Category Archives: Beatles

THE BOAT THAT ROCKED

boat-that-rocked1Our theme this week was the 60’s and, more specifically, the music that made up the playlists of Britain’s Pirate Radio Stations. There’s a fantastic new film being released this week, called The Boat That Rocked, about this era – and BayFM is hosting the premiere here in Byron Bay.  So, yes, a blatant promotion for this film by Richard Curtis, the creator of Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the writer of the majority of the Blackadder series. But more importantly, a great excuse to play all those songs that made the Top 4o lists in the mid to late 60s, not just in Britain but quite often here in Australia as well.

We opened the show with the Kinks hit,  ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ and then it was onto The Turtles with ‘Eleanor’, The Beach Boys with ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and  John Fred & His Playboys with ‘Judy in Disguise’. That pretty much set the mood for two hours of nostalgia par excellence!

During this period, the Motown label proved that it could hold its own amongst the pop and the rock that made up the so-called ‘British Invasion’. Three of the best were represented here with ‘Dancing in the Street’ by Martha & The Vandellas, The Isley Brothers with ‘This Old Heart of Mine’ and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles with ‘Ooo Baby, Baby’. 

tommy-jamesTommy James and the Shondells made one of the biggest hits of the 60’s: ‘Crimson and Clover’.  The song is famous for a unique “wobbly” vocal effect near the end of the song. To produce this effect, Tommy James plugged his microphone into a guitar amplifier, flipped the tremolo switch, and repeatedly sang the line “crimson and clover, over and over”. As it was released in November, a lot of listeners thought he was singing ‘Christmas is Over’.

As well as ‘My Generation’, I also played The Who’s ‘I Can See for Miles’ from their album The Who Sell Out. Released in 1967, it’s an interesting one. A concept album,  it’s formatted as a collection of unrelated songs interspersed with fake commercials and public service announcements. The album purports to be a broadcast by pirate radio station Radio London and the release was reportedly followed by a bevy of lawsuits due to the mention of real-world commercial interests in the fake commercials and also by the makers of the real Radio London jingles. We listened to ‘Heinz Baked Beans’ which was a bit of a hoot (and obviously influenced by Monty Python and The Goons). I also played a few sound grabs from the film, ‘The Boat That Rocked’ and gave away tickets to the film.

Now, how can you think about the music of the 60s and not play Roy Orbison? Orbison was a powerful influence on contemporaries such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.  In 1963, he headlined a British tour with The Beatles, but by the end of the tour he was playing second fiddle to the Fab Four, as Beatlemania  gathered pace. John Lennon later claimed that he had joked to Orbison that the Beatles were tiring of opening for him so Orbison agreed to switch, but the audience greeted Orbison with such enthusiasm that the Beatles became concerned that they would not get to perform, and called out to him from backstage, “Yankee, go home.”

macca1big0102_1000x837He became lifelong friends with the band, especially John Lennon and George Harrison. Orbison would later record with Harrison in the Travelling Wilburys. During their UK tour together, Orbison encouraged the Beatles to come to the United States. When they toured America in the summer of 1964, they asked Orbison to appear with them, but his schedule forced him to decline. Check out these photos to the left. That’s Macca and Orbison doing a ‘separated at birth’ moment.

Unlike many artists, Orbison maintained his success as the British Invasion swept America in 1964. His single, “Oh, Pretty Woman”, broke the Beatles’ stranglehold on the Top 10, soaring to No. 1  on the Billboard charts and No. 1 on the British charts. The record sold more copies in its first ten days of release than any single up to that time, and eventually sold over seven million copies.

Orbison toured with The Beach Boys in 1964, and with The Rolling Stones in Australia in 1965. He was arguably more successful in Britain than his home country, especially from 1963 onwards, logging three No. 1 hit singles  and being voted top male vocalist of the year several times there. The song we chose to play in this show was  ‘It’s Over’, a UK #1 single in June 1964. Look at this video and share my enthusiasm for one of the greatest voices of all time.

