December 24, 2017 / Comments (0)

Goo Goo Dolls for Christmas

Christmas is many things, but it is certainly about tradition and traditions, which was again confirmed to me last week when I received my annual box of “Goo Goo Clusters” from my attorney friends in Nashville, where the confections are manufactured. It also reminded me to be grateful for our business colleagues as well as our friends and family. I was reminded of the “Goo Goo Clusters” because I had been working through my iTunes library recently and I ran across a Christmas song that rarely (read: never) is included in the seasonal compilations with Amy Grant, Michael Buble, Taylor Swift or Bing Crosby. That song – “Better Days” – is performed by the Goo Goo Dolls, hence the unusual, but coincidental reference.

For some reason, despite their celebrity status, Richmond was fortunate in 2011 to have the Goo Goo Dolls perform at the National Theater – an intimate, 1,500-seat venue. I was able to attend with my daughter Amy, and while it was quite likely the loudest concert I ever attended, it was exceptional and included a powerful rendition of “Better Days.”

The reason I was looking through hundreds of songs was to prepare for an upcoming episode of “Returning to Katahdin: An Appalachian Trail Dream” – the podcast about my 2018 attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Steve “Mighty Blue” Adams, the interviewer for the podcast, had given me an assignment. Drawing on a long-running (over 75 years) BBC radio program called “Desert Island Discs,” Steve asked me to select just eight songs that I would take with me if I was cast away on a desert island. What might we learn about someone based upon his or her eight selections?

For anyone who gives a moment’s thought to this exercise, you’re very likely to see how hard it is to select just eight songs. “Better Days” did not make the final cut, however, without giving away too much, I have songs by the Rolling Stones, Lee Ann Womack, Frank Sinatra, and five other artists. If you’d like to see how I selected the eight songs, start the New Year by listening in on Monday, January 1.

I’m not sure what you wanted for Christmas this year. (I’ve always been partial to Amy Grant’s “Grown-up Christmas List.”) Even though I hope I am grateful for these days – because I am truly blessed – most of the world (and most of us) could use “Better Days.”


Bruce (“RTK”)



And you asked me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

‘Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
‘Cause everyone is forgiven now
‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And that’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive

And the one poor child who saved this world
And there’s ten million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words and sing out loud
‘Cause everyone is forgiven now
‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

Watch & Listen to “Better Days” on YouTube:




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Last modified: December 27, 2017

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