Joan Manuel Serrat is one of the great figures of Spanish and Catalan music . Born in 1943 to a Catalan father and an Aragonese mother, this musician, singer-songwriter, writer and poet (who also worked as an actor in the 1960s and 1970s) has been decorated on numerous occasions for his contribution to musical and literary culture.

The copla, tango, boleros and the tribute to different great figures of poetry such as Machado, Lorca or Neruda are distinctive elements of his work, performing works both in Catalan and Spanish. In fact, he was about to represent Spain at Eurovision with the song “La, la, la”, but his intention to sing it in Catalan as a protest against the marginalization of that language during the years of the dictatorship ended up giving the position to the singer Massiel.

Below you can find a selection of 75 phrases by Joan Manuel Serrat that bring us a little closer to the thought and way of seeing the life of this figure of Spanish music.

Phrases and verses by Joan Manuel Serrat

This collection of phrases by this well-known musician, poet and singer-songwriter can be used to learn more about his work and his way of seeing things.

1. There is nothing more beautiful than what I have never had, nothing more loved than what I lost. Forgive me if today I look in the sand, a full moon, that scratched the sea

What we lose or have never achieved is usually what we most desire and what motivates us to continue fighting. What drives us to dream.

2. Wherever you are, you’ll be glad to know that I could forget you and I didn’t want to, and as cold as my sad night was, I didn’t throw into the fire a single one of the kisses you gave me

A break-up or disappointment in love can cause deep suffering, but that does not mean that all the beauty and loveliness of the relationship is erased.

3. Love is not literature if it cannot be written on the skin

It’s all very well to theorize about love, but the important thing about this concept is not to understand it but to live it. Only those who love can understand it and see its beauty.

4. I prefer to love than to be able, to feel than to step, to win than to lose, to kiss than to quarrel, to dance than to parade and to enjoy than to measure. I prefer flying to running, making people think, loving to wanting, taking to asking. First of all I am in favor of living

This phrase encourages us to focus on living and truly experiencing the good things in life, rather than simply observing them.

5. Without utopia life would be a trial for death

Utopias may be unattainable, but they are not essential because they allow us to get our hopes up and fight to achieve something as close as possible to our dreams. If we could have everything we wanted, there would be no point in struggling.

6. It’s never sad, really. What it is is hopeless

Reality can be harsh. We can’t control what happens or how things are. But that doesn’t make it sad. The latter depends on how we deal with it.

7. Today can be a great day, so make the most of it or let it pass you by

Good or bad things can happen in life, but we must act and live if we want to have a rich and happy life.

8. Every madman with his subject, against tastes there are not and cannot be disputes, artifacts, beasts, men and women, each one is as he is, each one is each one and goes down the stairs as he wants

Everyone must live their life with freedom and how they want to live it, and they must be able to have the preferences and be able to do the things they want as long as they do not infringe on the freedom of others.

9. Don’t choose just one part, take me as I give myself, whole and just as I am, don’t go wrong

This sentence makes us reflect on the need to accept and love others as they are, without idealizing them or focusing only on a particular part.

10. I don’t know if I like better what makes you different from me or what we have in common

Both like and unlike can cause us both attraction and repulsion. In dealing with people we are often attracted to a strange mixture of the two opposites (although relationships where there are more similarities than differences seem to work better).

11. In this life what is important is not what happens to you, but how you cope with it

Serrat tells us that what is really relevant is how we take things and how we deal with them, regardless of the things we have to live with. We choose how to act in the face of them.

12. It would be great if there were nothing urgent, never to pass by and be of use, to go through life without compliments calling things by their name, to be treated well in kind, and to pee out of laughter

This phrase, in short, tries to incite us to enjoy life and live it to the fullest .

13. They are those little things that a time of roses left us in a corner, on a piece of paper or in a drawer. Like a thief they lurk behind the door. They have you at their mercy like dead leaves

The power of small things and their importance in enjoying life even though they are often overlooked.

14. I always think that when a river passes through a place and the human being tries to divert its course, even when developing engineering works, it generates that at a certain moment the river runs again wherever it wants

Nature takes its course regardless of what we do and how we try to manipulate it. This applies to the natural environment as well as to our inner selves.

15. The miracle of existence, the instinct to seek, the fortune to find, the pleasure to know

This sentence summarizes some of the great little things in life that make us enjoy.

16. For you, for you my sun shone one day, and when I think of you it shines again, without the melancholy of fleeting eternal loves tarnishing it

Thinking about the person we love brings out the sensations and emotions that their simple presence causes, which leads to a rebirth of illusion and a desire for more.

17. Often children resemble us, and thus give us the first satisfaction; those who wiggle with our gestures, holding on to what is around them

Children are a reflection of how we are and what we have transmitted, and it is touching to observe how they acquire our gestures and learn from us.

18. Some people think that because they laugh at the lame man falling down, they have a sense of humor. You have to laugh when you fall. You have much more fun

Laughing at someone does not imply a sense of humor. It only appears when what you are laughing at is the fact and not the person, and you can even laugh at yourself and your own clumsiness.

19. Tell your heart that there is always a hidden reason in every gesture

Everything we do has a meaning and significance, especially when we dedicate it to personal interaction with someone we care about.

20. Children learn little from words; only your actions and their consistency with words are useful

Serrat indicates in this sentence that educating is based on giving an example and living coherently with regard to what is said and what he intends to instil.

21. Blessed are those who taste failure because they will recognize their friends

It is not in victory but in defeat, in the bad moments, when you can see who is with you and who really loves you.

22. That you will be anything, scum of the earth, a perfect soulless, but with good manners

Being politically correct and acting politely does not prevent actions that harm others or act according to pro-social values.

23. Everything is important, because only through small things can a great thing be done

In order to reach our goals, it is necessary to travel a long and winding road. There are no shortcuts. Every step is important.

24. Blessed are those who love because they have more than fifty percent of a great romance within their reach

Romance between two people requires that they both love each other. Fortunately, the person who loves another person is already halfway there.

25. I believe that only respect for the idea of others gives you permission to have yours respected. I am not part of the persecution committee

The author encourages us to always respect the opinion of others even if it is contrary to our own.

26. There is no manual: the world of sensations and relationships is full of contingencies

There is no set way to do right or wrong when it comes to feelings. Personal relationships are variable and dynamic , and big changes can occur or different variables appear at any time.

27. Nothing and no one can stop them from suffering, from moving the hands of the clock, from deciding for them, from making mistakes, from growing and one day from saying goodbye

In this sentence we can see how the author refers to the passage of time and the need to accept that those we love will make their own lives. We can especially see reflected the progressive growth and autonomy of children.

28. Life is given to you but not given away. Life is paid for by more than your penis. This is how it has been since God threw man out of Eden, for confusing what is good with what is convenient for him

We must live intensely, but this does not mean that we do not have duties and obligations towards the rest of the world. What we like or what suits us is not necessarily right, and we have to assume the consequences of our actions.

29. I claim the realism of dreaming of a future where life is better, and relationships are fairer, richer and more positive, and always in peace

While it may seem utopian, fighting for a better future is necessary to get there and get as close to it as possible.

30. My impression is that in life, we write only one song. Which is the same. Unless you betray your own history

This phrase speaks to us of being true to ourselves and living our life, our “only song”.

31. When the show is over I usually think that this beautiful thing that happens is not real. And I also think that the next day that beautiful thing won’t happen anymore. But incredibly it happens again

Sometimes we think that when we finish something that we are especially excited about, because it is over, it will never happen again. But even if we believe that the above is true, we may experience the same feelings again in the future.

32. Don’t ask me not to think out loud for my own good, or to climb on a stool, if you want I’ll try to grow

This phrase indicates that we should not dictate what others should do or force them to adopt concrete positions or anticipate their own mental growth. We should let others mature and learn from experience.

33. Blessed are those who are at the bottom of the well because from there onwards there is only room for improvement

We may be totally devastated, but there comes a time when we couldn’t be worse off. All that remains is to work to overcome that state and to progress little by little to improve the situation.

34. When I sleep I see clearly, crazy with a sweet poison

This phrase refers to dreams, whether they are about things that make us hopeful or about love.

35. He perfumes his repugnance with exquisite civility

The author points out the tendency to conceal cruelty, contempt, ignorance and prejudice under an appearance of sophistication and naturalness.

36. Simply if we all understood that we all have an old man on us

If nothing out of the ordinary happens, we all get old and will get old in body and mind.

37. Without haste but without pause, like the squash, they prepare the bait from the earliest age: “If you do not eat the soup, the coconut will take you away. “Impure touching will make you blind.” And they harass you for life, stirring up fear, fishing in the murky river of sin and virtue, selling a cat for a hare at the cost of a creed that makes broken dishes that you end up paying for

This phrase reflects how often education is based on fear and the search for moral conformity, ignoring our desires and our authentic nature.

38. Cultivate good manners for your bad examples if you don’t want your peers to point fingers at you. Cover your lower instincts with a sheepskin. The habit does not make the monk, but it does make the monk stick

This phrase denounces the hypocrisy of society and the search for an appearance of correctness and virtuosity despite the fact that our actions and thoughts are contrary to that appearance.

39. You have nothing to fear, the bad weather is good, the constitution protects you, justice defends you, the police protects you, the union supports you, the system supports you

This phrase urges us to live our lives as we wish and without fear, whether the world supports us or we are persecuted by it.

40. Blessed are the poor, for they know for certain that no one will love them for their wealth

This sentence reflects that those who have little will not be loved precisely for economic interests, but if someone loves them it will be in a sincere way or for other reasons.

41. Selling oneself is always… Like that joke: We already have the capitalist. Now we need the one who puts the ass. It’s all about raising the price. There are times when it is, it is amazing how little some humans are sold

Serrat criticizes in this sentence how everything is commodified.

42. Blessed are those who boast of their flocks, for they will have occasion to show it

Those who boast of some quality or characteristic usually have to demonstrate it sooner or later, when it is required of them. It will be at that moment that it will be proved whether they possess it or not.

43. Let’s spend our little bit of will

An incitement to be free and to do crazy things. In short, to live.

44. Adjust the males, take a deep breath, swallow, run and open the door, go outside, cross your fingers, touch wood

This phrase encourages us to have courage and dare to take risks.

45. And with the hangover on his back the poor return to their poverty, the rich return to their wealth, and the Lord heals their masses

Regardless of how we are, in the end most people have more in common than they think . We are all born and die, and the different things we experience affect us all (albeit in different ways). And while we may fade away temporarily, we have to go back to our lives.

46. Like a kaleidoscope of tiny crystals, it changes pattern and color if at dawn the sun shines or it has rained. And it fills my world with flowers

A beautiful phrase that speaks to us of the presence of illusion and hope, which allows us to change our way of seeing the world.

47. Tomorrow is just a time adverb

This phrase encourages us to enjoy the now and fight for what we want in the present, since we do not know what will happen in the future.

48. It is preferable to put on the best suit of optimist that one has, at least the suit of hope, and let us believe that things move to the extent that we are capable of pushing them from honesty and from what each one knows how to do.

Serrat tells us in this sentence that we must not abandon our hopes and that we must try to live up to them.

49. Under a sky that by dint of never seeing the sea forgot to cry

This phrase reflects the importance of living positive things and fighting to try to achieve our dreams, reminding us of the effect of losing our goals, illusion and hope.

50. It is difficult for men to advance in any way other than together

Human beings can only develop when they do so in conjunction with their fellow human beings.

51. It’s not that I didn’t come back because I forgot…it’s that I lost my way back

Sometimes we do things that don’t allow us to go back , or we simply don’t want to because we’ve overcome what we left behind.

52. The common comforts me, the different stimulates me

This phrase, referring to the area of personal relationships but applicable to other aspects, indicates that both the different and the similar are valuable elements to appreciate and that allows us to activate and feel appreciation or attachment.

53. I know what I’m looking for, because I know what I feel

One of the most important things in getting to know ourselves and setting goals for ourselves is to admit and accept the things we feel.

54. In many cases society is determined to confront local anxieties with the anxieties of the neighbor, as if our local anxieties were solved by preventing the progress of the neighbor

Comparing ourselves with others and trying to overcome them does not bring us happiness, nor does it solve our own problems.

55. The great enemy that our society has is fear, the fear of losing even what we don’t have, of losing things that we still don’t have, those that are minimally intuited but not consolidated

We are afraid of losing both what we have already achieved and what we might achieve. We must overcome this fear or we will be facilitating its fulfillment, as well as preventing us from moving forward.

56. Blessed are those who have contracted debts, because once, someone did something for them

Getting into debt implies that at some point someone has done something to help us, which implies that we have been valuable in some way to that someone.

57. And your shadow still lies in my bed with darkness, between my pillow and my solitude

This phrase speaks to us of longing, of missing the people who have left our side.

58. It was unintentional, it’s capricious the chance, I didn’t look for you and you didn’t come looking for me

Sometimes chance, coincidence, destiny, or whatever we want to call it, puts wonderful people in our path who will be part of our lives forever.

59. From the past we must keep our memory well, but we must work for the future thinking that the future is now

We can learn from what has already happened, but what is done is done. We must focus on the present and what we are going to do.

60. Playing yesterday naked in the sand, my childhood slowly slipped away from me without my noticing, dreaming of flying

In this sentence, Serrat tells us about the importance of the innocence and the illusion of childhood, which made us and still makes us dream.

61. A person’s education is a three-legged stool where on one side is the school, then there is the house and also on the other side the street, the environment

Family, school and social environment are the main influences that will allow a person to develop, acquire values and knowledge and build their own identity.

62. Prohibition seems to me to be an unfair punishment for which you are never prepared

The censorship and prohibition of something we want is a punishment that causes us suffering , especially when this punishment is unjustified.

63. One can always choose in life. Many things help in the choice. It helps a lot the world around you, the intimate and affective world, the friends… In the end it depends on the close information one has and the priority one gives to things

We always have a choice, which will be influenced by various factors.

64. Your laughter sets me free, gives me wings. Solitude takes me away, prison tears me apart

Making those we love happy gives us the feeling that everything is fine, that we can achieve our dreams, and that everything is worthwhile.

65. I will not make your coffee warmer or sweeter, but think of me, girl, think of me

We may not be fantastic or be able to change the world of the person we love, but that does not take away from the desire to be together.

66. The problem lies in this concept that humanity in general has that everything belongs to everyone, and then I can do whatever I want, I have no obligation to replace anything, and somehow the basic concept of where I come from, where I go, what I take, what I leave behind and from whom I come and who will continue me disappears

Equal opportunities and equal access to resources does not mean that we do not have any responsibility in this respect. We must not forget that we have both rights and obligations towards ourselves and towards the rest of the world.

67. I want to cry with those who are alone and without any love are passing through the world

Loneliness and the absence of love is a source of great frustration for many people, causing a deep feeling of abandonment and sadness .

68. That for a smile I give everything I am

Again, this phrase refers to the smile of someone we love, this simple gesture in the loved one being something that the loved one is capable of doing anything for.

69. The thrill of undressing… And discovering, slowly, the game. The rite of caressing by setting fire

We can see in this sentence how the author makes clear reference to passion, evoking the sensuality and caress of the lover on the skin of the beloved.

70. Everything is ready, the water, the sun, and the mud, but if you don’t, there will be no miracle

Serrat uses this analogy with the creation myth of various cultures to show the need for the loved one.

71. The power of the songs is tremendous. They surely do not change anything, they do not change history, but they do accompany it. They cannot win any war, but they can accompany those who fight

Music and the expression of emotions , values and deeper feelings can generate great changes, as well as accompany great moments, motivate others and even provoke the birth of new sensations, thoughts and actions.

72. Give the experience the day off to begin with, and receive it as if it were a keepsake. Don’t let it go up in smoke, come out and consume life in bulk. Today can be a great day: tough on him

Taking advantage of the day and life without taking into account previous experiences is what Serrat proposes in this sentence.

73. I still believe in commitment. I’ve believed in it all my life. And it does not give up the idea that man is the master of his future.

We are free to choose how to live our lives, and what or who to commit to. The idea of doing so and of committing oneself to something implies being consistent with oneself, one’s values and with one’s word.

74. I believe that in human beings the limits are not fixed, because they are constantly marked by circumstances

For Serrat, the human being has no other limit than the circumstances that mark him, and he can go much further than most of us think he can go.

75. My heart also hopes, towards the light and towards life, another miracle of spring

Hope is something fundamental for human beings, which can impel us to expect incredible things to happen, to prevent us from giving up and to continue fighting. And sometimes it happens that our dreams come true.