Music has demanded that we try on sunglasses at night, start wearing purple, elevate fashion models to goddess status and, most important of all, respect the power of orange knickers. And we follow in droves, don’t we? Because most of us are ‘dedicated followers of fashion’.
We opened the show with the very fashion-forward David Bowie and the track FASHION from the 1980 album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and followed with the equally style-conscious Prince with RASPBERRY BERET.
Then it was something a little obscure. I’m sure there is a point to preacher’s daughter Tori Amos’ song, THE POWER OF ORANGE KNICKERS, with it’s references to terrorist attacks, bitchy girls and little pills, but I’m afraid it escapes me. Never mind, great song nevertheless. Here she is performing live:
Amy Winehouse calls the kettle black with her critique of footballer’s wives and their F….. ME PUMPS. Gotta love a good stiletto! Here’s the official video, showing a healthy, happy Amy at her best:
Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins rendition of RABBIT FUR COAT, a song that spells out a mother’s devotion to her wardrobe, is an extraordinary, dark tale of how one woman hangs on to her fur when everything else in her life is lost.
The Pipettes turn the tables on certain rock stars by pointing out how nice those little schoolboys look in their matching blazers in I LIKE A BOY IN UNIFORM. And as the Happy Mondays explain, it’s not what you wear but how you wear it – it’s got to be a LOOSE FIT. Check them out:
Bob Dylan got to wondering how your head feels under that LEOPARD SKIN PILL-BOX HAT. Thanks to listener Phil for reminding me about that one. And while I am it, thanks to Zoe, Kira and Lynden, as well, for all your suggestions this week. Keep them coming.
Disco had its own fashion statement going on and a great example of this crazy superficial genre is Amanda Lear’s 1983 recording FASHION PACK. A Vietnamese transsexual, Amanda was born male, had a sex change, became a model and for some time was Salvador Dali’s muse. Now that’s what I call an interesting life! Here’s the video clip, in all it’s camp glory, for you to enjoy:
I love the satire in Jill Sobule’s ode to the ultimate clothes-horse, the SUPERMODEL. The song was perfectly placed in the soundtrack of one of my favourite comedies, Clueless. Also pretty funny is Minor Threat’s GOOD GUYS DON’T WEAR WHITE.
When it comes to fashion victims, there’s one stand-out anthem: It’s the Kinks with DEDICATED FOLLOWER OF FASHION. Two other classics in the playlist – The Hollies with LONG COOL WOMAN IN A BLACK DRESS and Wilson Pickett’s DEVIL WITH THE BLUE DRESS ON.
Lady GaGa summed up our topic of FASHION with her song of the same name. Of all the contemporary pop singers she stands out for her obsession with her image. She claims that: “When I’m writing music, I’m thinking about the clothes I want to wear on stage. It’s all about everything altogether — performance art, pop performance art, fashion. I want the imagery to be so strong that fans will want to eat and taste and lick every part of us.” Okaaaay. Check out this news item and you’ll get an idea of her fasion sense. Or nonsense. Whatever.
Then it was time for a blast from the past: Timmy Mallett’s ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY YELLOW POLKA DOT BIKINI, which we partnered with PINK SHOE LACES from Connie Stevens.
Fats Waller does a good job of sprucing himself up when LULU’S BACK IN TOWN. And Big Bad Voodoo Daddy gave us the low-down on the ZOOT SUIT RIOT. The Zoot Suit, in case you didn’t know, is a suit with high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. This style of clothing was popularized in the U.S. by African Americans, Latinos and Italian Americans during the late 1930s and 1940s. In England brightly coloured zoot suits with velvet lapels, that bore a slight resemblance to Edwardian clothing, were worn by Teddy Boys.
Next up it was a triple play dedicated to the gals that fire the frenzy for all things fashionable. Yep, three songs about models: CATWALKIN’ from Tony Tisdale, GIRLS ON FILM by Duran Duran and a cover of Kraftwerk’s MODEL by Zoot Woman.
Gwen Stefani’s ode to the HARAJUKU GIRLS of Tokyo has a special meaning as her back-up dancers are exactly that. The Harajuku District is one of the fashion capitals of the world, renowned for it’s unique and influential street fashion and it’s obviously had a lot of influence on Stafani’s own fashion label. I usually wouldn’t upload a video of a slide show but this one features Stefani’s song behind lots of pics of Harajuku fashion, so worth a look:
We all know that fashion is frivolous and silly but isn’t that what makes it so appealing, surely? In order to keep things in perspective we closed the show with a bit of satire: A tune that sums up the objectifying gaze of fashion like nothing else. Yup, it’s I’M TOO SEXY FOR MY SHIRT by Right Said Fred. Go boys:
I bet you thought I wouldn’t play that one. Nah, I have no pride or any fashion sense for that matter. But style? Well, that’s another matter.
To finish off this topic here’s something for you that I didn’t have time to mention on the show: favourite films about fashion. From my all time favourite film on the subject, a compilation of some of the best quotes from, ZOOLANDER.
If you would like to contribute your ideas for next week’s show, the topic will be: SONGS TO MAKE SANDWICHES BY. Yes I’m looking for songs about sandwiches, (has she gone completely bonkers? You may well ask!). You can include hot dogs or hamburgers. In fact, anything between bread qualifies. Or any ingredient that can go into a sandwich, like chicken or peanut butter, or honey. Come on guys, you can do it!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
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