Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is “Songs that start with the first letter of your name.” And boy am I ever glad that my name starts with an M! There are tons of great songs that start with the letter M. I’ve put together a playlist with my favorite M songs (which can be found at the bottom of this post) and I’ve also highlighted a few* of those favorites by sharing some of the songs’ background. The post is long but you can scroll through and read what you want to read and disregard the rest if you don’t have time. Or you can skip right to the playlist at the end for a continuous block of great songs all starting with the letter M (and there are several other songs in the playlist that are not spotlighted here).
I hope you enjoy this post as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together! Let’s get started with some of my favorite M songs:
Madman Across the Water by Elton John – “Madman Across the Water” is the title track from Elton John’s fourth studio album, released in 1971. A very dark song with a Leon Russell influence, Bernie Taupin made up the story about a lunatic ranting on visiting day at the asylum. Predictably, it wasn’t chartworthy, but it did provide the album title as well as plenty of speculation that Elton was singing about United States president Richard Nixon. Taupin says that wasn’t the case, although he was quite amused by the interpretation. He says the lunatic in the song wasn’t based on anyone in particular.
“Tiny Dancer” and “Levon” were the most popular songs on the Madman Across the Water album, but Elton says that he feels most connected to the title track. The album marked a major musical shift for Elton, as he brought a guitarist into his band for the first time, enlisting Davey Johnstone.
Mainstreet by Bob Seger – “Mainstreet” is a song written and recorded by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. It was released in April 1977 as the second single from the album Night Moves. The song peaked at #24 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and has since become a staple of classic rock radio. The song also reached #1 in Canada.
Seger wrote this song about his high school years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he grew up. The song explores the promise of youth, and what Seger calls his “awakening” after being a quiet, awkward kid for most of his youth.
Seger has stated that the street he was singing about is Ann Street, just off Main Street in Ann Arbor. There was a pool hall there where they had girls dancing in the window and R&B bands playing on the weekends.
Seger recorded this song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. The studio was owned by four of the guys who played on the track: David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), Roger Hawkins (drums) and Barry Beckett (keyboards). The lead guitarist on the session was Pete Carr.
While most of Seger’s work was done with his Silver Bullet Band, he did make a few trips to Alabama to record at MSSS, taking advantage of the talented musicians and lack of distractions. His hit “Old Time Rock And Roll” was also recorded there.
Make It by Aerosmith – “Make It” is the first song on Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album, Aerosmith. It was released as a promo single for the album, but got little to no airplay. The song begins with the protagonist welcoming people to a show and tells them he has something they should know, the info in question is to make it and not break it, which means to succeed in achieving your dreams and not letting anything stop you (much like Aerosmith in their early club days performing up to three shows a day trying to get a record deal).
In the authorized Stephen Davis band memoir Walk This Way, Tyler speaks at length about the origins of the songs:
“Make It” – “I wrote ‘Make It’ in a car driving from New Hampshire to Boston. There’s that hill you come to and see the skyline of Boston, and I was sitting in the backseat thinking, What would be the greatest thing to sing for an audience if we were opening up for the…Stones? What would the lyrics say?”
Make Me Smile by Chicago – “Make Me Smile” is a song written by James Pankow for the rock band Chicago with the band’s guitarist, Terry Kath, on lead vocals. It was recorded for their second album, Chicago (often called Chicago II), which was released in March of 1970. It became the band’s first Top 10 record, peaking at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
James Pankow, a founding member of Chicago whose primary instrument is the trombone, said that what made him smile was the thought of a beautiful relationship. In a Songfacts interview with Pankow, he explained: “Relationships, if they’re good, put a big smile on our faces. Love songs have always been a powerful ingredient in the song’s process – the songwriting process has often taken writers to that place.”
Here is a video of the Peanuts Gang singing Make Me Smile from Garren Lazar’s YouTube channel (Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/garren.lazar)
Mama Kin by Aerosmith – “Mama Kin” is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith, which appears on their self-titled debut album. The song was written by the lead singer Steven Tyler. Being the band’s first ever single, it has been played live for several decades afterward, appearing on the live albums Live! Bootleg, Classics Live, and A Little South of Sanity. “Mama Kin” is featured as a re-recorded track on the video game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
“Mama Kin” is Steven Tyler’s idea of a spiritual force that drives creativity and pleasure. “Keep in touch with Mama Kin” means remembering the desires that drive you to excel.
This was a very early Aerosmith song, and one that helped them get signed to Columbia Records. In 1972, the band had finished a round of touring where they performed this song, and got the deal after Clive Davis of Columbia saw them perform at a New York club called Max’s Kansas City. Steven Tyler told his bandmates this was the song that was going to make them rich and famous. He had so much confidence in “Mama Kin” that he went to Eddy’s tattoo parlor in Providence, Rhode Island and had the words “MA KIN” tattooed on his left bicep beneath a winged heart. Tyler and Perry have both said that his arm was too thin to fit the whole title. Lol.
Fun Fact: In the early 1990s, Aerosmith opened up a bar in their hometown of Boston. It was a music club near Fenway Park. They called it the Mama Kin Music Hall and it was a showcase for live music. The club has since closed.
Mama Told Me (Not to Come) by Three Dog Night – “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” is a song by American singer-songwriter Randy Newman written for Eric Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. Three Dog Night’s 1970 cover of the song topped the US pop singles chart.
Newman says that the song was inspired by his own lighthearted reflection on the Los Angeles music scene of the late 1960s. As with most Newman songs, he assumes a character – in “Mama Told Me…” the narrator is a sheltered and extraordinarily straight-laced young man, who recounts what is presumably his first “wild” party in the big city, is shocked and appalled by cigarette-smoking, whiskey-drinking, and loud music and — in the chorus of the song — recalls his “mama told [him] not to come.”
This song has the distinction of being the very first #1 hit on the American Top 40 syndicated radio program. The show, hosted by Casey Kasem, became popular on AM radio throughout the world until its decline in the mid-1990s. This beat out The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” (their last hit record before the final breakup) and Elvis Presley’s “The Wonder of You” for top chart honors in early August 1970.
Cory Wells, who sang lead on this track, was the Three Dog Night band member who pushed to record it. He was a big fan of the song and played it with his previous band.
Man Like That by Gin Wigmore – Gin Wigmore (born Virginia Claire Wigmore on June 6, 1986) is a singer and songwriter from New Zealand. “Man Like That” is from her 2011 album Gravel & Wine, which was a chart-toppers on the New Zealand Albums Chart. She is known for her high and raspy voice. I first became aware of Gin Wigmore as some of her music was featured in one of my “guilty-pleasure reality TV” series Mob Wives.
Wigmore first achieved success as a singer-songwriter when in 2004, she won the US-based International Songwriting Competition with her tune “Hallelujah.” In doing so, she became the youngest and only unsigned Grand Prize winner in the history of the ISC. Back in her home country, Wigmore built up a sizable fan base based on the strength of first two long-players, 2009’s Holy Smoke and 2011’s Gravel & Wine, both of which topped the New Zealand album chart. She also featured on Smashproof’s single “Brother,” which spent 11 weeks at #1 on the RIANZ singles charts.
The song gained worldwide attention when it featured in a 2012 Heineken commercial that showed James Bond drinking the beer. Wigmore appears in the commercial as the chanteuse singing the tune.
Wigmore told MTV News the song was written about a former boyfriend who “was a total dick.” She calls this song “a warning for any future lovers.” She explained: “It’s telling the girl that’s currently dating a man I’ve dated that he’s a bit of a dick.”
The video was directed by Sean Gilligan and is loosely set in the 1920s, with Wigmore wearing something resembling a flapper dress and dancing a Charleston.
Man on the Silver Mountain by Rainbow – “Man on the Silver Mountain” is the first single by Rainbow and the first track of their debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Written by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Ronnie James Dio, this song is, as Dio said, “a semi-religious one, a man on the silver mountain is a kind of God figure everyone is crying out to”. This track became one of Rainbow’s best-known tracks and was also a live favourite for any Rainbow line-up, and also the band Dio. The words “The man on the silver mountain Ronnie James Dio” are inscribed on his grave.
Mandolin Rain by Bruce Hornsby & the Range – “Mandolin Rain” is the third track from The Way It Is, the debut album for Bruce Hornsby and the Range. The song, released in late 1986, was a #4 hit single for the band in March 1987, following on the success of their previous single, the #1 hit and title track of their debut album, “The Way It Is”. It also reached #1 on the adult contemporary chart for three weeks, and #2 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for two weeks, also in early 1987. The song even reached the Top 40 on the Country chart, hitting number 38.
The song was co-written by Bruce Hornsby and his brother John and featured Range member David Mansfield on the title instrument.
Bruce Hornsby scored box office gold again with this song. It kept up Hornsby’s career momentum. The song is about a failed southern romance between two people who enjoy the rainfall and spent a lot of intimate time in it, but now that she’s gone, the singer mourns her loss and is reminded of her when he hears the rain.
The song was used in the 2009 movie World’s Greatest Dad, with Robin Williams. Hornsby made a cameo appearance in the film and played an alternate acoustic version of the song, which had been previously arranged but never released until the film’s soundtrack.
Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Marrakesh Express” is a song written by Graham Nash and performed by the band Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN). It was first released in May of 1969 on the self-titled album, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and released on a 45-RPM single in July of the same year, with another CSN song, “Helplessly Hoping,” as its backing side. The single reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 23, 1969. The song became Crosby Stills and Nash’s first hit in the US, and surprisingly their only Top 40 single in the UK.
Interestingly, “Marrakesh Express” was written and composed by Graham Nash during his final years as a member of the English rock band, The Hollies, of which he was a member from its formation in 1962 till 1968. The band rejected the song as not commercial enough, but it found a home with Nash’s new band Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Marrakesh is a city in Morocco famous for leather goods. The “Marrakesh Express” is the train Graham Nash took on a trip there in 1966. The lyrics are filled with the sights, sounds and vibes that he encountered on the trip.
Nash recalled his inspiration for the song occurring during a Moroccan vacation he took in ‘66. On the trip, Nash traveled by train from Casablanca to Marrakesh. (Whether this was an express train, he did not specify.) He began the journey in First Class, surrounded by people he found to be uninteresting–as he described it, they were all “ladies with blue hair.” Upon this observation, he decided the compartment was “completely fucking boring,” so left his seat to explore the other train carriages. He was fascinated by what he saw.
The song mentions “ducks and pigs and chickens,” and that, according to Nash, is actually what was there. He recalls the ride by commenting: “It’s literally the song as it is–what happened to me.”
Fun Fact: The first public appearance of “Marrakesh Express” was at the Woodstock Music Festival. Between 3 am and 4 am on August 18, 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came together as a band for the second time in public and performed a set that included what Graham Nash called “a medley of our hit,” referring to this song, the first single from their debut album. (Neil Young did not play during the acoustic part of their set which included “Marrakesh Express.)
Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney – “Maybe I’m Amazed” is a song written by Paul McCartney that was first released on his 1970 album McCartney. McCartney dedicated the song to his wife, Linda, who had helped him get through the break-up of the Beatles.
Although the original recording has never been released as a single, a live performance by McCartney’s later band Wings, from the live album Wings over America, was. The original studio version of the song finished with a fade instead of a full ending, but McCartney later composed an ending that can be heard on the live versions of the song. McCartney first performed this live with Wings, in Châteauvallon, France, on July 9, 1972. A live recording from the 1976 album Wings over America was released as a single by McCartney’s band Wings on February 4, 1977 and reached number 10 in the US on the Billboard pop charts and reached number 28 in the UK.
McCartney wrote the song in 1969, just before the Beatles’ break-up. He credited his wife Linda with helping him get through the difficult time. Although most of his debut solo album was recorded at his home in London, McCartney recorded “Maybe I’m Amazed” entirely in EMI’s Number Two studio in Abbey Road, on the same day as he recorded “Every Night”. He played all the instruments: guitars, bass, piano, organ and drums. Although McCartney declined to release the song as a single in 1970, it nonetheless received a great deal of radio airplay worldwide. A promotional film was made, comprising still photographs of McCartney, his wife Linda and stepdaughter Heather, which first aired in the UK on April 19, 1970 on ITV in its own slot, and as a part of an episode of CBS Television’s The Ed Sullivan Show.
Regarded as one of McCartney’s finest love songs, it achieved the number 347 position in the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list compiled by Rolling Stone magazine in November 2004. In a late 2009 Q&A with journalists held in London to promote his live album Good Evening New York City, McCartney said “Maybe I’m Amazed” was “the song he would like to be remembered for in the future.”
FUN FACT: McCartney, an animal rights activist, appeared on The Simpsons episode 3F03, “Lisa The Vegetarian.” McCartney helps Lisa become a vegetarian and tells her that if you play this song backwards, you hear a recipe for lentil soup. Over the closing credits of that episode, if you listen carefully, you can hear the backwards message. As an extra feature on The Simpsons DVD, you can hear McCartney read the recipe and say, “There you have it Simpsons lovers, oh and by the way, I’m alive.” Lol.
With the exception of John Lennon, each Beatle has been on at least one episode of The Simpsons. George Harrison was on the episode “The B- Sharps” and Ringo was on the “The Letter.”
Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon – “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” is a song by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the second single from his second self-titled studio album (1972), released on Columbia Records. Paul Simon was Simon’s first solo album after he broke up with Art Garfunkel.
The song is about two boys (“Me and Julio”) who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. When “the mama pajama” finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a “radical priest” intervenes.
The meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate. In a July 20, 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked Simon: “What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know.” Simon replied “I have no idea what it is… Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say ‘something’, I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn’t make any difference to me.” This implies that Simon left the crime up to the imagination of the listener, allowing each person who listens to the song to draw their own conclusion from their own thoughts and experiences. This has not stopped speculation on a definite interpretation: commentators have detected references to recreational drug use, and believe that the mother saw the boy buying drugs. More recently, in October 2010, Simon described the song as “a bit of inscrutable doggerel”, while the “radical priest” has been interpreted as a reference to Daniel Berrigan, who featured on the cover of Time on January 25th, 1971, near when the song was written.
The percussion sound, the odd squiggly sound thoughout the song, unusual for American pop, was created with a Cuica, a Brazilian friction drum instrument often used in samba music. It was played by the Brazilian musician Airto Moreira.
Me and You and a Dog Named Boo by Lobo – “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” is the 1971 debut single by Lobo. Written by Lobo under his real name Kent LaVoie, it appears on the Introducing Lobo album. Lobo means “Wolf” in Spanish.
The single peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first of his four number one hits on the Easy Listening chart, where it had a two-week stay at #1 in May 1971. The song also reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart in July 1971, and it spent four weeks at #1 in New Zealand. Internationally, “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” was Lobo’s second most successful song.
This song is about two hippies and a dog taking a cross-country road trip in an old car that runs poorly. The protagonists of the song get mired in the Georgia clay, steal food from a farmer and work to pay it off, and end up living in Los Angeles, but the old car makes them want to hit the road again. Judging from my experience with classic cars, the 1946-55 Kaiser automobile runs poorly and fits into the time frame of the song.
Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye – “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” Is a classic single from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album, What’s Going On. Following the breakthrough of the title track’s success, the song, written solely by Gaye, became one of the most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment.
Many years before global warming became a hot topic, Marvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth. For his What’s Going On album (1971), Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy, who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable. The success of the title track proved otherwise, and “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” became a #1 R&B hit and soared to #4 on the Billboard Pop chart.
According to Earl Van Dyke of Motown’s house band the Funk Brothers, Berry Gordy did not know what the word “ecology” meant when he heard this song. It had to be explained to him.
Midnight Confessions by the Grass Roots – “Midnight Confessions” is a song written by Lou T. Josie and originally performed by the Ever-Green Blues. It was later made famous by American rock band The Grass Roots, who released the song as a single in 1968 (see 1968 in music). It was the first single from their fourth studio album, Golden Grass. The single was, however, released five months in advance of the album.
The Grass Roots version became the band’s biggest charting hit on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching the Top 5 of both the U.S. and Canadian pop singles charts. The lyrics describe a man who is infatuated with a married woman, knows he can never have her, and is relegated to confessing his love for her audibly, but alone. The song appears to be a musical dramatization of the midnight confession of the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s love for Hester Prynne in the classic 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, “The Scarlet Letter.”
Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & the Pips – “Midnight Train to Georgia” is a 1973 number-one hit single by Gladys Knight & the Pips, their second release after departing Motown Records for Buddah Records. Written by Jim Weatherly, and included on the Pips’ 1973 LP Imagination, “Midnight Train to Georgia” won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by A Duo, Group Or Chorus and has become Knight’s signature song.
In her autobiography, Between Each Line of Pain and Glory, Gladys Knight wrote that she hoped the song was a comfort to the many thousands who come each year from elsewhere to Los Angeles to realize the dream of being in motion pictures or music, but then fail to realize that dream and plunge into despair.
Films and television shows in which “Midnight Train to Georgia” is part of the soundtrack include The Deer Hunter, 30 Rock, House M.D., Broadcast News, and Las Vegas. It also gets its day in the sun in the 1974 episode of VH1’s I Love the ’70s: Volume 2. Richard Pryor (we still miss him) also used it in his 1977 special.
Mind Games by John Lennon – “Mind Games” is a song written and performed by John Lennon, released as a single in 1973 on Apple Records. It was the lead single for the album of the same name. The UK single and album were issued simultaneously on November 16, 1973. In the US it peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on the Cashbox Top 100. In the UK it peaked at No. 26.
This started off as a song called “Make Love Not War,” which had a strong antiwar sentiment. Lennon eventually abandoned that theme and wrote an entirely different lyric to the melody. This song is inspired by a book he read called Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space. Written by Robert Masters and Jean Houston, it explains how we can improve ourselves on various levels by playing tricks on our minds; the song is really about making yourself a better person.
Interesting background on how the song came together: This song, which was begun in 1969 and can be heard in the Beatles’ Let It Be sessions, was originally titled “Make Love, Not War”, a popular hippie slogan at that time. Another song, “I Promise”, contains the melody that would later be featured on “Mind Games”. The original Lennon demos for “Make Love, Not War” and “I Promise”, recorded in 1970, are available on the John Lennon Anthology. Lennon finished writing the song after reading the book Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space by Robert Masters and Jean Houston (1972). Lennon later encountered Masters in a restaurant and told him, “I am one of your fans. You wrote Mind Games.”
In keeping with the original theme, the lyrics advocate unity, love, and a positive outlook. The lyric “YES is the answer” is a nod to his wife Yoko Ono’s art piece that brought them together originally. The song was recorded as Lennon split with her for his 18-month “lost weekend” with May Pang. (May Fung Yee Pang (born October 24, 1950) is an American, best known as the former girlfriend of John Lennon. She had previously worked as a personal assistant and production coordinator for Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. In 1973, when Lennon and Ono separated, Pang and Lennon had a relationship lasting over 18 months, during a time which Lennon later referred to as his “Lost Weekend.” Pang subsequently produced two books about their relationship: a memoir called Loving John (Warner, 1983) and a book of photographs, Instamatic Karma (St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
Mississippi Queen by Mountain – “Mississippi Queen” is a song by the American rock band Mountain. Considered a rock classic, it was their most successful single, reaching number 21 in the Billboard Hot 100 record chart in 1970. The song is included on the group’s debut album and several live recordings have been issued. “Mississippi Queen” has been recorded by several artists, including W.A.S.P., Sam Kinison, Amanda Ayala, and Ozzy Osbourne, the latter of which had a hit with the song in 2005.
The song is about a seductive woman who teaches the singer a thing or two about the ways of love, but with the success of “Proud Mary” a year earlier, it almost sounds like this could be another song about a riverboat. In 1976, the “Mississippi Queen” riverboat was put into service by the Delta Queen company, taking its last cruise in 2008.
This is one of the most famous cowbell songs of all time, but the band didn’t envision the instrument in the song. In our interview with Leslie West, he explained: “The cowbell in the beginning was just in there because Felix wanted Corky to count the song off. So we used the cowbell to count it off – it wasn’t put in there on purpose. And it became the quintessential cowbell song.”
“Mississippi Queen” was recorded during the sessions for Mountain’s 1970 debut album Climbing! According to drummer Corky Laing, he had developed some of the lyrics and the drum part prior to his joining the band. Later, when guitarist Leslie West was looking for lyrics for a guitar part he had written, Laing pulled out “The Queen” and the two worked out the song together; bassist/producer Felix Pappalardi and lyricist David Rea also received songwriting credits. When the group proceeded to record “Mississippi Queen”, Pappalardi insisted on numerous takes. Growing weary, Laing started using the cowbell to count off the song. Pappalardi liked it so much he left it in the mix, creating the song’s recognizable intro.
The song was used in a popular commercial for Miller Genuine Draft beer where some guys traveling in a jungle open a bottle of the beer to magically freeze the body of water separating them from some lovely ladies who beckon.
Misunderstanding by Genesis – “Misunderstanding” is a song by English rock band Genesis, released on their 1980 album Duke. It reached No. 14 in the U.S. and No. 42 in the UK. Its highest charting was in Canada, where it reached No. 1 and is ranked as the seventh biggest Canadian hit of 1980.
This was the second Top 40 US hit for Genesis, following “Follow You, Follow Me.” The band began divesting themselves of their progressive rock roots in 1978 with the release of their album And Then There Were Three. They continued moving toward more compact pop songs with “Misunderstanding.”
This was one of the first songs Phil Collins wrote on his own. He was going through a very difficult time – his first wife Andrea had left him and taken their two children with her. Phil found himself alone in the house he once shared with them, and began writing songs – sad ones.
“Misunderstanding” finds Collins getting stood up and failing to understand that the girl wants nothing to do with him. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he keeps blaming her evasiveness on “some misunderstanding.”
To write songs for the Duke album, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks moved into Collins’ house in Surrey, England for six weeks. Collins hadn’t done much writing at that point, but Rutherford and Banks were very impressed when he played them this song. Five of the other songs for the album were group efforts written during these sessions when the band would jam together.
Banks recalled to Cleveland’s 98.5 WNCX: “‘Misunderstanding’ was the first song we recorded that Phil wrote. Phil didn’t used to write all that much of Genesis’ material in the early days, up to and including Duke, really. He just didn’t rate himself as a writer that much, I don’t think, and he’d never really tried it before. But after his problems with his marriage in that year, he started to write songs. And he played us a load of the songs he’d written and we picked out of them two songs. One of them was ‘Misunderstanding.'”
Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters by Elton John – “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” is a song from the Elton John album Honky Château. The lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin and is his take on New York City after hearing a gun go off near his hotel window during his first visit to the city. The song’s lyrics were partly inspired by Ben E. King’s “Spanish Harlem,” written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector, in which he sings “There is a rose in Spanish Harlem.” In response to this, Taupin writes,
Now I know
Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say
I thought I knew,
but now I know that rose trees never grow in New York City.
The song is one of Elton’s personal favorites as one might imagine because it alternates between despair and optimism; in spite of his talent, fame, critical acclaim and wealth, Elton John has experienced more this his fair share of psychological problems including extreme bulimia and of course those staples of rock musicians everywhere – alcohol and drug abuse.
Elton John himself has called the song “one of my all-time favorites,” upon introducing it at his 60th-birthday concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden. He also delivered a heartfelt rendition at “The Concert for New York City” at Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2001. The concert was meant primarily as a tribute for family members and fellow workers of New York’s Fire and Police and Emergency Medical Services departments, who had been participating in the ongoing recovery efforts at the demolished World Trade Center complex following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. John dedicated the song to the emergency workers and their families, as well as to New York City.
Here is Elton John performing Live at the Honky Chateau debut concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, February 5th, 1972:
Monday, Monday by the Mamas & the Papas – “Monday, Monday” is a 1966 song written by John Phillips and recorded by the Mamas & the Papas using background instruments played by members of The Wrecking Crew for their 1966 album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. It was the group’s only number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Phillips said that he wrote the song quickly, in about 20 minutes. While awaiting the release of “California Dreamin’,” band member Denny Doherty was prodding songwriter John Phillips to come up with some new material. Phillips said he would come back in the morning with “A song with universal appeal.” Ignoring the sarcastic comments from the group members, Phillips came up with “Monday, Monday.” It’s about the lousy feeling that comes with the end of the weekend and beginning of another workweek.
Denny Doherty, who sang lead on this song for The Mamas & the Papas thought very little of “Monday Monday” when they recorded it. “Nobody likes Monday, so I thought it was just a song about the working man,” he said. “Nothing about it stood out to me; it was a dumb fuckin’ song about a day of the week.”
As you can imagine, he was taken by surprise when the song became a huge hit. Doherty wasn’t alone in his incredulity: Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips didn’t like the song either, and John Phillips claimed he had no idea what the song meant.
“Monday, Monday” was the group’s third single. “Go Where You Wanna Go” was issued first and went nowhere, but their next release was “California Dreamin’,” which was a phenomenon. When that song was having its run, radio stations started playing “Monday, Monday” off the album, so by the time it was released as a single, it was already widely anticipated and quickly rose to #1.
On March 2, 1967, The Mamas & the Papas won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song.
Monkey Man by the Rolling Stones – “Monkey Man” is a song by English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones, featured as the eighth track on their 1969 album Let It Bleed. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote “Monkey Man” as a tribute to Italian pop artist Mario Schifano, whom they met on the set of his movie Umano Non Umano! (Human, Not Human!). Mario Schifano was a painter and collagist of the Postmodern tradition. He also achieved some renown as a film-maker and rock musician.
He is considered to be one of the most significant and pre-eminent artists of Italian postmodernism. His work was exhibited in the famous 1962 “New Realists” show at the Sidney Janis Gallery with other young Pop art and Nouveau réalisme luminaries, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Reputed as a prolific and exuberant artist, he nonetheless struggled with a lifelong drug habit that earned him the label maledetto, or “cursed”.
The lyrics of “Monkey Man” don’t seem to make much sense, but they are probably about heroin or a bad acid trip. This song was used in the 1990 movie Goodfellas in a scene where the gangsters are trafficking cocaine. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese, who directed the 2008 Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light.
The Rolling Stones performed “Monkey Man” often on their 1994/95 Voodoo Lounge Tour. A performance of the song features on Live Licks from their 2002/03 Licks Tour.
Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers – “Monster Mash” is a 1962 novelty song and the best-known song by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. The song was released as a single in August 1962 along with a full-length LP called The Original Monster Mash, which contained several other monster-themed tunes. The “Monster Mash” single was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on October 20–27 of that year, just before Halloween. It has been a perennial holiday favorite ever since.
Pickett was an aspiring actor who sang with a band called the Cordials at night while going to auditions during the day. One night, while performing with his band, Pickett did a monologue in imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while performing the Diamonds’ “Little Darlin'”. The audience loved it, and fellow band member Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more with the Karloff imitation.
Pickett and Capizzi composed “Monster Mash” and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton, pianist Leon Russell, Johnny MacRae, Rickie Page, and Terry Berg, credited as “The Crypt-Kickers”. The song was partially inspired by Paxton’s earlier novelty hit “Alley Oop”, as well as by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the era. A variation on the Mashed Potato was danced to “Monster Mash”, in which the footwork was the same but Frankenstein-style monster gestures were made with the arms and hands.
The song is narrated by a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, rises from a slab to perform a new dance. The dance becomes “the hit of the land” when the scientist throws a party for other monsters. The producers came up with several low-budget but effective sound effects for the recording. For example, the sound of a coffin opening was imitated by a rusty nail being pulled out of a board. The sound of a cauldron bubbling was actually water being bubbled through a straw, and the chains rattling were simply chains being dropped on a tile floor. Pickett also impersonated horror film actor Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula with the lyric “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?”
Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck – “Moonlight Feels Right” is the debut single recorded by the American band Starbuck. Written and produced by Bruce Blackman, the song was released in the first week of April 1976. The song features a prominent marimba solo by co-founding band member Bo Wagner. When this song was on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show, it was promoted as the first rock song ever to feature a marimba.
“Moonlight Feels Right” was a major American hit, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100, number two on the Cash Box chart, and number one on Record World. It is ranked as the 34th biggest US hit of the year. On the Canadian chart, the song peaked at number three in early August 1976. It is ranked as the 51st biggest Canadian hit of 1976.
The song was featured in the Farrelly Brothers 2003 comedy film Stuck On You, starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear.
More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer – “More Than I Can Say” is a song written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison, both former members of Buddy Holly’s band the Crickets. They recorded it in 1959 soon after Holly’s death and released it in 1960. Their original version hit No. 42 on British Record Retailer Chart in 1960. It has been notably performed by singers Bobby Vee, Leo Sayer, and Sammy Kershaw.
Leo Sayer is a British singer-songwriter who enjoyed the majority of his chart success in the 1970s and early 1980s. He had two singles reach No. 1 in the U.S., “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”, both in 1977. He nearly had a third song achieve this feat, as his cover version of “More Than I Can Say” spent five weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1980 and January 1981. Sayer’s version of the song was certified a Gold Record by the RIAA. It also spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. In the U.K., the song peaked at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, while it spent two weeks atop the Kent Music Report in Australia. Sayer has stated that while looking for an “oldie” to record for his album Living in a Fantasy, he saw a TV commercial for a greatest hits collection by Vee and chose the song on the spot: “We went into a record store that afternoon, bought the record and had the song recorded that night.”
More Than This by 10,000 Maniacs – “More than This” is a 1982 single by English rock band Roxy Music. It was released as the first single from their final album, Avalon, and was the group’s last Top 10 UK hit (peaking at #6). Although it only reached #102 (on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart) in the United States, it remains one of Roxy Music’s best-known songs in America.
The American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs released a successful cover version in 1997 which peaked at #25, and British singer Emmie released a dance cover version which reached #5 in the UK in January 1999.
The video for the cover was filmed at House on the Rock. A live version was also included on their 2016 album Playing Favorites.
Mother & Child Reunion by Paul Simon – “Mother and Child Reunion” is a song by the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. This was Simon’s first single as a solo artist. It was the lead single from his second self-titled studio album, released in 1972. It was released as a single on February 5, 1972, reaching No. 1 in South Africa and No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 57 song for 1972. It was at the time one of the few songs by a non-Jamaican musician to use prominent elements of reggae.
Simon liked reggae, and he listened to prominent reggae artists Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, and Byron Lee. In fact, Simon wrote this song in response to the Jimmy Cliff antiwar song “Vietnam,” where a mother receives a letter about her son’s death on the battlefield. Simon wanted to go to Kingston, Jamaica to record the song, as that was where Cliff had recorded “Vietnam” in 1970. The song was indeed recorded at Dynamic Sounds Studios at Torrington Bridge in Kingston, Jamaica, with Jimmy Cliff’s backing group, hence the very authentic sound.
The title has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish called “Mother and Child Reunion” that Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant’s menu (456 Restaurant in Chinatown, New York).
The song’s lyrics were inspired by a pet dog that was run over and killed. It was the first death Simon personally experienced, and he began to wonder how he would react if the same happened to his wife, Peggy Harper. “Somehow there was a connection between this death and Peggy and it was like Heaven, I don’t know what the connection was,” Simon told Rolling Stone in 1972.
Mother’s Little Helper by the Rolling Stones – “Mother’s Little Helper” is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and was recorded in Los Angeles in December 1965. It first appeared as the opening track to the UK version of their 1966 album Aftermath.
It was released as a single in the United States and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Singles Charts in 1966. The song deals with the sudden popularity of prescribed calming drugs among housewives, and the potential hazards of overdose or addiction. The drug in question is assumed to be Valium.
The song begins with the line that is also heard as the last line in the repeated bridge section: “What a drag it is getting old”.
Kids are different today, I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.
The bridge section, which is repeated, has the line: “Doctor, please/Some more of these/ Outside the Door/ She took four more.”
Toward the end of the song, the mothers are warned:
And if you take more of those
you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way
through your busy dying day
Movin’ Out by Aerosmith – “Movin’ Out” is a song by American hard rock band, Aerosmith and was the seventh song on Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album, Aerosmith. This was the first tune to be penned by Aerosmith’s songwriting partnership of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. The pair had decided that the best way for them to come up with ideas was to live together, so they moved into an apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. The song was built upon a guitar lick played by Perry and recorded at home on a water bed.
Perry recalled the writing of the song to Spinner: “I remember it all really well,” he said. “Our first roadie and truck driver, he lived with us and he had a day job building waterbeds. That’s what we had in the apartment, a waterbed. And uncomfortable as it was, I can remember sitting on that waterbed, you know like on the edge making sure not to slide back on the squishy part of the bed but balancing myself and the guitar on that wooden frame. And I would just sit there on the edge of that bed and Steven would be right next to me and that’s really when we started to seriously sit down and write songs. And the first one that came out of that apartment was ‘Movin Out.’ That was the first real song we wrote together.”
“Movin’ Out” gets usually one play per tour on average. Before the song starts, Tyler introduces the song as the first real Aerosmith song, and tells the story of the song’s recording and early Aerosmith history. The first known play of the song was on November 6, 1970 at Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon, Massachusetts.
The track was featured on Aerosmith’s live compilation, Classics Live! Vol. 2 (1987). An alternate take of the song appears on the band’s box set Pandora’s Box. The song was re-recorded in 2007 for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
This video here is the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith version of Movin’ Out. Love the video! About the Guitar Hero project: Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. The game is considered an expansion in the Guitar Hero series, extending upon the general features of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. As with other games in the series, the player uses a guitar-shaped controller to simulate the playing of rock music by playing in-time to scrolling notes on-screen.
It is the first game in the series to primarily focus on the work of one rock band, with Aerosmith songs comprising approximately 70% of the soundtrack, while the remaining songs are from bands that have been influenced by or opened for Aerosmith. The single player Career mode allows the player to follow the history of the band through several real-world-inspired venues, interspersed with interviews from the band members about their past. Aerosmith re-recorded four songs for this game, and have participated in a motion capture session to create their in-game appearances.
While Aerosmith was able to provide many of the original master recordings to the development team, the band re-recorded the four songs chosen for the game from their first album: “Make It”, “Movin’ Out”, “Dream On” and “Mama Kin.” Joe Perry re-mastered the lead guitar on many songs to interact with the gameplay better, while Steven Tyler re-recorded some of the vocals.
Mr. Big Stuff by Jean Knight – “Mr. Big Stuff” is a song by American singer Jean Knight. This was Knight’s first national hit. She recorded it in May of 1970 at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to going there, Knight worked as a baker at Loyola University in New Orleans.
Released on Knight’s 1971 debut album of the same title, it became a huge crossover hit. The song spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Soul Singles chart and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 18 song for 1971. In total, the song spent sixteen weeks on the pop and R&B charts. The song went double platinum and was the No. 1 Soul Single of the year. It was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1972 Grammy Awards.
Knight performed the song on Soul Train on December 11, 1971, during its first season. “Mr. Big Stuff” would become one of Stax Records’ most popular and recognizable hits. It was also featured in the 1977 mini-series The Bronx Is Burning. In 2000, Everclear sampled this on “AM Radio,” a song about growing up in the ’70s. In early 2007, this song was used in a Papa John’s Pizza commercial that introduced the XL GrandPapa pizza.
Here’s Jean Knight on Soul Train:
My City Was Gone by the Pretenders – “My City Was Gone” is a song by the rock group The Pretenders. The song originally appeared in October 1982 as the B-side to the single release of “Back on the Chain Gang”; the two-sided single was the comeback release for the band following the death of founding bandmember James Honeyman-Scott. The song was included on the album Learning to Crawl released in early 1984, and it became a radio favorite in the United States. It is sometimes referred to as “The Ohio Song” for its constant reference to the state, though it is not part of the song’s title. The song’s final title was due to the fact that there had already been a song called “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
The song was written by Pretenders leader Chrissie Hynde and reflected her growing interest in environmental and social concerns; the lyrics take the form of an autobiographical lament, with the singer returning to her childhood home of Ohio and discovering that rampant development and pollution had destroyed the “pretty countryside” of her youth. The song makes a number of specific references to places in and around Akron, Ohio including South Howard Street (line 5), the historic center of Akron which was leveled to make way for an urban plaza with three skyscrapers and two parking decks (line 8).
USE BY RUSH LIMBAUGH: The opening bass riff from this song “was something that Tony Butler used to play just as a warm-up,” said Steve Churchyard, the engineer for the record. The opening of the song, before Hynde’s vocals appear at about 40 seconds, has been used as the opening theme ‘bumper’ for Rush Limbaugh’s popular American talk radio program since 1984, during his days at KFBK in Sacramento, California. He didn’t use the lyrics, but Limbaugh said in 2011 that he chose it because of the irony of a conservative using such an anti-conservative song, though he mainly liked its “unmistakable, totally recognizable bass line.”
In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine reported that, according to Hynde’s manager, Limbaugh had neither licensed the song nor asked permission to use it. According to Rolling Stone, EMI took action after Limbaugh told a pair of reporters in 1997 that “it was icing on the cake that it was [written by] an environmentalist, animal rights wacko and was an anti-conservative song. It is anti-development, anti-capitalist and here I am going to take a liberal song and make fun of [liberals] at the same time.” EMI issued a cease and desist request that Limbaugh stop using the song, which he did. When Hynde found out during a radio interview, she said that her parents loved and listened to Limbaugh and she did not mind its use. A usage payment was agreed upon which she donated to PETA. She later wrote to the organization saying, “In light of Rush Limbaugh’s vocal support of PETA’s campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency’s foolish plan to test some 3,000 chemicals on animals, I have decided to allow him to keep my song, ‘My City Was Gone’, as his signature tune…”
My Eyes Adored You by Franki Valli – “My Eyes Adored You” is a 1974 song written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. It was originally recorded by The Four Seasons in early 1974. After the Motown label balked at the idea of releasing it, the recording was sold to lead singer Frankie Valli for $4000. After rejections by Capitol and Atlantic Records, Valli succeeded in getting the recording released on Private Stock Records, but the owner/founder of the label wanted only Valli’s name on the label. The single was released in the US in November 1974 and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1975. “My Eyes Adored You” also went to number 2 on the Easy Listening chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1975.
The single was Valli’s second number 1 hit as a solo artist, and remained there for one week, being knocked out of the top spot by another Crewe/Nolan-penned song, “Lady Marmalade”. Although it was released as a Valli solo effort, the song is sometimes included on Four Seasons compilation albums. It is from the album Closeup.
My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) by Neil Young – “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” is a song written by Neil Young. Combined with its acoustic counterpart “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”, it bookends Young’s successful 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps (The first half of the album, including this, is acoustic. The second half, which includes “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black),” is electric and was recorded with Crazy Horse). Inspired by electropunk group Devo, the rise of punk and what Young viewed as his own growing irrelevance, the song significantly revitalized Young’s career at the time, and today crosses generations, inspiring admirers from punk to grunge. The song is about the alternatives of continuing to produce similar music (“to rust” or – in “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” – “to fade away”) or to burn out.
The song deals with the fleeting nature of fame and how hard it is to stay relevant as an artist. “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” is a ’50s song by Danny and the Juniors. Young alludes to or mentions artists from the ’50s (Danny and the Juniors), ’60s (Elvis), and ’70s (The Sex Pistols, specifically lead singer Johnny Rotten) to show that “rock and roll will never die.”
The song explicitly deals with the struggles of being a rock musician. As quoted on the site Hyper Rust, Neil Young said, “the essence of the rock’n’roll spirit to me, is that it’s better to burn out really bright than to sort of decay off into infinity. Even though if you look at it in a mature way, you’ll think, “well, yes … you should decay off into infinity, and keep going along.” Rock’n’roll doesn’t look that far ahead. Rock’n’roll is right now. What’s happening right this second”
A line from the acoustic version of the song, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away,” became infamous after being quoted in Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s suicide note. Young later said that he was so shaken that he dedicated his 1994 album Sleeps with Angels to Cobain.
Kurt Cobain’s suicide note contained a line from this song: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” That line has become one of the most famous song lyrics of all time. When Young was asked by Time magazine in 2005 about the line and Cobain’s death, he said: “The fact that he left the lyrics to my song right there with him when he killed himself left a profound feeling on me, but I don’t think he was saying I have to kill myself because I don’t want to fade away. I don’t think he was interpreting the song in a negative way. It’s a song about artistic survival, and I think he had a problem with the fact that he thought he was selling out, and he didn’t know how to stop it. He was forced to do tours when he didn’t want to, forced into all kinds of stuff. I was trying to get a hold of him – because I had heard some of the things he was doing to himself – just to tell him it’s OK not to tour, it’s OK not to do these things, just take control of your life and make your music. Or, hey, don’t make music. But as soon as you feel like you’re out there pretending, you’re fucked. I think he knew that instinctively, but he was young and he didn’t have a lot of self-control. And who knows what other personal things in his life were having a negative impression on him at the time?”
The video is the Unplugged version: Neil Young performs “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” live at the Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois on September 22, 1985. Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001. For more information about Farm Aid, visit: http://farmaid.org/youtube
I like the acoustic version but I also like the sound of Neil’s plugged-in version:
My Old School by Steely Dan – Steely Dan is an American jazz rock band whose music also blends elements of crossover jazz, latin music, blue-eyed soul, R&B, boogie, and pop. Founded by core members Walter Becker (guitars, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals) in 1972, the band enjoyed critical and commercial success starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981. Rolling Stone has called them “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies.” Steely Dan was listed as one of the 100 greatest musical artists of all time according to VH1.
Steely Dan reunited in 1993 and has toured steadily ever since.
“My Old School” is a single drawn from Steely Dan’s 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy. It reached number 63 in the Billboard charts.
The “Old School” referred to in this song is Bard College in Annendale, New York, where Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met. The song is at least partially inspired by an event that occurred at Bard, where both Becker and Fagen, along with their girlfriends, were arrested in a pot raid on a party that was orchestrated by an ambitious young District Attorney named G. Gordon Liddy (hence the line “Tried to warn ya about Geno and Daddy G”). Despite the fact that California has not (yet) tumbled into the sea, both Fagen and Becker have returned to Bard.
The “Wolverine” is the train that went to Annendale.
Here is the full performance of the American Bandstand appearance in 1973 featured in the above video. The sound quality isn’t high grade but the video is good and it’s neat to see the younger version of the group:
My Sweet Lord by George Harrison – “My Sweet Lord” is a song by English musician and former Beatle, George Harrison. It was released in November 1970 on his triple album All Things Must Pass. Also issued as a single, Harrison’s first as a solo artist, “My Sweet Lord” topped charts worldwide and was the biggest-selling single of 1971 in the UK. In America and Britain, the song was the first number one single by an ex-Beatle. The song was his biggest hit. Harrison originally gave the song to his fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record; this version, which Harrison co-produced, appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album in September 1970.
The song is about the Eastern religions that Harrison was studying. He wrote “My Sweet Lord” in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, while at the same time intending the lyrics to serve as a call to abandon religious sectarianism through his deliberate blending of the Hebrew word hallelujah with chants of “Hare Krishna” and Vedic prayer.
Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, “Hare Krishna… Krishna, Krishna.” When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: “Hallelujah” – he was pointing out that “Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing.”
In the documentary The Material World, Harrison explains: “First, it’s simple. The thing about a mantra, you see… mantras are, well, they call it a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable. It has this power within it. It’s just hypnotic.”
Some Christian fundamentalist anti-rock activists objected that chanting “Hare Krishna” in “My Sweet Lord” was anti-Christian or satanic, while some born-again Christians adopted the song as an anthem. Several commentators cite the mantra and the simplicity of Harrison’s lyrics as central to the song’s universality. The “lyrics are not directed at a specific manifestation of a single faith’s deity,” Inglis writes, “but rather to the concept of one god whose essential nature is unaffected by particular interpretations and who pervades everything, is present everywhere, is all-knowing and all-powerful, and transcends time and space … All of us – Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist – can address our gods in the same way, using the same phrase [‘my sweet Lord’].”
The recording features producer Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound treatment and heralded the arrival of Harrison’s much-admired slide guitar technique, which one biographer described as being “musically as distinctive a signature as the mark of Zorro.” Preston, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and the group Badfinger are among the other musicians appearing on the recording.
This is my favorite George Harrison song. Here’s a video montage of George Harrison through the years:
Mystified by Fleetwood Mac – “Mystified” is from Tango in the Night, the 14th studio album by British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac. Released in April 1987, it is the fifth and to date last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.
Produced by Buckingham with Richard Dashut, Tango in the Night began as one of Buckingham’s solo projects, but by 1985 the production had morphed into Fleetwood Mac’s next album. It contains several hit singles, including “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders”, “Everywhere”, and “Little Lies”.
Tango in the Night is notable for the tight songwriting bond between keyboardist Christine McVie, and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. They co-wrote a trio of songs, including “Mystified,” this soft and lush tune. For this number, Buckingham created a sonic palette, which was as mystical as McPhee’s entranced lyrics.
“I can’t remember how that happened,” McVie admitted to Uncut in 2017. “It morphed somehow between us. We just happened to be doing stuff in the studio at the same time, so the co-write was fair dues.”
The song was released as the B-side on the 1988 single release of “Isn’t It Midnight.”
That’s it for my spotlighted songs. Here is my entire M Song Playlist, for your enjoyment. It contains 50 of my favorite songs that start with the letter M.
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy. Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.
M is also for monster and this is a monster of a post! 🙂 I was not familiar with the Bernie Taupin song “Madman Across The Water” recorded by Elton John. Interesting that it was believed by some to be about United States president Richard Nixon. (Perhaps this would be a good time for Elton to reissue that recording, know what I mean, Vern? 🙂 How well I remember Bob Seger’s hit single “Mainstreet.” I wonder if that old pool hall in Ann Arbor is still operating and if they still have dancing girls in the window in the 21st century. The Aerosmith song “Make It” is another great one that I remember but haven’t heard in decades. “Mama Kin'” is a new one to me. On their “cover” of “Make Me Smile” the Peanuts gang sounds more like Chicago than Chicago sounds like Chicago. 🙂 I am familiar with the song and vid by New Zealander Gin Wigmore, having seen it last year on somebody else’s blog. She’s a spark plug! Hornsby’s “Mandolin Rain” was an oft requested video on the MTV station where I worked at the time. “Marrakesh Express” scores extra credit as an excellent “M” song choice. “Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard” is one of Mrs. Shady’s favorites and Paul Simon one of her favorite artists. She has been known to spontaneously burst into song and run thru her rendition of “Me & Julio,” “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Kodachrome” and others by Simon. “My Sweet Lord” is my Pick-To-Click, my very favorite “M” song featured here in your Mega-post. 🙂
“M” is also for “Michele’s Mother” and I hope she is loving her new surroundings there in Austin. Have a great day, dear friend!
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Hey Sweet Shady! Thanks for dropping by with your awesome comment! Sorry it took me a few days to get to replying but, as you can imagine, things have been really busy around here. Mom’s car just arrived last night and we’re still waiting for all her furniture and other belongings to arrive on the truck. Just heard this morning that won’t be until Friday. But she loves her new apartment and is anxious to get all her stuff so she can get busy setting up. We’re all having a nice time together. We went and got Mom a new power wheelchair today so she can buzz around the apartment complex. Now we’re all just drinking some wine and kicking back after a busy day.
As to your comment: you made me laugh out loud a few times so thanks for that! Loved the part about the Peanuts gang sounding more like Chicago than Chicago! That was funny.
Gotta run now. We’re about to sit down for dinner. Actually they’re starting without me. talk soon! 🙂
I’m very happy to know your mother loves her new place. It’s exciting to furnish a new space and add all those extra touches that make it feel like home.
It gives me great pleasure to make you laugh, Michele. Enjoy your night and the days ahead, dear friend!
Michele, Whew doggies! You sure did out do yourself with this marvelous, mega size list of “M” songs! You shared some I didn’t know and a lot I haven’t heard in a long time but my favorite video is “Make Me Smile” which was done purrfectly and it really did make me smile which is pretty good for a Monday. Thanks for hitting the dance floor with us. Have a good week! July is almost gone, isn’t it?
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Hey Girl, thanks for stopping by! So glad you enjoyed the Peanuts gang doing that Chicago classic. I love how it looks like they’re actually singing it. So fun.
Yes, July is gone, gone, gone. Hard to believe we’re in August already. I like when football season starts: makes me realize that cooler weather is at least on the horizon… 🙂
Have a great week!
WOW!!! What a great playlist of M’s! I LOVE Maybe I’m Amazed and was kind of disappointed that Paul didn’t sing it when we saw him a few years ago. He sang Silly Love Songs instead. My Sweet Lord and My Eyes Adored You both give me chills. Mainstreet, Make Me Smile – Yes! Thanks Michelle!
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Aw thanks Janet! So glad you liked so many of my song choices. I would’ve definitely been disappointed that Paul didn’t sing Maybe I’m Amazed. That’s such a great song.
I’m trying to make the blog rounds but my family is in from out of town and my mom is moving here so we’re getting her all set up in her apartment and all that that entails. I’ll be by your place soon…
Thanks for stopping by!
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No worries, family always comes first!
So many wonderful songs here! I love that you went into detail and background on your ‘spotlighted’ songs. Some songs I had forgotten about, but all really really great songs! You knocked this one out of the park!
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Thanks so much Mary! Like I said over at your place, I’m so glad our names start with M as there are countless M songs! I had a hard time choosing which ones to spotlight actually.
So appreciate you stopping by. Have a great week…
You didn’t have to come up with *all* of them…. XD
Some great songs here. By far my favorites are Starbuck’s “Moonlight Feels Right” and Chicago’s “Make Me Smile.” There’s a version of the former that was recorded live in 2013 at Chastain Park in Atlanta that I especially enjoy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k7sgowa3p8). Maybe it’s the fact that the band members (especially Bob Blackman, the lead singer) show their age a little bit, yet really rock the hell out of it, anyway. “Make me Smile” was part of a longer work on *Chicago* called “Ballet for a Girl in Buckcannon” that included the song that launched a thousand senior proms, “Colour My World.”
Great list… I’ll probably end up building a playlist and listening to all of them at some point…
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Oh wow, I can see why you so enjoy Starbuck’s 2013 performance of that song: it’s FANTASTIC! Thanks for turning me on to it. I am sooo in love with that marimba! What a fascinating instrument and Bo Wagner has such command of it. That’s a song that doesn’t seem to get airplay anymore on any of the classic stations. I haven’t heard it in ages. Have you?
I’ll have to go back and listen to Chicago’s full “ballet”. And Color My World: you’re right about it launching the senior proms! I found this Peanuts Gang version for this one too: So cute!
Glad you liked my selections John. I appreciate you stopping by. Not sure if you checked out my 50-song playlist but there are a bunch more great M songs there if you want to listen to a continuous block. As I mentioned to Mary, I had a hard time choosing which songs to spotlight. M is a great letter! 🙂
Have a good week John.
This is a great list! There are some here that I have forgotten and others I know well and love. since I am an ABBA fan, I have to include Mamma Mia. I also love classical music so will add Monlight Serenade:) I love that Simpsons episode with Paul and Linda McCartney
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Oh yeah, Mama Mia is a great song. I can’t remember if it’s on my master list or not. I had so many great M songs to choose from. I love Abba too. Did you see the Mama Mia movie with Meryl Streep? Surely you did: you’re a movie freak and an Abba fan, I doubt you missed that one.
And that Simpson’s episode with Paul and Linda McCartney: the best part for me is the part where Paul says “and by the way, I’m alive!” hahaha. I remember back when all that was going on about playing the Beatles songs backwards and getting messages and that Paul was really dead and there were clues in the backwards lyrics. I can’t remember what grade I was in but my teacher was so into all that and brought in a record player and was trying to demonstrate to the class the messages when the music was played backward. It made such an impression on me I came home and was telling my family all about it. Swept up in the madness… 🙂 What year was that anyway??
Thanks for stopping by Birgit. Glad you liked my post. Have a great week…