John Mayer

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Mayer performing on the CBS Early Morning Show in August 2006

John Clayton Mayer (born October 16, 1977) is an American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist.


  • Who I am as a guitarist is defined by my failure to become Jimi Hendrix.
    • From his essay on Jimi Hendrix for Rolling Stone 946
    • Mayer, John (2004). "Jimi Hendrix" (accessed March 21, 2007)
  • Everybody enjoys arguing about the current state of music because it feels as if you are talking about something incredibly important, yet it requires little understanding of the subject matter at hand. It's like world politics meets the pink questions in Trivial Pursuit. Points are made but nothing gets accomplished.
  • Songs can be Trojan horses, taking charged ideas and sneaking past the ego's defenses and into the open mind.
    • Esquire magazine (November 1, 2004)
  • I love the Grammy nominations this year. Anybody who really loves what they do got rewarded for it. It's not a death match between Ray Charles and Jessica Simpson.
    • No byline (2004-12-20), "John Mayer". Newsweek. 144 (25):71
  • There's a real self-serving element to hip-hop that threatens its life span.
  • If I had done things differently, I'd probably have the paparazzi waiting around for me. At the studio where I've been recording, Jessica Simpson is working there, too. The paparazzi are outside waiting for her to come out. That's the result of her decisions. My decisions have led me to the point that when I walk out in front of the paparazzi, I'm considered a waste of film.
  • I am not in Us Weekly. I'd have to be going out with someone who is in there to be in there myself.
  • The saddest kind of sad is the sad that tries not to be sad. You know, when Sad tries to bite its lip and not cry and smile and go, "No, I'm happy for you?" That's when it's really sad.
    • Rolling Stone magazine/iTunes podcast (December 2005)
    • On the "chin-up sad" tone of one of his new songs on his upcoming album "Continuum"
  • I won't ever get on stage at a comedy club when people know about it.
  • If you told me I was going to live to 240, I would take 10 years off and try and act. I don't have that kind of time, so I'd much rather stick to playing guitar.
  • Sheryl's heroes are in black and white photos, and so are mine.
  • I went to my library, right? And I started to research the Bill of Rights and I did not technically find anything that said all Americans shall eat shrimp with whoever they like, but I found some things that are close enough to infer that I am within my legal rights to enjoy seafood with whomever I choose.
  • It was so frightening at the time to be seventeen and have heart monitors hooked up to you. That was the moment the songwriter in me was born. I discovered a whole other side of me. I came home that night and started writing lyrics. I discovered it all at once: It was like opening up a lockbox, and inside was a depth that I didn't even know I had as a person, or a writer — incredible creativity and vision and neurosis, complete neurosis. They all go together in a package.
  • I never worked with T.I. Here's the back story to that Wikipedia nugget: I was a guest on TRL and happened to get my hands on the list of goofy, un Andrew-Miller-like questions I was going to be asked before I walked on set. One of the questions was "Who do you like more, T.I. or [I forgot the other southern rap artist]?" So I snuck to the bathroom and searched "T.I." on my Blackberry. I memorized as much information as I could and then announced that we were working together.
    • On how rumors got started that he was working with rapper T.I. (and how they made it to Wikipedia).
    • Mayer, John (2007). "10 ANSWERS FOR ANDREW MILLER" (accessed January 25, 2007)
  • What I've learned in my life, it's a very interesting social study for me, to go back and forth between being the guy at home and being the guy on the road and being the guy in studio and being the guy in the interview. The environment around you has so much to do with your character, and when I'm home, my character really changes quite a bit. I become very domesticated, it becomes riding my bike, and the music thing — the music thing doesn't leave but it's kind of less put upon me by other people as a musician.
  • I find myself in situations that I know would be unbelievable pictures and I have to gauge, Is this worth taking the camera out? Am I gonna lose the moment? Am I gonna get a dirty look from Sting?
  • Sometimes it feels like my life is just one long day.
    • On rediscovering his huge collection of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan posters he had as a teenager
    • Mayer, John (October 4, 2007). "Proof" Retrieved September 4, 2007
  • The first thing I said was a question: Does this really come from the family? I think that was essential to me sort of processing the honor. And when I found out that, in fact, it had, it took me about 48 hours to sort of strike the balance in how I was going to approach being -- you know, being invited to this unbelievable event without actually having the proximity to Michael Jackson personally. I'd never met him.
    • Mayer on performeing Human Nature at Michael Jackson's Memorial service
    • "Episode title unknown". Larry King Live. July 7, 2009. No. unknown, season 24.
  • It wasn’t as direct as me saying “I now make the choice to bring the paparazzi into my life.” I really said, “I now make the choice to sleep with Jessica Simpson.” That was stronger than my desire to stay out of the paparazzi’s eye.
  • I was smart enough to know it would probably make me a salable item for the paparazzi. I knew I’d have to move to a home that had a gate. But that pearl of possibility that lives in your heart when you meet somebody you want to know more about has such a different molecular density than everything else that you have to pursue it.

