I’m extremely lucky because I live in an area where other people come to for their holidays. Here in Byron Bay, we’ve got it all – great all-year round weather, fabulous beaches, rainforest, great little hinterland villages. So where do I go on my holidays? To the city of course! I’m having a couple of weeks off to drive down the coast, visit friends and catch up with family. So I thought it appropriate that this week’s show featured a playlist of songs about holidays. And what better than to open the show with a Bing Crosby classic, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, the Beef Wellington Remix. Here’s a great clip with the scene from the 1942 film Holiday Inn, starring Crosby and Fred Astaire. Yes, I know it’s about Christmas but, hey wasn’t that just a minute ago? And besides, not only do you get to hear the song, you get to see Fred dance. How good is that!
For me holidays are more about changing your routine and catching up with people I love, more than, say, hanging poolside with masseur and daquiri at the ready. Nothing wrong with that of course. In fact the tropical island style of holiday appeals to many of the songwriters in this week’s show. A couple of examples: Typically Tropical with BARBADOS and 10cc with DREADLOCK HOLIDAY. Here’s 10CC:
Earth,Wind & Fire supplied a fine piece of R&B with GETAWAY and then it was Fiddlers Dram’s DAY TRIP TO BANGOR proving that even a short break constitutes a holiday in my books.
Next it was a classic – Connie Francis with VACATION – and then Lindsey Buckingham gave us HOLIDAY ROAD from the film National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Subway followed with the track HOLIDAY from their 2005 album Young For Eternity and then another perfect holiday song: LET’S GET AWAY FOR A WHILE from The Beach Boys.
In HOLIDAY, by the Happy Mondays, singer Shaun William Ryder is not a happy chappie. Doesn’t look like he’s going to get to his holiday destination if it’s up to the Customs officials. “I smell dope, I smell dope, I smell dope”. Careful folks.
The Go-Go’s bring things back to a less serious issue, holiday romance, in their 1982 hit, VACATION.
The Kinks had to face the culture shock of being English and taking a HOLIDAY IN WAIKIKI. The song is from their 1966 album ‘Face to Face’. Unfortunately couldn’t locate a decent clip of this track but here’s a cutie, also written by Ray Davies, HOLIDAY 1972:
I love Sky Edwards voice on the Morcheeba track THE SEA. So calming. Is it any wonder that the seaside is the number one holiday destination?
For those of us who live near the ocean, we need to look for something entirely different if the saying “a change is as good as a holiday” is going to ring true. The Gibson Brothers contributed a catchy piece of Latin Disco about a place I’ve always wanted to go to: CUBA. Here’s a rare video clip of the Gibsons from 1979:
Simple Plan are so keen to get a girl our of their life, they’ll even buy her the ticket so she can go on a long VACATION. A one way ticket out of their life. I should have included this one in my Unrequited Love show, obviously. Its from the movie NEW YORK MINUTE, but I probably didn’t need to mention that, as the band were the best thing in it.
Then it was another tale about holiday romance, except that this time it looks like it was all in Mike Skinner’s imagination. The song, FIT BUT YOU KNOW IT, from Mike’s alter-ego The Streets, tells a tale that could take place in any holiday town on a Friday night:
There was no way I was going to omit Madonna’s first hit single from 1983, HOLIDAY. While I’m not a mad fan, I do think the 80’s were her best period and this song shows her at her peak. Here she is performing during the Virgin Tour.
Weezer claimed that an ISLAND IN THE SUN is their ideal getaway. Then it was Scouting for Girls, with a song that all us workers will relate to: I NEED A HOLIDAY.
Canned Heat don’t need any tropical holiday. They’re perfectly happy GOING UP THE COUNTRY. The unofficial anthem of the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969, this one was requested by Judi, listening way up in Cairns, Northern Queensland – another great holiday destination and ironically the most tropical you can get here on the East Coast of Australia. Here’s a clip from the Woodstock film, as backdrop to Canned Heat’s iconic piece of music.
Another request: this time it’s from from Jack, who loves his Aerosmith. The song was PERMANENT VACATION. And then it was the most politically motivated song on our list, The Dead Kennedys with HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA.
After that assault on the senses, it was time to bring it down a notch. And what better way than with the wistful pop sound of Belle & Sebastian with PIAZZA, NEW YORK CATCHER. Meanwhile, Blur were following the herd on holiday from London to Greece in GIRLS AND BOYS and the Stranglers were sounding very pervy indeed in PEACHES.
Another change of pace and tone with Natalie Merchant, of 10,000 Maniacs, with a beautiful track about holiday memories, VERDI CRIES. Here she is performing on the Jonathan Ross show:
Squeeze are PULLING MUSSELS (from the shell). Like you do on holidays. The Radiators want to go on a SUMMER HOLIDAY. Ok, so we’re already into Autumn, here in the Southern Hemisphere, but it doesn’t matter what season it is, holidays are a good thing.
My idea of a great holiday is a road trip and that’s what I’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks. Driving down the coast and catching up with family and friends. My next track by The Cardigans tapped into my love of nostalgia. It’s a song that should bring back memories to all of us who, as kids, piled into DADDY’S CAR for that annual holiday trek.
We closed the show with a great song. You can’t go on a road trip without this on your compilation CD: Willy Nelson with ON THE ROAD AGAIN.
See you in a couple of weeks, when hopefully I’ll be inspired by all that driving because the theme will be ROADS AND STREETS. In the meantime, the show will continue same time, same space with Des in the chair. Next week, to celebrate International Women’s Day, he’ll be compiling a playlist dedicated to “all things feminine”. Ooh, that should be interesting. Make sure you listen in.
Here’s this week’s Holiday playlist:
Love, and all its complexities, provides a bottomless pit of inspiration. A perfect opener for our Valentine’s Day protest this week was Bobbie Gentry’s rendition of I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN. ‘What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia.” Songwriter Hal David was convinced that the angst-ridden game of love was no better than a chronic illness and who am I to disagree? The song is typical of all anti-love songs however: it’s resolve to give up on love is usually very short lived. Rather than a virus, it’s more like an addiction, for sure.
Jerry Butler is over it. He’s GIVING UP ON LOVE, a typical knee-jerk reaction from someone who has had his heart broken. The Dramatics, on the other hand, find out the hard way that there’s A THIN LIVE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE.
Lot’s of suggestions from listeners this week for various Bob Dylan numbers but my choice was LOVE SICK from his 1997 album Time Out of Mind. He’s in love with a woman who he suspects of cheating and all he can do is wander the streets, moaning “I’m sick of love, but I’m in the thick of it.” Come on Bobby, man up!
Janis Joplin’s idol was Bessie Smith, (she even organised a campaign to pay for her tombstone after finding that the great Blues singer was buried in an unmarked grave). In the song CARELESS LOVE, Bessie’s been a-cheating and a-dumping, but is it her fault? Hell, no.
Rosemary Clooney, (now forever known as George Clooney’s auntie), makes a slightly less convincing argument against love, blaming it for sending her “a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart”. Bummer. The song is LOVE YOU DIDN’T DO RIGHT BY ME. Here’s a clip from the film WHITE CHRISTMAS, starring Clooney and Bing Crosby:
Next it was Soft Cell’s version of TAINTED LOVE, first released in 1964 by Gloria Jones and covered by Soft Cell in 1981. It’s a bit of a gay anthem and to celebrate that, here’s a wonderful video that uses the music as backing to Laurel & Hardy’s soft shoe shuffle in the film WAY OUT WEST. Enjoy.
Richard Hell & The Voidoids have a perfect response to the notion that love is perfect, a fairytale fed to us by Hollywood and the mass media. In the song LOVE COMES IN SPURTS Richard reckons love “murders your heart – they didn’t tell you that part”.
Bobby Bland is convinced that there AINT NO LOVE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY. Well he’s probably right about that. Poor Fats Domino thinks NO-ONE LOVES HIM, but at least he’s hopeful about the future, so no need to be too down in the dumps.
Talking of dumps, the Ben Folds Five gave us SONG FOR THE DUMPED and then the divine SoKo was equally candid with I WILL NEVER LOVE YOU MORE. And she plays the ukelele! Can it get better than that?
Joan Jett covered J. Geils Band hit, LOVE STINKS, on the soundtrack of a very mediocre film called MR WRONG starring Ellen De Generes. Despite the lame film, Joan’s version gives the song a bit more bite I think. Another of my favourite female artists is Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage, so we included their 1998 hit, SPECIAL. Here they are live on Letterman in 1996:
Betty Davis was the second wife of Miles Davis and an amazing artist in her own right. ANTI LOVE SONG is from her self-titled debut album and is notable not just for her powerful voice but for who she used to support her on the album. The Pointer Sisters sing back up, bassist Larry Graham and drummer Greg Errico, both veterans of Sly & the Family Stone are there, plus fellow San Francisco luminaries like master keyboardist Merl Saunders and guitarists Neal Schon and Douglas Rodriguez (both associated with Santana at the time) give this whole album reams of cred.
The great soul singer Teddy Pendergrass who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago, contributed LOVE TKO and then another soul singer, who probably isn’t as well known but with a fine voice, Angie Stone, sang WISH I DIDN’T MISS YOU.
Here’s a perfect choice for our Anti-Love show: Public Image Ltd with THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG. Thanks to regular contributor Lynden for that suggesiton.
Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks offered up a song that will surely put a smile back on your face if you’ve been disappointed by love: HOW CAN I MISS YOU WHEN YOU WON’T GO AWAY? Then it was Amy Rigby, married b.t.w. to punk rock alumni Wreckless Eric. She seems skeptical about romance as she contemplates a marriage based not on love but resignation. Not sure what Eric thinks about all that. The song is CYNICALLY YOURS.
The 13th Floor Elevators are convinced that YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME and we followed with something completley out of left field. From Gang of Four’s 2005 album Return the Gift, ANTHRAX is another of those songs that makes love out to be, not just dangerous, but lethal. Yikes.
Belle & Sebastian sound so sweet as they sing that they DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE. Maybe they’ve been listening to Nick Lowe’s song CRUEL TO BE KIND. Along with Wreckless Eric, Elvis Costello and others he was part of the Stiff Records line-up of artists. I’m thinking it might be time for a show dedicated to the ‘stiffies’ as they were referred to. Let me know what you think. Here’s a clip of Nick Lowe singing CRUEL TO BE KIND:
Heading into the home stretch, we played a very nice number by The Corrs, I NEVER LOVED YOU ANYWAY from their second album Talk on Corners. The final two songs couldn’t be more different from each other. First up it was Robert Plant and Alison Krauss with GONE, GONE, GONE – a good piece of advice for anyone in an unsatisfactory relationship. And then it was a song for all the battle weary lovers out there. Blossom Dearie is much more generous than many of us when we’ve been given the heave-ho by some love rat, but maybe there’s a lesson there. The song is the delicious I WISH YOU LOVE.
Now as well as February 14th being Valentine’s Day it’s also Chinese New Year. I did consider doing a show next week on all the Chinese animals (you know Year of the Tiger, Rat, Dog etc etc), but as I’ve already done cats and dogs, thought better of it. How about we stick with Western Astrology? Next week, the theme will be STAR SIGNS. Drop me a line if you have any requests or suggestions.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
How come every songwriter hasn’t written at least one song about schooldays? Come on, it has all the vital ingredients for a hit: that age-old conflict between discipline and rebellion, close friendships, sexual awakenings and enough traumatic experiences to feed a healthy persecution complex for the rest of your life. Mind you, while every songwriter may not have taken up the opportunity to reveal all about their schooldays, those that did contributed to a pretty good playlist this week.
We opened the show with SCHOOL DAYS by Chuck Berry who turns the joy of hearing the final bell into some hot rock’n’roll. Then it was Young MC who seems well versed in being sent to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE, while the Pipettes LIKE A BOY IN UNIFORM. Don’t we all?
Belle & Sebastian could pretty much compile an album of songs about classroom politics but the pick of the bunch is EXPECTATIONS, from the soundtrack to Juno. The song’s misfit heroine wins the heart of every indie boy by “making life-size models of the Velvet Underground from clay”. Now why didn’t I go to that school?
Jack White is a bit of a hero of mine, so I had to include The White Stripes with WE’RE GOING TO BE FRIENDS. Everyone needs a best buddie at school that’s for sure.
A couple of real classics followed. I would have been sent to detention if I hadn’t included ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL from Pink Floyd or Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ fantastic diss on school, JACK SHIT GEORGE.
Steely Dan had us bopping along to the fact that they are “never going back to” MY OLD SCHOOL. And then it was Sam Cooke with WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD.
Sonny Boy Williamson contributed one of the most provocative tracks on the playlist this week, GOOD MORNIN’ LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL. This blues classic was written about the schoolgirl as sexual fantasy. It’s since been covered by every classic-rock band under the sun, but I think the original is still the best.
ME AND JULIO DOWN BY THE SCHOOL YARD is a song performed by Paul Simon from his 1972 self-titled album. In my opinion he’s one of the best contemporary songwriters we have. Here he is performing the song live:
The music video of BAGGY TROUSERS, by Madness, was shot in an English school and park. The band’s saxophone player, Lee Thompson, decided he wanted to fly through the air for his solo, with the use of wires hanging from a crane. The resulting shot is one of the most popular of any of the Madness music videos.
ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL by The Ramones was followed by a personal pick: CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS RULE, by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Yes, being an old tyke, or as they say in the trade a “lapsed Catholic”, I have to agree that Catholic Schoolgirls do rule!
A couple of little morality tales followed. James Brown warned DON’T BE A DROPOUT and then it was the wonderful Brenda Holloway performing with the Supremes, as back-up (how’s that!). The song was PLAY IT COOL, STAY IN SCHOOL. All good advice of course.
Cat Stevens took a trip down memory lane with OLD SCHOOL YARD and Busted revealed, THAT’S WHAT I GO TO SCHOOL FOR, a disarmingly frank pop tune about having a crush on a teacher.
Babs Gonzalez taught us a bit about Bebop with PROFESSOR BOP while Nat King Cole favours all things extra-curricular in YOU DON’T LEARN THAT IN SCHOOL.
Boomtown Rats followed with I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS and then it was Billy Bragg with the brilliant, THE SATURDAY BOY which I’ve played before, but with its school setting was a certainty to be played again this week.
Like most of The Coaster’s songs, CHARLIE BROWN was written by the songwriting team of Leiber And Stoller. They wrote hits for many artists, including Elvis Presley, The Drifters, and Ben E. King. The songs they wrote for The Coasters were usually more comical. In this case, the song is about a kid who is always getting in trouble and asks “why is everyone always picking on me?”
A nice piece of reggae followed, suggested by Lynden in Sydney: Dennis Alcapone with TEACH THE CHILDREN.
Otis Rush’s distinctive guitar style features a slow burning sound and long bent notes. With similar qualities to Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and is cited as an influence on many musicians, including Eric Clapton. Rush is left-handed and, unlike many left-handed guitarists, plays a left-handed instrument strung upside-down with the low E string at the bottom. He played often with the little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for positioning . It is widely believed that this contributes to his distinctive sound. Check it out on this video where he performs HOMEWORK:
A little change of pace then with The Smiths and THE HEADMASTER RITUAL followed by Graham Parker & The Rumour with BACK TO SCHOOLDAYS.
Jerry Lee Lewis uses high school as a setting, rather than a storyline, in HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. This would have been his fourth consecutive hit in a row, if controversy hadn’t raged about the fact that his new wife was hardly old enough to be in high school. Oops. Doesn’t seem to bother the audience at this concert in London in the 60’s:
It was nearly time for the final bell, but we still squeezed in another triple play: The Hollies with CARRIE ANNE, N.R.B.Q. with STILL IN SCHOOL and WAITIN’ IN SCHOOL from Ricky Nelson.
Our finale was reserved for a song that divides people. Personally I have a bit of a soft spot for TO SIR WITH LOVE, from the film of the same name. How gorgeous was Sidney Poitier? Here’s a clip of Lulu performing the song very recently, (I think it may have been 2008). And how good does she look?
Next week, I’m going to go against the grain. Yes I know that Valentines Day is coming up soon but the cynic in me has decided to mount an ANTI LOVE show. So, if you have any suggestions drop me a line.
Here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Next week: ANTI-LOVE
This week we paid homage to Winter which started June 1, here in the Southern hemisphere. So it was a case of battening down, buttoning up and making the most of it! We opened the show with IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE (BUT IN MY HEART ITS SPRING), a wonderfully optimistic tune by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a group created by the master of smooth soul himself, Barry White.
For this show, as usual, I pilfered from all genres, from jazz and r&b through to folk, country and pop, with lots of rock, both classic and alternative thrown in for good measure. And we even got Tom Waites to read the weather!
As it was raining, yet again, here in the Northern Rivers, we set the mood with a great terrific piece of doo wop from the Spaniels: STORMY WEATHER and then it was a great version of BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE by Tom Jones with Cerys Matthews from Catatonia. This take on Frank Loesser’s pop standard certainly cements Tom’s reputation with the laaadies. The video for this is so camp, you must check it out:
Sarah McLachlan offered up SONG FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT while Annie Lennox sang about the COLD with such intensity that I could almost feel it penetrating my bones. And then the Pixies belted out a fantastic, upbeat version of Neil Young’s WINTERLONG.
The Hank Williams song COLD COLD HEART has been covered by many artists but you know that I had to include Roy Orbison’s version, which I love. It’s from his Hank Williams tribute album. We followed that with Sister Hazel and YOUR WINTER and Simon & Garfunkle’s A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER.
Our mild winters, here in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, help to make this a very pleasant place to live all year round. So when you start whingeing (like I do) about how cold the nights are, consider some of these CHILLING FACTS:
1. Charlotte Pass (NSW) has the Australian record for the lowest recorded temperature. It was -23 degrees C on 18/6/94.
2. In Vostok, Antartica, the lowest minimum temperature in the world was recorded on 5/2/1892. It was -89.2 degrees C.
Brrrr. Thank goodness we’ve got music to warm the cockles of our hearts. What does that mean exactly? What are the cockles of your heart? Really, I’m perplexed, so if anyone knows how this saying came about I’d love to know.
Gwen Stefani is surprisingly good with her rendition of EARLY WINTER as is one of last year’s big discoveries, Fleet Foxes with WHITE WINTER HYMNAL. And for all you animation freaks, (of which I am one), here is the amazing video clip for you to savour.
A very moving tune by the Eels from their album, Electro-Shock Blues followed. DEAD OF WINTER was written largely as a response to frontman Mark Oliver Everett’s sister’s suicide and his mother’s terminal cancer. Although that sounds rather bleak, the album’s underlying message is a positive one, about coping with life’s tragedies and moving forward. I absolutely love the honesty of this album and highly commend it to you.
After Bobby Bland’s tortured COLD DAY IN HELL, we definitely needed a bit of cheering up and Fats Domino delivered with LET THE FOUR WINDS BLOW.
Here’s another Chilling Fact about Winter: Wind chill is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the effects of temperature and wind speed are combined. A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder. Brrr and double Brrrr.
Now someone who knows all about chilly winds and cool temperatures is Tom Waites. He very kindly presented the weather, of sorts, with his EMOTIONAL WEATHER REPORT. Here is a version that he performed in 1977 in Berlin, but if you can get a copy of his 1975 album Nighthawks at the Diner, you will get what I think is a better, and still live, performance. But hey, check this one out, still highly amusing for all kinds of reasons.
It doesn’t matter how cold it gets, if you’ve got a lover to keep you warm. So says Billy Holiday who sang I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM and then it was Muddy Waters with BLOW WIND BLOW. And a first for Theme Park, was Madonna with a perfect piece of pop for a show about Winter: FROZEN, from her Ray of Light album.
Led Zeppelin gave us their IMMIGRANT SONG, written while on a tour of Iceland in 1970 and I couldn’t really leave out Foreigner with COLD AS ICE or STONE COLD from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, could I?
Belle & Sebastian’s very twee THE FOX IN THE SNOW and the equally cutesy CLOUDY from Simon & Garfunkle sequed beautifully into ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN IN THE MARKET. This very silly tune is classic Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
I was obviously going a bit nutty with my winter tracks and so there was no stopping the delirium. Why not play Trans Siberian Orchestra with their crazy bit of Orchestral Rock, WIZARDS IN WINTER? But hopefully my credibility was saved with The White Stripes and IN THE COLD COLD NIGHT. Congrats to Meg White who recently married Jackson Smith, son of Patti Smith. Now there’s a gene pool for you!
OH LARSEN B, by British Sea Power from their 2005 album, Open Season followed, along with a cutey by The Fiery Furnaces: TROPICAL ICELAND. And a crazy video clip to match – check it out:
Final song for the show was one of my obsessions. AC/DC with THUNDERSTRUCK. And no matter how many times I see this video, I can’t get enough of Angus and that glass runway. May as well add to the 21 million hits on YouTube. So, here it is, just because I can!
Another one of my obsessions has given me the topic for next week – SHOES! So send me some suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, here is the complete playlist from this week:
It may be Winter Outside (But in my Heart it’s Spring) – Love Unlimited Orchestra
Baby its Cold Outside – Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews
Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles
Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah Mclachlan
Cold – Annie Lennox
Winterlong – The Pixies
Cold, Cold, Heart – Roy Orbison
Your Winter – Sister Hazel
A Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
Early Winter – Gwen Stefani
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Dead of Winter – Eels
Cold Day in Hell – Bobby Bland
Let The Four Winds Blow – Fats Domino
Emotional Weather Report -Tom Waits
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Billie Holiday
Blow Wind Blow – Muddy Waters
Frozen – Madonna
Stone Cold – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Cold As Ice – Foreigner
Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
Abominable Snowman In The Market – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Cloudy – Simon & Garfunkel
The Fox In The Snow – Belle & Sebastian
Wizards in Winter – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
In The Cold Cold Night – The White Stripes
Tropical Iceland – The Fiery Furnaces
Oh Larsen B – British Sea Power
Thunderstruck – ACDC
Next week’s show: SHOES
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park on BayFM 99.9 every Tuesday 2-4pm (Sydney time). Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org