You’re born, you learn, you work, you may reproduce and then you die. That’s pretty much it. But being human, we’re designed to question, argue and seek meaning in our life. We don’t all want the same thing: the kind-hearted want an explanation for poverty and suffering; the ambitious try to rise above everyone else and if you’re depressed you may be looking for a reason to even get out of bed in the morning. Yes, life’s a puzzle and I’m not sure that there are any definite answers. But songwriters can’t help themselves. Like all artists they’re fascinated by life’s mysteries.
HAPPY TALK, by jazz greats Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley, is a great example of a Life Lesson song. Yeah, if you don’t have a dream, how are you going to make a dream come true? My dream for the next two weeks, at least, is that our wonderful community radio station, BayFM 99.9, gets as many annual subscriptions as possible because we’re in full Major Subscriber Drive mode at the moment. It made for a really busy show which was also loads of fun.
We got the show moving with one of my favourite artists. It’s a song that has one of the best messages, especially for an optimist like me: YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT by Jimmy Cliff. Here he is perfoming the song with the Jools Holland Rythymn & Blues Band:
My choice of a Bob Marley song, and there were a few with life lesson lyrics to choose from, was his energetic attack on religions – the ones that neglect to preach “what life is worth”. The song, of course, is GET UP STAND UP.
Bob Dylan has a great life lesson song: DON’T THINK TWICE, IT’S ALRIGHT. Something I didn’t have to thinktwice about was the opportunity to work with Camp Quality over the next two weeks of BayFM’s Subscriber Drive. Camp Quality is a fantastic organisation that supports children suffering from cancer. They believe that laughter is the best medicine and so they aim to bring optimism and happiness to these children and their families. Jana Ayre, who volunteers for Camp Quality in the Northern Rivers co-hosted the show with me this week, because we had a very special prize for Theme Park listeners who subscribe to the station before August 29th.
Thanks to Possum Creek Eco Lodge in the hinterland of Byron Bay, we are offering a Camp Quality family a respite break. This holiday will be donated in one lucky subscriber’s name and that subscriber then receives the tax deduction for the donation. It’s a fantastic prize, based on kindness and community spirit – and you can’t get better than that! If you’re reading this and are inspired to subscribe and help keep community radio alive, whether you live in the Northern Rivers or not, just go online to http://www.bayfm.org and follow the prompts. Don’t forget to cite Theme Park as your favourite program!
Someone who did call in during the show to subscribe was a new resident in Byron, David Bridge. And he gets a special mention here because he also requested a terrific life lesson song for the show: UP THE JUNCTION from Squeeze. Thank you David! Now, this is how to write a complete story about everyone’s life in a little over 3 minutes:
Another goodie from our British songwriters is ON THE EDGE OF A CLIFF from The Streets, known to his Mum as Mike Skinner. Check it out:
I became a big fan of The Drive By Truckers when they appeared at the Byron Blues Festival a couple of years back. I even bought the t-shirt (now that’s commitment!). They do a great Life Lesson song – most people share the experience described by singer Patterson Hood and his 83-year-old friend on WORLD OF HURT: “To love is to feel pain.” The lesson here, I think, is to accept that pain can also be a positive thing.
De La Soul have a different kind of lesson. They reckon that sometimes you just have to TREAD WATER. They use cartoon creatures to get the message across. Very cute.
SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK N ROLL STAR? Well, the Byrds have some advice for you: All you have to do is get an electric guitar, take some time and learn how to play? Sounds easy enough. But maybe life is like that: Practice makes perfect.
Midway through the show the lovely Gaudi from a new restaurant in Byron, Italian at the Pacific, came in to draw the daily prize for one lucky subscriber. The prize, a day with the chef of the restaurant and dinner for 8 people was won by Craig McGregor whose daughter Claire is a regular contributor to the show (sorry couldn’t fit in Coward of the Country this week Claire!) and another daughter Sarah, a fantastic musician. So I know that this big family will absolutely love this brilliant prize.
THAT LUCKY OLD SUN, by Dean Martin, our weather song for today was suggested by Andrew who also subscribed again this year on Theme Park, so thank you so much for supporting BayFM Andy.
Next up it was a double dose of Ska: Jools Holland and Prince Buster with ENJOY YOURSELF and Dandy Livingstone with RUDY, A MESSAGE TO YOU.
Lots of subscribers ringing in by this stage (thank you one and all!), so I thought a great piece of disco was appropriate ’cause my spirit was uplifted by all the support. The song is one that really speaks to me: YOUNG HEARTS RUN FREE from Candi Staton. Here she is with a 1999 re-recording and video of her 1976 classic:
I think that QUE SERA, SERA (“whatever will be, will be”) has to be the ultimate Life Lesson song, don’t you? Look, I know that Doris Day pretty much owns this tune but the version we played this week was by Sly & The Family Stone. I was feeling in a funky mood, you see.
One of many suggestions from regular contributor Robyn had to be included, if only because it’s title was perfect: LIFE’S LESSONS from Lynyrd Skynyrd. And then it was one for Frank Zappa fanatic, Hudson: COSMIK DEBRIS:
Our major prize for those subscribing this year is an amazing trip to Broome and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It’s in conjunction with the environmental group, Save The Kimberley. A great supporter of this cause is musician Xavier Rudd. And a great song with a life lesson, that he does so well, is BETTER PEOPLE.
Robyn had another request for a perfect Life Lesson song: DON’T STOP BELIEVING from Journey. So the least I can do is upload the video clip:
We closed the show with a classic: “You have to know when to hold em, you have to know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run”. Yep, Kenny Rogers with THE GAMBLER. There was just a little bit of time, too, for a snatch of the Stones with YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT. So because we didn’t get to play it all the way through, I’ll give them their due here. Check out a very young David Frost and an even younger Rolling Stones performing live in 1969:
Thanks to Jana from Camp Quality for coming in and helping host the show this week and to the many listeners who rang to subscribe. Thank you for your support of BayFM, Theme Park and Camp Quality. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, there is still time to get involved in this particular promotion. Just go to the BayFM website at: http://www.bayfm.org and follow the prompts to subscribe. You can also listen to the show online, there, as well.
I’d also love to hear from you with your requests for next week’s show when the topic will be THE ENVIRONMENT. You may be surprised at how many great songs there are on this topic, from all genres. I think this is going to be a very special show.
Here’s this week’s full playlist:
Happy Talk – Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley,
You Can Get It If You Really Want – The Harder They Come, Soundtrack, Jimmy Cliff
Get Up Stand Up – Back To Zion, Bob Marley & The Wailers (incl. Peter Tosh)
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Best Of Bob Dylan
You’ve Got To Learn – Family/Friends/French Lesson, Nina Simone
Up The Junction – Singles, Squeeze
On The Edge Of A Cliff – Everything Is Borrowed, The Streets
A World Of Hurt – A Blessing And A Curse, Drive By Truckers
Tread Water – Feet High And Rising, De La Soul
So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star – Byrds/20 Essentia,l The Byrds
That Lucky Old Sun – All Time Greats Vol 3 – The People, Dean Martin (Weather song for this week)
Enjoy yourself – Best Sellers, Jools Holland & Prince Buster
Rudy, A Message To You – This Is Ska!: 16 Original Ska Classics, Dandy Livingstone
Young Hearts Run Free – 54, Vol. 1, Candi Staton
Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be) – Take The Lead (Soundtrack), Sly And The Family Stone
Life’s Lessons – Vicious Cycle, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Cosmik Debris – Apostrophe, Frank Zappa
Better People – White Moth, Xavier Rudd
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 [Disc 2] The Rolling Stones
Next week: THE ENVIRONMENT
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
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: