The Lighthouse's Tale

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"The Lighthouse's Tale"
Single by Nickel Creek
from the album Nickel Creek
B-side "The Fox", "Let It Fall"
Released 2001
Format CD
Recorded 1999
Genre Progressive bluegrass
Length 5:01
Label Sugar Hill
Writer(s) Adam McKenzie
Chris Thile
Producer(s) Alison Krauss
Nickel Creek singles chronology
"When You Come Back Down"
"The Lighthouse's Tale"
"Reasons Why"

"The Lighthouse's Tale" is a song by progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek, taken from their debut album, Nickel Creek, released in 2001.

Single details[edit]

"The Lighthouse's Tale" was written by Adam McKenzie & Chris Thile. At five minutes and one second, it is the longest single ever released by Nickel Creek. A sequel to the song, "The Lighthouse's Tale, Part 2", was played by Nickel Creek at several of their concerts, but not released with the single.[citation needed]

A music video for the song was released with the single, and featured footage of the band at various locations. These include many location near water, such as a lighthouse by the ocean, a bridge over a small river, and a mountainside lake. The lighthouse in the video is the Cape Neddick Light, near York, Maine.[1]


"The Lighthouse's Tale" is about a lighthouse, the keeper, and his fiancée. The lighthouse serves as a narrator to tell how the keeper was going to marry a beautiful woman who had to sail in a fierce storm. She doesn't survive the journey. The next day, the lighthouse "watched as he [the keeper] buried her in the sand. And then he climbed my tower, and off of the edge of me he ran." The lighthouse concludes by saying "and though I am empty, I still warn the sailors on their way". The haunting lyrics that keep repeating are "and the waves crashing around me, the sand slips out to sea, and the winds that blow remind me of what has been and what can never be"

A critic for the Houston Chronicle said in an article regarding the release of Why Should the Fire Die? that Nickel Creek once "sung sweetly about foxes and lighthouses", however, two thirds of the characters in "The Lighthouse's Tale" die.[2]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Lighthouse's Tale" (Radio Edit)
  2. "The Fox" (Live)
  3. "Let It Fall" (Live)
  4. "The Lighthouse's Tale" (Music Video)


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
UK Singles Chart 147
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[3] 49