Stewart, Al - One Stage Before Lyrics

It seems to me as though I've been upon this stage before
And juggled away the night for the same old crowd
These harlequins you see with me, they too have held the floor
As here once again they strut and they fret their hour
I see those half-familiar faces in the second row
Ghost-like with the footlights in their eyes
But where or when we met like this last time I just don't know
It's like a chord that rings and never dies
For infinity

And now these figures in the wings with all their restless tunes
Are waiting around for someone to call their names
They walk the backstage corridors and prowl the dressing-rooms
And vanish to specks of light in the picture-frames
But did they move upon the stage a thousand years ago
In some play in Paris or Madrid?
And was I there among them then, in some travelling show
And is it all still locked inside my head
For infinity

And some of you are harmonies to all the notes I play
Although we may not meet still you know me well

While others talk in secret keys and transpose all I say
And nothing I do or try can get through the spell
So one more time we'll dim the lights and ring the curtain up
And play again like all the times before
But far behind the music you can almost hear the sounds
Of laughter like the waves upon the shores
Of infinity

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Stewart, Al One Stage Before Comments
  1. Andrew Zeegers

    so good, insane...!

  2. Doug Reed

    This is an Al Stewart bona fide classic! Best listened to on a dark frosty winter night!

  3. Mino Banat

    1986/1987, merci Paul de m'avoir fait découvrir ce petit bijou ! Un pur moment de bonheur qui me rappelle combien ces instants sont gravés dans ma tête 😘😘😘

  4. 0secure 1

    That lead can be described in one word...Pure perfection. OK, 2 words.

  5. CoastalGeorgiaScents325 on IG

    The beginning of the song is just amazing! This truly sounds ahead of its time; this incredible song and Al himself. It all seems so surreal, like I'm searching through myself to find something within me that I have yet to uncover. It's just truly amazing and I'm only a 27 year old getting goosebumps from this!

  6. Jose esteban Matias caniulaf

    Un albun completo de bueno,lo maximo en la histoia inglesa,pero los comerciantes mercaderes de la musica solo ablan de los4 de Liberpool,k hermosa guitar?

  7. Jose esteban Matias caniulaf

    Esto si es talento,y vajo perfil,no sobre valorado como los4 de Liberpool

  8. Jose esteban Matias caniulaf

    Esto es miusic ,NO MORE BETLES

  9. Armando Arce

    2019. Alone. Perfect.

    Armando Arce

    For insanity..!

  10. Erodis Dominguez

    this is one of the most beautiful song to me I wish a can play that part of the guitar at the end.

  11. Scott Spektral

    cool video!

  12. Clive McLeod

    Quite brilliant.

  13. Grybop

    This is massage for the ears. The video tries to put that sensation to image.

  14. Thomas A. Bradley

    Perfect video for this song - kudos!

  15. Paul Maurice

    This song has a mystic to it.  The guitar ending of this song make it even better.

  16. Mary Krejci

    Love the "Les Chat" cigarette pack!

  17. Bob Lewis

    A great haunting song! Definitely his best in my mind! Played it over and over in my 8 track player. Rock On!

  18. prometheus5700

    The lead in this is amazing. I've been listening to this for decades and when the lead comes in, I still get goosebumps...



  19. Rocio Obregon

    Esta canción es muy it.

  20. Boz Ajanovic

    Al is the shit!

  21. Mark Hughes

    Perfect song.

  22. Steve Matchett

    Yet another beautiful & haunting song by the musician & poet, who was & is, quite simply, the greatest minstrel of the 20th Century.

    Alasdair Baird


  23. Steve Olson

    Pretty sure Al must have been Neil Tenant's dad.

  24. Lee Maddison

    great guitar solo too. Peter White?


    Tim Renwick.

  25. Lee Maddison

    Wow, haven't heard this in years.

    Michelo Nyaundi

    Published on Feb 29, 2012

  26. Michael

    Life in dark water is a great song as well..

    Doug Diemer

    I agree...   this music is so unheard of by most music lovers...

    Thomas A. Bradley

    The whole album is killer ... as is Time Passages and all the others......he really is a super story teller with amazing imagery.

  27. GoodyBob

    His best song. Sad that it's a hidden gem.
    Should have been a golden top 10-er on the radio for the masses to also enjoy.


    +GoodyBob Absolutely. I think that Al should have had FOUR major hits on YotC. The title track and OTB, which were hits, and this one, and Broadway Hotel. When I saw that Broadway Hotel was the flip side of YotC, I knew that Al's record company was clueless.

    Hans Bos

    I can't think of any bad songs by Al . Some are better than others . This one's for sure awesome . It's the production of the whole album .. as if everyone that worked on it , gave it their very best shot :-)

  28. Cindy Owens

    Ok, I just cannot watch that... lol Are you nuts?!

  29. Ronald Charles Epstein

    Great lesser-known Al Stewart song.

  30. William Walker

    They just don't write songs like this anymore!


    No, they really don't.  Al is amazing.

    Rob Hernandez

    +William Walker You can say that again! what a great song!!!Cheers

    Paul Maurice

    I totally agree.

    Alasdair Baird

    They didn't then either.

  31. smartalek180

    I totally agree w/ the reverence (no weaker word will do) for Al and his many under-recognized masterworks.
    I just wish folks could appreciate the past without feeling the need to slag off the present.
    There's tons of brilliant music out there, lyrically & melodically both, much of it right here at YT.
    "Ya just gotta poke around," as another songster said.
    FWIW, Al's fans might like some of The Civil Wars, Chairlift, Vampire Weekend, Marina & the Diamonds, and Gin Wigmore, among others.

