Amy Winehouse, Valerie: the lyrics, meaning & story

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Valerie is a song made famous by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson in 2007. It’s part of Mark Ronson’s album Version, but it’s actually a cover of the song of the same name by the English band The Zutons, initially released in 2006. With this in mind, we can understand the song’s lyrics and meaning better because there is an interesting story about it. Let’s discover it.

You can find the official video of Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson’s song below. If you want to listen to the original version by The Zutons, you can find it here.

Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse - Valerie (Official Video)
Watch this video on YouTube.

The story behind the song

Valerie was written by The Zutons’ leader Dave McCabe. The song is about his long-distance relationship with Valerie Star, an American make-up artist. In those days, the two were dating, but Valerie got arrested for repeated driving felonies and was prohibited from leaving the country. Valerie lived in New York and Dave in Liverpool. She intended to visit Dave soon, but the legal troubles prevented her from being able to travel for months.

The song is, therefore, Dave McCabe’s perspective about the girl he was dating. She lived in America and couldn’t reach him, so he wondered if she was solving all her legal issues soon.

The whole story has been told by Valerie Star herself in an interview with Vice: you can find it here.

Valerie: the lyrics and their meaning

In the song’s lyrics, the author wonders how his girl Valerie is spending the days while struggling with her legal issues. She’s away, she cannot be with him, and he feels lonely.

The song’s first lines depict an image of the singer looking at a river and expressing his thought freely, admitting that he misses her.

Well sometimes I go out by myself
And I look across the water
And I think of all the things, what you’re doing
And in my head I paint a picture

‘Cause since I’ve come on home
Well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair
And the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over
Stop making a fool out of me
Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

The ginger hair confirms the identity of Valerie Star (you can see her in the picture below). As an artist, she also has a particular dressing style, and the song highlights these two characteristics among the things that made him fall in love.

Valerie Star

The song mentions that Valerie risked going to jail, and needed to spend a lot of money on a good lawyer to avoid imprisonment. In the real story, Valerie lost all her money in these legal battles, and after everything was solved, she was broke and preferred not to move to Liverpool: she collected her energies and focused on building a career that allowed her to make the right amount of money.

Did you have to go to jail
Put your house on up for sale, did you get a good lawyer?
I hope you didn’t catch a tan
I hope you’ll find the right man who’ll fix it for ya
Are you shopping anywhere
Changed the color of your hair, are you busy?
And did you have to pay that fine
That you were dodging all the time, are you still dizzy?

Therefore, Valerie lyrics hide the true story of a woman who lost all her money to lawyers to avoid prison. The song tells the point of view of The Zutons’ singer, who was having a long-distance relationship with her.

Mark Ronson reinterpreted the track and asked Amy Winehouse to sing it. For a while, people believed that Valerie was someone Amy was dating (in the UK, Valerie is also a male name), but the truth came up soon.

Read other popular song lyrics meaning on Auralcrave

The complete lyrics

Well sometimes I go out by myself
And I look across the water
And I think of all the things, what you’re doing
And in my head I paint a picture

‘Cause since I’ve come on home
Well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair
And the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over
Stop making a fool out of me
Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

Valerie
Valerie
Valerie

Did you have to go to jail
Put your house on up for sale, did you get a good lawyer?
I hope you didn’t catch a tan
I hope you’ll find the right man who’ll fix it for ya
Are you shopping anywhere
Changed the color of your hair, are you busy?
And did you have to pay that fine
That you were dodging all the time, are you still dizzy?

Since I’ve come on home
Well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair
And the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over?
Stop making a fool out of me
Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

Valerie
Valerie
Valerie

Well sometimes I go out by myself
And I look across the water
And I think of all the things, what you’re doing
And in my head I paint a picture

Since I’ve come on home
Well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair
And the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over?
Stop making a fool out of me
Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

Valerie
Valerie

Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?