HANDCLAPPING is not only a very useful and easy accompaniment on a music track, it also nearly always signifies a certain level of enthusiasm and joy. And I reckon that’s exactly the kind of show we needed right now, with the weather being so dreary. Clapping is used as a percussion element in many forms of music including Gospel, flamenco, electronic and pop. Shirley Ellis’s 1965 soul hit THE CLAPPING SONG was our opener and it perfectly fitted my criterion for this week’s playlist, with its reference to a favourite childhood game full of happy memories.
Outkast’s song, about a relationship in denial, HEY YA! is a crazy mix of soul, rock and everything in-between, including a chorus of handclapping that recalls the girl groups of the 60’s, 70’s funk and even pop fare like Toni Basil’s Mickey. Check out the amazing Andre 3000 performing the song live at the Grammy Awards:
A couple of rock’n’roll icons who knew the value of a bit of handclapping were Eddie Cochran with his 1958 hit SUMMERTIME BLUES and Elvis Presley with RUBBERNECKIN’, released in 1969. Most songs written by the King of Rock n Roll had girls swooning and shaking and RUBBERNECKIN’ was no exception. A remix version, by Paul Oakenfield, was released in 2003 and managed to top the US charts. I chose to play the original, which also appeared in the King’s final feature film, Change of Habit. Here’s a clip from that film with loads of handclapping in evidence:
Contributing a little funk were The Meters with their HANDCLAPPING SONG and we followed with that great girl group, The Marvelettes, singing TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA. The Marvelettes were Motown’s first successful singing girl group recording on the Tamla label. They set the precedent for Martha and the Vandellas and The Supremes.
If you’re after some God-fearing, gospel style clapping then there’s arguably none better than the Abyssinian Baptist Choir and SAID I WASN’T GOING TO TELL NOBODY. Sheer ecstacy for some but I get my thrills from singers such as Jenny Lewis and her band Rilo Kiley. They have a very simple yet effective song featuring handclapping, THE FRUG.
I don’t think Peter Noonan sang any of Herman’s Hermit songs without clapping along and CAN’T YOU HEAR MY HEARTBEAT is no exception. Check out the Noonan’s facial expression at 1:24. Love it that they didn’t take themselves too seriously.
Two more songs that feature a good dose of handclapping are DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD by Santa Esmeralda and Rose Royce’s original version of CAR WASH. Scottish folk/rock group Stealers Wheel’s song, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU, found a whole new audience when it featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs. I’d love to include a clip from this film but it just so happens that the song is the backdrop for the most confronting scene in the movie and I did want to keep things cheerful!
The Cars emerged from the New Wave movement of the late 70’s with a blend of punk minimalism, synth-pop and art rock. It’s hard to believe that it’s now ten years since lead singer and bassist, Ben Orr, died of pancreatic cancer. Here he is looking smoking hot on their 1979 release, LET’S GO.
One of the most creative and idiosyncratic musicians of the 1990s and 2000s is Beck with his collage of musical styles, ironic lyrics and quirky arrangements. Check out this clip of his song CLAP HANDS. Now this is what I call good dinner conversation.
The late country crossover artist, Eddie Rabbitt, has a great clappiing song that also pays tribute to the clapping of thunder. I LOVE A RAINY NIGHT was a perfect track to accompany our weather report.
HANDCLAPPING is a very convenient piece of musical improvisation and it comes in useful across all musical genres. It also makes for a pretty cheerful playlist. To further prove my point we included two tracks from 1982: John Mellencamp’s HURTS SO GOOD and Prince’s LITTLE RED CORVETTE.
With a name like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! it’s a given that this group would have to have a least one song with handclapping in their repertoire. The title CLAP YOUR HANDS has also been used by Aussie singer Sia. Here’s she is with her very quirky video clip:
When it comes to video clips, however, none does it better than Gorillaz. DIRTY HARRY is from their second album, Demon Days. Like the video for another of their tracks CLINT EASTWOOD, the video of DIRTY HARRY references the film of the same name. It’s the only Gorillaz music video, other than STYLO, to be filmed on location. For more info on Gorillaz go to: http://www.gorillaz.com For now, simply check out this brilliant piece of animation:
Canadian singer Feist had a huge hit with her handclapping song, 1234. It was actually written by Australian singer songwriter Sally Seltmann, who records under the name New Buffalo. They met while touring together in Canada.
The Romantics livened things up somewhat with WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU. It’s from their self titled album of 1980 and was also released as a single. Jimmy Marinos, the band’s drummer is the lead vocalist and it did particularly well in Australia, where it reached #2 on the Australian Singles Chart. A real party starter.
Mott the Hoople’s song, ALL THE YOUNG DUDES, was written for them by David Bowie and can be found on the 1972 album of the same name. It’s regarded as one of glam rock’s anthems. Despite this, it’s one of the few songs on the list whose lyrics aren’t upbeat. According to Bowie, the song wasn’t intended to be ‘glamorous’ at all and carries a darker message of apocalypse. See what handclapping does for a song? Changes the mood and therefore the intent of the song completely.
Massive Attack’s Heligoland LP boasts a huge slate of guest vocalists, none more sultry than Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. “Sultry” is probably a nice way of describing the Toby Dye directed video clip of PARADISE CIRCUS. The clip is definitely for over 18s, so if you are interested I suggest you go to the Massive Attack Blog but this recommendation does come with a warning about explicit content. .
Less controversial were our next three songs starting with one of my favourites, Radiohead’s 15 STEP. We followed with The Clash and ROCK THE CASBAH and Queen with WE WILL ROCK YOU. Other than the last 30 seconds containing a guitar solo from Brian May, the song is generally set in a capella form, using only stamping and clapping as a rhythmic beat. Perfect for today’s theme.
We closed the show with one of the most inspirational songs that feature handclapping. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE celebrates what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday last Saturday.
If you would like to contribute to next week’s show, which will be on EYES AND SIGHT, I’d love to have your input. Just leave me a message in the comments area of this blog.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
The Clapping Song – The Best Of Shirley Ellis, Shirley Ellis
Hey Ya! – The Love Below, Outkast
Rubberneckin’ – Treasures 64 To 69 [Disc 1], Elvis Presley
Summertime Blues – Music From The Movies, Eddie Cochran
Hand Clapping Song – Struttin, The Meters
Too Many Fish In The Sea – The Big Chill, The Marvelettes
Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody – Shakin’ The Rafters, The Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir
Frug – Rilo Kiley, Rilo Kiley
Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat – Their Greatest Hits, Herman’s Hermits
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Tarantino Experience Take II, Leroy Gomez and Santa Esmeralda
Car Wash – Greatest Hits, Rose Royce
Rebel Rouser – Forest Gump Soundtrack, Duane Eddy
Stuck In The Middle With You – Reservoir Dogs, Stealers Wheel
Let’s Go – The Cars Greatest Hits, The Cars
Clap Hands – Guerolito, Beck
I Love A Rainy Night – Kick It Up, Eddie Rabbitt
Hurts So Good – American Fool, John Mellencamp
Little Red Corvette – 1999, Prince
Clap Your Hands! – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands – Clap Your Hands, Sia
Dirty Harry – Dirty Harry (Single), Gorillaz
1234 – The Reminder [Bonus Track], Feist
What I Like About You – Top Hits Of The 80’s (1980 [Disc 2]), The Romantics
All The Young Dudes – Rock Classics 60’s & 70’s Volume 2, Mott The Hoople
Paradise Circus feat. Hope Sandoval – Heligoland, Massive Attack
15 Step – In Rainbows, Radiohead
Rock The Casbah – Story of the Clash, Volume 1 [Disc 1], The Clash
We Will Rock You – News Of The World, Queen
Give Peace A Chance – Lennon [Disc 1], John Lennon
The mercury’s rising, summer is here and I’m feeling hot, hot, hot. So, it’s time to get the sarongs out, start mixing up a marghertia or two and celebrate our steamy weather. Yes, folks this week’s show was a sizzler.
We opened with THE HEAT IS ON from American soul and funk group, The Isley Brothers, released in 1975 on the album of the same name and then it was Buster Poindexter, otherwise known as David Johansen of the New York Dolls. His cover of Arrow’s HOT, HOT, HOT apparently haunts him to this day. Well Dave, thats what happens when you record a hit pop tune. Just be happy with the royalties. He’s not looking too unhappy in this clip:
If the weather doesn’t deliver, you can always find other ways to raise the temperature. Ask Martha and the Vandellas who gave us one of the greatest intros in pop music with their song HEATWAVE. The high octane James Brown knows a thing or two about the topic of his tune, BODY HEAT. Here’s a clip from The Lost James Brown Tapes, a 60 minute video tape available on DVD.
One of my all time favourite films is Napoleon Dynamite and the soundtrack to the film is great too. Check out one of the signature tunes, from the film, CANNED HEAT from Jamiroquai:
Every now and again I like to throw a bit of contemporary pop into the mix and this week it was Katy Perry with HOT ‘N’ COLD and we followed with one of my favourite dance tracks, Adam Freeland remixing the wonderful Sarah Vaughan’s version of FEVER.
Anyone remember glam rock? Marc Bolan & T-Rex were up next with one of the best examples of this genre: HOT LOVE. Check out this clip from Top of the Pops, 1971. Ah go-go girls, whatever happened to them? Well, the ones in this clip are probably all grandmothers now. Scary.
More roaming down memory lane: Style Council with LONG HOT SUMMER and then it was The Triffids’ dreamy and disturbing TOO HOT TO MOVE, TOO HOT TO THINK. The song reflects on our hot, Australian summer nights.
The idiosyncratic, and highly influential, Captain Beefheart divides people. I’m a fan, especially of our next song, HOT HEAD. The Captain takes the usual hot-love cliches to deliriously literal extremes with his funky brand of the Blues.
Ella Fitzgerald reckons it’s TOO DARN HOT and Prince Buster agrees. His delicious piece of Jamaican Ska, TOO HOT had me up and grooving in the studio. And then it was time for one of the highlights of the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival, Oka with THAT’S HOT.
I can never listen to Glenn Frey’s THE HEAT IS ON without conjuring up the film BEVERLY HILLS COP. So to put it into context, here’s the official video, using footage from the film, starring Eddie Murphy:
Another favourite of mine is John Fogarty, this time with the wonderful gospel group The Fairfield Four, singing A HUNDRED AND TEN IN THE SHADE from Fogarty’s Blue Moon Swamp album. Great album and worth a listen if you’re a Fogarty or Creedence fan. Here’s a clip to whet your appetite:
Of course we had to include Billy Idol’s HOT IN THE CITY. Not so obvious, maybe, is the next tune we played: MELT YOUR HEART from the divine Jenny Lewis. A nice suggestion too, from listener Zoe: SUMMERTIME CLOTHES from Animal Collective. Andy’s suggestion was Nouvelle Vague’s I MELT WITH YOU and Lynden’s suggestion was a little on the obscure side. But when John Lennon’s goes COLD TURKEY his temperature rises and his fever is high. So, yeah, into the show on HEAT it went.
The great Ray Charles was next with IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT along with a little smooth jazz from Paul Hardcastle and the Jazzmasters, with Helen Rogers on vocals for BODY HEAT.
We closed the show with disco queen Donna Summer and HOT STUFF and the Godfather of funk, James Brown with HOT PANTS! Can you believe that this clip from 1985 was just a rehearsal?
Next week’s show is my Christmas A-Go-Go special, so tune in for some surprising Xmas tunes and I’ll have some giveaways especially for my lovely Theme Park listeners. In the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist.
Hello thrillseekers! One of my regular listeners contacted me to say that after tuning into the show each week they felt as if they had been on a rollercoaster. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a compliment but, hey, it’s not called Theme Park for nothing!! What I love about a program that investigates a different theme each week is that it necessitates me listening to music that I wouldn’t have otherwise. This week’s show did that for me with all kinds of songs about shoes – from sneakers to high heels, boots and shoes of every colour. But, more importantly, it took me on a musical trip that stretched from jazz and blues right through to hip-hop – and I loved every minute of it. So, this is how this week’s ride went:
We opened the show with BETTY LOU’S GOT A NEW PAIR OF SHOES by John Caferty & The Beaver Brown Band. They played the music on the Eddie and the Cruisers film soundtrack. I don’t think it was a great movie but the soundtrack did very well. And then it was one of my favourite tracks of the show: Kirsty McColl with IN THESE SHOES? Kirsty sadly passed away in a controversial accident a few years ago. Here she is appearing on a UK television program in 2000.
Some great funk followed with STEPPIN IN HER I. MILLER SHOES from Betty Davis, (ex wife of Miles Davis). Now if you haven’t heard of the I. Miller Shoe Company let me enlighten you. Israel Miller started his career as a designer and maker of shoes for the theatrical profession in New York. The I. Miller Shoe Company took over a large building in Times Square that he had remodelled in 1926 with decorative sculptures on the building’s façade. The building was a tribute to the theatrical profession with statues depicting Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller and Mary Pickford. The store’s slogan, (and I love this), was “The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footware.” Another tidbit: In the mid 1950’s the I. Miller Shoe Company hired artist Andy Warhol on a retainer as their chief illustrator. You can still find examples of their shoes for sale on sites such as E-Bay and they, and the catalogues, are highly sought after.
Adam Ant sang GOODY TWO SHOES: “don’t drink, don’t smoke, goody, goody two shoes”. My guess is that Adam Ant is miles away from being a ‘goody two shoes’ but that’s what makes the song so memorable I guess. Check out this wonderfully kitch clip from the Solid Gold TV show of 1982. Ten points to Adam for the dance moves.
The Gorillaz impressed with GET THE COOL SHOE SHINE and then it was NEW SHOES by the very gorgeous Paolo Nutini from his 2007 album, These Streets: “Hey, I put some new shoes on, And suddenly everything is right, I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling, It’s so inviting…”. Yes, Paolo I couldn’t agree more. Buying a new pair of shoes is the answer to all the world’s problems. Well, it’s as good a theory, as any, for being a shoe-a-holic, so I’ll stick with it. Here he is performing the song live at Bush Studios in the UK. Very talented…. and good looking too, which can’t hurt.