After I played Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, one of our listeners called in (sorry didn’t get the name) to let us know that the song was all about virgin soldiers going off to Vietnam. There are soooooo many theories about what this song is about and if you go to the Procol Harum fan site  http://www.procolharum.com  you’ll be able to read some of them.  Here’s what Matthew Fisher had to say on BBC Radio 2 in 2000:

” I don’t know what they mean. It’s never bothered me that I don’t know what they mean. This is what I find rather hard, that, especially in America, people are terribly hung up about lyrics and they’ve got to know what they mean, and they say, “I know, I’ve figured out what these lyrics mean.” I don’t give a damn what they mean. You know, they sound great… that’s all they have to do.”

A prominent Aussie band during this period was The Easybeats, with their single ‘Friday On My Mind’. This British Invasion style number was a huge worldwide hit for the group in 1966, making #1 in Australia and #6 in the UK and #16 in the USA. So, of course, it had to be played. Have a look at this video and the very young, fresh-faced Stevie Wright. Not to mention the outfits! And check out the dancers! Great stuff.

Next it was  Savoy Brown with ‘Stay With Me Baby’. And then it was onto the Rolling Stones with ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ and we finished with one of my favourites from the period – ‘Hang On Sloopy’ by The McCoys.

Whew. Great show, if I do say so myself.  Here’s the complete playlist:

All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks

Eleanor – The Turtles Blues

Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

Judy in Disguise – John Fred & His Playboy Band

Dancing In The Street – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

This Old Heart Of Mine – Isley Brothers

Ooo Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson/The Miracles

Crimson And Clover – Tommy James & The Shondells

I Can See for Miles – The Who

Black Is Black – Los Bravos 

With A Girl Like You – The Troggs

Heinz Baked Beans  The Who

Lady Godiva – Peter & Gordon

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

She’d Rather Be With Me – The Turtles

Got to Get You Into My Life – Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers

Yesterday Man – Chris Andrews

I’ve Been A Bad Bad Boy – Paul Jones

I Feel Free – Cream

My Generation – The Who

It’s Over – Roy Orbison

The Wind Cries Mary – Jimi Hendrix

A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum

Friday On My Mind – The Easybeats

Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

Nights In White Satin – Moody Blues

These Arms Of Mine – Otis Redding

Sunny – Bobby Hebb

I’m Alive – The Hollies The Hollies

Itchycoo Park – Small Faces

Summer in the City – The Lovin Spoonful

Stay With Me Baby  Savoy Brown

Get Off Of My Cloud  The Rolling Stones

Hang on Sloopy –  The McCoys

Next week, to celebrate a great weekend of Blues at the Byron Bay Blues Festival – I’ll be doing Musical Instruments. 

Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time, on BayFM 99.9 or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org

 

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

Opening the show with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey singing ‘Money, Money, Money’ let everyone know from the get-go what this week’s theme was. Yes, the dirty dollar, the buckaroo, moolah – whatever you want to call it – Money. Depending on your viewpoint, it either makes the world go ’round or its the root of all evil. I tried to offer up songs that would support either theory in a show jam-packed with music from all genres.

flyinglizardsFirst up, Dire Straits with ‘Money For Nothing’, promising all the young dudes that all they need to do is play the guitar on the MTV to get their ‘money for nothing and their chicks for free’. Yeah sure, maybe in the good old days, Mark Knopfler! Then it was onto one of several Beatles songs of the day with ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and a great version of ‘Money’ by The Flying Lizards. Originally written and recorded by Motown musician Barrett Strong, this robotic, unapologetic version has been used in several movie soundtracks, including two of my favourites: The Big Lebowski and Empire Records.

And then it was the song that made the world, especially Australia and 
Europe, wild for ABBA. ‘Money, Money, Money’ remained at the top of Australia’s charts for six weeks, and made it to the Top 3 in at least 11 other countries. The Pet Shop Boys offered up  their formula for making money, ‘Opportunities’: I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, Let’s make lots of money.” I’m sure plenty of hairbrained schemes were launched on that premise!  Back together again, with a new hit album, its worth having a look at the video of the track that differs quite a bit from the album version. The mix on this video seems much better,  to my ears anyway.

