I’ve been away in my home town of Sydney for a couple of weeks but you can’t keep me from Byron Bay for long, so I was all fired up for this week’s show on SONGS WITH SOUND FX in them. I’ve discovered that many a song has been enhanced by a clever piece of non-musical noise and our opening song, MY BROTHER MAKES THE NOISES FOR THE TALKIES summed up the program beautifully. It’s by the very entertaining UK group, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.
Sounds of thunder accompany a song that suits the weather we’re having up here at the moment. WALKING IN THE RAIN is by the Ronettes, best known for their work with Phil Spector. With their beehive hairdos and tight skirts, they were known as the ‘bad girls’ of rock n roll. And now you know where Amy Winehouse go her ‘look’.
The sound of lapping waves welcomes in Otis Redding’ standard, SITTIN’ ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY. Redding wrote this song while living on a houseboat in Sausalito on the San Francisco Bay. It was recorded shortly before his tragic death at the age 0f 26. Released posthumously, it is his biggest hit ever.
There’s lots of playground noise on Cat Steven’s (REMEMBER THE DAYS OF) THE OLD SCHOOL YARD. And The Beatles use all kinds of carnival noises on BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KITE.
Jazz great Charles Mingus got his band to use their instruments to sound like foghorns and other harbour sounds on the remarkable A FOGGY DAY. In complete contrast, but somehow weirdly complementary, is M.I.A.’s PAPER PLANES. She utilizes the sounds of a cash register and heavy gunshot noise on this very provocative piece of hip-hop.
There were lots of requests for MONEY by Pink Floyd. And it had to be played, if not for the very good use of various sound effects, but because, well ….. it’s Pink Floyd!
Another fantastic song with sound effects is NO TIENE BILLET from Fruko y Sus Tesos. The rifle fire that tears through this brilliant Colombian tune implies that the eruption of violence, in a very poor country especially, is almost inevitable. On NITE CLUB, by the Specials, the only aggression heard is raised voices and the clinking of glasses.
George Gershwin’s AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, written in 1928, is full of imagery gone wild. It’s a brilliant song and a brilliant film too. This was Gene Kelly’s magnum opus. His choreography was of such a standard that the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences created a special Oscar that year in recognition of his achievement. Dancing to a segment of George Gershin’s stunning music, here is Kelly’s duet with the beautiful Leslie Caron:
Michael Jackson uses sound effects to the hilt on THRILLER and the Doors gave us another perfect weather song, with its thunder and lighting sound effect: RIDERS ON A STORM.
There are some very suggestive street sounds on what happens to be one of my all time favourite songs: LOOKING FOR THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT from the sublime Mr. Tom Waits. And then there’s a beautiful song that reminds me of my home town, Sydney: The Platters’ HARBOR LIGHTS.
Yep, that’s a baby gurgling throughout Stevie Wonder’s ISN’T SHE LOVELY. And as far as car sounds go, you can’t go past the highly influential electronic pioneers, Kraftwerk, with AUTOBAHN. Check this out:
Talking of road sounds, you didn’t actually think I was going to leave out LEADER OF THE PACK by the Shangri Las did you? This clip is from the television show ‘Ive Got a Secret’, recorded in 1964. The ‘bikie’ is Robert Goulet!
Dancehall queen, Lady Saw, inserts self-made creaking sounds on BED NOISE. They’re so convincing that I can hear the neighbours complaining already! Neo Ska group, The Specials, seem to put sound effects on most of their songs. This is one of their big hits: GHOST TOWN. These guys have been around for 30 years and still going strong. Here they are on Top of the Pops in 1981. Blast from the past. Love, love, love.
The Surfaris break a surfboard just to make a point on WIPEOUT. Creaking doors and other creepy sounds illustrate MONSTER MASH, by the marvellously named Boris Pickett and the Crypkickers. And crashing glass introduces Billy Joel’s YOU MAY BE RIGHT. How’s that for a trio of songs with sound effects? And just because I can, here’s a nice little clip with lots of fun horror film clips, backed up by MONSTER MASH. Do you see where Michael Jackson got his inspiration for Thriller?
Our last song went out to Des who so ably sat in for me while I was away for a few weeks. His favourite is Bob Dylan and it seems that Bob isn’t against using a sound effect either. There’s a mean sounding whistling siren on HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED.
Hopefully I won’t need to use any alarms to keep you awake during next week show on SLEEP AND INSOMNIA. Lots of great songs in this category so get your thinking caps on and send me your suggestions. But remember, we’ve done DREAMING and TIREDNESS, so the list has to be specifically about sleeping, or not.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Walking In The Rain – The Ronettes
(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
(Remember The Days Of The) Old School Yard – Cat Stevens
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! – The Beatles
A Foggy Day – Charlie Mingus
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Money – Pink Floyd
No Tiene Billete – Fruko y Sus Tesos
Nite Club – The Specials
An American In Paris – George Gershwin
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Riders on the Storm – The Doors
(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night – Tom Waits
Harbor Lights – The Platters
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Autobahn – Kraftwerk
Leader Of The Pack – The Shangri-Las
Bed Noise – Lady Saw
Ghost Town – The Specials
Wipe Out – The Surfaris
Monster Mash – Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-kickers
You May Be Right – Billy Joel
Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan
Next week: SLEEP AND INSOMNIA!
