I’ve been on a mission to play as many songs as I can with numbers in the title. But the real challenge has been to play them in numerical sequence. Last week we successfully navigated our way from Elvis Costello’s Less Than Zero all the way to Edwin Starr’s Twenty Five Miles . So, this week we were off again, starting with our opening number, OCTOBER 26 (REVOLUTION) from The Pretty Things. This is a great track from what I consider a grossly under recognised band of the 60’s. It’s from their 1970 album Parachute.
TWENTY SEVEN STRANGERS is from The Villagers, who put out one of the best albums of last year – Becoming A Jackal. Here’s the band’s singer and songwriter, Conor J O’Brien, performing solo. Beautiful song. Perfect in its simplicity.
A band called Why? gave us our #28 song, (called exactly that, 28). Ryan Adams’ contribution was the track TWENTYNINE from the album 29 and the #30 spot was filled by Aussie band The Lucksmiths. The song, $30 is a very cute proposition: They know that they owe you $30 but how about they write you a song instead? Cheeky!
Aimee Mann thought her life would be different somehow, when she turned 31. Check out this live performance of 31 TODAY in Studio Q.
Another brilliant singer/songwirter is Ani DiFranco . Here she is performing live in 1997. The song: 32 FLAVOURS.
We don’t often play instrumental tracks but funky jazz outfit The New Mastersounds certainly livened things up with THIRTY THREE. We followed with little known, (well to me anyway), American band Promenade with 34 from their Save the Radio album. Then it was Joe Pug with a decent Bob Dylan impression on HYMN #35 and Bobby “Blue” Bland with his favourite numbers 35:22:36.
Then another excellent double : STRAIGHT IN AT 37 from The Beautiful South, now called simply South, and 38 YEARS OLD from Canadian band The Tragically Hip.
Hip Hop producer Re-animator has a great track called SYMPHONY NUMBER THIRTY-NINE on his album, evocatively titled Music to Slit Wrists. Dido has got to have one of the most beautiful voices of recent times, and she uses it to perfection on SEE YOU WHEN YOU’RE 40:
Gregory Hoskins gave us his track 41 and then it was Aussie and, Hunters & Collectors with 42 WHEELS. On 43 Mary Lou Lord justifies seeing a younger man by the fact that he’s 17, going on 43. And talking of excuses, I love any reason to go back to the 60’s so the Zombies were in with CARE OF CELL 44. Terrific band, still performing too.
An artist I’ve only just discovered, but like very much is Todd Snider . Here he is performing FORTY FIVE MILES in December 2010 in Tampa, to a very appreciative audience I might add. It’s an amateur video, but worth watching. He’s supported by Will Kimbrough.
If you’re after some good old fashioned Blues then check out Memphis Slim, Jump Jackson and Arbee Stidham. They gave us a fast version of 46TH STREET BOOGIE to fill our #46 spot. Number 47 was looking tough until I found a real cutie: Andy Kirk & His Orchestra, featuring June Richmond on vocals. She was one of the first black women to front an all white band. The song is 47th STREET JIVE.
Enough with songs named after New York streets (surely that’s another show!). A complete change of tone followed with the amazing, enduring, Suzi Quatro with 48 CRASH. I had to play this original clip from 1973, as she looks so great (still does actually). The ultimate rock chick.
Our number 49 song was for Des who presents BayFM’s Colours of Byron every Sunday morning. He’s a big Dylan fan, so DAYS OF 49 was especially for him and all the other Dylan fans. Number 50 couldn’t be anything but Simon & Garfunkle’s FIFTY WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER, which wasn’t dedicated to anyone in particular, because I don’t want to get myself in any trouble in that department! Here’s a live performance by Paul Simon with legendary drummer Steve Gadd:
Well we got all the way to #50 with time to spare. We closed the show with a #51 song that also previews next week’s show: Pink Floyd’s COME IN NUMBER 51, YOU’RE TIME IS UP from the soundtrack to the film Zabriskie Point. As one of the comments on YouTube states: it’s the film that inspired countless people to lose their virginity to Pink Floyd. (The music that is, not the actual band members). Here’s the trailer, featuring that music, with some of the worst promotional jargon I’ve ever heard!
