Almost intuitively, the song came to Dan Navarro in the middle of the night. It didn’t hit him at first, but the chorus said everything he had bottled up inside about his mother’s death from cancer last year.
“Crossing over, the line that runs forever, and I know that someday, it will find me too. Crossing over, don’t know what I’m gonna do, but when I get there, I’ll be looking for you.”
The day after scribbling down verses for “Crossing Over,” Navarro presented the lyrics to his longtime songwriting partner, Eric Lowen.
“He played it for me and I said, ‘That’s about your mom,’ ” Lowen said recently. “And he was like, ‘Oh, my God, you’re right.’ “
Things that his mother had said to him in her final months, that she wasn’t afraid and that he shouldn’t worry, inspired Navarro to finish “Crossing Over,” the most stirring cut off Lowen & Navarro’s third album, “Pendulum” (Parachute/Mercury), released last week.
“She told me 10 days before she died that she wasn’t in pain,” Navarro said. “But she was real uncomfortable and nauseous, mostly from the chemo. Somewhere along the line, I prayed, ‘Okay, when this becomes irrevocable, take her quick.’
“From a cancer standpoint, we probably could have had her another year, and of course, I miss her, but that last year would have been awful for her. So, as you would expect, all this was in my head a lot and it came out in this song.”
The album title reflects the up and down, back and forth swing of life. Like Navarro, Lowen said he was faced with his own set of problems.
“A lot of it is too personal for me to talk about, but it comes out in the songs,” he said. “There’s kind of a through-line with the other records, just thematically, because the record ‘Walking On a Wire’ (1990) was pretty solid in its hopefulness, that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
” ‘Broken Moon’ (1993) was a little bit more resignation and acceptance that there’s an awful lot of down sides to deal with. This new one is more about how you have to deal with the peaks and valleys. These things have been very unintentional and very natural.”
Today, Lowen & Navarro are the darlings of the Triple A format. They’re a formidable team, musically and as friends. That wasn’t always the case: their first impression of each other wasn’t flattering when they met as singing waiters in a Los Angeles restaurant more than a decade ago.
“We didn’t get along very well at first,” Lowen said. “We both felt like we knew everything, and he just said recently in an interview that he thought I was kind of arrogant and a know-it-all, and I felt the same about him.”
Navarro’s reaction was even stronger.
“Here’s this 6-foot-2, blond, Scandinavian figure. I’m going, ‘I just hate him,’ ” Navarro said. “He had a lot of things I always wanted, or things I thought I wanted.”
As time passed, their differences faded, especially after they harmonized for the first time. (“When we sang our first song together, it was like ‘Whoa, twin sons of different mothers,’ ” Navarro said.) They joined a band and assumed songwriting duties, and eventually other artists came calling. Pat Benatar had a Top-5 hit in 1984 with Lowen & Navarro’s “We Belong,” and artists from the Bangles to Dave Edmunds have recorded their songs.
For years, they had to shake off an industry image as hired lyrical guns. They are, first and foremost, performers.
“We have developed a strong bond,” Navarro said. “We’ve been together a long time. We both discovered that we’re better together than separate as performers.”
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