It’s time for another Monday’s Music Moves Me. Today’s theme was a special request from our Spotlight Dancer Joyce over at Catch My Words. It’s her daughter Erica’s 25th birthday and Joyce asked us to put together playlists about birthdays, growing up or being young and beautiful. I opted for a “young” theme so here are my favorite songs with the word YOUNG in the title.
But before we get to that…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERICA!
Hope you have a fabulous day celebrating YOU.
And celebrate all week! After all, you’re only 25 once…
Here’s one just for you:
And now here’s the playlist of my favorite songs with YOUNG in the title, followed by a little background info and a few fun facts on each of the songs. Enjoy!
Young Blood by Bad Company – I’ll kick this playlist off with my favorite ‘young’ song: “Young Blood” is a song written by Doc Pomus along with the songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that first became a hit in 1957. “Young Blood” was originally recorded by The Coasters and released as a single together with “Searchin'” in March 1957 by Atco Records.
Musically, the song follows a minor blues structure, built mostly around three chords (i7, iv7, V7) except for the bridge. The lyrical theme is one typical of early rock and roll: boy meets girl, then meets girl’s father, who does not approve of boy; so the boy departs, but cannot stop thinking about the girl, declaring “You’re the one, you’re the one, you’re the one.”
In addition to my favorite version, a 1976 Top 20 release by Bad Company from their Run With the Pack album, the song has been covered by several other artists, including The Beatles, who played “Young Blood” in their Cavern Club repertoire. It is one of twelve songs recorded by them in July 1962 on a tape, which was re-purchased by Paul McCartney at a Sotheby’s auction in 1985. Other covers include an audacious live performance by Leon Russell at the 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh, who was accompanied by a stageful of world-class musicians including George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr; a 1983 version by Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson that served as the title track to Youngblood (his second solo album); and a version by Bruce Willis in The Return of Bruno (1987). The Grateful Dead are known to have sound-checked the song.
But Bad Company’s version is absolutely my favorite.
Forever Young by Bob Dylan – “Forever Young” is a song by Bob Dylan, recorded in California in November 1973. Written as a lullaby for his eldest son Jesse, born in 1966, Dylan’s song relates a father’s hopes that his child will remain strong and happy. Dylan had four children between 1966-1969, including his youngest Jakob, who went on to front The Wallflowers.
The song opens with the lines, “May God bless and keep you always / May your wishes all come true”, echoing the Old Testament‘s Book of Numbers, which has lines that begin: “May the Lord bless you and guard you / May the Lord make His face shed light upon you.”
In 1974, he got back together with his original backing group The Band, and recorded his fourteenth studio album Planet Waves. Not wishing to sound “too sentimental”, Dylan included two versions of the song on the album, one a lullaby and the other more rock oriented, which included this uplifting message from a parent to a child. The song has endured as one of Dylan’s classics.
In notes on “Forever Young” written for the 2007 album Dylan, Bill Flanagan writes that Dylan and the Band “got together and quickly knocked off an album, Planet Waves, that featured two versions of a blessing from a parent to a child. In the years he was away from stage Dylan had become a father. He had that in common with a good chunk of the audience. The song reflected it. Memorably recited on American TV by Howard Cosell when Muhammad Ali won the heavyweight crown for the third time.”
The video in my playlist is Dylan with The Band and it’s a fabulous pictorial tribute to Bob Dylan.
Forever Young by Rod Stewart – “Forever Young” is the second single released by Rod Stewart from his Out of Order album in 1988. The song was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #12, and #7 on the Canadian RPM Magazine charts.
The structure of the lyrics in this song is very similar to a Bob Dylan song of the same title. After its completion, the song was then sent to Dylan, asking whether he had a problem with it. The two men agreed to participate in the ownership of the song and share Stewart’s royalties.
Stewart wrote the song with two of his band members: guitarist Jim Cregan and keyboardist Kevin Savigar. Stewart told Mojo magazine in 1995 that he considered “Forever Young” to be one of his favorite songs and the reason for writing it was,
“I love ‘Forever Young’, because that was a real heartfelt song about my kids. I suddenly realized I’d missed a good five years of Sean and Kimberly’s life because I was so busy touring all the time. With these kids now I don’t make that mistake- I take them on tour with me, so I can watch them grow up. So that’s another favorite. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a big hit in England, but it’s like a national anthem here (America)”.