One of the defining tracks of Acid Rock was Traffic’s HOLE IN MY SHOE, so that got a play. And then it was time for some Blues and you can’t get better than Ruthie Foster singing DEATH CAME A-KNOCKIN’ (TRAVELLIN’ SHOES), Joe South & the Believers with the classic, WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES and Bobby Blue Bland with TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.
My discovery this week was an album called Van Lear Rose. This was a collaboration between Loretta Lynn and Jack White of the White Stripes. It’s a Grammy award-winning album that was intended as a musical experiment, blending the styles of Lynn and White. The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal-mines. Until this week I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of the album but I am now a big fan. I played LITTLE RED SHOES – an outstanding track spoken, not sung, by Lynn. Amazing.
A very young Roy Orbison covered Carl Perkins’ BLUE SUEDE SHOES with his band, The Teen Kings, and then Robert Parker cranked out a hit from the 60s called BAREFOOTIN’. Graham Parker and The Rumour appear to know all about SOUL SHOES and the Presidents of the United States have a thing for PUFFY LITTLE SHOES, whatever they are….
I’m a big R&B fan and adore Chuck Willis’ rendition of HANG UP MY ROCK AND ROLL SHOES and Tommy Tucker’s HIGH HEEL SNEAKERS, so they had to make the list. And then Patti Griffin dedicated her song, BURGUNDY SHOES, to her Mother. We followed that with the Jenny Lewis track LET MY SHOES LEAD ME FORWARD from her terrific 2005 album Love and Youth. Here’s the clip, an animation, featuring 500 pairs of shoes. It was directed by Johannes Nyholm, Perisak Snalls and Andreas Nilsson. Brilliant fun.
I’m a new convert to Hip-Hop, (let’s face it, its not my era!) but when Rapper Slug from Atmosphere sings: “Those are your shoes, these are my shoes, we’ve got issues”, it does speak to me. Yes, we all know that the right or wrong shoe can define a relationship. The song’s name? SHOES (of course).
I couldn’t omit the fabulous Nancy Sinatra from the list and THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING brought back lots of memories. And it was great to discover that MAXWELL SMART is still talking into his shoe-phone when we played a nice little extract from Get Smart.
Ella Fitzgerald contributed the very cute GOTTA PEBBLE IN MY SHOE, Paul Kelly told us that YOU CAN PUT YOUR SHOES UNDER MY BED, (I bet he says that to all the girls), and the very lovely Katie Melua sang a great ballad – BLUE SHOES.
Steely Dan’s song BAD SNEAKERS is just as much about Pina Coladas as it is about shoes. Elvis Costello, apparently, is into RED SHOES. Here’s the Buddy Holly look-alike belting out RED SHOES on Top of the Pops in 1977. Loving the comments superimposed towards the end of the song. Take a look.
The Disco era wouldn’t have been complete without our last song this week: KC and the Sunshine Band with BOOGIE SHOES. A suitably upbeat finale that had us all up dancing.
Here’s the complete playlist:
Betty Lou’s Got A New Pair Of Shoes – John Caferty & The Beaver Brown Band
In These Shoes? – Kirsty McColl
Two Shoes – The Cat Empire
Steppin In Her I Miller Shoes – Betty Davis
Walk In My Shoes Feat Lupe Fiasco – Emily King
mr bowling shoe giver outer – Vintage radio commercial
Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
Get The Cool Shoe Shine – Gorillaz
New Shoes – Paolo Nutini
Hole In My Shoe – Traffic
Take off Your Shoes – Bobby Blue Bland
Death Came A-Knockin’ (Travelin’ Shoes) – Ruthie Foster
Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Joe South & The Believers
Little Red Shoes – Loretta Lynn
Blue Suede Shoes – Roy Orbison
Barefootin – Robert Parker
Soul Shoes – Graham Parker & The Rumour
Puffy Little Shoes – The Presidents Of The United States Of America
Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes – Chuck Willis
Hi-Heel Sneakers – Tommy Tucker
Burgundy Shoes – Patty Griffin
Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward – Jenny Wilson
Maxwell Smart Clip from Get Smart
These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra
Shoes – Atmosphere
Gotta Pebble In My Shoe – Ella Fitzgerald
You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed – Paul Kelly
Blue Shoes – Katie Melua
Red Shoes – Elvis Costello
Bad Sneakers – Steely Dan
Boogie Shoes – K.C. and The Sunshine Band
Next week: each song will be about RADIO!
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM Tuesdays 2-4pm, (Sydney time). Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org