The Playboy interview (2010)[edit]

(February 10, 2010 ), John Mayer: Playboy Interview Playboy. Retrieved February 10, 2010.

  • Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”
    • Explaining why black people love him.
  • I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.
    • In answer to the question, "Do black women throw themselves at you?"
  • Sexually it was crazy. That’s all I’ll say. It was like napalm, sexual napalm.
    • In answer to the question, "You were addicted to Jessica Simpson?"
  • Absolutely, because during sex, I’m just going to run a filmstrip. I’m still masturbating.
    • In answer to the question, "Masturbation for you is as good as sex?"

Song lyrics[edit]

All lyrics by John Mayer, unless as noted.

Room for Squares (2001)[edit]

  • "Welcome to the real world", she said to me
    Take a seat,
    Take your life
    Plot it out in black and white.
    Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
    And the drama queens.
    I'd like to think the best of me
    Is still hiding
    Up my sleeve.

    They love to tell you:
    Stay inside the lines,
    But something's better
    On the other side.

  • I want to run through the halls of my high school,
    I want to scream at the
    Top of my lungs.
    I just found out there's no such thing as the real world,
    Just a lie you've got to rise above.
    • No Such Thing
  • I am driving up '85 in the
    Kind of morning that lasts all afternoon,
    Just stuck inside the gloom.
    4 more exits to my apartment but
    I am tempted to keep the car in drive
    And leave it all behind.

    Because I wonder sometimes
    About the outcome
    Of a still verdictless life.

  • Something about the way your hair falls in your face
    I love the shape you take when crawling towards the pillowcase
    You tell me where to go and
    Though I might leave to find it,
    I'll never let your head hit the bed
    Without my hand behind it.

    And if you want love,
    We'll make it.
    Swim in a deep sea
    Of blankets.
    Take all your big plans
    And break them,
    This is bound to be a while.

Heavier Things (2003)[edit]

  • Yes, I'm grounded, got my wings clipped,
    I'm surrounded by all this pavement.
    Guess I'll circle while I'm waiting
    For my fuse to dry.

    Someday I'll fly, someday I'll soar,
    Someday I'll be so damn much more.
    Cause I'm bigger than my body gives me credit for.

  • I know a girl;
    She puts the color inside of my world.
    But she's just like a maze
    Where all of the walls all continually change.
    And I've done all I can
    To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands.
    Now I'm starting to see
    Maybe it's got nothing to do with me.

    Fathers, be good to your daughters,
    Daughters will love like you do.
    Girls become lovers who turn into mothers,
    So mothers, be good to your daughters too.

Continuum (2006)[edit]

  • Me and all my friends
    We're all misunderstood.
    They say we stand for nothing and
    There's no way we ever could.
    Now we see everything that's going wrong
    With the world and those who lead it.
    We just feel like we don't have the means
    To rise above and beat it.

    So we keep waiting,
    Waiting on the world to change.
    We keep on waiting,
    Waiting on the world to change.
    It's hard to beat the system
    When we're standing at a distance.
    So we keep waiting,
    Waiting on the world to change.

  • Now if we had the power
    To bring our neighbors home from war,
    They would have never missed a Christmas,
    No more ribbons on their door.
    And when you trust your television,
    What you get is what you got.
    Because when they own the information, oh
    They can bend it all they want.
    • Waiting on the World to Change
  • Belief is a beautiful armor
    But makes for the heaviest sword.
    Like punching underwater,
    You never can hit who you're trying for.
    Some need the exhibition
    And some have to know they tried,
    It's the chemical weapon for the war that's ragin' on inside.
  • Gravity is working against me,
    And gravity wants to bring me down.