Stewart recorded a more mellow version of the song for his 1996 compilation album If We Fall in Love Tonight, and a version featuring just Stewart’s voice with piano accompaniment can be found on the 2009 compilation album The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998. A live version was recorded during his MTV Unplugged session in 1993. Though not included on the original release of the live album Unplugged…and Seated, this version was later released as a bonus track on the Collector’s Edition of the album released by Rhino Records in 2009. Another live version of the song from his 2013 performance at The Troubadour, West Hollywood was included on the deluxe edition of the album Time.
The music video for this song features Stewart singing to a child (played by Alex Zuckerman) while scenes of rural America pass by.
FUN FACT: The song was featured in a P&G (Proctor & Gamble) Pampers commercial that showcased baby animals with their mothers. The commercial is from a 1999 Pampers campaign and is really sweet. Take a look:
Young Girl by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap – “Young Girl” is an RIAA million-selling Gold-certified single, written by Jerry Fuller, performed by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap with instrumental backing by members of The Wrecking Crew, and released in 1968.
The song hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, stuck behind (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding for the first week and Honey by Bobby Goldsboro for the remaining two. It also hit #1 on the UK Singles Chart and the US Cash Box listing. It reached #34 US Easy Listening. This was one of four Top 10 singles from Gary Puckett & the Union Gap in the US in 1968. They sold more singles in the US than The Beatles that year!
The song is sung from the point of view of a man who has become distressed upon finding out that the girl he is with is under the legal age of consent. He is asking her to leave before things go any further, “Get out of here / before I have the time / to change my mind / ’cause I’m afraid we’ll go too far.”
In the UK, the recording enjoyed a second chart run in 1974, when it peaked at No. 6.
Jerry Fuller explained the inspiration for “Young Girl” in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: “I was on the road a lot as an artist, fronting various groups for many years. I guess every entertainer goes through a time when 14-year-olds look like 20-year-olds. That’s somewhat of an inspiration not from my own experience, just knowing that it happens.”
FUN FACT: The band wore American Civil War uniforms and gave themselves military ranks, from General Puckett down to Privates Whitbread (the drummer) and Withem (the keyboardist). This was to tie in with the fact that they had taken their name from the site of a famous Civil War battle.
All the Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople – “All the Young Dudes” is a song written by David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by Mott the Hoople in 1972. Released in July that year, the single made No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart, No. 37 in the US (in November) and No. 31 in Canada, and appeared on their album of the same name in September of that year. It is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The song was written and produced by David Bowie. Mott the Hoople had a cult following in England and Bowie was a big fan. The problem was, they weren’t selling many albums and were about to break up. Bowie heard about their impending breakup when Mott bass player Pete Overend Watts called looking for work, and in an effort to keep the band together, he offered to produce their next album and provide them with a song he was working on. The challenge was getting Mott in the studio to record the song, since they had alienated their record label, Island. Bowie got them some time at Olympic Studios in London in the middle of the night, and that’s where they recorded the song. Besides producing the track, Bowie played guitar, sang backup, and clapped.
Mott The Hoople didn’t know this when they recorded it, but Bowie intended this song for his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars concept album. The, “All the young dudes carry the news” line refers to part of Bowie’s story where there is no electricity, and Ziggy Stardust uses songs to spread the news. Said Bowie: “‘All the Young Dudes’ is a song about this news. It’s not a hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite.”
When Bowie first offered this song to Mott The Hoople, they recognized its potential straight away. The band’s drummer Dale Griffin is quoted in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs: “I’m thinking, ‘He wants to give us that?’ He must be crazy!”
David Bowie recalled to Mojo magazine in 2002:
“I literally wrote that within an hour or so of reading an article in one of the music rags that their breakup was imminent. I thought they were a fair little band, and I almost thought, ‘This will be an interesting thing to do, let’s see if I can write this song and keep them together.’ It sounds terribly modest now, but you go through that when you’re young.”
Mott the Hoople released four albums before All The Young Dudes and their near demise. When this song was released, they quickly found a following in the UK and scored five more Top 40 hits before breaking up in 1974, with guitarist Mick Ralphs moving on to form Bad Company.
This was Mott the Hoople’s only US Top 40 hit and their biggest hit in England. It is the only Mott the Hoople song many people have heard, but the band has a large following of fans who think they have a number of great songs, but were never appreciated.
Even though the band was heterosexual, this became a gay anthem, at least in America, thanks to lyrics like “Lucy looks sweet ’cause he dresses like a queen.” This was the nature of glam rock, a style that emerged in England in the early ’70s where singers performed in makeup and feminine clothes while playing bombastic rock songs. The performers were not necessarily gay, but they definitely blurred gender roles. Bowie may have been the biggest influence on glam rock.
In October 1973, after this song caught on, Mott the Hoople went on tour with a young Aerosmith as their opening act. Mott played up the Glam image to the hilt, enlisting former Spooky Tooth guitarist Luther Grosvenor to play with them and having wear outrageous platform shoes and go by the name Ariel Bender – “Bender” being British slang for homosexual. Aerosmith was a good choice to open for Mott, as their lead singer Steven Tyler had a similar fashion sense to Ian Hunter.
Only the Young by Journey – “Only the Young” is a song written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry and Neal Schon of the band Journey. It was sold to the band Scandal, who released it in 1984 on their Warrior album. Journey also recorded and released the song and Scandal was given a large settlement in the legal aftermath. Previously intended for Journey’s Frontiers album, it was pulled from the album within days of recording in favor of songs “Back Talk” and “Troubled Child”. The song was eventually released as a single (which reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1985) and appeared on the soundtrack to the 1985 film Vision Quest. It also reached No. 3 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The song’s lyrical theme focuses on young people and the hope and future they all have in front of them. (The song was featured later as a bonus track on the 2006 CD reissue of Frontiers).
The first individual outside the band to hear the song was sixteen-year-old Kenny Sykaluk of Rocky River, Ohio, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. His mother wrote a letter to the band telling them about her son’s terminal condition, and how big a fan he was of Journey. The band flew to his hospital bedside in Cleveland, Ohio at the request of the Make a Wish Foundation. Along with a Walkman containing the new track, the band also brought Kenny a football helmet signed by the San Francisco 49ers and an autographed Journey platinum record award. The experience of playing the song for Kenny left Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain deeply affected. Perry said, “As soon as I walked out of the hospital room, I lost it. Nurses had to take me to a room by myself.” On the band’s episode of VH1’s Behind the Music, Cain broke down in tears recalling the event, remarking that “children should not have to live with that kind of pain”. Kenny died the next day, with the Walkman still in his hand. The song brought life into perspective for the band and left them humbled. Neal Schon said that Kenny’s death affected Journey by making them re-evaluate the issues that were causing friction inside the band itself. In honor of Kenny Sykaluk, the band used the song as their opener for the Raised on Radio Tour.
Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel – “Only the Good Die Young” is a song from Billy Joel’s 1977 pop rock album, The Stranger. It was the third of four singles released from the album. The song was controversial for its time, with the lyrics written from the perspective of a young man determined to deflower a Catholic girl.
The song was inspired by a high school crush of Joel’s, Virginia Callahan. Virginia in the song was Virginia Callaghan, a girl Billy had a crush on when he first started playing in a band. She didn’t even know he existed until she saw him in a gig, but thirteen years later he used her as the main character in this song about a Catholic girl who won’t have premarital sex.
The boy/narrator believes that the girl is refusing him because she comes from a religious Catholic family and that she believes premarital sex is sinful. He sings,
You Catholic girls start much too late,
but sooner or later it comes down to fate.
I might as well be the one.
The song didn’t do very well until church officials around the US heard it and condemned the song. Attempts to censor the song only made it more popular, after religious groups considered it anti-Catholic, and pressured radio stations to remove it from their playlists. “When I wrote ‘Only the Good Die Young’, the point of the song wasn’t so much anti-Catholic as pro-lust,” Joel told Performing Songwriter magazine. “The minute they banned it, the album started shooting up the charts.” In a 2008 interview, Joel also pointed out one part of the lyrics that virtually all the song’s critics missed – the boy in the song failed to get anywhere with the girl, and she kept her chastity.
The controversy was great publicity and sent the song up the charts. Joel recalled to the Metro newspaper July 6, 2006 about the controversy stirred up by this number:
“That song was released as a single back in 1977, I think. It was not really doing very well, just languishing in the charts. Then it was banned by a radio station in New Jersey at a Catholic university. The minute the kids found out it was banned, they ran out in droves and it became a huge hit. If you tell kids they can’t have something, that’s what they want. I don’t understand the problem with the song. It’s about a guy trying to seduce a girl but, at the end of the song, she’s still chaste and pure and he hasn’t got anything. So I never understood what the furor was about. But I did write a letter to the archdiocese who’d banned it, asking them to ban my next record.” LOL!
FUN FACT: Many musicians join bands to meet girls, but few overachieve the way Joel did, dating models and even marrying one of them (Christie Brinkley). Virginia Callaghan was the first of these girls that thought differently of Joel when she saw him perform. Billy explained to Uncut in 1998: “I originally started in bands just to meet girls – it was round the time The Beatles first hit America – but I didn’t know you could actually make a living out of it. My first gig was in a church, about ’64 – we did Beatles songs, and this girl I had a crush on, Virginia Callaghan, who normally wouldn’t look twice at me, just stared at me through the whole gig. And I thought, ‘This is so cool!’ And then all these other girls were lookin’ at me as well. Then, at the end of the night, the priest comes up and gives us like 15 dollars apiece, which in ’64 was a fortune! Girls and money! Man, I was hooked.”
The video in my playlist is Joel performing the song live in Rome, Italy at the Coliseum on July 31, 2006.
Oh Very Young by Cat Stevens – “Oh Very Young” is a song composed by Cat Stevens. It was released on his 1974 album Buddha and the Chocolate Box, as well as several later “Best of…” and “Greatest Hits” albums. This song that poses a question asked by future generations reached number 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number two Easy Listening.
It has been suggested this 1974 composition by Cat Stevens contains a veiled reference to the death of Buddy Holly the same was as Don McLean’s better known “American Pie”; the basis for this appears to be its reference to “Denim blue, faded up to the sky.” Did Buddy Holly ever wear denim?
On his website djallyn.org, DJ Ally posted the following about “Oh Very Young” on April 30, 2009:
“Its lyric is a gentle response to Don McLean’s hit “American Pie” released two years previously. Like McLean, he stops short of mentioning Buddy Holly directly, but questions the ill-fated songwriter’s “Not Fade Away” (the last song Holly performed) lyric “a love to last more than one day, a lover’s love, not fade away” with Stevens’ own “denim blue, fading up to the sky, and though you want him to last forever you know he never will, and the patches make the goodbye harder still”. Stevens then mentions the young American’s mold-breaking work “Words Of Love” in the line “will you carry the words of love with you, will you ride the great white bird into heaven, and though you want to last forever you know you never will, and the goodbye makes the journey harder still.”
Suzanne Lynch worked as a session musician until she became a regular part of Cat Stevens’ vocal group and appeared on several of his albums. The first song Lynch did for Stevens was “Oh Very Young” in which she sang the solo line and the haunting background melody.
Young Americans by David Bowie – “Young Americans” is a single by English singer and songwriter David Bowie, released in 1975. It is included in the album of the same name. The song was a massive breakthrough in the United States, where glam rock had never really become very popular outside the major cities. The song reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his second biggest success there up until that point. In 2016, it ranked at #44 on Pitchfork’s list of the 200 best songs of the 1970s.
Bowie never was a young American – he was born and raised in England. Bowie said that this was the result of cramming his “whole American experience” into one song.
The first studio result of Bowie’s mid-1970s obsession with soul music, “Young Americans” was a breakthrough for the artist in the United States (where the single was released in an edited 3:11 version). The sound, later described by Bowie as “plastic soul”, was matched by a cynical lyric, making references to McCarthyism, black repression via Rosa Parks, Richard Nixon (who resigned the U.S. Presidency two days before the recording session), and a near-direct lift from The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” with the line “I heard the news today oh boy!” (John Lennon, who wrote that line, appeared twice on the Young Americans album, providing guitar and backing vocals on his own “Across the Universe” and “Fame”, for which he also received a co-writing credit.) The lead instrument in this song the saxophone, which was played by American Jazz player David Sanborn, who was just starting to get noticed when Bowie brought him in to play on this. Bowie hired Luther Vandross, who had yet to establish himself as a solo artist, to sing backup and create the vocal arrangements on the Young Americans album.
“America,” noted production team The Matrix, “is a bit like a teenager: brimming with energy and imagination, occasionally overstepping the mark, but always with a great sense of possibility. Bowie captured a big piece of that in ‘Young Americans’.”
FUN FACT: Near the end of the song, Bowie sings, “Black’s got respect and white’s got his soul train.” Soul Train is an American TV show targeted to a black audience that started in 1970. The show features lots of very expressive dancing as well as a musical guest, and in November 1975, Bowie became one of the first white singers to perform on the show, something he was very proud of. The “Young Americans” single was released in February 1975, so Bowie performed “Fame” and “Golden Years,” which was his current single.
Young Turks by Rod Stewart – “Young Turks” is a song by Rod Stewart that first appeared in 1981 on his album Tonight I’m Yours. The track showed Stewart with a new synthpop and new wave sound. The term ‘young Turk’, which originates from the early 20th-century secular nationalist reform party of the same name, is slang for a rebellious youth who acts contrary to what is deemed normal by society. The phrase “Young Turks” is never heard in the actual song, the chorus instead centering on the phrase “young hearts be free tonight”, leading to the song frequently being misidentified as “Young Hearts” or “Young Hearts Be Free.”
Many of Stewart’s songs tell stories. This tells the story of Billy, a kid who leaves his hometown and gets his girlfriend pregnant.
The music for the song was composed by Carmine Appice, Duane Hitchings, and Kevin Savigar, with lyrics written by Stewart. The song, which was released as the first single from Tonight I’m Yours, was produced with synthesizers and a hi-hat played over a drum machine. On the Billboard Hot 100, “Young Turks” debuted at no. 61 in October 1981 and peaked at no. 5 on December 19, 1981 through January 9, 1982. The song peaked at no. 11 on the UK Singles Chart and also was a top 5 hit in Australia, Belgium, Israel (no. 1) and Canada.
FUN FACT: Remember when MTV was all the rage? Released a few months after MTV went on the air, it was the first video they played that contained Breakdancing. The song benefited from lots of play on the channel. Of about 200 videos in MTV’s rotation, Stewart had about 40! Says Appice: “The videos were cutting edge. He had top-of-the line people. When I first joined him, the first video we did was for ‘Hot Legs,’ and that was a great video. It was played all over the world. For every album we did with Rod, we did 2 or 3 videos. There were a lot of stations that would play videos. There were video outlets in Australia and England. Top of the Pops would play the videos all the time.”
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) by Styx – “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” is the second single released from Styx’s The Grand Illusion (1977) album. On the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in the U.S., the single peaked at number 29. It also hit #20 on the Canada RPM Top Singles chart the week of May 6th 1978.
The song was written by guitarist Tommy Shaw. It was originally based on Shaw’s initial perception of Styx keyboardist Dennis DeYoung — an “angry young man” who viewed the group’s successes with a wary eye and grew angry or depressed with every setback. It was only in later years that Shaw began to see himself in the lyrics, and the song took on a more personal meaning to him.
Tommy Shaw wrote this song in part as a message to his bandmate Dennis DeYoung, who hated touring and often seemed miserable. Said Shaw:
“In a way that song was from me to Dennis. The seeds of discontent had started to take over on the road. The rest of us were all really happy at the time, but Dennis wasn’t getting quite the same joy. I was trying to tell him there was all this great stuff going on, and to enjoy it more. It was frustrating to see someone so talented and loved, but not getting more out of the experience. Whether or not he understood, I don’t know. It was fairly subtle.”
Shaw would later downplay the DeYoung connection and say that he realized the song could also apply to himself, as he could become cynical at times.
NOT SO FUN FACT: On May 16, 1983, a 24-year-old man named Robert Wickes, who had been fired from his job as a teacher’s aide, took hostages at Brentwood Junior High School in New York before killing himself inside a classroom. During hostage negotiations, he used the local radio station WBLI as a pulpit, having them read an angry message and play this song, which the station did. Wickes ordered the song dedicated to his brother and parents.
Wickes had requested other songs earlier in the negotiations, including “Penny Lane” and “Angie,” which the station played in return for the release of a hostage each time. “Fooling Yourself” was the last song played before he killed himself.
Wickes clearly didn’t heed the song’s message, which assures the “angry young man” that he has a lot to live for: “Your future looks quite bright to me.”
Angry Young Man by Billy Joel – “Prelude/Angry Young Man” is a song written by Billy Joel which appeared as the sixth song on the album Turnstiles in 1976. Live versions have been released as the second track of Концерт, the 11th track of the first disc of 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert, and the opening track on the first disc of 12 Gardens Live and Live at Shea Stadium: The Concert (BTW, the video that is in my playlist is from the Shea Stadium concert. It’s fabulous!). It is also included in the Broadway show Movin’ Out, a jukebox musical featuring the songs of Billy Joel.
The instrumental “Prelude” lasts approximately a minute and 45 seconds, starting with a rapid-fire hammered piano riff on the middle-C piano key, joined by various instruments, swinging through styles such an Aaron Copland-styled ballad to funk to a Southwestern beat. When performing live, Joel plays the fast-paced prelude himself, but performs the song early in setlist, largely because the prelude section was easiest to manage during the adrenaline moments of starting a show, as opposed to being attempted after he had already expended much of his energy for other songs.
It is then followed by “Angry Young Man”, which paints a slightly sardonic picture of youthful, militant rebellion that is unflagging, trying to fight life’s ills despite constant failure (“He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl / And he’s always at home with his back to the wall / And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost / And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross / And he likes to be known as the angry young man”). The song contrasts the angry youth’s feelings with the maturity of the narrator, who could be interpreted as either the same angry youth at a later age, or somebody who once felt as the angry young man currently does (“I believe I’ve passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage / I found that just surviving was a noble fight / I once believed in causes too / I had my pointless point of view / And life went on no matter who was wrong or right”.)
Despite never having been released as a single, “Prelude/Angry Young Man” has become a popular song among fans as well as a staple of live shows. “Prelude” was used as an opening theme for the German television talk show Live (1988-1996); and also used as theme song for Grampian Television’s summertime news magazine programm “Summer at Six” in the early 1980s. It has also been frequently used during stoppages of play at New York Knicks home games in Madison Square Garden.
I’ve seen Billy Joel twice in concert and he puts on an amazing show. I’d like to read the book Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man by Hank Bordowitz, said to be an exciting, up-to-the-minute look at one of the great musical geniuses of our times. Have any of you read the book? If so, what did you think? Maybe I’ll snag the Kindle edition.
If I Die Young by The Band Perry – “If I Die Young” is a song written by Kimberly Perry, and recorded by American country music group The Band Perry. It was released on June 8, 2010 as the second single from the group’s self-titled debut album, which was released on October 12, 2010.
The Band Perry is composed of siblings: lead vocalist and guitarist Kimberly Perry, bass guitarist Reid Perry and drummer Neil Perry. The group signed to Republic Nashville in August 2009 and released its debut single “Hip to My Heart” the same month. This song is the trio’s second single; which was given a release date of June 7, 2010.
“If I Die Young” is a mid-tempo tune accompanied by acoustic guitar, banjo, accordion, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, and drums. It is in the key of E Major. The song is about the sadness of dying young girl (“The sharp knife of a short life”) as the narrator describes how she never really got to experience love and worrying about how her loved ones will miss her and deal with the loss. She recognizes that once someone passes away, others seem to pay more attention to that person’s life: “And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’ / Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’.” She states that if she dies young, then her family left behind should “save their tears” for a time when “they’re really gonna need them.” She states that she has had a well-lived life in the line “Well, I’ve had just enough time.”
Kimberley Perry told The Boot the story behind the song:
“‘If I Die Young’ is actually the first song that we had penned for the album. It defines an early chapter of our music career. We penned it on a cloudy day in East Tennessee, which is where we live and do all of our best thinking. We wanted to write a song about making the most of whatever time you’re given – whether it’s two years, twenty years or two hundred.
We really have gotten to live and love at our young ages. ‘If I Die Young,’ for us, is about if it all ends at this moment, look at what we’ve gotten to do. Whatever time we’re given will be absolutely enough as long as we make the most of it.”
Kimberly Perry recalled writing the song to Billboard magazine:
“It was basically a cloudy day in East Tennessee where the boys and I call home. A lot of times before I start writing a lyric, I’ll start writing in free-verse poetry. I find that it’s not as binding as a three-and-a-half-minute song – you can get a lot of good brainstorming out in that way.
On this particular day, I was thinking about what my funeral would look like if it were mine to plan, and it grew into this idea. It was such a gorgeous moment of contentment that was hitting me so hard in the heart. I began to contemplate the idea that if it all ended at this moment, I’d done everything that I set out to do so far. I was very aware that I had so many other aspirations but for whatever reason if they didn’t happen, that I had done everything that I needed to do.
I had brainstormed in my little notebook and I began to see this song take shape. I came up with the melody and ran downstairs and said, ‘Hey, boys, play this with me!’ It was one of the most special days in my life.”
Kimberley has written poetry since she was a kid, but this was the first successful song that she wrote by herself. She told Billboard magazine that the process of writing this song taught her a lot about being a writer. She explained: “It had all this interesting meter and internal rhyme and from the mechanics of writing, it taught me so much. It also taught me to communicate not only on a metaphorical level, which I’ve always done a lot. Every line in the song is 100% realism, but then there is also some deeper metaphor underneath if folks choose to see that.”
Kimberly Perry told The Boot about this cut:
“That song works on so many levels and means different things to different people. It was just one of those songs that you felt like was meant to be on planet earth. We were just real humble to have the pen and paper in hand when it was ready to come, and for us it is a statement of contentment. We finished that song and just looked at each other and said, ‘How cool is this that we were able to put feet to our dreams?’ So many people work so hard for so long and for whatever reason are not able, or don’t have the opportunity to access their dreams. So for us it was a statement of you know what, if it all ends at this moment for whatever reason even at our young ages, we’ve gotten to live and love so well and so completely. And that’s what it means to us.”
Reception: The Band Perry received at least one letter in response to the song. In its envelope, the members also found a necklace with a ring on it. The letter’s author was a young girl who had recently lost her best friend to cancer. Mourning her friend’s death, the girl was contemplating suicide. Driving from work one day, she heard “If I Die Young” on the radio. Hearing “so much life in the song”, the girl changed her mind. In her letter to The Band Perry, she wrote about the necklace: “I’m sending this to you, because it’s the most important thing I own. This song literally saved my life.”
Bobby Peacock of Roughstock spoke positively of the lyrics, saying that they were “very well-developed with interesting little details.” He felt that, although the topic is “a little sugarcoated”, the vocal performance is a “pleasant listening experience”.
“If I Die Young” debuted at number 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of May 29, 2010. It also debuted at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of July 24, 2010. In October 2010, it became the group’s first top 10 single on the Hot Country Songs chart as well as their first top 20 on the Hot 100 chart. The song became their first number one hit on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week of December 11, 2010.
The music video, which was directed by David McClister, premiered on CMT on May 27, 2010. In the video, the band is shown setting Kimberly Perry in a canoe before pushing it off into the river. Perry is holding a book containing poems by Tennyson, including The Lady of Shalott, which the book is opened to at the end of the music video. The video echoes a scene in Anne of Green Gables in which Anne attempts to appear as the Lady of the poem. Kimberly’s mother and her love interest (played by Kyle Kupecky) are shown plucking flower petals and visibly depressed that she has left them. Eventually, her canoe begins to take on water, she sits up. Once this occurs her brothers come back for her. When she gets back to her house, her mother and love interest embrace her. The video was filmed on location at Two Rivers Mansion outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Throughout the video, the band is also shown performing with their instruments inside of the house.
The Band Perry won the Single of the Year award at the 2011 CMA Awards for this song. The sibling trio was also awarded New Artist of the Year, while Kimberly Perry claimed an additional Song of the Year trophy for penning this tune.
When You’re Young by 3 Doors Down – 3 Doors Down is an American rock band from Escatawpa, Mississippi, that formed in 1996. The band originally consisted of Brad Arnold (lead vocals/drums), Todd Harrell (bass), and Matt Roberts (lead guitar, backing vocals). They were soon joined by rhythm guitarist Chris Henderson. The band rose to international fame with their first single, “Kryptonite“, which charted in the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (I LOVE the song Kryptonite!)
“When You’re Young” is the first single from 3 Doors Down’s fifth studio album, Time of My Life. The single was released to iTunes on February 1, 2011. It is now their 10th top 10 single on the mainstream rock chart.
3 Doors Down lead singer Brad Arnold said of the song,
“I think it’s a song that a lot of people can identify with. There’s somebody out there who needs to hear this song, and I hope they hear it. So many times, older people look at young kids and say, “Enjoy this time! It’s the best time of your life,” when it’s really not. Being young is hard. Everything’s in front of you for the first time. Those things that are in front of you seem so much bigger than they do when you’re looking back on them. I’m 32 now and looking back on my teenage years and before, a lot of it doesn’t seem as hard as it did then because now it’s behind me and I hardly remember it. You get the responsibilities of the world as an adult. However, when you were in high school, there was nothing bigger than that test on Friday. Now, you don’t even remember what test it was. It’s hard to be young. The song discusses that.”
On March 23, 2011, the official video for the song was uploaded to YouTube. The video, in black and white, depicts a street with many men dressed in black suits walking on it. A young girl is seen on the street, looking around. Eventually, she falls over and her glasses are stepped on by one of the men in suits, at which point the others begin laughing at her. A young man appears and she gets up, only to be separated from him by the crowd. This is interspersed with shots of the band playing in the street.
Young Lust by Pink Floyd – “Young Lust” is a song by Pink Floyd. It appeared on The Wall album in 1979. This song was one of several to be considered for the band’s “best of” album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.
This is about the sometimes grotesque lifestyle of rock stars and their love lives (or lack thereof). The clichés of sex and rock and roll are a satire of the music common to the era.
Along with “Run Like Hell” and “Comfortably Numb,” this is one of 3 songs on The Wall that Dave Gilmour helped Roger Waters write. Waters wrote the others himself.
“Young Lust” is a blues-inflected hard rock number in E minor, approximately 3 minutes, 25 seconds in length. The lead vocals in the song are sung by David Gilmour, with background vocals from Roger Waters during the chorus. The lyrics are about a “rock and roll refugee” seeking casual sex to relieve the tedium of touring. It is one of the few Pink Floyd songs in which Gilmour plays the bass in the original studio version and one of the three songs Gilmour co-wrote for The Wall.
The Wall tells the story of Pink, an embittered and alienated rock star. At this point in the album’s narrative, Pink has achieved wealth and fame, and is usually away from home, due to the demands of his career as a touring performer. He is having casual sex with groupies to relieve the tedium of the road, and is living a separate life from his wife.
The end of the song is a segment of dialogue between Pink and a telephone operator, as Pink twice attempts to place a transatlantic collect call to his wife. A man answers, and when the operator asks if he will accept the charges, the man simply hangs up. This is how Pink learns that his wife is cheating on him. (“See, he keeps hanging up,” says the operator. “And it’s a man answering!”) With this betrayal, his mental breakdown accelerates.
FUN FACT: (And I think this is really cool): The dialogue with the operator was the result of an arrangement co-producer James Guthrie made with a neighbor in London, Chris Fitzmorris, while the album was being recorded in Los Angeles. He wanted realism, for the operator to actually believe they had caught his wife having an affair, and so didn’t inform her she was being recorded. The operator heard in the recording is the second operator they tried the routine with, after the first operator’s reaction was deemed unsatisfactory.
Film version: In the film, the scene with the attempted phone call, in which Pink learns his wife is cheating on him, occurs at the very beginning of the song “What Shall We Do Now”, which is the extended version of “Empty Spaces”, before the “Young Lust” song rather than at the end of the “Young Lust” song. The implications of the song are therefore slightly different. On the album, he is already unfaithful to his wife while on tour, making him a hypocrite when he is appalled at her own faithlessness. In the film, he is only seen with a groupie after he learns of his wife’s affair, which shows the character in a more sympathetic light.
In the film, several groupies (including a young Joanne Whalley, in her film debut) seduce security guards and roadies to get backstage passes, where one of them (Jenny Wright) ends up going with Pink (Bob Geldof) to his room.
And for anyone interested in some info on the Birthday song by the Beatles:
Birthday by The Beatles – “Birthday” is a song written by Lennon–McCartney and performed by the Beatles on their double album The Beatles (often known as “the White Album“). It is the opening track on the third side of the LP (or the second disc in CD versions of the record). The song is an example of the Beatles’ return to more traditional rock and roll form, although their music had increased in complexity and it had developed more of its own characteristic style by this point. Surviving Beatles McCartney and Ringo Starr performed it for Starr’s 70th birthday at Radio City Music Hall on July 7, 2010.
According to Q magazine May 2008, the Beatles were in a rush to get to Paul McCartney’s house in time to catch the rock ‘n’ roll movie The Girl Can’t Help It. Consequently they played around with a simple Blues track rather than record anything too involved. Duly inspired after watching the movie, they completed the song back in studio that night.
This was one of the last songs John Lennon and Paul McCartney collaborated on. Even though all of their songs were credited to Lennon/McCartney, many of their later songs were written separately.
FUN FACT: The unique sound of this song was not supplied by an organ or any kind of keyboard. It came from running a guitar through a Leslie speaker. Such speakers are commonly found in keyboard instruments. The speaker rotates, which is what provides the different sound. Pattie Harrison and Yoko Ono sang in the chorus.
That’s it for this week’s Monday’s Music Moves Me. Do these songs make you feel young or old? What other songs can you think of with the word YOUNG in the title?
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.