So, next week I’ll be hosting an Oscars special. I’ll be playing lots of songs that were recorded especially for films. Some will have won Oscars, some should have but didn’t. I’d love to have your suggestions and requests. And, of course, your company 4-6pm Tuesdays on www.bayfm.org.
Here’s this week’s full playlist:
October 26 (Revolution) – The Pretty Things, Unrepentant [Disc 1]
Twenty Seven Strangers – Villagers, Becoming A Jackal
Twenty Eight – Why? Alopecia
Twentynine – Ryan Adams, 29
$30 – The Lucksmiths, Spring a Leak
31 Today – Aimee Mann, Smilers
32 Flavors – Ani DiFranco
Thirty Three – The New Mastersounds, 102% Funk
34 – Promenade, Save the Radio
Hymn 35 – Joe Pug, Nation of Heat EP
36-22-36 – Bobby “Blue” Bland, Bobby “Blue” Bland: The Anthology
Straight In At 37 – The Beautiful South, Welcome to the Beautiful South
38 Years Old – The Tragically Hip, Up to Here
Symphony Number Thirty-nine – Reanimator, Music To Slit Wrists By
See You When You’re 40 – Dido, Life For Rent
41 – Gregory Hoskins, The Beggar Heart
42 Wheels – Hunters & Collectors, Under One Roof
43 – Mary Lou Lord, Baby Blue
Care of Cell 44 – The Zombies, Odessey and Oracle
Forty Five Miles – Todd Snider, Happy to Be Here
46th Street Boogie (Fast Boogie) – Memphis Slim, Jump Jackson and Arbee Stidham
47th St Jive – Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy, Jukebox Hits 1936-1949
48 Crash – Suzi Quatro, Suzi Quatro: Greatest Hits
Days of 49 – Bob Dylan, Self Portrait
Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover – Simon & Garfunkel , The Concert in Central Park
Number 51, Your Time Is Up – Pink Floyd, Zabriskie Point (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
Next week: SONGS RECORDED FOR FILM
I can’t believe that going into our 5th season I still hadn’t put a show together on carnivals, circuses and the like. Well, we remedied that this week. A great introduction was supplied by Eddie Izzard doing a cover of The Beatles BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR KITE. It’s from the soundtrack to the film Across The Universe directed by Julie Taymor. “Just tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch on, switch off, and explode!”
Yes, I know that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers do a great version of LOVE ROLLERCOASTER, but it was the original that made the playlist. It first appeared on the Ohio Players Honey album in 1975. In this clip from the television show Midnight Special, you get the bonus of Wolfman Jack doing the intro and some crazy boy dancers. Ahhh the 70’s.
Thanks to Ku Promotions for our giveaway this week: two tickets to The Audreys’ concert. They’re a band of four boys and one girl, playing rootsy kind of music and are based in Adelaide, Australia. They have released two records, one in 2006 called Between Last Night and Us and one in 2008 called When the Flood Comes, both of which has won the ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album. I’ve seen them perform twice now and they really are a knockout. Their latest album, Sometimes the Stars, features the track TROUBLE SOMEHOW:
I love the collaborative work between Mark Lanegan (ex Queens of the Stone Age) and Isobel Campbell (ex Belle & Sebastian). THE CIRCUS IS LEAVING TOWN is from their latest album, Ballad of the Broken Seas. Here’s a great interview with them which features a slice of the song within it. It was shown when Isobel won the Mercury Prize for the album, which she produced.
Total change of pace came with a couple of tracks from the 60’s: Al Johnson with CARNIVAL TIME from his 1962 album, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Freddie Cannon with his hit, PALISADES PARK. And just to mix it up a bit I threw in some Fun Lovin’ Criminals with CONEY ISLAND GIRL.
The Stylistics were one of the most successful soul groups of the early 70’s and their song SIDESHOW fitted the theme perfectly. As did a true classic from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – THE TEARS OF A CLOWN.
Nellie the Elephant is a classic children’s song written in 1956. It became a UK #1 hit for punk band, The Toy Dolls, when they covered the song in 1983. Michael ‘Olga’ Algar, led vocalist, guitar and bass player, is the only remaining member of the original line-up, who continue to perform. I love the way that they used the aesthetics of punk to express a real sense of fun.
This following clip is from the Martin Scorsese film The Last Waltz, a documentary of the concert by The Band, held on Thanksgiving Day, November 25 1976. It was advertised as the group’s last show and they were joined by an illustrious line-up of talent including Van Morrison. Here they are with CARAVAN:
The Decemberists’ songs range from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads, and often employ instruments like the accordian, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer organ and upright bass. In their lyrics, the band rejects the angst and introspection common to modern rock and instead favour a storytelling approach, as evidenced in songs such as MY MOTHER WAS A CHINESE TRAPEZE ARTIST. It’s from the 5 Songs EP.
The 1986 Madness song (Waiting for) THE GHOST TRAIN was actually about apartheid in South Africa but hey, I love the title and based on that alone it made the playlist.
“I got blisters on my fingers!!!!” yells Ringo Starr, (I think), at the end of The Beatles’ frenetic HELTER SKELTER. Written by Paul McCartney, he deliberately tried to create a sound that was as loud and dirty as possible. Done.
Moving onto something a lot more mellow, it was Alison Goldfrapp with the very beautiful CLOWNS from her 2008 album Seventh Tree. And you thought I only played the old stuff. Oh you of little faith!
With his astonishingly accomplished guitar playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan ignited the blues revival of the ’80s. He was inspired equally from bluesmen like Albert King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters and rock & roll players like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack as well as the stray jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, developing a uniquely eclectic and fiery style that sounded like no other guitarist, regardless of genre. It’s been said that Vaughan bridged the gap between blues and rock like no other artist had since the late ’60s. His tragic death in 1990, at the age of 35 in a helicopter accident, only emphasized his influence in blues and American rock & roll. Here he is with Double Trouble performing TIGHTROPE:
There Goes Rhymin’ Simon is the second solo studio album from Paul Simon, released in 1973. the album covers several styles and genres. Our choice from the album was, of course, TAKE ME TO THE MARDI GRAS.
Natalie Merchant has been quoted as saying that she named her first solo album Tigerlily because the word evoked a feeling that was both ‘fierce’ and delicate’. Released in 1995 the album included the hit single CARNIVAL in which the protaganist compares the colourful sights and sounds of New York with being at a carnival.
A trio of guilty pleasures were lined up next: Back in 1967 The Hollies released ON A CAROUSEL and Manfred Mann were also were enraptured with the circus on HA! HA! SAID THE CLOWN. But the guiltiest of pleasures was still to come: In 1971 Cher released her first chart-topper, as a solo artist, in the United States: GYPSIES, TRAMPS AND THIEVES. Come on, you’ve gotta love Cher!
Swedish group, The Cardigans, had their first international breakthrough with their 1995 album Life which included the track CARNIVAL, a very cruisy pop tune with the gorgeous Nina Persson on vocals.
Beirut is an interesting band. They’re American yet their music combines elements of Eastern European and Balkan folk with Western pop music. They successfully fuse mainstream and indie-rock with the World Music market and consequently have a very unique sound. CAROUSELS, from their 2007 album Lon Gisland, is a great example of their work.
Beirut proved to be a great lead in to our final song of the day, the very gothic CARNY by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. I love the use of accordian on this track (thanks to Warren Ellis). It gives the song an even more intense circus-like feel.
I’m happy to say that I’ll be back for another season of the Theme Park, same time same airspace. So keep listening locally on BayFM99.9 or streaming live on BayFM.org. And I’d love to get your suggestions for next week’s show, which will be on GAMBLING.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Being For The Beneﬁt Of Mr. Kite – Across The Universe, Eddie Izzard
Carnival – The Black Rider, Tom Waits
Love Rollercoaster – Funk Classics, The 70’s, Ohio Players
Enter The Circus – Back To Basics, Christina Aguilera
Troubles Somehow – Sometimes the Stars, The Audreys
The Circus Is Leaving Town – Ballad of the Broken Seas Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
Carnival Time – Mardi Gras In New Orleans, Al Johnson
Palisades Park – The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classics, Freddy Cannon
Coney Island Girl – Come Find Yourself, Fun Lovin’ Criminals
Sideshow – Ultimate Slow Jams 9 [Disc 4], The Stylistics
The Tears Of A Clown – Motown’s Biggest Pop Hits, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Nellie The Elephant – The Wonderful World Of The Toy Dolls, Toy Dolls
Caravan – The Last Waltz [Disc 2], The Band + Van Morrison
My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist – 5 Songs, The Decemberists
Goodbye Cruel World – Jukebox Hits 1961, James Darren
The Ghost Train – Rock TV Classic, Madness
Helter Skelter – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 2], The Beatles
Clowns – Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp
Tightrope [Live] – SRV (Disc 3), Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Take Me To The Mardi Gras – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Paul Simon
Carnival – Tigerlily, Natalie Merchant
Fire Eater – Naturally, Three Dog Night
Ha! Ha! Said The Clown – Manfred Mann
On A Carousel – The Hits Of 1967, The Hollies
Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves – Billboard Top Rock ‘N’ Roll Hits: 1971, Cher
Carnival – Life, The Cardigans
Carousels – The Lon Gisland EP, Beirut
The Carny – The Best Of, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
How come every songwriter hasn’t written at least one song about schooldays? Come on, it has all the vital ingredients for a hit: that age-old conflict between discipline and rebellion, close friendships, sexual awakenings and enough traumatic experiences to feed a healthy persecution complex for the rest of your life. Mind you, while every songwriter may not have taken up the opportunity to reveal all about their schooldays, those that did contributed to a pretty good playlist this week.
We opened the show with SCHOOL DAYS by Chuck Berry who turns the joy of hearing the final bell into some hot rock’n’roll. Then it was Young MC who seems well versed in being sent to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE, while the Pipettes LIKE A BOY IN UNIFORM. Don’t we all?
Belle & Sebastian could pretty much compile an album of songs about classroom politics but the pick of the bunch is EXPECTATIONS, from the soundtrack to Juno. The song’s misfit heroine wins the heart of every indie boy by “making life-size models of the Velvet Underground from clay”. Now why didn’t I go to that school?
Jack White is a bit of a hero of mine, so I had to include The White Stripes with WE’RE GOING TO BE FRIENDS. Everyone needs a best buddie at school that’s for sure.
A couple of real classics followed. I would have been sent to detention if I hadn’t included ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL from Pink Floyd or Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ fantastic diss on school, JACK SHIT GEORGE.
Steely Dan had us bopping along to the fact that they are “never going back to” MY OLD SCHOOL. And then it was Sam Cooke with WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD.
Sonny Boy Williamson contributed one of the most provocative tracks on the playlist this week, GOOD MORNIN’ LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL. This blues classic was written about the schoolgirl as sexual fantasy. It’s since been covered by every classic-rock band under the sun, but I think the original is still the best.
ME AND JULIO DOWN BY THE SCHOOL YARD is a song performed by Paul Simon from his 1972 self-titled album. In my opinion he’s one of the best contemporary songwriters we have. Here he is performing the song live:
The music video of BAGGY TROUSERS, by Madness, was shot in an English school and park. The band’s saxophone player, Lee Thompson, decided he wanted to fly through the air for his solo, with the use of wires hanging from a crane. The resulting shot is one of the most popular of any of the Madness music videos.
ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL by The Ramones was followed by a personal pick: CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS RULE, by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Yes, being an old tyke, or as they say in the trade a “lapsed Catholic”, I have to agree that Catholic Schoolgirls do rule!
A couple of little morality tales followed. James Brown warned DON’T BE A DROPOUT and then it was the wonderful Brenda Holloway performing with the Supremes, as back-up (how’s that!). The song was PLAY IT COOL, STAY IN SCHOOL. All good advice of course.
Cat Stevens took a trip down memory lane with OLD SCHOOL YARD and Busted revealed, THAT’S WHAT I GO TO SCHOOL FOR, a disarmingly frank pop tune about having a crush on a teacher.
Babs Gonzalez taught us a bit about Bebop with PROFESSOR BOP while Nat King Cole favours all things extra-curricular in YOU DON’T LEARN THAT IN SCHOOL.
Boomtown Rats followed with I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS and then it was Billy Bragg with the brilliant, THE SATURDAY BOY which I’ve played before, but with its school setting was a certainty to be played again this week.
Like most of The Coaster’s songs, CHARLIE BROWN was written by the songwriting team of Leiber And Stoller. They wrote hits for many artists, including Elvis Presley, The Drifters, and Ben E. King. The songs they wrote for The Coasters were usually more comical. In this case, the song is about a kid who is always getting in trouble and asks “why is everyone always picking on me?”
A nice piece of reggae followed, suggested by Lynden in Sydney: Dennis Alcapone with TEACH THE CHILDREN.
Otis Rush’s distinctive guitar style features a slow burning sound and long bent notes. With similar qualities to Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and is cited as an influence on many musicians, including Eric Clapton. Rush is left-handed and, unlike many left-handed guitarists, plays a left-handed instrument strung upside-down with the low E string at the bottom. He played often with the little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for positioning . It is widely believed that this contributes to his distinctive sound. Check it out on this video where he performs HOMEWORK:
A little change of pace then with The Smiths and THE HEADMASTER RITUAL followed by Graham Parker & The Rumour with BACK TO SCHOOLDAYS.
Jerry Lee Lewis uses high school as a setting, rather than a storyline, in HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. This would have been his fourth consecutive hit in a row, if controversy hadn’t raged about the fact that his new wife was hardly old enough to be in high school. Oops. Doesn’t seem to bother the audience at this concert in London in the 60’s:
It was nearly time for the final bell, but we still squeezed in another triple play: The Hollies with CARRIE ANNE, N.R.B.Q. with STILL IN SCHOOL and WAITIN’ IN SCHOOL from Ricky Nelson.
Our finale was reserved for a song that divides people. Personally I have a bit of a soft spot for TO SIR WITH LOVE, from the film of the same name. How gorgeous was Sidney Poitier? Here’s a clip of Lulu performing the song very recently, (I think it may have been 2008). And how good does she look?
Next week, I’m going to go against the grain. Yes I know that Valentines Day is coming up soon but the cynic in me has decided to mount an ANTI LOVE show. So, if you have any suggestions drop me a line.
Here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Next week: ANTI-LOVE
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:
With Fathers Day coming up on Sunday, our theme this week was a lay down misere: dads, grandads, step-dads, good dads, bad dads… even sugar daddies got a look in on our show dedicated to FATHERS.
We opened with a song about one of the worst father’s in pop-music. The Temptations PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE talks of a Dad who was a dishonest, cheating, alcoholic. But hey, not everyone’s perfect! With a huge variety of music in the playlist, I’m sure we addressed the balance.
A song that puts a lump in my throat is Billy Bragg’s TANK PARK SALUTE. There are several songs about grieving for a father who has died, but none seems as powerful as this track. It was written as a way of addressing the silence and denial that surrounded his dad’s illness. Take a look at this 1991 performance:
My Dad died many years ago now and if you’ve been through it you’ll know that the event creates one of life’s turning points. Equally, becoming a parent is also a life-changing event. Most new dads only get to bore their friends, but the proud rock-star dad can annoy the whole world if he chooses. One of the few truly likable songs about fatherhood is David Bowie’s cheerful, self-effacing KOOKS – although advising “Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads” is a bit much from someone who christened his poor son Zowie. Another newborn inspired Radiohead’s end-of-the-world lullaby SAIL TO THE MOON.
Creedence Clearwater Revival have a different take on paternity and destiny in FORTUNATE SON: a cry of blue-collar resentment, directed at the privileged elite who used their connections to protect their sons from being sent to Vietnam.
