Monday’s Music Moves Me – Songs about School

It’s that time of year when another school year has just started. You can’t escape the start of a new school year because before your summer vacation is even close to coming to an end, you’re getting inundated with Back to School commercials on TV and radio and after a while you accept it, get onboard and join in the craze to shop the Tax-Free Weekend hoping that the things you buy qualify as tax-free BTS items (they usually don’t). This time of year always takes me on a trip down memory lane as I remember all those years of wishing that Labor Day weekend wouldn’t end because that was it, the carefree fun of the summer was over.

Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is Songs about School. Here are a few of my favorite school-oriented songs.

School’s Out by Alice Cooper – “School’s Out” is a 1972 song first recorded as the title track single of Alice Cooper’s fifth album and written by the Alice Cooper band: Cooper, Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith.

Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, “What’s the greatest three minutes of your life?” Cooper said: “There’s two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you’re just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning. I said, ‘If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it’s going to be so big.'”

Cooper has also said it was inspired by a line from a Bowery Boys movie. The title (and song) were inspired by a warning often said in Bowery Boys movies in which one of the characters declares to another, “School is out,” meaning “to wise up.” The Bowery Boys were characters featured in 48 movies that ran from 1946-1958. They were young tough guys in New York City who were always finding trouble. The movies ran on American TV throughout the ’60s and ’70s, eating up a lot of air time on independent stations. It was one of these TV viewings that Cooper saw. In the film, the character Sach (Huntz Hall) did something dumb, which prompted one of the other guys to say, “Hey, Sach, School’s Out!” Cooper like the way the phrase sounded and used it as the basis for this song.

On his radio show, “Nights with Alice Cooper”, he joked that the main riff of the song was inspired by a song by Miles Davis. Cooper said that guitarist Glen Buxton created the song’s opening riff.

The lyrics of “School’s Out” indicate that not only is the school year ended for summer vacation, but ended forever, and that the school itself has been blown up. It incorporates the childhood rhyme, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks” into its lyrics. It also featured children contributing some of the vocals. The song appropriately ends with a school bell sound that fades out.

In a 2008 Esquire interview, Cooper said: “When we did ‘School’s Out,’ I knew we had just done the national anthem. I’ve become the Francis Scott Key of the last day of school.”

“School’s Out” became Alice Cooper’s first major hit single, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and propelling the album to #2 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 75 song for 1972. In Canada, the single went to #3 on the RPM Top Singles Chart following the album reaching #1. In Britain, the song went to #1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in August 1972. It also marked the first time that Alice Cooper became regarded as more than just a theatrical novelty act.

Some radio stations banned the song from their airwaves, stating that the song gave the students an impression of rebelliousness against childhood education. Teachers, parents, principals, counselors, and psychologists also shunned the song and demanded several radio stations ban the song from ever being played on the air. REALLY?? Wow!

How I miss the days of vinyl! This album opened like a school desk and contained a pair of paper panties. This is the kind of “added value” you just don’t get with CDs. Did any of you own that album?

The song is definitely an end of school-year and summer vacation anthem, but it was also used in a Back to School campaign a few years back:

In 2004, the song was also used in a Staples television commercial for the back to school retail period in which Alice appeared as himself. A young girl with black hair, obviously disappointed that school is starting soon, says, “I thought you said ‘School’s out forever.'” Alice (who’s pushing a shopping cart full of her school supplies) replies, “No, no, no … the song goes, ‘School’s out for summer.’ Nice try though.”

 

My Old School by Steely Dan – “My Old School” is a single drawn from Steely Dan’s 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy. It reached number 63 on the Billboard charts.

The “Old School” referred to in this song is Bard College in Annandale, New York, where Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met. The song is at least partially inspired by an event that occurred at Bard, where both Becker and Fagen, along with their girlfriends, were arrested in a pot raid on a party that was orchestrated by an ambitious young District Attorney named G. Gordon Liddy (hence the line “Tried to warn ya about Geno and Daddy G”). Despite the fact that California has not (yet) tumbled into the sea, both Fagen and Becker have returned to Bard.

This song is so rich with musical artistry. The horns and the guitar work are amazing. Crank this one up for sure!

 

Back to School Again by The Four Tops from the Grease 2 sountrack – “Back To School Again” is the opening number from the 1982 musical Grease 2. With music by Louis St. Louis and lyrics by Howard Greenfield, this uptempo track which features nearly the entire cast, runs to well over six and a half minutes, and contains some classy choreography every bit as impressive in its own way as Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller video; the song’s most noticeable feature is its heavy base line; the theme is evident from the title – first day back after the long American Summer vacation.

The main vocals are performed by The Four Tops, and the horn arrangements are by Andy Huson.

 

Smokin’ in the Boys Room by Brownsville Station – “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” is a song originally recorded by Brownsville Station in 1973 on their album Yeah! It reached number 3 in Canada and on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was later certified by the RIAA. It was written by Brownsville Station lead singer/guitarist Michael “Cub” Koda. Koda wrote for various music magazines, including Goldmine, until he died in 2000.

This song is about a group of schoolboys who sneak out of class to smoke tobacco in the boys’ bathroom, only to be found by the principal who reminds them “No smoking allowed in school.” Cub Koda got the idea for the song from memories of hanging out at a movie theater with his childhood friends – they would smuggle cigarettes lifted from their parents into the men’s room at the Clinton Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Friday nights. Coda says the “old duffer” who owned the theater would come after them, but never caught them in the act.

When he found himself in a band, Koda drew from this experience to write the song, shifting the scene from the movie house to the schoolhouse.

It took Koda just a half hour to write the song and an hour for the band to record it. They didn’t think much of it, but the song became far and away their biggest hit. Brownsville Station – comprised of Koda, bass player Michael Lutz and drummer Henry Weck at the time – had released two album previous to Yeah! and were enjoying regional acclaim around Michigan when “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room” took them to the national level.

Good Lord, do I remember smokin’ in the lavatories! I don’t smoke anymore. I quit back in August of 1996. But for a good number of years, I was a pretty heavy smoker. I started smoking at a really young age (11) so in junior high and then high school, us “cool kids” were always packed into the stalls in between classes puffin’ away, trying to get in as many drags as we could before the bell rang. I only remember getting caught once. It was during the middle of a class period and I was the only one in the bathroom when I heard the ‘clack, clack, clack’ of heels coming into the bathroom so I ditched my cigarette in the toilet and tried to wave away the smoke but naturally there was smoke cloud billowing above my stall. I guess I was pretty fortunate because even though I was often doing bad things back then, the teachers all liked me so I rarely got in trouble (I was an honor student after all). I came out of the stall and said, “Hi Mrs. (I can’t remember her name)” and she just looked at me with this disappointing look and said, “Get back to class Michele.” Okay. Thanks!

Does this song bring back memories for you?

 

School Days by the Kinks – This song is from Schoolboys in Disgrace (or The Kinks Present Schoolboys in Disgrace), a 1975 album by the Kinks.

The front cover was illustrated by Mickey Finn of T. Rex. It later appeared on NME’s list of the ’50 worst covers of all time’.

According to the back cover liner notes, the story which the album presents is as follows:

Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school.

After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character. Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr Flash.

Mr Flash was the name of the villain from the Kinks’ rock opera Preservation (released as Preservation Act 1 and Preservation Act 2).

I don’t know about you but, like the song says, my school days were some of the happiest and most fun times in my life. Although I went through my share of shit back then, for the most part, I enjoyed being a popular kid in school and had a ton of wild and crazy friends and we did some really wild and crazy things…things that keep me smiling and laughing to this day. This song really says it, how I feel about school.

 

What are you favorite songs about school? How do you feel about school? Did you like it, hate it? Why?

 

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.

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Monday’s Music Moves Me – Songs that Start with the First Letter of Your Name

Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is “Songs that start with the first letter of your name.” And boy am I ever glad that my name starts with an M! There are tons of great songs that start with the letter M. I’ve put together a playlist with my favorite M songs (which can be found at the bottom of this post) and I’ve also highlighted a few* of those favorites by sharing some of the songs’ background. The post is long but you can scroll through and read what you want to read and disregard the rest if you don’t have time. Or you can skip right to the playlist at the end for a continuous block of great songs all starting with the letter M (and there are several other songs in the playlist that are not spotlighted here).

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together! Let’s get started with some of my favorite M songs:

Madman Across the Water by Elton John – “Madman Across the Water” is the title track from Elton John’s fourth studio album, released in 1971. A very dark song with a Leon Russell influence, Bernie Taupin made up the story about a lunatic ranting on visiting day at the asylum. Predictably, it wasn’t chartworthy, but it did provide the album title as well as plenty of speculation that Elton was singing about United States president Richard Nixon. Taupin says that wasn’t the case, although he was quite amused by the interpretation. He says the lunatic in the song wasn’t based on anyone in particular.

“Tiny Dancer” and “Levon” were the most popular songs on the Madman Across the Water album, but Elton says that he feels most connected to the title track. The album marked a major musical shift for Elton, as he brought a guitarist into his band for the first time, enlisting Davey Johnstone.

 

Mainstreet by Bob Seger – “Mainstreet” is a song written and recorded by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. It was released in April 1977 as the second single from the album Night Moves. The song peaked at #24 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and has since become a staple of classic rock radio. The song also reached #1 in Canada.

Seger wrote this song about his high school years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he grew up. The song explores the promise of youth, and what Seger calls his “awakening” after being a quiet, awkward kid for most of his youth.

Seger has stated that the street he was singing about is Ann Street, just off Main Street in Ann Arbor. There was a pool hall there where they had girls dancing in the window and R&B bands playing on the weekends.

Seger recorded this song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. The studio was owned by four of the guys who played on the track: David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), Roger Hawkins (drums) and Barry Beckett (keyboards). The lead guitarist on the session was Pete Carr.

While most of Seger’s work was done with his Silver Bullet Band, he did make a few trips to Alabama to record at MSSS, taking advantage of the talented musicians and lack of distractions. His hit “Old Time Rock And Roll” was also recorded there.

 

Make It by Aerosmith – “Make It” is the first song on Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album, Aerosmith. It was released as a promo single for the album, but got little to no airplay. The song begins with the protagonist welcoming people to a show and tells them he has something they should know, the info in question is to make it and not break it, which means to succeed in achieving your dreams and not letting anything stop you (much like Aerosmith in their early club days performing up to three shows a day trying to get a record deal).

In the authorized Stephen Davis band memoir Walk This Way, Tyler speaks at length about the origins of the songs:

“Make It” – “I wrote ‘Make It’ in a car driving from New Hampshire to Boston. There’s that hill you come to and see the skyline of Boston, and I was sitting in the backseat thinking, What would be the greatest thing to sing for an audience if we were opening up for the…Stones? What would the lyrics say?”

 

Make Me Smile by Chicago – “Make Me Smile” is a song written by James Pankow for the rock band Chicago with the band’s guitarist, Terry Kath, on lead vocals. It was recorded for their second album, Chicago (often called Chicago II), which was released in March of 1970. It became the band’s first Top 10 record, peaking at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

James Pankow, a founding member of Chicago whose primary instrument is the trombone, said that what made him smile was the thought of a beautiful relationship. In a Songfacts interview with Pankow, he explained: “Relationships, if they’re good, put a big smile on our faces. Love songs have always been a powerful ingredient in the song’s process – the songwriting process has often taken writers to that place.”

Here is a video of the Peanuts Gang singing Make Me Smile from Garren Lazar’s YouTube channel (Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/garren.lazar)

 

Mama Kin by Aerosmith – “Mama Kin” is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith, which appears on their self-titled debut album. The song was written by the lead singer Steven Tyler. Being the band’s first ever single, it has been played live for several decades afterward, appearing on the live albums Live! Bootleg, Classics Live, and A Little South of Sanity. “Mama Kin” is featured as a re-recorded track on the video game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

“Mama Kin” is Steven Tyler’s idea of a spiritual force that drives creativity and pleasure. “Keep in touch with Mama Kin” means remembering the desires that drive you to excel.

This was a very early Aerosmith song, and one that helped them get signed to Columbia Records. In 1972, the band had finished a round of touring where they performed this song, and got the deal after Clive Davis of Columbia saw them perform at a New York club called Max’s Kansas City. Steven Tyler told his bandmates this was the song that was going to make them rich and famous. He had so much confidence in “Mama Kin” that he went to Eddy’s tattoo parlor in Providence, Rhode Island and had the words “MA KIN” tattooed on his left bicep beneath a winged heart. Tyler and Perry have both said that his arm was too thin to fit the whole title. Lol.

Fun Fact: In the early 1990s, Aerosmith opened up a bar in their hometown of Boston. It was a music club near Fenway Park. They called it the Mama Kin Music Hall and it was a showcase for live music. The club has since closed.

 

Mama Told Me (Not to Come) by Three Dog Night – “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” is a song by American singer-songwriter Randy Newman written for Eric Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. Three Dog Night’s 1970 cover of the song topped the US pop singles chart.

Newman says that the song was inspired by his own lighthearted reflection on the Los Angeles music scene of the late 1960s. As with most Newman songs, he assumes a character – in “Mama Told Me…” the narrator is a sheltered and extraordinarily straight-laced young man, who recounts what is presumably his first “wild” party in the big city, is shocked and appalled by cigarette-smoking, whiskey-drinking, and loud music and — in the chorus of the song — recalls his “mama told [him] not to come.”

This song has the distinction of being the very first #1 hit on the American Top 40 syndicated radio program. The show, hosted by Casey Kasem, became popular on AM radio throughout the world until its decline in the mid-1990s. This beat out The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” (their last hit record before the final breakup) and Elvis Presley’s “The Wonder of You” for top chart honors in early August 1970.

Cory Wells, who sang lead on this track, was the Three Dog Night band member who pushed to record it. He was a big fan of the song and played it with his previous band.

 

Man Like That by Gin Wigmore – Gin Wigmore (born Virginia Claire Wigmore on June 6, 1986) is a singer and songwriter from New Zealand. “Man Like That” is from her 2011 album Gravel & Wine, which was a chart-toppers on the New Zealand Albums Chart. She is known for her high and raspy voice. I first became aware of Gin Wigmore as some of her music was featured in one of my “guilty-pleasure reality TV” series Mob Wives.

Wigmore first achieved success as a singer-songwriter when in 2004, she won the US-based International Songwriting Competition with her tune “Hallelujah.” In doing so, she became the youngest and only unsigned Grand Prize winner in the history of the ISC. Back in her home country, Wigmore built up a sizable fan base based on the strength of first two long-players, 2009’s Holy Smoke and 2011’s Gravel & Wine, both of which topped the New Zealand album chart. She also featured on Smashproof’s single “Brother,” which spent 11 weeks at #1 on the RIANZ singles charts.

The song gained worldwide attention when it featured in a 2012 Heineken commercial that showed James Bond drinking the beer. Wigmore appears in the commercial as the chanteuse singing the tune.

Wigmore told MTV News the song was written about a former boyfriend who “was a total dick.” She calls this song “a warning for any future lovers.” She explained: “It’s telling the girl that’s currently dating a man I’ve dated that he’s a bit of a dick.”

The video was directed by Sean Gilligan and is loosely set in the 1920s, with Wigmore wearing something resembling a flapper dress and dancing a Charleston.

 

Man on the Silver Mountain by Rainbow – “Man on the Silver Mountain” is the first single by Rainbow and the first track of their debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Written by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Ronnie James Dio, this song is, as Dio said, “a semi-religious one, a man on the silver mountain is a kind of God figure everyone is crying out to”. This track became one of Rainbow’s best-known tracks and was also a live favourite for any Rainbow line-up, and also the band Dio. The words “The man on the silver mountain Ronnie James Dio” are inscribed on his grave.

 

Mandolin Rain by Bruce Hornsby & the Range – “Mandolin Rain” is the third track from The Way It Is, the debut album for Bruce Hornsby and the Range. The song, released in late 1986, was a #4 hit single for the band in March 1987, following on the success of their previous single, the #1 hit and title track of their debut album, “The Way It Is”. It also reached #1 on the adult contemporary chart for three weeks, and #2 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for two weeks, also in early 1987. The song even reached the Top 40 on the Country chart, hitting number 38.

The song was co-written by Bruce Hornsby and his brother John and featured Range member David Mansfield on the title instrument.

Bruce Hornsby scored box office gold again with this song. It kept up Hornsby’s career momentum. The song is about a failed southern romance between two people who enjoy the rainfall and spent a lot of intimate time in it, but now that she’s gone, the singer mourns her loss and is reminded of her when he hears the rain.

The song was used in the 2009 movie World’s Greatest Dad, with Robin Williams. Hornsby made a cameo appearance in the film and played an alternate acoustic version of the song, which had been previously arranged but never released until the film’s soundtrack.

 

Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Marrakesh Express” is a song written by Graham Nash and performed by the band Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN). It was first released in May of 1969 on the self-titled album, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and released on a 45-RPM single in July of the same year, with another CSN song, “Helplessly Hoping,” as its backing side. The single reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 23, 1969. The song became Crosby Stills and Nash’s first hit in the US, and surprisingly their only Top 40 single in the UK.

Interestingly, “Marrakesh Express” was written and composed by Graham Nash during his final years as a member of the English rock band, The Hollies, of which he was a member from its formation in 1962 till 1968. The band rejected the song as not commercial enough, but it found a home with Nash’s new band Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Marrakesh is a city in Morocco famous for leather goods. The “Marrakesh Express” is the train Graham Nash took on a trip there in 1966. The lyrics are filled with the sights, sounds and vibes that he encountered on the trip.

Nash recalled his inspiration for the song occurring during a Moroccan vacation he took in ‘66. On the trip, Nash traveled by train from Casablanca to Marrakesh. (Whether this was an express train, he did not specify.) He began the journey in First Class, surrounded by people he found to be uninteresting–as he described it, they were all “ladies with blue hair.” Upon this observation, he decided the compartment was “completely fucking boring,” so left his seat to explore the other train carriages. He was fascinated by what he saw.

The song mentions “ducks and pigs and chickens,” and that, according to Nash, is actually what was there. He recalls the ride by commenting: “It’s literally the song as it is–what happened to me.”

Fun Fact: The first public appearance of “Marrakesh Express” was at the Woodstock Music Festival. Between 3 am and 4 am on August 18, 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came together as a band for the second time in public and performed a set that included what Graham Nash called “a medley of our hit,” referring to this song, the first single from their debut album. (Neil Young did not play during the acoustic part of their set which included “Marrakesh Express.)

 

Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney – “Maybe I’m Amazed” is a song written by Paul McCartney that was first released on his 1970 album McCartney. McCartney dedicated the song to his wife, Linda, who had helped him get through the break-up of the Beatles.

Although the original recording has never been released as a single, a live performance by McCartney’s later band Wings, from the live album Wings over America, was. The original studio version of the song finished with a fade instead of a full ending, but McCartney later composed an ending that can be heard on the live versions of the song. McCartney first performed this live with Wings, in Châteauvallon, France, on July 9, 1972. A live recording from the 1976 album Wings over America was released as a single by McCartney’s band Wings on February 4, 1977 and reached number 10 in the US on the Billboard pop charts and reached number 28 in the UK.

McCartney wrote the song in 1969, just before the Beatles’ break-up. He credited his wife Linda with helping him get through the difficult time. Although most of his debut solo album was recorded at his home in London, McCartney recorded “Maybe I’m Amazed” entirely in EMI’s Number Two studio in Abbey Road, on the same day as he recorded “Every Night”. He played all the instruments: guitars, bass, piano, organ and drums. Although McCartney declined to release the song as a single in 1970, it nonetheless received a great deal of radio airplay worldwide. A promotional film was made, comprising still photographs of McCartney, his wife Linda and stepdaughter Heather, which first aired in the UK on April 19, 1970 on ITV in its own slot, and as a part of an episode of CBS Television’s The Ed Sullivan Show.

Regarded as one of McCartney’s finest love songs, it achieved the number 347 position in the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list compiled by Rolling Stone magazine in November 2004. In a late 2009 Q&A with journalists held in London to promote his live album Good Evening New York City, McCartney said “Maybe I’m Amazed” was “the song he would like to be remembered for in the future.”

FUN FACT: McCartney, an animal rights activist, appeared on The Simpsons episode 3F03, “Lisa The Vegetarian.” McCartney helps Lisa become a vegetarian and tells her that if you play this song backwards, you hear a recipe for lentil soup. Over the closing credits of that episode, if you listen carefully, you can hear the backwards message. As an extra feature on The Simpsons DVD, you can hear McCartney read the recipe and say, “There you have it Simpsons lovers, oh and by the way, I’m alive.” Lol.

With the exception of John Lennon, each Beatle has been on at least one episode of The Simpsons. George Harrison was on the episode “The B- Sharps” and Ringo was on the “The Letter.”

 

Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon – “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” is a song by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the second single from his second self-titled studio album (1972), released on Columbia Records. Paul Simon was Simon’s first solo album after he broke up with Art Garfunkel.

The song is about two boys (“Me and Julio”) who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. When “the mama pajama” finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a “radical priest” intervenes.

The meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate. In a July 20, 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked Simon: “What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know.” Simon replied “I have no idea what it is… Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say ‘something’, I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn’t make any difference to me.” This implies that Simon left the crime up to the imagination of the listener, allowing each person who listens to the song to draw their own conclusion from their own thoughts and experiences. This has not stopped speculation on a definite interpretation: commentators have detected references to recreational drug use, and believe that the mother saw the boy buying drugs. More recently, in October 2010, Simon described the song as “a bit of inscrutable doggerel”, while the “radical priest” has been interpreted as a reference to Daniel Berrigan, who featured on the cover of Time on January 25th, 1971, near when the song was written.

The percussion sound, the odd squiggly sound thoughout the song, unusual for American pop, was created with a Cuica, a Brazilian friction drum instrument often used in samba music. It was played by the Brazilian musician Airto Moreira.

 

 

Me and You and a Dog Named Boo by Lobo – “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” is the 1971 debut single by Lobo. Written by Lobo under his real name Kent LaVoie, it appears on the Introducing Lobo album. Lobo means “Wolf” in Spanish.

The single peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first of his four number one hits on the Easy Listening chart, where it had a two-week stay at #1 in May 1971. The song also reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart in July 1971, and it spent four weeks at #1 in New Zealand. Internationally, “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” was Lobo’s second most successful song.

This song is about two hippies and a dog taking a cross-country road trip in an old car that runs poorly. The protagonists of the song get mired in the Georgia clay, steal food from a farmer and work to pay it off, and end up living in Los Angeles, but the old car makes them want to hit the road again. Judging from my experience with classic cars, the 1946-55 Kaiser automobile runs poorly and fits into the time frame of the song.

 

Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye – “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” Is a classic single from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album, What’s Going On. Following the breakthrough of the title track’s success, the song, written solely by Gaye, became one of the most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment.

Many years before global warming became a hot topic, Marvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth. For his What’s Going On album (1971), Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy, who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable. The success of the title track proved otherwise, and “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” became a #1 R&B hit and soared to #4 on the Billboard Pop chart.

According to Earl Van Dyke of Motown’s house band the Funk Brothers, Berry Gordy did not know what the word “ecology” meant when he heard this song. It had to be explained to him.

 

Midnight Confessions by the Grass Roots – “Midnight Confessions” is a song written by Lou T. Josie and originally performed by the Ever-Green Blues. It was later made famous by American rock band The Grass Roots, who released the song as a single in 1968 (see 1968 in music). It was the first single from their fourth studio album, Golden Grass. The single was, however, released five months in advance of the album.

The Grass Roots version became the band’s biggest charting hit on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching the Top 5 of both the U.S. and Canadian pop singles charts. The lyrics describe a man who is infatuated with a married woman, knows he can never have her, and is relegated to confessing his love for her audibly, but alone. The song appears to be a musical dramatization of the midnight confession of the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s love for Hester Prynne in the classic 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, “The Scarlet Letter.”

 

Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & the Pips – “Midnight Train to Georgia” is a 1973 number-one hit single by Gladys Knight & the Pips, their second release after departing Motown Records for Buddah Records. Written by Jim Weatherly, and included on the Pips’ 1973 LP Imagination, “Midnight Train to Georgia” won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by A Duo, Group Or Chorus and has become Knight’s signature song.

In her autobiography, Between Each Line of Pain and Glory, Gladys Knight wrote that she hoped the song was a comfort to the many thousands who come each year from elsewhere to Los Angeles to realize the dream of being in motion pictures or music, but then fail to realize that dream and plunge into despair.

Films and television shows in which “Midnight Train to Georgia” is part of the soundtrack include The Deer Hunter, 30 Rock, House M.D., Broadcast News, and Las Vegas. It also gets its day in the sun in the 1974 episode of VH1’s I Love the ’70s: Volume 2. Richard Pryor (we still miss him) also used it in his 1977 special.

 

Mind Games by John Lennon – “Mind Games” is a song written and performed by John Lennon, released as a single in 1973 on Apple Records. It was the lead single for the album of the same name. The UK single and album were issued simultaneously on November 16, 1973. In the US it peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on the Cashbox Top 100. In the UK it peaked at No. 26.

This started off as a song called “Make Love Not War,” which had a strong antiwar sentiment. Lennon eventually abandoned that theme and wrote an entirely different lyric to the melody. This song is inspired by a book he read called Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space. Written by Robert Masters and Jean Houston, it explains how we can improve ourselves on various levels by playing tricks on our minds; the song is really about making yourself a better person.

Interesting background on how the song came together: This song, which was begun in 1969 and can be heard in the Beatles’ Let It Be sessions, was originally titled “Make Love, Not War”, a popular hippie slogan at that time. Another song, “I Promise”, contains the melody that would later be featured on “Mind Games”. The original Lennon demos for “Make Love, Not War” and “I Promise”, recorded in 1970, are available on the John Lennon Anthology. Lennon finished writing the song after reading the book Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space by Robert Masters and Jean Houston (1972). Lennon later encountered Masters in a restaurant and told him, “I am one of your fans. You wrote Mind Games.”

In keeping with the original theme, the lyrics advocate unity, love, and a positive outlook. The lyric “YES is the answer” is a nod to his wife Yoko Ono’s art piece that brought them together originally. The song was recorded as Lennon split with her for his 18-month “lost weekend” with May Pang. (May Fung Yee Pang (born October 24, 1950) is an American, best known as the former girlfriend of John Lennon. She had previously worked as a personal assistant and production coordinator for Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. In 1973, when Lennon and Ono separated, Pang and Lennon had a relationship lasting over 18 months, during a time which Lennon later referred to as his “Lost Weekend.” Pang subsequently produced two books about their relationship: a memoir called Loving John (Warner, 1983) and a book of photographs, Instamatic Karma (St. Martin’s Press, 2008).

 

Mississippi Queen by Mountain – “Mississippi Queen” is a song by the American rock band Mountain. Considered a rock classic, it was their most successful single, reaching number 21 in the Billboard Hot 100 record chart in 1970. The song is included on the group’s debut album and several live recordings have been issued. “Mississippi Queen” has been recorded by several artists, including W.A.S.P., Sam Kinison, Amanda Ayala, and Ozzy Osbourne, the latter of which had a hit with the song in 2005.

The song is about a seductive woman who teaches the singer a thing or two about the ways of love, but with the success of “Proud Mary” a year earlier, it almost sounds like this could be another song about a riverboat. In 1976, the “Mississippi Queen” riverboat was put into service by the Delta Queen company, taking its last cruise in 2008.

This is one of the most famous cowbell songs of all time, but the band didn’t envision the instrument in the song. In our interview with Leslie West, he explained: “The cowbell in the beginning was just in there because Felix wanted Corky to count the song off. So we used the cowbell to count it off – it wasn’t put in there on purpose. And it became the quintessential cowbell song.”

“Mississippi Queen” was recorded during the sessions for Mountain’s 1970 debut album Climbing! According to drummer Corky Laing, he had developed some of the lyrics and the drum part prior to his joining the band. Later, when guitarist Leslie West was looking for lyrics for a guitar part he had written, Laing pulled out “The Queen” and the two worked out the song together; bassist/producer Felix Pappalardi and lyricist David Rea also received songwriting credits. When the group proceeded to record “Mississippi Queen”, Pappalardi insisted on numerous takes. Growing weary, Laing started using the cowbell to count off the song. Pappalardi liked it so much he left it in the mix, creating the song’s recognizable intro.

The song was used in a popular commercial for Miller Genuine Draft beer where some guys traveling in a jungle open a bottle of the beer to magically freeze the body of water separating them from some lovely ladies who beckon.

 

Misunderstanding by Genesis – “Misunderstanding” is a song by English rock band Genesis, released on their 1980 album Duke. It reached No. 14 in the U.S. and No. 42 in the UK. Its highest charting was in Canada, where it reached No. 1 and is ranked as the seventh biggest Canadian hit of 1980.

This was the second Top 40 US hit for Genesis, following “Follow You, Follow Me.” The band began divesting themselves of their progressive rock roots in 1978 with the release of their album And Then There Were Three. They continued moving toward more compact pop songs with “Misunderstanding.”

This was one of the first songs Phil Collins wrote on his own. He was going through a very difficult time – his first wife Andrea had left him and taken their two children with her. Phil found himself alone in the house he once shared with them, and began writing songs – sad ones.

“Misunderstanding” finds Collins getting stood up and failing to understand that the girl wants nothing to do with him. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he keeps blaming her evasiveness on “some misunderstanding.”

To write songs for the Duke album, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks moved into Collins’ house in Surrey, England for six weeks. Collins hadn’t done much writing at that point, but Rutherford and Banks were very impressed when he played them this song. Five of the other songs for the album were group efforts written during these sessions when the band would jam together.

Banks recalled to Cleveland’s 98.5 WNCX: “‘Misunderstanding’ was the first song we recorded that Phil wrote. Phil didn’t used to write all that much of Genesis’ material in the early days, up to and including Duke, really. He just didn’t rate himself as a writer that much, I don’t think, and he’d never really tried it before. But after his problems with his marriage in that year, he started to write songs. And he played us a load of the songs he’d written and we picked out of them two songs. One of them was ‘Misunderstanding.'”

 

Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters  by Elton John – “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” is a song from the Elton John album Honky Château. The lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin and is his take on New York City after hearing a gun go off near his hotel window during his first visit to the city. The song’s lyrics were partly inspired by Ben E. King’s “Spanish Harlem,” written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector, in which he sings “There is a rose in Spanish Harlem.” In response to this, Taupin writes,

Now I know

Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say

I thought I knew,

but now I know that rose trees never grow in New York City.

The song is one of Elton’s personal favorites as one might imagine because it alternates between despair and optimism; in spite of his talent, fame, critical acclaim and wealth, Elton John has experienced more this his fair share of psychological problems including extreme bulimia and of course those staples of rock musicians everywhere – alcohol and drug abuse.

Elton John himself has called the song “one of my all-time favorites,” upon introducing it at his 60th-birthday concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden. He also delivered a heartfelt rendition at “The Concert for New York City” at Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2001. The concert was meant primarily as a tribute for family members and fellow workers of New York’s Fire and Police and Emergency Medical Services departments, who had been participating in the ongoing recovery efforts at the demolished World Trade Center complex following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. John dedicated the song to the emergency workers and their families, as well as to New York City.

Here is Elton John performing Live at the Honky Chateau debut concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, February 5th, 1972:

 

Monday, Monday by the Mamas & the Papas – “Monday, Monday” is a 1966 song written by John Phillips and recorded by the Mamas & the Papas using background instruments played by members of The Wrecking Crew for their 1966 album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. It was the group’s only number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Phillips said that he wrote the song quickly, in about 20 minutes. While awaiting the release of “California Dreamin’,” band member Denny Doherty was prodding songwriter John Phillips to come up with some new material. Phillips said he would come back in the morning with “A song with universal appeal.” Ignoring the sarcastic comments from the group members, Phillips came up with “Monday, Monday.” It’s about the lousy feeling that comes with the end of the weekend and beginning of another workweek.

Denny Doherty, who sang lead on this song for The Mamas & the Papas thought very little of “Monday Monday” when they recorded it. “Nobody likes Monday, so I thought it was just a song about the working man,” he said. “Nothing about it stood out to me; it was a dumb fuckin’ song about a day of the week.”

As you can imagine, he was taken by surprise when the song became a huge hit. Doherty wasn’t alone in his incredulity: Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips didn’t like the song either, and John Phillips claimed he had no idea what the song meant.

“Monday, Monday” was the group’s third single. “Go Where You Wanna Go” was issued first and went nowhere, but their next release was “California Dreamin’,” which was a phenomenon. When that song was having its run, radio stations started playing “Monday, Monday” off the album, so by the time it was released as a single, it was already widely anticipated and quickly rose to #1.

On March 2, 1967, The Mamas & the Papas won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song.

 

Monkey Man by the Rolling Stones – “Monkey Man” is a song by English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones, featured as the eighth track on their 1969 album Let It Bleed. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote “Monkey Man” as a tribute to Italian pop artist Mario Schifano, whom they met on the set of his movie Umano Non Umano! (Human, Not Human!). Mario Schifano was a painter and collagist of the Postmodern tradition. He also achieved some renown as a film-maker and rock musician.

He is considered to be one of the most significant and pre-eminent artists of Italian postmodernism. His work was exhibited in the famous 1962 “New Realists” show at the Sidney Janis Gallery with other young Pop art and Nouveau réalisme luminaries, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Reputed as a prolific and exuberant artist, he nonetheless struggled with a lifelong drug habit that earned him the label maledetto, or “cursed”.

The lyrics of “Monkey Man” don’t seem to make much sense, but they are probably about heroin or a bad acid trip. This song was used in the 1990 movie Goodfellas in a scene where the gangsters are trafficking cocaine. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese, who directed the 2008 Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light.

The Rolling Stones performed “Monkey Man” often on their 1994/95 Voodoo Lounge Tour. A performance of the song features on Live Licks from their 2002/03 Licks Tour.

 

Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers – “Monster Mash” is a 1962 novelty song and the best-known song by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. The song was released as a single in August 1962 along with a full-length LP called The Original Monster Mash, which contained several other monster-themed tunes. The “Monster Mash” single was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on October 20–27 of that year, just before Halloween. It has been a perennial holiday favorite ever since.

Pickett was an aspiring actor who sang with a band called the Cordials at night while going to auditions during the day. One night, while performing with his band, Pickett did a monologue in imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while performing the Diamonds’ “Little Darlin'”. The audience loved it, and fellow band member Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more with the Karloff imitation.

Pickett and Capizzi composed “Monster Mash” and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton, pianist Leon Russell, Johnny MacRae, Rickie Page, and Terry Berg, credited as “The Crypt-Kickers”. The song was partially inspired by Paxton’s earlier novelty hit “Alley Oop”, as well as by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the era. A variation on the Mashed Potato was danced to “Monster Mash”, in which the footwork was the same but Frankenstein-style monster gestures were made with the arms and hands.

The song is narrated by a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, rises from a slab to perform a new dance. The dance becomes “the hit of the land” when the scientist throws a party for other monsters. The producers came up with several low-budget but effective sound effects for the recording. For example, the sound of a coffin opening was imitated by a rusty nail being pulled out of a board. The sound of a cauldron bubbling was actually water being bubbled through a straw, and the chains rattling were simply chains being dropped on a tile floor. Pickett also impersonated horror film actor Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula with the lyric “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?”

 

Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck – “Moonlight Feels Right” is the debut single recorded by the American band Starbuck. Written and produced by Bruce Blackman, the song was released in the first week of April 1976. The song features a prominent marimba solo by co-founding band member Bo Wagner. When this song was on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show, it was promoted as the first rock song ever to feature a marimba.

“Moonlight Feels Right” was a major American hit, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100, number two on the Cash Box chart, and number one on Record World. It is ranked as the 34th biggest US hit of the year. On the Canadian chart, the song peaked at number three in early August 1976. It is ranked as the 51st biggest Canadian hit of 1976.

The song was featured in the Farrelly Brothers 2003 comedy film Stuck On You, starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear.

 

More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer – “More Than I Can Say” is a song written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison, both former members of Buddy Holly’s band the Crickets. They recorded it in 1959 soon after Holly’s death and released it in 1960. Their original version hit No. 42 on British Record Retailer Chart in 1960. It has been notably performed by singers Bobby Vee, Leo Sayer, and Sammy Kershaw.

Leo Sayer is a British singer-songwriter who enjoyed the majority of his chart success in the 1970s and early 1980s. He had two singles reach No. 1 in the U.S., “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”, both in 1977. He nearly had a third song achieve this feat, as his cover version of “More Than I Can Say” spent five weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1980 and January 1981. Sayer’s version of the song was certified a Gold Record by the RIAA. It also spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. In the U.K., the song peaked at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, while it spent two weeks atop the Kent Music Report in Australia. Sayer has stated that while looking for an “oldie” to record for his album Living in a Fantasy, he saw a TV commercial for a greatest hits collection by Vee and chose the song on the spot: “We went into a record store that afternoon, bought the record and had the song recorded that night.”

 

More Than This by 10,000 Maniacs“More than This” is a 1982 single by English rock band Roxy Music. It was released as the first single from their final album, Avalon, and was the group’s last Top 10 UK hit (peaking at #6). Although it only reached #102 (on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart) in the United States, it remains one of Roxy Music’s best-known songs in America.

The American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs released a successful cover version in 1997 which peaked at #25, and British singer Emmie released a dance cover version which reached #5 in the UK in January 1999.

The video for the cover was filmed at House on the Rock. A live version was also included on their 2016 album Playing Favorites.

 

Mother & Child Reunion by Paul Simon – “Mother and Child Reunion” is a song by the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. This was Simon’s first single as a solo artist. It was the lead single from his second self-titled studio album, released in 1972. It was released as a single on February 5, 1972, reaching No. 1 in South Africa and No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 57 song for 1972. It was at the time one of the few songs by a non-Jamaican musician to use prominent elements of reggae.

Simon liked reggae, and he listened to prominent reggae artists Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, and Byron Lee. In fact, Simon wrote this song in response to the Jimmy Cliff antiwar song “Vietnam,” where a mother receives a letter about her son’s death on the battlefield. Simon wanted to go to Kingston, Jamaica to record the song, as that was where Cliff had recorded “Vietnam” in 1970. The song was indeed recorded at Dynamic Sounds Studios at Torrington Bridge in Kingston, Jamaica, with Jimmy Cliff’s backing group, hence the very authentic sound.

The title has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish called “Mother and Child Reunion” that Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant’s menu (456 Restaurant in Chinatown, New York).

The song’s lyrics were inspired by a pet dog that was run over and killed. It was the first death Simon personally experienced, and he began to wonder how he would react if the same happened to his wife, Peggy Harper. “Somehow there was a connection between this death and Peggy and it was like Heaven, I don’t know what the connection was,” Simon told Rolling Stone in 1972.

 

Mother’s Little Helper by the Rolling Stones – “Mother’s Little Helper” is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and was recorded in Los Angeles in December 1965. It first appeared as the opening track to the UK version of their 1966 album Aftermath.

It was released as a single in the United States and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Singles Charts in 1966. The song deals with the sudden popularity of prescribed calming drugs among housewives, and the potential hazards of overdose or addiction. The drug in question is assumed to be Valium.

The song begins with the line that is also heard as the last line in the repeated bridge section: “What a drag it is getting old”.

Kids are different today, I hear every mother say

Mother needs something today to calm her down

And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill

She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper

And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.

The bridge section, which is repeated, has the line: “Doctor, please/Some more of these/ Outside the Door/ She took four more.”

Toward the end of the song, the mothers are warned:

And if you take more of those

you will get an overdose

No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper

They just helped you on your way

through your busy dying day

 

Movin’ Out by Aerosmith – “Movin’ Out” is a song by American hard rock band, Aerosmith and was the seventh song on Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album, Aerosmith. This was the first tune to be penned by Aerosmith’s songwriting partnership of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. The pair had decided that the best way for them to come up with ideas was to live together, so they moved into an apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. The song was built upon a guitar lick played by Perry and recorded at home on a water bed.

Perry recalled the writing of the song to Spinner: “I remember it all really well,” he said. “Our first roadie and truck driver, he lived with us and he had a day job building waterbeds. That’s what we had in the apartment, a waterbed. And uncomfortable as it was, I can remember sitting on that waterbed, you know like on the edge making sure not to slide back on the squishy part of the bed but balancing myself and the guitar on that wooden frame. And I would just sit there on the edge of that bed and Steven would be right next to me and that’s really when we started to seriously sit down and write songs. And the first one that came out of that apartment was ‘Movin Out.’ That was the first real song we wrote together.”

“Movin’ Out” gets usually one play per tour on average. Before the song starts, Tyler introduces the song as the first real Aerosmith song, and tells the story of the song’s recording and early Aerosmith history. The first known play of the song was on November 6, 1970 at Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon, Massachusetts.

The track was featured on Aerosmith’s live compilation, Classics Live! Vol. 2 (1987). An alternate take of the song appears on the band’s box set Pandora’s Box. The song was re-recorded in 2007 for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

This video here is the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith version of Movin’ Out. Love the video! About the Guitar Hero project: Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. The game is considered an expansion in the Guitar Hero series, extending upon the general features of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. As with other games in the series, the player uses a guitar-shaped controller to simulate the playing of rock music by playing in-time to scrolling notes on-screen.

It is the first game in the series to primarily focus on the work of one rock band, with Aerosmith songs comprising approximately 70% of the soundtrack, while the remaining songs are from bands that have been influenced by or opened for Aerosmith. The single player Career mode allows the player to follow the history of the band through several real-world-inspired venues, interspersed with interviews from the band members about their past. Aerosmith re-recorded four songs for this game, and have participated in a motion capture session to create their in-game appearances.

While Aerosmith was able to provide many of the original master recordings to the development team, the band re-recorded the four songs chosen for the game from their first album: “Make It”, “Movin’ Out”, “Dream On” and “Mama Kin.” Joe Perry re-mastered the lead guitar on many songs to interact with the gameplay better, while Steven Tyler re-recorded some of the vocals.

 

Mr. Big Stuff by Jean Knight – “Mr. Big Stuff” is a song by American singer Jean Knight. This was Knight’s first national hit. She recorded it in May of 1970 at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to going there, Knight worked as a baker at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Released on Knight’s 1971 debut album of the same title, it became a huge crossover hit. The song spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Soul Singles chart and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 18 song for 1971. In total, the song spent sixteen weeks on the pop and R&B charts. The song went double platinum and was the No. 1 Soul Single of the year. It was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1972 Grammy Awards.

Knight performed the song on Soul Train on December 11, 1971, during its first season. “Mr. Big Stuff” would become one of Stax Records’ most popular and recognizable hits. It was also featured in the 1977 mini-series The Bronx Is Burning. In 2000, Everclear sampled this on “AM Radio,” a song about growing up in the ’70s. In early 2007, this song was used in a Papa John’s Pizza commercial that introduced the XL GrandPapa pizza.

Here’s Jean Knight on Soul Train:

 

My City Was Gone by the Pretenders – “My City Was Gone” is a song by the rock group The Pretenders. The song originally appeared in October 1982 as the B-side to the single release of “Back on the Chain Gang”; the two-sided single was the comeback release for the band following the death of founding bandmember James Honeyman-Scott. The song was included on the album Learning to Crawl released in early 1984, and it became a radio favorite in the United States. It is sometimes referred to as “The Ohio Song” for its constant reference to the state, though it is not part of the song’s title. The song’s final title was due to the fact that there had already been a song called “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The song was written by Pretenders leader Chrissie Hynde and reflected her growing interest in environmental and social concerns; the lyrics take the form of an autobiographical lament, with the singer returning to her childhood home of Ohio and discovering that rampant development and pollution had destroyed the “pretty countryside” of her youth. The song makes a number of specific references to places in and around Akron, Ohio including South Howard Street (line 5), the historic center of Akron which was leveled to make way for an urban plaza with three skyscrapers and two parking decks (line 8).

USE BY RUSH LIMBAUGH: The opening bass riff from this song “was something that Tony Butler used to play just as a warm-up,” said Steve Churchyard, the engineer for the record. The opening of the song, before Hynde’s vocals appear at about 40 seconds, has been used as the opening theme ‘bumper’ for Rush Limbaugh’s popular American talk radio program since 1984, during his days at KFBK in Sacramento, California. He didn’t use the lyrics, but Limbaugh said in 2011 that he chose it because of the irony of a conservative using such an anti-conservative song, though he mainly liked its “unmistakable, totally recognizable bass line.”

In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine reported that, according to Hynde’s manager, Limbaugh had neither licensed the song nor asked permission to use it. According to Rolling Stone, EMI took action after Limbaugh told a pair of reporters in 1997 that “it was icing on the cake that it was [written by] an environmentalist, animal rights wacko and was an anti-conservative song. It is anti-development, anti-capitalist and here I am going to take a liberal song and make fun of [liberals] at the same time.” EMI issued a cease and desist request that Limbaugh stop using the song, which he did. When Hynde found out during a radio interview, she said that her parents loved and listened to Limbaugh and she did not mind its use. A usage payment was agreed upon which she donated to PETA. She later wrote to the organization saying, “In light of Rush Limbaugh’s vocal support of PETA’s campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency’s foolish plan to test some 3,000 chemicals on animals, I have decided to allow him to keep my song, ‘My City Was Gone’, as his signature tune…”

 

My Eyes Adored You by Franki Valli – “My Eyes Adored You” is a 1974 song written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. It was originally recorded by The Four Seasons in early 1974. After the Motown label balked at the idea of releasing it, the recording was sold to lead singer Frankie Valli for $4000. After rejections by Capitol and Atlantic Records, Valli succeeded in getting the recording released on Private Stock Records, but the owner/founder of the label wanted only Valli’s name on the label. The single was released in the US in November 1974 and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1975. “My Eyes Adored You” also went to number 2 on the Easy Listening chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1975.

The single was Valli’s second number 1 hit as a solo artist, and remained there for one week, being knocked out of the top spot by another Crewe/Nolan-penned song, “Lady Marmalade”. Although it was released as a Valli solo effort, the song is sometimes included on Four Seasons compilation albums. It is from the album Closeup.

 

My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) by Neil Young – “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” is a song written by Neil Young. Combined with its acoustic counterpart “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”, it bookends Young’s successful 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps (The first half of the album, including this, is acoustic. The second half, which includes “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black),” is electric and was recorded with Crazy Horse). Inspired by electropunk group Devo, the rise of punk and what Young viewed as his own growing irrelevance, the song significantly revitalized Young’s career at the time, and today crosses generations, inspiring admirers from punk to grunge. The song is about the alternatives of continuing to produce similar music (“to rust” or – in “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” – “to fade away”) or to burn out.

The song deals with the fleeting nature of fame and how hard it is to stay relevant as an artist. “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” is a ’50s song by Danny and the Juniors. Young alludes to or mentions artists from the ’50s (Danny and the Juniors), ’60s (Elvis), and ’70s (The Sex Pistols, specifically lead singer Johnny Rotten) to show that “rock and roll will never die.”

The song explicitly deals with the struggles of being a rock musician. As quoted on the site Hyper Rust, Neil Young said, “the essence of the rock’n’roll spirit to me, is that it’s better to burn out really bright than to sort of decay off into infinity. Even though if you look at it in a mature way, you’ll think, “well, yes … you should decay off into infinity, and keep going along.” Rock’n’roll doesn’t look that far ahead. Rock’n’roll is right now. What’s happening right this second”

A line from the acoustic version of the song, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away,” became infamous after being quoted in Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s suicide note. Young later said that he was so shaken that he dedicated his 1994 album Sleeps with Angels to Cobain.

Kurt Cobain’s suicide note contained a line from this song: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” That line has become one of the most famous song lyrics of all time. When Young was asked by Time magazine in 2005 about the line and Cobain’s death, he said: “The fact that he left the lyrics to my song right there with him when he killed himself left a profound feeling on me, but I don’t think he was saying I have to kill myself because I don’t want to fade away. I don’t think he was interpreting the song in a negative way. It’s a song about artistic survival, and I think he had a problem with the fact that he thought he was selling out, and he didn’t know how to stop it. He was forced to do tours when he didn’t want to, forced into all kinds of stuff. I was trying to get a hold of him – because I had heard some of the things he was doing to himself – just to tell him it’s OK not to tour, it’s OK not to do these things, just take control of your life and make your music. Or, hey, don’t make music. But as soon as you feel like you’re out there pretending, you’re fucked. I think he knew that instinctively, but he was young and he didn’t have a lot of self-control. And who knows what other personal things in his life were having a negative impression on him at the time?”

The video is the Unplugged version: Neil Young performs “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” live at the Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois on September 22, 1985. Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001. For more information about Farm Aid, visit: http://farmaid.org/youtube

I like the acoustic version but I also like the sound of Neil’s plugged-in version:

 

My Old School by Steely Dan – Steely Dan is an American jazz rock band whose music also blends elements of crossover jazz, latin music, blue-eyed soul, R&B, boogie, and pop. Founded by core members Walter Becker (guitars, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals) in 1972, the band enjoyed critical and commercial success starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981. Rolling Stone has called them “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies.” Steely Dan was listed as one of the 100 greatest musical artists of all time according to VH1.

Steely Dan reunited in 1993 and has toured steadily ever since.

“My Old School” is a single drawn from Steely Dan’s 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy. It reached number 63 in the Billboard charts.

The “Old School” referred to in this song is Bard College in Annendale, New York, where Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met. The song is at least partially inspired by an event that occurred at Bard, where both Becker and Fagen, along with their girlfriends, were arrested in a pot raid on a party that was orchestrated by an ambitious young District Attorney named G. Gordon Liddy (hence the line “Tried to warn ya about Geno and Daddy G”). Despite the fact that California has not (yet) tumbled into the sea, both Fagen and Becker have returned to Bard.

The “Wolverine” is the train that went to Annendale.

Here is the full performance of the American Bandstand appearance in 1973 featured in the above video. The sound quality isn’t high grade but the video is good and it’s neat to see the younger version of the group:

 

My Sweet Lord by George Harrison – “My Sweet Lord” is a song by English musician and former Beatle, George Harrison. It was released in November 1970 on his triple album All Things Must Pass. Also issued as a single, Harrison’s first as a solo artist, “My Sweet Lord” topped charts worldwide and was the biggest-selling single of 1971 in the UK. In America and Britain, the song was the first number one single by an ex-Beatle. The song was his biggest hit. Harrison originally gave the song to his fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record; this version, which Harrison co-produced, appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album in September 1970.

The song is about the Eastern religions that Harrison was studying. He wrote “My Sweet Lord” in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, while at the same time intending the lyrics to serve as a call to abandon religious sectarianism through his deliberate blending of the Hebrew word hallelujah with chants of “Hare Krishna” and Vedic prayer.

Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, “Hare Krishna… Krishna, Krishna.” When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: “Hallelujah” – he was pointing out that “Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing.”

In the documentary The Material World, Harrison explains: “First, it’s simple. The thing about a mantra, you see… mantras are, well, they call it a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable. It has this power within it. It’s just hypnotic.”

Some Christian fundamentalist anti-rock activists objected that chanting “Hare Krishna” in “My Sweet Lord” was anti-Christian or satanic, while some born-again Christians adopted the song as an anthem. Several commentators cite the mantra and the simplicity of Harrison’s lyrics as central to the song’s universality. The “lyrics are not directed at a specific manifestation of a single faith’s deity,” Inglis writes, “but rather to the concept of one god whose essential nature is unaffected by particular interpretations and who pervades everything, is present everywhere, is all-knowing and all-powerful, and transcends time and space … All of us – Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist – can address our gods in the same way, using the same phrase [‘my sweet Lord’].”

The recording features producer Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound treatment and heralded the arrival of Harrison’s much-admired slide guitar technique, which one biographer described as being “musically as distinctive a signature as the mark of Zorro.” Preston, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and the group Badfinger are among the other musicians appearing on the recording.

This is my favorite George Harrison song. Here’s a video montage of George Harrison through the years:

 

Mystified by Fleetwood Mac – “Mystified” is from Tango in the Night, the 14th studio album by British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac. Released in April 1987, it is the fifth and to date last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

Produced by Buckingham with Richard Dashut, Tango in the Night began as one of Buckingham’s solo projects, but by 1985 the production had morphed into Fleetwood Mac’s next album. It contains several hit singles, including “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders”, “Everywhere”, and “Little Lies”.

Tango in the Night is notable for the tight songwriting bond between keyboardist Christine McVie, and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. They co-wrote a trio of songs, including “Mystified,” this soft and lush tune. For this number, Buckingham created a sonic palette, which was as mystical as McPhee’s entranced lyrics.

“I can’t remember how that happened,” McVie admitted to Uncut in 2017. “It morphed somehow between us. We just happened to be doing stuff in the studio at the same time, so the co-write was fair dues.”

The song was released as the B-side on the 1988 single release of “Isn’t It Midnight.”

 

That’s it for my spotlighted songs. Here is my entire M Song Playlist, for your enjoyment. It contains 50 of my favorite songs that start with the letter M.

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.


 

 

 

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

Happy Monday everyone! It’s time for another Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) blog hop and this week’s theme is Songs with Names in the Title. Well, at least I thought that was the theme for this week. It was when I copied down the theme list from the site’s sidebar back in June. Imagine my surprise when I went in to add my link to the list today and discovered that the theme is now European Favorites. What?? I had no idea. Oh well. It’s too late now. I’ve spent too much time on this one to toss it away and I don’t have time to do a new one so this is going to be my 4M post for today. The good news is there are a few European favorites in my bunch here so at least they’ll qualify. Sorry guys. I didn’t know the theme had changed.

As for Songs with Names in the Title, there are TONS of songs with names in the titles and in fact I’m working on a comprehensive compilation of my favorite songs in this category. So far I have well over thirty pages and that was just with the Girls’ names!

For today’s 4M feature, here is a sampling of just 20 songs from my project, using Girl names.

A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash – “A Boy Named Sue” is a song written by Shel Silverstein that was made popular by Johnny Cash. Cash was at the height of his success when he recorded the song live at California’s San Quentin State Prison at a concert on February 24, 1969. The concert was filmed by Granada Television for later television broadcast; Carl Perkins played guitar on the performance. The audio of the concert was later released on Cash’s At San Quentin album. Cash also performed the song (with comical variations on the original performance) in December 1969 at Madison Square Garden. The song became Cash’s biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and his only top ten single there, spending three weeks at No. 2 in 1969, held out of the top spot by “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones. The track also topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts that same year and was certified Gold on August 14, 1969, by the RIAA.

The song tells the tale of a young man’s quest for revenge on a father who abandoned him at three years of age and whose only contribution to his entire life was naming him Sue, commonly a feminine name, which results in the young man suffering from ridicule and harassment by everyone he meets in his travels. Because of this, Sue grows up tough, mean and smartens up very quickly, though he frequently relocates due to the shame his name gives him. Angered by the embarrassment and abuse that he endures in his life, he swears that he will find and kill his father for giving him “that awful name”.

Sue later locates his father at a tavern in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, during the middle of a summer season, and confronts him by saying, “My name is Sue! How do you do? Now you’re gonna die!” This results in a vicious brawl that spills outdoors into a muddy street. After the two have beaten each other almost senseless, Sue’s father admits that he is the “heartless hound” (“son of a bitch” in the Johnny Cash version) that named him Sue and explains that the name was given as an act of love. Because Sue’s father knew that he would not be there for his son, he gave him the name, believing (correctly) that the ensuing ridicule would force him to “get tough or die.” Learning this, Sue makes peace with his father and they reconcile. With his lesson learned, Sue closes the song with a promise to name his son “Bill or George, anything but Sue.”

Here is a performance from 1969:

 

Ah Leah by Donnie Iris – one of my favorite hits from the 80s

“Ah! Leah!” is a song by American rock musician Donnie Iris from his 1980 album Back on the Streets. The song was released as a single in late 1980 and reached number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100, 22 on the Cash Box Top 100, and 19 on the US Billboard Top Tracks chart. The song is widely considered to be Iris’ signature song and was most popular in Canada, where it became a Top 10 hit.

What I didn’t realize about Donnie Iris: Donnie Iris (born Dominic Ierace on February 28, 1943) is an American rock musician known for his work with the Jaggerz and Wild Cherry during the 1970s, and for his solo career beginning in the 1980s with his band, the Cruisers. He wrote the # 2 Billboard hit, “The Rapper”, with the Jaggerz in 1970 and was a member of Wild Cherry after the group had a #1 hit with “Play That Funky Music.” He also achieved fame as a solo artist in the early 1980s with the # 29 hit “Ah! Leah!” and the # 37 hit “Love Is Like a Rock.”

In addition to performing on the first three Jaggerz albums and the fourth and final Wild Cherry album, Iris with his solo band has released eleven studio albums, one EP, two live albums, and two compilation albums. He continues to release new material and tours throughout the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Youngstown and Cleveland, Ohio areas.

Here is Donnie Iris and the Cruisers performing live in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in 1981

 

Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass – “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” is a 1972 song written and composed by Elliot Lurie and recorded by Lurie’s band, Looking Glass, on their debut album Looking Glass. The single reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100 charts, remaining in the top position for one week. Billboard ranked it as the 12th song of 1972.

The lyrics tell of Brandy, a barmaid in a western seaport harbor town which serves a hundred ships per day. The sailors tell her she’s a fine girl, who would make a good wife, but their life and love is the sea. Brandy falls in love with a sailor who gives her a silver chain from The North of Spain, and her locket holds his name. She would watch his eyes when he told his sailor tales, and felt the raging ocean. In the end, Brandy is left in love with “a man who’s not around” because no harbor was his home, but she can still hear his words, “Brandy you’re a fine girl…”

 

Cecelia by Simon and Garfunkel – “Cecilia” is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released in April 1970 as the third single from the group’s fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water. Written by Paul Simon, the song’s origins lie in a late-night party, in which the duo and friends began banging on a piano bench. They recorded the sound with a tape recorder, employing reverb and matching the rhythm created by the machine. Simon later wrote the song’s guitar line and lyrics on the subject of an untrustworthy lover. The song’s title refers to St. Cecilia, patron saint of music in the Catholic tradition.

