Monday’s Music Moves Me – WELCOME TO MY BAR (Songs with Beverages in the Titles)

We are wrapping up August with a fun Monday’s Music Moves Me theme from this month’s Spotlight Conductor, Mary of Jingle Jangle Jungle. She’s challenged us to feature songs with beverages in the titles. Well, you know me, Bar Queen Extraordinaire. Although it was a while ago, my bar, the Pond Springs Saloon, was a cool beer & wine joint nestled in a northwest Austin neighborhood, complete with a few pool tables, three dart boards and a kickass jukebox, and was home to a bunch of Austin-area locals who liked to hang out in a laid-back establishment. A lot of folks would come in for our famous “fish-bowls,” huge frozen schooners iced in the freezer and filled to the brim with ice cold draft beer.

It was fun to fulfill a long-time dream of creating a neighborhood bar reminiscent of the Town of Niagara/Western New York and Pennsylvania bars and beer joints that I hung out in growing up, first when in tow with my parents who liked to stop and have a few beers with family and friends every now and again, and then when I was sowing my own wild oats in my late teens and early 20s. Although my place was in Texas, it definitely had that “Buffalo-feel”, not only in attitude but in decor too, as evidenced by the Buffalo Bills memorabilia that served not only to showcase my Buffalo pride but also to taunt the resident Dallas Cowboys fans.

Folks came in to hang with friends, to laugh and tell jokes, to share life’s trials and tribulations, to bitch and complain, to spout life philosophies, to boast and embellish life stories, to blow off a little steam, to flirt and try to hook up, to cry in their beers, to drink and sometimes often get drunk and act a fool…All that and other things that people like to do in their favorite home-away-from-home drinking establishment. They sought — and found — a place where everyone knew their names. [We even had our own resident “Norm” (a Cheers reference].

So in that spirit, I’ve opened a virtual bar here at Angels Bark. Here you’ll find a menu of great music categorized and tailored to your beverage of choice. Don’t forget your dollars for the jukebox! Let’s start with an introduction to the overall atmosphere where all kinds are welcome (well, almost all kinds. I’m keeping with the strict policy I had at my old bar: Sorry, no assholes allowed)…

WELCOME TO TRUHLIK’S TAVERN

This first playlist is just to get you in the mood, with some general drinking music, to be followed by a beverage-specific menu. Pull up a stool and hang out for a bit…

Roadhouse Blues by The Doors

Have a Drink on Me by AC/DC

One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer by George      Thorogood

I Drink Alone by George Thorogood

Drunk Americans by Toby Keith

Alcohol by Barenaked Ladies

Cheers theme song

 

Our bartenders are super friendly and aim to please.

WHAT CAN I GET FOR YA?   PICK YOUR POISON

BEER

Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers by ZZ Top

Beer for My Horses by Toby Keith & featuring Willie Nelson

Hold My Beer by Trace Adkins

I Like Girls That Drink Beer by Toby Keith

Hot Beer & Cold Women by Randy Houser

Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer by Billy Currington

A Dozen Roses & a Six-Pack by Cole Swindell

There’s a Tear in My Beer by Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr.

 

WINE

Elderberry Wine by Elton John

White Lightning and Wine by Heart

Spill the Wine by Eric Burton and War

Red Wine (Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti) by Woody Guthrie

Red Red Wine by Neil Diamond

Red Red Wine by UB40

Old Red Wine by The Who

Sweet Cherry Wine by Tommy James & the Shondells

God of Wine by Third Eye Blind

Pass the Wine by The Rolling Stones

The Night the Band Got the Wine by Al Stewart

Water with the Wine by Joan Armatrading

Wine into Water by T. Graham Brown

Wine After Whiskey by Carrie Underwood

 

TEQUILA

Tequila Sunrise by the Eagles

Tequila Eyes by Randy Rogers Band

Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off by Joe Nichols

Mas Tequila by Sammy Hagar

Mexico, Tequila and Me by Alan Jackson

You and Tequila by Kenny Chesney

Tequila Loves Me by Kenny Chesney

Tattoos & Tequila by Vince Neil

When the Tequila Runs Out by Dawes

My Favorite Wine is Tequila by Michael Franti & Spearhead

 

WHISKEY

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Poison Whiskey by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman by Nazareth

Whiskey River by Willie Nelson (side note: last week I had a Basenji, one of my dog boarders, named ‘Whiskey River’. He was named after this Willie Nelson song and he was a real pistol!)

Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) by The Doors

Ain’t Enough Whiskey by Kid Rock

Lace and Whiskey by Alice Cooper

Whiskey and Lace by Krystal Keith

Jack Daniels and Jesus by Chase Rice

Not Enough Whiskey by Keifer Sutherland

Weed, Whiskey and Willie by Brothers Osborne

What Whiskey Does by Randy Houser

Whiskey Girl by Toby Keith

Whiskey in My Water by Tyler Farr

Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzy

White Lightning by Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts

Whiskey by Maroon 5 featuring A$AP Rocky

Sunshine and Whiskey by Frankie Ballard

Moonshine by Bruno Mars

Wine After Whiskey by Carrie Underwood

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller LIVE by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Poison Whiskey LIVE by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Whiskey River by Willie Nelson LIVE in Austin Texas on 9/13/1984

 

GIN

Cocaine & Gin by Kid Rock

Cold Gin by Kiss

Of All the Gin Joints in the World by Fall Out Boy

Gin & Juice by Snoop Dog

Gin, Smoke, Lie by Turnpike Troubadours

Gin Soaked Boy by Tom Waits

Gin Bottle Blues by Lightnin Hopkins

Gin Guzzlin’ Frenzy by Mojo Nixon

Gin and Money by Marcy Playground

Misery and Gin by Merle Haggard – Live from Austin Texas 1985

 

RUM

Rum is the Reason by Toby Keith

Rum and Coca-Cola by The Andrew Sisters

A Rum Tale by Procol Harum

Rum by Brothers Osborne

Blame It On the Rum by Sunny Jim

Rum Jumbies by Sunny Jim

Haze of the Rum by Jesse Rice featuring Florida Georgia Line

Rum and Somethin’ by Donny Brewer

Rum Day by Cory Young

Rum Phonics by Gene Mitchell

Rummin’ and Chummin’ by John Friday

 

CHAMPAGNE

Champagne & Reefer by Muddy Waters

Champagne High by Sister Hazel

Champagne Kisses by Jessie Ware

Champagne Supernova by Oasis

Pink Champagne by Caitlin Rose

Champagne Life by Ne-Yo

 

SPECIALTY DRINKS

Strange Brew by Cream

(Escape) The Pina Colada Song by Rupert Holmes

Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet

One Mint Julep by Ray Charles

 

And for those Designated Drivers, be sure to head to the Coffee Bar:

COFFEE BAR & OTHER NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS

Black Coffee in Bed by Squeeze

Coffee Blues by Mississippi John Hurt

One More Cup of Coffee by Bob Dylan

Tea for One by Led Zeppelin

Poprocks and Coke by Green Day

RC Cola and a Moon Pie by NRBQ

Orange Crush by R.E.M.

Apple Cider Reconstitution by Al Stewart

No Milk Today by Herman’s Hermits

Milk It by Nirvana

Milk and Alcohol by Dr. Feelgood

 

Well, it’s Last Call. And as I liked to say back in the day:

“Drink ’em up!

You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here!”

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

 

 

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me – In Honor of the Queen of Soul: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

credit Monica Ahanonu (InStyle)

Aretha Franklin, the world’s Queen of Soul, died on Thursday. She was 76. 

 

She has left behind an extraordinary legacy of music that moves, in oh so many ways, and songs that instill confidence and unleash untapped power…but more than that, she left us with anthems of great import, her most widely recognized being RESPECT.

Originally a song by Otis Redding, “Respect” was written and recorded by him in 1965, which interestingly ended up being a significant one for him as well. (It was his second Top 40 hit, following “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” and it helped establish Redding on mainstream radio. Otis performed the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and this was a defining performance for the singer, who died in a plane crash six months later).

But Aretha came along and re-imagined the song. With a re-working of the lyrics, a musical rearrangement (via the Muscle Shoals studio musician’s soulful guitar hook, the background vocals and the added sax solo) and a completely different slant on the messaging, “Respect” was suddenly recognized the world over. Aretha’s rendition found greater success than the original, spending two weeks atop the Billboard Pop Singles chart, and eight weeks on the Billboard Black Singles chart. The changes in lyrics and production drove Franklin’s version to become an anthem for the increasingly large Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements. She altered the lyrics to represent herself, a strong woman demanding respect from her man. Franklin’s demands for “Respect” were “associated either with black freedom struggles or women’s liberation.”

The song also became a hit internationally, reaching #10 in the UK and helping to transform Aretha Franklin from a domestic star into an international one.

FUN FACTOtis Redding himself was impressed with the performance of the song. At the Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of the cover’s release, he was quoted playfully describing “Respect” as the song “that a girl took away from me, a friend of mine, this girl she just took this song”. “When her hit single ‘Respect’ climbed the charts in July 1967, some fans declared that the summer of 1967 was ‘the summer of ‘Retha, Rap, and Revolt.'”  Adorable!

I am partial to many of Aretha’s songs but “Respect” hits some real nostalgia notes in me. Not only is this amazing song a landmark anthem, it’s a ton of fun!

The song came out at the apex of a social and political climate on the verge of a major shift. “Respect” hit at a time when millions of people were feeling marginalized in an era where inequality and social injustice was the norm. This song became a theme song in the civil rights movement and a feminist anthem that encouraged women to not only recognize their worth but to insist that others acknowledge and respect it. It was then, and is now still, a song of empowerment.

In addition to all that (and so much more), it’s just a damn good song! It was an anthem of sorts for me too, and it was featured prominently on the jukebox of my bar. When I opened my bar, music was a priority in the planning. When I ordered the jukebox, I asked the company rep about the music. I was told that the company uses demographics and research on what songs perform best in terms of frequency of play and that they load the music based on those metrics.  And I said, “Ah, nah, I don’t like that. That’s not going to work. I want to pick and choose the music that’s going to be on my bar’s jukebox.” And so I did.

As you can imagine, that jukebox had some incredibly kickass music on it. And my bar developed a reputation for it even. I always got a charge when new folks would walk in and say “We heard this place has the best jukebox in town!” Oh yeah, proud mama.

Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” was one of the first songs I chose to be on the jukebox. It often was the ‘Last Call’ anthem. At the end of the night, I’d cue up the song and call “Last Call for alcohol!” and, with the speaker control behind the bar, I’d crank that baby up and “Respect” would vibrate and dominate. It would be so loud that it was virtually impossible to hold a conversation for those few minutes; the customers just had to get up and dance. It was a highlight on so many nights and it always amazed me how that song could completely change the mood and the dynamic of the place. Everybody would be singing and dancing and laughing because that song just moves people. It evokes an ultimate feel-good and you just can’t help but smile when it plays. Every time I hear it now, my mind wanders to my old “bar days”. Some great and interesting memories for sure.

Long Live Aretha!

I’m not going to do a big write-up on Aretha because the world is inundated with articles and stories and tributes to our Queen of Soul. There are several wonderful pieces online and I’ll share links of some that I particularly enjoyed.

I will leave you with some music though. The following is my Plug and Play Aretha Playlist for your listening pleasure. It kicks off with my top 5 favorite Aretha songs. Enjoy!

Playlist Songs, in order:

  • Respect – 1967
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – 1967 (co-written by Carole King, Gerry Goffin and Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler); the video in the playlist is Aretha’s 2015 performance at the Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to the song’s co-writer Carole King who was receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Think1968
  • Freeway of Love – 1985 (This is one of my favorite Aretha Franklin songs because it reminds me of my dear sweet Aunt Judy, who so loved this song! God rest her soul. I miss my Aunt Judy so much!)
  • Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves – 1985 (another of my favorites, this was a collaborative hit with Aretha and the Eurythmics)
  • I Say a Little Prayer – 1968 (written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David for Dionne Warwick in 1967; Aretha covered it in 1968)
  • (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone – 1968
  • I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You) – 1967
  • Do Right Woman, Do Right Man – 1967
  • A Change is Gonna Come – 1967 (Aretha’s cover of Sam Cooke’s 1964 song)
  • Spirit in the Dark – 1970
  • The Thrill is Gone – 1970 (original by blue musician Roy Hawkins in 1951 and then B.B. King in 1970; this song was the B-side to “Spirit in the Dark”)
  • Rock Steady – 1971
  • Chain of Fools – 1967
  • Dr. Feelgood – 1967
  • See-Saw – 1968 (Aretha’s cover of Don Covay’s 1965 song)
  • Don’t Play that Song (You Lied) – 1970 (performed with the Dixie Flyers, this song is a cover of Ben E. King’s 1962 song)
  • You’re All I Need to Get By – 1971 (Aretha Franklin’s cover of the 1968 duet by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)
  • Angel – 1973 (a soul ballad co-written by Aretha’s sister Carolyn & Sonny Saunders)
  • The Weight – 1972 (This song features Aretha Franklin on Duane Allman’s “An Anthology” album)
  • Spanish Harlem – 1971 (Aretha Franklin released a cover version of Ben E. King’s 1960 song in the middle of 1971 that outperformed the original on the charts, charting #1 R&B for three weeks and #2 Pop for two weeks. Aretha’s version earned a gold single for sales of over one million. Dr. John played keyboards on Franklin’s version with Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums and Chuck Rainey on bass. This version hit #6 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart. Franklin also changed the lyrics slightly, from “A red rose up in Spanish Harlem” to “There’s a rose in Black ‘n Spanish Harlem. A rose in Black ‘n Spanish Harlem.”
  • Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do) – 1973
  • Day Dreaming – 1972
  • I’m in Love – 1974 – (“I’m in Love” is a song written by Bobby Womack in the 1960s in response to some of the criticism he had been receiving after marrying the widow of the recently deceased Sam Cooke. The song was given to Wilson Pickett and his version became a top-ten R&B hit on Billboard’s chart in 1968, peaking at #4 as well as peaking at #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the version to achieve the most success came in 1974, when Aretha Franklin released it as a single. Her version topped Billboard’s R&B chart for two weeks and also peaked at number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100.)
  • Who’s Zoomin’ Who – 1985
  • A Deeper Love – 1994
  • Honey – 1994 (written by Babyface)
  • Willing to Forgive – 1994
  • A Rose is Still a Rose – 1998

REST IN ETERNAL PEACE ARETHA!

“Rest in eternal peace” was the sentiment expressed by Barack Obama in his social media tribute to Aretha. He had a close affinity with her and her music moved him to tears (as evidenced in the video of Aretha’s performance for Carole King in December 2015 when she was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Kennedy Center Honors). Aretha also performed at President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration.

Here is his Instagram post:

View this post on Instagram

America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance. Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.

A post shared by Barack Obama (@barackobama) on

 

I included that Instagram post because I found this very comical mashup video on YouTube of Obama singing “Respect”. I just had to… 

 

The Beautiful Aretha Franklin

 

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I found it interesting to see how the print media is honoring this Soul Dynamo. In particular, I may order a copy of the 8-page commemorative section, “Eternal Respect”, from the Detroit Free Press, Aretha’s hometown paper. The following is taken from Ad Age magazine:

HOW NEWSPAPERS AROUND THE WORLD ARE REMEMBERING ARETHA FRANKLIN

By Published on .

Aretha Franklin, who died on Thursday, “was the loftiest name in the rich history of Detroit music and one of the transcendent cultural figures of the 20th Century,” Brian McCollum writes in the Detroit Free Press. “Raised on an eclectic musical diet of gospel, R&B, classical and jazz, she blossomed out of her father’s Detroit church to become the most distinguished black female artist of all time, breaking boundaries while placing nearly 100 hits on Billboard’s R&B chart—20 of them reaching No. 1.”

The news of Franklin’s passing continues to reverberate across the world today, and many papers, including the Free Press, pay tribute to the soul legend on their front pages this morning. A small sampling:

Credit: Detroit Free Press
Credit: The New York Times
Credit: New York Post
Credit: New York Daily News
Credit: National Post
Credit: The Washington Post
Credit: The Guardian
Credit: USA Today
Credit: The Wall Street Journal
Credit: Libération

And don’t forget: Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

Monday’s Music Moves Me: SONGS WITH ANIMALS IN THE TITLES

It’s Monday and you know what that means: It’s time for some kickass music with Monday’s Music Moves Me! Today’s theme is especially fun and near & dear to my heart. It was chosen by our August Conductor, Mary over at Jingle Jangle Jungle (she’s also my battle partner in the Ultimate Dog v Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament and if you haven’t been checking it out, you need to start because even though we’re coming up on Round Three, it’s not too late to jump in and play along. DO IT! IT’S FUN!)

Anyway, Mary’s brilliant theme for today’s 4M post is SONGS WITH ANIMALS IN THE TITLE. Now you know I jumped all over that one, right? I think I’ve put together a pretty cool post for you all today. First up is the Welcome to My Zoo playlist. There are zillions of songs with animals in the titles; here I’ve listed only a bunch of my particular favorites. We’re going to start out hard to get your blood circulating and your heart pumping, and then we’ll gradually slow it down to a nice mellow flow of incredible music. Below is the list of the songs along with a few tidbits of background information. Scroll through and pick out which songs you want to hear or simply hit PLAY and let it run. It’s a great playlist to just listen to while doing your thing. If and when you have time, be sure to check out some of the videos because there are quite a few cool ones in there.

Then, I have a few other neat surprises, as in three other (short) playlists (The Funny Farm playlist comes up after this one and then there’s a Beatles Block of Animal Rock, and then, well, you’ll see. For sure the one at the end I think you’ll really dig). So hang out with me for a bit and let’s take a joyride through my animal kingdom. Let’s Rock!

The Welcome to My Zoo playlist songs include:

Animal by Def Leppard – from the 1987 Hysteria album; this song about a raging animal lust took three years to complete. This was Def Leppard’s first hit in their native England. Even Pyromania, which was a massive hit album in America, was largely ignored in their home country. “Animal” was the song that finally broke through in the UK, and it earned them their first appearance on the popular music TV show Top Of The Pops).

The Zoo by the Scorpions – a song by the German hard rock band Scorpions, from their 1980 Animal Magnetism album. It was written by group members Rudolf Schenker (guitar) and Klaus Meine (vocals). Schenker wrote much of the music during the band’s first tour of the United States in 1979. When Meine first heard Schenker’s riff, it reminded him of the band’s earlier visit to a street in New York City humorously referred to as a “zoo”. Meine later composed the song’s lyrics, which contain references to city streets, especially New York’s 42nd Street.

Walkin’ the Dog by Aerosmith – from the debut album AEROSMITH, 1973. The song “Walkin’ the Dog” is a cover of a song originally performed by R&B singer Rufus Thomas from Memphis, Tennessee. The lyrics make references to children’s nursery rhymes, especially Miss Mary Mack.

Sick as a Dog by Aerosmith – from ROCKS, Aerosmith’s fourth studio album released in 1976. AllMusic described Rocks as having “captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking.” Previously, Aerosmith had recorded three albums: Aerosmith (1973), Get Your Wings (1974), and the breakthrough LP Toys in the Attic (1975), which produced Top Ten hit “Walk This Way” and the popular “Sweet Emotion.” Although often derided by critics, the band had amassed a loyal fanbase following from relentless touring and their ferocious live shows. They also began living the rock-and-roll lifestyle to the hilt, indulging their already considerable appetite for drugs. However, their hedonistic lifestyle did not appear to hamper them creatively; Rocks was considered by many fans, critics, and fellow musicians to be one of the highlights of their career. Guitarist Joe Perry later recalled, “There’s no doubt we were doing a lot of drugs by then, but whatever we were doing, it was still working for us.”

Of this song, lead guitarist Joe Perry said, “Tom (Hamilton) played rhythm guitar on “Sick as a Dog.” I played bass for the first half of the song. Then I put the bass down and played guitar in the end, and Steven picked up the bass and played it for the rest of the song – all live in the studio! One take.”

Hair of the Dog by Nazareth – “Hair of the Dog” is the title track of Nazareth’s 1975 album Hair of the Dog. It is sometimes called “Son of a Bitch” because of the repeated lyric in the hook (“Now you’re messing with a son of a bitch”). The song is about a charming and manipulative woman who can get men to acquiesce to her every need. The singer is letting her know that she has met her match in him, a self-described “son of a bitch.”

As a standalone song, it only charted in Germany, where it peaked at #44. In the United States, because the Hair of the Dog album was a top-20 hit on the album charts, the song received extensive airplay on album-oriented rock stations (despite “bitch” being a borderline profanity) and remains in the playlist of most classic rock formatted stations. In the USA, it was released as the B-Side of “Love Hurts.”

Black Dog by Led Zeppelin – from the untitled but commonly referred to Led Zeppelin IV album, 1971. This song was also used in my Round One of the Ultimate Dog v Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament, where it came out the victor of that round. You can read more about the song over at that post.

Dog Eat Dog by Ted Nugent – from 1976’s Free-For-All; this is the album that inspired the many air-guitar “mini-concerts” that my friend JoAnn and I used to put on in the girls bathroom in high school. Yes, I played air-guitar. Don’t say it… And this was the other contender in Round One of the Dog v Cat Battle.

Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent – from the 1977 album of the same name. Cat Scratch Fever is a real condition: it’s an infectious disease caused by a cat scratch that usually affects young children. AND I HAD IT! I remember having to be taken to the doctor and told that I had Cat Scratch Fever. That’s probably why I liked that song so much. Nugent, however, changes the meaning to make it much more lustful, with the “cats” being women. The song is about sex and his rampant desire for it, or put more succinctly by Nugent, it’s “about pussy.” Go figure. PS: Mary used this song in her Round One of the Dog v Cat Battle at Jingle Jangle Jungle.

War Pigs by Black Sabbath – from my favorite Black Sabbath album, Paranoid, 1970. The original title of “War Pigs” was “Walpurgis”, dealing with the witches’ sabbath. “Walpurgis is sort of like Christmas for Satanists. And to me, war was the big Satan”, said bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler. “It wasn’t about politics or government or anything. It was Evil itself. So I was saying ‘generals gathered in the masses / just like witches at black masses’ to make an analogy. But when we brought it to the record company, they thought ‘Walpurgis’ sounded too Satanic. And that’s when we turned it into ‘War Pigs’. But we didn’t change the lyrics, because they were already finished.”

White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit” is a song written by Grace Slick and recorded by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane for their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow. It was released as a single and became the band’s second top-10 success, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song uses imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll—1865’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass—such as changing size after taking pills or drinking an unknown liquid. Slick claimed the composition was supposed to be a slap to parents who read their children such novels and then wondered why their children later used drugs.

Monkey On My Back by Aerosmith  – written by Aersomith frontman Steven Tyler & lead guitarist Joe Perry for the 1989 album Pump. The song is one of Aerosmith’s most straightforward songs about how the band overcame drug abuse and addiction, and got the “monkey off their back.” In the video The Making of Pump, Steven Tyler discusses how it was one of the few songs on Pump with profane lyrics, in the line “feeding that fuckin’ monkey on my back”. But Tyler felt he needed to make use of the word, to be more harsh and garner more attention on the issue. He felt it would make kids’ ears perk up and listen to the lyrics and message of the song, which was more effective in telling the consequences of drug use, rather than the attitude of the time which was simply “just say no”.

Shake Me Like a Monkey by Dave Matthews Band  – from the album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, 2009. Matthews told Relix magazine about this piece of stutter-stepping funk: “Of all the songs on the album, this one, in a way, is the most throwaway lyric. But it’s not really throwaway because it’s like an invitation: Don’t be all highfalutin! Don’t be too good to feel good! Don’t be too hip to f–kin’ understand! Wake the f–k up! Get off your ass and feel some s–it…” More on this interview at Songfacts.

Monkey Man by the Rolling Stones – from the 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!)

Shock the Monkey by Peter Gabriel – from the 1982 album Peter Gabriel, his fourth eponymous album. It is sometimes known by the title Security. The song is sometimes mistaken as being about shock therapy, but Gabriel has said it is a song about jealousy.

Black Sheep by Gin Wigmore – from New Zealand pop-singer Gin Wigmore’s 2011 album Gravel & Wine. I was first introduced to Gin Wigmore because her music was used in the VH-1 reality show Mob Wives (which I really liked and miss now that it’s not on anymore!

Black Sheep of the Family by Rainbow – from the album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, released in 1975

Peace Frog by The Doors – from the 1970 album Morrison Hotel. The line in the lyrics “Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven” likely refers to Morrison’s December 9, 1967 arrest at the New Haven Arena during a concert. After an altercation with a police officer backstage, Morrison made the incident known to the concert audience, and was arrested for attempting to incite a riot. A similar line about Chicago probably refers to the conflict surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The video in my playlist points to some of his altercations with police and arena security.

Barracuda by Heart – the first single from Heart’s second album Little Queen in 1977.  Ann Wilson revealed in interviews that the song was about Heart’s anger towards Mushroom Records’ attempted publicity stunt involving her and her sister Nancy Wilson in a made-up incestuous affair. As producer Michael Flicker put it: “‘Barracuda’ was created conceptually out of a lot of this record business bullshit. Barracuda could be anyone from the local promotion man to the president of a record company. That is the barracuda. It was born out of that whole experience.”

Stray Cat Blues by the Rolling Stones – from the Stones 1968 Beggars Banquet album; The song is told from the perspective of a man lusting after having illegal sex with a 15-year-old groupie, reasoning that “it’s no hanging matter, it’s no capital crime.”

Honky Cat by Elton John – from the 1972 album Honky Château, the album’s lead-off track

Little Red Rooster by the Rolling Stones – “Little Red Rooster” (or “The Red Rooster” as it was first titled) is a blues standard credited to arranger and songwriter Willie Dixon. The song was first recorded in 1961 by American blues musician Howlin’ Wolf in the Chicago blues style. The Rolling Stones were among the first British rock groups to record modern electric blues songs. In 1964, they recorded “Little Red Rooster” with original member Brian Jones, a key player in the recording. Their rendition, which remains closer to the original arrangement than Cooke’s, became a number one record in the UK and continues to be the only blues song to reach the top of the British chart. The Stones frequently performed it on television and in concert and released several live recordings of the song. “Little Red Rooster” continues to be performed and recorded, making it one of Willie Dixon’s best-known compositions.

Dixie Chicken by Little Feat Dixie Chicken is the third studio album by the American rock band Little Feat, released in 1973. The album is considered their landmark album with the title track as their signature song that helped further define the Little Feat sound.

Law Dogs by the Doobie Brothers – a more recent release, “Law Dogs” comes from the Doobie Brothers thirteenth studio album, World Gone Crazy, released on September 28, 2010. It debuted at number 39 on the Billboard top 200 albums chart, their highest charting position since 1989. Per guitarist Tom Johnston, “Part of the inspiration of ‘World Gone Crazy’ is the world has gotten a little nuts. And between the wars that we’ve had, between violence in the streets and most of the cities, what people are doing to each other around the world is not stuff that would have happened 20 years ago.”

Crocodile Rock by Elton John – This song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and was released in October 1972 in the UK and in November 1972 in the U.S. as a pre-release single from his forthcoming 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player. It became his first U.S. number-one single, reaching the top spot on 3 February 1973, and stayed there for three weeks.

This tells the story of a guy in the ’50s and ’60s who frequented a restaurant where the patrons loved an obscure dance called the Crocodile Rock. Because of all the events that happened in the ’60s, however, this unknown little dance forever vanished into history and no one cared anymore. Even his girlfriend, who also enjoyed “burning up to the Crocodile Rock,” left him. It’s a catchy little song with really sad lyrics.

Elton performed this on The Muppet Show when he appeared on a Season Two episode in 1977. A very popular song with kids, it made for a great opening number, with Elton performing in a swamp with a crocodile chorus. It’s pretty adorable. See for yourself:

The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens – A hunting song originally sung in Zulu in what is now Swaziland, the original title was “Mbube,” which means lion. This was popularized in the 1930s by South African singer Solomon Linda, who recorded it in 1939 with his group, The Evening Birds. Apparently they were a bold bunch, and got the idea from when they used to chase lions who were going after the cattle owned by their families.

There is a lot of background to this song and I’m just too darn tired to go into it so look it up if you’re interested. To keep this short and sweet, The Tokens (Hank Medress, Jay Siegel, and Phil and Mitch Margo) had a #1 hit with this song during the holiday season in 1961-62.

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor – in 1982, “Eye of the Tiger” was composed by American rock band Survivor. It was released as a single from their third album of the same name Eye of the Tiger and was also the theme song for the film Rocky III, which was released a day before the single.

Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran – “Hungry Like the Wolf” is a song by the British new wave band Duran Duran. Written by the band members, the song was produced for their second studio album Rio. The song was released in May 1982 as the band’s fifth single in the United Kingdom. It reached the top 5 of the UK Singles Chart.

The music video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” was directed by Russell Mulcahy and filmed in the jungles of Sri Lanka, and evoked the atmosphere of the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Although the band initially failed to break into the US market, MTV placed the “Hungry Like the Wolf” video into heavy rotation. Subsequently, the group gained much exposure; the song peaked at the number 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1983, and Duran Duran became an international sensation. The video won the first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 1984.

I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens – “I Love My Dog” is a song written by Cat Stevens, and was his first single, appearing the following year on his debut album Matthew and Son. Stevens later acknowledged that he had essentially written the lyrics to the music of American jazz multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef’s “The Plum Blossom”, from his 1961 Eastern Sounds. Yusuf indicated that he “told Yusef Lateef about it, gave him a big check, and in fact, started paying him royalties.” The song is now released with credits that include Yusef Lateef.

I’ll Be Doggone by Marvin Gaye – “I’ll Be Doggone” is a 1965 song recorded by American soul singer Marvin Gaye and released on the Tamla label. The song talks about how a man tells his woman that he’ll be “doggone” about simple things but if she did him wrong that he’d be “long gone”.

It became his first million-selling record and his first number-one single on the R&B chart, staying there for two weeks, and was the first song Gaye recorded with Smokey Robinson as one of the songwriters of the record. The song was co-written by Robinson’s fellow Miracles members Pete Moore and Marv Tarplin. The Miracles also sang background on this recording, along with Motown’s long-standing female back-up group, The Andantes, and Miracle Marv Tarplin played lead guitar. “I’ll Be Doggone” gave Marvin his third top-ten pop hit, where it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, with that number matched by his follow-up record, “Ain’t That Peculiar”. (BTW, this song was also a contender in my Round Two Dog v Cat battle of soft rock dog songs and it came out the victor.

Fox on the Run by Sweet – In this song, the band is addressing a groupie, who is the “fox on the run.” Apparently she’s had more than one go with the band, as Brian Connolly sings that she doesn’t look the same – probably a bit more worn from her lifestyle. He also makes it clear that he has no interest in hearing her talk and certainly doesn’t want to know her name.

Sweet was produced by the glam rock architects Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, who also wrote most of their songs, including all of their hits to this point. “Fox On The Run” was written by the band – Brian Connolly, Stephen Priest, Andrew Scott, Michael Tucker – and included on their 1974 album Desolation Boulevard.

After the album was released, the band parted ways with Chapman and Chinn and produced their own material. Their first effort was a reworking of “Fox On The Run,” which was originally helmed by Chapman/Chinn. Defying predictions of disaster, Sweet proved quite capable on their own, and the new version of “Fox,” with a bright chorus and bold echo, became a global hit, reaching #2 UK and charting across Europe (it was #1 in Germany, where Sweet was wildly popular). It also became one of the few American hits for the band when it was released in the US as the follow-up to their single “Ballroom Blitz.”

A Horse with No Name by America – from America’s self-titled debut album, “A Horse with No Name” is a song written by America’s Dewey Bunnell. It was the band’s first and most successful single, released in early 1972 in the United States, and topped the charts in several countries.

Wild Horses by Rolling Stones – “Wild Horses” is a song by the Rolling Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Year of the Cat by Al Stewart – “Year of the Cat” is a single by Scottish singer-songwriter Al Stewart, released in July 1976. The song is the title track of his 1976 album Year of the Cat, and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London in January 1976 by engineer Alan Parsons. The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1977. Although Stewart’s highest charting single on that chart was 1978’s “Time Passages”, “Year of the Cat” has remained Stewart’s signature recording, receiving regular airplay on both classic rock and folk rock stations.

Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin – “Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only No. 1 hit song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music. Chapin’s recording of the song was nominated for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Dog and Butterfly by Heart“Dog & Butterfly” is a song recorded by the rock band Heart. It is the title track to the band’s fourth studio album Dog & Butterfly and was released as the album’s second single. The song is a more subdued effort from the band, differing from past hard rock-oriented hits, as Ann and Nancy Wilson pulled from their folk music influences. The song charted moderately in the US in 1979, peaking at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although it enjoyed only moderate chart success, the song has gone on to be viewed as a classic and has remained a set-list staple consistently through the years.

When Doves Cry by Prince – “When Doves Cry” is a song by American musician Prince, and the lead single from his 1984 album Purple Rain. It was a worldwide hit, and his first American number one single, topping the charts for five weeks. According to Billboard magazine, it was the top-selling single of the year. Following Prince’s death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number eight, its first appearance in the top 10 since the week ending September 1, 1984.

The music video (directed by Prince himself) was released on MTV in June 1984. It opens with white doves emerging from double doors to reveal Prince in a bathtub. It also includes scenes from the Purple Rain film interspersed with shots of The Revolution performing and dancing in a white room. The final portion of the video incorporates a mirrored frame of the left half of the picture, creating a doubling effect. The video was nominated for Best Choreography at 1985’s MTV Video Music Awards. The video sparked controversy among network executives who thought that its sexual nature was too explicit for television.

Seagull by Bad Company – from English supergroup Bad Company’s eponymous debut album, released in June 1974. Written by Paul Rodgers and Mick Ralphs. Paul Rodgers (Classic Rock Revisited January 12, 2001): “Every song that we have done has its own story. ‘Seagull’ was written sitting on the beach. Music is about atmosphere. The best way to create the atmosphere is to actually be there. You don’t have to imagine it. It is right there. With Seagull, you could see the horizon. You can include that in the songs. That is what writing songs is all about; creating mood and atmosphere.” Bad Company was the first concert I ever attended, back in 1976 in Niagara Falls, NY. Back then the cost for a concert ticket was $6. Holy shit, I’m old!

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis – “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” is the first song from Genesis’s 1974 album of the same name. The song was released as a single in the U.S.. Although it did not chart, it was frequently played on American FM radio stations.

Like other songs on the album, the music and lyrics in “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” are partially derived from 1960s soul songs. The end of the song features the words “They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. They say there’s always magic in the air” from The Drifters’ song “On Broadway”.

Freebird by Lynryd Skynyrd – a power ballad by American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The song was first featured on the band’s debut album (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) in 1973. It is considered to be Lynyrd Skynyrd’s signature song, is used as a finale during their live performances, and is their longest song, often going well over 14 minutes when played live.

Okay, this next one’s a stretch but I’m including it anyway because it’s all about a horse. I remember hearing it all the time on my transistor radio way back when. Here’s Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphy – This haunting soft rock song from 1975 describes a disillusioned homesteader captivated with the tragic story of a girl and her lost horse. The Nebraska girl died in a blizzard one year searching for Wildfire, her beloved horse that had broken out of his stall. Now their ghosts wander free, and the farmer, having lost his crops to weather, imagines joining them in death.

 

Hey, you’ve arrived at the next stop in our animal tour:

The Funny Farm

Here’s an animal playlist that should give you some giggles…or at least a smile or two. Enjoy!

 

Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright III – a 1972 novelty song

See Ya Later Alligator by Bill Haley – a 1950s rock and roll song written and first recorded by American singer-songwriter Bobby Charles but was a Top Ten hit for Bill Haley and His Comets in 1956.

What’s New, Pussycat? by Tom Jones – the theme song for the eponymous movie, sung by British singer Tom Jones, and written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1966, it peaked at number 3 in the U.S. and was Jones’ second entry on the Top 40.

Puppy Love by Paul Anka – a popular song written by Paul Anka in 1960 for Annette Funicello, whom he was dating at the time. Anka’s version reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson – written by Leon René under the pseudonym of Jimmie Thomas and recorded by Bobby Day in 1958. It was Day’s biggest hit single, becoming a No. 2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent one week at the top of the charts (number one hit) in R&B sales.

Michael Jackson recorded his own version of “Rockin’ Robin” in 1972, which was released as a single from his gold-certified solo album titled Got to Be There. It was the biggest hit from the album, hitting No. 1 on the Cash Box singles chart and peaking at no. 2 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.

This was one of my favorite songs back then…Of course, it was perfect for me as I was 10 years old.

Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog by the Three Dog Night – “Joy to the World” is a song written by Hoyt Axton and made famous by the band Three Dog Night. The song is also popularly known by its opening lyric, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.” Three Dog Night originally released the song on their fourth studio album, Naturally, in November 1970, and subsequently released an edited version of the song as a single in February 1971.

The song, which has been described by members of Three Dog Night as a “kid’s song” and a “silly song,” topped the singles charts in North America, was certified gold by the RIAA, and has since been covered by multiple artists.

The song is featured prominently in the film The Big Chill. It is sung by a child character at the beginning and the Three Dog Night recording is played over the end credits. It is also played at the end of every Denver Broncos home victory.

Rock Lobster by the B-52s – “Rock Lobster” is a song written by Fred Schneider and Ricky Wilson, two members of The B-52’s. It is part of the band’s 1979 self-titled debut album. The song became one of their signature tunes and it helped launch the band’s success.

“Rock Lobster” was the band’s first single to appear on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached No. 56. A major hit in Canada, the single went all the way to No. 1 in the RPM national singles chart.

According to a “Behind the Vinyl” video with Fred Schneider for CHBM-FM, the song was mostly inspired by a discotheque in Atlanta called “2001”, where instead of having a light show, the club featured a slide show with pictures of puppies, babies and lobsters on a grill.

The song’s lyrics describe a beach party while mentioning both real and imagined marine animals (“There goes a dogfish, chased by a catfish, in flew a sea robin, watch out for that piranha, there goes a narwhal, here comes a bikini whale!”), with absurd noises accompanying each, provided by Kate Pierson on the higher-pitched sounds and Cindy Wilson the lower-pitched ones. The chorus consists of the words “Rock Lobster!” repeated on top of a keyboard line.

If you’re going to watch one video from this group, be sure to watch this one. It just about killed me the other night. I had been working on my post for hours and was just about to take a quick break and run to the bathroom but the Rock Lobster video started and I couldn’t move from my seat. I could feel the expression on my face as perplexed but oddly interested and I just couldn’t turn away. I truly had to pee so bad but I just couldn’t leave until the video ended. I was immobilized by sheer entertainment. I have always enjoyed this song and think it’s a riot. I get a real kick every time I hear it. But I had never seen it performed live. I was fascinated at the bizarre performance. The lead vocals dude: just couldn’t get enough! It’s that, um, interesting…

Who Let the Dogs Out by the Baha Men – “Who Let the Dogs Out?” is a song performed by the Bahamian group Baha Men, released as a single on July 26, 2000. The song peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, as well as topping the charts in Australia and New Zealand, and reached the Top 40 in the United States. It was Britain’s fourth biggest-selling single of 2000, and went on to become one of the highest-selling singles of the decade not to reach number-one. The track went on to win the Grammy for Best Dance Recording on the 2001 Grammy Awards.

Muskrat Love by Captain & Tenille – “Muskrat Love” is a soft rock song written by Willis Alan Ramsey. The song depicts a romantic liaison between two anthropomorphic muskrats named Susie and Sam. It was first recorded in 1972 by Ramsey himself for his sole album release Willis Alan Ramsey. The song was originally titled “Muskrat Candlelight” referencing the song’s opening lyric. A 1973 cover version by the rock band America—retitled “Muskrat Love” for the lyrics that close the chorus—was a minor hit reaching number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (REALLY?? I didn’t know that! Did you??) In 1976, a cover by pop music duo Captain & Tennille resulted in the song’s highest profile, peaking at number four on the Hot 100 chart. It also reached number two on the Cash Box chart, which ranked it as the 30th biggest hit of 1976. Now THAT just blows me away…

Spiders & Snakes by Jim Stafford“Spiders & Snakes” is a 1974 hit song recorded by Jim Stafford and written by Stafford and David Bellamy. It was the second of four U.S. Top 40 singles released from his eponymous debut album and also the highest-charting.

The song is about a boy who, although he is shy, has a girl who likes him named Mary Lou. He makes faltering attempts to respond to her when they are alone, which finally include trying to give her a frog. She promptly protests and summarily rebuffs him. Still in school, they later develop a more mature relationship with the boy as the initiator instead of Mary Lou, but when they are once again alone she nonetheless feels the need to remind him, still nervous, that she does “not” like spiders and snakes, or any other such similar creatures, and that it takes something else to satisfy her loving desires.

“Spiders and Snakes” was one of the top hits of 1974, spending one week at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, the song reached number one. The song spent five and a half months on the US charts, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA on March 8, 1974.

Brown Chicken, Brown Cow by Trace Adkins – “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” is a song recorded by American country artist Trace Adkins. It was released in January 2011 as the third and final single and the opening track from his ninth studio album Cowboy’s Back in Town. “Brown Chicken Brown Cow,” takes Adkins’ video catalog to a whole new level — puppets.

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

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

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

I included more details on the making of the song and the public and professional flack that Adkins received because of it in my Kaleidoscope of Color Songs – Brown Edition post. Take a jump over there if you want to read more about this hilarious song.

 

The Beatles Block of Animal Rock

It seems that the Fab Four were definitely into animals too. They had so many songs with animals in the titles that I decided we ought to take a pit stop on this little journey and kick back with an exclusive Beatles Block of Rock. Enjoy!

The playlist features the following Beatles classics:

Hey Bulldog – from Yellow Submarine, 1969

Rocky Raccoon – from the 1968 double album The Beatles (aka the “White Album”)

Octopus’ Garden – written and sung by Ringo Starr (credited to his real name Richard Starkey) from the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road. George Harrison, who assisted Ringo with the song, commented: “‘Octopus’s Garden’ is Ringo’s song. It’s only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it’s lovely.” He added that the song gets very deep into the listener’s consciousness “…because it’s so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realizing it.” It was the last song released by the Beatles featuring Starr on lead vocals.

Blackbird – from the 1968 double album The Beatles (aka “the White Album”). The song was performed as a solo effort by Paul McCartney. The song was also written by McCartney, although it is credited to Lennon–McCartney. McCartney has stated that the lyrics of the song were inspired by hearing the call of a blackbird in Rishikesh, India, as well as by the unfortunate state of race relations in the United States in the 1960s.

I Am the Walrus – released in November 1967. It was featured in the Beatles’ television film Magical Mystery Tour in December of that year, as a track on the associated Magical Mystery Tour album. Since the single and the double EP held at one time in December 1967 the top two slots on the British singles chart, the song had the distinction of being at number 1 and number 2 simultaneously.

Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me & My Monkey – from the 1968 double album The Beatles (aka “the White Album”). The song was written by John Lennon (and credited to Lennon–McCartney).

 

Ah, we’re nearing the end of our journey through this musical jungle. To close this post, I thought it only fitting to slow it down with probably the most appropriate album for our 4M theme today, Pink Floyd’s 1977 concept album: ANIMALS. This is by far their best album, in my humble opinion. Of course I have a strong attachment to 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd’s eighth album, as most of my generation does. But Animals — Wow! Now that is an album that I spent many a night tripping to.

Animals is the tenth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd. It was first released in January 1977 by Harvest Records in the United Kingdom and by Columbia Records in the United States. It is a concept album that provides a scathing critique of the social-political conditions of late 1970s Britain, and presents a marked change in musical style from their earlier work. Animals was recorded at the band’s Britannia Row Studios in London, but its production was punctuated by the early signs of discord that, three years later, would culminate in keyboardist Richard Wright leaving the band. The album’s cover image, a pig floating between two chimneys of the Battersea Power Station, was conceived by the band’s bassist and lead songwriter Roger Waters, and was designed by long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson.

The album was released to generally positive reviews in the United Kingdom, where it reached number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also a success in the United States, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard 200. It scored on US charts for half a year and these steady sales have resulted in its certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) at 4x platinum.

Loosely based on George Orwell’s political fable Animal Farm, the album’s lyrics describe various classes in society as different kinds of animals: the combative dogs, the despotic ruthless pigs, and the “mindless and unquestioning herd” of sheep. Whereas the novella focuses on Stalinism, the album is a critique of capitalism and differs again in that the sheep eventually rise up to overpower the dogs. The album was developed from a collection of unrelated songs into a concept which, in the words of author Glenn Povey, “described the apparent social and moral decay of society, likening the human condition to that of mere animals”.

The album is comprised of only 5 songs (4 really, because the first and last song on the album is a two-parter: Part 1 opens the album and Part 2 closes it. The songs, and their meanings, are listed below:

Pigs on the Wing (Part 1)

Dogs

Pigs (3 Different Ones)

Sheep

Pigs on the Wing (Part 2)

The following playlist includes each of the Animals songs in order of their appearance on the album. So, take a deep breath, find a mellow space, smoke a joint if you have one, put on the headphones and take a dreamy trip into this social commentary classic.

“Pigs on the Wing” is a two-part song, opening and closing the album. According to various interviews, it was written by Roger Waters as a declaration of love to his new wife Carolyne Christie. This song is significantly different from the other three songs on the album, “Dogs”, “Pigs”, and “Sheep” in that the other songs are dark, whereas this one is lighter-themed, as well as also being much shorter in duration at under a minute and a half while the others are over 10 minutes in length.

“Dogs”: Fitting into the album’s Orwellian concept of comparing human behavior to various animals, “Dogs” concentrates on the aggressive, ruthlessly competitive world of business, describing a high-powered businessman. The first two verses detail his predatory nature — outwardly charming and respectable with his “club tie and a firm handshake, a certain look in the eye and an easy smile”, while behind this facade he lies waiting “to pick out the easy meat…to strike when the moment is right”, and to stab those who trust him in the back. Subsequent verses portray the emptiness of his existence catching up to him as he grows older, retiring to the south rich but unloved: “just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer”, and drowning under the weight of a metaphorical stone.

The final verse explores a number of aspects of business life and how it compares to dogs, for example taking chances and being “trained not to spit in the fan”, losing their individuality (“broken by trained personnel”), obeying their superiors (“fitted with collar and chain”), being rewarded for good behaviour (“given a pat on the back”), working harder than the other workers (“breaking away from the pack”) and getting to know everyone but spending less time with family (“only a stranger at home”). Recommended by a friend of Roger Waters named Joel Eaves, this line was personal to him as he was split from his family at infancy, being “broken away”, as he put it. He later joined the Air Force squadron known as “Wolfpack”, which directly inspired the implementation of this line. Every line of this verse begins with the words “Who was”, which prompted comparison to Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”.[6] However, Waters has denied the Ginsberg poem was any influence on his lyrics. Instead, these lines can be seen as subordinate clauses to the lyric line that precedes them (“And you believe at heart everyone’s a killer/Who was born in a house full of pain/Who was [etc.]”).

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” – In the album’s three parts, “Dogs”, “Pigs” and “Sheep”, pigs represent the people whom Roger Waters considers to be at the top of the social ladder, the ones with wealth and power; they also manipulate the rest of society and encourage them to be viciously competitive and cutthroat, so the pigs can remain powerful.

The song’s three verses each presents a different “pig”, the identities of which remain a subject of speculation, because only the third verse clearly identifies its subject as being morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse, who is described as a “house proud town mouse” who has to “keep it all on the inside.”

Along with dogs and sheep, pigs are one of 3 animals represented on the album. The pigs represent people, like Whitehouse, who feel they are the moral authorities. The sheep are the people who obey the pigs and believe that it is the “Christian” thing to do and are just your normal, hard-working innocent bystanders. Dogs are people who are against the pigs and are back stabbers.

Roger Waters wrote this about Mary Whitehouse, a British woman who led a movement to keep sex off TV. He felt Whitehouse had no right to decide what other people should watch. Speaking to Mojo magazine Waters recalled:

“Oh, she was everywhere pontificating on TV. Interfering in everybody’s life, making a nuisance of herself and trying to drag English society back to an age of Victorian propriety.”

In 1992, on the Westwood One radio special Pink Floyd : The 25th Anniversary Special, Roger Waters told Jim Ladd that the “Whitehouse” mentioned had nothing to do with the home of the U.S. President, the White House, after Ladd told Waters he interpreted the last verse as an attack on Gerald Ford, who was US president at the time the song was recorded.

Mary Whitehouse was a famous name in the UK at the time the song was written. However, Waters admitted to Mojo that nobody listening to Animals in America had a clue who she was: He said: “Everybody in the United States assumed it was an attack on the president, on Washington, on the White House.”

Halfway through the song, David Gilmour uses a Heil talk box on the guitar solo to mimic the sound of pigs. This is the first use of a talk box by Pink Floyd.

“Sheep” – The sheep represents the mindless people who follow the herd. There is a “subliminal” message on this song that is a parody of the 23rd Psalm. It is heard beneath the music in a robotic, distorted voice, with sheep heard in the background. “The Lord is my shepherd, He converteth me to lamb cutlets….”.

Talking about “Sheep” in 1978, Waters said the song was inspired by the 1976 Notting Hill riots in west London. He described it “as my sense of what was to come down… with the riots in England.”

When Mojo asked Waters in 2017 if he still went along with the above quote, he said: “It may well be about all that. Sheep does have that idea of revolution, of people being led to slaughter.”

Album Personnel:

  • David Gilmour – lead guitar, co-lead vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitar on “Dogs”, bass guitar on “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and “Sheep”, talk box on “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion, tape effects
  • Roger Waters – lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar on “Pigs on the Wing”, rhythm guitar on “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and “Sheep”, tape effects, vocoder, bass guitar on “Dogs”
  • Richard Wright – Hammond organ, electric piano, Minimoog, ARP string synthesizer, piano, clavinet, harmony vocals on “Dogs”

 

THAT’S A WRAP!

We’ve come to the end of our ride through my Animal Kingdom. I sure hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Let me know what you think in the Comments section below. What are some of your favorite Animal songs? What did you like best about your trip here today?

And don’t forget: Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

 

 

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me: SONGS IN SIGN LANGUAGE

It’s Monday so you know what that means: MUSIC! Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is totally different than any other that I’ve ever done and I’ve really enjoyed diving into it. Our Conductor for the month of July has been Michelle at Musings and Merriment with Michelle and she’s chosen a unique and challenging theme of presenting songs in sign language.

My first exposure to sign language was when I was in high school. I was hanging out at my friend Lee’s house, spending the night on the weekend. I loved hanging out over there because first of all she was/is absolutely hilarious and, secondly, it comes naturally because her whole family was extraordinarily funny and just a blast to be around. I can’t remember exactly the year but it was back when Saturday Night Live was the shit. It was when the series was at its height and its comedic talent reigned supreme. This was back in the days of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi. Chevy Chase [final episode: October 30, 1976], Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray [first episode: January 15, 1977], Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner), the Coneheads, that family of aliens with their bald conical heads (Dan Aykroyd as father Beldar, Jane Curtin as mother Prymaat, and Laraine Newman as daughter Connie), and Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna as the consumer affairs reporter on the Weekend Update segment. I bring this up only because Lee did an amazing incredible imitation of Gilda Radner doing Roseanne Roseannadanna and every time I think of her, I inevitably think of the many nights spent over at her house watching SNL and all of us cracking up when she’d do her Gilda impression.

Anyway, it was through Lee that I experienced up close and personal the beautiful language of signing. Lee’s cousin (I believe it was her cousin) was deaf and she committed to completely learning sign language so they could communicate. Watching the two of them talk, using these beautiful hand gestures, incorporating their fingers and arms with facial expressions, and to see how effectively they communicated and understood each other without uttering a single sound was just fascinating to me. Even more beautiful was seeing the genuine laughter shared between the two of them and how through their sign language, he became part of the group conversation and so naturally joined in the fun we were all having.

That was my first exposure to sign language but certainly not the last. My church employs an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing and I always find myself captivated and completely mesmerized by the signing of the sermons and the songs.

Michelle asked us to present songs in sign language. I found some really cool songs to share with you. Some of them I’m familiar with and a few others are new-to-me. Although most are not my typical genre of choice, I really like them all. I hope you enjoy listening to and watching them as much as I did. A list of the playlist songs follow. After that I’m sharing some videos of a really cute couple who sign a few of their favorite songs. They will certainly put a smile on your face. And then there’s one more surprise that I just had to share so be sure to read all the way to the end.

  1. Rolling in the Deep by Adele
  2. She Drives Me Crazy by the Fine Young Cannibals
  3. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
  4. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
  5. My Valentine by Paul McCartney, featuring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp
  6. Imagine by John Lennon
  7. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
  8. We Will Rock You by Queen
  9. Happy by Pharrell Williams
  10. The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
  11. I’m Deaf by Sean Forbes
  12. Hell No by Ingrid Michaelson

And here’s one that I would almost never listen to because, well, it’s Marilyn Manson (whose real name is Brian Hugh Warner, born 1969 in Canton, Ohio), that heavy metal shock rock-er who came up with his stage name by a juxtaposing two opposing American pop cultural icons: Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. His style of music doesn’t appeal to me at all BUT I have to say that I really dig his 2003 song “This is the New Shit” — It’s actually quite catchy. And it’s extremely enjoyable to watch B. Storm interpret it for us. See what you think. Note: the first minute or so is a disclaimer and message from B. Storm, delivered in silence.

 

Here is this adorable couple I found on YouTube. Tina Cleveland is an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and her fiancé Paul Sirimarco is learning to sign so they could make these super heartwarming videos.

 

Finally, I just had to share this! From a week ago (7/18/2018) on the site of Boston’s Classic Rock station WZLX 100.7fm: The headline reads:

Sign Language Interpreter Owns This Slayer Concert

Followed by this:

You have to love someone who throws themselves into their work. Take this sign language interpreter at a Slayer concert. She could just sign the words, but she wants the hearing impaired to feel the bombastic 120 decibel sound storm, scream fest that is a Slayer concert. Bravo!

And here she is: I’m no Slayer fan but I sure did appreciate her interpretation.

 

So that’s my Songs in Sign Language post for this week’s Monday’s Music Moves Me. So what did you think? Do you know sign language? If so, how and why did you learn it?

Did you know that it is unclear how many sign languages currently exist worldwide? A common misconception is that all sign languages are the same worldwide or that sign language is international. Each country generally has its own, native sign language, and some have more than one (although there are also substantial similarities among all sign languages). The 2013 edition of Ethnologue lists 137 sign languages. It is important to note that just because a spoken language is intelligible transnationally, such as English in the United States and the United Kingdom, does not mean that the sign languages from those regions are as well; ASL and British Sign Language (BSL) were formed independently and are therefore not mutually intelligible. Interesting stuff!

Regarding SNL: this is a message to my hometown friend, mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Hey Lee G, this one’s for you! Miss ya tons Girlfriend…

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me – The Kaleidoscope of Color Series – The BLUE Edition: PART 1

Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me is a freebie theme, meaning we can post anything. Well, guess what I’m going to do mine on today? If you guessed another edition in my Kaleidoscope of Color Songs Series, you’d be right! Surprise! BUT this is the FINAL color in my series: BLUE. There are so many of my favorite songs that have blue in the title, I am going to do this last edition in two parts so the post isn’t too long (“too long” being subject to interpretation).

Here is The BLUE Edition: PART 1 playlist. Below is a list of the songs along with some information about each song that I found interesting. Hopefully you will find it interesting as well. Oh yeah, and some cool info about the color Blue is at the end. Enjoy!

Baby Blue by Badfinger – “Baby Blue” is a song by the band Badfinger from their 1971 album, Straight Up. The song was written by Pete Ham, produced by Todd Rundgren, and released on Apple Records. The “Dixie” addressed in the song’s lyrics was a real person, a former girlfriend of singer/songwriter Pete Ham. The woman was Dixie Armstrong, who Ham had dated during Badfinger’s last US tour.

Badfinger 1971

The last US Top 40 hit for Badfinger, this song would mark the beginning of a devastating decline for the band. They were signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records – Straight Up was their third album on the label and featured contributions from George Harrison. With “Baby Blue” and “Day After Day” getting a steady stream of airplay and Beatles comparisons, they toured twice in 1972 to packed houses.

All was not well behind the scenes, however, as Apple Records was on shaky ground. Badfinger recorded their fourth album, but their negotiations with Apple got snarled and a lawsuit prevented its release. These legal entanglements kept Badfinger from touring or recording while they were at the peak of their powers, and also drained them financially. In 1973, they signed to Warner Brothers and recorded their fifth album. Nearly two years after Straight Up hit the racks, Apple finally issued Badfinger’s fourth album, titled Ass, in the US in November of that year. Their self-titled Warners album came out in February 1974.

By this time, the band’s sound had fallen out of favor, and both albums underperformed. With their legal and financial problems becoming even more burdensome, Pete Ham hanged himself in 1975. His suicide note made it clear that the business dealings were his undoing; he expressed hopes that his death would serve as a cautionary tale for aspiring musicians. He was 27.

FUN FACT: The chaos that was enveloping the Apple UK operation at the time was strongly evident with regard to this song. While Apple US gave the song a picture sleeve and a remix to ensure that it was a hit, Apple UK remained unaware of its commercial potential. Although the single was even assigned a release number for the UK (Apple 42), “Baby Blue” was never actually released as a UK single.

FUN FACT: “Baby Blue” regained fame four decades later upon being featured in the 2013 series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad, which, as reported by the show’s creator Vince Gilligan, uses the track’s title lyric as a reference to the special and iconic blue methamphetamine produced by main character Walter White. It was played in the show’s final minutes, that iconic closing scene. (BTW, I was a huge fan of Breaking Bad. I featured this scene in a “Blood, Boobs and Carnage” blog-hop a few years ago. You can check it out here).

Or you can see this final scene that includes the very end, when the Baby Blue song plays (the video below does NOT include the carnage in the mind-blowing ending as shown in the link above):

Online streams increased in popularity immediately following the broadcast. According to Nielsen Soundscan, 5,300 downloads were purchased the night of the broadcast. The song appeared on the Billboard Digital Songs chart at No. 32 the week ending October 19, 2013. Joey Molland, the last surviving member of the classic line-up of Badfinger, took to Twitter to express his excitement at the song’s use in the finale and subsequently began to retweet news articles about the song’s usage in the finale. It became a top-selling song on iTunes following the broadcast. As a result, the song charted in the UK for the first time, reaching No. 73. It also charted at No. 35 in Ireland.

Jackie Blue by Ozark Mountain Daredevils – “Jackie Blue” is a single by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 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 in 1975: #2 in Canada, #9 in New Zealand, #10 in South Africa, and #27 in Australia. The song was sung by the group’s drummer, Larry Lee.

This song is about a woman who is in pursuit of happiness but never gives anything a long enough time to make her happy. She gets bored too easily – she’s flighty, or indifferent. This was written by band members Steve Cash and Larry Lee. It’s inspired by someone they met in Los Angeles who was strung out on drugs.

Radio stations usually played an edited version omitting the last verse. This verse pretty well sums up what the whole tune is about…

“Everyday in your indigo eyes

I watch the sunset but I don’t see it rise

Moonlight and stars in your strawberry wine

You’d take the world but you won’t take the time”

Blue Morning, Blue Day by Foreigner – “Blue Morning, Blue Day” is the third single from Foreigner’s second album, Double Vision.

This sinister-sounding song takes us inside the head of a guy who can’t sleep and is desperately pleading with his girl, trying to keep her from leaving. The song was written by Foreigner’s songwriting team of lead singer Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones.

In our interview with Gramm, he said: “It talks about a young musician that’s burning the candle at both ends. He has a lot on his mind, and walks the street at night.”

Blue is a versatile color for Lou Gramm, who uses it here as a metaphor for misery. He used the color in a different context on his 1987 solo hit “Midnight Blue”; he also has a song on his 1989 solo album called “True Blue Love.”

This single from Double Vision followed “Hot Blooded” and the title track. Critical adulation eluded the band (witness their snub from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), but the group earned legions of fans around this time: each of their first four albums sold at least 5 million copies.  “Blue Morning, Blue Day” reached number 15 in the charts in the U.S. and 45 in the U.K.

Suite Madame Blue by Styx – “Suite Madame Blue” is from Styx’ fifth album Equinox, released in December 1975. The album marked the final appearance of original Styx guitarist John Curulewski who left the band abruptly following the release of Equinox. The band went into a frantic search to find a replacement for their upcoming tour to support Equinox. Soon after, they found Tommy Shaw.

The album’s biggest hit was the track “Lorelei” (another favorite of mine) which was Styx’s second US Top 30 hit. The other well-known song in the album was “Suite Madame Blue” (the title of which has a play on the word “sweet” to refer to the musical term of “suites”, i.e. unrelated instrumental successions) which was written about the upcoming Bicentennial of the US.

Dennis DeYoung wrote this in 1975 as America was gearing up for its Bi-Centennial celebration in 1976. The song is not a celebration of the event, but a look at how it was being exploited. He explained in Classic Rock Revisited:

“The 200th anniversary of America was being totally taken over by commercialization in a rather unceremonious fashion. I had a moment of reflection. I had grown up in the so called glory days of the United States of America, which was post World War II until 1970. To live in this country at that time was really the golden age. The fallibility of the United States was something that struck me and that set the tone for ‘Suite Madam Blue.’ Maybe I was fearful of being literal – I think I probably was.”

The track became a staple for all Styx tours with Dennis DeYoung. It’s a rare example of a Styx song that (briefly) requires four voice parts; during the Return to Paradise tour in 1996, the “America” bridge would be sung by DeYoung, Shaw, James Young and the usually silent Chuck Panozzo.

Although the Equinox album stalled at #58, it went Gold in 1977 shortly before the release of The Grand Illusion (1977).

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby Stills & Nash (CSN) – “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is a suite of short songs written by Stephen Stills and performed by Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN). It appeared on the group’s self-titled debut album in 1969 and was released as a single, hitting #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. In Canada, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” peaked at number 11. The song is a suite in the classical sense, i.e. an ordered set of musical pieces.

This wasn’t their first single, or even their biggest, but certainly one of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s most well-known songs. It established the harmony style that would be the group’s trademark for years to come. Nash revealed to Rolling Stone that of the CS&N trio, Stills was the only to play on this song. All three contributed vocals.

CSN performed “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” at the Woodstock and Live Aid festivals, and their performance at the former is featured in the film Woodstock (1970).

The title “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” (a play on words for “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes”) refers to Stephen Stills’ former girlfriend, folk singer/songwriter Judy Collins, and the lyrics to most of the suite’s sections consist of his thoughts about her and their imminent breakup. Collins is known for her piercing blue eyes.

In their 1991 boxed set, Stills said:

“It started out as a long narrative poem about my relationship with Judy Collins. It poured out of me over many months and filled several notebooks. I had a hell of a time getting the music to fit. I was left with all these pieces of song and I said, ‘Let’s sing them together and call it a suite,’ because they were all about the same thing and they led up to the same point.”

During a July 15, 2007 interview for the National Public Radio program Just Roll Tape, Stills revealed that Collins was present in the studio when the demo tapes were recorded. Collins had advised Stills “not to stay [at the studio] all night.” Stills later commented that “the breakup was imminent…we were both too large for one house.” Stills said that he liked parts of this demo version of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” better than the released version.

Collins and Stills had met in 1967 and dated for two years. In 1969, she was appearing in the New York Shakespeare Festival musical production of Peer Gynt and had fallen in love with her co-star Stacy Keach, eventually leaving Stills for him. Stills was devastated by the possible breakup and wrote the song as a response to his sadness. In a 2000 interview, Collins gave her impressions of when she first heard the song:

“[Stephen] came to where I was singing one night on the West Coast and brought his guitar to the hotel and he sang me “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” the whole song. And of course it has lines in it that referred to my therapy. And so he wove that all together in this magnificent creation. So the legacy of our relationship is certainly in that song.”

“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” has four distinct sections (on the full album version). The shortened version released as a single cut several verses out. The final section is the only part that stayed fully intact on the single.

The final section (the coda) is sung in Spanish, starting at 6:34 until the song concludes. The “doo-doo-doo-da-doo” backing vocals are the best known segment of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, with Stills singing Spanish lyrics in the background.

This last verse in Spanish is about Cuba. It was sung in Spanish because Stephen Stills didn’t want it easily understood since it had little to do with the theme of the song. Stills put that part in simply because the song had gone on forever and he didn’t want it to just lay there at the end.

The Spanish lyrics are as follows: “Que linda me recuerdo a Cuba. La reina de la Mar Caribe. Quiero solo visitarme ayí. Y que triste que no puedo vaya.”

Here’s the translation:

“How nice it will (or would) be to take you to Cuba The queen of the Caribbean Sea I only want to visit you there And how sad that I can’t, damn!”

Indigo Blues by the Smithereens – The Smithereens are an American rock band from Carteret, New Jersey. The group formed in 1980 with members Pat DiNizio (vocals & guitar), Jim Babjak (guitar & vocals), Mike Mesaros (bass guitar & vocals), and Dennis Diken (drums & percussion).

The band is perhaps best known for a string of modest hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “Only a Memory”, “A Girl Like You” and “Too Much Passion”. The Smithereens have collaborated with numerous musicians, both in the studio (Belinda Carlisle, Julian Lennon, Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega) and live (Graham Parker and The Kinks). The band’s name comes from a Yosemite Sam catchphrase, “Varmint, I’m a-gonna blow you to smithereens!”

The Smithereens are known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop. The group gained publicity when the single “Blood and Roses” from its first album was included on the soundtrack for Dangerously Close, and the music video got moderate rotation on MTV. “Blood and Roses” was also featured on the 1980s TV show Miami Vice during the episode ‘The Savage’ (first aired February 6, 1987).

The group spent some of its initial semi-celebrity phase defending itself in Rolling Stone against thinly-veiled accusations of sounding too much like the Byrds and the Beatles. Along with a basic Eastern-coast roots-rock sound that owed much to the inspirations of DiNizio, including the Who, the Clash, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe, the Smithereens deployed a uniquely retro obsession with Mod, the late British Invasion pop of John’s Children and the Move, and other artifacts of 1950s and 1960s culture that lent its music substance. But DiNizio has stated that his single biggest influence was Buddy Holly: “Listening to Buddy Holly, I rediscovered my enjoyment of simple pop structures and pretty melodies….I’ve always thought of him as a kindred spirit.”  And kindred they may now be: Pat DiNizio died on December 12, 2017.

I became familiar with the “Indigo Blues” song from listening to the Smithereen’s fourth studio album Blow Up. Released in late 1991, the album charted at #120 in the U.S. The second single, “Too Much Passion”, became the group’s second top-40 single, peaking at #37. “Top of the Pops” was released as the first single of the album.

I picked up a CD of the album one night while poking around in a used record shop. I listened to that album over and over and over while going through a tough break-up. I can truly say I like every song on the entire album (especially “Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong” and “Get Ahold of My Heart” and “Too Much Passion” and “Anywhere You Are”). It’s a deviation from my typical taste in music (and maybe that’s why it grabbed me so much) but it’s an excellent album.

Blow Up’s eye-catching cover design is by movie poster/title sequence artist Saul Bass (“Vertigo,” “West Side Story,” “North by Northwest,” “Psycho”).

Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan – “Tangled Up in Blue” is a song by Bob Dylan. It appeared on his album Blood on the Tracks in 1975. Released as a single, it reached #31 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rolling Stone ranked it #68 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Dylan wrote this in the summer of 1974 at a farm he had just bought in Minnesota. He had been touring with The Band earlier that year. The song was influenced by the art classes Dylan was taking with Norman Raeben, a popular teacher in New York. Dylan credits Raeben for making him look at things from a nonlinear perspective, which was reflected in his songs.

“Tangled Up in Blue” is one of the clearest examples of Dylan’s attempts to write “multi-dimensional” songs which defied a fixed notion of time and space. Dylan was influenced by his recent study of painting and the Cubist school of artists, who sought to incorporate multiple perspectives within a single plane of view. In a 1978 interview Dylan explained this style of songwriting: “What’s different about it is that there’s a code in the lyrics, and there’s also no sense of time. There’s no respect for it. You’ve got yesterday, today and tomorrow all in the same room, and there’s very little you can’t imagine not happening.”

The Telegraph (aka The Daily Telegraph, a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published in London) has described the song as “The most dazzling lyric ever written, an abstract narrative of relationships told in an amorphous blend of first and third person, rolling past, present and future together, spilling out in tripping cadences and audacious internal rhymes, ripe with sharply turned images and observations and filled with a painfully desperate longing.”

As Neil McCormick remarked in 2003: “A truly extraordinary epic of the personal, an unreliable narrative carved out of shifting memories like a five-and-a-half-minute musical Proust.”

The lyrics are at times opaque, but the song seems to be (like most of the songs on the album) the tale of a love that has, for the time being, ended, although not by choice; the last verse begins:

So now I’m goin’ back again,

I got to get to her somehow…

(and ends):

We always did feel the same,

We just saw it from a different point of view,

Tangled up in blue.

This is a very personal song for Dylan. It deals with the changes he was going through, including his marriage falling apart. Dylan has often stated that the song took “ten years to live and two years to write”. Regarding the song and the album Blood on the Tracks, Dylan has said, “A lot of people tell me they enjoy that album. It’s hard for me to relate to that. I mean, it, you know, people enjoying the type of pain, you know?”

Dylan and his first wife, Sara Lowndes, divorced in 1977. As part of the settlement, she got half the royalties from the songs Dylan wrote while they were married, including this one.

When Dylan performs this song in concert he uses the third person perspective (He and She) that is on the version found on The Bootleg Series Vol 1-3 album instead of the first person perspective that is on Blood on the Tracks. He also alters some of the lyrics, for instance: “One day the axe just fell” is changed to “One day it all went to hell.”

FUN FACT: According to novelist Ron Rosenbaum, Bob Dylan once told him that he’d written “Tangled up in Blue”, after spending a weekend immersed in Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue.

Behind Blue Eyes by The Who – “Behind Blue Eyes” is a song by the English rock band The Who. It was released in October 1971 as the second single from their fifth album Who’s Next and was originally written by Pete Townshend for his Lifehouse project. The song is one of The Who’s best-known recordings and has been covered by many artists.

Pete Townshend originally wrote this about a character in his “Lifehouse” project, which was going to be a film similar to The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia. Townshend never finished “Lifehouse,” but the songs ended up on the album Who’s Next.

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey both have blue eyes, but the song is not autobiographical. Townshend has said that he wrote it to show “How lonely it is to be powerful.”

Townshend has explained that he never behaved like a typical rock star when he was on tour, especially when it came to groupies, which he tried to avoid. He says it was a run-in with a groupie that was the impetus for this song. Townshend, who got married in 1968, was tempted by a groupie after The Who’s June 9, 1970 concert in Denver. He says that he went back to his room alone and wrote a prayer beginning, “If my fist clenches, crack it open…” The prayer was more or less asking for help in resisting this temptation. The other words could be describing Townshend’s self-pity and how hard it is to resist.

Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain by Willie Nelson – “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” is a song written by songwriter Fred Rose. Originally performed by Roy Acuff, the song has been covered by many artists, such as Hank Williams Sr. and Charley Pride. Also the song was later recorded by Willie Nelson as part of his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger. Both the song and album would become iconic in country music history, and jump start Nelson’s success as a singer and recording artist.

Prior to the success of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Willie Nelson had enjoyed widespread success primarily as a songwriter, with such songs as “Crazy” (Patsy Cline) and “Hello Walls” (Faron Young). As a performer, meanwhile, Nelson had hit the Top 10 of the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart just twice; it had happened in 1962, once as a solo artist (“Touch Me”) and again as part of a duet with Shirley Collie (“Willingly”). Thereafter, Nelson had approached the Top 20 on occasion, but went 13 years without a Top 10 hit.

In October 1975, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” became Nelson’s first No. 1 hit as a singer, and at year’s end was the third-biggest song of 1975 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. In addition, the song gained modest airplay on Top 40 radio, reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Even by the standards of sorrowful country songs, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” is one somber tune. The singer kisses his love goodbye, knowing he’ll never see her again. As he sings it, he’s now an old man who never found true love again and looks forward to meeting her in heaven.

Singing the song night after night took an emotional toll on Nelson, who was a notorious drinker in the late ’70s. He explained in a Hot Press interview: “It’s really difficult to sing ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain’ or ‘Always On My Mind’ without getting emotionally involved, especially when the audience gets emotionally involved and you feel their feelings. You can only wallow in your own misery for so long without saying, ‘Wait a minute, I want a drink!'”

Nelson acclaimed as a songwriter, but he didn’t write this one. It was composed by Fred Rose, whose country hits include “Crazy Heart,” “Don’t Bring Me Posies,” “Take These Chains From My Heart” and “Kaw-Liga.”

Roy Acuff, who was Rose’ partner in the music publishing company Acuff-Rose Music, was the first to record the song, releasing it as a single in 1947 credited to Roy Acuff And His Smoky Mountain Boys. In ensuing years, many other artists recorded the song, including Roger Whittaker, Gene Vincent and Slim Whitman.

Willie Nelson recorded the song for his concept album Red Headed Stranger, which is based on a song of the same name written by Carl Stutz and Edith Lindeman and recorded by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. In that song, a mysterious rider comes through town leading a horse that belonged to his dead lover. Nelson revised the tale to make the stranger a preacher who killed his lover because she was cheating on him. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” fit the concept of the album, as it finds the stranger thinking back to his lost love.

Willie Nelson first made the Hot 100 as a songwriter in 1961 with “Crazy” (#9, recorded by Patsy Cline) and “Hello Walls” (#12, recorded by Faron Young), but this was his first trip to the chart as an artist. It was also his first #1 country hit, and it earned him the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Nelson’s singing career took off, and he soon became a household name.

Fun Fact: This was the last song Elvis Presley played before he died. In the early morning of August 16, 1977, he played it on his piano in Graceland. Later that day, he died from an overdose of prescription drugs.

Blue Eyes by Elton John – “Blue Eyes” is a song performed by Elton John with music and lyrics written by Elton John and Gary Osborne. It was released in 1982, both as a single and on the album Jump Up!, which reached No. 8 in the UK. In the US, the song spent three weeks at No. 10 on the Cash Box Top 100; it also went to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and spent two weeks at No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart.

The music video for the song was filmed in Australia, on Sydney’s famous Bondi to Bronte walk. The exact location is at the most easterly point of Marks Park, Tamarama, where a low, sandstone turret rests on the top of the cliffs and overlooks the Tasman Sea. The white grand piano was positioned right in the middle of the turret. The song and video was in dedication to Elizabeth Taylor.

There wasn’t much info about “Blue Eyes” in the spots where I normally look for info but I managed to find a book that remarks about the song. In His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John by Elizabeth J. Rosenthal, the chapter was discussing the making of the Jump Up! album and its various songs. About “Blue Eyes”, it reads:

“Blue Eyes” is the one song on Jump Up! that proves Elton wasn’t just reading water. It is more than just one of the many pleasingly seamless ballads that Elton continued to churn out the way Pete Rose got hits. “Blue Eyes” features…some of the most sophisticated chord sequences that Elton John has ever written,” observed Thomas Ryan in his book American Hit Radio. “With a progression steeped in complex jazz changes and a melody that resonates with blue notes, it’s anything but ordinary for early 80s pop music …Unlike much of its competition, it seems destined to become an evergreen among a field of annuals.”

Many of Elton’s seamless ballads have become evergreens, but “Blue Eyes” is something more – a twist of sadness housed in the wise cadences of jazz and set against a gentle landscape of unobtrusive, countrified blues. Osborne’s words are subsumed in the music, as well they should be, since Elton had started the ball rolling. “Blue eyes, baby’s got blue eyes,” he’d cooed as he composed the music. Osborne had taken it from there, with the musician throwing in another line or two, entrapped in the song’s jazz cadences. Although Elton later mused that, before getting it right, he’d kept singing the song like Dean Martin, what finally emerged was not Dino’s debonair, whiskey-laced voice but a new Elton John sound. Instead of the sophistication of his singing on “Idol” or the sensuousness of “Shooting Star,” “Blue Eyes” get the balladeering of someone no longer interested in playing lovers’ games. The singer caresses the melody in a protective coating of honest intimacy, girded by deep-note delving.

Apparently people were taking note of this as 1983 saw Elton John receiving his thirteenth and fourteenth Grammy nominations: for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for “Blue Eyes” (and the other for Video of the Year for Visions).

Blue Jean Blues by ZZ Top – ZZ Top is a rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970, consisted of bassist and lead vocalist Dusty Hill, guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons (the band’s leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), and drummer Frank Beard. “As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers”, according to former musician, critic and collector Michael “Cub” Koda. “Gibbons is one of America’s finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom […] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.”

“Blue Jean Blues” is a song from Fandango!, the fourth album by that Texas Trio, released in 1975. Half the tracks are selections from live shows, the rest are new songs from the studio.

The only single released from the album was “Tush”. The single peaked at #20 on the US Billboard Hot 100, making it the band’s first top 40 single. “Blue Jean Blues” didn’t get a ton of airplay so you may not be familiar with it unless you’ve spent some time with the album. My brother introduced me to the Fandango! album when it first came out and this song is one of my favorites from the album. Get comfortable, grab your headphones, crank up the volume and kick back. It’s a good trip, I promise.

Blue Sky by The Allman Brothers Band – “Blue Sky” is a song by the American rock band the Allman Brothers Band from their third studio album, Eat a Peach (1972). The song was written and sung by guitarist Dickey Betts, who penned it about his girlfriend (and later wife), Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig. The track is also notable as one of guitarist Duane Allman’s final recorded performances with the group. The band’s two guitarists, Duane Allman and Betts, alternate playing the song’s lead: Allman’s solo beginning 1:07 in, Betts joining in a shared melody line at 2:28, followed by Betts’s solo at 2:37. The song is notably more country-inspired than many songs in the band’s catalogue.

His debut as a vocalist for the band, guitarist Dickey Betts composed “Blue Sky” about his Native American girlfriend, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig, whom he later married. The lyrics leave out any references to gender to make it nonspecific: “Once I got into the song I realized how nice it would be to keep the vernaculars—he and she—out and make it like you’re thinking of the spirit, like I was giving thanks for a beautiful day. I think that made it broader and more relatable to anyone and everyone,” he later said. Betts initially wanted the band’s lead vocalist, Gregg Allman, to sing the song, but guitarist Duane Allman encouraged him to sing it himself: “Man, this is your song and it sounds like you and you need to sing it.”  This was the first time Betts sang lead on an Allman Brothers song. He also sang lead on their biggest hit, “Ramblin’ Man.”

Allman Brothers Band 1972

Betts and Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig married in 1973 and divorced two years later. For a while after his 1975 divorce from this song’s muse Sandy, Dickey Betts refused to perform this song.

The track is also notable as one of guitarist Duane Allman’s final recorded performances with the group. It was released after Duane’s death on the Eat A Peach album. The album is dedicated to him. “As I mixed songs like “Blue Sky,” I knew, of course, that I was listening to the last things that Duane ever played and there was just such a mix of beauty and sadness, knowing there’s not going to be any more from him,” said Johnny Sandlin.

Betts and Sandy Bluesky had a daughter, Jessica, on May 14, 1972. Betts wrote “Jessica” about her a year later.

Duane Allman and Dickey Betts played on the bridge solo – one playing “lead” lead, the other playing “rhythm” lead. They switch up half way through – listen very carefully and you will hear them synch up on a riff for two measures or so right around 2:30 into the track.

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That’s it for PART 1 of the BLUE Edition. Were some of your favorite blue songs here? If not, be sure to check out PART 2, coming in two weeks

Here is some fun information on the meaning of the color blue, taken from the Bourn Creative’s Color Meaning Blog Series:

Blue represents both the sky and the sea, and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, heaven, and intelligence.

The color blue has positive affects on the mind and the body. As the color of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming and exude feelings of tranquility. Blue helps to slow human metabolism, is cooling in nature, and helps with balance and self-expression. Blue is also an appetite suppressant.

However not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic, an engaging color that expresses exhilaration. Also, some shades of blue or the use of too much blue may come across as cold or uncaring, and can dampen spirits.

Blue can be strong and steadfast or light and friendly. Blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity in heraldry. The color blue in many cultures is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away. In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the something blue bridal tradition represents love.

The blue color communicates significance, importance, and confidence without creating somber or sinister feelings. This is where the corporate blue power suit and the blue uniforms of police officers and firefighter came from. Considered a highly corporate color, blue is often associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism.

Too much blue can create feelings of melancholy, negativity, sadness, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness. Too little blue brings about qualities of suspicion, depression, stubbornness, timidity, and unreliability.

Blue gemstones are believed to aid in creating calm and relaxation in crisis situations or chaotic situations, to open the flow of communication between loved ones, to feel genuinely inspired, and to gain the courage to speak from the heart.

Different shades, tints, and hues of blue have different meanings. For example, dark blue can be seen as elegant, rich, sophisticated, intelligent, and old-fashioned, royal blue can represent superiority, and light blue can mean honesty and trustworthiness.

Other meanings associated with the color blue:

  • Combining the colors red, white, and blue create a patriotic color palette for the United States, mirroring the colors in the American Flag.
  • Navy blue and white, when used together, create a nautical, oceanic color palette that often represents sailing, and sailors.
  • The terms “feeling blue” or “getting the blues” refers to the extreme calm feelings associated with blue, such as sadness and depression.
  • The saying “out of the blue” is used in reference to something unexpected.
  • The expression “singing the blues” references a person who is complaining about their circumstances.
  • The phrase “true blue” stands for someone who is loyal, trustworthy, and faithful.
  • The term “blueblood” refers to a person of royal, noble, or superior birth.
  • The saying “baby blues” is used to describe the sadness that women feel after giving birth. It is often used in reference to post-partum depression.
  • “blue ribbon” represents the best, first place, top prize, or number one.
  • The expression “into the blue” means entering the unknown or uncertainty, not knowing what you’re walking into.
  • The phrase “blue Monday” means feeling sad, often the feelings experienced when the weekend is over and the workweek begins.
  • The term “blue laws” refers to laws that were originally passed to enforce specific moral standards.
  • The saying “blue language” refers to using profanity.
  • The “Bluebook” is known as a register of people of significance in social standing. Later, the term Bluebook was adapted by the car industry as the name of the registry listing vehicle values.
  • The Blues is a music style characterized by the sometimes sad or down focus and melancholy melodies.

Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the color blue: sapphire, azure, beryl, cerulean, cobalt, indigo, navy, royal, sky blue, baby blue, robin’s egg blue, cyan, cornflower blue, midnight blue, slate, steel blue, Prussian blue.

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below: