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
This week’s theme is inspired by the fact that Iggy Pop is headlining our major youth concert, The Big Day Out this month. And Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Jethro Tull will all be here in April for the Byron Blues Festival. I’m a baby boomer, so I’m ecstatic to be able to see all my heroes from the 60’s still performing. But, I have to ask: what is it about the first generation of rock n rollers – what keeps them going?
The reality is that from the moment rock music arrived on the scene it was a young person’s game: music made by young people for young people. It never intended to grow up or grow old. But it did. So what happens when rock’s youthful rebelliousness is delivered wrapped in wrinkles?
Lemmy from Motorhead has a formula for staying alive. He reckons you just breath (at all times). Lemmy, like Keith Richards, is one of the all time rock n roll survivors and therefore much revered by fans of a similar vintage.
Much to the dismay of our children, we baby boomers have carried on being the oldest swingers in town. We haven’t shown any sign of giving up on rock concerts, taking recreational drugs, (if we want to), and staying up all night. It’s why the biggest earners for rock concerts aren’t the Lady Gagas of the world, but veteran performers like AC/DC, The Eagles, Paul McCartney and The Who.
On MY GENERATION The Who were actually saying that they hoped they’d die before they got old. Hey, hold on a minute, they’re still singing it and they ARE old. What happened?
What happened started in the 50s when an entirely new species emerged with its very own music. They were called teenagers. And their music was called rock n roll:
Rock n roll created something special: The joy of hearing your parents shout out: “Turn that bloody racket down!” Because one of the social functions of rock has always been the defiance of the older generation. For performers like Elvis every gesture, every note was all about social disenfranchisement and rebellion. Elvis hit the scene wearing pink and black and leather outfits. He looked more like a pimp than a musician. “Outrageous!” reeled the grown-ups. But to the teenagers, he represented an escape from the stuffiness of the post-World War Two era.
No-one, even the musicians themselves, took rock and pop seriously, though. It was seen as a novelty, something that wasn’t meant to last. As the soundtrack to growing pains, it was temporary and disposable just like the people who made it.
By the early 60’s Beatlemania was gripping youth’s attention. The Establishment, however, remained doubtful that it was a fever that would last. Even the Beatles accepted the idea of their own inbuilt obsolescence.
With Beatlemania, and the British Invasion in general, many of the young established groups were being left behind. The tyranny of youth dictated that if you didn’t change with the times, you were old hat. One of the new incumbents was the band Manfred Mann.
In 1965 The Who recorded one of the ultimate anthems to youth, one that damned growing up and growing old. The young went on the offensive claiming their territory through guitar, bass and drums. The older generation were still recovering from a World War and all they wanted was some peace and quiet. To the younger generation old age just seemed really boring.
Ironically, the British Beat boom of the mid 60’s was based on music that was already old. Bands like the Stones, The Animals & Manfred Mann worshipped American Blues of the 20s 30s and 40s. Their recording heroes were still alive, but by rock roll’s new standards they were old men. Charlie Parker was born in 1920, Miles Davis in 1926 & Muddy Waters in 1913.
The self-absorbed rebelliousness of rock n roll gathered speed with the Rolling Stones. While the Who were busy burying the older generation, the Stones were singing about finding their satisfaction in sex.
The arrival of album culture in the late 60s proved that rock n roll was now thinking more in the long term. It didn’t sound disposable anymore. It was growing up, just like the people who made it. The Beatles Sgt Peppers album dared to imagine what life would be like at SIXTY FOUR. Up until now that was completely unthinkable for the baby boomer generation.
In the same year that the Beatles released the Sgt Peppers album, Procol Harum had a hit single with WHITER SHADE OF PALE. Things had started to get serious. The more experienced young musicians began wondering how far they could take their music. And they took their diehard fans with them. In many cases the fans had grown up with these bands and, along the way, they’d developed an appreciation of lyrics and music with more depth.
The end of the sixties saw the beginning of the rock n roll casualty list. The death of Brian Jones in 1969 seemed to crystalise a ‘live fast, die young’ attitude and brought a new reality to “I hope I die before I get old.” Janis Jopliin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix all died at 27, confirming the myth that if you wanted to be a rock legend you had to die young.
