguably one of Canada’s most successful indie labels, released a series of albums throughout the 80s until 1989 when their most successful Now and Again was recorded.  They toured in support of the album with an opening act that you may have heard of:  a little known singer-songwriter named Sarah McLachlan.

On that album was one of the band’s most popular singles, “All The Things I Wasn’t”.  It is a song that has stuck in my mind since I first heard it, but I recently rediscovered it, and have fallen in love with it all over again.  Its simple acoustic melodies and emotional lyrics suggest the story of an unsuccessful relationship between a parent and a child; a mentor and a protégé.  It’s quite lovely.  The piano interlude always gives me shivers…

Due to litigations over the name of the band, they re-formed with minor lineup changes in the 90s as Ginger, again signing with Nettwerk.  After an EP, two albums and several years together, they disbanded in 1997, partially reuniting as The Grapes of Wrath in 2000 to release another album, before calling it quits for good in 2001.

However, music is often a stronger force than those with a gift for it can admit, and they reunited once again in 2009/10 to do perhaps a final round of touring.  It would seem that only time will tell if the band is truly finished gracing us with their presence.


Hours of hiding, spent apart
The wall was all we’d share
About the closest you could get
About all I would bear

Don’t tell me all the things I wasn’t
Could have made this big a difference
To all the things you are

Years of listening, taking in
To one day take away
From all the guilt and pity I could
Barely keep at bay

Don’t tell me all the things I wasn’t
Could have made this big a difference
To all the things you are

The time apart, I’ve realized
The name’s the most we’ve shared
Unlike you there’s no way I could
Spend forever there

Don’t tell me all the things I wasn’t
Could have made this big a difference
To all the things you are

And a successful find of the video!  Hooray!


4 thoughts on “Euphonious Fridays – All The Things I Wasn’t

  1. The book is actually really good, Suzanne! I know this song (and like it a lot), but didn’t know I knew it until I actually listened to it! I’m terrible for remembering songs/band names, unlike my radio DJ ex-husband…

    It’s a shame they’re not doing regular gigs much any more…


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