My Roy Orbison song this week was ‘Uptown’, about a bellhop who yearns for the attention of a gal way out of his league, financially. Van Morrison sang about ‘Blue Money’ and the Steve Miller Band track ‘Take the Money and Run’ kept the country rock fans happy. I love Louis Jordan and his song ‘If You’re So Smart, How Come You Ain’t Rich’ appealed to my sense of humour. Then it was onto Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin for a good dose of Blues/R&B.

New to my show was Gwen Stefani with a number that really suited the theme. ‘Rich Girl’ cheekily adapts ‘If I Were A Rich Man’ from Fiddler on the Roof to great effect. And a little bit of help from Eve on this track, didn’t hurt either. And then it was onto more Beatles with ‘Taxman’ and more Pet Shop Boys, with a great number ‘Rent’ and some Yeah, Yeah Yeahs with ‘Rich’. All leading up to the money anthem of all time: Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ from their 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. With its money-related sound effects of cash registers, coins and the like, it is perfect. Have a look at the original video clip which is quite a powerful companion to a song which defined the notion: ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’.

Our country section included Lefty Frizzell with his honky -tonk version of  ‘If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time’ and The Stanley Brothers with a bit of bluegrass: ‘If I Lose’, about a gambler who can always count on his woman to help him out. Horace Andy delivered a great bit of reggae with Money, Money. According to Horace, money is the root of all evil. He may be right but then again I’m hoping that money can also do some good in this world. (Now all I have to do is convince someone to give me some!)

Janis Joplin, John Lennon and AC/DC led up to the finish line and I closed the show with Massive Attack’s remake of William DeVaughan’s song ‘Be Thankful For What You’ve Got’. And that sums up my message from this week’s show – be thankful for what you’ve got. Yes, the best things in life really are free. And radio is one of those!

Here’s the full playlist for you:

Money, Money – Liza Minnelli/Joel Grey/ Cabaret 

Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles

Money – The Flying Lizards

Money, money, money – ABBA

Opportunities (Let’s make lots of money) – Pet Shop Boys

Take the Money and Run – Steve Miller Band

Blue Money – Van Morrison

Uptown – Roy Orbison

If You So Smart, How Come You Ain’t Rich  – Louis Jordan

I Got A Woman – Ray Charles

Money Won’t Change You –  Aretha Frankin

Security – Otis Redding

Rich Girl – Nina Simone

Rich Girl (feat. Eve) – Gwen Stefani

Taxman – The Beatles

Rent – Pet Shop Boys

Rich – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Money – Pink Floyd

No Money  Ernie K Doe and the Blue Diamonds 

If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time – Lefty Frizzell

If I Lose – The Stanley Brothers

Rich Woman – Li’l Millet & His Creoles

Rich Mans Blues – C.W. Stoneking

Money Money  Horace Andy

Buy Me A Mercedes Benz  Janis Joplin

Nobody Loves You (when you’re down and out) – John Lennon

Moneytalks   ACDC

You Never Give Me Your Money  The Beatles

Be Thankful For What You’ve Got    Massive Attack

Next week I’ll be dedicating the show to music from the 60’s and giving away tickets to the new film, set in ’66 against the British pirate radio days, The Boat That Rocked. 

Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time, at BayFM 99.9 or streaming at http://www.bayfm.org

AGE AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A NUMBER!

We Baby Boomers, in particular,  seem to be obsessed with aging so I thought it was time to dedicate a show to the older generation. It was also Seniors week  – not that you would know it, as there wasn’t one thing organised to celebrate seniors up here in Northern New South Wales, that I could make out. Now I know that we live in the youth obsessed tourist town of Byron Bay, but come on! One day it will be you and I that will be shuffled into the old people’s home (if we can afford it!). Ah well, there’ll always be the music….

2009_0306_tatoobarbie1Even Barbie, who turned 50 last week, has fallen prey to a mid life crisis: ‘Totally Stylin Barbie’ has landed in the toy stores, complete with trendy threads and several temporary tattoos. Help!

I started the show with the Who’s ‘My Generation’. Roger Daltrey sang “I hope I die before I get old” when he was a 21 year old, in 1965, and he’s still singing it 44 years later! Rock’n’roll has always been devoted to a cult of youth and beautiful corpses. Meanwhile our musical heroes and heroines have turned into reunion tour veterans. Being an aging rocker comes with a lot of irony and a smidgeon of  indignity along with the continuing glory, or so it seems.

Aging, mortality, hard-done by women and dirty old men – the themes aren’t confined to rock. Other musical genres covered it all long ago. Pop, Blues, Soul and, not to forget, country – those cowboys have been churning out hits about the sunset years for decades. So it was a fairly eclectic playlist this week – Jazz, Blues, Rock’n’Roll, Country and even some Hip-Hop! Songs dedicated to our older relatives, philosophical musings on time’s passage and a couple of anxious songs about diminished potency. There were a couple of cheeky songs and  some very touching music recorded, perhaps not surprisingly, by some of our older musical icons. It turns out that, dying after you get old does have some advantages!

267px-elvis_costello_15_june_2005Fats Waller and Bill Withers sang a song dedicated to their Grandad and Grandma, respecitvely,  and then it was onto Elvis Costello with a song that Paul McCartney co-wrote, ‘Veronica’. This is quite a brilliant number from 1989 about an elderly woman slipping into senility. Sassy songstress Lily Allen followed with her 50cent cover ‘Nan, You’re a Window Shopper’ and how could we miss out on ‘Little Old Lady From Pasadena’ from the Beach Boys? That’s Elvis C. in the pic above, in 2005, still rockin it out. Bless.

Steely Dan’s ‘Hey Nineteen’ struck a note with more than one of my girlfriends! As the song goes, as hot as it is having a girlfriend 30 years your junior, it’s kind of a reality check when she’s never heard of Aretha Franklin: “We’ve got nothin’ in common, We can’t talk at all”. No kidding. So here’s a video of a live concert in 2006,  for all those old guys still chasing young skirt….. listen well!

We played a quite a bit of the Beatles today. Sad when you think about it. They wrote quite a few songs about aging and both George and John died relatively young. ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ and ‘In My Life’ are both classics. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells gave us a great rendition of ‘In My Younger Days’, followed by my new favourite, Seasick Steve, with ‘Rockin’ Chair’. We couldn’t leave out Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’ with James Taylor on banjo (tuned like a guitar) and Linda Ronstadt on back up vocals. Here is a video of a concert Young did in London, in 1971, where he explains the origins of the song. He looks so young here – well it was nearly 40 years ago!

My Roy Orbison song this week was quite poignant: ‘Life Fades Away’. And so was ‘End of the Line’ by the Travelling Wilburys. I happily sent out birthday wishes to several of my listeners with the Beatles recording of ‘Birthday’, and then finished the show with the amazing Jimmy Durante singing ‘Young at Heart’. Yep, age ain’t nothin’ but a number.

Here’s the complete playlist:

My Generation (1965) – The Who

Grand Old Dad (1941)  Fats Waller

Grandma’s Hands (1971)  Bill Withers

Young Fashioned Ways (1947)  Muddy Waters

Veronica (1989)  Elvis Costello

Nan You’re A Window Shopper (2006)  Lily Allen

Old Lady from Pasadena (1964)  Beach Boys

Older Guys (1970)  Gram Parsons & The Flying Burrito Brothers B

As Good As I Once Was (2005)  Toby Keith

Hey Nineteen (1985) – Steely Dan

When You Are Old (1953)  Tom Lehrer

When I’m Sixty-Four (1967)  The Beatles

In My Younger Days  Buddy Guy & Junior Wells

Rockin’ Chair (2004)  Seasick Steve & The Level Devils

Old Man (1972) – Neil Young

Touch of Grey (1987)  Grateful Dead

Golden Years (1975)  David Bowie

In My Life (1965)  The Beatles

Life Fades Away  Roy Orbison

Losing My Edge (2002)  LCD Soundsystem

1985 (2004)  Bowling for Soup

Surrender (1977) – Cheap Trick

Forever Young (1984)  Alphaville

Can’t Forget About You  (2006)  Nas Hip 

Against The Wind (1980)  Bob Seger

End of the Line   Travelling Wilburys

Young At Heart (1963) –  Jimmy Durante

Birthday (1968) – The Beatles

Next week I’ll be tackling the theme of Communication. Suggestions for songs always apprecicated.

Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time on BayFM 99.9. Also streaming via http://www.bayfm.org

%d bloggers like this: