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SONGS ABOUT RESURRECTION

It’s Easter, so I set myself the challenge this week of compiling a list of songs about RESURRECTION. Yes, I know I could have looked at chocolate or bunny rabbits, but hey, you know I like to shake things up a bit! The meaning and long traditions behind the concept of resurrection make it a powerful device for the songwriter. It can be used in the biblical context, or figuratively to describe some sort of rebirth or re-emergence from darkness. Music fans, of course, will be familiar with musicians coming back from the dead, but we’re not dealing with comebacks here. We’ll keep that subject for another show.

Ashton, Gardner & Dyke’s one hit wonder, RESURRECTION SHUFFLE, delivered a terrifically upbeat start to the program. Here they are on Top of the Pops in the 70s:

The prince of darkness, Nick Cave, has the perfect resurrection song in DIG, LAZARUS, DIG!! Here he is with the Bad Seeds performing live on Jools Holland (I’ll say it again, what a brilliant, brilliant show!). The year was 2008 and that’s Jack White on the sidelines looking in absolute awe of the band.

Eric Burdon wrestles with doubt on his version of Blind Willie Johnson’s SOUL OF A MAN.  Melbourne group The Temper Trap, now based in the U.K have a great song called  RESURRECTION on their Aria Award winning album “Condition”. Then it was Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople with ROLL AWAY THE STONE. This clips is from Top of the Pops 1973. Scary.

With possibly the longest name on our playlist, Sufjan Stevens contributed our first zombie song on the list. Come on, zombies were a given, surely, on a show about coming back from the dear. THEY ARE ZOMBIES!! THEY ARE NEIGHBORS. THEY HAVE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD, AHHHH!  is, I think, absolutely brilliant.

What’s a show on the subject of resurrection without gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her Easter song, CAN’T NO GRAVE HOLD MY BODY DOWN?. Sister Rosetta sings about rolling the stone away. Vic Chesnutt, on the other hand sings of leaving the stone in place. Apparently imagining himself as Jesus in his tomb, he’s also wracked by self-doubt on STAY INSIDE.

Dido and AR Rahman sing IF I RISE. It’s the beautiful theme to the film 127 Hours. Adore the film and the song.

Gil Scott-Heron is one of those performers that came back from the dead musically and aren’t we glad he did? On B MOVIE he suggests that this life is just a rehearsal of sorts and that there’s another life waiting for us when the great director in the sky calls cut. Well, I’m not sure I believe that. But who knows?

You know you’ve always got to have your  sense of humour firmly intact at the Theme Park, because nothing is sacred. We had a chuckle with Spinal Tap and their 2009 release  BACK FROM THE DEAD. That was followed by Nancy Sinatra and the Bond theme, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.

The Moody Blues gave us their ode to Timothy Leary: LEGEND OF A MIND. According to them, he’s not dead, he’s just astral travelling! But of course he is. It was the 70’s when this was recorded after all.

Single File gave us our second zombie song on the list with the very amusing ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBOURS. And then it was Alison Moyet with LOVE RESURRECTION, from her 1983 album Alf. According to Alison, when it comes to love, everyone needs a little divine intervention.

Pink Floyd’s COMING BACK TO LIFE is from a live performance album they released in 2009. Then it was The Stone Roses with their anti-Christianity song I AM THE RESURRECTION. Feeling that we probably should show some impartiality on matters religious, we included Frightened Rabbit with HEAD ROLLS OFF. They seem to believe in God and an afterlife but nevertheless promote the idea that what you do while you’re alive is the most important thing. Can’t argue with that.

M. Ward gets a little help from Norah Jones on ONE LIFE AWAY where he imagines that, when you walk on peoples graves, they are “listening to the sound of the living people living their lives away”Here’s the awesome Mark Lanegan performing on Irish TV in 2004. The track is RESURRECTION SONG. Brilliant as always.

Now it would be a serious omission if I didn’t mention this weekend’s Byron Bay Blues Fest, so as a tribute to that we closed with songs on Resurrection  from two of the icons appearing at the event: First up, the marvellous Mavis Staples with WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN, which I dedicate to my Dad who died 20 years ago this week.  And finally, it was ‘born again’ Bob Dylan with IN THE GARDEN. For my Dad, here’s Mavis on the Jools Holland show:

For next week’s show I’ve been inspired by the Royal Wedding (I kid you not) and the show will be on WEDDINGS AND MARRIAGE. I think we can have some fun with this. I’ll be transforming the BayFM studio into the Chapel of Love. And it will be my last show at this time slot. After that I’ll be presenting Theme Park in a shorter and sweeter one hour format on Monday’s 1-2pm, so I hope that you tune in then.

Have a great Easter! Here’s the complete playlist:

Resurrection Shuffle – Ashton, Gardner and Dyke

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

Soul Of A Man – Eric Burdon

Resurrection – The Temper Trap

Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople

They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!! – Sufjan Stevens

Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Stay Inside – Vic Chesnutt

If I Rise – A.R. Rahman

B Movie – Gil Scott-Heron

Back From The Dead – Spinal Tap

You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra

Legend Of A Mind – The Moody Blues

Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Single File

Love Resurrection – Alison Moyet

Coming Back To Life – Pink Floyd

I Am The Resurrection – The Stone Roses

Head Rolls Off – Frightened Rabbit

One Life Away – M. Ward

Resurrection Song – Mark Lanegan

Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Mavis Staples

In The Garden – Bob Dylan

Next week: MARRIAGE

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

RECORDED FOR FILM

As you will no doubt be aware, the Academy Awards are coming up and in honour of the Oscar tradition of jazzing up a long-running format with dubious gimmicks, this week’s Theme Park was dedicated to Original Songs Recorded For Film.  Here at BayFm we’re always on a budget so you just have to imagine the red carpet, the paparazzi and my fabulous outfit.

J’aimee Skippon-Volke from the Byron Film Festival also paid us a visit and we had a chat about what’s screening at the festival this year. She kindly gave away some tickets to our loyal subscribers, as did the wonderful people at the Dendy Cinema who are screening most of the Oscar nominees at the moment. Thanks guys and congrats to the lucky listeners who won those.

STAYIN’ ALIVE was written and recorded by The Bee Gees in 1977 for the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and the album defined the Bee Gees as they ushered in the disco era. None of the songs from this best selling album were nominated for an Oscar, with the Best Original Song of 1977 going to “You Light Up My Life’ from the widely panned film of the same name. Go figure.

Another oversight by the Academy is WHEN DOVES CRY from Prince’s brilliant album ‘Purple Rain’ which supported the film of the same name. Funky, sexy and totally rockin’ the album was nothing short of revolutionary and probably far too much for the staid Academy committee to take in. Prince doesn’t like to have his music on YouTube so it was difficult to get a good video of him performing the song, but here’s an extract from a DVD called ‘Prince – The Glory Years’:

Simon & Garfunkle wrote MRS ROBINSON especially for the film ‘The Graduate’. Thanks Judi, all the way from Cairns, for suggesting that one.

The Beatles A HARD DAY’S NIGHT is so iconic that many of us forget that all eight original songs plus four instrumentals are from the Beatles first movie.

And then it was one of my guilty pleasures, TONIGHT I’M GONNA ROCK YOU TONIGHT, from ‘This is Spinal Tap’. Not nominated for an  Oscar either! What was the Academy thinking!

Prior to Bob Marley, nothing did more to make reggae popular than the soundtrack to THE HARDER THEY COME. Jimmy Cliff’s title song does the work of the film in less than four minutes. Gotta be the best reggae song ever written for a movie. The year was 1972 and the Oscar for Best Original song that year went to The Morning After from ‘The Poseidon Adventure’. Jimmy was robbed!

Here’s a song that actually did win an Oscar. Another guilty pleasure, I’m afraid,  but in 1987 while all else around us was synth-pop, we fell hard for the film ‘Dirty Dancing’. The song? I’VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE from Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes.  Oh, stop it, you know you were waiting for this one!  R.I.P. Patrick Swayze.

Ok, I’m on a roll…. Yet another song that won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and who would have thought a rap song could pull it off?  Eminem’s LOSE YOURSELF was written for his hit film 8 MILE, released in 2002.


Stevie Wonder’s I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU pipped two songs from the film ‘Footloose’ at the post to take out the Best Original Song in 1984. But he wasn’t the first black artist to take out the award. Back in 1971 Isaac Hayes’ soul and funk style THEME FROM SHAFT won the Oscar, making Hayes the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category, for that matter). Check out the opening credit sequence from the film, which uses the theme so superbly. Damn right!

Danny Boyle’s amazing film ‘127 Hours’ is nominated in various categories this year, including Best Original Song and Best Film. He also directed ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which in 2008 walked away with 8 Oscars. That year two of the songs from the film were nominated and JAI HO won the Oscar, but I prefer the song that missed out, O…SAYA by A.R. Rahman and M.I.A.

By having the actors write and perform their own songs, director Robert Altman managed to capture the sprawling heart of the ’70s Nashville music scene, the good, the bad and the just plain hokey. And while the album has its high and low points, the high points got their due: Keith Carradine’s I’M EASY won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1975.

Zoe suggested that I play the whole album from the film INTO THE WILD. Ah yes, if only I had the time. But we definitely had to play something from this wonderful soundtrack, which was composed by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame. So, my pick was SOCIETY.

Rebecca suggested PLAYGROUND LOVE from the Virgin Suicides soundtrack. it’s  by the group Air and it has to be one of the most beautiful love songs written. An Oscar? No, of course not.

In 1969 the film ‘Midnight Cowboy’ won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. But no best song, not even a nomination. It was a strong year with Raindrops are Falling on my Head from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid taking out the honours, but I do have a soft spot for Harry Nilsson, so we had to play EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’. Here’s the opening sequence with Jon Voight as Joe Buck. Not even a nomination, what gives?

Bruce Springsteen’s STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA from the 1993 film ‘Philadelphia’ did go on to win Best Original Song for Springsteen. So, sometimes the Academy does get it right, it seems. As it did last year with  THE WEARY KIND from a film that I also adore, ‘Crazy Heart’. The song was sung by Ryan Bingham.

MEMO FROM TURNER is a song written by the Rolling Stones for Nic Roeg’s film ‘Performance’. Ry Cooder provides slide guitar on the track, which was enough reason for me to include it, despite it not even being nominated for an Oscar. The film starred Mick Jagger as a sex-crazed rock star. I think it probably should have been awarded an Oscar for type-casting, surely! Love the fact that Mick lip-syncs to himself…

Like James Brown’s Black Caesar and Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man, Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Superfly’ album typified the blaxploitation tradition of soundtracks that eclipsed, and in this case outgrossed, their original inspirations. FREDDIE’S DEAD was my pick from this soundtrack.

It would have been remiss of me not to play at least one of the nominated songs from this year’s Academy Awards. So I went  to go out on a limb and forecast that IF I RISE from ‘127 Hours’ should take the guernsey on Oscar’s night. With music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong, I think its the best of the bunch. Great footage from the film as well, on this clip:

We finished the show with a divine song from Louis Armstrong. WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD was one of the themes for the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, starring George Lazenby and Dianna Rigg. Composed by John Barry, with lyrics by Hal David, Barry has been quoted as saying that this is the finest piece of music he ever wrote.

Next week the theme will be SMOKING. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of nicotine or other smoking substances, for that matter. But gee, there are some good songs on the topic, aren’t there? So I have no shame. Smoking it is. Or maybe we should call it THANKS FOR NOT SMOKING. Put your thinking caps on and get in touch, especially if you have an anti-smoking song for our list.

While you’re pondering your choices, take a look at the playlist from this week:

Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees, Bee Gees Greatest

When Doves Cry – Prince, Purple Rain

Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel, The Graduate

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night

Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight – Spinal Tap, Back From the Dead

The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff, The Harder They Come

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes, Dirty Dancing

Lose Yourself – Eminem, 8 Miles

I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder, The Very Best Of

Theme From Shaft – Issac Hayes, Shaft

O…Saya – A R Rahman & M.I.A., Slumdog Millionaire

I’m Easy – Keith Carradine, Nashville

Society – Eddie Vedder, Into The Wild

Playground Love – Air, Virgin Suicides

Everybody’s Talkin’ – Harry Nilsson, Midnight Cowboy

Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen, Philadelphia

The Weary Kind – Ryan Bingham, Crazy Heart

Memo From Turner – The Rolling Stones, The Stones

Freddie’s Dead – Curtis Mayfield, Superfly

If I Rise – Dido, AR Rahman, 127 Hours

We Have All the Time In the World – Louis Armstrong, The Best of Bond

Next week:  SMOKING

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

SWEETS

SWEETS: luscious lollipops, creamy cakes and pies, rich, dark chocolate and sticky toffees. Don’t pretend that these words don’t fill your mind with naughty thoughts. Yes, everyone knows that when songwriters come over all sweet it can only mean one thing, its “sexy time’.

You may be pleased to know that not all the songs on our playlist were about carnal delights. Having said that, we started the show with Bow Wow Wow’s cover of the Strangeloves I WANT CANDY. There is no doubting the sexual nature of this little ditty. “Candy on the beach, there’s nothing better.” “Someday soon I’ll make him mine and then I’ll have candy all the time.” Come on!

Nina Simone is hanging out for some more of something, and I don’t think its sugar, despite what she sings on the classic Blues track SUGAR IN MY BOWL. Big Maybelle is equally audacious. She reckons her man is just a nice piece of  CANDY.

I’ve definitely got a sweet tooth and, so, I was ecstatic to have Jackie and Renee from Brown Betty’s Bakery into the studio to tell us about their boutique business and to giveaway some mouth-watering goodies. I love Brown Betty’s, not just because they have the best baked goods out, but they really know how to work a theme. It’s 50’s retro:  the girls dress the part, the cakes look and taste delicious. During the show we gave away one of their specialties, the whoopie pie. It’s made of two round mound-shaped pieces of cake (usually chocolate), with a sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between them. It’s an American Amish tradition. According to food historians, Amish women would bake these (known as ‘hucklebucks’ at the time) and put them in farmers’ lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout “Whoopie!” How cute is that.

Just for Jackie and Renee I played Dinah Washington’s version of MAKIN WHOOPEE, a case of a song that reverses my premise that all songs about sweet things are really about sex. This is just a song about sex, pure and simple. We followed with the Godfather of funk, Mr James Brown, and a song about another of my favourite treats. The song is called MOTHER POPCORN.

SEX AND CANDY, by Marcy Playground, is a track that doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. No room for innuendo, no sirree. The Four Tops gave us something a little less suspicious:  I CAN’T HELP MYSELF (SUGAR PIE, HONEY BUNCH). This is just one of those songs that puts a smile on your face. And you’ve got to love that.

Iggy Pop has this knack of dueting with the best people. On the track CANDY, he does it again, this time with Kate Pierson from the B-52s.

I try to play a couple of pieces of instrumental in each show, usually as background when we do Community Service Announcements or the local Gig Guide. The two I chose this week were perfect:  First up, Al Hirt with COTTON CANDY, known here in Australia as Fairy Floss. And, of course,  Hot Butter with POPCORN. With the latter, I swear I could not only hear the sound of popcorn popping, I could almost smell it. Mmmmmmm.

I was feeling an insulin rush coming on, so it was time for a little bit of Blues. MY COUNTRY SUGAR MAMA from Howlin’ Wolf was a perfect antidote. He was a big influence on the Rolling Stones so BROWN SUGAR, the opening track on the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers, was a perfect follow up. Seemingly about a favourite sweetener, BROWN SUGAR boasts some scandalous lyrics.  It’s essentially a mix of a number of taboo subjects, including interracial sex, cunnilingus, slave rape, sadomasochism, lost virginity and heroin.

That reminds me, I’ll be joining the Midnight Ramblers this Saturday night between midnight and dawn to help present the Rolling Stones All Nighter. So make sure all you night owls tune in then. Should be fun.

And talking of fun, next up it was a couple of guilty pleasures: Spinal Tap with CUPS AND CAKES and then a childhood hero of mine, The Cookie Monster: “What else starts with C. Who cares! C IS FOR COOKIE.

We followed with a French pop song LES SUCETTES. In English that’s LOLLIPOPS. It was written by Serge Gainsbourg and recorded by an 18 year old France Gall in 1966. On the surface, LES SUCETTES is a pleasant children’s song about a girl who likes aniseed-flavoured lollipops. But Gainsbourg’s lyrics are full of playful double meanings referring to oral sex, which Gall says she simply didn’t understand at the time. Well she was 18 and it was 1966. Naughty Serge!

Call me naive, but I like to think that the next song we played really is innocent. It’s Mille Small’s MY BOY LOLLIPOP. We paired that with the antithesis of innocent: Madonna, with some help from Pharrell, claiming that she’s a one-stop CANDY SHOP. I, for one, believe her.

If you’re looking for a real sugar hit you can’t go past Aqua with CANDYMAN, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs with SUGAR SHACK or The Undertones with MARS BARS. Christina Aguilera broke things up somewhat with her rendition of CANDYMAN and then it back to more bubblegum pop with Mika singing LOLLIPOP. Cute animation in this clip at least:

Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers play with my head, in a good way. Certainly the track ICE CREAM MAN seems to be designed to make radio presenters pay attention. It has at last 4 or 5 false endings, but I’m proud to say he didn’t fool me!

All this frivolity needed some tempering. So it was quite a beautiful song, from the very tasty Paolo Nutini, pleading for some CANDY, that did the trick.

The always brilliant Tom Waites contributed CHOCOLATE JESUS and then it was one for all my loyal listeners who have been asking me why I don’t play Roy Orbison, at least as regularly as I used to. Yes, very remiss of me. To fill the void, I chose CANDY MAN. We followed with The Beatles and SAVOY TRUFFLE, a song written by George Harrison about Eric Clapton’s huge sweet tooth.

We closed the show with a a song about a guy whose all upset ’cause “someone left the cake out in the rain.” “He just can’t take it cause it took so long to make it and he’ll never have that recipe again.” Sounds like a bad night on Masterchef doesn’t it? No, it’s MACARTHUR PARK written by the great Jimmy Webb and sung by esteemed actor Richard Harris.

Thanks to Renee and Jackie from Brown Betty’s Bakery for the giveaway of the Whoopee Pies and to everyone who contacted me during the week to say how much they enjoyed last week’s show on UNLIKELEY COVERS.

My sister is having a birthday next Tuesday, so to celebrate, the show next week will be on SISTERS AND BROTHERS. Love to hear from you with your suggestions.

Here’s this week’s full playlist:

I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow

Sugar In My Bowl – Live And Kickin’, Nina Simone

Candy – Candy Disc 1, Big Maybelle

Makin’ Whoopee – The Very Best Of Dinah Washington

Mother Popcorn, Pt. 1 – 20 All-Time Greatest Hits!, James Brown

Sex And Candy – Marcy Playground

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops

Candy (with Kate Pierson of B-52s) – Iggy Pop

Cotton Candy – Al Hirt

Sugar, Sugar – Billboard Top 100 Of 1969, The Archies

My Country Sugar Mama – The Real Folk Blues-More Real, Howlin’ Wolf

Brown Sugar – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 2], The Rolling Stones

Cups And Cakes – This Is Spinal Tap, Spinal Tap

C is for Cookie – The Cookie Monster

Les Sucettes – France Galle

My Boy Lollipop – Millie Small

Candy Shop – Hard Candy, Madonna

Candyman – Aqua, Aqua

Sugar Shack – Rock’n’Roll Love Songs, Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs

Mars Bars – The Best Of: Teenage Kicks, The Undertones

Candy Man – Back To Basics, Christina Aguilera

Lollipop – Life In Cartoon Motion, Mika

Popcorn – Hot Butter

Ice Cream Man – Best of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers

Candy – Paolo Nutini

Chocolate Jesus – Tom Waits

Candy Man – The Essential Roy Orbison (Disc 1), Roy Orbison

Savoy Truffle – The Beatles (White Album) [Disc 2], The Beatles

MacArthur Park – His Greatest Performances, Richard Harris

Next week: SISTERS & BROTHERS

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn


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