    Oh, twice as much ain't twice as good
    And can't sustain like one half could.
    It's wanting more that's gonna send me to my knees.

From the film The Bucket List (2007)[edit]

  • Have no fear for giving in,
    Have no fear for giving over.
    You'd better know that in the end
    It's better to say too much
    Than never say what you need to say again.

    Even if your hands are shaking
    And your faith is broken,
    Even as the eyes are closing,
    Do it with a heart wide open.

Battle Studies (2009)[edit]

  • Lightning strikes
    Inside my chest to keep me up at night.
    Dream of ways
    To make you understand my pain.
  • I was born in the arms of imaginary friends,
    Free to roam, made a home out of everywhere I've been.
    Then you come crashing in, like the realest thing,
    Trying my best to understand all that your love can bring.

    Oh half of my heart's got a grip on the situation;
    Half of my heart takes time.
    Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you
    That I can't keep loving you (can't keep loving you)
    Oh, with half of my heart.

  • Who says I can’t be free?
    From all of the things that I used to be.
    Re-write my history.
    Who says I can’t be free?

Born and Raised (2012)[edit]

  • Goodbye cold, goodbye rain,
    Goodbye sorrow, and goodbye shame.

    I'm headed out west with my headphones on,
    Boarded a flight with a song in the back of my soul
    And no one knows
    I just found out her ghost left town
    The queen of California is stepping down, down.

  • Did you know that you could be wrong
    And swear you’re right?
    Some people been known to do it
    All their lives.
    But you find yourself alone
    Just like you found yourself before.
    Like I found myself in pieces
    On the hotel floor.
    Hard times help me see.

    I’m a good man with a good heart;
    Had a tough time, got a rough start.
    But I finally learned to let it go,
    Now I’m right here, and I’m right now.
    And I’m hoping, knowing somehow
    That my shadow days are over.
    My shadow days are over now.

Paradise Valley (2013)[edit]

  • Oh, you can't make yourself stop dreaming
    Who you're dreaming of.
    If it's who you love,
    Then it's who you love.

The Search for Everything (2017)[edit]

  • You be the DJ, I'll be the driver,
    You put your feet up in the getaway car.
    I'm flying fast like a, a wanted man.
    I want you, baby, like you can't understand.

    Oh, love on the weekend,
    Love on the weekend.
    We found a message in a bottle we were drinking.

About Mayer[edit]

James Blake in Miami, Florida in 2007
  • John wanted to take it in more of a pop direction than I did. It was like a marriage that we both knew would go bad once we started touring.
    • Clay Cook, on why he and Mayer's two-man band, Lo-Fi Masters, broke up
    • Guthrie, Blake (2002). "One degree of John Mayer" (accessed February 22, 2007)
  • Neither punk nor prom king, Mayer was a tall kid from Connecticut, driving on the freeways, chasing slippery techno women, inhabiting a world of parents and slipcovers and holidays and gracious Southeastern metropolises; he was smart, inquisitive, articulate, a touch off in places.
  • John Mayer is a very talented brother and you don't know where your blessings are going to come from.
    • The rapper Common on working with Mayer on the song "Go." (From
  • He words stuff with a real, I guess it's a witty, intelligent, very human [sensibility]. I would like to grab some of those qualities...I wish he was my friend.
  • Me and John, we just cool, period. ... We get in the studio and we vibe and then we make music from that point.
  • One time I saw him perform live and he switched up his song at the end, like, [improvised] different chords — he remixed it...He's just not your typical guitar player. He's trying to push the envelope for the way guitarists and vocalists are heard. ... I just respect his musicality.
  • You know, the dude is a real musician. It's like anything you ever loved in Joe Jackson or anything you ever loved in any '70s rock. You're gonna get it out of this dude. He's a real student, and it comes through in his music.
  • I was astonished at how well he played live. I had no idea he was that good.
  • What song do I hate? I think "Daughters," by John Mayer, would be a good candidate. I don't know why he bugs me so bad.
  • Before that it was Halo, and no one could beat him. That's pretty much his MO if he finds an interest in something -- it doesn't matter how incidental it is.
  • No musician is indifferent to the public's perception of him, but the exuberant, logorrheic Mayer takes self-awareness to new postmodern heights. Like a football player providing color commentary on his own career, he muses constantly on his own abilities and his place in the taxonomy of pop.

External links[edit]

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