Last year, as a songwriting challenge, I decided to work on a musical. Almost immediately I changed the final goal to not be a complete musical, but an album’s worth of songs that, if I wanted to put in way more work, could be turned into a stage musical one day.
After a few weeks of deliberation, I settled on Groundhog Day as the basis of the songs. I picked this movie because it’s a modern classic that everyone knows. If I ever performed it with just me and a piano, I wouldn’t have to communicate every part of the story with everyone in the audience.
So in the Soundcloud player above is the result of about 11 months of part-time songwriting. If the player isn’t showing up and you want to give it a listen, click this link: Groundhog Day Concept Album – demo versions 20130425. This is a demo recording only (meaning it was recorded using only a Zoom above my electric piano in my juggling studio, one take for each song, no effects or multitracking).
Below are all the lyrics of all the songs, plus the voiceover introductions I would read out between the songs if I were to ever perform it all live as a solo show. These introductions aren’t in the above recording, and if you know the movie well they’re probably superfluous.
Groundhog Day. I hope you’ve seen the movie, or else this show might not make as much sense.
In America, Groundhog Day is an annual winter festival. Outside of America, nobody knows what happens on Groundhog Day.
Outside of America, nobody knows what a groundhog is.
To clear up any confusion, let’s hear from the star of the show. His name is Phil. Phil is a Groundhog.
The Groundhog’s Song – Part 1 – The Introduction
I'm a groundhog, small and round I'm often found down in the ground That's in my name, but don't be mistaken I'm not a pig, I'm no good for bacon. I live in muddy hole under a log. A rodent that's just called a hog. I chew on branches, gnaw on wood A bit like a beaver but not quite as good. I can't jump like a squirrel or fly like a bat or swim like an otter or purr like a cat Or spray like a skunk or run like a hare Or hunt like a fox or fight like a bear In fact there's nothing special about me The world would be the same without me No-one gives me any thought My encyclopedia entry is short I have no special purpose here Except for on just one day of the year! I'm a groundhog, look at me You're not so impressed but there's more you can't see The other rodents shrug "whatever" But none of them can forecast the weather. I have this special super power But only for a single hour At around about seven or eight Just after dawn, on one single date... On the morning of the second day Of the second month, then I have my say. And all the humans from the town Arrive at my home, they all gather round. They visit me for a single reason I predict the end of the coldest season. They want to know if they will see Another six weeks of misery Of ice, and wind, and hail, and snow. Or will spring come soon? And I let them know! In winter Groundhogs hibernate I sleep through cold, it's the best way to wait. But by february I really need to eat and to defecate I poke my little nose out of my burrow Will I leave my hole today or tomorrow? If the clouds cover the sun Then spring will come soon, and my sleeping is done. But if the sun shines down on me And if my shadow is the first thing I see It scares me and I turn around And shuffle back down underground You might think the sun is a sign of good luck But the reverse is true for this little woodchuck Another six weeks of winter is on the way. Another six weeks of winter is on the way.
The other star of the show is also called Phil. Phil Connors.
Like the Groundhog, Phil also shares his views on the length of winter. He’s the weatherman for Channel 9 Action News.
Phil is on the way to the town of Punxatawny to cover the Groundhog Day festival.
He’s traveling with Producer Rita and Cameraman Larry, but we all know who’s the most important of these three.
Phil’s Song – I am the Talent
I'll do it my way That's a fact I'll do it my way That's how I act And you'll do it my way That's what you're here to do Yes you'll do it my way That is all I want from you So listen up here, listen in here I'm the star that's glistening here Oh yeah I am the talent here I'm the one who has the knack I have the gift, I have the touch It's in my blood, so please stand back. I am the talent here The accolades will all be mine You and you just do your best then Please stand back and watch me shine. Just watch me shine Just watch me shine I'll do it my way 'cause I know best I'm more important Than all the rest So if you try to give me advice I warn you I will not be nice Oh no I am the talent here I'm the leader of the pack. I am the master, I am the boss, I'm numero uno, please stand back. I am the talent here For autographs please stand in line You and you are nothing beside me Please stand back and watch me shine Just watch me shine Just watch me shine Just watch me shine Anyone can do your job, yeah You're all interchangeable You're not like me Even if you work hard You will never be a star at all A star like me You're born with it or born without it There's nothing you can do about it So you must do things my way You must obey Unless today They who pay And hold sway, say hey you now may do it your way. Don't listen to the talent, okay. But at least they acknowledge That I am the talent here, yeah. I am the talent here I have those things that you lack I have the skill, I have the flair I have the strength, so please stand back. I am the talent here I'm the one with gifts divine You and you can clean up behind me Please stand back and watch me shine I am the talent here Nothing can be out of whack Coffee not tea, hot not cold Put this right, then please stand back. I am the talent here, You must listen to me whine The car's too slow, the hotels smells. With all this how do you expect me to shine? If I'm not fine How can I shine? you've crossed a line If I don't shine It's a very very bad sign If I don't shine And your ass will be mine If I don't shine. Yes I'll blame you If I don't shine But credit's all mine If I then shine Just watch me shine Just watch me shine Please stand back and watch me Shine
After a night in a hotel, Phil wakes up.
It’s the morning of Groundhog Day! Is it going to be a good day?
It starts just fine, with coffee and breakfast.
But then, on the way to the festival, Phil meets Ned.
Ned the Head. Needlenose Ned.
Let me tell you about Ned.
Ned’s Song – The Most Annoying Man in the World
Did you ever meet the most annoying man in the world? I'm not talking figuratively but actually literally. Did you ever meet the most annoying man in the world? someone who is categorically as obnoxious as a man can be? Let me describe the most annoying man in the world and I'll start with his history. As a child at school, he always was a fool. A tragic class clown who made nobody grin A boring life, with a boring wife, now he sells insurance with such perseverance at every chance he rants and thinks that you might give in. Really over there's the most annoying man in the world I say that justifiably if you met him you'd agree But don't go over there and talk to most annoying man in the world I can tell you objectively that it will not end happily Let me describe the most annoying man in the world and I'll continue with his physicality he puts on his clothes with his eyes closed and he wears a bow tie and he walks with a hunch. He has a big head and a nose so red and he has a fat mouth that I just want to punch wanna punch wanna punch wanna punch him in the mouth, yeah. From now on I'm going to avoid the most annoying man in the world. I should be able to do that easily; at a long distance you can hear him laughing so frustratingly. And I hope nobody else ever has to come in contact with the most annoying man in the world and I really do mean that genuinely and so you can spot him easily let me describe the most annoying man in the world and I'll conclude with his personality. He has no shame and his jokes are lame and he thinks old catch phrases make him sound bright. There's no subtext to his stupid sound effects his intellect is is oh so slight. Am I right or am I right or am I right or am I right? He's always cheery though his life is so dreary and he's always optimistic with a little not a lot. He gets in your face in your personal space and he acts like you're a friend when you're really not and he knows you're not and you know he knows you are not. He want's you to stay But you walk away And he joins you with that fake familiarity. You start to fight to get out of his sight. But he gloms on to you persistently distractingly consistently obnoxiously and needlessly acting weirdly and annoyingly... He's more annoying than this! He's more annoying than this! Did you ever meet the most annoying man in the world? And I don't mean me.
Phil covers the Groundhog Day festivities every year, and hates it.
What’s the big deal?
The Groundhog’s Song – The Reprise
I'm a groundhog, or more specifically Marmota Monax, my name scientifically. In fact, I will now unapologetically Define myself further phylogenetically. I have a brain, so in the Kingdom Animalia I have a spine, so in the Phylum Kordata Drank milk when young, so in the Class Mammalia Two long front teeth, so in the Order Rodentia My tail is bushy, a little bit squirrelly So that means I'm of the Sciuridae Family But I dig holes, so in the Genus Marmota Do you care a lot, or not one iota? No, I see you have only one query Always the same, it makes me so weary How much wood would a wood chuck chuck? But I don't chuck wood, so I don't give a... duck. But then on this one day of every year I answer the question that I like to hear. In winter Groundhogs hibernate I sleep through cold, it's the best way to wait. But by february I really need to eat and to defecate I poke my little nose out of my burrow Will I leave my hole today or tomorrow? If the clouds cover the sun Then spring will come soon, and my sleeping is done. But if the sun shines down on me And if my shadow is the first thing I see It scares me and I turn around And I shuffle back down underground You might think the sun is a sign of good luck The reverse is true for this little woodchuck Another six weeks of winter is on the way. Another six weeks of winter is on the way.
Get Out of This Town
If I could be here for less than one whole day You know that would make a very happy man I'll just finish my job here, and then I'll get away You know I want to leave just as soon as I can I've worked in this town three times before The same clouds in the sky the same shit on the floor The same hicks at the party getting drunk through the night The same songs that they sing when it starts to get light. It drives me crazy round here. I just want to get, wanna get out of this town! I just want to get, wanna get out of this town! Blah blah groundhog, something something winter something six more weeks, I'll catch you later, action news out, hey let's call it a wrap. No, we don't need another take, let's make a break I'll get my bags, You get the van, we must drive far, drive as far as we can. What do you mean we can't get out? A little snow here is nothing to worry about What do you mean the lines are down? There's no way I can call someone outside of town? Not even a celebrity in an emergency like me? I don't want to get, wanna get stuck in this town! The blizzard can't be that bad. I don't want to get, wanna get stuck in this town! I just want to get, wanna get out of this town! The blizzard can't be that bad. I just want to get, wanna get out of this town! Okay, I've complained enough. It's not so bad, I guess it's not so tough. In the morning everything will be alright. I only have to stay here for one more night.
After an unplanned second night in the hotel, Phil wakes up.
Is it going to be a good day?
Phil hopes so, as his only plan is to leave Punxatawny.
But very soon he gets that funny feeling…
Deja vu. Didn't I do this before? Deja vu. But I'll ask for coffee once more. (I am the talent here theme.) Deja vu. Didn't I meet you before? Deja vu. Right outside this very store? (Most annoying man in the world theme.) Deja vu. Didn't I stand here before? Deja vu. Watch them knock on the groundhogs door? (Groundhog's theme.) Deja vu. Didn't we try that before? Deja vu. It's so bad I can't ignore. Deja vu. Didn't we try that before. Deja vu. I can't take it any more. I don't want to get, wanna get stuck in this Deja vu. I just want to get, wanna to get out of this Deja vu.
Another night in the hotel, and Phil is more than confused.
He needs some help.
He brings up his problem with Producer Rita in the diner.
Sit down here with me okay, let's take a short break I need to talk to you, I've a confession to make For three days now something weird is going down Everything keeps happening again and again in this town But nobody else seems to notice but me What can I do, it's driving me crazy I went to a doctor and I laid down on his bed He looked me in the eye and then he x-rayed my head He said "It's oh so clear, there's nothing's wrong in here No lesions, or clots, or tumors or spots, you've nothing to fear. I don't have a cat scan, done everything that I can The town is pretty small, but I do know this one man If you're feeling woozy, if your mind is hazy He'll talk to you if you're feeling crazy." I followed his advice and I went to the shrink I lay on his couch and I asked him wadaya think? He said "My final diagnosis must wait Come back here tomorrow." But tomorrow will be too late! I think I'm going just a little insane It doesn't make sense if it's not all in my brain I can't work out what it's all about And I have to admit that it's freaking me out I need some advice, so between you and me What do you suggest if I'm not a bit crazy But what if this is not a delusion and No part of my brain is casting an illusion What if I'm not the one who's sick in the head? What if someone else plans all this while I am in my bed? What if the entire town is in collusion? Yeah, they're all in on the joke just to cause me more confusion? It's a sick sick game, no they couldn't all be so bad. I've got to make a test right now to prove that I'm not mad. No, I don't think that I am going insane It's not a bad joke, and it's not all in my brain. I can't work out, what it's all about. Every day's the same, but I won't freak out. I'll take it all in stride, no I won't let it phase me, I'll just carry on as though, I am not crazy. I'll just tell myself that, I am not crazy. What do I do now that, I am not crazy?
If every day is the same, and nothing you do has any effect on the future, what kind of life would that be?
And with such a life, what would you do?
Life Without Consequences
Life without consequences Gonna drink this beer, and go crazy tonight No hangovers, no repercussions This kink in time will put things right Life without consequences Gonna drive my car on the railroad tracks tonight Nothing that I do now counts tomorrow Throw me in jail I'll be alright. Life without consequences Eat what I want and how I like today My cholesterol resets at midnight And all this fat just fades away. Life without consequences Gonna rob this truck, gonna simply take this cash You won't catch me, I don't think so Got just 12 hours to spend this stash. Life without consequences Gonna trick this girl, gonna take her on a date A one night stand without that awkward Next morning after we mate. If there's no consequences If there's no memory If I just follow my obsession There's just one girl out there for me.
Phil turns his attention to Rita, and does his best to seduce her, getting one step closer every day.
Rita’s Song – The Perfect Day
This has been The perfect day I never dreamed that it would turn out this way This has been The perfect day I woke up this morning and the clouds were so grey And then you bought me a drink And then you made me think Oh, how you made me remember And then you made me smile As we chatted for a while Like old friends catching up After years and years have gone by It's like you knew me so well, And I knew you too. This has been The perfect day I never dreamed it that would turn out this way This has been The perfect day I had my doubts, but then you held them at bay And then we kept talking through Our meal just for two Oh, how your words were so tender A snowman at night A silly snowball fight I danced in your arms And all my fears fell away And then you kissed me And I kissed you too The perfect day, The perfect day, No one could ever have planned this all this way The perfect day The perfect day You asked me inside then you ask me to stay And then I said not so fast, I want to make this last You know there's always tomorrow And then suddenly Back in front of me Was the man I knew from yesterday The scales on my eyes fell away How could I've been so blind? You have not changed at all have you The perfect day This could have been, I should have guessed that it would turn out this way
Phil just wants the day to be over.
He just wants an end to this everlasting winter.
Yeah, Phil and Phil are in the same boat.
The Groundhog’s Song – Part 3 – The Lament
I'm a groundhog, let me unveil my secret story, I'll tell you my tail. All year long, I live for the day When everyone listens to all that I say. Then this year that day came around I poked my little nose out of the ground, And then when asked, I gave with conviction My outlook, my forecast, my weather prediction. And then the next day, what do you know, The humans once again put on their show. They picked me up, and asked me once more If another six weeks of winter's in store. Yes, I squeaked, you asked me that yesterday Then the next morning, yet another replay Then the next day yet again And then the next day more of the same. And every single day since then It's all happened over and over again. Deja Vu, I know I did this before! I'm a groundhog, and I'm frustrated my most awaited day is now deflated Once so special, my fans so adoring Now sets me yawning each morning it's so boring How many days have passed I can't tell I'm just a groundhog, and I can't count that well But it's more than six weeks, maybe a year And every day summer is never more near To stop the day repeating forever I try To change my answer on spring coming soon to a lie I tell them no! I don't see my shadow before me But it's like they don't hear me or maybe they simply ignore me It's like I'm a pawn in someone else's story. I'm a groundhog, so, what's new? I'm living forever with nothing to do. After my forecast I'm taken off stage For most of the day I'm left in a cage. I eat dirty carrots and drink from a bowl Then late in the day I'm let back in my hole I see no other groundhogs all day I've no one to talk to, and nothing to say. Except... what's this? Something has changed! A human I don't know, who's kinda deranged, He's stolen the truck, he's driving so fast Some kind of adventure is happening at last. We drive into a very large quarry We're fine in here, we've no need to worry We have all the space we need, To drive safely at any speed. Except, oh shit, we hit the edge of the cliff And we're going down...
