Our theme this week was one that I have wanted to do for a while, but choosing around 30 songs from an enormous list of tunes based on women’s names was actually tougher than I thought.
So it was apologies to fans of The Kinks, Leonard Cohen & the Beach Boys and to all the Lolas, Suzannes, Barbara-Annes, Carrie-Annes and Michelles who were dying to hear their namesake songs – but the playlist is meant to be diverse and entertaining, rather than definitive.
The opening number was a bit of Latin pop that had the whole studio up and dancing: Lou Bega’s MAMBO #5, a tune that got in as many names as I thought possible in the one song. How good is this video?
With a catchy opener out of the way it was time for a couple of classics. I’ve played Dolly Parton’s JOLENE before, but I couldn’t possibly leave it out of this show. Sung from the point of view of utter powerlessness, it’s a gut-wrenching twist on the break-up song tradition, anticipating the disaster before it has even happened.
Nor could I leave out Roy Orbison’s CLAUDETTE named after his first wife, Claudette Frady, who tragically died in a motorcycle accident in 1966. There is an acclaimed 1988 television special called Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night. It was filmed entirely in black and white. Put together by musical director T-Bone Burnett, Orbison was accompanied by a supporting backing band which included many notable musical performers. All were fans who volunteered to participate in the special. Other celebrity admirers of Orbison were in the audience, including Billy Idol, Sandra Bernhard, and Kris Kristofferson. The backing band was the TCB Band, which accompanied Elvis Presley from 1969 until his death in 1977. Male background vocalists, some of whom also joined in on guitar, were Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D.Souther and Steven Soles. The female background vocalists were k.d. lang, Jennifer Warnes and Bonnie Rait. Wow, Wouldn’t you have killed to have been at that performance? As small compensation, here’s the video of CLAUDETTE, that didn’t make it into the television special.
I love Aretha Franklin’s very funky take on the Beatles ELEANOR RIGBY so that became my token Beatles number for the show. And then it was the Allman Brothers with MELISSA, suggested by our own Mel who presents the BayFMt show Rollin.
With Bob Dylan’s birthday coming up, (can it be possible that he is 68!), we had to include SARAH about his first wife Sara Dylan. Apparently she changed her name from Shirley to Sarah at the request of her first husband photographer Hans Lownds. Well in fact he practically ordered her to do it, stating: “I can’t be married to a woman named Shirley.” All Shirls of the world are quite right to be indignant about this bit of trivia.
My hairdresser, Charlotte, suggested Jimi Hendirix with THE WIND CRIES MARY and, of course, it had to make the cut. She also approved of my decision to play The Damned’s version of ELOISE. Originally, a fluke 1968 hit for Barry Ryan, it was beefed up 18 years later by The Damned and has lost none of its hammy appeal. I can understand why a hairdresser would love this band. Check out Dave Vanian’s hair! By all accounts, he is still gorgeous, but without the trademark white stripe in his hair. Bring back the white stripe, I say. Yum.
Couldn’t leave out the Four Tops with BERNADETTE. I loved the way that the Tops frontman, Levi Stubbs sang as if he was just about to have a breakdown. When he sings out Bernadette! you can’t help but conjure up an image of someone desperately calling to someone driving off into the distance.
I have a great affection for Wreckless Eric and my sister’s name is Judi. So I had to include the next little gem: HIT AND MISS JUDY. And a song that was a big hit for Aussie band Spiderbait was the cover of BLACK BETTY, but this time I decided to play the Ram Jam version which I like just as much. Elvis Costello sang to ALISON and the Rolling Stones followed with ANGIE, named after Keith Richard’s daughter Angela, (not Angie Bowie as has been rumoured over the years).
I was lucky enough to have seen Tony Joe White at the recent Blues Fest here in Byron Bay, so had to include one of my favourites of his: POLK SALAD ANNIE. He is an effortless performer. As is Bo Diddley, who sang about MONA, and then it was Ike & Tina Turner with a great version of PROUD MARY.
I did consider leaving out Derek & The Dominoes LAYLA but couldn’t risk being lynched. My brother once named a house he was living in after this song, that’s how much he loved it. The subject is about Eric Clapton’s then unrequited love for Patti Boyd, married at the time to George Harrison. And we know how that turned out, so maybe writing a love song to the one you want isn’t such a bad idea. I’m not sure that George would have agreed at the time though. Check out the video and see why many Clapton fans think this is his best.
I would have loved to have finished the show with Patti Smith’s version of GLORIA but not enough time, so instead I squeezed in a bit of nonsense from The Who: MARY ANNE WITH THE SHAKY HAND.
Thanks for all the input to the show this week. Put your thinking caps on for next week when we give the boys equal time. Songs based on MENS NAMES it is. Until then, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Mambo No.5 – Lou Bega
Jolene – Dolly Parton
Claudette – Roy Orbison
Denise – Randy and the Rainbows
Maria – Blondie
Yolanda – Bobby Bland
Eleanor Rigby – Aretha Franklin
Sarah – Bob Dylan
Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel
Melissa – The Allman Brothers Band
The Wind Cries Mary – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Bernadette – The Four Tops
Eloise – The Damned
A Letter To Elise – The Cure
Valerie – Amy Winehouse
Lucille – Otis Redding
Anna (Go To Him) – Arthur Alexander
Hit and Miss Judy – Wreckless Eric
Angie – The Rolling Stones
Alison – Elvis Costello
Black Betty – Ram Jam
Miss Molly- Bob Wills
Little Maggie -Ralph Stanley
Polk Salad Annie – Tony Joe White
Mona – Bo Diddley
Proud Mary – Ike & Tina Turner
Layla – Derek & The Dominos
Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand – The Who
Next week: Mens Names.
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park each Tuesday 2-4pm Sydney time at BayFM 99.9. Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
Posted on May 20, 2009, in Broadcasting and media, community radio, music - nostalgia, music, blues, music, country, music, r&b, music, soul, Radio Program, Roy Orbison, Uncategorized and tagged Australia, Blues, Byron Bay, country, Motown, music, pop, R&B, radio, rock, Roy Orbison, soul, Theme music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.