I’m baaaack! And this week’s theme was influenced by my recent road trip down the coast: STREETS AND ROADS. Street songs also include their close relations avenues, lanes and boulevards. They all tend to be about a particular destination. Songs about roads and highways, on the other hand, are inclined to reflect on a journey of some kind, metaphorical or not. Some of these songs immortalise where they came from, others where they’re going, but all seem to have something significant to say.
We opened the show with the Drifters’ ON BROADWAY – a road that reflects the best and worst of New York. The famous entertainment strip is the epitome of success for some but it’s also a desperate place to be if you are one of the less fortunate. Check out the Drifters doing a great job, but what’s with the outfits? Pyjamas with fringing. What the??????
TOBACCO ROAD was written by country singer John D. Loudermilk and inspired by Erskine Caldwell’s Depression-era novel of the same name. The song reeks of the American south. A group calling themselves the Nashville Teens recorded the original version, although they actually hailed from England. And I don’t think it was even Southern England, cheeky sods!
There are so many versions of the that definitive road song, ROUTE 66, but I rather like the Nat King cole rendition. Eddy Grant took us back to the 80’s with ELECTRIC AVENUE about a market street in Brixton, London. You may remember a cover version by Aussie band Men at Work, but there’s nothing like the original. Check it out:
The wonderful Emmylou Harris dueted with Dave Matthews on GULF COAST HIGHWAY. Now I don’t believe that there is an actual Gulf Coast Highway, but who cares when the song is so beautiful?
It was a toss up when it came to Bruce Springsteen’s contribution to the show – Both Thunder Road and Racing the Streets were worthy contenders but I had to give it to the Oscar winning anthem, STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA.
Louis Armstrong paid homage to his favourite street in New Orleans in BASIN STREET BLUES and although I gave it a spin on the AUTOMOBILE show, Grace Jones deserved another outing with PULL UP TO THE BUMPER, from her critically acclaimed album NIGHTCLUBBING.
Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland was going FARTHER UP THE ROAD while Bob Dylan delivered the classic HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED. And here’s some trivia about that particular highway, which travels from New Orleans through to the Canadian border. Bessie Smith met her death in an automobile accident on that road, Robert Johnson was said to have lost his soul to the devil at the crossroads of Highway 61 and Highway 49, Elvis Presley grew up in the housing projects built along it and Martin Luther King Jnr would later be murdered in a motel just off Highway 61.
The Beatles sang about PENNY LANE while David Byrne and the Talking Heads took the ROAD TO NOWHERE:
A show about roads needed a bit of hard rock and the obvious, of course, is Acca Dacca and HIGHWAY TO HELL. But I thought I’d give them a rest this week and instead, in celebration of the Deep Purple tour reaching Brisbane next month (yay!) it was HIGHWAY STAR instead. Once listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the Word’s loudest rock band, here they are performing live in 1972. Ian Gillian, you are hot! Can’t wait for them to reach Bris-vegas.
Kirsty MacColl calmed things down just a little with WALKING DOWN MADISON, a song that deals with the disparity between rich and poor on the most expensive street in New York, Madison Avenue. As the song goes: “From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement, it’s not that far”. Gerry Rafferty sang all about London’s BAKER STREET, probably most famous for the literary address of Sherlock Holmes’ residence.
Lots of our songs this week dealt with being down and out, so it was great to include a number by the wonderful Dinah Washington. She’s definitely got the right attitude as she goes walking ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET. Recorded in 1956 with orchestra under the direction of Hal Mooney, the song was originally composed in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields for the Broadway musical “International Revue” starring Gertrude Lawrence. The song has since become a jazz standard recorded by many.
In complete and utter contrast came the Australian Aria award winning hip-hop group, The Hilltop Hoods, with a song about life’s choices: THE HARD ROAD.
Chris Rea’s song, ROAD TO HELL, was apparently inspired by rush hour on a motorway. After being in Sydney I know how he feels! It’s been way too long since I played some Roy Orbison, so I DROVE ALL NIGHT was in, as it fitted so perfectly.
Green Day’s BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS is, I assume, about Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Similar to New York’s BROADWAY, Sunset Boulevard is the primary location for live entertainment, as well as being the red-light district and a hang for the homeless.