Answer My Call / Methods of Suicide
I thought Death would be my friend And this infernal day would come to an end From that moment hence This life without consequence would be over. I thought Death would be kind to me That driving off a cliff would set me free Imprisoned in this present tense My life without consequence It starts over Again But not from the first day, no, it always on the worst day. Death won't answer my call Oh no, he must have it in for me. The grim reaper won't answer at all He leaves me hanging on for eternity I bought a gun, and used it to shoot me I stole a toaster to electrocute me I threw myself, from the church, and landed on my head but I'm not dead. No, I've been crushed, I've been poisoned, I've been burned, I've been smashed. I've been frozen, I've been hung, I've been stabbed, I've been slashed. I slit my wrists, and my neck, and waited while I bled, But I'm not dead! No, I've been boiled, I've been squashed I've been sliced, I've been melted. I've been drowned, I've been blown up, I've been decapitated. What is left for, me to try? I don't know the reason why, I'm not dead. No no no no no no no no... Dynamite, train crash, Steam roller, acid bath. Anvil, Guillotine, Buffalo stampede. What will it take? Death, give me a break, Pick up, pick up, pick up. Pick up pick up pick up pick up Pick up pick up pick up pick up Are the lines still down? Won't somebody put though? A celebrity in an emergency like me. Death, answer my call.
Phil is getting desperate.
In the diner, he confesses to Rita that he’s unique and special.
And not “unique and special” the way he considered himself before Groundhog Day began.
I Am A God / The Good Works Montage
I am a god. I live eternally At least I might be a god Will you believe in me? I don't mean that I am The God I am just one deity So when you write down my name Use a small not a big G. Very many years ago there were many gods There were gods below and gods above Gods of thunder and gods of lightning Gods of war and gods of love Gods of the beasts and gods of the birds and Gods of the land and gods of the sea Gods of the wind and gods of the sky and Gods of knowledge and philosophy All gods of something cool, you know But not all gods are created equally When I got my promotion there was only one job opening for me. I'm the god of boredom I'm the god of tedium I'm the god of weariness I'm the god of ennui I'm the god of lethargy I'm the god of listlessness I'm the god called Phil The god of wasting time I am a god, not because I can't be killed I know all there is to know My brain is totally filled With every figure and fact Of everything I can learn I know everyone here So let me take each in turn. This is Doris, her brother owns the diner she dreams of visiting Paris more than anything. This is Debbie, engaged to Fred, their wedding is today, but Debbie's reconsidering. This is Bill and Bill is gay, Tom worked in a mine, and Guy was in the navy. Nancy here, she works in the dress shop. Alice left Ireland when she was just a baby. This is Rita, she works in television She likes boats but not the ocean Likes ice-cream but not white chocolate Likes French poetry full of emotion. This is Rita, kind to strangers, Good for herself, and not just for show, When life is hard she smiles at the world, And she looks like an angel when she stands in the snow. She's not for me though. Not all gods are created equally I'm merely the god of a god damned town called Punxsutawney. I'm the god of pointless I'm the god of aimless I'm the god of hours to kill I'm the god of useless I'm the god of fruitless I'm the god of the worthless skill I'm the god of... throwing cards into a hat... Of one episode of jeopardy, and... futile things like that. I'm the god of knowing stuff that doesn't help me I'm the god of doing stuff that doesn't make me happy. If I am a god, Then being a god is no fun And yet if I'm just a man I'm not a very good one Maybe I should bring coffee And give Larry a bun I'm sorry, no time to chat I've got some errands to run Errands? What errands? Fix this tyre as soon as possible Stop the mayor from choking on his beefsteak Fix the back of Felix too and Stop young Debbie from making a mistake Catch this boy as he falls off a branch I'm never not here, even though he never thanks me. Buy this old man one hot meal, I can't save his life but at least he won't die hungry. That's the best I can ever do. Not all humans are created equally And who can help the people who need it around here as much as me? I'm a man of action I'm a man of exertion I'm a man of get up and go I'm a man of learning I'm a man of training I'm a man of wanting to grow I am a man who sets his mind, to better himself, to put in the time, to learn the piano and how to carve ice, to always improve, no matter what the price. I'm just a man That's good enough for me If I'm just a man I'll be the best I can be.
At the end of every Groundhog Day is the Groundhog Day Ball.
All the people from the town gather for music, for dancing, and for a charity auction of eligible bachelors.
Let’s join Cameraman Larry, at the bar, with Nancy.
Larry’s Song – What Has Phil Got?
Look at me, I'm a pretty clever guy And there's more to my job than meets the eye I don't just point my camera at stuff It's actually quite tough, and funnily enough, It's considered an art form, really. You're not listening to anything I'm saying, are you? I don't think so. Look at me, I'm a pretty nice guy This two dollar tip should catch your eye But you've no interest in me have you, It's obviously true, so what can I do To get you into the back of the broadcast truck. It probably won't happen. I don't think so. Your lack of interest's clear You'd really rather not be here But then this evening really goes down hill When you say let's go to the party to find Phil Phil? Phil Connors? Why do you want to find Phil? What has Phil got that I've not got? I don't know what, it must be a lot Maybe Phil he just forgot, to mention his mansion and his yacht. He doesn't earn much more money than me and Rita. At least I don't think so. What has Phil got that I don't got? A guy like him would never have a shot Unless the women round here have all lost the plot Or maybe they all have soft spot, for a man with the emotional capacity of a robot. Well, at least yesterday, I'd have to describe Phil that way But then this evening goes further down hill When the charity auction begins with bidding on Phil. Okay Ladies, place your bets! 5 dollars What has Phil got that I've not got? 10 dollars Don't know what, but it must be a lot 15 What has Phil got that I've not got? 20 dollars Do the ladies really think Phil is hot? 25 Now, of course we'll soon reach the limit 30 dollars And the winner will really regret it. 35 Now this just can't be right 40 dollars On and on, on and on goes the fight 45 What's Phil got that I've not got 50 dollars This is going longer than I'd have thought 55 Now one soon must give in 60 dollars Looks like Nancy is finally going to win 60 dollars going once 60 dollars going twice 60 dollars going ... wait! Three hundred and thirty-nine dollars and eighty-eight cents! This evening hit the bottom of the hill when Rita bought Phil.
You’re Not Mine But I Am Yours
You're not mine, but I am yours You bought me, that's only fair We leave the party, head out doors Snow is falling everywhere The first time things have gone this way The perfect end to a perfect day You're not mine, but I am yours I tried so hard, I tried in vain I need to tell you now because Tomorrow will not come yet again I'm happy now, you know it's true, Because, right now, I'm here with you And then you say, I think I'm happy too. I close my eyes and see your face Quiet now, don't make a sound You move closer, we embrace Let me say now, before tomorrow doesn't come around, before tomorrow doesn't come around I'm happy now, you know it's true, Because, right now, I'm here with you And then you say, I think I'm happy too.
Phil and Rita head back to the hotel.
The next day… is the next day.
Let’s check in with Phil.
The Next Day – The Groundhog’s Song Part 4 / Stay in This Town
I'm a groundhog, and finally That one day a year that is named after me Is not today, at last it is gone A brand new day broke today with the dawn. So many days later, nothing to show for it Uncountable days later, now I can go for it. Spring will come soon, no reason for sorrow It's finally here, today is tomorrow! The only day that was different from all of the rest The single day that sticks out in my mind the best. Was the day that crazy man killed me in that truck. And if that happened yesterday, oh boy, that would be bad luck Because today we'd still both be dead, and boy, that would suck. But that wasn't our yesterday We're both free to live today. I wonder what he'll do and how I wonder what that man is thinking now? If I could be here for less than one whole day You know that would make me a very happy man But I'm not that guy now, who thought he'd get away Just who was that guy who made such a plan? 10,000 days of my dreams denied But now I wake with Rita by my side. 10,000 days to take my life apart To change my heart although I've only made a start 10,000 days, 10,000 lessons life has taught A full and happy life just can't be bought 10,000 days, 10,000 lessons I have learned A full and happy life it must be earned Even by a celebrity like me. Now I just want to stay, wanna stay here in this town Nowhere else I'd rather be I just want to stay, wanna stay here in this town. Now I just want to stay, wanna stay here in this town Six more weeks of winter's fine by me I just want to stay, wanna stay here in this town. Okay, I think I've said enough It's happy ending time and all that stuff. Groundhog day is over, I'm no longer cursed I want to live here, with Rita, in our own house... We'll rent at first.