Neil Young gave us OLD MAN with a little bit of help from James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt; Eric Clapton sang of a father he never knew with IN MY FATHERS EYES. And then it was Elvis with the song that his daughter Lisa Marie sang at the 20th anniversary celebrations of his death: DON’T CRY DADDY. Check out this amateur video of the performance. It seems its the only version, unfortunately, as its also on the offical Elvis site.
Luther Vandross’ song, DANCE WITH MY FATHER, won the 2004 Grammy Award for song of the year. We followed that with Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s DUST GOT IN DADDY’S EYES and The Winstons’ song COLOR HIM FATHER that was dedicated to all the step-fathers out there.
Not wanting to get too serious at the Theme Park, so it was well and truly time for James Brown and PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG. Here’s a clip from the Ed Sullivan show, May 1966. I love the way Ed Sullivan is beaming at the end of the performance and exclaims “Wow, that was exciting wasn’t it!”. Yes, Ed it was. Long live the Godfather of Soul.
Time for some jazz: I didn’t want to overlook one of my favourite kinds of Dads and Julie London’s ode to the Sugar Daddy was perfect. And then it was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with GO DADDY-O. A very nice segue into Hawkeshaw Hawkins with RATTLESNAKIN DADDY and The Heartbreakers with ROCKIN’ DADDY O.
And we didn’t want to forget the dear old, (or young as the case may be), Grandads: Fats Waller gave us GRAND OLD DAD. A change of pace saw the Dave Matthews Band rock out with DREAMS OF OUR FATHERS and then Everclear lamented an absent father in FATHER OF MINE. Here’s the very cool video clip:
A couple of songs for my children who lost their father when they were quite young: For Jack a song by his father’s favourite artist: John Lennon and BEAUTIFUL BOY. And for Zoe, it was another favourite – Paul Simon singing FATHER AND DAUGHTER. Here’s a live performance of that song from 2006.
When I played Eric Clapton’s very moving TEARS IN HEAVEN I guarantee there wasn’t a dry eye at the station. Clapton wrote the song after losing his son Connor in a terrible accident. And then it was a song that isn’t overtly about fatherhood but I interpret it that way, and you may too. It’s Roy Orbison and the Mavericks doing a cover of Simon & Garfunkle’s BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER.
Ian Hunter grieves that his relationship with his Dad is just like Two Ships That Pass in the Night in his song SHIPS. Ian Dury followed with MY OLD MAN, a quirky, affectionate memento of his Dad, an East End bus driver. At Dury’s funeral in 2000, the song was performed by his own son, Baxter. Here he is with the Blockheads performing live.
Thanks to Ku Promotions for the tickets we gave away to the COOL NIGHTS BIG BAND performance. It encouraged me to go out with a jazz standard: SONG FOR MY FATHER by the Horace Silver Quintet. Released on the Blue Note label, the cover art features a photograph of Silver’s father. If you listen to the opening bass piano notes, you might just recognize what Steely Dan borrowed for their song RIKKI DON’T LOSE THAT NUMBER.
Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads for next Sunday. Here’s this week’s playlist:
Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations
Daddy’s Home – Shep & The Limelites
Tank Park Salute – Billy Bragg
My Father’s Waltz – Hem
Kooks – David Bowie
Sail To The Moon – Radiohead
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Old Man – Neil Young
My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
Don’t Cry Daddy – Elvis Presley
Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
Dust Got Into Daddy’s Eyes – Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland
Color Him Father – The Winstons
Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag – James Brown
Daddy – Julie London
Go Daddy-O – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Rattlesnakin’ Daddy – Hawkshaw Hawkins
Rockin’ Daddy O – The Heartbreakers
Grand Old Dad – Fats Waller
Dreams of Our Fathers – Dave Matthews Band
Father Of Mine – Everclear
Daddy’s Song – Harry Nillson
Beautiful Boy – John Lennon
Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Roy Orbison & the Mavericks
Ships (That Pass In The Night) – Ian Hunter
My Old Man – Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Song For My Father – Horace Silver
Next week: BIRDS (the feathered variety).
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/themeparkradio