Mistress Lyn at your service with a few songs to scare the hell out of you, some that are just plain silly and all of which celebrate Halloween. Welcome to the dark side.
We opened the show with THE GRAVEYARD BY MOONLIGHT, a spine-chilling instrumental piece from one of the most commercial goth bands out there, Cradle of Filth. Then it was a track that can either be seen as very creepy or extremely silly (or both): HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES, from Rob Zombie’s album The Sinister Urge. Named after Ed Wood’s 1961 film of the same name, Rob used the track as the opening credits for his own horror flick, made in 2003, also called HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES. Check out the trailer for the film which looks like my favourite kind of horror film – very dark and extremely camp.
We caught our breath with Talking Heads’ deceptively funky PSYCHO KILLER, with lyrics that get into the head of a serial murderer. And then it was The Specials with GHOST TRAIN. More a political statement than anything, but still very creepy.
Nox Arcana’s BRIDES TO DARKNESS is from their Transylvania album and is the band’s tribute to the most famous and influential of all vampire novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Screamin Jay Hawkins is absolutely hilarious when he splutters out I PUT A SPELL ON YOU. Recorded in 1956, Hawkins has been reported as saying that he was so drunk when he recorded the song, that he can’t remember doing so. I believe him. Then it was a more controlled Bo Diddley with BO MEETS THE MONSTER, followed by Jazz singer, Herb Jeffries with THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN. Jeffries sang for many years with Duke Ellingon and this track, which was recorded in 1953, is on that crazy list of songs that was banned by the BBC. Go Figure.
We couldn’t leave out MONSTER MASH by Boris Pickett and the Cryptkickers, now could we? But the need for real Goth was overwhelming and who better than Concrete Blonde with BLOODLETTING (THE VAMPIRE SONG) from their Still in Hollywood album. Excellent.
There’s lots of spooky music associated with the Blues: Howlin’ Wolf warned us about all the EVIL that’s goin’ on out there and Blind Willie Johnson condenses all of human misery into a wordless, incomprehensible moan in DARK WAS THE NIGHT, COLD WAS THE GROUND. It was up to Otis Spann to elevate our mood with IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE DEVIL followed by the equally rockin’ Leon Redbone with THE WITCH QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS.
I resisted the urge to play Michael Jackson’s THRILLER because I think we’ve all heard a lot of it lately. But there’s one of his that doesn’t get as much airplay and that’s GHOSTS. As usual, he knew how to make a great video:
More silly than sinister is David Bowie’s SCARY MONSTERS AND SUPER CREEPS and The Who’s BORIS THE SPIDER. I reckon only the Cure know how to frighten the bejezzes out of us when it comes to spiders though. Take a look at LULLABY. Haunting and beautifully dark.
Only Nick Cave can possibly surpass The Cure’s Robert Smith when it comes to Goth. Here’s Nick and the Bad Seeds performing THE CARNY from the album Your Funeral…My Trial, originally released in 1986, and recently remastered and re-released as a CD/DVD set. The clip was filmed for Live and Loud on MTV on 18 May 1997 after Cave had been nominated for the best 1996 male artist and refused the honor (see his letter to MTV on www.nick-cave.com).
I love Tom Waits album Rain Dogs and the track, SINGAPORE, from that album is a fitting song for this show, with its sinister warning to those setting sail for unknown places. Can’t wait to see Terry Gilliam’s latest film, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS, starring the late Heath Ledger and featuring Toms Waits as, (what else?), the Devil. Check out the trailer:
Perfect follow up to that was Robert Palmer’s CASTING A SPELL from his Heavy Nova album of 1988. And to close the show, a beautifully benign tune, after all those scary songs, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s take on the Frankenstein myth: LOOK OUT THERE’S A MONSTER COMING.
I’m happy to say that Theme Park will be back for another season on BayFM so next Tuesday wlll be our first anniversary and it’s also the day that Australia’s biggest horse race takes place: the Melbourne Cup. Like last year there will be a sweep, lots of prizes and we’ll cross to Flemington for the big race. And the music? I’ve decided that as last year’s was HORSES, this year it will be LUCK. Wishing you all good fortune.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
The Graveyard By Moonlight – Cradle of Filth
House of 1000 Corpses – Rob Zombie
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
Ghost Town – The Specials
Brides to Darkness – Nox Arcana
I Put A Spell On You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Bo Meets the Monster – Bo Diddley
The Devil Is A Woman – Herb Jeffries
Monster Mash- Bobby (Boris) Pickett And The Crypt-Kickers
Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) – Concrete Blonde
Evil – Howlin’ Wolf
Little Red Riding Hood – Sam the Sham
Plan 9 From Outer Space – Movie Clip
Ghosts – Michael Jackson
Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground – Blind Willie Johnson The Blues – A Musical
It Must Have Been The Devil – Otis Spann
The Witch Queen of New Orleans – Leon Redbone
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
Boris the Spider – The Who
Lullaby – The Cure
Jeepers Creepers – Siouxie and the Banshees
The Carny – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman – Movie Clip
Hells Bells – ACDC
Singapore – Tom Waits
Casting A Spell – Robert Palmer
Look Out, There’s A Monster Coming – Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Next Week: LUCK (Suggestions always very welcome!)
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn