MONDAY’S MUSIC MOVES ME – A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs: the BROWN Edition

This is the second installment of my Monday’s Music Moves Me Freebie Series, “A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs.” Today I’m featuring the color BROWN.

In case you missed the kickoff installment, you can catch up on how the Kaleidoscope of Color Songs started two weeks ago with this post.

So, how do you feel about the color brown? What do you associate with this color? I happened upon a very cool series on the meanings of colors at the Bourn Creative website. I’ve long been in love with color so when I found this series on the meanings of colors I thought it would be fun to include just a glimpse into today’s featured color before we jump into the music.

As presented in the Bourn Creative collection of color meanings, Brown is a natural, neutral and earthy color. Sometimes considered dull, it is closely associated with the fall and winter seasons, yet it also represents growth, steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness, dependability, and health. Brown is the color of the Earth and is comforting and nurturing. The brown color says stability, reliability, dependability, and approachability.

The color brown affects the mind and body by creating feelings of stability and peace. Brown provides feelings of organization, history and connection, as well as cozy feelings of relaxation and warmth. It is believed to help create a wholesome feeling, a connection with the earth, and a sense of orderliness and convention. Brown is a stable and grounded color that is believed to help you feel like you fit in and belong. This warm color is even said to stimulate the appetite. Who knew?!

I don’t know about you but I have a huge appetite for good music. Without further ado, here is my Brown Songs Playlist, followed of course by a few tidbits of information about each song.

 

First up in one of my favorite brown songs and indeed I am a…

Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison – “Brown Eyed Girl” is a song by Northern Irish singer and songwriter Van Morrison. Written by Morrison and recorded in March 1967 for Bang Records owner and producer Bert Berns, it was released as a single in June 1967 on the Bang label, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It featured The Sweet Inspirations singing back-up vocals and is considered to be Van Morrison’s signature song. “Brown Eyed Girl” has remained a staple on classic rock radio, and has been covered by hundreds of bands over the decades.

This was Morrison’s first release as a solo artist; he was previously with the group Them. The song appeared on his debut solo album Blowin’ Your Mind! and again on his 1973 compilation T.B. Sheets. It’s one of Morrison’s most enduring songs, but he thinks a lot less of it than most of the public. In 2009 he explained to Time magazine: “‘Brown Eyed Girl’ I didn’t perform for a long time because for me it was like a throwaway song. I’ve got about 300 other songs I think are better than that.”

This was a hit during the “Summer of Love,” when hippie culture bloomed in the US and the song provided a fitting soundtrack. Morrison, however, wanted nothing to do with this scene and was horrified when the album was released with a psychedelic-looking cover.

This was originally called “Brown Skinned Girl,” and was about an interracial relationship. Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” to make it more palatable for radio stations. Some stations banned it anyway for the line, “Making love in the green grass.”  (My how things have changed!)

Interestingly, another explanation about the title change comes from Morrison himself: Originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl”, Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” when he recorded it. Morrison remarked on the original title: “That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind. I changed the title. After we’d recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title. I looked at the box where I’d lain it down with my guitar and it said ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ on the tape box. It’s just one of those things that happen.”  So, which is it Van??

The song’s nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations. A radio-edit of the song was released which removed the lyrics “making love in the green grass”, replacing them with “laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey” from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison. However the remastered CD seems to have the bowdlerized lyrics in the packaging but the original “racy” lyrics on the disc. Lyrically, it “shows early hints of the idealized pastoral landscapes that would flow through his songs through the decades, a tendency that links him to the Romantic poets, whom Morrison has cited as an influence” according to music journalist Erik Hage.

The video is an early Van performing on American Bandstand. It is said that he hated to lip sync which may explain his apparent discomfort.

Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar” is a song by the Rolling Stones. It is the opening track and lead single from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers.

Though credited, like most of their compositions, to the singer/guitarist pair of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song was primarily the work of Jagger, who wrote it sometime during the filming of Ned Kelly in 1969. Originally recorded over a three-day period at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, December 2-4, 1969, the song was not released until over a year later due to legal wranglings with the band’s former label, though at the request of guitarist Mick Taylor, they debuted the number live during the infamous concert at Altamont on December 6 that year. The song was written by Jagger with Marsha Hunt in mind; Hunt was Jagger’s secret girlfriend and mother of his first child Karis. It is also claimed it was written with Claudia Lennear in mind. Lennear made this claim on BBC’s Radio 4 (25 February 2014, Today), saying that it was written with her in mind because at the time when it was written, Mick Jagger used to hang around with her.

The song, with its prominent blues-rock riffs, dual horn/guitar instrumental break, and danceable rock rhythms, is representative of the Stones’ definitive middle period and the tough, bluesy hard-rock most often associated with the group. In the liner notes to the compilation album Jump Back (1993), Jagger says, “The lyric was all to do with the dual combination of drugs and girls. This song was a very instant thing, a definite high point.”

Some say the lyrics are about slaves from Africa who were sold in New Orleans and raped by their white masters. Such subject matter is quite serious, but the way the song is structured, it comes off as a fun rocker about a white guy having sex with a black girl. (Some research has reported that Mick originally titled this song “Black Pussy” but he decided it was a little too direct and changed it to “Brown Sugar”).

According to the book Up and Down with The Rolling Stones by Tony Sanchez, all the slavery and whipping is a double meaning for the perils of being “mastered” by Brown Heroin, or “Brown Sugar.” The drug cooks brown in a spoon.  You decide…

The video in the playlist is a UK performance at BBC’s Top of the Pops in 1971.

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton JohnCaptain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is a 1975 album by Elton John. It is John’s ninth studio album and includes the title track as the first song on the album.  I believe this was one of my first, if not my actual first, album ever! Prior to that, I was getting 45s. Every Friday my mom would take me shopping and I was allowed to get one 45 record each week. I had quite a collection! I sure wish I knew what ever happened to all those 45s in those cool box containers…

Anyway, the album is an autobiographical account of the early musical careers of Elton John (Captain Fantastic) and Bernie Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy). It was released in May 1975 by MCA in America and DJM in the UK. It debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200, the first album to do so, reportedly selling 1.4 million copies in its first 4 days of release, and stayed in that position for seven weeks.

It was certified gold in May 1975 and was certified platinum and 3x platinum in March 1993 by the RIAA. In Canada, it also debuted at number 1 on the RPM national Top Albums chart and only broke a run of what would have been fifteen consecutive weeks at the top by falling one position to number 2 in the ninth week (May 31–September 6). On the UK Albums Chart, it peaked at number 2. In 2003, the album was ranked number 158 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. This was the last album until Too Low for Zero that Elton John and his classic band would play on together.

As for the song: Elton is “Captain Fantastic,” his writing partner Bernie Taupin is “The Brown Dirt Cowboy.” The song is a look back on the early days of their songwriting partnership.

Regarding the album as a whole: Written, according to lyricist Bernie Taupin, in chronological order, Captain Fantastic is a concept album that gives an autobiographical glimpse at the struggles John (Captain Fantastic) and Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy) had in the early years of their musical careers in London (from 1967 to 1969), leading up to John’s eventual breakthrough in 1970. The lyrics and accompanying photo booklet are infused with a specific sense of place and time that would otherwise be rare in John’s music. John composed the music on a ship voyage from the UK to New York.

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, the only single released from the album (and a number 4 hit on the US Pop Singles chart), is a semi-autobiographical story about John’s disastrous engagement to Linda Woodrow, and his related 1968 suicide attempt. The “Someone” refers to Long John Baldry, who convinced him to break off the engagement rather than ruin his music career for an unhappy marriage. It was viewed by Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau as the best track on the album: “As long as Elton John can bring forth one performance per album on the order of ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’, the chance remains that he will become something more than the great entertainer he already is and go on to make a lasting contribution to rock.”

In a 2006 interview with Cameron Crowe, Elton John said,

“I’ve always thought that Captain Fantastic was probably my finest album because it wasn’t commercial in any way. We did have songs such as “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” which is one of the best songs that Bernie and I have ever written together, but whether a song like that could be a single these days, since it’s [more than] six minutes long, is questionable. Captain Fantastic was written from start to finish in running order, as a kind of story about coming to terms with failure—or trying desperately not to be one. We lived that story.”

John, Taupin and the band labored harder and longer on the album than perhaps any previous record they’d ever done to that point. As opposed to the rather quick, almost factory-like process of writing and recording an album in a matter of a few days or at most a couple of weeks (as with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), the team spent the better part of a month off the road at Caribou Ranch Studios working on the recordings. Producer Gus Dudgeon was apparently also very satisfied with the results. The album’s producer was quoted in Elizabeth Rosenthal’s His Song, an exhaustive detailed accounting of nearly all John’s recorded work, as saying he thought Captain Fantastic was the best the band and Elton had ever played, lauded their vocal work, and soundly praised Elton and Bernie’s songwriting. “There’s not one song on it that’s less than incredible,” Dudgeon said.

The 2006 album The Captain & the Kid is the sequel, and continues the autobiography where Captain Fantastic leaves off.

Album Cover Art:   

I was always captivated by the very colorful album cover. I can’t say for sure but I think Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy may have been my very first album that I ever bought with my allowance! Until then, my Mom would buy me and my brother one 45 every Friday. I sure wish I had all those 45s now!

Anyway, the intricate cover art was designed by pop artist Alan Aldridge, drawing fantastic imagery from the Renaissance painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by the Early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch. The original LP package included a “Lyrics” booklet with an uncompleted lyric for “Dogs in the Kitchen” that was not on the album’s line-up, and another booklet called “Scraps,” which collected snippets of reviews, diary entries and other personal memorabilia of John and Taupin during the years chronicled on the album. It also contained a poster of the album’s cover. These were reproduced, in smaller versions, for the 2005 Deluxe Edition CD. Limited edition copies were pressed on brown vinyl.

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle – “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” is a song written by Richard Leigh, and recorded by American country music singer Crystal Gayle. It was released in March 1977 as the first single from Gayle’s album We Must Believe in Magic. Despite the title, Gayle herself has blue eyes.

In a 2004 Country Music Television interview, Gayle stated that songwriter Richard Leigh was inspired to write the song by his dog who had one brown eye and one blue eye. It was his second #1 Country hit for Crystal Gayle. Leigh also wrote many other Country classics and is in the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

The song became a worldwide hit single. It was a huge crossover hit for Gayle, making her famous outside the world of Country music. In the United States, it topped the Billboard country music chart and was Gayle’s first (and biggest) crossover pop hit, reaching number 1 on the Cashbox Top 100 for two weeks, and number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, behind Debby Boone’s smash hit, “You Light Up My Life”. The album received Platinum status, the first by a female country singer. The song became Gayle’s signature piece throughout her career. This won 1977 Grammy Awards for Best Country Vocal plus Best Country Song for writer Richard Leigh. In 1978, the song won Gayle a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. In 1999, the song was recognized by ASCAP as one of the ten most-performed songs of the 20th century. The song has a jazzy feel to it when compared to many other country songs of that era. Gayle had many more hit singles for the next ten years, such as “Talking in Your Sleep”, “Half the Way” “You and I” (a duet with Eddie Rabbitt) and “I’ll Get Over You”, but none have achieved the same level of success as “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”.

Crystal Gayle nailed this on the first try. “That was a first take,” she recalled to Billboard magazine. “I did not re-sing it. It just fell into place beginning with Pig Robbins’ opening work on the piano. It was magic in the studio that day.” As noted by producer Allen Reynolds, “It was just one of those charmed sessions…[After] we presented the song to the musicians…it was about the third time running [through] that song that we ran tape…[Gayle] sang [the song] wonderfully. It came so fast that she wasn’t sure that she had done her best job. I had to let her try to sing it again on two or three different occasions until she was comfortable with the original [vocal take], and that’s what we went with. Everything on that recording was the original take as it went down, except the string section I added later.”

Gayle made a lot of TV appearances when this became a hit. For many viewers, it was their first look at Gayle, who had hair down to her feet.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Jackie Brown by John Mellencamp – “Jackie Brown” is a song by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp from his tenth studio album Big Daddy, released in 1989 by Mercury Records. It was his last album to be released under the name John Cougar Mellencamp, a combination of his real name and his original stage name of Johnny Cougar. The album peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 and contained the singles “Pop Singer” and “Jackie Brown”, which peaked at No. 15 and 48, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. A re-mastered version of the album was released on May 24, 2005, and contains a bonus acoustic version of “Jackie Brown”. Like The Lonesome Jubilee, Big Daddy is folk-inspired as violins and fiddles (among other instruments) are significantly utilized on a number of tracks. The album’s lyrics largely take a serious tone and the album as a whole is regarded by some as Mellencamp’s most reflective.

Eight years before Quentin Tarantino released the movie Jackie Brown, John Mellencamp used the title for a song that tells a very different story. Mellencamp’s “Jackie Brown” is a destitute man who will never escape poverty.

Mellencamp continues his pattern of social commentary used on The Lonesome Jubilee on a number of tracks on this album.

“Jackie Brown” addresses the issue of poverty and stimulates images of the hardships faced by those living in poverty. A lyric in the song’s final verse which reads “…But who gives a damn about Jackie Brown? Just another lazy man who couldn’t take what was his” seems to indicate that Mellencamp believes the issue of poverty to be correlated to the general public and the reluctance to show interest in developing resolutions.

The song is not so much a social commentary as a reflection of how Mellencamp was feeling at the time. His finances and career were on the upswing, but he was devastated by the recent divorce from his second wife, Victoria Granucci, who took their two young daughters with her when she left their home in Indiana. Mellencamp explained to Rolling Stone: “I wrote ‘Jackie Brown’ about myself in a different scenario: me disguised as a poor guy – not as a guy that had been successful and pretty much lost everything, which in my mind I had, because I’d lost my daughters. The song is about how you have to go outside to use the bathroom because you’ve sunk so low.”

In 1991, Mellencamp said: “Big Daddy was the best record I ever made. Out of my agony came a couple of really beautiful songs. You can’t be 22 years old and had two dates and understand that album.”

Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter by Herman’s Hermits – “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” is a popular song written by British actor, screenwriter and songwriter Trevor Peacock. It was originally sung by actor Tom Courtenay in The Lads, a British TV play of 1963, and released as a single on UK Decca.

The best-known version of the song is by Herman’s Hermits, who took it to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 1965, and number one in Canada the month before. “Mrs. Brown” wasn’t pegged as a single, but after an American DJ started giving it airplay, their record label issued it as a 45 and it became their first US #1.

The single debuted on the Hot 100 at number 12 — the third highest debut of the decade (after the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Get Back”). The Hermits never released the track — or their other US 1965 number one, “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” — as a single in their native Britain. “Mrs Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” was recorded as an afterthought: When they recorded their first album in 1964, they needed one more song to complete it and were running out of studio time. Since they were familiar with this song, they recorded it with the little time they had left, completing the song in one take.

It featured unique muted lead and rhythm guitar by Derek Leckenby and Keith Hopwood and heavily accented lead vocals by Peter Noone, with backing vocals from Karl Green and Keith Hopwood. The band never dreamed it would be a single let alone hit number one in the US. According to Noone the song was well known to British bands; it would often be performed at birthday parties, substituting the surname of the girl whose party was being celebrated, i.e., “Mrs. Smith” or “Mrs. Jones” instead of “Mrs. Brown”.

This song is about a guy who is heartbroken over losing his girl, so he decides to tell her mother all about it.

When this was #1 in America, Time magazine published an article called “Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Sound of the Sixties” that validated rock music as much more than a passing fad. It stated:

“Last week the man of the moment was Herman, 16, of Herman’s Hermits. An engaging high school dropout who looks like a toy sheep dog, Herman (real name: Peter Noone) smiles a lot, claps his hands over his head, and sticks his finger in his mouth when he sings. His ‘Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,’ rendered in a heavy English Midlands accent, was the #1 bestseller last week.”

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce – “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is a song written by American folk rock singer Jim Croce. Released as part of his 1973 album Life and Times, the song was a Number One pop hit for him, spending two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1973. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1973.

Croce was nominated for two 1973 Grammy awards in the Pop Male Vocalist and Record of the Year categories for “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. It was his last number-one single before his death on September 20 when he perished in a plane crash.

The song’s title character is a tall man from the South Side of Chicago whose size, attitude, and tendency to carry weapons have given him a fearsome reputation. He is said to dress in fancy clothes and wear diamond rings, and to own a custom Lincoln Continental and a Cadillac Eldorado, implying he has a lot of money. One day in a bar he makes a pass at a pretty, married woman named Doris, whose jealous husband proceeds to beat Leroy brutally in the ensuing fight, which Leroy loses badly.

The story of a widely feared man being bested in a fight is similar to that of Croce’s earlier song “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”

Inspiration: Croce’s inspiration for the song was a friend he met in his brief time in the US Army:

I met him at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. We were in lineman (telephone) school together. He stayed there about a week, and one evening he turned around and said he was really fed up and tired. He went AWOL, and then came back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. They put handcuffs on him and took him away. Just to listen to him talk and see how ‘bad’ he was, I knew someday I was gonna write a song about him.

He told a variation of this story on The Helen Reddy Show in July 1973:

This is a song about a guy I was in the army with… It was at Fort Dix, in New Jersey, that I met this guy. He was not made to climb the tree of knowledge, as they say, but he was strong, so nobody’d ever told him what to do, and after about a week down there he said “Later for this” and decided to go home. So he went AWOL—which means to take your own vacation—and he did. But he made the mistake of coming back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen handcuffs put on anybody, but it was SNAP and that was the end of it for a good friend of mine, who I wrote this tune about, named Leroy Brown.

Croce explained the chorus reference to Leroy Brown being “meaner than a junkyard dog”:

Yeah, I spent about a year and a half driving those $29 cars, so I drove around a lot looking for a universal joint for a ’57 Chevy panel truck or a transmission for a ’51 Dodge. I got to know many junkyards well, and they all have those dogs in them. They all have either an axle tied around their necks or an old lawnmower to keep ’em at least slowed down a bit, so you have a decent chance of getting away from them.

His wife Ingrid runs Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar in San Diego, where she keeps Jim’s legacy alive and hears from many patrons who were touched by Jim’s songs. Says Ingrid: “I have a lot of staff members that come up to me and say, ‘You know what, there’s a guy named Leroy Brown, he kind of looks like the part, and he’s sitting at our bar right now.’ I say, ‘Well, I’ll be glad to come over and say hi.’ There’s so many Leroy Browns who have come up to me and said, ‘I’m sure I’m the one he was talking about.'”

Brown Chicken Brown Cow by Trace Adkins – This one was a gift from my friend Mary over at Jingle, Jangle Jungle. She messaged me a link to the video and it cracked me up. I had never heard the song before and found the scuttlebutt on it interesting. Thanks Mary!

“Brown Chicken Brown Cow” is a song recorded by American country artist Trace Adkins. It was released in January 2011 as the third and final single and the opening track from his ninth studio album Cowboy’s Back in Town. The song reached #39 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song was written by Kenny Beard, Casey Beathard and Rivers Rutherford.

Adkins is a Country superstar and has years of experience making music videos. In fact, CMT.com features over 20 of them — running the gamut from sentimental to downright comical. His collection ranges from the nostalgic (“Then They Do,” “You’re Gonna Miss This”), spiritual (“All I Ask for Anymore,” “Muddy Water” ), patriotic (“Arlington” ), and lovesick (“I Can’t Outrun You,” “Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone” ) to humorous favorites such as “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Hillbilly Bone.”

However, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow,” takes his video catalog to a whole new level — puppets.

Adkins, who serves as the narrator during the video, sings a tale of two lovers, Bobby Jo and Betty (also puppets), who make a habit of running off to the barn for some alone time. The farm animals, including the brown chicken and brown cow, have front row seats to their farmers’ escapades.

As to how the idea of using puppets in the video came about, Adkins told CMT it was Michael Salomon’s idea:

“Michael Salomon, who I’ve done a lot of videos with, when we solicited ideas for this video, he sent us this thing, and it was like five or six pages. On the first couple of pages was his No. 1 idea. … And so he spent a couple of pages explaining that one. And then his second idea, there were a couple of pages explaining that one. [The] third idea maybe had one page, and then the fourth idea was literally like one sentence and it said, “No. 4 — or we could just use puppets.” (laughs) And I called him back and said, “Let’s do the puppet thing, man.” And he said, “Wow, I never in a million years thought you would go with the puppet thing.”

Sounds fun, right? I thought so, after hearing it and seeing the video. But apparently, Adkins caught a lot of flack for the whole thing.

The song, which uses a sexual innuendo on “bow chicka bow wow” (an onomatopoeia for music in pornography), was withdrawn after only nine weeks, and Adkins later apologized for releasing it.

Adkins told The Boot why he decided to record this tune: “The first time I heard this song it made me laugh,” he said with smile. “They played it for me without pitching it to me to record. I just said, ‘I’m putting it on my album.’ That was the end of that!”

The song is actually the punch line to a sexual joke — the online Urban Dictionary refers to “brown chicken brown cow” as “an onomatopoeic imitation of the guitar riff commonly used in 1970’s porn movies.” Despite its adult-themed lyrical content, Atkins was not afraid to release it. “I kinda pushed for that to be the first single,” from his new album, he told GAC. “I said, ‘Let’s just throw a hand grenade in the room right off the get-go.’ I said, ‘It’s a dangerous record. I know that, but I’m not afraid of it.’ Everybody else by committee was kinda like ‘Oh, I don’t know about that.'”

The song caused quite a stir among Adkins’ fans, but the criticism fell on deaf ears. “The purists and the traditionalists all think that I’m such an embarrassment to this genre,” he told CMT. “It just makes them projectile vomit. The idea that I’m actually a Grand Ole Opry member and put out this vile, heathenistic, shit. Yeah, so what?”
He added: “I do what I want to do. I’ve got five daughters and a beautiful wife, and if I can look at myself in the mirror at night and know that I haven’t done anything to bring any disgrace or disappointment upon them, then I’m good. Anybody else that has a problem with it, then that’s your problem.”

But then…Trace Adkins ended up apologizing in a big way about the release of this song. From CMT News:

Trace Adkins says he’s sorry about “Brown Chicken Brown Cow.” Very sorry. Released as a single nine weeks ago, the novelty song from his Cowboy’s Back in Town album has found little favor at radio and has so far climbed only to No. 39 on Billboard‘s country chart. However, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” remains one of CMT.com’s most popular music videos. Adkins took the stage at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville Friday night (March 4) just before the New Faces Show got underway. He was there to promote The Lincoln Lawyer, the upcoming Matthew McConaughey movie in which Adkins plays the leader of a biker gang. But he used his time primarily to apologize profusely to the radio crowd for releasing the tune about voyeuristic farm animals. “They told me it was a hit,” he joked. “I’m going to blame the three songwriters.”

When I heard the song and saw the video, I got a real kick out of it. I thought it was hilarious. I didn’t really get just why Trace Adkins had to be apologizing for it so I dug a little deeper and discovered that there are a whole lot of (apparently influential) country music purists who were very vocal against the song due to its risqué nature. Good grief, really? A little uptight maybe?? Ay-yi-yi…

Anyway, there were definitely strong opinions out there about it. For example, from the Saving Country Music website’s December 2011 list of the Worst Country Songs of 2011, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” came in at #2. Here’s what they said about it:

Sexualized puppets and sexual innuendo specifically targeted towards children, this song is the lowest of the low. Toby Keith and Show Dog Universal should have known better when Trace twisted their arm to release this as a single. The pony-tailed baritone with a million-dollar voice and a 10 cent brain had delusions this would finally be the follow up to his blockbuster and the undisputed heavyweight champion of all awful pop country songs “Honky Tonk Badonka Donk”, but he was wrong. Trace may be every pop country-loving soccer mom’s sexual fantasy, but this song sucked so bad even Trace was eventually forced to admit defeat and pull it from radio.

Says yet another critic:

“The first thing you need to know about this song is that its writers, producers, distributors, and performers think that you are stupid. The song is about Billy Joe and Betty, who as Trace explains, have a real nice farm. He sings about brown chickens, brown cows, corn fields, slopping pigs, but of course, since these days less than 2% of Americans actually live this type of traditional farm lifestyle, he is not using these things to relate to people, he is doing this to disguise the fact that this really is a hip-hopish rock song, and that he isn’t singing to country folks, he’s singing to suburbanites that like to listen to this kind of smut as a form of escapism from their heroically normal lives.

This is awful. At least Taylor Swift tries to write good songs. Trace just dons a shit-eating grin and waits for the Brinks truck to pull in front of his mansion. This song has less artistic value than a nursery rhyme…”

Haha. Well, you’ve probably heard my philosophy on sour critics before: they’re just a bunch of lonely miserable people who need to get laid more often. Speaking of: What are the two dirtiest animals on the farm? BROWN CHICKEN, BROWN COW! bow chicka wow wow …

 

Hope you all enjoyed the second installment of A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs featuring the Brown Edition.  There are a lot of songs with the word brown in the title. What others can you think of? Of the eight songs I showcased here, which do you like best and why?

See you for the next Freebie theme week when I’ll present the third installment of A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs with another color representing!

 

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.

 

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Advertisements

Dennis Edwards, Temptations Lead Vocalist, Dies

Who out there hasn’t been touched by the definitive male vocal group of the 60s, The Temptations? The band succeeded in captivating fans with their tight harmonies and their fine-tuned choreography for over five decades. Today the Best Classic Bands newsletter arrived in my inbox informing me of the death of Temptations’ lead vocalist Dennis Edwards.

As I read through the news, I thought I’d go ahead and snag the article, written by the Best Classic Bands staff, and post it here to share with you, in its entirety. I also put together a nice little Temptations playlist for your enjoyment, which you can find at the end of this post. Grab your headphones, turn up the volume and groove to what surely will be some of your favorites.

Dennis Edwards, Temptations Lead Vocalist, Dies

by 

Temptations Lead Vocalist Dennis Edwards Dead One Day Shy of His 75th Birthday

This uncredited photo of Dennis Edwards accompanied Otis Williams’ tribute on the Temptations Facebook page on Feb. 2, 2018

Dennis Edwards, who was the first to replace one of the so-called “Classic 5” members of the popular soul vocal group The Temptations, died today (Feb. 2), one day before his 75th birthday. His family announced that Edwards died in Chicago, though no cause of death was revealed.

Edwards joined the Motown singing group in 1968, replacing original member David Ruffin, and sang lead vocal on many of their most popular hits including 1968’s “Cloud Nine” (#6 pop, #2 R&B), 1969’s “I Can’t Get Next to You” (#1 on both charts), 1970’s “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)” (#3 pop, #2 R&B) and 1972’s “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (#1 pop, #5 R&B).

Four of the original members of the group–Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and Melvin Franklin –predeceased Edwards. Only Otis Williams survives. On the group’s Facebook page, Williams wrote:

“We learned today with great sadness of the passing of our brother, Dennis Edwards. He is now at peace, and our love and prayers go out to his family. At this moment and always, we acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to The Temptations legacy, which lives on in the music. Temptations, forever.”

Watch the Temptations perform “Ball of Confusion”

In their long career, the group enjoyed 16 U.S. Top 10 pop hits and a whopping 45 Top 10s on the R&B chart. Their first hit was the 1964 song “The Way You Do the Things You Do” which reached #11 pop and R&B, with Kendricks singing lead. One year later, they scored their first #1 pop hit, “My Girl,” with Ruffin on lead vocal.

Along with Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops and Marvin Gaye, the Temptations were among the biggest acts for the label empire known as Hitsville U.S.A. (The Temptations’ recordings actually came out on the Gordy Records imprint.) Soon after, they were joined by the Jackson 5, the Commodores, and more.

In 1977, Edwards was fired from the Temptations. He returned in 1980 when they re-joined Motown after a brief, and unsuccessful run on Atlantic Records. He ultimately sang with Ruffin on the group’s 1982 Reunion album.

The Temptations–including Edwards–were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Edwards was born February 3, 1943, in Fairfield, Alabama, outside of Birmingham. The son of a pastor, he joined a gospel vocal group in his teens. In 1966, he signed with Motown, who briefly assigned him to the Contours. Within two years, he replaced Ruffin in the Temptations.

Edwards earned three Grammy Awards with the Temptations—Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group for “Cloud Nine” for 1968, and Best R&B Instrumental Performance and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus for “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” for 1972. The Temptations were also honored with the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013.

-30-

Watch the Temptations perform “I Can’t Get Next to You”

 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
And here’s a little playlist I put together of some favorite Temptations songs, most of which feature Dennis Edwards (although a few are from the time before Edwards joined the group in 1968, in which case David Ruffin is the lead vocals).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
What are your favorite Temptations songs?
Do you have a special Temptations memory?
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Check this out: This link was provided at the end of the article as a related tidbit so if you’re interested in all things Motown, you might be interested in this book from 2016:

Authors discuss their stunning Motown book

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Monday’s Music Moves Me – Songs with Young in the Title

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.

 

 

MONDAY’S MUSIC MOVES ME: A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs – The Rainbow Sherbet Edition

Wow, it is good to be back! I have been away from blogging since just after Thanksgiving. Life got a little crazy during December and that craziness carried over into this new year so my “holiday break” turned into an 8-week break! Honestly, the theme for Monday’s Music Moves Me (#4M) was ‘Christmas Holiday Music’ for the entire month of December and I wasn’t feeling any kind of holiday spirit so I decided to blow off the whole month. And then I apparently wasn’t ready for the break to be over so I skipped out on yet another Battle of the Bands this month and three weeks of #4M.

I was actually planning on posting last Monday because I LOVED the theme that our Spotlight Dancer, Mary from Jingle Jangle Jungle, came up with: SONGS WITH COLOR IN THE TITLE. I actually started working on it a little bit last month but I wasn’t quite finished.

The theme really excited me because I’m all about color. Those of you who know me surely agree. It’s no secret…my clothes, my house, me décor…I love color! So even though I missed last Monday’s 4M I was going to use today’s Freebie theme to post my Color Songs.

Now there are a zillion songs with a color in the title so I started out just putting together a playlist with my favorite colorful songs… but “wasn’t quite finished” was a serious understatement! When I began compiling a list of the color songs that I’m particularly fond of, it ended up being a ton of songs that would’ve yielded a real mother of a playlist — one way way too long for a single #4M post (and you all know I typically do long playlists and posts normally so for me to say it was too long, you know it has to be a monster list!)

So… I have decided to do a series: A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR SONGS. The series will post over the next several Freebie weeks. Each post will focus on a specific color (or colors) until I’ve exhausted my list. I’m not yet sure how many weeks it will be. We’ll find out together.

Today my KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR SONGS is the Rainbow Sherbet Edition, a playlist featuring songs with the colors Orange, Green and Pink in the titles. Here is my playlist followed by some information and interesting facts about each of the songs. Hope you all enjoy!

THE RAINBOW SHERBET PLAYLIST

ORANGE

Orange Crush by R.E.M. – “Orange Crush” is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released as the first single from the band’s sixth studio album, Green, in 1988. It was not commercially released in the U.S. despite reaching number one as a promotional single on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks (where, at the time, it had the record for longest stay at number one with eight weeks, beating U2). It peaked at number 28 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s then-highest chart hit in Britain, where they promoted the song by making their debut appearance on Top of the Pops.

Orange Crush was an orange flavored soft drink. In this case, though, it was meant to refer to Agent Orange, a chemical manufactured by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical used by the US to defoliate the Vietnamese jungle during the Vietnam War. US military personnel exposed to it developed cancer years later and some of their children had birth defects. The extreme lyrical dissonance in the song meant that most people completely misinterpreted the song, including Top Of The Pops host Simon Parkin, who remarked on camera after R.E.M. performed the song on the British TV show, “Mmm, great on a summer’s day. That’s Orange Crush.”

The song does not refer to any single Vietnam-related experience for lead singer Michael Stipe, but simply that he lived in that era of American history. He wrote in Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011:

“[The song is] a composite and fictional narrative in the first person, drawn from different stories I heard growing up around Army bases. This song is about the Vietnam War and the impact on soldiers returning to a country that wrongly blamed them for the war.”

As a guest on the late-night show Last Call with Carson Daly, Michael Stipe explained that the song was about a young American football player leaving the comforts of home for the war in Vietnam.

Also, Stipe opened the song during The Green World Tour by singing the famous U.S. Army recruiting slogan jingle, “Be all you can be… in the Army.” Stipe’s father served in the Vietnam War in the helicopter corps.

The drill sergeant heard in the background during the middle of the song is just an imitation by Stipe. In the traditional Michael Stipe way, the words he says during the imitation are complete nonsense. By the way, this was not the first R.E.M. song to deal with the Vietnam War. That distinction goes to “Body Count,” an early unreleased song that they played live many times.

The song’s meaning keeps changing for R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. He wrote in the In Time liner notes:

“I must have played this song onstage over three hundred times, and I still don’t know what the f*** it’s about. The funny thing is, every time I play it, it means something different to me, and I find myself moved emotionally.”

The video for the song, directed by Matt Mahurin, won the band its first VMA, for Best Post-Modern Video. And that surprised me. Frankly, I think the music video is difficult to interpret and I’m not really getting the whole Agent Orange reference at all. I was going to include that video in my playlist but instead chose one that I think conveys what the song is about so much better. It’s a documented video history of the chemical dump that took place in Vietnam when our guys were there serving the very country that just happened to be spreading poison on and around them at the same time. To see the streams and clouds of chemical raining down from the planes is quite chilling, knowing what we know now. In any case, you can see the official music video here if you want. If you have the time, check them both out and let me know what you think of the official award-winning video. Which one more depicts the song’s meaning and message, do you think?

GREEN

Green Grass & High Tides by The Outlaws – “Green Grass and High Tides” is a song by the Southern rock band Outlaws. It is the tenth and final track on the band’s debut album, Outlaws. The song is one of their best known, and has received extensive play on album-oriented radio stations, although it was never released as a single. The song is notable for having two extended guitar solos that stretch the song to nearly 10 minutes.

Outlaws founding member Hughie Thomasson said:

I wrote that song in St Augustine, Florida. We went to a cookout on the beach and everybody forgot to bring their guitars. I was standing by the ocean and there was a breeze and the words kept coming to me. It’s about all the rock stars I liked that died had come back and were playing a show just for me. Like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. And eventually more of course.

Henry Paul told Songfacts that this song is not about marijuana, but about deceased rock and roll luminaries, and the title, he says, was taken from the 1966 “Best Of” collection by the Rolling Stones called Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass):

“From what I gather, there was an album out, the best of The Rolling Stones, called High Tides and Green Grass. That was the name of the Rolling Stones’ greatest hits – this is like 1966 – and I think it was a manifestation of that title turned in reverse, ‘Green Grass and High Tides.’ I know that much. And I know that it was a song written for rock and roll illuminaries, from Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix, and it had nothing to do with marijuana. But it had to do with, I think, a specific person’s [Thomasson’s] lyrical look at rock and roll legends. ‘As kings and queens bow and play for you.’ It’s about Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. ‘Castles of stone, soul and glory.’ A lot of it is just sort of a collage of words that really don’t have all that much to do with anything, they just fit and sounded right. But I have to say it’s one of my favorite lyrics. My songwriting is more Steinbeck, really rooted in accuracy and reality; this is definitely Alice In Wonderland. It’s the whole ‘White Rabbit.’ It’s sort of like one of those magic lyrical moments that will forever be mysteriously, unclearly conceived.”

“Green Grass and High Tides” was the usual show closer for the Outlaws and the 20 minute+ version can be found on the concert album Bring It Back Alive (1978). The song is mentioned in Molly Hatchet’s song “Gator Country”, on Molly Hatchet (1978), and was featured on the Harley Davidson Road Songs album in 1995. The song also featured as a tribute to the recently departed from Lynyrd Skynyrd. The intro was: “We’d like to take a minute to remember some very good friends of ours, and friends of yours–the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band.”

I love this song! And I do remember that it was in the Top 3 of a radio broadcast I was listening to featuring the Top 100 songs of 1979. Such a good year…

Another great green song:

Green River by Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Green River” is a song by American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was written by John Fogerty and was released as a single in July 1969, one month before the album of the same name was released. The song charted at #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, #5 on Canada’s RPM and #19 on UK Singles.

This song was written by group leader John Fogerty, who explained in his Storytellers special:

“Green River is really about this place where I used to go as a kid on Putah Creek, near Winters, California. I went there with my family every year until I was ten. Lot of happy memories there. I learned how to swim there. There was a rope hanging from the tree. Certainly dragonflies, bullfrogs. There was a little cabin we would stay in owned by a descendant of Buffalo Bill Cody. That’s the reference in the song to Cody Jr. [“Up at Cody’s camp I spent my days…”]

The actual specific reference, Green River, I got from a soda pop-syrup label. You used to be able to go into a soda fountain, and they had these bottles of flavored syrup. My flavor was called Green River. It was green, lime flavored, and they would empty some out over some ice and pour some of that soda water on it, and you had yourself a Green River.”

John Fogerty has said that Green River is his favorite Creedence Clearwater Revival album, in part because it sounds like the ’50s albums by the likes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash that came out of Sun Records in Memphis.

And I love this lyric video because sometimes CCR’s lyrics are hard to understand! (How many of you thought they were singing “There’s a bathroom on the right” in the song “Bad Moon Rising”?)

Green Tambourine by the Lemon Pipers – “Green Tambourine” is a song about busking (street performance and the act of performing in public places for gratuities), written and composed by Paul Leka (who also produced it) and Shelley Pinz. It was the biggest hit by the 1960s Ohio-based rock group The Lemon Pipers, as well as the title track of their debut album, Green Tambourine. The song was one of the first bubblegum pop chart-toppers.

Released toward the end of 1967, it spent 13 weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 1 on February 3, 1968, and sold over a million copies. The record remained on the chart for three months. It was also the first U.S. number-one hit for the Buddah label. The Lemon Pipers never repeated this success, though their “Rice Is Nice” and “Jelly Jungle”, both also written by Leka and Pinz, made the charts in 1968.

The song’s lyricist, Rochelle “Shelley” Pinz (1943–2004) was a writer at the Brill Building, working with Leka. She said:

In early Spring, 1966, while standing in front of the Brill Building I watched a man holding a tambourine begging for money. I wrote a poem about him and called the poem, ‘Green Tambourine.’ I added it to my lyric collection…. Sometimes I wonder what happened to the man in front of the Brill Building, holding a tambourine begging for money. I remember writing the lyric, ‘watch the jingle jangle start to shine, reflections of the music that is mine. When you toss a coin you’ll hear it sing. Now listen while I play my Green Tambourine’ as if it were yesterday. In the 60s, on the streets between Seventh Avenue and Broadway there was a magic one could only imagine.

The song tells the story of a street musician pleading for someone to give him money. In exchange he offers to play his green tambourine. The song’s instrumentation contains the titular tambourine as well as an electric sitar, a frequent signature of the so-called “psychedelic sound.” Another hook is the heavy, psychedelic tape echo applied to the word “play” in each chorus and at the end, fading into a drumroll (“Listen while I play play play play play play play my green tambourine”). The musical arrangement also features sweeping orchestrated strings and the distinctive vibraslap percussion instrument. While the Lemon Pipers played on the record, producer and joint author-composer Leka hired a string section to accompany the band to add extra depth to the already psychedelic arrangement.

Green-Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf – “Green-Eyed Lady” is a popular single by the 1970s rock band Sugarloaf. Written by band member Jerry Corbetta along with J.C. Phillips and David Riordan, the song was featured on the band’s debut album, Sugarloaf, and was the band’s first single. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 and was RPM Magazine‘s number one single for two weeks. It remains the band’s most popular song, according to the Last.fm rankings. It has been featured on dozens of compilation albums.

Since “Green-Eyed Lady” gets almost daily play on US radio stations to this day and none of their other songs do, many will be surprised to know that Sugarloaf is not a one-hit wonder; their other hit is “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” from 1975 at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Green-Eyed Lady,” at #3, is their best-known (and somewhat overplayed) single.

One of the reasons that the hook is so catchy is that it’s based on a piece of a scale exercise that frontman Jerry Corbetta found in a book.

Jerry Corbetta played the organ solo on this track in addition to singing lead. He played it in the style of jazz musician Jimmy Smith, his idol. In the single version, which is all you’ll hear on the radio and also in most compilation albums, the song length is about three and a half minutes. The album version is extended to seven minutes for Corbetta’s lengthy – but dazzling – organ solo. BTW, the version in my playlist here is the extended album version so you can experience Jerry’s dazzling organ solo. You’re welcome. 🙂

“Green-Eyed Lady” actually gave rise to that other hit for the band. Four years later, Sugarloaf described the process of recording the song and selling it to the recording industry (namely the failed attempt to get CBS Records to distribute the record) in its song “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You,” which also became a hit. (That’s a good one too. Check it out if you haven’t heard it).

Who is the green-eyed lady? According to lead singer Jerry Corbetta, it was his girlfriend at the time, Kathy, who his bandmates referred to as the green-eyed lady. He wrote the song with producer J.C. Phillips and a songwriter named David Riordan.

Fun Facts: The band was originally called “Chocolate Hair” but after getting signed to a record label, they had to change their name because managers were nervous about the potentially racist interpretation of that name (that and the name would have permanently branded them as ’60s psychedelics). They chose “Sugarloaf” after a local Colorado ski resort.

Sugarloaf was formed from the remains of the band The Moonrakers, with five members of that group carried over. Interestingly, “Moonraker” doesn’t just refer to a James Bond film, but also to a nickname for people from Wiltshire in South West Country England. The story goes that the people there were discovered running a rake through a pond at night, trying to retrieve treasure. When a revenue man asked what they were up to, their excuse was that they were trying to retrieve a wheel of cheese from the pond (the reflection of the full moon). The revenue guy walked off chuckling at their simple-mindedness, and the villagers didn’t have to pay taxes.

Green Onions by Booker T. & the MGs – “Green Onions” is an instrumental composition recorded in 1962 by Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Described as “one of the most popular instrumental rock and soul songs ever”, the tune is twelve-bar blues with a rippling Hammond M3 organ line by Booker T. Jones that he wrote when he was just 17. The Hammond organ was invented in 1934 by Laurens Hammond. Its mournful sound made it the instrument of choice for military chapels, but then in the 1960s the rockers got wind of it and the device became a standard keyboard instrument for jazz, blues, rock and gospel music.

Booker T. & the MG’s were the house band for the Memphis soul music label Stax Records. They recorded with many of the Stax artists, including Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Isaac Hayes, but they also recorded their own material between sessions.

The group was named after the British MG sports cars, but when the company expressed disapproval, they claimed the initials as “Memphis Group.” Members of the band were Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, and Lewie Steinberg (who was replaced in 1964 by Donald “Duck” Dunn). Jackson was killed in 1975, but the remaining members have gotten together often to play various events, including the “Bobfest” Bob Dylan tribute concert in 1992, and Neil Young’s 1993 tour. The band was integrated, which was unusual at the time in Memphis: Three members were black, and one was white (Cropper). When Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in Memphis in 1968, igniting already high racial tensions, they had two white and two black members.

In a Songfacts interview with Booker T. Jones, he credited the success of the song to its “apparent simplicity.” Said Jones: “‘Green Onions’ appears to be a simple song, but every time I play it I have to pay attention. I have to remember, and school myself on how the notes go, because it’s just not as simple as it sounds.”

The band developed this song while they were waiting for rockabilly singer Billy Lee Riley (a Sun artist) to show up for a session. In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Booker T. Jones said: “That happened as something of an accident. We used the time to record a Blues which we called ‘Behave Yourself,’ and I played it on a Hammond M3 organ. Jim Stewart, the owner, was the engineer and he really liked it and wanted to put it out as a record. We all agreed on that and Jim told us that we needed something to record as a B-side, since we couldn’t have a one-sided record. One of the tunes I had been playing on piano we tried on the Hammond organ so that the record would have organ on both sides and that turned out to be ‘Green Onions.'”

As the guys were calling it a night after recording this song, Jim Stewart asked them to listen to what he’d recorded on one particular take. They listened but weren’t as impressed as Jim, who asked: “If we released this as a record, what would you want to call it?” “Green Onions,” was Booker T. Jones’ reply. “Why ‘Green Onions'” Jim asked. Booker T: “Because that is the nastiest thing I can think of and it’s something you throw away.” Lol.

(Another story, according to guitarist Steve Cropper: the title is not a marijuana reference; rather, the track is named after the Green Badger’s cat, Green Onions, whose way of walking inspired the riff).

The group’s guitarist Steve Cropper brought this song to the Memphis radio station WLOK the day after they recorded it. The morning DJ, Rueben Washington, was a friend of Cropper’s, and put the song on his turntable to hear off-air. After listening to just part of the song, he cut off the record that was on air and started playing “Green Onions” for his listeners. Says Cropper: “He played it four or five times in a row. We were dancing around the control room and believe it or not, the phone lines lit up. I guess we had the whole town dancing that morning.”

The response to the song proved Cropper’s point that it should be the A-side of the single instead of “Behave Yourself,” and subsequent singles were pressed with the sides flipped.

“Green Onions” entered the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending August 11, 1962, and peaked at No. 3 the week ending September 29, 1962. The single also made it to No. 1 on the R&B singles chart, for four non-consecutive weeks, an unusual occurrence in that it fell in and out of top spot three times. It first appeared on the UK Singles Chart on December 15, 1979: the song was popular in dance clubs, but didn’t become a chart hit until 1979, when it was used in the movie Quadrophenia. (A character played by Sting danced to it in the movie). It peaked at No. 7 on January 26, 1980, and stayed on the chart for 12 weeks.

This song provides broadcasters with a wonderful instrumental bed which they can talk over or leave on its own without losing the audience. The NPR program Fresh Air uses it to great effect, and the song has also appeared in a number of films and TV shows, as well as in TV commercials for Mercedes.

As for its legacy, in 1999, “Green Onions” was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. In 2012, it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, a list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American sound recordings.

FUN FACT: According to Q magazine, a few years after this was released, Georgie Fame met Booker T and told him that he thought the Hammond sound on this song was amazing and asked him what the levers on the organ were set to. Apparently Booker T had been unaware that the settings could be changed and he replied, “What, those things move?” LOL!

The video in my playlist features movie clips of actors and actresses dancing to this very cool song. They include:

Marilyn Monroe, Eli, Wallach, Thelma Ritter, Clark Gable (The Misfits 1961)

Sophia Loren (It Started in Naples 1960)

Jayne Mansfield (Dog Eat Dog! 1964)

Natalie Wood (Gypsy 1962)

Kim Novak, William Holden (Picnic 1955)

Anita Ekberg (La Dolce Vita 1960)

Ann-Margret (The Swinger 1966)

Gina Lollobrigida, Rock Hudson (Come September 1961)

Romy Schneider, Jack Lemmon (Good Neighbor Sam 1964)

Brigitte Bardot (Come Dance With Me! 1959)

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966)

Jill St. John (The Oscar 1966)

Mamie Van Doren (Untamed Youth 1957)

Shirley MacLaine, Gene Kelly (What a Way to Go! 1964)

Cyd Charisse, Robert Taylor (Party Girl 1958)

Raquel Welch (Flareup 1969)

PINK

Pink by Aerosmith – “Pink” is a song by American rock band Aerosmith. It was written by Steven Tyler and professional songwriters Richie Supa and Glen Ballard. It was released as the third major single from Nine Lives in 1997.

The song reached No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 38 in the United Kingdom, and No. 19 in Latvia. It also topped the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for four weeks. The band re-released the song in the United Kingdom in 1999. The re-released version did much better, reaching No. 13.

The song is highlighted by a harmonica performance by Steven Tyler at the beginning, as well as a strong bass rhythm throughout the song, and a mix of acoustic guitars and jangling electric guitars throughout the verses.

Many of the lines in the verses start with the word “pink” (e.g. “Pink it’s my new obsession “, “Pink it’s not even a question”, “Pink on the lips of your lover”). The song is also highly suggestive, in that the origin of the fascination with pink stems from the admiration of a woman’s reproductive organs, particularly the inner side of the outer lips – the “pink in the middle” – and also the man’s penis – “I wanna wrap you in rubber” and “my favorite crayon”.

Regarding this song (and other matters), Steven Tyler was quoted as saying, “The only difference between pink and purple is the grip.”

The music video for the song used CGI to morph characters’ faces to other bodies. A variety of random characters mixed in with band members moving towards the camera, morphing into different characters in the process (e.g., Joe Perry as a centaur, Brad Whitford as a little boy, Steven Tyler as a skeleton, and a boy dressed as the Easter Bunny). It was directed by Doug Nichol.

Two versions of the music video exist. There are noticeable differences in each version. In the uncensored version, for example, there is a woman dressed in a blue jumpsuit walking towards the camera. For a brief second, the top, unzipped portion of the jumpsuit is pulled away, revealing her right breast. There is another instance where a woman’s breasts are briefly fully revealed when a woman, painted blue and green, does a pirouette.

The uncensored version caused minor controversy and MTV asked Nichol to censor the video for daytime airings. As a result, the edited version censored the pirouette scene. The clean version also shows Tyler and Perry presented as a two-headed man and only the coverup portion of the breast reveal scene (above) is present.

The video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in 1998. Additionally, in 1999, the song won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. It was the fourth time Aerosmith won that award; Grammy voters didn’t warm to the band until the ’90s, when they gave them the trophy for “Janie’s Got a Gun.”

The song is a fan favorite and a live gem, and remains one of the only songs from Nine Lives consistently played on Aerosmith tours to this day.

Pink Houses by John Mellencamp – “Pink Houses” was released on John Mellencamp’s 1983 album Uh-Huh on Riva Records. It reached #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in early 1984. “Pink Houses” was ranked #439 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (In case you’re interested in more John Mellencamp, check out my Artist Spotlight on John Cougar Mellencamp that I did for a 4M post last year).

Recorded in a farmhouse in Brownstown, Indiana, the song was inspired when Mellencamp was driving along an overpass on the way home to Bloomington, Indiana from the Indianapolis airport. There was an old black man sitting outside his little pink shotgun house with his cat in his arms, completely unperturbed by the traffic speeding along the highway in his front yard. “He waved, and I waved back,” Mellencamp said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “That’s how ‘Pink Houses’ started.”

The song also served as a scathing critique of Yuppies and Reaganomics and the overall “Greed is good” atmosphere of the time.

Its Use in Politics: In 2004, the song was played at events for Senator John Edwards’ presidential campaign. The song was also used at events for Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign.

“Pink Houses” along with “Our Country” was played by Senator John McCain at political events for his 2008 presidential campaign. Mellencamp contacted the McCain campaign pointing out Mellencamp’s support for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and questioning McCain’s use of his music; in response, the McCain campaign ceased using Mellencamp’s songs.

In January 2009, Mellencamp played “Pink Houses” at We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.

In 2010, “Pink Houses” was used by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) at events opposing same-sex marriage. At Mellencamp’s instruction, his publicist sent a cease and desist letter to NOM stating “that Mr. Mellencamp’s views on same sex marriage and equal rights for people of all sexual orientations are at odds with NOM’s stated agenda” and requesting that NOM “find music from a source more in harmony with your views than Mr. Mellencamp in the future.”  Love it!

Pink Cadillac by Bruce Springsteen – “Pink Cadillac” is a song by Bruce Springsteen released as the non-album B-side of “Dancing in the Dark” in 1984. The song did not appear on any album until 1998 when it was included on Tracks, a collection of Springsteen outtakes.

The song received moderate airplay on album-oriented rock radio, appearing on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for 14 weeks, peaking at number 27. The song was also a prominent concert number during Springsteen’s 1984-85 Born in the U.S.A. Tour.

Springsteen put this together after most of the crew had left the recording session. He started strumming the riff on an acoustic guitar, put down the basic track, and recorded it with the band in the morning.

Many Springsteen songs make references to cars. This is his second song with “Cadillac” in the title, the first was “Cadillac Ranch.” Like Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”, “Pink Cadillac” follows the tradition of the Wilson Pickett R&B classic “Mustang Sally” in using automobile travel as a metaphor for sexual activity, particularly as sung by Springsteen as the lyric: “I love you for your pink Cadillac” was originally a veiled pudendum reference. Springsteen, in fact, vetoed the first attempt by a female singer to release a version of “Pink Cadillac”, that being Bette Midler in 1983. However, “Pink Cadillac” had its highest profile incarnation via an R&B interpretation by Natalie Cole, which became a top-ten single in 1988.

FUN FACT: In 2001, AOL would not let users quote the song in a Springsteen discussion group because they felt the lyrics were too suggestive. One of the offending lines was “My love is bigger than a Honda, yeah it’s bigger than a Subaru.”  What??!

The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini – “The Pink Panther Theme” is an instrumental composition by Henry Mancini written as the theme for the 1963 film The Pink Panther and subsequently nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Score. The eponymous cartoon character created for the film’s opening credits by David DePatie and Friz Freleng was animated in time to the tune. The tenor saxophone solo was played by Plas Johnson.

The song was included on the film’s soundtrack album and issued as a single (in the United States) in 1964; the single reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard adult contemporary chart and won three Grammy Awards.

Various recordings of the composition appeared in the opening credits of all The Pink Panther films except A Shot in the Dark and Inspector Clouseau. It has also been used in countless works in which the animated Pink Panther appears.

The video in the playlist is a fabulous live performance, not sure of the date or location, and it’s worth watching. The soloists are Plas Johnson on sax, Gus Bivona and Bill Green on flute, and Frank Capp on Drums. Pete and Conte Candoli, John Audino, Carl Fontana, Med Flory, etc… It is the Terry Gibbs Band with of course Henry Mancini on the piano.

I was notified that it can’t be viewed within my playlist so you’ll have to click into YouTube to watch it via this link. Imagine sitting in the audience watching. The sax blows me away….and I love the guy playing the Triangle!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

What did you think of these colorful songs? Do you have any favorites here? How about other songs that contain either Orange, Green or Pink in the title?

See you for the next Freebie theme week when I’ll present another Kaleidoscope of Color Songs!

 

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.

 

 

Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Spooky by Classic IV

Hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving and fun celebrating the holiday weekend with family and friends. It was a crazy busy time here for me with a zillion dogs boarding for the holiday and in fact I completely forgot to post the battle results so my apologies for being so tardy.

This is going to be short and sweet: my computer is acting up and I have to take it in to clear off whatever is making it stall and move so sluggishly. I’m getting irritated seeing “Not Responding” in every single program, and productivity is only a pipe-dream at this point.

Anyway, this month’s battle featured the Classics IV classic “Spooky” with Joan Osborne and Deana Martin both vying for the win.

JOAN OSBORNE steamrolled Deana Martin. Voters most definitely preferred Osborne’s smoky vocal style over Deana’s swing approach, myself included. I liked Deana’s version and enjoyed it very much. Her style set a whole new tone for the song, whereas I think Joan’s version is more fitting for the overall context of “Spooky.”

FINAL TALLY:

JOAN OSBORNE – 10 votes

DEANA MARTIN – 3 votes 

Another female vocal version that I considered using in this battle was a cover by Dusty Springfield. For those not familiar with Dusty, here’s the opening paragraph from her Wikipedia bio page:

Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, OBE (16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999), professionally known as Dusty Springfield, was an English pop singer and record producer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s. With her distinctive sensual mezzo-soprano sound, she was an important blue-eyed soul singer and at her peak was one of the most successful British female performers, with six top 20 singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 and sixteen on the UK Singles Chart from 1963 to 1989. She is a member of the US Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame. International polls have named Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time. Her image, supported by a peroxide blonde bouffant hairstyle, evening gowns, and heavy make-up, as well as her flamboyant performances made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties.

To close this battle out, here is another fine cover of the classic “Spooky”. I really like the video of this particular performance: the set is really cool, love the colors and the overall style of the time period. I don’t know the date of this recording or the setting but I think you’ll like it. Here is Dusty Springfield’s version:

 

As always, thanks for participating in my battle. See you next month on December 15th for the final battle of 2017. Until then, rock on…