“Closer To Home” by The Grand Funk Railroad- Song Facts and History
Let’s jump into our time machines and head back to 1970. America was feeling pretty accomplished landing a man on the moon the year before, and Nixon was feeling strong in power. What was on your radio? How about The Grand Funk Railroad with “Closer to Home”. Here’s some song facts and history on this great tune:
Grand Funk guitarist Mark Farner wrote this and sang lead on this all time classic. The song peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Charts here in the U.S. So what’s the song about? It’s about the captain of a ship who is sick and fears he is going to lose his vessel. From different reports, the song has a much more “metaphoric significance”.
Farner explained to Nightwatcher’s House of Rock:
“I had gone to bed and prayed. Our mother had taught us kids to pray the ‘Now I lay me down to sleep,’ so I finished that part of the prayer, and put a P.S. at the end of it, and I asked the Creator to give me a song which would reach and touch the hearts of people that he wanted to touch. With love, because I just felt the love. I just felt for my good friends, my high school buddies who had died in Vietnam. I saw their parents, and I saw their families, and I think that’s what inspired it.
It came in the middle of night to me as words, and I didn’t even realize it was a song, because I write words all the time. In fact, my wife has a file that she has where she’s picked up napkins and notes here and there that have all these words that come out. At least we have a place to start putting them together, like a puzzle. But I grabbed those words in the morning, because I was playing my guitar in the kitchen of the farm. I was sipping on my coffee, had my feet kicked up in the chair, and I had my flattop guitar. As I was strumming the intro chords to ‘I’m Your Captain,’ I went, ‘Hey man, maybe this is a song.’ So I went and got the words, and started constructing the song out of it. I took it to rehearsal that day and the guys said, ‘Man, this song’s a hit.’ And, lo and behold they were right.”