  32. smartalek180

    Am I the only one who finds this really reminiscent of "Carol"?
    (Not that I'm criticizing the man's genius! Somebody once famously said Vivaldi didn't write 600 concerti -- he wrote the same concerto 600 times. It was a canard -- but you can always tell a Vivaldi on the first three bars...)

  33. GoodyBob

    One his best songs out of a lot of his great songs! Beautifully done with innovative & insightful lyrics. Chilling. Saw him & Dave perform a few months ago...he still is as talented & witty as usual.

  34. Major Henry

    Bon goût l'ami.

  35. doudou seck

    incroyable,ce son me rend dingue

  36. bassmanjoe

    Love the guitar solo!

  37. TheTherese3

    Are we surrounded by the atoms of history?Do they walk right through us?Or are these atoms far off where the planet was at that time?

  38. Fermin silva

    al es un poeta , un juglar

  39. Matías Siquier Fernández

    Será que solo lo creo yo...El solo de guitarra de Tim Renwick es único...

    Jose esteban Matias caniulaf

    Me parece buena opinion,es mas los 4 de Liberpool siguen siendo SOBREVALORADOS,ESTO SI ES MUSICA AGRADABLE AL OIDO

    Jose esteban Matias caniulaf

    El solo mas lindo y con pasion

  40. jotach127

    Buenaza !!! de los varios singles del Albun Año del Gato....

  41. rac717

    I hope you make a point to see Al Stewart. His shows are fabulous, and well, he is 66. One Stage Before, and a hundred other Al tunes will live forever. OSB is in my Top 5 Al favorites. Oh, listen to Somewhere in England 1915, if you've never heard it.

  42. ConservativeAnthem

    @Callmps Holy cow...

  43. Pipis Cerrone

    i am al s fun too i have this record twice i m 43 from greece in late 70 s and after this disc played everywhere

  44. Jack Saller

    good stuff. i'm here, sipping brandy w/ my phones on. love al. fantastic writer. this song has great words and intense music. one of his best!

  45. bob shedden

    this song was great with good headphones on at night oh ya being stoned ! back in 1977 thats how i loved to hear it

    Michelo Nyaundi

    Published on Feb 19, 2012

    Doug Reed

    Nah you really do not need to be "stoned" to appreciate this majestic song, I feel "high" with the music!

  46. Rob Hernandez

    I love Tim Renwick guitar playing on this song!
    for those that don't know who he is..He played with Pink floyd on the "pulse" tour.

  47. Rob Hernandez

    I love Tim Renwick guitar playing on this song!

  48. Callmps

    A GREAT song on an album filled with great songs.
    No one writes lyrics like these anymore.

  49. bob shedden


  50. david wright

    huge al stewart fan soince i was a kid///

  51. syncopalsubho

    @TheFrenchsailor No doubt. I feel the same way - each song is a gem.

  52. alan byrne

    al stewart was born in scotland in 1946, he was a post war baby who moved down south, the song post world war two blues tells the story.great music

  53. rac717

    @tommybertsen This guy is so awesome! I've been obsessed with his amazing music for 15 years now. It's like a closely guarded secret how great his songwriting talent is.

  54. tim ballard kentishbloke

    surley one of England's greatest living songwriters along with Roy Harper and Nick Drake....well Nick's dead but you get my drift :)

  55. rac717

    @LennyZakatek Lenny, I SAW him play this song in Pa. last year. Al commented that when he wrote it, he was young, and he didn't realize how much it would hurt his hands to play it in his older years! lol Al Stewart is an Scottish-American treasure, for sure!

  56. rac717

    One of Al's most phenomenal tunes. Anyone bored with contemporary music should visit Al's catalog, which dates from the 1960's to present. You won't regret it.....

  57. puddypuss

    its a bit uncanny, I used to know him in the 70s and at fairfield halls croydon 1973 he said : " the lights are bright and I can only see to the second row and theres my friend " which was nice, but recently hes been a bit off hand. still who knows what happened years ago ?

  58. Bruce Christie

    Thanks so much for posting one of my favs. If ever a song summed up my beliefs, this is it. This song is a total beauty.
    racquetm, Canada

  59. well read comnter

    @LennyZakatek hear hear. Definitely some ass-kickin' guitar near the end.

  60. marcostar57

    This is one of my favorite Al Stewart songs.. such a great haunting melody ..and the fantastic words. I love it!

  61. Alan Bell

    Writer and historian Alexander Baron writes: "This is another of Stewart's enigmatic songs, this time about reincarnation. One of the finest tracks on this blockbuster album, and running to over four and a half minutes, it features a fine guitar solo by Tim Renwick. The voice distortion on "for infinity" is a master stroke." Why don't we have tasteful guitar solos like this today? Maybe it's because today's songs don't have a pleasing melody to go with them, do you think? He makes it "sing".

  62. Bruce Christie

    Thanks for posting a song I've always loved. Even now, after hearing it, I don't want to hear another song for 10 minutes.

  63. maverictomcat

    you'll need a good system and a cd/vinyl so here the deepest bass,and the mandoline ever.along with roads to moscow and merlin's time-the best of this loved artist.i love the fact that he wrote real songs/poems not just love

  64. well read comnter

    Love that tag line: "Because youtube desperately needs more Al"! My 3 favorite LPs by Al at the moment are: Time Passages, 24 Carrots, and Year of the cat... Some great, timeless stuff.

  65. klarissimus

    youtube definitely needs more al!!!!that's my favorite al stewart song and one of his brightest moments-can't understand why nobody else has uploaded that song!-thanx for sharing

  66. redhotporsche

    this is perhaps ... well, just perhaps al stewarts' finest moment ... okay, maybe he has a few more (maybe not, though.) :) what a talent.