The Stones, however, seemed determined to mature. After the death of Brian Jones they picked themselves up and went back on the road. For the band, it wasn’t over yet.
By the end of the 60’s the Stones had discovered the secret of survival, at least for now. Unfortunately, the Beatles didn’t. As if to prove that longevity and rock n roll was difficult for a group of young guys growing up together, they split in 1970. The Fab Four would go on to enjoy successful solo careers for many years to come but the surge of creativity that fed them in their youth proved more elusive for them and their generation as they grew older.
Today, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Pete Townsend can play arenas 45 years after they first had hits. Which is great. But the real question is: are they writing great songs? Or is the outpouring of creativity that launched their careers a factor of youth?
Herman’s Hermits got together in 1963 when lead singer Peter Noone was only 16. Their very first release, I’M INTO SOMETHING GOOD, was a #1 hit and although future recordings would get into the top ten, they were never to have a UK #1 again. The band, without Noone, continue to perform to this day and Peter Noone has gone on to have a successful career as both a singer and actor.
In the early 70’s, no performer demonstrated rock n roll’s reliance on youthful invention and raw power more than Iggy Pop. Here’s a great little doco that illustrates why he is known as the “Godfather of Punk”:
Not all rock n roll of the early 70’s was an expression of sexual energy and youthful physicality. By now prog rock was plundering the classical music collections so beloved of its middle class parents, as proof of its intention to last. It’s perpetrators, bands like Yes & Jethro Tull, seemed to be contemplating careers beyond the age of 30.
Performers found themselves living with their songs and growing into their material. One of the most requested songs from troops serving in Vietnam was I GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE by Eric Burdon & The Animals. Burdon continues to perform this song today when he entertains servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, it’s written into his contract. That’s what they call an anthem, folks.
In 1976, before the 60’s generation had a chance to mature, they were rudely cast aside by punk. It was a three-chord reign of terror, the ultimate Oedipal act. Snarling, spitting and clawing its way to the stage.
These weren’t the kids of the optimistic 60’s but a new young generation who felt abandoned. Everyone was in their way and, as always, no one understood them.
The bands of the post-punk era, like the Specials and Madness, while less dismissive of the past, still believed that rock and pop music were part of an essentially young experience.
In the early 80’s the Stones were back, yet again, having been absent from the stage for 6 years – while punk and its aftermath were the centre of attention. They were proving that they were in for the long haul.
In July 1985 the benefits of hanging in for the long term reached unexpected and unprecedented heights, with Live Aid. The international event sometimes looked like a version of Dad’s Army with acts like Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Who, and the Beach Boys joining pop stars of the 80s on stage. Watched by more than 400 million viewers in 60 countries, this was the rock n roll survivor’s finest hour. Suddenly being 40 didn’t seem so uncool. These were the masters, the legends, the acts deemed capable of feeding the world.
A lot of young people heard some of the older bands for the first time, saying “These bands are fantastic.” And then, the most hated people in their musical vocabulary, their parents, responded with “Yeah, we know, we love them too!”
What had begun with Live Aid in the 80’s continued into the 90s with projects like War Child. Performers from three generations of rock n roll – Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher recorded COME TOGETHER, in the new spirit of multi-generational tolerance. It was no longer a case of ‘My Generation’ but ‘Your Generation too”. Just as importantly, audiences for the music also started to span generations.
The new millennium witnessed an entirely new phenomenon: the revival and the comeback. Leonard Cohen, already in his 70’s, had decided to stop performing and recording altogether. At least that was the plan. But after having all his money misappropriated by a crooked manager, he had to go back on the road. And guess what, he loves it!
Audiences who had grown up and grown old with their heroes wanted them back. Age had invested their favourite bands with a new authenticity. Performers couldn’t believe their luck. Even Brian Wilson returned from the wilderness to be a Beach Boy once again.
Rock n roll is now revelling in a long life. What was about risk and youth is now about enjoying a grand old age. It’s about longevity, survival, nostalgia. Refusing to grow up, give up or shut up. The whole point of the baby boomer generation is that we made it up from the beginning and we’ve been making it up ever since. We’ve been pushing the boundaries, and unlike our parents, we’ve refused to accept old age.
Many thanks to BBC and You Tube community for the wealth of material, without which this week’s show would not be possible.
Next week, my special guests will be The Fridays, performing live in the studio, plus lots of songs about RESOLUTIONS. Any suggestions/requests, please leave me a message here.
In the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Lust For Life, Trainspotting soundtrack, Iggy Pop
My Generation, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack, The Who
Johnny B. Goode, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, Chuck Berry
Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley
Get A Job, Get a Job, The Silhouettes
Paul McCartney quote
Twist And Shout, Please Please Me, The Beatles
Paul Jones quote
Come Tomorrow, The Five Faces of Manfred Mann, Manfred Mann
(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, Muddy Waters
Let’s Spend The Night Together, Hot Rocks 1964-1971, The Rolling Stones
When I’m Sixty-Four, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
She’s Leaving Home, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
A Whiter Shade Of Pale, The Big Chill soundtrack, Procol Harum
Brown Sugar, Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones
Peter Noone quote
I’m Into Something Good, The Original 60’s Summertime album, Herman’s Hermits
Iggy Pop i/view
Search And Destroy, Raw Power, Iggy Pop & The Stooges
Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll, Too Young To Die, Jethro Tull
We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place, The Most of the Animals, The Animals
God Save The Queen, Never Mind the Bollocks, The Sex Pistols
Too Much Too Young, The Singles Collection, The Specials
Baggy Trousers, Complete Madness, Madness
Mick Jagger quote
Start Me Up, Tattoo You, The Rolling Stones
Rockin’ All Over The World, Rockin’ All Over The World, Status Quo
Surfin’ USA, Endless Summer Legends, The Beach Boys
We Will Rock You, News of the World, Queen
Come Together, Help (War Child Benefit), Paul Weller & Friends
1969 (with i/view), Iggy Pop
In My Secret Life, Ten New Songs, Leonard Cohen
God Only Knows, Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
Forever Young, Napolean Dynamite soundtrack, Alphaville
Next week: RESOLUTIONS
Slip on your kaftans and tie-dye t-shirts. Adorn yourself with flowers and beads. We’re going to light-up some joss-sticks, “ban the bomb” and “make love not war!” This week’s theme is dedicated to that period in 1967 that saw as many as 100,000 people converge on the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco, creating what was to become known as the counterculture movement. The melting pot of music, psychedelic drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression and politics became a defining moment of the 60’s and forever more will be known as THE SUMMER OF LOVE.
It’s easy to reject songs that seem to have been around forever, but consider the context of these songs’ origins and you’ll realize that what many of these musicians were doing hadn’t been done before and, in many cases, would never be done again. So respect to the hippies and the funk soul sisters & brothers and the year 1967 – a time of exploration and finding new ways of expression.
We opened the show with the THE ACID COMMERCIAL from Country Joe & The Fish and then it was the Beatles with ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. Arguably the greatest band in the world at the top of their powers, Lennon’s anthem to love may not be his strongest but it’s definitely his catchiest. The Beatles made a worldwide television broadcast of the song, in between sessions of transcendental meditation, and it became a #1 hit in both the US & UK. Check out the clip from this transmission and see if you can see Mick Jagger in the audience.
A song that summed up the mood of those flocking to Haight-Ashbury in that Summer of 67 is, of course, Scott McKenzie’s IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO, (be sure to wear flowers in your hair). Written by John Phillips of the Mamas & The Papas, it was originally created to promote the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which is regarded as being the beginning of the Summer of Love.
FOR WHAT ITS WORTH, by Buffalo Springfield, is about the closing of the Pandora’s Box Club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and the clash that followed between the police and kids. But the song quickly took on a larger meaning, symbolizing the generational friction happening all across the country as the hippies and flower children freaked out the authorities from coast to coast. Here’s a great clip from the Monterey Festival:
When you listen to PURPLE HAZE, from Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced?’ album, you can’t help but imagine the rush of a million wanna-be guitarists running into music stores hoping to be just like Jimi. Check out this video from 1967 with Jimi Hendrix on Guitar, Noel Redding on Bass and Mitch Mitchell on Drums:
In the early sixties The Beach Boys were synonymous with surfing and Californian youth culture. By the mid-sixties, however, their musical style had become a little more complex. A 1967 example of this new sophisticated sound was HEROES AND VILLAINS. We followed with a song that had the distinction of being the first track to be played on BBC Radio One when it launched in 1967, FLOWERS IN THE RAIN by The Move. And, to round out the triple play, The Turtles with HAPPY TOGETHER. This track can lift anyone’s mood. While their vocal harmonies verged on sugar-sweet, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like this song.
I’M A BELIEVER, the Monkees’ hit, was written by none other than Neil Diamond. The song stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks and was the biggest selling single of 1967. That’s right, they even outsold the Beatles and the Stones, and while Neil Diamond, continued to write and perform, he never really needed to work another day in his life after this song took off. The Mamas & Papas hit, DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE, was originally a hit for the Shirelles in 1961. Here are the Mamas & The Papas with their ’67 version:
Three more classics of the period: Cream’s I FEEL FREE, the Byrds’ SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK N ROLL STAR and Jefferson Airplane’s SOMEBODY TO LOVE. And then it was Procol Harum with WHITER SHADE OF PALE. This track contains perhaps the most recognizable Hammond B-3 organ rock line ever, snatched from Bach and perhaps a soul player or two. The vague lyrics, however, aren’t very memorable, making the organ bit seem even more imposing and significant than it probably deserves. But hey, what do I know? Here they are on Top of the Pops 1967. Make up your own mind.
Three more songs from that magical time in 1967 referred to as THE SUMMER OF LOVE include I’M A MAN from The Spencer Davis Group, written by Steve Winwood, SAN FRANCISCO NIGHTS from Eric Burdon & the Animals and GET TOGETHER from the Youngbloods.
But the band that epitomised the musical creativity of the sixties is The Beatles. A DAY IN THE LIFE, from their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, utilised a 40 piece orchestra taking 24 bars to go from the lowest note on their instruments to the highest and six people banging on three pianos at the same time in order to produce one huge power chord. The song obliterated every rule that ever existed for what a pop song should sound like and how it should be made, simple as that. Check it out:
One of the most instantly recognizable riffs in rock history is SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE, from Cream. And one of the most representative of the period is the Small Faces tune ITCHYCOO PARK. For me, though, when it comes to this period, I can’t overlook Janis Joplin. So an essential track from 1967 has to be Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin singing DOWN ON ME.
Jimi Hendrix also deserved another play and this time it was FOXEY LADY. It’s probably worth mentioning here that up until this point Blues guitarists would never have done what Hendrix does on this track. The rule was that the guitar sound should be clean and pure. Jimi however, never got that memo and thank goodness for that.
As well as a time that was marked by anti-Vietnam demonstartions, 1967, unfortunately, was also a time of race riots, which also fed into the peace movement and hippie revolution with its ideals of compassion, awareness and love. So, in deference to our soul brothers and sisters, it was time for some R&B with I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE by Gladys Knight and the Pips. This song became a #2 hit in 1967 and Marvin Gay’s renditon hit #1 the following year. But sticking to the plan, we listened to The Pips version and followed with the one and only Jackie Wilson with his landmark single, HIGHER AND HIGHER.
Although they were a white band, the Young Rascals GROOVIN’ was pure soul with its memorable Afro-Cuban mood and mid-tempo groove. Timeless song. Check out the clip of them performing live.
The next track was a bit of a cheat, since it wasn’t released until 1969, after the band had broken up. But TIME OF THE SEASON by The Zombies was written and recorded in August 1967 and the vibe is pure SUMMER OF LOVE, baby. And then it was the Who with I CAN SEE FOR MILES, the only real hit from their crazy concept album The Who Sell Out and SHE’S A RAINBOW from the Rolling Stones. We’ll overlook the Stones vain attempt of trying to one-up the Beatles and just concentrate on those first seven piano notes, which have been likened to the musical equivalent of heroin.
We closed the show with STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER from the Beatles. The band recorded a version by themselves in one key and then they did a version with an orchestra in a different key. The version you know and love is BOTH versions mixed together, speeding the band version up and the orchestral version down. Magic. This promotional video was filmed in January 1967 and was directed by Peter Goldmann, at the time a Swedish TV director.
Now next week’s show is going to be hotter than hot. As a tribute to the upcoming Summer holiday season the theme will be HEAT. Put your thinking caps on and get in touch!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Next week: HEAT
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org