I decided to be more playful than usual this week as I set out to compile a playlist of song titles that mentioned numbers. Easy-peasy, you’re thinking. Sure, but there was a condition. The songs had to be played in numerical sequence. I got to choose from pop, rock, country & jazz so it couldn’t be that hard, right? Right.
The show kicked off with LESS THAN ZERO by Elvis Costello and moved right into a beautiful track from Lamb, ZERO. Numero Uno was a piece of cake as I have already done a whole show just on the #1 so plenty to choose from there. I decided that should go with my #1 favourite artist, Roy Orbison with a song from the album, Mystery Girl, THE ONLY ONE. Another fave took over the #2 spot: Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston with IT TAKES TWO. And for #3 it was none other than the great Sarah Vaughan who, like a lot of us, only needs THREE LITTLE WORDS.
FOUR STRONG WINDS is a classic Canadian song by the legendary Canadian singer Neil Young. The perfect follow-up came from the adorable Nanci Griffith with LOVE AT THE FIVE AND DIME. Here she is performing live at the BBC:
The great reggae artist Gregory Isaacs, known as the ‘Cool Ruler’ sadly passed away late last year. His song SIX MONTHS filled the #6 spot and for #7 it had to be The White Stripes with SEVEN NATION ARMY. Such a shame that they’ve gone their separate ways.
There was only one #8 for this baby boomer: The Beatles with EIGHT DAYS A WEEK. And, for #9 Wilson Pickett with ENGINE NUMBER NINE, of course. Pure funk.
Brothers, by the Black Keys, was one of my album picks of 2010 so including TEN CENT PISTOL from that album was a no-brainer. Here they are performing live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Excellent.
Cyndi Lauper features on David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim’s concept album Here Lies Love which is based on the lives of Imelda Marcos and her nanny Estrella Cumpas. The official video clip of ELEVEN DAYS is set against a Philippine movie of 1965 “Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story”, starring Gloria Romero and Luis Gonzalez.
I do love a bit of gospel singing, so Buddy Greene was in with TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY. Dickie Thompson is also evangelical, but not in the usual sense. He sings about THIRTEEN WOMEN and only one man in town. Now if I was a bloke I’d say he was a lucky b…..d! But being a woman, living in a small town, it sounds irritatingly familiar!
Next up, it was the genius that is Tiny Tim with all kinds of things to say about the number FOURTEEN. Not the usual Tiny Tim we’re used to hearing. I, for one, miss the ukelele I must admit. And I miss Tiny Tim who died of a heart attack in 1996 at the age of 64.
Number 15 in our playlist was another no-brainer: the almighty Radiohead with 15 STEPS. Here they are peforming live for their VH1 special:
We kept moving through the teenage years with gusto as Chuck Berry took the #16 spot with SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN. And then Janis Ian calmed everything down with her incredibly insightful tune, AT SEVENTEEN.
The Stellas took the 18th spot with 18 from their 2008 album Cry Baby Cry. Time then for another classic: Steely Dan’s HEY NINETEEN. “Way back in 1967….”
For all the Bluegrass fans, I had to include Jimmy Martin’s 20:20 VISION and then it was a nice piece of rockabilly, suggested by Andy, Eddie Cochran’s TWENTY FLIGHT ROCK.
Rappers 50 cent and Nate Dogg have 21 QUESTIONS for their girlfriend. Not sure us girls need that much interrogation, but hey what do I know? This video has already gathered over 35million hits on You Tube! With lines like “I loves you like a fat kid likes cake”. Go figure!
Lily Allen knows how to churn out pop tunes and 22 is a good example. We followed that with the wonderful Brothers Johnson and another soul standard, STRAWBERRY LETTER 23.
Our two hours was almost up so only time for two more tunes in our attempt to get from zero to infinity. The #24 spot was filled by Bobby Bland’s TWENTY FOUR HOUR BLUES and the finale was handed to Edwin Starr’s TWENTY FIVE MILES. OMG what a voice! Brilliant. Wish I’d been at this particular concert.
We’ll continue our numerical exercise next week, starting at #26. So why not send me a message with suggestions for that list which should probably limit itself from 26-51. Let’s see how we go.
Until then, here’s this week’s full playlist:
Less Than Zero – Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True Pop
Zero – Lamb, Lamb
The Only One – Roy Orbison, Mystery Girl
It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, Ready Steady Go! The Sixties Sound Of Motown [Disc 1]
Three Little Words – Sarah Vaughan, The Mercury Jazz Story [Disc 1]
Four Strong Winds – Neil Young, Comes a Time
Love at the Five and Dime – Nanci Griffith, The Last of the True Believers
Six Months – Gregory Isaacs, Brand New Me
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes, Elephant
Eight Days A Week – The Beatles, Beatles For Sale
Engine Number Nine – Wilson Pickett , Chronicles
Ten Cent Pistol – The Black Keys, Brothers
Eleven Days – David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love
Twelve Gates To The City – Buddy Greene, A Few More Years
Thirteen Women – Dickie Thompson, Ultimate Rhythm & Soul Collection [Disc 1]
Fourteen – Tiny Tim, Girl
15 Step – Radiohead, In Rainbows
Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry, Yesterdays Gold Vol 07
At Seventeen – Janis Ian, Echoes Of The Radio [Disc 1]
18 – The Stellas, Cry Baby Cry
Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan, A Decade Of Steely Dan
20:20 Vision – Jimmy Martin
Twenty Flight Rock – Eddie Cochran, Big Artist Selection – Eddie Cochran
21 Questions – 50 Cent & Nate Dogg
22 – Lily Allen, It’s Not Me, It’s You
Strawberry Letter 23 – The Brothers Johnson, Strawberry Letter 23/The Very Best Of The Brothers Johnson
Twenty-Four Hour Blues – Bobby “Blue” Bland, Dreamer
Twenty-Five Miles – Edwin Starr
Next week: FROM NOUGHT TO WHATEVER (Part 2)
This week’s theme is ostensibly about shelter which in the dictionary sense is a building. But it’s hard to express a real sense of bricks and mortar in a song. Let’s face it, do you learn anything about being in jail from Jailhouse Rock? Convincing songs about buildings, or shelters, are really songs about the people who find themselves in them, by design or not.
We started this week’s playlist with music’s most famous home away from home – Elvis Presley’s HEARTBREAK HOTEL. You’ll find it down at the end of Lonely Street. We followed with Lucinda Williams who gets a little bit of help from Elvis Costello. He’s a three-time loser and consequently she’s got a case of JAILHOUSE TEARS. The track is from the very excellent ‘Little Honey’ album.
The Rolling Stones’ GIMME SHELTER is usually associated with the Vietnam War (it was released on the 1969 album Let It Bleed). The lyrics, which speak of seeking shelter from a coming storm, painting a picture of devastation and disaster but it also talks of the power of love. We followed with a fantastic Irish singer, Mary Coughlan with a song about prostitution: THE HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE.
Aretha Franklin funks up Hal David’s lyric, “a-house-is-not-a-home” on THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT and we followed with The Temptations, who prove that even Motown wasn’t immune to the Psychadelic era with PSYCHEDELIC SHACK.
Can you believe that Bob Dylan has turned 69? Yikes. We wished him happy birthday for May 24 with SHELTER FROM THE STORM. The Housemartins’ swansong was a song called BUILD, about the widespread construction in the 1980s that spelt disaster for working-class communities.
A nice change of tone came from the gorgeous Julie London who wants you to COME ON A MY HOUSE. And she’s got candy. How good is that?
MANSION ON THE HILL is a Neil Young song from his 1990 album ‘Ragged Glory’. The clip is an absolute hoot. Enjoy.
Norwegian singer/songwriter, Ane Brun, who recently toured Europe with Peter Gabriel, sings a great song about shelter called THE TREEHOUSE SONG. The Basement Jaxx song TAKE ME BACK TO YOUR HOUSE first appeared on their 2006 album ‘Crazy Itch Radio’. The album features Swedish popster Robyn among the guest vocalists. Another interesting video too:
Irma Thomas sent us a great message about the emotional refuge that a true friend can give you during hard times in the song SHELTER IN THE RAIN. Jimi Hendrix sings about his house on the hill; He’s got a bad, bad feeling his baby don’t live there no more. But, as he so eloquently puts it, ‘That’s Ok cause I’ve still got my guitar”. The song is RED HOUSE.
