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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a performance from 1969:

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Rod in a 1998 concert:

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Christ, you know it ain’t easy,

You know how hard it can be,

The way things are going,

They’re gonna crucify me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCartney (on drums): “OK, George!”

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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