This song was inspired by a comic strip — one which featured a talking dog, entitled “The Duplex” — from which I also got the idea for “What Color Is the Sky?“. The strip consisted essentially of the story in the chorus: A man, who has just lost his girlfriend to a better-looking guy, asking (rhetorically, of course) what have you got, if you take away this new guy’s muscles, good looks, charm, etc.? The dog finally looks at him and says, “You!” As you’ll see, though, I also took the story on a little farther, and the title line takes on some different meanings as the song develops.
I watch you moving across the dance floor, looking happy in his arms;
These beers can’t stop the hurt I’m feeling, since you fell for his charms.
I can see he’s taller, darker, and handsomer than me;
So when he turned that winning smile on you, well, I guess it had to be. But ..
What have you got, if you take away his good looks and charm?
If you take away that wavy hair, and those muscles in his arms?
If you take away his money, his winning personality?
What have you got, if you take it all away? … Well, you got me.
And now you’re telling me he’s left you, and you don’t know what to do?
So you’re coming back to find out if I’m still in love with you?
Now you know I’ll always love you; I’m not afraid to tell you so —
But, deep inside, there’s still a part of me that really wants to know: Now…
Now, most people won’t mistake me for Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise;
And if charm’s the coin to win life’s games, you can bet I’m going to lose.
But I’m glad you finally learned what really matters, in the end,
Is someone who’ll stay, through thick and thin, and always be your friend. So …
Yeah, it don’t matter if you take all the rest of it away … You got me.
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