A fitting follow-up was Ray Charles with LONELY AVENUE and it was up to Junior Walker and the Allstars to brighten the mood somewhat with ROAD RUNNER.
Another fantastic and, I think, optimistic song about leaving home and heading off for freedom, is VENTURA HIGHWAY, a 1972 hit for America.
The Mamas and Papas sang a song reportedly about the place where they all met, a bar in CREEQUE ALLEY while Ray Charles and the Stray Cats combined on a great version of HIT THE ROAD, JACK.
For anyone living on a rural property, like I do, Lucinda Williams’ CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD will resonate, for sure.
I returned from my trip to Sydney to hear the very sad news that our friend Susie McNair had passed away quietly on Tuesday March 16th. The final song of the program was dedicated to her memory. The Beatles, THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD, was the final single that they recorded as a group. R.I.P. Susie.
Thanks to the following listeners for contributing to this week’s list: Judi, Rebecca and Katie. Next week’s theme is HAIR, so get your thinking caps on!
Meanwhile, here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Slip on your kaftans and tie-dye t-shirts. Adorn yourself with flowers and beads. We’re going to light-up some joss-sticks, “ban the bomb” and “make love not war!” This week’s theme is dedicated to that period in 1967 that saw as many as 100,000 people converge on the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco, creating what was to become known as the counterculture movement. The melting pot of music, psychedelic drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression and politics became a defining moment of the 60’s and forever more will be known as THE SUMMER OF LOVE.
It’s easy to reject songs that seem to have been around forever, but consider the context of these songs’ origins and you’ll realize that what many of these musicians were doing hadn’t been done before and, in many cases, would never be done again. So respect to the hippies and the funk soul sisters & brothers and the year 1967 – a time of exploration and finding new ways of expression.
We opened the show with the THE ACID COMMERCIAL from Country Joe & The Fish and then it was the Beatles with ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. Arguably the greatest band in the world at the top of their powers, Lennon’s anthem to love may not be his strongest but it’s definitely his catchiest. The Beatles made a worldwide television broadcast of the song, in between sessions of transcendental meditation, and it became a #1 hit in both the US & UK. Check out the clip from this transmission and see if you can see Mick Jagger in the audience.
A song that summed up the mood of those flocking to Haight-Ashbury in that Summer of 67 is, of course, Scott McKenzie’s IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO, (be sure to wear flowers in your hair). Written by John Phillips of the Mamas & The Papas, it was originally created to promote the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which is regarded as being the beginning of the Summer of Love.
FOR WHAT ITS WORTH, by Buffalo Springfield, is about the closing of the Pandora’s Box Club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and the clash that followed between the police and kids. But the song quickly took on a larger meaning, symbolizing the generational friction happening all across the country as the hippies and flower children freaked out the authorities from coast to coast. Here’s a great clip from the Monterey Festival:
When you listen to PURPLE HAZE, from Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced?’ album, you can’t help but imagine the rush of a million wanna-be guitarists running into music stores hoping to be just like Jimi. Check out this video from 1967 with Jimi Hendrix on Guitar, Noel Redding on Bass and Mitch Mitchell on Drums:
In the early sixties The Beach Boys were synonymous with surfing and Californian youth culture. By the mid-sixties, however, their musical style had become a little more complex. A 1967 example of this new sophisticated sound was HEROES AND VILLAINS. We followed with a song that had the distinction of being the first track to be played on BBC Radio One when it launched in 1967, FLOWERS IN THE RAIN by The Move. And, to round out the triple play, The Turtles with HAPPY TOGETHER. This track can lift anyone’s mood. While their vocal harmonies verged on sugar-sweet, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like this song.
I’M A BELIEVER, the Monkees’ hit, was written by none other than Neil Diamond. The song stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks and was the biggest selling single of 1967. That’s right, they even outsold the Beatles and the Stones, and while Neil Diamond, continued to write and perform, he never really needed to work another day in his life after this song took off. The Mamas & Papas hit, DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE, was originally a hit for the Shirelles in 1961. Here are the Mamas & The Papas with their ’67 version:
Three more classics of the period: Cream’s I FEEL FREE, the Byrds’ SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK N ROLL STAR and Jefferson Airplane’s SOMEBODY TO LOVE. And then it was Procol Harum with WHITER SHADE OF PALE. This track contains perhaps the most recognizable Hammond B-3 organ rock line ever, snatched from Bach and perhaps a soul player or two. The vague lyrics, however, aren’t very memorable, making the organ bit seem even more imposing and significant than it probably deserves. But hey, what do I know? Here they are on Top of the Pops 1967. Make up your own mind.
Three more songs from that magical time in 1967 referred to as THE SUMMER OF LOVE include I’M A MAN from The Spencer Davis Group, written by Steve Winwood, SAN FRANCISCO NIGHTS from Eric Burdon & the Animals and GET TOGETHER from the Youngbloods.
But the band that epitomised the musical creativity of the sixties is The Beatles. A DAY IN THE LIFE, from their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, utilised a 40 piece orchestra taking 24 bars to go from the lowest note on their instruments to the highest and six people banging on three pianos at the same time in order to produce one huge power chord. The song obliterated every rule that ever existed for what a pop song should sound like and how it should be made, simple as that. Check it out:
One of the most instantly recognizable riffs in rock history is SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE, from Cream. And one of the most representative of the period is the Small Faces tune ITCHYCOO PARK. For me, though, when it comes to this period, I can’t overlook Janis Joplin. So an essential track from 1967 has to be Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin singing DOWN ON ME.
Jimi Hendrix also deserved another play and this time it was FOXEY LADY. It’s probably worth mentioning here that up until this point Blues guitarists would never have done what Hendrix does on this track. The rule was that the guitar sound should be clean and pure. Jimi however, never got that memo and thank goodness for that.
As well as a time that was marked by anti-Vietnam demonstartions, 1967, unfortunately, was also a time of race riots, which also fed into the peace movement and hippie revolution with its ideals of compassion, awareness and love. So, in deference to our soul brothers and sisters, it was time for some R&B with I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE by Gladys Knight and the Pips. This song became a #2 hit in 1967 and Marvin Gay’s renditon hit #1 the following year. But sticking to the plan, we listened to The Pips version and followed with the one and only Jackie Wilson with his landmark single, HIGHER AND HIGHER.
Although they were a white band, the Young Rascals GROOVIN’ was pure soul with its memorable Afro-Cuban mood and mid-tempo groove. Timeless song. Check out the clip of them performing live.
The next track was a bit of a cheat, since it wasn’t released until 1969, after the band had broken up. But TIME OF THE SEASON by The Zombies was written and recorded in August 1967 and the vibe is pure SUMMER OF LOVE, baby. And then it was the Who with I CAN SEE FOR MILES, the only real hit from their crazy concept album The Who Sell Out and SHE’S A RAINBOW from the Rolling Stones. We’ll overlook the Stones vain attempt of trying to one-up the Beatles and just concentrate on those first seven piano notes, which have been likened to the musical equivalent of heroin.
We closed the show with STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER from the Beatles. The band recorded a version by themselves in one key and then they did a version with an orchestra in a different key. The version you know and love is BOTH versions mixed together, speeding the band version up and the orchestral version down. Magic. This promotional video was filmed in January 1967 and was directed by Peter Goldmann, at the time a Swedish TV director.
Now next week’s show is going to be hotter than hot. As a tribute to the upcoming Summer holiday season the theme will be HEAT. Put your thinking caps on and get in touch!
Here’s this week’s complete playlist:
Next week: HEAT
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.
Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org
According to T-Bone Walker they may call it STORMY MONDAY but Tuesday’s just as bad. Wednesday and Thursday don’t get much of a rap either. And with Sunday set aside for Church, I’m sure T-Bone was mighty grateful for Friday and Saturday. Yes, DAYS OF THE WEEK, was our theme this week. Lots of songs available for Friday and Saturday and even Sunday, Monday and Tuesday delivered a few choices but poor old Wednesday and Thursday didn’t offer up much at all. Mind you, the songs that did get included were goodies.
Queen moved the show along with the cheery little ditty called LAZING ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON, followed by Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5 telling us all about the SATURDAY NIGHT FISH FRY. Rounding out the bracket, Eskimo Joe gave us one of those rare songs about Wednesday: RUBY WEDNESDAY.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, (left), who have been performing in one incarnation or the other since 1966, delivered the toe-tappin’ LOUISANNA SATURDAY NIGHT. I’ve played this song before but I never tire of it: Tom Waits with one of his best, THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT. I also never tire of the great Neil Young so OUT ON THE WEEKEND, from the Harvest album, was a shoo-in for this show.
Tori Amos does a great cover of the Boomtown Rats song I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS but my favourite piece of nostalgia this week was the Moody Blues classic TUESDAY AFTERNOON. Check out this video from 1970. Looks like they are playing at the pub down the road on a Friday night. Ah, those were the days!
De La Soul know how to party on SATURDAYS. But Stevie Wonder, having been dumped by his girlfriend, calls the 2nd day of the week TUESDAY HEARTBREAK. Saving the day, The Young Rascals know which day of the week promises some laid-back relaxing: yes, it’s all about Sunday in their smash hit song of 1967: GROOVIN’.
Here’s some trivia for you about Sunday: Did you know that the The Gregorian Calendar repeats every 400 years, and no century starts on a Sunday? Also, the Jewish New Year never falls on a Sunday. And only those months beginning on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th.
And talking of Fridays, here is a great video clip of The Easybeats performing FRIDAY ON MY MIND.
I like to include movie and TV themes whenever I can because its essentially a nostalgia show and nothing takes you back to a time and place better than the theme music from an iconic television series. This week it was the theme to HAPPY DAYS. Here’s the show’s intro for your trip down memory lane:
Cold Chisel’s 1984 hit SATURDAY NIGHT was written by Don Walker who I’m looking forward to hearing from at the upcoming Writers Festival here in Byron Bay. I bet he’s got a few good stories to tell!
There was a lot to choose from when it came to the weekend – obviously everyone’s favourite time of the week. There was The Specials with FRIDAY NIGHT, SATURDAY MORNING, Oliver Cheatham with GET DOWN SATURDAY NIGHT and the Sam Cooke classic, ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT.
Monday, on the other hand, is not a songwriters favourite day of the week, that’s for sure. Fats Domino can only see it as BLUE MONDAY and the Mamas & The Papas claim, in MONDAY MONDAY, that “Every other day of the week is fine, yeah, but whenever Monday comes it finds me crying all of the time”. Yep, you can’t trust Mondays if you’re aiming to avoid misery. Mind you, the Mamas and Papas look pretty happy in this video clip from 1966, a year that saw this tune at #1 for 10 weeks in the Billboard Top 40. Check it out:
The Cure don’t care about any other day than Friday because, as the song goes: FRIDAY, I’M IN LOVE. The Rolling Stones offered up a song about my favourite day of the week, RUBY TUESDAY. The Bangles find Monday all a bit manic, (don’t we all?), while Loverboy are WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND. And then it was another oldie but goodie – Chicago’s SATURDAY IN THE PARK: Check out this clip that was filmed in Chicago in November, 1972.
I closed the show with one more song about Tuesday, from one of my favourite female artists, Michelle Branch with TUESDAY MORNING. Here’s the complete playlist:
Call It Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon – Queen
Saturday Night Fish Fry – Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5
Ruby Wednesday – Eskimo Joe
Tuesday’s Gone – Lynard Skynard
Louisianna Saturday Night – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Heart of Saturday Night – Tom Waits
I Don’t Like Mondays – Tori Amos
Tuesday Afternoon – Moody Blues
Out On The Weekend – Neil Young
Groovin’ – The Young Rascals
Tuesday Heartbreak – Stevie Wonder
Saturdays – De La Soul
Friday On My Mind – The Easybeats
Happy Days – TV Theme Song
Friday Night – Lily Allen
Lonely Weekends – Charlie Rich
Thursday – Morphine
Saturday Night – Cold Chisel
Get Down Saturday Night – Oliver Cheatham
Friday Night, Saturday Morning – The Specials
Another Saturday Night – Sam Cooke
Blue Monday – Fats Domino
Monday, Monday – Mamas & The Papas
Friday I’m in Love – The Cure
Ruby Tuesday – The Rolling Stones
Manic Monday – The Bangles
Saturday in the Park – Chicago
Working for the Weekend – Loverboy
Tuesday Morning – Michelle Branch