I’m not a smoker and, in fact, I think its a pretty silly way to spend your time, but I have to admit that there are some terrific songs on the subject, both for and against. We started the program with Tex Williams and His Western Caravan with SMOKE! SMOKE! SMOKE! THAT CIGARETTE, a western swing novelty song recorded in 1947. While the line “Ive smoked all my life and I ain’t dead yet” suggests that the song is pro-smoking, the chorus includes lines like “Puff, puff, puff … smoke yourself to death”. So Tex is having a two way bet, let’s just say.
Here Tex’s song is used brilliantly to illustrate all the smoking on my favourite TV series, Mad Men. This video will have one of two results: The repetitious, perfunctory and seemingly pointless act of inhaling smoke may turn you completeley off smoking cigarettes. Or, the fact that this repetitious, perfunctory, and seemingly pointless act is carried out by such debonair, dashing human beings will make you run to your corner store and chimney down a carton before dinner. Either way, advertising works.
We couldn’t leave out references to tobacco’s more pungent partner in crime, marijuana. Before this recreational drug was criminalised in the US, there was a fertile genre known as reefer jazz, of which Ella Fitzgerald’s WHEN I GET LOW I GET HIGH is a lively example.
When it comes to Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin was known as The King. He recorded a great smoking song called I CAN’T QUIT CIGARETTES in 1966.
More currently, Hefner’s Darren Hayman gave us THE HYMN FOR THE CIGARETTES from the 1999 album The Fidelity Wars. Here the song is set against some of my favourite films including Contempt, Bad Education, Manhatten, Breathless, Coffee & Cigarettes, All About My Mother, A Bande A Part and more…
Talking Heads do a great version of TAKE ME TO THE RIVER “take my money, take my cigarettes I haven’t seen the worst of it yet…” and, of course, there’s Otis Redding, mixing caffeine with his nicotine on CIGARETTES AND COFFEE.
Neil Young’s ROLL ANOTHER NUMBER (FOR THE ROAD) is from his most uneven album ‘Tonight’s the Night’ on which he looks back at Woodstock through a fog of smoke, which probably explains a thing or two about the quality of the album.
Rufus Wainwright contributed his charismatic 2001 showtune, CIGARETTES AND CHOCOLATE MILK. Everything he likes is just a little bit harmful for him (know the feeling!).
Jazz legend Nina Simone has some good advice: DON’T SMOKE IN BED. She recorded her version of Willard Robison’s piece in 1958. And in 1959 a completely different style of music was being recorded by Joe and Rose Lee Maphis. Their honky tonk style of country music was also a crowd pleaser, with its old fashioned views about the role of women in society. Well it was 1959 folks. The song is DIM LIGHTS, THICK SMOKE (AND LOUD, LOUD, MUSIC).
David Bowie’s ROCK & ROLL SUICIDE is an avant garde showtune of sorts, where he references the Spanish poet Manuel Machado with the line “Time takes a cigarette…”
My pick from the multitude of reggae songs that celebrate weed is U Roy’s CHALICE IN THE PALACE because it has to be the most unusual of the bunch. Inspired by a dream, he outlines his plan to bond with the Queen over a hashpipe. Cool.
Ry Cooder proved, once again, that he must be the best slide guitarist in the world with a very nice live performance of FOOL FOR A CIGARETTE.
Canadian Hawksley Workman works a nice piece of sexual metaphor on JEALOUS OF YOUR CIGARETTE.
I had to include the Happy Mondays song LOOSE FIT, if only because it starts with someone lighting up and inhaling. Then it was a cruisy little number from Camper Van Beethoven who suggest we get high while the radio’s on. The song, GOOD GUYS & BAD GUYS, is a great example of the slacker ethos of the late 80’s.
Steve Miller reckons he’s a joker, a smoker and a midnight toker on The Steve Miller Band’s song JOKER. Brownsville Station’s SMOKIN’ IN THE BOYS ROOM took me back a few years. Remember when being a rebel was sharing a pack of Peter Stuyvesant’s behind the toilet block? Seems so distant now doesn’t it?
I love to play a little Pink Floyd now and again and HAVE A CIGAR from the album Wish You Were Here was perfect for this week’s show.
The Editors recorded a song about one of my big bugbears, SMOKERS OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL DOORS. It drives me crazy when I go to visit someone in hospital and I see hospital workers and visitors congregating outside the hospital entrance smoking their lives away. Grrrr.
Super Furry Animals gave us a rambling, rousing slice of smoking philosophy on SMOKIN’, which we followed with REEFER MAN from Baron Lee and The Mill Blue Rhythm Band.
For all you Francophiles out there: Serge Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve want you to know that they’re big cigar fans. They even contend that God smokes them. I’m no theology expert, but who knows, they may be right! The song is DIEU EST UN FUMEUR DE HAVANES.
A couple of country songs on the subject of smoking: Lefty Frizzell with CIGARETTES AND COFFEE BLUES and a classic: Patsy Cline with THREE CIGARETTES IN AN ASHTRAY.
k.d. lang is a huge Patsy Cline fan and she’s covered many of her songs including THREE CIGARETTES IN AN ASHTRAY. And you’ve got to hand it to her for doing a whole album on smoking. So k.d. saw us out with a terrific song from the album Drag: MY LAST CIGARETTE.
Next week our show falls on March 8th which is International Women’s Day, so its a given that I’ll be presenting a program that features all my favourite female artists. Get in touch if you would like to request a particular song or artist. I’d love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette) – Tex Williams and His Western Caravan, Theme Time Radio Hour Volume Three [Disc 2]
When I Get Low I Get High – Ella Fitzgerald The Early Years: Part 1 (1935-1938) [Disc 1]
I Can’t Quit Cigarettes – Jimmy Martin, Smoke That Cigarette: Pleasure To Burn
The Hymn For The Cigarettes – Hefner, The Best of Hefner
Take Me To The River – Talking Heads, The Best Of
Cigarettes And Coffee – Otis Redding, The Soul Album
Roll Another Number (For The Road) – Neil Young, Tonight’s The Night
Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk – Rufus Wainwright, Dreamworks Fall
Don’t Smoke In Bed – Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music) – Joe and Rose Lee Maphis, Smoke That Cigarette: Pleasure To Burn
Rock & Roll Suicide – David Bowie, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust
Chalice In The Palace (1990 Digital Remaster) – U-Roy, Dread In A Babylon
Fool For A Cigarette / Feelin’ Good – Ry Cooder
Jealous Of Your Cigarette – Hawksley Workman, (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves
Richard Diamond Advertisement – Richard Diamond, Smoke That Cigarette: Pleasure To Burn
Loose Fit – Happy Mondays, The Chillout Album, Vol. 2
Good Guys & Bad Guys – Camper Van Beethoven
The Joker – The Steve Miller Band, Groovin’ 70’s
Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room – Brownsville Station, Best Of Brownsville Station
Have A Cigar – Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – Editors, An End Has A Start
Smokin’ – Super Furry Animals, Outspaced
Reefer Man – Baron Lee and The Mill Blue Rhythm Band
Dieu fumeur de Havana – Serge Gainsbourg/Catherine Deneuve
Cigarettes And Coffee Blues – Lefty Frizzell
Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray – Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection
My Last Cigarette – k.d. lang, Drag
Next week: AUSTRALIAN WOMEN SINGERS
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)
Occasionally, a songwriter writes a tune that’s essentially a letter to a musical peer or fellow composer. Sometimes that message is delivered in the form of a tribute and sometimes it’s delivered as an angry diatribe. Our playlist today features both but, like our opening track JAZZ THING from Gang Starr, most of our songs are marks of respect.
I like to include a little country music every now and again, especially if its by the great Johnny Cash. As a contribution to this week’s playlist, he sings about his country music idol on THE NIGHT HANK WILLIAMS CAME TO TOWN. Punk rockers The Ramones praise the rock artists who preceded them on DO YOU REMEMBER ROCK N ROLL RADIO. And then it was UK group Television Personalities, who are obviously Pink Floyd fans with I KNOW WHERE SYD BARRETT LIVES.
The most familiar soul hit on the airwaves during 1967 was Arthur Conley’s SWEET SOUL MUSIC on which he paid tribute to other great soulmen like Otis Redding and James Brown:
When it comes to soul, Stevie Wonder knows how much is owed to our jazz legends. SIR DUKE is his tribute to Duke Ellington, the influential jazz legend who died in 1974. He also acknowledges Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
In 1980 Dexy’s Midnight Runners appeared out of nowhere, with a sound all their own. Nobody else at the time would have dreamt of producing an impassioned, brass-powered tribute to neglected 1960s soul singer Geno Washington, but they did and they took GENO to #1 in the UK.
Dexy’s Midnight Runners also recorded a version of JACKIE WILSON SAID, but I’m faithful to the original by Van Morrison which had to be part of the list too.
A little more country music was up next with the gorgeous Gillian Welch singing the ELVIS PRESLEY BLUES. This was followed closely by the one and only Ian Dury with his incredible piece of hero worship, SWEET GENE VINCENT. On this video Mick Jones of the Clash joins the band, The Blockheads. And as Dury quips to Jones: “Listen, we’ve got four chords on this one Michael!” Great band, great song. How does Mick Jones get through this number without once dropping the ciggie from his mouth? Hilarious.
Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople’s reluctant youth anthem, ALL THE YOUNG DUDES was written by David Bowie. It namechecks T-Rex and references The Beatles and The Stones. Here they are, (with Bowie on back up!), performing at the Freddie Mercury tribute at Wembley Stadium:
The wonderful Jonathan Richman never disappoints me and he delivers again for this week’s playlist. On his song VELVET UNDERGROUND he even performs a few bars of the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray in between dispensing eloquent insights into his heroes’ dark magic. How good is that!
Bono says that U2’s song STUCK IN A MOMENT YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF is a tribute to INXS singer Michael Hutchence. According to Bono it’s the conversation he wishes had actually taken place.
John Martyn, who died at a relatively early age himself, extends a concerned hand to a fading Nick Drake on the devastatingly tender SOLID AIR.
Canadian group Barenaked Ladies recorded a hit song about mental illness that references Beach Boy BRIAN WILSON. And just in case you’re wondering, Brian Wilson does do a version during his own live shows. And why wouldn’t he? It’s a great song. Fellow Canadian Allanah Myles also had a huge hit with my favourite of all the Elvis tribute songs: BLACK VELVET.
Paul Jones and Dave Kelly honour Blues legend SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON and Neil Young references Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols on HEY, HEY, MY MY (Into the Black). The line ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away’ also became infamous in modern rock after being quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.
On a cheerier note, The Saw Doctors sing I’D LOVE TO BANG THE BANGLES, which pretty much speaks for itself. If you thought that was a wild proposition, you should take a listen to Bongwater’s NICK CAVE DOLLS. But hang in for the punchline on that one. A perfect follow up to that tune is Adam Ant’s GOODIE TWO SHOES, supposedly a critique of Cliff Richards virtuous and conservative image. “Don’t drink, don’t smoke… what do you do?”
A terrific song from Dory Previn is STONE FOR BESSIE SMITH. It isn’t just about the Blues singer Bessie Smith; it’s primarily about Janis Joplin who paid for Bessie Smith’s headstone but forgot to put anything aside for her own.
Early in his career, David Bowie often wrote about artists he admired, from Lou Reed to Andy Warhol to Iggy Pop. On SONG FOR BOB DYLAN a pre-Ziggy Bowie adopted Dylan’s nasal vocal style in order to pay tribute.
Down By Law also do an excellent tribute to the best rock band in the world: I WANNA BE IN AC/DC. Me too guys, me too.
It was hard choosing a song to go out on. Yes, of course there’s American Pie and Losing My Edge and the various spats between Paul McCartney and John Lennon, but in an effort not to be too predictable I’ve chose TUNIC (Song for Karen). Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon does a beautiful job of casting herself as the tragic Karen Carpenter reporting back from heaven.
I’ve got a marathon effort lined up for the next couple of weeks and I need your help! The playlist next week will start with a song referencing Zero or less and I’ll progressively play songs in numerical order until I run out of ideas. For example I could start with Elvis Costello’s Less Than Zero progress to Yeah yeah yeah’s Zero then Bob Marley’s One Love … you get the idea. Let’s see how far I get. If you help me we could be doing this for weeks! To make it easy to participate I’ll be posting onto the Theme Park Radio Facebook page.
But in the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist to peruse:
Jazz Thing – Gang Starr – Moment of Truth
The Night Hank Williams Came To Town – Johnny Cash – The Best Of Johnny Cash
Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio – The Ramones Shrek OST
I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives – Television Personalities And Don’t The Kids Just Love It
Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley – 60’s Soul
Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life [Disc 1]
Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) – Van Morrison
Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching For The Young Soul Rebels
Elvis Presley Blues – Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury and The Blockheads – The Very Best Of Ian Dury And The Blockheads
Blackbird, Bye Bye – Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette – Bye Bye Blackbird
All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople – Rock Classics 60’s & 70’s Volume 2
Velvet Underground – Jonathan Richman – I, Jonathan
Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of – U2 – The Best Of 1990-2000 & B-Sides CD1
Solid Air – John Martyn – No Little Boy
Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies – Barenaked Radio: Easter Special
Sonny Boy Williamson – Paul Jones & Dave Kelly – Live In London
Black Velvet – Alannah Myles – The Very Best of Alannah Myles
Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) – Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps (Live)
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
I’d Love To Kiss The Bangles – The Saw Doctors – Play it Again Sham
Nick Cave Dolls – Bongwater – Box of Bongwater
Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant – Antics In The Forbidden Zone
Stone For Bessie Smith – Dory Previn – Mythical Kings And Iguanas
Song For Bob Dylan – David Bowie – Hunky Dory
(I Wanna Be In) AC/DC – Down By Law – Windwardtidesandwaywardsails
Tunic (Song For Karen) – Sonic Youth – Goo (Deluxe Edition) [Disc 1]
Next week: NOUGHT TO WHATEVER (Part 1)
The weather has been in the news, more than usual of late, what with hurricanes, tornadoes and our own Lennox Head being declared a national disaster area after a mini tornado destroyed homes and caused chaos to this beautiful little coastal town. What’s a girl to do but to create a playlist around BAD WEATHER?
We opened the show with a request from Robyn: the incredibly seductive BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE by Ray Charles and Betty Carter. The song could just as easily fitted into our Sexy Songs list for last week, but glad we held it over.
Now when it comes to songs about the weather, rain seems to be the metaphor of choice. It can describe heartache or happiness, and lots more in-between. The Ronettes daydream about the qualities that make up the perfect boyfriend on WALKING IN THE RAIN. However, the Walker Brothers – with their remake of Frankie Valli’s THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE – see bad weather as a symbol of loneliness. Either way, two great songs. Here’s a blast from the past for all you baby boomers, the Walker Brothers on Ready, Steady, Go in 1966:
Next it was Status Quo with RAIN from their Blue for You album, released in 1976. The track was originally intended for the album On The Level, but at the time of the recording sessions Rick Parfitt had not completed the song and so it was held over to the band’s next release.
Shirley Manson only seems to be happy when she’s miserable in the Garbage song I’M ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS. Fitting then that we followed with the Prince of Darkness himself, Nick Cave. The song TUPELO, with its great sound effects and talk of black clouds, was also a perfect fit for a show on Bad Weather.
A great song that carries an emotional whallop is LOUISIANA 1927, a devastating account of the great Mississippi floods, which has become identified with the more recent Hurricane Katrina. Written, and originally recorded by Randy Newman, Aaron Neville’s version is sublime. Here he is performing at the Concert for Hurricane Relief in 2008:
We followed with the great Muddy Waters and BLOW WIND BLOW and then it was Leon Russell with a cover of the Bob Dylan classic, A HARD RAINS A GONNA FALL. This track was requested by for Judi, listening in Cairns, where they know a little bit about a rainy season. The song STORMY WEATHER is one of my favourites. Written and originally recorded in 1933, its been covered by all the greats, but I do particularly like the Etta James version that we played this week.
The inspiration for RAIN, by the Beatles – according to Neil Aspinall, the Beatles roadie, and John Lennon – was Australia’s own weather. Apparently when they arrived here to tour, the weather was so bad that Lennon was quoted as saying that: “I’ve never seen rain as hard as that.” He went on to say that RAIN was “about people moaning about the weather all the time”. Three promotional films were made for the song. These videos, along with other Beatles videos at the time, sparked George Harrison to say during the Beatles Anthology, “So I suppose, in a way, we invented MTV”.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers track SNOW may not be about the kind of snow that makes cute little snowmen, but it is a great song in any case. Its from the Stadium Arcadium album. And while we’re talking of metaphor, Tom Waits has a lot to say about the weather on EMOTIONAL WEATHER REPORT. The track is featured on the album Nighthawks at the Diner, recorded in 1975. The title was inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting Nighthawks. Here’s Tom performing the song at the Rockpalast in Koln, West Germany in 1977:
Irma Thomas is quite rightfully called “the Soul Queen of New Orleans” and she has several songs about the weather that fitted the bill, but none better, in my opinion, than ITS RAINING SO HARD. We followed with Bill Withers and AIN’T NO SUNSHINE WHEN SHE’S GONE. Neil Young was lucky enough to get some help on harmonies from the wonderful Nicolette Larsen on FOUR STRONG WINDS. Larsen, who died in 1997, had a big hit with a cover of Young’s LOTTA LOVE in 1978.
I couldn’t do a show on Bad Weather and not include AC/DC’s THUNDERSTRUCK. Rumour is that the song was inspired by Angus Young’s hair-raising experience when a plane he was on was struck by lightning. Not sure if that’s true or not.
What I do know is that Natalie Merchant and the 10,000 Maniacs “get a shiver in their bones” just thinking about the climate conditions on LIKE THE WEATHER. We followed with Blur and THIS IS A LOW, which was inspired by, of all things, a shipping forecast.
Back to some rock with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s HAVE YOU SEEN THE RAIN and a song for Alex in Sydney, and all the other Deep Purple fans, STORMBRINGER.
When it comes to R&B, The Temptations just want the weather to match their mood on I WISH IT WOULD RAIN but Anne Peebles finds the weather brings back unwanted memories of a past love on I CAN’T STAND THE RAIN.
I love the infectious tone of Bob Dylan’s RAINY DAY WOMEN, which is matched by the very excellent COLD COLD FEELING from T-Bone Walker. As much as I was enjoying myself, we closed the show with The Doors and RIDERS ON THE STORM. The song was inspired by the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”. It incorporates real sound effects of thunder and rain, along with Ray Manzarek’s Fender Rhodes electric piano playing, which emulates the sound of rain. Good stuff.
The topic for next week’s show is a doozy. They say success is the best revenge, but, when it comes to musos a bitchy payback song seems to fit the bill. I thing we’ll have a lot of fun with our playlist of REVENGE SONGS, so I hope you’ll join me then. And if you have any suggestions for the playlist please get in touch. It’s always great to have your input.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Soulful Christmas, Ray Charles & Betty Carter
Walking In The Rain – Phil Spector Wall of Sound Vol. 1 – The Ronettes
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – Walker Brothers
Rain – Blue For You, Status Quo
I’m Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage, Garbage
Tupelo – The Best Of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Louisiana 1927 – Warm Your Heart, Aaron Neville
Blow Wind Blow – Baby Please Don’t Go, Muddy Waters
A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall – Remember the Titans (Movie Soundtrack), Leon Russell
Frosty – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues – A Musical Journey, Albert Collins
Stormy Weather – At Last!, Etta James
Rain – Past Masters Volume Two, The Beatles
Snow ((Hey Oh)) – Stadium Arcadium, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Emotional Weather Report – Nighthawks at the Diner, Tom Waits
It’s Raining So Hard – Irma Thomas
Ain’t no Sunshine – Bill Withers
Four Strong Winds – Comes a Time, Neil Young
Thunderstruck – The Razors Edge, ACDC
Like The Weather – MTV Unplugged, 10,000 Maniacs
This Is A Low – Parklife, Blur
Have You Ever Seen The Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Stormbringer – Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple, Deep Purple
I Wish It Would Rain – My Girl: The Very Best Of The Tempations [Disc 1], The Temptations
I Can’t Stand The Rain – I Can’t Stand The Rain, Ann Peebles
Rainy Day Women – Forrest Gump (Movie Soundtrack), Bob Dylan
Cold Cold Feeling – The Talkin Guitar (The Best Of), T-Bone Walker
Riders on the storm – The Doors (movie soundtrack), The Doors
Next week: REVENGE SONGS
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
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
Hair is more than just the stuff that sits on top of your head. Hair can be a metaphor for life, for youth, for sensuality. And, as such, the subject has created a lot of interest from songwriters. The long and the short of it is that hair, or the lack thereof, lends itself to every genre of popular music.
So, just to be quirky, we started the show with two songs about having no hair at all. The very appropriately named Professor Longhair gave us BALD HEAD and Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson contributed CLEANHEAD BLUES in which he claims that if it wasn’t for women he’d still have his curly locks. Oh yeah, sure. I’m not sure how old this clip is, but what a great venue!
Donna Simpson of The Waifs is a blonde who is much darker underneath than her image projects. Or so their song, THE HAIRCUT goes. So, let’s talk colour. McFly know a girl with FIVE COLOURS IN HER HAIR. If they were any cuter, they would have to be arrested. They remind me of the Monkees. Not sure if that’s a good thing.
Still on colour, Louis Jordan wants to know why YOU DYED YOUR HAIR CHARTREUSE. That’s the green colour your hair goes if you get a bad bleaching job, by the way.
There were no blonde jokes in the show this week, and certainly no ginger jokes. All in support of the sisterhood, you understand. And the brotherhood for that matter! But I do have a great quote for you from Dolly Parton. When asked whether she was offended by blonde jokes she responded by saying no, because she knew she wasn’t dumb. And she also knew she wasn’t blonde. Boom Boom.
Country singer Eddie Noack reckons that GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES but he’s not fussy about hair colour at all. As long as you’re a female, you’re in with a chance. The Meteors, on the other hand, are definitely suckers for LONG BLOND HAIR. Sonny Burgess likes a RED HEADED WOMAN, although he does sound rather ambivalent about her. Check out this clip from 2008 where he is performing at a Rockabilly Festival. He must be at least 80 years of age and he’s still going strong. Brilliant.
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band give us the song that we had to have on our show about HAIR. Yes, a little ditty about dandruff, KING OF SCURF. “I had alot of acne and pimples, I had to stay at home. Eventually, no one came near me, all I had was my comb”. Hilarious.
Time for something a little more serious, perhaps. Easily fixed by Nina Simone with BLACK IS THE COLOUR OF MY TRUE LOVE’S HAIR and we followed with India Arie and I AM NOT MY HAIR.
Now if you want proof positive that you can write a song about any old thing in the 70’s, take a listen to Crosby Stills Nash & Young with ALMOST CUT MY HAIR. They’re performing at Wembley Stadium in 1974, although I don’t see any sign of Neil Young.
George Thorogood followed with another track that will resonate with all you baby boomers: GET A HAIRCUT. And continuing the theme, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band sang about LONG HAIRED MUSIC.
Our only Motown track this week was LET YOUR HAIR DOWN by the Temptations. Letting your hair down means that you behave in a free or uninhibited manner. The origin of the saying goes back to the 17th century when women’s hair was normally pinned up and was only let down for brushing or washing. The term used for this at the time was dishevelling. Anyone who is unkempt and generally untidy might now be described as disheveled, but then it applied specifically to hair which was unpinned. There you go. A little bit of trivia for you.
Beck was next with DEVIL’S HAIRCUT followed by Owen who sang about that lover’s dilemma in WHO FOUND WHO’S HAIR IN WHO’S BED? There is a slight language warning on this one, but can you blame the poor guy for swearing?
Yay, we did include one for those of you with short hair: SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN from Lightning Hopkins. Reportedly, Michael Hutchence of INXS wrote SUICIDE BLONDE with, then girlfriend, Kylie Minogue in mind. Neil Young, whose true love’s hair is enormously important too, wants to live with a CINNAMON GIRL.
We enjoyed a lot of great guitar work on this week’s show. And amongst them is the band Wishbone Ash, considered one of the major innovators of the harmony twin lead guitar format. In BLOWIN’ FREE they hanker after a girl with golden brown hair, “blowin’ free like a cornfield’. I said they were great guitarists, I didn’t say anything about the lyrics now did I? Here they are performing in 1973:
I have to declare a bit of a thing for Led Zeppelin so had to play THE GIRL I LOVE SHE GOT LONG BLACK WAVY HAIR. As all good rock chicks do, of course. Me, being a red-head, doesn’t qualify I’m afraid.
One of my favourite acts from last year’s Byron Bay Blues Festival were THE DRIVE BY TRUCKERS. I discovered an amazing song of theirs, set in the week before Easter. Perfect. It’s about a preacher who was murdered by his wife all because of THE WIG HE MADE HER WEAR. I think its one of the most interesting things they’ve done. Unfortunately no decent clip available as yet.
But I do have a great clip of Little Birdy performing her hit, HAIRDO. Great voice.
We followed with PJ Harvey’s rendition of HAIR which revisits the story of Samson, who, as we know, was incredibily vulnerable without his locks.
We needed a song about the good old fringe, or ‘bangs’ as the Americans call it. And what better than BANGS by They Might Be Giants. The Beatles made their version of ‘bangs’ – the mop-top – world-famous and early in their career they covered Carl Perkins’ LEND ME YOUR COMB, so I thought I’d include Perkins version in this week’s show too.
BayFM will be at this year’s Byron Bay Blues Fest at our very own tent. I’ll be there Saturday April 3, between 12 and 3:30 so drop in and say hello.
It was appropriate then to close the show with a tune from one of the great Blues performers: Magic Slim and the Teardrops with GIVE ME BACK MY WIG.
Have a wonderful Easter! Here’s the complete playlist:
Next week: The topic is LISTS.
You may be surprised at the scope of this week’s topic because when it comes to Elvis Presley, well nearly everyone’s got an opinion. The iconic nature of Elvis Presley in music and popular culture, has often made him a subject of, or a benchmark, in numerous songs. We launched the show with CALLING ELVIS by Dire Straits. Written by Mark Knopler and released in 1991, the song is about an Elvis fan that can’t believe that Elvis Presley is dead. Based on some of the bizarre ‘sightings’ over the years, I fear he is not alone.
A song from one of my favourite films followed: Public Enemy’s groundbreaking FIGHT THE POWER from the soundtrack of DO THE RIGHT THING, directed by Spike Lee in 1989. Like the film, the song broke at a crucial period in America’s struggle with race. Unabashedly political, FIGHT THE POWER was confrontational in the way that great rock has always been. It attacks a whole roster of American icons including Elvis and John Wayne in what amounts to a virtual flag burning. Because who better embodies the American ideal than the King? The song goes so far as to call Elvis racist. I don’t agree with that. But what I do know from the National Archives is that in 1970 Elvis wrote a six-page letter to Richard Nixon asking him to make him a ‘Federal Agent-At-Large’ in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. And amongst the gifts that Elvis presented to the then President was a Colt-45 pistol. So what do we make of all this? Maybe only that, like a lot of his countrymen, Elvis was a misguided patriot who defended the nation’s order – an order from which blacks, in particular, had been routinely barred. The irony, of course, is that Elvis was the first artist to successfully blend black and white music: country music and the blues. And didn’t he do it well?
It was time for a change of tone: The very whimsical and wonderful Kirsty McColl with THERE’S A GUY WORKS DOWN THE CHIP SHOP SWEARS HE’S ELVIS. The song made an appearance on the FAMOUS PEOPLE show, but definitely deserved another spin. We followed with Richard Thompson’s FROM GALWAY TO GRACELAND.
Robbie Williams’ ADVERTISING SPACE is a song not only about Elvis but, also, about the price of fame. Emmylou Harris followed with BOY FROM TUPELO. In case you weren’t aware Elvis was born in Tupelo Mississipi on January 8, 1935. And then it was the great Roy Orbison with HOUND DOG MAN.
Living Colour funked it up with their critique of the tabloids. The song ELVIS IS DEAD ups the ante with an appearance by Little Richard. Check it out.
We dived into the second hour of the program with Ann Margret singing the title song of the film BYE BYE BIRDIE. Based on the stage musical of the same name, the story was inspired by Elvis Presley being drafted into the US Army in 1957. Jesse Pearson played the role of teen idol Conrad Birdie, whose character’s name is a wordplay on another singer of the era, Conway Twitty. The film is credited with making Ann-Margret a superstar during the mid-1960s, leading to her appearing with Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas in 1964.
A couple of great songs were suggested to me by BayFM’s very own Cowboy Sweetheart, Carrie D. First up, Bap Kennedy with GLADYS & VERNON about Elvis’s parents and the night that Elvis was born. And then it was the great Waylon Jennings with the very entertaining NOBODY KNOWS.
I absolutely adore BLACK VELVET by Allanah Myles and have played that before. But, hey, when a song’s as good as this one it deserves a replay!
U2’s song ELVIS ATE AMERICA illustrates the many personas of Elvis, both good and bad. And then it was the romantically delusional Scouting For Girls with ELVIS ISN’T DEAD: “Elvis isn’t dead ’cause I heard him on the radio….. and you’re coming back to me.” Yeah, sure guys.
Time to get serious: First up, Kate Bush with her hit song about Elvis – KING OF THE MOUNTAIN. And then, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds transported us into a disturbing world with their song about the night that Elvis was born. Elvis was a twin but his brother was still-born. The song is TUPELO from the album THE FIRSTBORN IS DEAD. Here’s the totally mesmerising clip:
John Fogarty likens Elvis to the BIG TRAIN (FROM MEMPHIS). Neil Young reminded us that it’s “better to burn out than to fade away “, with his song MY, MY, HEY HEY.
Another of my faves followed: Cowboy Junkies with BLUE MOON REVISITED, otherwise known as SONG FOR ELVIS. And then it was Paul Simon’s song about travelling to Elvis Presley’s home, GRACELAND, with the Everly Brothers helping out on vocals. Don’t have a clip with the Everlys in it, but you can’t do much better than this concert performance of the song in Zimbabwe. Enjoy.
There was time for a little more mjusic dedicated to Elvis before signing off and what better than ELVIS HAS JUST LEFT THE BUILDING by the one and only Frank Zappa. And, of course, I had to play some of the King himself so we went out with BURNIN’ LOVE. Here’s what all the fuss is about:
Next week’s show will be dedicated to the patron saint of Theme Park, Roy Orbison, who died 21 years ago this December 6. So songs by Roy Orbison, The Travelling Wilburys, duets with Roy and covers of Roy Orbison songs. Anything connected to Roy Orbison qualifies. Personally I can’t wait!
Here’s this week’s playlist:
As the saying goes: if you smile the whole world smiles with you. A genuine, infectious smile and/or laughter can make a bad date turn good, seal a business deal and make friends wherever you go. So, it was my job this week to put a smile on everyone’s face with an absolute abundance of songs about SMILING AND LAUGHING. What better way to open the show than with David Bowie’s attempt at a novelty song – THE LAUGHING GNOME – released as a single in 1967. I’m not sure that he was laughing all the way to the bank with that release, but hey, I got a kick out of it.
Now I’ve discovered that not all songs about smiling and laughing are cheerful at all, which kind of threw me as I was hoping to enjoy a fully upbeat show this week. But those renegade R&B singers, in particular, are prone to turning any song into a lover’s lament, but what can you do! It was up to Sly & The Family Stone to deliver a very funky pop tune with YOU CAUGHT ME SMILIN’ to get the show moving in the right direction.
Winners of the prize for silliest band name ever has to be The The. Luckily, they are a very good band. We played what was probably their most successful track, UNCERTAIN SMILE, from the 1983 Soul Mining album. Jools Holland, in his role as session muso, played piano on the original recording. Here they are, without Jools, unfortunately, performing live.
It was inevitable that the 60’s soul singers would bring the sad clown into the mix. Mary Wells sang about her LAUGHING BOY and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles reminded us of the paradox that is the TEARS OF A CLOWN, written, by the way, by Stevie Wonder. We needed to jump a couple of generations to entertain both sides of the love coin. Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas is madly in love with a particular girl, particularly WHEN SHE SMILES but that little vixen Lily Allen finds a bit of revenge on an ex-lover is all she needs to make her SMILE. The video made me smile, I know that much. Take a look:
Next it was Nat King Cole with IF YOU CAN’T SMILE AND SAY YES, recorded in 1946, which explains all the references to nylons and the like. The beautiful voice of Alison Krauss followed with her cover of WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL. Krauss was already a veteran bluegrass fidler and vocalist at age 23 when the recording won the 1995 CMA award for “Single of the Year”. Take a look:
More R&B songs followed and, as expected, smiling was a struggle: The Undisputed Truth were Motown hitmaker Norman Whitfield’s favourite band and their track, SMILING FACES SOMETIMES,repossessed from the Temptations, was their only chart success. Wendy Rene’s song AFTER LAUGHTER (Comes Tears) was recorded on the Stax label in 1964. In 1967 Wendy was scheduled to fly with Otis Redding to what would have been her last live performance. She changed her mind at the last minute, wanting to stay home with her family. The plane crashed and Redding and six others perished. Thankfully Wendy is alive and well and resides today in Tennessee where she runs a publishing company.
Thank goodness for reggae! Max Romeo and The Upsetters (great name) cheered us up with SMILE OUT A STYLE. And you can always rely on the Jazz singers for inspiration. Astrud Gilberto does a stunning version of THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE that had to be included (Thanks Quentin for the suggestion).
I also love Regina Spektor and her song that questions God’s sense of humour – LAUGHING WITH – is beautiful. It’s from her latest album ‘Far’. Here’s the official clip:
Even more sad songs about smiling and laughing: Teddy Pendergrass’ has a problem with his ego. He reckons that THE WHOLE TOWN IS LAUGHING AT ME; Dusty Springfield is pining for JUST ONE SMILE and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, milking the sad clown story for all its worth, gave us the much covered THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS. Happily, Bowling For Soup have got a completely different outlook on life. As their song SHUT UP AND SMILE states, all they need is love and beer.
Happy to include three musical icons: Van Morrison with JACKIE WILSON SAID, Bob Dylan with IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY and Neil Young with THE OLD LAUGHING LADY.
We closed the show with Michael Jackson’s rendition of the classic ballad, SMILE. The song was originally used as an instrumental theme in the soundtrack for the 1936 film Modern Times and was written by comic genius Charlie Chaplin. Here’s a great video clip of Chaplin’s work with MJ singing SMILE over. Two of the best all-round entertainers the world has known:
Thanks to Quentin, Kira & Des for their help with the playlist this week. Remember, whatever happens: keep on smiling!
Here’s the complete playlist:
The Laughing Gnome – David Bowie
You Caught Me Smiling – Sly & The Family Stone
Uncertain Smile – The The
Laughing Boy – Mary Wells
The Tears Of A Clown – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
When She Smiles – Matchbox 20
Smile – Lily Allen
If You Can’t Smile and Say Yes – Nat King Cole
The Smile On Your Face – Allison Krauss
We Laugh Indoors – Death Cab For Cutie
Smile Out A Style – Max Romeo & The Upsetters
After Laughter (Comes Tears) – Wendy Rene
Smiling Faces Sometimes – The Undisputed Truth
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
The Shadow Of Your Smile – Astrud Gilberto
Sara Smile – Hall & Oates
Laughing With – Regina Spektor
The Whole Town Is Laughing At Me – Teddy Pendergrass
The Tracks Of My Tears – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Just One Smile – Dusty Springfield
Shut Up and Smile – Bowling for Soup
Die Laughing – Therapy?
The Old Laughing Lady – Neil Young
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry – Bob Dylan
Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) – Van Morrison
Fooled By A Smile – Swing Out Sister
Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers
Smile At Me – Rocksteady
Smile – Michael Jackson
We Baby Boomers, in particular, seem to be obsessed with aging so I thought it was time to dedicate a show to the older generation. It was also Seniors week – not that you would know it, as there wasn’t one thing organised to celebrate seniors up here in Northern New South Wales, that I could make out. Now I know that we live in the youth obsessed tourist town of Byron Bay, but come on! One day it will be you and I that will be shuffled into the old people’s home (if we can afford it!). Ah well, there’ll always be the music….
Even Barbie, who turned 50 last week, has fallen prey to a mid life crisis: ‘Totally Stylin Barbie’ has landed in the toy stores, complete with trendy threads and several temporary tattoos. Help!
I started the show with the Who’s ‘My Generation’. Roger Daltrey sang “I hope I die before I get old” when he was a 21 year old, in 1965, and he’s still singing it 44 years later! Rock’n’roll has always been devoted to a cult of youth and beautiful corpses. Meanwhile our musical heroes and heroines have turned into reunion tour veterans. Being an aging rocker comes with a lot of irony and a smidgeon of indignity along with the continuing glory, or so it seems.
Aging, mortality, hard-done by women and dirty old men – the themes aren’t confined to rock. Other musical genres covered it all long ago. Pop, Blues, Soul and, not to forget, country – those cowboys have been churning out hits about the sunset years for decades. So it was a fairly eclectic playlist this week – Jazz, Blues, Rock’n’Roll, Country and even some Hip-Hop! Songs dedicated to our older relatives, philosophical musings on time’s passage and a couple of anxious songs about diminished potency. There were a couple of cheeky songs and some very touching music recorded, perhaps not surprisingly, by some of our older musical icons. It turns out that, dying after you get old does have some advantages!
Fats Waller and Bill Withers sang a song dedicated to their Grandad and Grandma, respecitvely, and then it was onto Elvis Costello with a song that Paul McCartney co-wrote, ‘Veronica’. This is quite a brilliant number from 1989 about an elderly woman slipping into senility. Sassy songstress Lily Allen followed with her 50cent cover ‘Nan, You’re a Window Shopper’ and how could we miss out on ‘Little Old Lady From Pasadena’ from the Beach Boys? That’s Elvis C. in the pic above, in 2005, still rockin it out. Bless.
Steely Dan’s ‘Hey Nineteen’ struck a note with more than one of my girlfriends! As the song goes, as hot as it is having a girlfriend 30 years your junior, it’s kind of a reality check when she’s never heard of Aretha Franklin: “We’ve got nothin’ in common, We can’t talk at all”. No kidding. So here’s a video of a live concert in 2006, for all those old guys still chasing young skirt….. listen well!
We played a quite a bit of the Beatles today. Sad when you think about it. They wrote quite a few songs about aging and both George and John died relatively young. ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ and ‘In My Life’ are both classics. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells gave us a great rendition of ‘In My Younger Days’, followed by my new favourite, Seasick Steve, with ‘Rockin’ Chair’. We couldn’t leave out Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’ with James Taylor on banjo (tuned like a guitar) and Linda Ronstadt on back up vocals. Here is a video of a concert Young did in London, in 1971, where he explains the origins of the song. He looks so young here – well it was nearly 40 years ago!
My Roy Orbison song this week was quite poignant: ‘Life Fades Away’. And so was ‘End of the Line’ by the Travelling Wilburys. I happily sent out birthday wishes to several of my listeners with the Beatles recording of ‘Birthday’, and then finished the show with the amazing Jimmy Durante singing ‘Young at Heart’. Yep, age ain’t nothin’ but a number.
Here’s the complete playlist:
My Generation (1965) – The Who
Grand Old Dad (1941) – Fats Waller
Grandma’s Hands (1971) – Bill Withers
Young Fashioned Ways (1947) – Muddy Waters
Veronica (1989) – Elvis Costello
Nan You’re A Window Shopper (2006) – Lily Allen
Old Lady from Pasadena (1964) – Beach Boys
Older Guys (1970) – Gram Parsons & The Flying Burrito Brothers B
As Good As I Once Was (2005) – Toby Keith
Hey Nineteen (1985) – Steely Dan
When You Are Old (1953) – Tom Lehrer
When I’m Sixty-Four (1967) – The Beatles
In My Younger Days – Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
Rockin’ Chair (2004) – Seasick Steve & The Level Devils
Old Man (1972) – Neil Young
Touch of Grey (1987) – Grateful Dead
Golden Years (1975) – David Bowie
In My Life (1965) – The Beatles
Life Fades Away – Roy Orbison
Losing My Edge (2002) – LCD Soundsystem
1985 (2004) – Bowling for Soup
Surrender (1977) – Cheap Trick
Forever Young (1984) – Alphaville
Can’t Forget About You (2006) – Nas Hip
Against The Wind (1980) – Bob Seger
End of the Line – Travelling Wilburys
Young At Heart (1963) – Jimmy Durante
Birthday (1968) – The Beatles
Next week I’ll be tackling the theme of Communication. Suggestions for songs always apprecicated.
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time on BayFM 99.9. Also streaming via http://www.bayfm.org