Music Popular culture Theater

Because I Knew You, Have I Been Changed…

We’re certain you are no stranger to the power of music. Music, in words and melody, can be a reminder of a point in time (either happy or sad) that holds significance in our lives. There may be a particular genre (rock, jazz, rhythm or blues, country, etc.) that speaks to you, but when the right balance of music and lyric hits you in the right place, it becomes a part of you.

The ballad “For Good”, from the Broadway Musical Wicked, has the uncanny ability to bring tears to our eyes each and every time the opening notes are played. And, the lyrics? They’re practically heart stopping if you embrace and connect them to the friendships we have, or have had, with the women in our lives.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, the performance of “For Good” we’re most familiar with is by Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel , the original stars of Wicked. While it has been sung by many others, the crisp and measured quality that Chenoweth brings to the opening verse is what sets the tone for us. (You can view the lyrics, and listen to the duet, on 

The opening verse:

 I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who helped us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you

The verse continues, and poses an interesting question:

  Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
  But because I knew you
  I have been changed for good

There are some insightful comments (on about the lyrics by others who have listened to “For Good” and contemplated their own friendships and experiences. One individual zeroed in on the phrase “If we let them,” referring to the learning and growth that another could offer us. We found that an interesting dynamic to explore.

Ultimately, the characters agree they each have surely been changed for the better, but we know that in some of our friendships that may not be the case. Perhaps that is what is so poignant about the song. It prompts us to think about friendships past, present and future to consider if, as we are changed for good, we are also changed for the better. Ideally, we are. But we each have to decide that for ourselves.

Photo by Josh Rocklage on Unsplash

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