The song was a hit single in the United States, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. On the Cash Box Top 100, it reached number one.

 

Dear Prudence by the Beatles – “Dear Prudence” is a song by the Beatles from their 1968 album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). The song was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Written in India, it was inspired by Prudence Farrow, a sister of actress Mia Farrow, who became obsessive about meditating while practicing with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

From an article I found in Rolling Stone magazine while researching the song: In January of 1968, a then-20-year-old Prudence Farrow finally fulfilled a dream of hers that had been in the making for two years: to study meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India. Accompanied by her sister, actress Mia, Farrow was later joined at the Maharishi’s retreat by none other than the members of the Beatles and their significant others. The Fab Four’s stay in India has been well-documented — aside from seeking spiritual enlightenment through the Maharishi, they wrote songs that later ended up on their self-titled two-record set, better known as the White Album, released later that year.

But Farrow didn’t get caught up in the buzz surrounding the Beatles’ presence at the retreat. Rather, she was more preoccupied with meditating for long hours in her room. Her single-minded devotion to meditation inspired John Lennon to compose “Dear Prudence” (number 63 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Beatles Songs), which later appeared on the White Album. Discussing the song in an interview with Playboy, published posthumously in 1981, Lennon remarked that Farrow “wouldn’t come out of the little hut we were living in… We got her out of the house — she’d been locked in for three weeks and wouldn’t come out. She was trying to find God quicker than anyone else. That was the competition in Maharishi’s camp: who was going to get cosmic first.” (Source: Rolling Stone article by David Chiu, September 4, 2015)

This video shows the members of the Beatles in Rishikesh in 1968. Rishikesh is known as the “Yoga Capital of the World.” In the video, you’ll see the Fab Four with their significant others and shots of Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence.

 

Jackie Blue by Ozark Mountain Daredevils – One of my very favorite songs! The Ozark Mountain Daredevils are an American Southern rock/country rock band formed in 1972 in Springfield, Missouri. They are most widely known for their singles “If You Wanna Get to Heaven” in 1974 and “Jackie Blue” in 1975.

“Jackie Blue” is a single from their 1974 album, It’ll Shine When It Shines. The song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent two weeks at #1 (May 10-17) on the Cashbox Singles Chart in the U.S. It was also a hit internationally: #2 in Canada, #9 in New Zealand, #10 in South Africa, and #27 in Australia in 1975. The song was sung by the group’s drummer, Larry Lee.

Here’s a performance from an Old Grey Whistle Test appearance (OGWT was a British television music show). Recorded live at Shepherd’s Bush, London, March 26, 1976:

 

Jolene by Dolly Parton – “Jolene” is a song written and performed by American country music artist Dolly Parton. It was released in October 1973 as the first single and title track from her album of the same name, produced by Bob Ferguson.

“Jolene” tells the tale of a woman confronting Jolene, a stunningly beautiful woman, who she believes is trying to steal away her lover and begging her “please don’t take my man.” Throughout the song, the woman implores Jolene “please don’t take him just because you can.” According to Parton, the song was inspired by a red-headed bank clerk who flirted with her husband Carl Dean at his local bank branch around the time they were newly married. In an interview, she also revealed that Jolene’s name and appearance are based on that of a young fan who came on stage for her autograph.

The song became Parton’s second solo number-one single on the country charts after being released as a single in late 1973 (prior to the album’s release). It reached the top position in February 1974; it was also a moderate pop hit for her and a minor adult contemporary chart entry. The song has sold 733,000 digital copies in the US since it became available for digital download.

The song was released as a single later in the UK, and became Parton’s first top ten hit song in the country, reaching number seven in the UK Singles Chart in 1976. The song also re-entered the chart when Parton performed at the Glastonbury festival in 2014. The song has sold 255,300 digital copies in the UK as of January 2017.

 

Lorelei by Styx – “Lorelei” is a song from rock band Styx. It is on their 1975 album Equinox, and was released as a single in 1976.

The video below is from the 1996 Return to Paradise tour: on May 21, 1996, twenty years after the release of Lorelei, Styx’s triumphant Return to Paradise tour got underway at the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with Kansas as the opening act. This special 70-plus date Grand Reopening reunion run celebrated Tommy Shaw’s return to the band, following the successful 1995 studio sessions for “Lady ’95,” which had been recorded for inclusion on Styx’s August 22, 1995 Greatest Hits release.

“We didn’t have any idea whether people would still care about us or not,” Tommy recalls of the days and weeks leading up to the RTP tour. “But our then-new manager Charlie Brusco assured us that if you put tickets on sale, people are going to show up. And they did — and in amazing numbers too! Return to Paradise indeed.”

That May 21 Cedar Rapids show also featured the live debut of drummer Todd Sucherman, who had been asked to take over for the ailing John Panozzo. “It was exhilarating,” Todd says. “At the end of the show, I felt like we had just won the Super Bowl.” (note: John Panozzo died in July 1996).

 

Maggie May by Rod Stewart – “Maggie May” is a song written and performed by singer Rod Stewart from his album Every Picture Tells a Story, released in 1971.

“Maggie May” expresses the ambivalence and contradictory emotions of a boy involved in a relationship with an older woman, and was written from Stewart’s own experience. In the January 2007 issue of Q magazine, Stewart recalled: “Maggie May was more or less a true story, about the first woman I had sex with, at the 1961 Beaulieu Jazz Festival.” The woman’s name was not “Maggie May”; Stewart has stated that the name was taken from “… an old Liverpudlian song about a prostitute.”

Rod in a 1998 concert:

 

Mandy by Barry Manilow – In 1974, Barry Manilow recorded the song under the title name of “Mandy”. The song was Manilow’s first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts, and his first gold single. Scott English wrote the lyrics and recorded this song in 1971 as “Brandy.” His version was a hit in the UK. In the US, this was changed to “Mandy” to avoid confusion with the Looking Glass hit “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl).”

The bit about “Mandy” being about Manilow’s dog is an urban myth. Songwriter and original performer Scott English says he was woken by a phone call from a reporter, wanting to know who “Brandy” was. “I would have said anything to get rid of him,” says English, “So I spat out the first thing that came to mind: It was about a dog like Lassie and I had sent her away – now you go away!’ And I hung up on him.”

 

Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” is a song written by Tom Petty and recorded by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was recorded on July 22, 1993, while Petty was recording his Wildflowers album, and was produced by Rick Rubin, guitarist Mike Campbell, and Tom Petty. The sessions would prove to be the last to include drummer Stan Lynch before his eventual departure in 1994. This song was first released as part of the Greatest Hits album in 1993. It rose to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his first Billboard Top 20 hit of the 1990s, and also topped the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart at #1 for two weeks.

This is another song that I love but the music video, I think, is extremely creepy and disturbing really. But what do I know? Because the music video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video in 1994. It features Petty as a morgue assistant who takes home a beautiful dead woman (played by Kim Basinger). He then tries to bring her back to life by acting as if she were alive, putting her in front of a television set and then dressing her as a bride, sitting her at the dinner table and dancing with her with no effect. A scene in the video featuring the dead woman wearing a wedding dress in a room full of wax candles is loosely based on a passage from the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations. The plot also has similarities with the French movie Cold Moon, itself inspired by a Charles Bukowski short story (“The Copulating Mermaid of Venice“). Later, Petty is shown carrying her to a rocky shore and gently releasing her into the sea. At the end of the video, Basinger, who is seen floating in the water, opens her eyes.

During the final scenes of the video, Petty is seen carrying Basinger through a cave before placing her in the water. The cave is located at Leo Carrillo State Park, California where many movies and television shows were filmed.

I said, “She’s got to look really good, or why would he keep her around after she’s dead?” I thought, Kim Basinger would be good. I’d probably keep her for a day or two, let’s go see if she would do it.” You can make a joke about it, but you have to act a bit to be dead. It’s not easy.  — Tom Petty, on what made him decide that Kim Basinger would be a good choice for the corpse

Now that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. It was classic, wasn’t it? He was a doll, and he was so sweet and asked me to do it, and both of us are extremely shy so we just said three words to each other the whole time. I’ll never forget how heavy that dress was! And I had to be dead the whole time. You know, it’s really one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, because I had to be completely weightless to be in his arms the way I was. It won all those awards, and the kids love it—even today!  — Kim Basinger

Here’s the video. What do you think of it??

 

Michelle by the Beatles – This is one song that has been sung to me over and over and over throughout the years. The only issue I have with it is that the Beatles spelled Michelle with two L’s instead of the right way with one L, like mine.

“Michelle” is a love ballad by the Beatles, composed principally by Paul McCartney, with the middle eight co-written with John Lennon. It is featured on their Rubber Soul album, released in December 1965. The song is unique among Beatles recordings in that some of its lyrics are in French. “Michelle” won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1967. The song’s win over “Born Free”, “The Impossible Dream”, “Somewhere My Love” and “Strangers in the Night” was seen as something of a triumph for The Beatles, who had in 1966 been nominated, but were unsuccessful, in nine categories. It has since become one of the best known and often recorded of all Beatles songs. In fact, in 1999, BMI named “Michelle” as the 42nd most performed song of the 20th century.

The words and style of “Michelle” have their origins in the popularity of French Left Bank culture during McCartney’s Liverpool days. McCartney had gone to a party of art students where a student with a goatee and a striped T-shirt was singing a French song. He soon wrote a farcical imitation to entertain his friends that involved French-sounding groaning instead of real words. The song remained a party piece until 1965, when John Lennon suggested he rework it into a proper song for inclusion on Rubber Soul.

…we’d tag along to these parties, and it was at the time of people like Juliette Greco, the French bohemian thing… So I used to pretend to be French, and I had this song that turned out later to be ‘Michelle’. It was just an instrumental, but years later John said: ‘You remember that thing you wrote about the French?’ I said: ‘Yeah.’ He said: ‘That wasn’t a bad song, that. You should do that, y’know.’  — Paul McCartney

McCartney asked Jan Vaughan, a French teacher and the wife of his old friend Ivan Vaughan, to come up with a French name and a phrase that rhymed with it. “It was because I’d always thought that the song sounded French that I stuck with it. I can’t speak French properly so that’s why I needed help in sorting out the actual words”, McCartney said.

Vaughan came up with “Michelle, ma belle”, and a few days later McCartney asked for a translation of “these are words that go together well” — sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble. When McCartney played the song for Lennon, Lennon suggested the “I love you” bridge. Lennon was inspired by a song he heard the previous evening, Nina Simone’s version of “I Put a Spell on You”, which used the same phrase but with the emphasis on the last word, “I love you“.

Here’s Paul McCartney performing in the East Room of the White House, in the company of President Obama and the incomparable Michelle Obama. June 2, 2010.

 

My Maria by B.W. Stevenson – This is one of my favorite songs of all time! It’s a song about a gypsy woman, Maria, who relieves the narrator from problems with which he has been struggling.

“My Maria” is a song co-written by B. W. Stevenson and Daniel Moore. Stevenson released “My Maria” as a single in August 1973, and the song became a Top 10 hit, peaking at number 9 on the US pop chart. It remained in the Top 40 for twelve weeks. In addition, “My Maria” spent one week at number 1 on the US adult contemporary chart. It was Stevenson’s biggest hit. The guitar portion of the track was played by Larry Carlton. Twenty-plus years later, a cover by Brooks & Dunn reached number 1 on the US country music chart and won the 1997 Grammy for Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

The artist, B. W. Stevenson (October 5, 1949 – April 28, 1988), was an American country pop artist, working in a genre now called progressive country. “B.W.” stood for “Buckwheat.” Stevenson was born in Dallas, Texas.

Fun fact: Stevenson performed and was taped for the intended pilot of Austin City Limits on October 13, 1974. However, the recording quality was deemed too poor to broadcast. Willie Nelson’s performance taped the following night ended up being aired as the first episode of the long-running program.

Stevenson died undergoing heart valve surgery at the age of 38. Since his death, Poor David’s Pub in Dallas has held an annual songwriting competition in his memory.

 

Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition – “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” is a song written by Mel Tillis about a paralyzed veteran of a “crazy Asian war” (given the time of its release, widely assumed—but never explicitly stated—to be the Vietnam War) who either lies helplessly in bed or sits helplessly in his wheelchair as his wife “paints [herself] up” to go out for the evening without him; he believes she is going in search of a lover, and as he hears the door slam behind her, he pleads for her to reconsider. The song was made famous by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition in 1969. “Ruby” was originally recorded in 1967 by Johnny Darrell, who scored a number nine country hit with it that year.

In 1969, after the success Kenny Rogers and The First Edition had enjoyed with the hits “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” and “But You Know I Love You,” Rogers wanted to take his group more into a country music direction. They recorded their version of the song, with Rogers singing the lead, in a single take. The record was a major hit for them. It made #1 in the UK on the New Musical Express (#2 on the BBC chart) staying in the top 20 for 15 weeks and selling over a million copies by the end of 1970. In the United States it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #39 on the country chart.

In 1977, now performing solo after the First Edition disbanded in early 1976, Rogers made re-recordings of this, and a number of other First Edition hits, for his 1977 greatest hits package Ten Years of Gold. (It was later issued in the UK as The Kenny Rogers Singles Album.) Ten Years of Gold topped the US country charts under that title, and as The Kenny Rogers Singles Album, it was just as successful in the United Kingdom.

Here’s Kenny & the First Edition performing the song in 1972:

 

Sara Smile by Hall & Oates – “Sara Smile” is a song written and recorded by the American musical duo Hall & Oates. It was released in January 1976 as the second single from their album Daryl Hall & John Oates. The song was the group’s breakthrough single, its first Top 10 hit in the US, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It was written about Hall’s then-girlfriend, Sara Allen. The couple were together for almost 30 years before breaking up in 2001.

 

Sussudio by Phil Collins – “Sussudio” is a song by English singer-songwriter Phil Collins, released as a single in January 1985. The song is the first track on Collins’ third solo studio album, No Jacket Required, released in February of the same year. The song entered frequent rotation on MTV in May: by July both single and album reached number-one on their respective US Billboard charts. In the UK, the song peaked at number 12.

Collins has said that he “improvised” the lyric. Collins was just playing around with a drum machine, and the lyric “su-sussudio” was what came out of his mouth. “So I kinda knew I had to find something else for that word, then I went back and tried to find another word that scanned as well as ‘sussudio,’ and I couldn’t find one, so I went back to ‘sussudio'”, Collins said. According to Collins, the lyrics are about a schoolboy crush on a girl at school.

 

Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond – “Sweet Caroline” is a song written and performed by American recording artist Neil Diamond and officially released on September 16, 1969, as a single with the title “Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)”. The song reached #4 on the Billboard chart and eventually went platinum for sales of one million singles. The song has proven to be enduringly popular, and as of November 2014 has sold over two million digital downloads in the United States.

Diamond wrote this song about his second wife, Marcia Murphey, who he married in 1969 (they divorced in 1995). He needed a three-syllable name to fit the melody, however, so “Sweet Marcia” didn’t work. The name Caroline is one he had written down, and it fit the song perfectly, so that’s what he used.

Neil Diamond is a great manipulator of the media, and has shifted his story about this song to fit the occasion. There was longtime speculation that the song is about Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the American president John F. Kennedy. Diamond has since revealed that this Caroline gave him the idea for the name, but had nothing to do with the song’s inspiration.

In 2007, however, Diamond performed the song via satellite at Caroline Kennedy’s 50th birthday party, and said that the song was about her. He told the Associated Press: “I’ve never discussed it with anybody before – intentionally. I thought maybe I would tell it to Caroline when I met her someday. I’m happy to have gotten it off my chest and to have expressed it to Caroline. I thought she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and really, really happy.”

Diamond added that he was a young, broke songwriter in the ’60s when he saw a cute photo of Caroline Kennedy in a magazine. Said Diamond: “It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony. It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there.” A few years later, Diamond wrote the song in a Memphis hotel in less than an hour. Caroline was 11 years old when the song was released.

SWEET CAROLINE AND BASEBALL?? Even though the song has nothing to do with Boston, the Red Sox, baseball or New England, it is played at Red Sox home games in Fenway Park before the Red Sox bat in the the 8th inning. Amy Tobey, who worked the music at Fenway, first started playing the song in 1997 – it’s often reported that she played it in honor of a Red Sox employee who named her newborn daughter “Caroline,” but Tobey told NPR that she simply liked the song. It caught on with the fans, becoming a popular selection between innings. When Charles Steinberg took over as Red Sox executive vice president of public affairs in 2002, he championed the song, and instituted it as an 8th inning ritual (strategically placed before the Sox come up to bat late in the game), where it has been played ever since. Caroline Kennedy even attended a game that year, which was before Neil Diamond revealed her as the inspiration.

The song is an audience participation number in that the crowd sings “dum-dum-dum” after the words “Sweet Caroline” in the chorus and “so good, so good, so good” after “good times never seemed so good,” assisted by the music director who ducks the song down at this point so the crowd sounds louder. This Fenway ritual is portrayed in the Drew Barrymore/Jimmy Fallon movie Fever Pitch.

On April 16, 2013, the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, the New York Yankees—longtime Red Sox rivals—announced they would play the song during their home game, preceded by a moment of silence, as a tribute to the victims. On Saturday, April 20, 2013, during the 8th inning of the Red Sox-Kansas City game in Fenway Park, Neil Diamond made a surprise appearance at Fenway Park where he performed the song in its traditional 8th inning timeslot. Diamond, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just two days earlier, appeared in street clothes rather than his usual lustrous performance garb as he led the crowd in a full version of the song.

The song was sung at sporting events across the country after the Boston Marathon bombings, in efforts to show solidarity with those affected by the tragedy. It was also played right before the start of the Hamburg Marathon in Hamburg, Germany, on Sunday, April 21, 2013, subsequent to a minute of silence. The song was also played before the start of the Stockholm Marathon in Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday, June 1, 2013, as a tribute to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

On April 25, 2013, “Sweet Caroline” was played following a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing during the NFL Draft. Diamond has announced that he will donate all royalties from sales of the song since the marathon bombings to the One Fund Boston charity to help the people most affected by the bombings. Diamond said that sales of the song surged nearly 600 percent in the week after the bombings, to 19,000 copies, up from 2,800 the week before.

 

Take a Letter Maria by R. B. Greaves – “Take a Letter Maria” is a song written and recorded by R. B. Greaves, an American soul singer. The song has a Latin music flavor, complete with a mariachi-style horn section featuring trumpets. It tells of a man who has learned of his wife’s infidelity the night before, and dictates a letter of separation to Maria, his secretary, whom he asks out for dinner later in the song in order to “start a new life.” The song was released in September 1969, quickly gaining regular airplay and peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It stayed in the Billboard chart for 15 weeks. The single was certified gold in December 1969, with one million copies shipped. By 1970, sales of the song totaled 2.5 million.

 

The Ballad of John & Yoko by the Beatles – “The Ballad of John and Yoko” is a song written by John Lennon, attributed to Lennon–McCartney as was the custom, and released by the Beatles as a single in May 1969. The song, chronicling the events associated with Lennon’s marriage to Yoko Ono, was the Beatles’ 17th and final UK number one single. It reached number eight in the U.S.

Interestingly, “The Ballad of John and Yoko” never appeared on the surveys of WLS in Chicago or WABC in New York, two of the largest Top 40 stations in the US. Several US radio stations declined to broadcast the song because of what they saw as sacrilegious use of the words Christ and crucify in the chorus:

Christ, you know it ain’t easy,

You know how hard it can be,

The way things are going,

They’re gonna crucify me.

Authored by Lennon while on his honeymoon in Paris, the song tells of the events of his marriage, in March 1969, to Ono, and their publicly held honeymoon activities, including their “Bed-In” at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel and their demonstration of “bagism.”

(Bagism is a term which was created by John Lennon and Yoko Ono as part of their extensive peace campaign in the late 1960s. The intent of bagism was to satirize prejudice and stereotyping. Bagism involved literally wearing a bag over one’s entire body. According to John and Yoko, by living in a bag, a person could not be judged by others on the basis of skin color, gender, hair length, attire, age, or any other such attributes. It was presented as a form of total communication: instead of focusing on outward appearance, the listener would hear only the bagist’s message. John and Yoko introduced the idea during a well-received press conference in Vienna on March 31, 1969 and explained it more thoroughly in a June 14, 1969 interview with David Frost. Bagism reflected the whimsical, carefree, and often comedic mood of John and Yoko’s other peace efforts, such as their Bed-Ins. By catching the attention of the masses with its outlandish premise, bagism presented a powerful social and political message to the world. As Lennon stated, “Yoko and I are quite willing to be the world’s clowns; if by doing it we do some good.”

Yoko said that bagism was inspired by the theme of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, which was “One sees rightly only with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eyes.” She hoped that the bag (by hiding her and John’s physical appearance) would make their essence, or the essence of their message, visible).

Lennon brought the song to McCartney’s home on April 14, 1969, before recording it that evening. Recalling the controversy engendered by Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” remark in 1966, McCartney was alarmed at the references to Christ in the new song but agreed to assist Lennon. Ono later said: “Paul knew that people were being nasty to John, and he just wanted to make it well for him. Paul has a very brotherly side to him.”

The song was recorded without George Harrison (who was on holiday) and Ringo Starr (who was filming The Magic Christian). In Barry Miles’ biography, McCartney recalls that Lennon had a sudden inspiration for the song and had suggested that the two of them should record it immediately, without waiting for the other Beatles to return. Reflecting this somewhat unusual situation, the session recordings include the following exchange:

Lennon (on guitar): “Go a bit faster, Ringo!”

McCartney (on drums): “OK, George!”

It’s hard to find actual Beatles recordings on YouTube. This is an APPLE 45 r.p.m. single vinyl record of the Beatles song “The Ballad of John and Yoko” side “A” played on an old 60`s “SEARS SOLID STATE” turntable. The sound isn’t great but at least you can hear the full song. Plus seeing that old turntable sure brings back some memories.

In searching for the song I found this wonderful piece, The Ballad of John & Yoko: The Story Behind the Bed-In for Peace. It is featured on Canada’s History channel: Established in 1994 as a charitable organization devoted to popularizing Canadian history, Canada’s History aims to make Canadians more aware and appreciative of their past.

You can hear the song in the background and there is some great footage of the famous event.

 

So that’s my Monday’s Music Moves Me post for July 17. 2017. Do you like any of the songs that I featured here? What are your favorite songs with Girls names in the titles?

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 –  Let’s Get Kinky!

This is my second week participating in the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop. It’s a “Freebie” week which means we don’t have to follow a specific theme and instead can choose whatever music we want to feature. I say Let’s Get Kinky with a time-capsule set of The Kinks!

The Kinks were an English rock band formed in North London in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the era. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat and they were briefly part of the British Invasion of the US until their touring ban in 1965.

The group opened 1965 with their first tour of Australia and New Zealand, with Manfred Mann and the Honeycombs. An intensive performing schedule saw them headline other package tours throughout the year with acts such as the Yardbirds and Mickey Finn. Tensions began to emerge within the band, expressed in incidents such as the on-stage fight between Avory and Dave Davies at The Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales in May that year. After finishing the first song, “You Really Got Me”, Davies insulted Avory and kicked over his drum set. Avory responded by hitting Davies with his hi-hat stand, rendering him unconscious, before fleeing from the scene, fearing that he had killed his bandmate. Davies was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he received 16 stitches to his head. To placate the police, Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.

Following a mid-year tour of the United States, the American Federation of Musicians refused permits for the group to appear in concerts there for the next four years, effectively cutting off the Kinks from the main market for rock music at the height of the British Invasion. Although neither the Kinks nor the union gave a specific reason for the ban, at the time it was widely attributed to their rowdy on-stage behavior. It has been reported that an incident when the band was taping Dick Clark’s TV show Where The Action Is in 1965 led to the ban. Ray Davies recalls in his autobiography, “Some guy who said he worked for the TV company walked up and accused us of being late. Then he started making anti-British comments. Things like ‘Just because the Beatles did it, every mop-topped, spotty-faced limey juvenile thinks he can come over here and make a career for himself” following which a punch was thrown and the AFM banned them.”

After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival during the late 1970s and early 1980s with albums Sleepwalker (1977), Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981) and State of Confusion (1983). In addition, groups such as Van Halen, the Jam, the Knack, the Pretenders and the Fall covered their songs, helping to boost the Kinks’ record sales. The Kinks broke up in 1996, a result of the commercial failures of their last few albums and creative tension between the Davies brothers. Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the group’s 32-year run.

The following are my favorite Kinks songs, presented in order of release dates:

You Really Got Me – written by Ray Davies, “You Really Got Me” was released in August 1964 as the group’s third single, and reached number one on the UK singles chart the next month, remaining for two weeks. The song became the group’s breakthrough hit; it established them as one of the top British Invasion acts in the United States, reaching number seven there later in the year. “You Really Got Me” was later included on the Kinks’ debut album, Kinks.

The lyrics of the song are about lust and sex. Dave Davies said of the song’s lyrics, “‘You Really Got Me’ [is] such a pure record, really. It’s a love song for street kids. They’re not going to wine and dine you, even if they knew how to chat you up. [They say] ‘I want you—come here.'”

The song was covered by American rock band Van Halen in 1978 for their debut album Van Halen, reaching the Billboard Top 40. As the band’s first single, it was a popular radio hit which helped jump-start the band’s career, as it had done for the Kinks 14 years earlier. This version, which was cited by Eddie Van Halen as an “updated” version of the original, featured “histrionic” guitar playing by Eddie Van Halen and “vocal shenanigans” by David Lee Roth. The song had been played by the band live for years before its studio release. On the radio, it is often featured with “Eruption”, the instrumental that precedes it on the album, as an intro. (I’ve included a video of Van Halen’s version at the end of this post).

The following video shows a very early Kinks, performing in 1965 on the show Shindig! Shindig! was an American musical variety series which aired on ABC from September 16, 1964 to January 8, 1966.

 

All Day and All of the Night – “All Day and All of the Night” is a song from 1964. It reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 7 on Billboard’s US chart in 1965. The song was released on the American studio album Kinks-Size.

 

Tired of Waiting for You – “Tired of Waiting for You” was a 1965 hit. The song was released as a single in January 1965 in the UK and in February 1965 in the US. It then appeared on their second studio album Kinda Kinks.

According to Ray Davies, the music for “Tired of Waiting for You” was written on the train to the recording studio and the words were written at a coffee shop during a break in the session.

“Tired of Waiting for You” was written before “All Day and All of the Night,” but “All Day and All of the Night” was released first due to its similarities to the band’s first UK hit, “You Really Got Me.”

It reached No.1 on both the UK Singles Chart and Melody Maker, becoming the band’s second UK chart-topper since “You Really Got Me.” The single also reached No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the highest charting Kinks single in the US until the band’s 1983 hit “Come Dancing” tied it.

Here’s another television performance on the British show Shindig! appearing on July 7, 1965:

 

 Where Have All the Good Times Gone – written by Ray Davies, it was first released as the B-side to “Till the End of the Day,” and was then included on their album The Kink Kontroversy in 1965 (1966 in the US).

Ray Davies said, “We’d been rehearsing ‘Where Have All the Good Times Gone’ and our tour manager at the time, who was a lot older than us, said, ‘That’s a song a 40-year-old would write. I don’t know where you get that from.’ But I was taking inspiration from older people around me. I’d been watching them in the pubs, talking about taxes and job opportunities.”

 

Lola – This is probably my favorite Kinks song. The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible transgender woman, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. In the song, the narrator describes his confusion towards a person named Lola who “walked like a woman and talked like a man”. Although Ray Davies claims that the incident was inspired by a true encounter experienced by the band’s manager, alternate explanations for the song have been given by drummer Mick Avory.

The song was released in June 1970. Commercially, the single reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. Due to its controversial subject matter and use of the brand name Coca-Cola, the single received backlash and even bans in Britain and Australia. The single version (mono) used the words “cherry cola” while the album version (stereo) uses the name “Coca-Cola”. The track has since become one of The Kinks’ most iconic and popular songs

This video features a 1970 performance on Britain’s Top of the Pops television show:

 

Celluloid Heroes – written by lead vocalist and principal songwriter Ray Davies, the song debuted on the Kinks 1972 album Everybody’s in Show-Biz.

The song names several famous actors of 20th century film, and also mentions Los Angeles’s Hollywood Boulevard, alluding to its Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actors mentioned are Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Bela Lugosi, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders, and Mickey Rooney

Here’s a cool video I found on YouTube:

 

Sleepwalker – another of my favorites. Written by Ray Davies, “Sleepwalker” is the debut single from The Kinks’ 1977 album of the same name. Here’s a great 1977 performance but the video embedding was disabled so you’ll have to jump over to the YouTube site to check it out. But do go. It’s worth it!  https://youtu.be/NC5BR3RL6ug

If you’d rather stay here and just listen to a studio version of the song, here you go:

 

Father Christmas – This 1977 single is one of my holiday favorites. It tells of a department store Father Christmas who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids who tell him to give them money instead of toys, as toys are impractical; and asks that the toys be given “to the little rich boys.” At one point, a child asks the narrator to give his/her father a job for Christmas—or, if he must deliver a toy, a machine gun.

 

A Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy – “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” is the lead single and fourth track from The Kinks’ 1978 album Misfits. Written by Ray Davies, the song was inspired by the band’s then-tumultuous state at the time, with two members leaving the band during the recording of Misfits. Released as the first single from the album, the track was the band’s most successful single in years, peaking at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 

Low Budget – “Low Budget” is the sixth track of the Kinks 1979 album of the same name. Recorded in January 1979, it describes a man giving up his “expensive tastes” in order to save money. Like many of the tracks on Low Budget, it applies to the economic troubles occurring during the time that the album was released, such as strikes in Great Britain (and the gas and oil crisis in the US). However, AllMusic’s Richard Gilliam claimed that the track’s theme could “easily apply to just about any modern recession.”

Although “Low Budget” refers to economic problems of the times in general, it also refers to some of Ray Davies’ own personal concerns. In the song, Davies mocks his own fear of not having money and his frugality. The song also references Davies’ vanity. The singer describes himself as once being well dressed and able to afford cigars, but now has to buy discount clothes and chew mints. He describes himself as “a cut-price person in a low-budget land.” But despite being reduced to poverty, the singer expresses pride in his hair and his teeth. Author Thomas Kitts notes that even the title, used in the refrain “I’m on a low budget” could refer to Davies keeping himself on a tight budget.

Here are The Kinks performing live in Providence, Rhode Island on September 23, 1979:

 

Destroyer – “Destroyer” was written by Ray Davies and released as a track on the group’s nineteenth album Give the People What They Want in August 1981. It was the album’s lead single in the US. In 1982, the single reached #3 on the Billboard Rock Top Tracks chart and #85 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was not released as a single in the UK and was available only when the album was released there in January 1982. (The album’s lead single in the UK was “Better Things”).

The song features many callbacks to previous Kinks songs, both lyrically and musically. The track borrows the main riff from The Kinks’ 1964 song, “All Day and All of the Night”, one of the band’s first hits. The lyrics are a continuation of The Kinks’ 1970 hit song, “Lola”, about a transgender individual. In “Destroyer”, the protagonist of the song becomes paranoid after taking Lola back to his place.

 

Come Dancing – “Come Dancing” was a 1983 hit single in both the US and the UK, the track was included on the album State of Confusion. The song is a nostalgic look back at childhood memories of its writer: the Kinks’ frontman Ray Davies, remembering his older sister going on dates to the local Palais dance hall where big bands would play. The lyrics tell how the Palais has been demolished and his sister now has her own daughters who are going on dates. Great video!

 

Living On a Thin Line – “Living on a Thin Line” is a track written by Dave Davies for The Kinks’ 1984 album Word of Mouth. It has been praised as being on of Dave Davies greatest songs. I really like this song.

“Living on a Thin Line” is one of two songs on Word of Mouth written by Dave Davies (the other being “Guilty”). Davies said, in his biography Kink, that the track was influenced by The Kinks’ long and difficult career, along with his hatred toward politicians. The song’s lyrics compare the barbaric times of medieval England to today, saying that “inside we’re the same as we ever were”.

The song, despite not having much commercial success, has become a fan-favorite. The track has also been played three times in the American TV show The Sopranos’ 2001 episode “University.” Producer Terence Winter has said that it is the series’ most asked about song.

 

Now if this hasn’t been enough Kink, let’s get a little more kinky: Here is Van Halen’s cover of “You Really Got Me” – in a 1980 performance:

 

Have yourself a very kinky week…

 

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Monday’s Music Moves Me Bloghop: Locations theme

Happy Monday! Today I’m taking part in a Blog Hop called Monday’s Music Moves Me. I visited my friend Mary’s blog at JingleJangleJungle today and discovered that she was honored with choosing the theme for this week’s Monday’s Music Moves Me. It’s a fun theme: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Songs that have Locations in the Title.

I thought of so many songs that I like with locations in the title that I decided to put a playlist together to share with you all. Here’s my list. Click into the YouTube video playlist and you can listen to the songs and check out the videos: some of them are pretty cool.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

Waterloo by Abba

The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace

Jesus Just Left Chicago by ZZ Top

La Grange by ZZ Top

Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees

New York State of Mind by Billy Joel

Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Woman from Tokyo by Deep Purple

Philadephia Freedom by Elton John

Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel

Woodstock by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – EXCELLENT Woodstock video, for those of us who like to get retro. Check out this counterculture anthem!

Witchita Lineman by Glen Campbell

Youngstown by Bruce Springsteen – I went to college at Youngstown State University in Ohio and Bruce’s song tells about the history of the town. When I was there in the early 80s, it was a sad city of shutdown steel mills and had the highest unemployment rate in the country at the time. The song highlights the situation.

My City Was Gone by The Pretenders  — This song doesn’t have an exact location in the title but it’s meaningful to me because as it’s a song about Chrissie Hynde’s hometown of Akron, Ohio. When I was away at college in Ohio, my friend Jeff told me that every time he heard that song it reminded him of me. So it’s very special to me.

I also wanted to include New York Minute by Don Henley but it has strict copyright restrictions so there was no YouTube video and I couldn’t include it in the playlist. But you can click here to give it a listen. It’s an excellent high quality version of the song so be sure to check it out. It’s worth it!

 

Hope you enjoy my Monday’s Music Moves Me playlist of Songs with Locations in the Title. Thanks to all the hosts and to Mary for the great theme!

 

Today’s post is part of the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop, hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Callie of JAmerican Spice, Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants as well.

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