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Engine cover
Song by American Music Club from the album Engine
Released 1987
Format LP / CS / CD
Length 4:49
Label Grifter Records/Frontier Records
Writer(s) Mark Eitzel
Producer(s) Tom Mallon
Engine track listing
  1. "Big Night"
  2. "Outside This Bar"
  3. "At My Mercy"
  4. "Gary's Song"
  5. "Nightwatchman"
  6. "Clouds"
  7. "Electric Light"
  8. "Mom's TV"
  9. "Art Of Love"
  10. "Asleep"
  11. "This Year"

"Nightwatchman" is the 5th song on American Music Club's second album, 1987’s Engine. Mark Eitzel told Contrast that the song came to him one night sitting on the steps of his house in Ohio. "There was a stormy sky - the sky was beautiful. You look down from the sky and everything is stupid. Everything is a waste; everything is asleep and dead. And I looked up at the sky and it seemed like the sky was trying to say something to me. If nobody could hear the pain up there ,if there was nobody to witness, then the world is completely and utterly desolate."[1]


I remember how I let you down
Everything you say reminds me of the pain
How you lost your dignity
Passing in and out of a dream

Is there some secret I'm supposed to know
Is there some secret I'd always miss
'Cause there's no dignity when you have to live
Within the boundaries of a kiss

And the nightwatchman
Yeah he's asleep
Oh come on tell me what's wrong
Is the night too long

Is the same lie you gave me before
I don't care anything you say is just fine
I'll just sit and watch the traffic passing by outside
The will in the world it's the prevailing tide

You're supposed to watch the night as it passes by
You're never supposed to need anyone
'Cause once I knew the secret to happiness
I knew it once, oh but now it's gone

And the nightwatchman
Yeah he's asleep
I can't wake him up
C'mon tell me what's wrong
Is the night too long


Mark Eitzel performing "Nightwatchman" on July 24, 2010 at Heliogàbal in Barcelona, Spain.


Also appears on


  1. "American Music Club". Contrast. Winter 1988. Retrieved June 16, 2017.