Blur had a big hit with a song that tapped into a common ideal of escaping the rat race and living in a COUNTRY HOUSE.
A SUGAR SHACK refers to a small building n which maple syrup is processed. Its also the name of a song written in 1962 by Keith McCormack and his aunt Fay Voss. It was a hit for Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs but I preferred to play the Ricky Nelson version.
Two songs that link houses with fire, at least metaphorically, are Natalie Merchant’s THIS HOUSE IS ON FIRE and BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE by Talking Heads.
Arguably the most idiosyncratic song in the playlist this week would be Mmmmm… SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU by Underworld, otherwise known to their Mums as Karl Hyde and Rick Smith. Not quite Kraftwerk, but still lots of fun.
The Rapture put a cowbell to good use in their very catchy dance-punk number, HOUSE OF JEALOUS LOVERS:
Elvis Costello celebrated the amazing art deco Hoover factory, that welcomes drivers entering London on the Western Avenue, in HOOVER FACTORY. While David Byrne, revisiting themes from his Talking Heads days, gave us GLASS, CONCRETE & STONE. It’s about a weary worker whose residence is “a house, not a home”. There’s that Hal David lyric again.
The ultimate shelter song for Byron Bay, with our own iconic lighthouse is, of course, THE LIGHTHOUSE SONG from Josh Pyke.
We finished the show on an upbeat note with the B-52s and LOVE SHACK. The song’s inspiration was a cabin in Georgia, complete with tin roof, where the band conceived “Rock Lobster”, a single from their first album. B-52’s singer Kate Pierson lived in the cabin in the 1970s, and the cabin existed until 2004, when it burned down in a fire.
The topic for next week’s show was requested some time ago by Nicole, but I’ve been waiting until I’m in the right mood. The theme is SEXY SONGS. Now I’m not suggesting that this is a playlist to have sex to. To be honest I don’t think I want to know what other people listen to in bed! Not all the songs will even be about sex, but they will have an erotic charge to them. And, yes, I know its all incredibly subjective but, hey, every week’s show is. And I may just have a very interesting giveaway for you too. This is one that shouldn’t be missed!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Heartbreak Hotel – The 50 Greatest Hits (Disc 1), Elvis Presley
Jailhouse Tears – Little Honey, Lucinda Williams (with Elvis Costello)
Gimme Shelter – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 2], The Rolling Stones
The House of Ill Repute – Mary Coughlan
The House That Jack Built – 20 Greatest Hits, Aretha Franklin
Psychedelic Shack – My Girl: The Very Best Of The Temptations [Disc 2], The Temptations
Shelter From The Storm – Blood On The Tracks, Bob Dylan
Build – The Beautiful South & The Housemartins, The Housemartins
Come On -A My House – Swing Me An Old Song, Julie London
Rock House – Ultra Lounge, The Ernie Freeman Combo
Mansion On The Hill – Ragged Glory, Neil Young
The Treehouse Song – Ane Brun
Take Me Back To Your House – Triple J 14, Basement Jaxx
Shelter in the Rain – After the Rain, Irma Thomas
Red House – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Jimi Hendrix
Country House – Blur
Sugar Shack – Ricky Nelson
This House Is on Fire – Motherland, Natalie Merchant
Burning Down The House – Classic MTV – Class of 1983, Talking Heads
Mmm.. Skyscraper I Love You – Underworld
House of Jealous Lovers – Echoes, The Rapture
Glass, Concrete & Stone – Grown Backwards, David Byrne
Hoover Factory – Get Happy!! Elvis Costello
The Lighthouse Song – Triple J Hottest 100, Vol. 16 [Disc 2], Josh Pyke
Love Shack – B-52s
Next week: SEXY SONGS
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
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