Memories can haunt us, no matter how much we want to escape them. There are false memories, conflicting memories of the same event and memories that clash with the reality of the present. Thanks to mass media, memory isn’t something that only belongs to us as individuals. When we see scenes at the cinema or television or on DVDs over and over again, they become part of our collective memory. Even if you’ve never seen the film King Kong you know that there’s a scene where a big gorilla climbs up the Empire State Building with a human girl in his hand. And whenever a comedy show or film features a scene where someone is killed or threatened in a shower most people understand it’s a parody of Psycho. So mass media, film and television in particular, have contributed hugely to a memory that we share with millions of other people.
Unfortunately, we remember melancholy and pleasure in equal measure. The concept of looking back in hindsight is also a bit complicated. It’s easy to write off youthful idealism as simply being naïve as Stevie Wonder did in our opening number YESTERME, YESTERYOU, YESTERDAY. According to Stevie it was all “a cruel and foolish game we used to play”. Well that’s how he remembers it anyway.
And talking of cruel, I can’t imagine anything worse than getting Alzheimer’s disease and Elvis Costello’s song VERONICA is all about that. It tells the story of an old lady who lives in a nursing home and is gradually losing her memory. It was inspired by Costello’s grandmother.
The Ramones want to know DO YOU REMEMBER ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO? Has it ever gone away?
Collecting objects that remind us of old times should bring back good memories, but that’s not always the case as Soft Cell tell it in MEMORABILIA. Sarah Vaughan would rather experience something that didn’t work out than never do anything at all in I’D RATHER HAVE A MEMORY THAN A DREAM. The real classic of this triple play, however, was the Shangri-Las with their ode to a lost love affair: REMEMBER (WALKIN IN THE SAND). Here’s a great clip from the excellent “Songmakers Collection” DVD, with interviews with Mary Weiss and writer producer George ‘Shadow’ Morton about this track and their other hit, LEADER OF THE PACK.
Jurassic 5 dug deep into their memory banks for REMEMBER HIS NAME. As did Fall Out Boy for THNKS FR TH MMRS . The Zutons, REMEMBER ME is about those kind of friends who seem to forget you once they are entrenched in a romantic relationship. Don’t you just hate that!
THOSE WERE THE DAYS is from Cream’s 1968 album Wheels of Fire. The album cover was designed by Australian artist Martin Sharpe and it won the the New York Art Directors Prize for best album cover in 1969. The sound on the album was characterised by a hybrid of blues, hard rock and psychdelic rock, combined with Eric Clapton’s blues guitar, Ginger Baker’s jazz-influenced drumming and the basslines and voice of Jack Bruce.
One of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard belongs to Sarah McLachlan. And one of my favourite songs of hers is one that I first heard on the soundtrack to the film The Brothers McMullen. It’s called I WILL REMEMBER YOU.
Otis Redding’s name is synonymous with the term ‘soul’ and we had to include his classic with I’VE GOT DREAMS TO REMEMBER. Redding died at the very early age of 26 but his memory is kept alive with the Youth Educational Dream Foundation and a very good website. Go to: http://www.otisredding.com/
British group Bloc Party look back regretfully on an opportunity for love that wasn’t realised in I STILL REMEMBER:
The Kinks wonder what ever happened to their childhood friend in DO YOU REMEMBER WALTER? It’s from their album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.
The Supremes reflected on the good and bad memories of a love that used to be in REFLECTIONS while Jimi Hendrix had only good memories of a past love, (he even wants her back!), in REMEMBER.
Relationships that survive depend partly on shared memories, but those memories need constant topping up. Indie rockers, Yo La Tengo document this well in OUR WAY TO FALL.
There was a fair bit of nostalgia in this week’s show, (well what did you expect?) and one of my faves was The Platters with REMEMBER WHEN. Also fitting the bill was Elvis Presley who seems somewhat confused in I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET.
Memories, daydreams, disconnected thoughts – they fill our minds in a never-ending rush. Our next song, THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND, evoked this beautifully, conveying the incredible weirdness of our thought processes. If you’re after nostalgia then what about Noel Harrison with the original version of the song that served the film The Thomas Crown Affair so well.
Ok back to recent memories. Jack Johnson wonders DO YOU REMEMBER? and P.M. Dawn are SET ADRIFT ON A MEMORY. Thanks to Lynden for suggesting that one and several others on our list today.
One of my favourite films deals with amnesia. Memento, starring Guy Pearce, and directed by Christopher Nolan, is a fascinating story about someone who can’t store new memories. A song about about the subject is I DON’T REMEMBER by Peter Gabriel.
Bob Dylan’s memory song is a love ballad from the Empire Burlesque album: I’LL REMEMBER YOU. And if its nostalgia that you’re after, consider MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS from Dean Martin. An oldie but a goodie, as they say.
I’ll never forget Michael Jackson with REMEMBER THE TIME from the Dangerous album. Another sad memory for me is Freddy Mercury singing THOSE WERE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES which many think was the song he dedicated to his fellow Queen members when he knew that he was dying.
Back to the 70’s and some Aussie based punk rock: remember The Saints and MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS?
We closed the show with a cover of a song that I swore I wouldn’t play this week, but this version is so sweet it had to make the cut: The Waifs with a little help from Clare Bowditch. They’re singing Frank Ifields I REMEMBER YOU.
This week’s theme on MEMORY segues nicely into next week’s topic. My computer crashed last week and I had to invest in a drive with a lot more memory to cope with all the songs that I collect for these shows. So next week its MACHINES, ROBOTS AND COMPUTERS. No Television or Radio songs please because you know they are a whole theme to themselves. and no modes of transport, for the same reason. But any other gadget or gizmo is up for grabs.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist. All songs available on iTunes.
Yesterme Yesteryou Yesterday – Stevie Wonder
Veronica – Elvis Costello
Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio – The Ramones
Memorabilia – Soft Cell
I’d Rather Have a Memory Than a Dream – Sarah Vaughan
Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand) – The Shangri-Las
Remember his name – Jurassic 5
Thnks fr th Mmrs – Fall Out Boy
Remember Me – The Zutons
Those Were The Days – Cream
I Will Remember You – Sarah Mclachlan
I’ve Got Dreams To Remember – Otis Redding
I Still Remember – Bloc Party
Do You Remember Walter – The Kinks
Reﬂections – Diana Ross & the Supremes
Remember – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Our Way to Fall – Yo La Tengo
Remember When – The Platters
I Forgot to Remember to Forget – Elvis Presley
Do You Remember – Jack Johnson
The Windmills Of Your Mind – Noel Harrison
Set Adrift On Memory Bliss – P.M. Dawn
I Don’t Remember – Peter Gabriel
I’ll Remember You – Bob Dylan
Memories Are Made Of This – Dean Martin
Remember The Time – Michael Jackson
Memories Are Made of This – The Saints
Those Were The Days Of Our Lives – Queen
Remember You (feat. Clare Bowditch) – The Waifs
Now I know that in reality fire is pretty frightening, and I don’t take the current fire warnings lightly, but for songwriters, flames represent love, dancing and, above all, passion. And that just can’t be a bad thing.
In reggae and punk, however, fire has a moral – almost purging – quality to it. Recorded as riots swept Britain in 1979, the Ruts incredibly tense BABYLON’S BURNING foresees the demise of western civilisation. Extra points, too, for starting the song with a fire alarm and siren. Excellent.
DISCO INFERNO from the Trammps, would normally be a scary newspaper headline but when you’re grooving away to very this funky track, you know that it’s more about burning up the dance floor, rather than burning down the building. Here’s a clip from the song that is probably best remembered from the film Saturday Night Fever :
The Pointer Sisters know all about passion. Cause when they kiss, its oooooh FIRE. Dido, on the other hand is way more restrained in her rendition of FEELS LIKE FIRE, her contribution to Carlos Santana’s album Shaman. This is a very interesting album and worth a listen with its mix of hip-hop, rap and pop artists.
Last week in our Covers show, Patricia Barber did a great version of the Doors’ LIGHT MY FIRE. I wasn’t beyond playing the tune again, as it suits the theme, but this time it was the very sexy version by the beautiful Julie London. In complete contrast, M.I.A. came out fighting with FIRE, FIRE as she reckons relationships are more like a battlefield. Fair enough.
Country fans weren’t ignored. First it was a classic from Johnny Cash – RING OF FIRE – that I teamed with BABY I’M BURNIN’ from the wonderful Dolly Parton. To round out the set, who else but, Bruce Springsteen burning up the airwaves with I’M ON FIRE.
Time: 1983. Place: Any Disco in Town. Talking Heads creepy dance track, BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE, was inspired by the crowd at a Funkadelic concert shouting ‘Burn Down the House’ but David Byrnes’ penetrating delivery suggests that he may have taken it way too literally. At the same time Madonna was emerging as the next big thing and she exhibits the combination of erotic heat and disco fever that would keep her in good stead for the rest of her career. The song, of course, was BURNING UP. Here’s a clip of Talking Heads with BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE, a great example of art-school punks of the 80’s.
In a show about FIRE we can’t leave out Deep Purple’s SMOKE ON THE WATER. So, we didn’t. Here’s a clip of the original Mark II lineup in New York, 1973. One of the final performances, this is one of the only videos of the band performing it in the 70’s with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover.
The second hour of the show was suitably launched with the Lord of Hellfire himself, Arthur Brown with FIRE. That was followed by Brian Eno’s strange little song, BABY’S ON FIRE. It started Eno’s post-Roxy Music solo career and owes as much to Robert Fripp’s guitar solo as it does to Eno’s sinister vocals. Then it was time for some lovin’ music and Teddy Pendergrass & Stephanie Mills were definitely burning with desire with their song FEEL THE FIRE.
Last week on our Covers show I played some Elvis, (Presley that is, not Costello), and Mel from BayFM’s Rollin’ program told me that she was sorry that we didn’t hear more of the King on local radio, so who am I disappoint the gorgeous Mel, especially when it fits so beautifully with this week’s theme? So it was one of Elvis’ best: BURNING LOVE.
Here’s a great triple play: Jimi Hendrix with FIRE, Prodigy with their first UK number one single, the controversial FIRESTARTER and then it was the Stones with PLAY WITH FIRE. This track was the B side to ‘The Last Time’. Released in 1965, it was recorded the night before they left to tour Australia. The video for this track is quite pedestrian, so I’d rather show you something wild – and so, the Prodigy’s official video for FIRESTARTER it is. Enjoy.
There was still time for Nirvana’s LAKE OF FIRE and Natalie Merchant’s THIS HOUSE IS ON FIRE. I really liked the combination in this set. And then it was time to finish up with Aussie made good Daniel Merriweather supported by Adele, with WATER AND FLAME. The final song was a guilty pleasure (as if I didn’t include enough of them already!) – a song that I probably should have included in the program on FAMOUS PEOPLE – Billy Joel’s WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE. Check it out and you’ll understand why:
Here’s the complete playlist:
Trains criss-cross the musical landscape like nothing else. Blues, country and jazz are especially prone to a song about trains as the genres were dominant in our culture before the decline of the railroads. And these trains always bear a lot of symbolic freight – from separations to reunions, deaths to dance moves (remember Little Eva’s LOCOMOTION anyone?). We opened the show with Gove Scrivenor singing I’VE GOT A THING ABOUT TRAINS. Join the club Gove! My Dad was a railway worker and so trains hold a certain sentimental fascination for me too.
The classic song MYSTERY TRAIN is evocative enough to have inspired one of my favourite films by Jim Jarmusch. How could you go wrong with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Joe Strummer and Tom Waits in the cast? Elvis’ version of the song MYSTERY TRAIN gave the tune a strong injection of optimism but, before the King got hold of it, Little Junior’s Blue Flames made the tune a spooky piece of work.
Trains have particular resonance in black music: trains to heaven, trains to hell, and trains to freedom. The O’Jays’ LOVE TRAIN is a, very funky, utopian call for global unity. Check out this great video clip: its from the television show ‘Soul Train’ and its the weekly line dance, using the O’Jays music. The year was 1973. Loving the hair, the outfits….
The Staple Singers gospel song, THIS TRAIN, is “bound for glory”, but not, please note, if you’re a gambler or a midnight rambler. Less restricting is Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions with PEOPLE GET READY. And I can’t get enough of The Ethiopians as they ride an unstoppable bassline all the way to Skaville.
And, just to prove that songs about Trains are in favour across all genres and generations, Michelle Shocked delivered a goodie that uses the train symbolically: IF LOVE WAS A TRAIN. (According to Michelle, she’d be a slow one –excellent!). Soul Asylum followed with RUNAWAY TRAIN and then it was Sarah McLachlan with the fantastic song TRAIN WRECK from her Afterglow album. Check out this live performance:
We played Arlo Guthrie’s version of THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. Steve Goodman wrote the song in 1970. He was actually on the train and wrote about what he saw looking out of the window and while playing cards in the club car. Everything in the song happened on the ride. When he returned home he heard that the train was going to be taken out of service, due to a lack of passengers. He reworked the lyrics a bit and used the song to save the train. Arlo Guthrie’s cover in 1972 brought attention to rail lines that were vanishing across middle America when people, who lived in rural areas, relied on trains to travel.
Railroad songs are populated by a colorful assortment of characters: heroes, outlaws and lovers to name a few. But one of the most enduring, especially in country music, is the humble hobo. The itinerant “wanderer” has been a recurring character throughout history but the railroads presented him with the opportunity to cover vast expanses of territory in relatively little time. For many, the urge to hop a train and ride it as far as it would take them was a form of wanderlust too powerful to resist. For others, the rails offered a way out of desperate situations. Whatever the reason, railroads – and hobos – provided plenty of material for good song lyrics.
Jimmy Rodgers got his material first hand. The son of a railway worker, he went to work as a “water boy” on the trains at age fourteen. His song WAITING FOR THE TRAIN, was recorded in the early 1930s. It captures the hobo’s feelings of loneliness beautifully. Another hobo classic followed: I GOT THE BOXCAR BLUES from Boxcar Willie.
The Guns & Roses song NIGHT TRAIN is only slightly connected to Trains. A a tribute to an infamous brand of cheap Californian wine called NIGHT TRAIN EXPRESS, it was extremely popular with the band during their early days – mainly because of its low price and high alcohol content. However, on this clip from a live performance in 1988, they profess in their intro that its not about drugs and drink, but about a ‘walk in the park’. Uh huh. Check it out:
Big Joe Turner is hoping that the MIDNIGHT SPECIAL will bring his baby back to him. And Otis Rush is also a bit despondent: There are SO MANY ROADS and SO MANY TRAINS to ride before he can find his baby again. No matter what the lyrics seem to say, all our train songs today had one thing in common: they use the train journey as a metaphor for life.
Our last song of the day took me back to my back-packing days: Crosby Stills & Nash with MARRAKESH EXPRESS. Here’s a BBC clip of Graham Nash and David Crosby (not sure why Stills wasn’t there). Sweet stuff.
Next week, its PLANES.
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
I’ve Got A Thing About Trains – Gove Scrivenor
Mystery Train – Little Junior Parker & His Blue Flames
The Train (Feat Scar & Sleepy Brown) – Outkast
Love Train – Ojays
This Train – The Staple Singers
People Get Ready – Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions
Train To Skaville – The Ethiopians
If Love Was a Train – Michelle Shocked
Runaway Train – Soul Aslyum
Train Wreck – Sarah McLachlan
The City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie
Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
That Train Don’t Stop Here – Ruth Brown
Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees
Waiting For A Train – Jimmy Rodgers
I Got The Boxcar Blues – Boxcar Willie
Engine Number Nine – Wilson Pickett
Party Train – The Dazz Band
Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips
Jumping Someone Else’s Train – The Cure
Night Train – Guns N’ Roses
Midnight Special Train – Big Joe Turner
So Many Roads, So Many Trains – Otis Rush
Hear My Train A-Comin’ – Jimi Hendrix
Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
Marrakesh Express – Crosby, Stills & Nash
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM Tuesdays 2-4pm (Sydney time). Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
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This week we paid homage to Winter which started June 1, here in the Southern hemisphere. So it was a case of battening down, buttoning up and making the most of it! We opened the show with IT MAY BE WINTER OUTSIDE (BUT IN MY HEART ITS SPRING), a wonderfully optimistic tune by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a group created by the master of smooth soul himself, Barry White.
For this show, as usual, I pilfered from all genres, from jazz and r&b through to folk, country and pop, with lots of rock, both classic and alternative thrown in for good measure. And we even got Tom Waites to read the weather!
As it was raining, yet again, here in the Northern Rivers, we set the mood with a great terrific piece of doo wop from the Spaniels: STORMY WEATHER and then it was a great version of BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE by Tom Jones with Cerys Matthews from Catatonia. This take on Frank Loesser’s pop standard certainly cements Tom’s reputation with the laaadies. The video for this is so camp, you must check it out:
Sarah McLachlan offered up SONG FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT while Annie Lennox sang about the COLD with such intensity that I could almost feel it penetrating my bones. And then the Pixies belted out a fantastic, upbeat version of Neil Young’s WINTERLONG.
The Hank Williams song COLD COLD HEART has been covered by many artists but you know that I had to include Roy Orbison’s version, which I love. It’s from his Hank Williams tribute album. We followed that with Sister Hazel and YOUR WINTER and Simon & Garfunkle’s A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER.
Our mild winters, here in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, help to make this a very pleasant place to live all year round. So when you start whingeing (like I do) about how cold the nights are, consider some of these CHILLING FACTS:
1. Charlotte Pass (NSW) has the Australian record for the lowest recorded temperature. It was -23 degrees C on 18/6/94.
2. In Vostok, Antartica, the lowest minimum temperature in the world was recorded on 5/2/1892. It was -89.2 degrees C.
Brrrr. Thank goodness we’ve got music to warm the cockles of our hearts. What does that mean exactly? What are the cockles of your heart? Really, I’m perplexed, so if anyone knows how this saying came about I’d love to know.
Gwen Stefani is surprisingly good with her rendition of EARLY WINTER as is one of last year’s big discoveries, Fleet Foxes with WHITE WINTER HYMNAL. And for all you animation freaks, (of which I am one), here is the amazing video clip for you to savour.
A very moving tune by the Eels from their album, Electro-Shock Blues followed. DEAD OF WINTER was written largely as a response to frontman Mark Oliver Everett’s sister’s suicide and his mother’s terminal cancer. Although that sounds rather bleak, the album’s underlying message is a positive one, about coping with life’s tragedies and moving forward. I absolutely love the honesty of this album and highly commend it to you.
After Bobby Bland’s tortured COLD DAY IN HELL, we definitely needed a bit of cheering up and Fats Domino delivered with LET THE FOUR WINDS BLOW.
Here’s another Chilling Fact about Winter: Wind chill is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the effects of temperature and wind speed are combined. A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder. Brrr and double Brrrr.
Now someone who knows all about chilly winds and cool temperatures is Tom Waites. He very kindly presented the weather, of sorts, with his EMOTIONAL WEATHER REPORT. Here is a version that he performed in 1977 in Berlin, but if you can get a copy of his 1975 album Nighthawks at the Diner, you will get what I think is a better, and still live, performance. But hey, check this one out, still highly amusing for all kinds of reasons.
It doesn’t matter how cold it gets, if you’ve got a lover to keep you warm. So says Billy Holiday who sang I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM and then it was Muddy Waters with BLOW WIND BLOW. And a first for Theme Park, was Madonna with a perfect piece of pop for a show about Winter: FROZEN, from her Ray of Light album.
Led Zeppelin gave us their IMMIGRANT SONG, written while on a tour of Iceland in 1970 and I couldn’t really leave out Foreigner with COLD AS ICE or STONE COLD from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, could I?
Belle & Sebastian’s very twee THE FOX IN THE SNOW and the equally cutesy CLOUDY from Simon & Garfunkle sequed beautifully into ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN IN THE MARKET. This very silly tune is classic Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
I was obviously going a bit nutty with my winter tracks and so there was no stopping the delirium. Why not play Trans Siberian Orchestra with their crazy bit of Orchestral Rock, WIZARDS IN WINTER? But hopefully my credibility was saved with The White Stripes and IN THE COLD COLD NIGHT. Congrats to Meg White who recently married Jackson Smith, son of Patti Smith. Now there’s a gene pool for you!
OH LARSEN B, by British Sea Power from their 2005 album, Open Season followed, along with a cutey by The Fiery Furnaces: TROPICAL ICELAND. And a crazy video clip to match – check it out:
Final song for the show was one of my obsessions. AC/DC with THUNDERSTRUCK. And no matter how many times I see this video, I can’t get enough of Angus and that glass runway. May as well add to the 21 million hits on YouTube. So, here it is, just because I can!
Another one of my obsessions has given me the topic for next week – SHOES! So send me some suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, here is the complete playlist from this week:
It may be Winter Outside (But in my Heart it’s Spring) – Love Unlimited Orchestra
Baby its Cold Outside – Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews
Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles
Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah Mclachlan
Cold – Annie Lennox
Winterlong – The Pixies
Cold, Cold, Heart – Roy Orbison
Your Winter – Sister Hazel
A Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
Early Winter – Gwen Stefani
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Dead of Winter – Eels
Cold Day in Hell – Bobby Bland
Let The Four Winds Blow – Fats Domino
Emotional Weather Report -Tom Waits
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Billie Holiday
Blow Wind Blow – Muddy Waters
Frozen – Madonna
Stone Cold – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Cold As Ice – Foreigner
Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
Abominable Snowman In The Market – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Cloudy – Simon & Garfunkel
The Fox In The Snow – Belle & Sebastian
Wizards in Winter – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
In The Cold Cold Night – The White Stripes
Tropical Iceland – The Fiery Furnaces
Oh Larsen B – British Sea Power
Thunderstruck – ACDC
Next week’s show: SHOES
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park on BayFM 99.9 every Tuesday 2-4pm (Sydney time). Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org