I’m extremely lucky because I live in an area where other people come to for their holidays. Here in Byron Bay, we’ve got it all – great all-year round weather, fabulous beaches, rainforest, great little hinterland villages. So where do I go on my holidays? To the city of course! I’m having a couple of weeks off to drive down the coast, visit friends and catch up with family. So I thought it appropriate that this week’s show featured a playlist of songs about holidays. And what better than to open the show with a Bing Crosby classic, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, the Beef Wellington Remix. Here’s a great clip with the scene from the 1942 film Holiday Inn, starring Crosby and Fred Astaire. Yes, I know it’s about Christmas but, hey wasn’t that just a minute ago? And besides, not only do you get to hear the song, you get to see Fred dance. How good is that!
For me holidays are more about changing your routine and catching up with people I love, more than, say, hanging poolside with masseur and daquiri at the ready. Nothing wrong with that of course. In fact the tropical island style of holiday appeals to many of the songwriters in this week’s show. A couple of examples: Typically Tropical with BARBADOS and 10cc with DREADLOCK HOLIDAY. Here’s 10CC:
Earth,Wind & Fire supplied a fine piece of R&B with GETAWAY and then it was Fiddlers Dram’s DAY TRIP TO BANGOR proving that even a short break constitutes a holiday in my books.
Next it was a classic – Connie Francis with VACATION – and then Lindsey Buckingham gave us HOLIDAY ROAD from the film National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Subway followed with the track HOLIDAY from their 2005 album Young For Eternity and then another perfect holiday song: LET’S GET AWAY FOR A WHILE from The Beach Boys.
In HOLIDAY, by the Happy Mondays, singer Shaun William Ryder is not a happy chappie. Doesn’t look like he’s going to get to his holiday destination if it’s up to the Customs officials. “I smell dope, I smell dope, I smell dope”. Careful folks.
The Go-Go’s bring things back to a less serious issue, holiday romance, in their 1982 hit, VACATION.
The Kinks had to face the culture shock of being English and taking a HOLIDAY IN WAIKIKI. The song is from their 1966 album ‘Face to Face’. Unfortunately couldn’t locate a decent clip of this track but here’s a cutie, also written by Ray Davies, HOLIDAY 1972:
I love Sky Edwards voice on the Morcheeba track THE SEA. So calming. Is it any wonder that the seaside is the number one holiday destination?
For those of us who live near the ocean, we need to look for something entirely different if the saying “a change is as good as a holiday” is going to ring true. The Gibson Brothers contributed a catchy piece of Latin Disco about a place I’ve always wanted to go to: CUBA. Here’s a rare video clip of the Gibsons from 1979:
Simple Plan are so keen to get a girl our of their life, they’ll even buy her the ticket so she can go on a long VACATION. A one way ticket out of their life. I should have included this one in my Unrequited Love show, obviously. Its from the movie NEW YORK MINUTE, but I probably didn’t need to mention that, as the band were the best thing in it.
Then it was another tale about holiday romance, except that this time it looks like it was all in Mike Skinner’s imagination. The song, FIT BUT YOU KNOW IT, from Mike’s alter-ego The Streets, tells a tale that could take place in any holiday town on a Friday night:
There was no way I was going to omit Madonna’s first hit single from 1983, HOLIDAY. While I’m not a mad fan, I do think the 80’s were her best period and this song shows her at her peak. Here she is performing during the Virgin Tour.
Weezer claimed that an ISLAND IN THE SUN is their ideal getaway. Then it was Scouting for Girls, with a song that all us workers will relate to: I NEED A HOLIDAY.
Canned Heat don’t need any tropical holiday. They’re perfectly happy GOING UP THE COUNTRY. The unofficial anthem of the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969, this one was requested by Judi, listening way up in Cairns, Northern Queensland – another great holiday destination and ironically the most tropical you can get here on the East Coast of Australia. Here’s a clip from the Woodstock film, as backdrop to Canned Heat’s iconic piece of music.
Another request: this time it’s from from Jack, who loves his Aerosmith. The song was PERMANENT VACATION. And then it was the most politically motivated song on our list, The Dead Kennedys with HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA.
After that assault on the senses, it was time to bring it down a notch. And what better way than with the wistful pop sound of Belle & Sebastian with PIAZZA, NEW YORK CATCHER. Meanwhile, Blur were following the herd on holiday from London to Greece in GIRLS AND BOYS and the Stranglers were sounding very pervy indeed in PEACHES.
Another change of pace and tone with Natalie Merchant, of 10,000 Maniacs, with a beautiful track about holiday memories, VERDI CRIES. Here she is performing on the Jonathan Ross show:
Squeeze are PULLING MUSSELS (from the shell). Like you do on holidays. The Radiators want to go on a SUMMER HOLIDAY. Ok, so we’re already into Autumn, here in the Southern Hemisphere, but it doesn’t matter what season it is, holidays are a good thing.
My idea of a great holiday is a road trip and that’s what I’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks. Driving down the coast and catching up with family and friends. My next track by The Cardigans tapped into my love of nostalgia. It’s a song that should bring back memories to all of us who, as kids, piled into DADDY’S CAR for that annual holiday trek.
We closed the show with a great song. You can’t go on a road trip without this on your compilation CD: Willy Nelson with ON THE ROAD AGAIN.
See you in a couple of weeks, when hopefully I’ll be inspired by all that driving because the theme will be ROADS AND STREETS. In the meantime, the show will continue same time, same space with Des in the chair. Next week, to celebrate International Women’s Day, he’ll be compiling a playlist dedicated to “all things feminine”. Ooh, that should be interesting. Make sure you listen in.
Here’s this week’s Holiday playlist:
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:
I’m a bit of a scardy cat about flying – being a Capricorn I like my feet firmly on the ground. But there’s no denying some of the pleasures of traveling by plane: the first glimpse of a new city at night, the first breath of unfamiliar air… and did I mention the complimentary movies? But, let’s face it, its getting harder: If the never-ending security checks don’t take the last bit of glamour out of air travel, then the eco-guilt will.
This is where music’s power to create magic from the mundane comes in. Who wants to hear a song about removing your shoes at the X-ray machine, or choosing between chicken and beef? Music reminds us that soaring above the clouds, despite all the irritations and anxiety, is a pretty amazing thing.
Back in 1957, commercial air travel was still radiant with romance, particularly, I imagine, if you were Frank Sinatra. Buoyed by Billy May’s breezy arrangement, our opening track COME FLY WITH ME invites us to join the good life. Unfortunately, I doubt that it will ever be as glamorous again.
Another aspect of air travel that you can’t escape from, especially if you live in Australia, is jetlag and The Specials capture those jetlag jitters beautifully on INTERNATIONAL JET SET. Jack Johnson reckons that the safest way to travel is in the air, as he shamelessly promotes NORTHWEST AIRLINES while Billy Bragg and Wilco have booked to travel on an AIRLINE TO HEAVEN.
The Foo Fighters win the prize for the funniest video clip with LEARN TO FLY. Having TENACIOUS D, (Jack Black and Kyle Gass), guesting wasn’t a bad move either. Check it out:
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. Relax….
Time to take a listen to the Boxtops who don’t have time to take a fast train, they need a ticket for an aeroplane. Their baby just sent them a LETTER. The Beatles are keen to tell us all about a “dreadful” flight to the USSR from Miami Beach in the opening track from their White album, BACK IN THE USSR.
Prince is addicted to air travel. After all, without it how could he call himself an INTERNATIONAL LOVER? Jonathan Richman, bless his little cotton socks, likes nothing better that to imagine that he’s A LITTLE AIRPLANE. I think they’ve both got a little bit of explaining to do!
In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.
It would be impossible to choose between the talented siblings, Angus and Julia Stone. Their song, PAPER AEROPLANE,is dedicated to the best way to send a letter. Take a look at this clip.
The Byrds wrote the song EIGHT MILES HIGH about their first trip to London. Lyricist Gene Clark suffered badly from a fear of flying. Roger McGuinn’s Coltrane-inspired guitar solo led some radio stations to ban it because they thought it was a drug song. Silly people.
With AMELIA Joni Mitchell turns to the ghost of vanished aviator Amelia Earheart to confide the regrets of a life ruled by wanderlust: “I’ve spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude.” That girl certainly knows how to write a lyric.
I love AIRPLANE SONG by Scouting for Girls. Here’s the original 2006 demo for you to look/listen to. Yeah, get yourself on an aeroplane, ’cause its been too long since you went away.
We now need to lock our trays and put our seats into the upright position. Turbulence ahead with the Steve Miller Band singing JET AIRLINER, Hoodoo Gurus with I WAS A KAMIKAZEE PILOT, HELICOPTER by Bloc Party and Red Hot Chili Peppers with ZEPHYR SONG.
We can’t forget the humble flight attendant and there’s no better song to do it with than the Hall & Oates number LAS VEGAS TURNAROUND (otherwise known as the, non-PC, Stewardess Song).
We followed with Goldfrapp singing FLY ME AWAY. Now if you listen to the show or read the blog, you’ll know that I’m a film/video freak and especially like good animation. Take a look at this fantastically quirky video clip for Goldfrapp’s song.
To finish the show: Susan Raye’s one and only hit, L.A. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
Now, as you exit the aircraft, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed amongst the Theme Park cabin crew and, as the captain, I’ll get first pick.
Next week: AUTOMOBILES when I’m looking forward to playing Mic Conway’s National Junk Band’s tune, WHO GAVE YOU THE LICENCE TO DRIVE ME CRAZY?
Drop me a line if you have any requests!
Here’s this week’s playlist:
Come Fly with Me – Frank Sinatra
International Jet Set – The Specials
Northwest Airlines Blues – Big Jack Johnson
Learn To Fly – Foo Fighters
Airline To Heaven – Billy Bragg & Wilco
The Letter – The Boxtops
Back In The USSR – The Beatles
International Lover – Prince
I’m A Little Airplane – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Paper Aeroplane – Angus & Julia Stone
Takeoffs and Landings – The Ataris
Eight Miles High – The Byrds
The Airplane Song – Scouting For Girls
Amelia – Joni Mitchell
Jet Airliner – Steve Miller Band
Zepher Song – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
I Was A Kamikazee Pilot – Hoodoo Gurus
Helicopter – Bloc Party
Las Vegas Turnaround – Hall & Oates
Fly Me Away – Goldfrapp
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
Plane Crash in C – Rilo Kiley
LA International Airport – Susan Raye
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
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