Category Archives: Beatles
Our 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 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.”
He 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
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….
Even 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!
Fats 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