We’re well and truly into Summer and where are all those beautiful sunny days that this season promises? As I write this, I’m looking out at torrential rain. So, it was definitely wishful thinking that propelled me into this week’s playlist on THE SUN.
We opened the show with a song that radiates optimism, the Beatles GOOD DAY SUNSHINE, written by Paul McCartney and released on the 1966 album Revolver. A relatively new track comes from Michael Franti. I dedicated THE SOUND OF SUNSHINE to the lovely Suzie M. and her grandchildren, Reem & Aliyah who are huge Michael Franti fans.
Local lad Christian Pyle did a great job at the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival and although I played RAY OF YOUR SUNSHINE during my interview with him a couple of weeks ago, it such a great number I had to play it again. It’s from his Nothing Left to Burn album.
The Cream’s SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE is an absolute classic and is still their best-selling song of all time. Here’s Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce playing live circa 1968.
Beth Orton does a brilliant cover of The Ronettes I WISH I NEVER SAW THE SUNSHINE. I found it on the soundtrack to the film Twentyfourseven (brilliant film btw), but its also on her 1996 debut album ‘Trailer Park’. Here she performs live and is accompanied by the very talented Ted Barnes.
The wonderful Katie Noonan possibly does the best cover ever of Soundgarden’s BLACK HOLE SUN that I have ever heard. I usually don’t like to play videos that are simply photo montages, but I can’t give up the opportunity of putting her voice out there. Sublime.
There was no way I was doing a show on THE SUN without playing Stevie Wonder’s YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE. Here he is giving a rare studio concert at London’s Teddington Studios following the release of his ‘Conversation Peace’ album. A sensual ride for an intimate audience of less than 200 fans. You get the bonus of SUPERSTITION on this clip too, which I have to admit is actually my favourite Stevie Wonder number.
Bobby Hebb’s SUNNY is another very optimistic song, considering that it was written in response to his brother’s violent death which occurred on the same day of JFK’s assassination.
Two great songs that were released in 1966 are Donovan’s SUNSHINE SUPERMAN and The Kinks’ SUNNY AFTERNOON. The Kink’s strong Music Hall flavour and lyrical focus was part of a stylistic departure for the band, who had risen to fame in 1964-65 with a series of hard-driving, power-chord rock hits. Ironically, the promotional video for the single featured the band performing in a cold, snowy environment:
Nina Simone’s cover of George Harrison’s HERE COMES THE SUN is an almost religious experience. Starting slowly at first it builds to a flood of warmth and wonder. Unlike the weather here at the moment, unfortunately.
For Ros, and all the other reggae fans, we played Bob Marley’s SUN IS SHINING and followed with the Bill Withers standard – a perfectly apt song for Byron Bay at the moment: AIN’T NO SUNSHINE.
Let’s don’t get too despondent about the weather. As Elaine Page suggests “the sun will come out TOMORROW“. From the musical Annie that song went out to BayFM’s Tommy T-Jet who hosts All Things Camp Friday’s at 1pm.
The Eagles song TEQUILA SUNRISE was written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and is from the album Desperado. I’ve been meaning to do a show just on The Eagles and its certainly on the agenda.
A show on THE SUN wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t include the Beach Boys. I had lots of suggestions for various tunes but I chose the very evocative THE WARMTH OF THE SUN. It was the B-side to Dance, Dance, Dance released in 1964.
Violent Femmes released their debut album in 1982. The music was an innovative combination of American folk music and punk rock, which would much later come to be known as “folk punk”. The lyrics were the common themes of yearning for love, sex and affection. The group quickly gained a following that never veered into mainstream commercialism. One of the songs that gained recognition was A BLISTER IN THE SUN.
2010 is the 25th anniversary of the very infectious WALKING ON SUNSHINE released by Katrina and the Waves. Can you believe it?
I don’t think the The Beloved were getting up with the birds to see the SUN RISING. Somehow I imagine they were on their way home from a big night out.
Australian band The Waifs recorded their 2007 album SUN DIRT WATER in Nashville and it was released on Jarrah Records, a fully independent label they share with John Butler Trio and MGM Distribution.
A couple of oldies but goodies come in the shape of THE SUN AIN’T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE from The Walker Brothers and DON’T LET THE SUN CATCH YOU CRYING from Gerry & The Pacemakers.
A while back I put together a show of songs that ask questions. And here’s a couple more: The Velvet Underground want to know WHO LOVES THE SUN and They Might Be Giants ask WHY DOES THE SUN SHINE?
The Spazzys is an all girl punk band from Melbourne who are heavily influenced by the Ramones. They’ve even taken their band’s name as their surname – Kat Spazzy, Lucy Spazzy and Ally Spazzy. Cool. The song SUNSHINE DRIVE is on their Aloha! Go Bananas album released in 2004 but my copy came from the soundtrack of the very good Australian film Suburban Mayhem.
One of The Kinks best known and most acclaimed songs is WATERLOO SUNSET. Ray Davies says, in a 2008 interview, that the song was a fantasy about his sister going off with her boyfriend and emigrating to another country.
Little Village were a supergroup who only released one album. Band members included Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keitner. Sung by John Hiatt, the track SOLAR SEX PANEL certainly suggests a good use for the sun’s rays!
We closed the show with Pink Floyds’s very trippy SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN.
Next week, I’m going to celebrate the Xmas Party season with SONGS ABOUT DRINKING. I’m looking for everything from rowdy singalongs to barfly melancholia and guilty hangover confessionals. That should cover everything! It will be the day after the BayFM Xmas party, so I should be suitably hungover!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Good Day Sunshine – Revolver, The Beatles
The Sound Of Sunshine – The Sound Of Sunshine, Michael Franti and Spearhead
Ray of Your Sunshine – Nothing Left to Burn, Christian Pyle
Sunshine Of Your Love – Eric Clapton Story, Cream
I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine – Twentyfourseven Soundtrack, Beth Orton
Black Hole Sun – Time To Begin, Katie Noonan
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Ballad Collection, Stevie Wonder
Sunny – Rhythm & Blues, Bobby Hebb
Sunshine Superman [Extended] – Try For The Sun, Donovan
Sunny Afternoon – Lost And Found 1962-1969, The Kinks
Solar – Chet In Chicago, Chet Baker
Here Comes The Sun – The Very Best Of Nina Simone, Nina Simone
Sun Is Shining – Bob Marley Collection, Bob Marley
Ain’t No Sunshine – Lean On Me: Priceless Collection, Bill Withers
Tomorrow – Elaine Paige LIVE , Elaine Paige
Tequila Sunrise – The Very Best Of The Eagles, The Eagles
The Warmth Of The Sun – Shut Down Volume 2, The Beach Boys
Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
Walking On Sunshine – Sounds Of The Eighties: 1985, Katrina and The Waves
The Sun Rising – Single File, The Beloved
Sun Dirt Water – Sun Dirt Water, The Waifs
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying – Gerry & The Pacemakers, Gerry and The Pacemakers
Who Loves The Sun – High Fidelity [Bonus Tracks], The Velvet Underground
Why Does The Sun Shine? – Severe Tire Damage, They Might Be Giants
The Sunshine Drive – Suburban Mayhem Soundtrack, The Spazzys
Waterloo Sunset – The Ultimate Collection [Disc 1], The Kinks
Solar Sex Panel – Little Village, Little Village
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun – A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd
Next week: SONGS ABOUT DRINKING
Researching a show where all the songs referenced famous people was actually quite enlightening. Who knew that so many famous people felt compelled to record songs about other famous people? I suppose there’s a little bit of the fan in all of us. It was a shame that I had used up some very good songs that would have fitted the theme during my Men’s Names and Women’s Names shows, but there were still plenty of tracks left over to fit the bill. I did try and stay away from the more mawkish tribute songs, so no Candle in the Wind amongst this lot I’m afraid.
We opened the show with the Beloved’s HELLO. The song mentions a number of famous people chosen to loosely fit a “saints and sinners” theme. Those that get a nod include Jeffery Archer, Fred Astaire, Little Richard, Barry Humphries and Charlie Parker. I like the way the Supremes are simply called “Mary Wilson, Di and Flo”. Even Fred Flintstone gets a mention.
Next it was another song with a list. Eminem recently won the MTV award for Best Hip Hip Video for WE MADE YOU. The song spoofs, among others, Sarah Palin, Amy Winehouse and Jessica Simpson. Hopefully it hasn’t reached viewer saturation point yet, ’cause here it is again:
Allanah Myles’ #1 hit, BLACK VELVET is about Elvis Presley. It can refer to either his likeness frequently being painted on black velvet or his voice. Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Black Velvet was the name of the hair dye that Elvis used to give his naturally brown hair its distinctive black sheen.
SWEET GENE VINCENT remained in Ian Dury’s set list for almost his entire career, even after other songs had been dropped because of the singer’s worsening health. It was played at his very last concert at the London Palladium in February 2000 and is still performed by The Blockheads. Ian Dury was arguably Gene Vincent’s biggest fan and he claims to have bought every single that Vincent ever produced. Dury’s stage clothes also reflected Vincent’s influence, notably black leather gloves. Dury constantly denied that his identification with the singer, who was also crippled and forced to wear a leg brace, was in any way an attraction. He claimed that he didn’t even know Vincent was crippled when he first became a fan. According to Dury, it was all about the voice and his look. That’s Gene Vincent on the left and here is a clip of Ian Dury and the Blockheads performing at the Concert for the People of Kampuchea in 1979. The big bonus is the addition of Mick Jones from the Clash. Brilliant.
BETTE DAVIS EYES was a huge hit for Kim Carnes. Even Bette Davis herself was a fan. The actress admitted to loving the song and approached Carnes and the songwriters to thank them. She said that it made her seem very up-to-date with her grandson. She had Carnes sing the song live for her at a tribute held just before her death.
I included a couple more songs about actors: Bree Sharp’s song about DAVID DUCHOVNY proves that she is also an adoring fan of the actor from X-Files and, more recently, Californication. Billy Bragg & Wilco gave us a song dedicated to INGRID BERGMAN, with lyrics by Woodie Guthrie.
David Bowie played the song ANDY WARHOL to the artist, who reportedly disliked it as he thought the lyrics made fun of his physical appearance. When the song had finished playing, Warhol and Bowie supposedly just stared at each other for a while until Warhol said “I like your shoes” and the pair then had a conversation about shoes. As you do.
The Modern Lovers sang about another artist, PABLO PICASSO and Simon & Garfunkle contributed a song about the great American architect FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT.
The ever-cheerful ska star, Prince buster, was more concerned with spelling the name of his subject in AL CAPONE. A guilty pleasure followed: Boney M with RASPUTIN. Who knew that this Russian baddie was a raging love machine? Here’s the clip, just to remind you of how much fun disco actually was:
Although David Bowie admits that JEAN GENIE is a clumsy pun on the name of the author Jean Genet, he claims that the real subject of the song is his friend Iggy Pop. The line “He’s so simple minded, he can’t drive his module” would later give the band Simple Minds their name. There are several clips of this song available but take a look at this one. I chose it just because of the outfit. Oh, and the band rocks too.
Morphine gave us a song not just about, but in the style of, the American beat poet and author Jack KEROUAC. And then it was Bob Dylan with his protest song HURRICANE about the boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter. The song compiles alleged acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trail and conviction. The song is credited with helping to overturn the conviction.
We lightened the mood somewhat with a bit of Pop from Bananarama: ROBERT DE NIRO’S WAITING. And then it was The Clash with their song about the another actor, Montgomery Clift, who, after a serious accident, could only be shot from THE RIGHT PROFILE (see left).
U2 paid homage to singer Billie Holiday with their song ANGEL OF HARLEM and then The Barenaked Ladies told the story of a man whose life parallels that of the Beach Boys’ BRIAN WILSON, particularly during his time spent with a psychologist.
Two tracks followed that are quite critical of their subjects. Carly Simon with a song supposedly about Warren Beatty – YOU’RE SO VAIN and then it was Modest Mouse with BUKOWSKI. “Yeah, I know he’s a pretty good read, but God, who’d want to be such an a….hole.” True.
Next was a wonderful song from George Harrison, dedicated to John Lennon: ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. Here, in tribute to both of them, is the clip.
We closed the show with one of my favourite new artists, Julian Velard, with JIMMY DEAN & STEVE McQEEN.
Here’s the complete playlist. If the title doesn’t tell the story, I’ve bracketed the person who the song is about.
Hello (various) – The Beloved
We Made You (various) – Eminem
Black Velvet (Elvis Presley) – Alannah Myles
Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury
Sir Duke (Duke Ellington) – Stevie Wonder
Bette Davis Eyes – Carnes
Michael Caine – Madness
David Duchovny – Bree Sharp
Ingrid Bergman – Billy Bragg & Wilco
Andy Warhol – David Bowie
Pablo Picasso – The Modern Lovers
So Long Frank Lloyd Wright – Simon & Garfunkel
Marvin Gaye – Josh Rouse
Al Capone – Prince Buster
Rasputin – Boney M.
The Jean Genie – David Bowie
Kerouac – Morphine
Hurricane (Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter) – Bob Dylan
Robert De Niro’s Waiting – Bananarama
The Right Profile (Montgomery Clift) – The Clash
Angel Of Harlem (Billie Holiday) – U2
Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies
You’re So Vain (Warren Beatty) – Carly Simon
Bukowski – Modest Mouse
All Those Years Ago (John Lennon) – George Harrison
Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen – Julian Velard
Next week: COVERS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALS
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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