SONGS ABOUT NIGHT

NIGHT is a time that’s often associated with danger and the fear of the unknown. Midnight, especially, has a particular importance in human imagination and culture. Seances, for instance, are usually conducted around this time. And then, of course there are the vampires and werewolves, who only come out at night. Yes, there’s lots happening out there in the dark! When it comes to song lyrics, however, night-time is a great time for love-making. As Ray Charles points out, NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We opened the show with HERE COMES THE NIGHT. The song was originally recorded in 1964 by Lulu but the version we played was a huge hit for the band Them and their lead vocalist Van Morrison in 1965.

I’m pretty impressed by the very talented singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens who contributed one of the few songs on the list that references the occult. THEY ARE NIGHT ZOMBIES! THEY ARE NEIGHBOURS! THEY HAVE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD! AHHH is from his 2005 album Illinois. Here he is performing live with the very cute Illnoisemakers:

We followed with supreme soul singer Marvin Gaye with IF I SHOULD DIE TONIGHT. It’s from his classic 1973 album Let’s Get It On. Serving as Gaye’s first venture into the funk genre and romance-themed music, Let’s Get It On incorporates smooth soul, doo-wop and quiet storm. It’s been noted by critics for its sexually-suggestive lyrics, and was cited by one writer as “one of the most sexually charged albums ever recorded”. Woohoo.

And talking of Woohoo, thanks to the Woohoo Review Band who donated their latest album, Dear Animals, for a giveaway on the show this week. They’re a Melbourne based, gypsy style band and the song we played from the album, MR 9 O’CLOCK was a good example of the madcap dance tunes that inhabit the album.

Tim Buckley’s song NIGHTHAWKIN’ is from one of my all time favourite album, Greetings From LA. Recorded in 1972 at Far Out Studios in Hollywood (rivalled only by Hitsville USA, surely, as one of the best names for a recording studio), it didn’t sell well when it was first released. Now its a classic. Go figure.
Had to play Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons’ standard, DECEMBER 1963 (OH WHAT A NIGHT). A little bit doo-wop, a little bit rock n roll, you can’t not like The Four Seasons:


They say that Frank Sinatra was at his best vocally in the 1950’s and it’s hard to argue when you listen to IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING . That goes out to Inchie who does a great show on BayFM on Friday’s 4-6pm, called Strictly Vinyl.

Back to the 70’s. The Eagles were one of the most successful recording artists of the period. Their 1975 album, One of These Nights, was the last album to feature founding member Bernie Leadon, who left the band during the One of These Nights tour, disillusioned with the direction the band were going in. With the departure of Leadon, the Eagles’ early country sound almost completely disappeared and the band moved on to a harder sound. One Of These Nights would prove to be a breakthrough album for the band, making them international superstars.


You all know by now that I consider Roy Orbison the patron saint of Theme Park and I realise that I’ve played this song before, but hey, what the …. had to give Roy’s I DROVE ALL NIGHT another play. Jeff Lynne remixed Orbison’s 1987 recordings for the posthumous album King of Hearts of which I DROVE ALL NIGHT was one of the tracks.

Brilliant reggae artist Gregory Isaacs passed away on October 25 after a long battle with lung cancer. So of course, I had to play his signature tune NIGHT NURSE.

I’m also a bit of a Tom Waits fan and his debut studio album, Closing Time, recorded in 1973 is an absolute classic.  It was produced and arranged by Lovin’ Spoonful member Jerry Yester. The song we chose was MIDNIGHT LULLABY. Then it was time to go way back to 1953 and some New Orleans Blues with Professor Longhair singing IN THE NIGHT. I’m pretty sure Tom would have approved.

Opening the second hour of the show was Gladys Knight & the Pips with their 1973 number one hit single, MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA. Oh my God, The Pips, the moves! Check it out:

Two goodies from 1965 followed. Maryanne Faithful sang of  SUMMER NIGHTS and The Strangeloves did a great version of NIGHT TIME. The Strangeloves were a New York garage band who created a false back-story that they were Australian sheep farmers. I don’t think it helped their record sales somehow, so not sure what that was all about!

Here’s a quirky Blues number for you: Zulu Bollin with WHY DON’T YOU EAT WHERE YOU SLEPT LAST NIGHT? Reasonable question, surely.

The 85 year old B.B. King is still going strong and, in fact, will be here next April for the Byron Blues Festival. I, for one, can’t wait. We played the sublime NIGHT LIFE with King and Willie Nelson. How great would it be to see Willie Nelson at the Festival? One can only hope and pray I ‘spose.

Another of my faves is Bob Seger. You can’t sit still to anything he plays and that includes NIGHT MOVES.

I also can’t get enough of Tom Waits so we had to play LOOKING FOR THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT from the album of the same name, released in 1974. The album cover is based on THE WEE SMALL HOURS by Frank Sinatra, which we had played earlier in the show.


Van Morrison thinks he knows how to have a WILD NIGHT. But I have a feeling that The Rolling Stones might know a thing or two about that too. LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER was written by bad boys Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and was originally released as a single in 1967.  Here’s a clip from Top of the Pops from that same year:

NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME is a blues standard that has been interpreted and recorded by a variety of music artists. Ray Charles’ hit version was released in 1958 and is featured on the soundtrack to the film Ray.

I almost didn’t include The Moody Blues’ classic anthem, NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN, simply because it might seem just so predictable. But, let’s face it, that hasn’t stopped me in the past! Here they are at The Montreaux Festival in 1997, still going strong.

As a prelude to the end of the show, could I find anything better than the beautiful sound of The Spaniels with GOOD NIGHT SWEETHEART. It’s a great piece of doo-wop from 1953.

I closed the show with a great double. Eric Clapton’s AFTER MIDNIGHT got the ball rolling and it was taken up with a vengeance by AC/DC.  This time it was YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG from the 1980 album Back to Black. Here they are performing live at Donington in 1991:


For next week’s show I’m looking for songs that announce themselves in style, so start nominating your FAVOURITE SONG INTRODUCTIONS. Leave me a message on the blog or at the Theme Park page on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Here Comes The Night – The Best Of Van Morrison, Them

They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbours!! – Illinois, Sufjan Stevens

If I Should Die Tonight – Let’s Get It On, Marvin Gaye

Mr 9 O’Clock – Dear Animals, The Woohoo Revue

Nighthawkin’ – Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley

December 1963 (Oh What a Night) – Oh What a Night, Four Seasons

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning – In the Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra

One Of These Nights – One Of These Nights, The Eagles

I Drove All Night – The Soul of Rock And Roll, Roy Orbison

All Night Long – The R&B Years – 1954 [Disc 4], Joe Houston

Night Nurse – Night Nurse, Gregory Isaacs

Midnight Lullaby – Closing Time, Tom Waits

In The Night – Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues, Professor Longhair

Midnight Train To Georgia – Mellow Moods [Disc 2], Gladys Knight and The Pips

Summer Nights – Marianne Faithfull, Marianne Faithfull

Night Time – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First…., The Strangeloves

Why Don’t You Eat Where You Slept Las Night – Hot Rhythm And Cool Blues, Zulu Bollin

Night Life – Deuces Wild, B.B. King With Willie Nelson

Night Moves – Greatest Hits, Bob Seger

(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night – The Heart Of Saturday Night, Tom Waits

Night Train – Sex Machine, James Brown

Wild Night – Twentyfourseven, Van Morrison

Let’s Spend The Night Together – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 1], The Rolling Stones

(Night Tiime Is) The Right Time – Ray, Movie Soundtrack, Ray Charles

Nights In White Satin –  The Moody Blues

Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight – Earth Angel – Doo Wop Classics, The Spaniels

After Midnight – The Cream Of Clapton, Eric Clapton

You Shook Me All Night Long – Back In Black, AC/DC

Next week:  IMPRESSIVE INTROS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com
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About Lyn McCarthy

Lyn presents a weekly radio show at BayFM 99.9 in beautiful Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia

Posted on November 10, 2010, in Broadcasting and media, community radio, Doo Wop, music - nostalgia, music, blues, music, country, music, r&b, music, soul, New Wave, pop, punk, Radio Program, reggae, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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