Writing a love song is hard. You don’t want it to fail in any respect. And pity those poor songwriters whose love is in such demand that they have to write a bunch of them!
I’m unaware of any love songs written for people who are still actually in love after nearly fifty years. I guess the bad news is that it’s a small market… the good news is that I won’t ever have to write another one!
I was fooling around on my guitar, trying to find some new chord voicings, when I stumbled across the chord progression for the verse. I could instantly hear the melody and harmony and knew it would have to be a love song. I worked out the bridge and its winding harmony line that reminds me of the liturgical music I heard at Sabbath services as a kid. If I could just find the right words!
During the ensuing weeks I told Nancy I was looking for the first three words or syllables, thinking that they had to be right and the rest would follow. She suggested "Oh, yeah I..." but I suspected the Beatles would probably object. Late at night, I came upon "Late at night." The rest was easy to write, and hard to sing without choking up. I never look at her when I'm performing the song, you never know when you'll fall off that cliff.
Ellie Cruze sings perfect harmony on this, Sara Gibson plays a wonderful cello part that is, as Gentry describes, a light shining on the dancers in the song.