It’s Easter, so I set myself the challenge this week of compiling a list of songs about RESURRECTION. Yes, I know I could have looked at chocolate or bunny rabbits, but hey, you know I like to shake things up a bit! The meaning and long traditions behind the concept of resurrection make it a powerful device for the songwriter. It can be used in the biblical context, or figuratively to describe some sort of rebirth or re-emergence from darkness. Music fans, of course, will be familiar with musicians coming back from the dead, but we’re not dealing with comebacks here. We’ll keep that subject for another show.
Ashton, Gardner & Dyke’s one hit wonder, RESURRECTION SHUFFLE, delivered a terrifically upbeat start to the program. Here they are on Top of the Pops in the 70s:
The prince of darkness, Nick Cave, has the perfect resurrection song in DIG, LAZARUS, DIG!! Here he is with the Bad Seeds performing live on Jools Holland (I’ll say it again, what a brilliant, brilliant show!). The year was 2008 and that’s Jack White on the sidelines looking in absolute awe of the band.
Eric Burdon wrestles with doubt on his version of Blind Willie Johnson’s SOUL OF A MAN. Melbourne group The Temper Trap, now based in the U.K have a great song called RESURRECTION on their Aria Award winning album “Condition”. Then it was Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople with ROLL AWAY THE STONE. This clips is from Top of the Pops 1973. Scary.
With possibly the longest name on our playlist, Sufjan Stevens contributed our first zombie song on the list. Come on, zombies were a given, surely, on a show about coming back from the dear. THEY ARE ZOMBIES!! THEY ARE NEIGHBORS. THEY HAVE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD, AHHHH! is, I think, absolutely brilliant.
What’s a show on the subject of resurrection without gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her Easter song, CAN’T NO GRAVE HOLD MY BODY DOWN?. Sister Rosetta sings about rolling the stone away. Vic Chesnutt, on the other hand sings of leaving the stone in place. Apparently imagining himself as Jesus in his tomb, he’s also wracked by self-doubt on STAY INSIDE.
Dido and AR Rahman sing IF I RISE. It’s the beautiful theme to the film 127 Hours. Adore the film and the song.
Gil Scott-Heron is one of those performers that came back from the dead musically and aren’t we glad he did? On B MOVIE he suggests that this life is just a rehearsal of sorts and that there’s another life waiting for us when the great director in the sky calls cut. Well, I’m not sure I believe that. But who knows?
You know you’ve always got to have your sense of humour firmly intact at the Theme Park, because nothing is sacred. We had a chuckle with Spinal Tap and their 2009 release BACK FROM THE DEAD. That was followed by Nancy Sinatra and the Bond theme, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.
The Moody Blues gave us their ode to Timothy Leary: LEGEND OF A MIND. According to them, he’s not dead, he’s just astral travelling! But of course he is. It was the 70’s when this was recorded after all.
Single File gave us our second zombie song on the list with the very amusing ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBOURS. And then it was Alison Moyet with LOVE RESURRECTION, from her 1983 album Alf. According to Alison, when it comes to love, everyone needs a little divine intervention.
Pink Floyd’s COMING BACK TO LIFE is from a live performance album they released in 2009. Then it was The Stone Roses with their anti-Christianity song I AM THE RESURRECTION. Feeling that we probably should show some impartiality on matters religious, we included Frightened Rabbit with HEAD ROLLS OFF. They seem to believe in God and an afterlife but nevertheless promote the idea that what you do while you’re alive is the most important thing. Can’t argue with that.
M. Ward gets a little help from Norah Jones on ONE LIFE AWAY where he imagines that, when you walk on peoples graves, they are “listening to the sound of the living people living their lives away”. Here’s the awesome Mark Lanegan performing on Irish TV in 2004. The track is RESURRECTION SONG. Brilliant as always.
Now it would be a serious omission if I didn’t mention this weekend’s Byron Bay Blues Fest, so as a tribute to that we closed with songs on Resurrection from two of the icons appearing at the event: First up, the marvellous Mavis Staples with WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN, which I dedicate to my Dad who died 20 years ago this week. And finally, it was ‘born again’ Bob Dylan with IN THE GARDEN. For my Dad, here’s Mavis on the Jools Holland show:
For next week’s show I’ve been inspired by the Royal Wedding (I kid you not) and the show will be on WEDDINGS AND MARRIAGE. I think we can have some fun with this. I’ll be transforming the BayFM studio into the Chapel of Love. And it will be my last show at this time slot. After that I’ll be presenting Theme Park in a shorter and sweeter one hour format on Monday’s 1-2pm, so I hope that you tune in then.
Have a great Easter! Here’s the complete playlist:
Resurrection Shuffle – Ashton, Gardner and Dyke
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Soul Of A Man – Eric Burdon
Resurrection – The Temper Trap
Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople
They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!! – Sufjan Stevens
Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Stay Inside – Vic Chesnutt
If I Rise – A.R. Rahman
B Movie – Gil Scott-Heron
Back From The Dead – Spinal Tap
You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
Legend Of A Mind – The Moody Blues
Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Single File
Love Resurrection – Alison Moyet
Coming Back To Life – Pink Floyd
I Am The Resurrection – The Stone Roses
Head Rolls Off – Frightened Rabbit
One Life Away – M. Ward
Resurrection Song – Mark Lanegan
Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Mavis Staples
In The Garden – Bob Dylan
Next week: MARRIAGE