Don McLean - Three Flights Up Lyrics




On the first floor… On the first floor…

On the first floor there's a young girl reeling
Her body's numb and without feeling
As illusions dance on the midnight ceiling
Now she's falling, now she's kneeling

It's almost like she's bowed in prayer
A savior she's about to bear
She screams for help, but no one's there…
On the first floor…

On the first floor people walk the halls
But none can hear her desperate calls
There is no sound beyond the walls
So to the telephone she crawls

She telephones her only friend
The one on whom she can depend
But the phone rings on without an end
Then rings no more…On the first floor…

There's a party on the second floor
And through the picture window you can see them all
They're laughing and they're dancing
Admiring the Renoir that's hanging on the wall

But in the master bedroom where the coats are piled high
A silent, saddened lady thinks of what it's like to die
And as she dwells on all the years she still has left to face
She wonders how she'll ever find someone to take his place

Then suddenly she's jarred by the ringing of the phone
Oh, why do you ring now, just when I want to be alone?
So she walks into the bathroom and drinks some water from a cup
But the telephone stops ringing just before she picks it up…

My family was very poor
So I worked hard to be secure
I married one I had to wed
And not the one I loved instead

When I was young my blood ran wild
But we stayed married for the child
Now three flights up, I'm all alone
My wife is dead, my child is grown

My daughter leads a wayward life
She's been a failure as a wife
And though she lives just one floor down
She never calls or comes around…

Step off the platform and onto the train
Look out your window and into the rain
Watch all the buildings that pass as you ride
And count all the stories that go on inside
And then ask yourself if it must be this way
Should walls and doors and plaster ceilings
Separate us from each others' feelings?





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Don McLean Three Flights Up Comments
  1. Der beste Song aller Zeiten!! Risse

    Im Nebel Hermann Hesse Er hat es gesagt!!

  2. Der beste Song aller Zeiten!! Risse

    He is so wonderful! There are no words!!!

  3. Elena Pappa

    A part of the song reminds me of "it's alright ma" by bob dylan😂😊
    0:51 - 1:02

  4. Jonathan Warrdddedcxddeececldron

    This has some real heart pored into it which is what can really make a song live

  5. Linda Gimbert

    You can hear Pete Seeger's influence. He mentored Don and though the style is all Don's the depth came from Pete!

  6. xenophonon123

    WHFS brought me here......

  7. Tate Wikuwa

    wonderful Music, Don is the best, wish I could see him only one time in my life

  8. Maria Diaz

    On the first floor… On the first floor…

    On the first floor there's a young girl reeling
    Her body's numb and without feeling
    As illusions dance on the midnight ceiling
    Now she's falling, now she's kneeling

    It's almost like she's bowed in prayer
    A savior she's about to bear
    She screams for help, but no one's there…
    On the first floor…

    On the first floor people walk the halls
    But none can hear her desperate calls
    There is no sound beyond the walls
    So to the telephone she crawls

    She telephones her only friend
    The one on whom she can depend
    But the phone rings on without an end
    Then rings no more…On the first floor…

    There's a party on the second floor
    And through the picture window you can see them all
    They're laughing and they're dancing
    Admiring the Renoir that's hanging on the wall

    But in the master bedroom where the coats are piled high
    A silent, saddened lady thinks of what it's like to die
    And as she dwells on all the years she still has left to face
    She wonders how she'll ever find someone to take his place

    Then suddenly she's jarred by the ringing of the phone
    Oh, why do you ring now, just when I want to be alone?
    So she walks into the bathroom and drinks some water from a cup
    But the telephone stops ringing just before she picks it up…

    My family was very poor
    So I worked hard to be secure
    I married one I had to wed
    And not the one I loved instead

    When I was young my blood ran wild
    But we stayed married for the child
    Now three flights up, I'm all alone
    My wife is dead, my child is grown

    My daughter leads a wayward life
    She's been a failure as a wife
    And though she lives just one floor down
    She never calls or comes around…

    Step off the platform and onto the train
    Look out your window and into the rain
    Watch all the buildings that pass as you ride
    And count all the stories that go on inside
    And then ask yourself if it must be this way
    Should walls and doors and plaster ceilings
    Separate us from each others' feelings?

    Marcos Aurélio Rondineli de Oliveira

    Love. Love, love, love. Inove. My family is me.

  9. xenophonon123

    late night- FM radio tuned to WHFS 102.3 Bethesda, Maryland. Mahalo Cerphe & crew.

  10. Randy Mountain

    Don McLean was a poet and a singer and I love his music. It's really so much more than music. As Country music does, it tells a story, and he makes you listen to the story. The real purpose of this song is to show the lack of concern for others, we need to pay more attention to those that need someone.........anyone.

    Box Bo

    Randy Mountain I agree 100% he was an artist in the truest form of the word

    Jim MacQ

    Was? He's still alive, touring, and on Twitter.

    ronald tetreault

    ... Don McVlean was a fukf who sufrd guilt . His penance his music . Amen

  11. Jonathan Warrdddedcxddeececldron

    Mhh I love how this sounds . Can someone tell me, what sort of music is this exactly?

    Sl Meyers

    I guess I'd call it Folk. It's got a lot in common with Blues, and some people would call it Easy LIstening, but they aren't paying attention to the often painful lyrics. Sometimes this kind of music is anything but easy on the mind. See if you like Chris Rea and Mark Knopfler, see if you like Kingston Trio, Mamas and the Papas, Peter Paul and Mary. Chris Rea is more bluesy, as is Knopfler. The others are more purely folk musicians. Al Stewart is like Don McLean, though I'd say he has more intellectually interesting lyrics and not quite as good a voice. I bet you'll love all of these.

    Randy Mountain

    It's Don McLean's music........no body else like him

  12. Eric Dumez

    try circus song...

  13. Eric Dumez

    This is the best poetic song ever made... you may think otherwise... then you're freakin' wrong.
    I know this song from my 16th year... I'm 55 now... I love to play it on my guitar... when nobody else is around... Still it moves me deep in my heart (better: in my mind).
    Three flights up... I am alone... (raised 2 kids)...
    Thanks Don, for such a great song !!!!

    Blood Letter

    Eric Dumez While this is a lyrical masterpiece I still say In the Beginning or Genesis Is his best imo

    Eric Dumez

    Blood Letter,
    I agree with your choice, I've listened to the song to be curious about it... but...
    This song (genesis) is made AFTER the music he made as basic throughout the years...
    That doesn't mean it isn't important, it's still great.
    I've seen Don several times, in Arenberg Schouwburg in Antwerp, last time in Turnhout, Antwerp, live.
    "Genesis" is rather a story about men's evolution, "Three flights up" is about now !!
    Rarely for me, his songs 'Vincent' and 'and I love you so' aren't the greatest... though everybody knows them.
     There are very many important song that Don's made:
    - Circus song
    - Oh, my, what a shame
    - Bronco Bill's lament
    - The pride parade
    - Orphans of wealth... etc...
    These songs didn't made the billboard... but they're absolutely pearls in the music business...
    Don is simply wasted as a writer because he "didn't fit".
    Eric.

    CrunkParty

    Passing off opinion as fact? Why, it must be the YouTube comments section!

    Richie24

    So many deep beautiful songs. Crossroads was the first for me. Sister Fatima. Oh My What a Shame. And many, many others.

  14. Rob Noordeloos

    Chrissy Zawaideh, you are dead right. Friggin' poetry it is...

    DealReal12

    Why say the vulgar euphemism frigging?
    Just be happy and glad and joyful
    Way too much anger in this world
    Boycott TV and turn off Howeirdfartmanstern
    It's toxic for Your Only Soul
    All this Porn-filled Hate
    Listen to Don and similar artists instead!

  15. Stray mind

    Such a happy-sad song... Beautiful..

  16. Jay Raceles

    i consider Sister Fatima Song sarcastic... hehehehe. for $5, and the flower is free..

    Richie24

    Jay Raceles oh no. I find it really deep. And I came from nowhere like you and your friend, my searching and wandering went on without end, my future was dim, my spirit was crushed, in one sacred moment my questions were hushed. I love this song. When I was in Puerto Rico I saw a sign at a nunnery Sisters of Our Lady Fatima so I went in and I told them I came because I love the song. One spoke some English and asked what do you want to do, and I said I want to sing the song for you. So she said you can sing it for the Virgin Mary and she took me to this spot where there was a small sculpture of the Virgin Mary and I sang the song and afterward she gave me a flower because she heard in the song the flower is free! I even got to tell that story to Don when he was signing autographs after a concert and he liked it.
    Wh

  17. Richie24

    He is my all time favorite. I used to cry every time I listened to this song. I myself prefer American Pie and Don McLean to this album. Especially the songs Crossroads, Sister Fatimah, and Empty Chairs.

    Richie24

    Me too.

  18. Koscina51

    What one man's voice and a guitar can do! I heard this once late night on the radio in the early '70s and never forgot it. Hearing it again is just as I remembered. Thanks.

  19. Highwaymen2

    This is Don's rarest song. I think he must have stopped singing it around 1975.

  20. Peter Outlaw

    This is what was talking blues it goes back to the early blues singers.

  21. jfq722

    People's taste in music is what faded so quickly; often referred to as the disco era. Mclean's songwriting stayef at a very high caliber into the early 1990's.

  22. David Farrington

    "rap" is usually the term applied by those who don't dig deep into the culture, hip-hop is the term usually used by those who "are hip-hop". Genres of music evolve, that is a fact, artistry and social relevance is still the same but is found in different areas of hip-hop than in previous eras, the more artistic is mostly found in the underground. If by "rap" you mean mainstream hip-hop, then for the most part I agree, but if not I think this argument would just end up going in circles.

  23. David Farrington

    Very common for people to bash rap as not requiring artistry, but there is much fantastic rap which brings forth social issues in areas of cities that we would not have a clear picture of or understanding from someone/people who have lived in those places. That is but one example of the importance of rap, simply pushing it aside as being a genre requiring little or no skill or it not being considered an art is seems to be commonly stated by people living in the past.

  24. Zoolbar's Magic Star Cave

    Is that the first rule of filestube? :D

  25. Bill Burge

    I first saw him perform this on ,i think, old grey whistle test , c1971. And thought it was brilliant .

  26. David Farrington

    1970 I believe.

  27. Highwaymen2

    Sorry I don't know anything about filestube

  28. David Farrington

    @Highwaymen2 cool! you know where I'd be able to find it *cough* filestube *cough*

  29. Highwaymen2

    There's an even better version on his first live album SOLO

    sonny sumangil

    Yeah..I heard this in his live album Solo back in 1979..concert in Royale Albert Hall..my gosh, after hearing this double album (in tape), studied and played all his songs in it..play, rewind, play, rewind a hundred times !!! until now Don's music and poetry moves me..

  30. Nathan Aden

    @stevebful uhhh..... and American Pie!!

  31. David Marcel Arseneau

    In 1970, at Berkshire Community College (then on Second St.) Pittsfield MA,
    President Tom O'Connell, during President's Hour, told us "I'd like to introduce a friend of mine..", whereupon McClean came out and played this song.
    I will never forget it,
    Almost impossible to find on any of the p2p servers; only here..
    Thanks for the post and the memory..

  32. frère onagi

    why there's no one who thinks to upload 'bad girl' from Tapestry? 'Daddy, wont you buy a little dolly for me? it's the only toy i ever wanted...'

  33. Cris Guia

    @GeminiSpaceship I can't agree, but then I haven't heard all his songs yet. To me his finest are Winter Has Me in its Grip, Oh My What a Shame, Crossroads and the Grave. And General Store. And the Pride Parade. It's a long list. His smooth, soothing voice, outstanding guitar playing, poetic and thought-provoking lyrics and beautiful melodies are pure magic.

  34. Ettoredipugnar

    @jem3398 I think they are more personal than social.

  35. Jerry Mills

    "Tapestry" was a great acoustic album filled with the social conscience-flavored work that was prevalent at the time. Thanks much for posting!

  36. Stephen Blakestone

    this guy of course is famous cos "kiilling me softly " by roberta flak was about him. but great voice and words

  37. David Farrington

    @GeminiSpaceship And I couldn't believe no one else had put up the original before I did!