The Royal Family have been attracting a fair bit of attention lately. Kate and Wills got married, Fergie is in detox and, according to her ex-chef, the Queen likes wholemeal toast for dessert. Riveting stuff.
All this just made me think about artists with a royal sounding name. Much more interesting, I’m sure you’ll agree. We opened the program with a track suggested by one of the Saturday Blues boys. Ken directed me to a fantastic album called The Duke Meets the Earl. It features two virtuoso blues guitarists, Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl. The whole album is a cracker but I chose a track that’s indicative of how my week’s been going so far: LOOKIN’ FOR TROUBLE. I couldn’t find a clip of both artists performing the song together, but here’s Duke Robillard filmed at Callahan’s in November 2010:
Carol King has written a lot of great pop songs and she’s still going strong. Her 1962 hit IT MIGHT AS WELL RAIN UNTIL SEPTEMBER was originally a demo that turned out so well the record company decided to release it. Smart move.
Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald do a great version of STORMY WEATHER. Ella was often referred to as “Lady Ella” and you can’t get a more royal sounding name than Nat King Cole, can you? And then it was something completely different. Princess Superstar with LIFE IS BUT A DREAM. And congrats to the Princess who this week gave birth to a baby girl! Happy Mother’s Day.
OK, he may not actually have King in his name, but we all know who we’re talking about when we refer to ‘The King’: Elvis Presley of course. BURNING LOVE went out to Faye. “Lord Almighty, I feel my temperature rising, higher higher, it’s burning through to my soul …”
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings JUST DROPPED IN TO SEE WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION WAS IN. Thanks Sharon. Doing fine. Considering all the trouble I’m in.
King Curtis’ MEMPHIS SOUL STEW is an ode to musicians of all kinds. Check out Jerry Jermott on bass. Amazing.
I like a bit of diversity in the playlist, so I included an indie pop group from Sweden called Acid House Kings with WOULD YOU SAY STOP? It’s from their latest album Music Sounds Better With You. What is it about the Swedes and their pop music?
My Kings of Leon pick was a great song: CALIFORNIA WAITING. Check out Caleb’s Prince Valentine hairdo on this live performance:
Another artist with a royal sounding name is Prince Rogers Nelson, better known simply as ‘Prince’ to us plebs. KISS was followed by another classic, a gorgeous piece of soul from Ben E King called STAND BY ME. Ben E King was one of the original Drifters and when he was only 9 years old he was a member of the group The Three Crowns, so there you go, another reason why he should be included as one of our artists with royal sounding names.
We went way back to 1932 with: IT DON’T MEAN A THING IF IT AIN’T GOT THAT SWING by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra with vocals by Ivie Anderson. If, like me, you love your nostalgia, then you must tune in to BayFM on Saturdays from 8am when Jill brings you a fantastic show called MUSICAL KALEIDIOSCOPE.
I went way out on a limb with my next choice: I reckon the inclusion of Jesus and Mary Chain was justified on the basis that Jesus was King of the Jews. Right? Their version of SURFIN’ USA went out to Charlotte.
Now I couldn’t do a show about musicians with royal names without including B.B.King. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLUES went out to anyone who’s had a birthday recently, but in particular to my friend Cheryl who had a great birthday party on Saturday night (and I’m still recovering!), and David who was sick with the flu on his birthday. How unfair is that?
Our goodbye track was from a group that I consider rock royalty: Freddy Mercury and Queen with THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
Next week’s show will be on CONCERTS. It can be about attending a performance or actually being on stage. I’m thinking of songs like DAFT PUNK IS PLAYING AT MY HOUSE by LCD Soundsystem. See what you can come up with and get in touch!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Lookin For Trouble – Ronnie Earl & Duke Robillard
It Might As Well Rain Until September – Carole King
Stormy Weather – Nat King Cole & Ella Fitzgerald
Life Is But A Dream – Princess Superstar
Burning Love – Elvis Presley
Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Memphis Soul Stew – King Curtis
Would you say stop? – Acid House Kings
California Waiting – Kings of Leon
Kiss – Prince
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra Feat. Ivie Anderson
Surfin’ USA – The Jesus & Mary Chain
Happy Birthday Blues – BB King
These Are The Days Of Our Lives – Queen
Next week: SONGS ABOUT CONCERTS
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.
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