Lyrically Evocative (28)

I wasn’t born until 1952, so a song written in 1935 might be considered to be an unusual inclusion in this series.

But I knew various versions of this song in my early teens, and by the time I was in my mid-thirties, I was certainly relating to every line.

Originally performed on the BBC Radio in 1936, the song was later recorded by the wonderful Billie Holiday, who had a huge hit with it. Although a 1936 recording by the famous ‘Hutch’ also got some attention.

Over the following decades, it was recorded by almost every famous singer you could think of. Including Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Sam Cooke.
Even now, at the age of 67, it sends shivers up my spine when I hear it.
I have chosen the much later recording by Brian Ferry, from 1973.

His rather melancholy tone, and deliberately stylised rendition, seems to suit the song perfectly.

Here are the lyrics.

Oh! Will you never let me be?
Oh! Will you never set me free?
The ties that bound us
Are still around us
There’s no escape that I can see
And still those little things remain
That bring me happiness or pain
A cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces
An airline ticket to romantic places
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
A tinkling piano in the next apartment
Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant
A fair ground’s painted swings
These foolish things remind me of you
You came you saw you conquer’d me
When you did that to me
I knew somehow this had to be
The winds of March that make my heart a dancer
A telephone that rings but who’s to answer?
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you
First daffodils and long excited cables
And candle lights on little corner tables
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The park at evening when the bell has sounded
The “Ile de France” with all the gulls around it
The beauty that is Spring’s
These foolish things remind me of you
How strange how sweet to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me
The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you
Gardenia perfume ling’ring on a pillow
Wild strawb’ries only seven francs a kilo
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The smile of Garbo and the scent of roses
The waiters whistling as the last bar closes
The song that Crosby sings
These foolish things remind me of you
How strange how sweet to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me
The scent of smould’ring leaves, the wail of steamers
Two lovers on the street who walk like dreamers
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Stanley / Peter Stewart Wiggs / Sarah Cracknell

And here is Bryan, performing the song.

Still heartbreaking.

Lyrically Evocative (26)

Before the name change to New Order, the British band Joy Division built up a large loyal following, and had a few minor hits. At the time, they were fronted by the troubled lead singer, Ian Curtis. His suicide in 1980, at the age of 24, stopped the band touring the USA. The other band members later reformed under the new name.

Curtis had problems adjusting to the routine of married life, as well as suffering from Epilepsy. His fragile mental state caused issues with his colleagues in the band as well.

The culmination of those events resulted in the song ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, released as a single from the second album, shortly after he killed himself.

He may not have been a great singer, but the lyrics of the song show a talent for expressive poetry that resonated very much with me.

Here are the lyrics.

When routine bites hard
And ambitions are low
And resentment rides high
But emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways
Taking different roads
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Why is the bedroom so cold?
Turned away on your side
Is my timing that flawed?
Our respect run so dry?
Yet there’s still this appeal
That we’ve kept through our lives
But love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Do you cry out in your sleep?
All my failings exposed
Gets a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
And it’s something so good
Just can’t function no more?
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear up apart again
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bernard Sumner / Ian Kevin Curtis / Peter Hook / Stephen Paul David Morris

This is Joy Divison performing the song, on the official video.

Lyrically Evocative (25)

In 2015, I heard a song on my car radio. I liked the voice well enough, but it was the lyrics that really grabbed me.

Perhaps you have to be a certain age, certainly older than the singer, to fully be engaged with such words. But he was young, and he seemed to get it, so that was good enough for me.

I later found out the the song was by a Danish pop group, with the name of Lukas Graham. The singer is called Lukas Forchhammer. I had never heard of the band before, and I confess that I have never heard of them since. However, some easy online research tells me that they are still performing in 2019, all around the world. Of course, they are still mostly known for this song, and trading on its reputation.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that it is indeed a powerful song, with particularly relevant lyrics to certain people.

And I am one of those people.

Here are the lyrics.

7 Years Old

Once I was seven years old my momma told me
Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely
Once I was seven years old
It was a big big world, but we thought we were bigger
Pushing each other to the limits, we were learning quicker
By eleven smoking herb and drinking burning liquor
Never rich so we were out to make that steady figure
Once I was eleven years old my daddy told me
Go get yourself a wife or you’ll be lonely
Once I was eleven years old
I always had that dream like my daddy before me
So I started writing songs, I started writing stories
Something about that glory just always seemed to bore me
‘Cause only those I really love will ever really know me
Once I was twenty years old, my story got told
Before the morning sun, when life was lonely
Once I was twenty years old
I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure
‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major
I got my boys with me at least those in favor
And if we don’t meet before I leave, I hope I’ll see you later
Once I was twenty years old, my story got told
I was writing about everything, I saw before me
Once I was twenty years old
Soon we’ll be thirty years old, our songs have been sold
We’ve traveled around the world and we’re still roaming
Soon we’ll be thirty years old
I’m still learning about life
My woman brought children for me
So I can sing them all my songs
And I can tell them stories
Most of my boys are with me
Some are still out seeking glory
And some I had to leave behind
My brother I’m still sorry
Soon I’ll be sixty years old, my daddy got sixty-one
Remember life and then your life becomes a better one
I made a man so happy when I wrote a letter once
I hope my children come and visit, once or twice a month
Soon I’ll be sixty years old, will I think the world is cold
Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me
Soon I’ll be sixty years old
Soon I’ll be sixty years old, will I think the world is cold
Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me
Soon I’ll be sixty years old
Once I was seven years old, momma told me
Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely
Once I was seven years old
Once I was seven years old
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Christopher Brown / David Labrel / Lukas Forchhammer / Morten Pilegaard / Morten Ristorp Jensen / Stefan Forrest
7 Years lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Songtrust Ave

And here is the band, performing the song.

Curtis Mayfield: A Musical Journey

Curtis Mayfield first came to my attention as part of the vocal group, The Impressions.

I was only twelve years old when I heard their song Talking About My Baby. I was very taken with the distinctive voice on the track, which I later found out belonged to one Curtis Mayfield.

That inspired me to get one of their albums on vinyl, and the following year I became the proud owner of their latest release, ‘People Get Ready’
The title song was about civil rights, and showcased the voice of Curtis Mayfield perfectly.

By 1970, I was 18 years old, and Curtis had left The Impressions to embark on a career as a solo artist. From his first album, he released the excellent ‘Move On Up’, and I was sure from the start that his new venture was going to be a winner.

1971 brought us his second album, ‘Roots’. This also provided a world-wide hit, with the song, ‘We Got To Have Peace’.
That track showed his distinctive voice at its best.

One year later, he created the award-winning soundtrack for the popular Blaxploitation film, ‘Superfly’, starring Ron O’Neal, with a role in the cast for Curtis playing himself. This was Funk music at its best, and became a huge hit both as a single release, and a soundtrack album too.

Over the next decade, he released an album almost every year. Then in 1987, he collaborated with the English band The Blow Monkeys, on the anti-Margaret Thatcher song, ‘(Celebrate) The Day After You’.
You can see and hear his distinctive contribution in this official video.

He continued to release records, and perform live to sell-out audiences. Then in 1990, he was seriously injured when a lighting rig fell on him during a performance. Paralysed from the neck down, he still managed to record his final, album, with all the vocals sung whilst lying on his back.
Seriously ill with Diabetes, he died in 1999.

Curtis Lee Mayfield. 1942-1999

Operatic Rock: God Gave Rock And Roll To You

I have featured this song here before. But it is worth another look.

I was watching a TV show late last night. It was showing classic performances from 1970s bands performing live on the now defunct BBC music show, The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Rod Argent founded The Zombies. He later met singer-songwriter Russ Ballard, and they became Argent. In 1973, when they released this song, I was still rooted in my love of Soul music, though also a big fan of David Bowie.
But this anthem from Argent swept me away, with Rod’s amazing organ playing, and Ballard’s brilliant guitar skills.

It was a song with scope, one meant to be seen and heard played live, showcasing the talents of all involved.

Forty-six years later, I am sad to hear that many people associate the song with the American band, KISS. Ballard wrote the song, and together with Rod Argent created a wall of sound to accompany it.

This is the original version, and it never gets old for me.

Lyrically Evocative (24)

My wife is a huge fan of the singer Lewis Capaldi. The Scottish singer-songwriter has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, and has been compared in both style and substance to the world-wide pop phenomenon, Ed Sheeran.

I didn’t take too much notice of him, leaving her to enjoy her new favourite. But then I heard this song.

The lyrics.

Someone You Loved
Lewis Capaldi

I’m going under and this time I fear there’s no one to save me
This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy
I need somebody to heal
Somebody to know
Somebody to have
Somebody to hold
It’s easy to say
But it’s never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you numbed all the pain
Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you’re not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
I’m going under and this time I fear there’s no one to turn to
This all or nothing way of loving got me sleeping without you
Now, I need somebody to know
Somebody to heal
Somebody to have
Just to know how it feels
It’s easy to say but it’s never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you helped me escape
Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you’re not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
And I tend to close my eyes when it hurts sometimes
I fall into your arms
I’ll be safe in your sound ’til I come back around
For now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you’re not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
But now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you’re not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Benjamin Kohn / Lewis Capaldi / Peter Kelleher / Samuel Roman / Tom Barnes
Someone You Loved lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

If you have ever broken up with someone, been dumped, divorced, or come off worse in a loving relationship, then you are sure to identify with every word.
And it sounds great too. Here is Lewis performing the song.

That’s not him in the video. It’s his cousin, the famous actor, Peter Capaldi.

Lyrically Evocative (23)

In 1991, I heard a great love song on the radio. It was very much of its time, a ‘Power Ballad’. Great saxophone work, and smooth vocals, I just had to get it. So I bought the CD album, by Curtis Stigers. Playing it over and over, I found that the lyrics of this song were very relevant to some situations in my life.
I haven’t played it for many years now, but I heard it again a couple of days ago, and it all came flooding back.

The Lyrics.

Love is a hunger
That burns in my soul
But you never notice the pain
Love is an anchor
That won’t let me go
I reach out to hold you
But you push me away
You always convince me to stay
And I wonder why
We hold on with tears in our eyes
And I wonder why
We have to break down to just make
Things right
And I wonder why
I can’t seem to tell you goodbye
Yeah, I wonder why
I’m no angel
With my selfish pride
But I love you more every day
Love is an anger
That builds up inside
As the tears of frustration
Roll down my face
Why does love always have to turn
Out this way
I don’t want to fight again tonight
About the little things please baby
I just want to find my way
Back to love
And I’ll meet you there, baby
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Curtis Stigers / Glen Ballard
I Wonder Why lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., The Bicycle Music Company

And here is Curtis performing the song. He plays that great Sax too.

Curtis is still performing and playing, mostly Jazz these days.
He is 53 now, and has much shorter hair.