Retro Music 5

Before the evolution into The Faces, the band fronted by Rod Stewart, we had The Small Faces, with the lead singer Steve Marriott. In the pop music scene of 1968, it was refreshing to hear a song sung in a completely English accent, and a London accent into the bargain. This was a song I could identify with at the age of 16, as I knew exactly what a lazy Sunday was like.

A wouldn’t it be nice
To get on with me neighbors
But they make it very clear
They’ve got no room for ravers
They stop me from groovin’
They bang on me wall
They doing me crust in
It’s no good at all, ah
Lazy Sunday afternoon
I’ve got no mind to worry
I close my eyes and drift away-a
Here we all are sittin’ in a rainbow
Go blimey hello, Mrs. Jones
How’s old Bert’s lumbago?
(He mustn’t grumble)
Tweedle dee bite
I’ll sing you a song with no words and no tune
Tweedle dee bite
To sing in the khazi while you suss out the moon, oh yeah
Lazy Sunday afternoon-a
I’ve got no mind to worry-a
Close my eyes and drift away-a
Root-de-doo-de-doo, a-root-de-doot-de doy di
A-root-de doot de dum, a-ree-de-dee-de-doo dee
Doo, doo, doo
There’s no one to hear me
There’s nothing to say
And no one can stop me
From feeling this way, yeah
Lazy Sunday afternoon
I’ve got no mind to worry
Close my eyes and drift away
Lazy Sunday afternoon
I’ve got no mind to worry
Close my eyes and drift a
Close my mind and drift away
Close my eyes and drift away
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Steve Marriott / Ronnie Lane

A Song For The Ladies

These days, my introduction to a new song is often when I hear a snippet of it on a TV advertisement. British readers may know the recent shampoo advert featuring this song. It has taken me a while to find the full original version, but here it is.

It has a great positive message about being a woman, as well as a catchy beat and chorus.

And here are the lyrics, which are worth reading.

Woman
Andreya Triana, Dimitri Tikovoï
I was insecure
Yes, I was frightened
To be myself seemed like a distant dream
Lost in the crowd
I closed the curtains
And I hid my hips and thighs in baggy jeans
But they said, love don’t fail if you’re trying
I knew in my heart I would succeed
When times get hard (Times get hard)
You gotta keep on fighting (Keep on fighting)
All these battles, yes, they made the best of me
‘Cause, I can rule like a queen
Be a superhero
Hold my head high the further I go
I know I can love myself more than anyone else
I am fire and the world’s gotta know
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
When this life is full of laughter
And the lies are full of pain
I remember how (Remember how)
The early days were darker (Days were darker)
And so I stand up, time and time again
And now I’m sure
Oh yes, I’m certain
If I’m breaking down, well, it don’t make me weak
‘Cause I learnt how (I learnt how)
To stop the hurting (Stop the hurting)
By giving all my love right back to me
Oh, I can rule like a queen
Be a superhero
Hold my head high the further I go
I know I can love myself more than anyone else
I am fire and the world’s gotta know
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yeah, I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yeah
‘Cause, I can rule like a queen
Be a superhero
Hold my head high the further I go
I know I can love myself more than anyone else
I am fire and the world’s gotta know
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful woman)
Yeah, I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Dimitri Tikovoi / Denise Amanda Adam / Andreya Triana
Woman lyrics © Budde Music Uk Ltd

Lyrically Evocative (33)

David Bowie’s 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’ probably ranks as the one record I have listened to more than any other during my lifetime. It was a “You had to be there” moment, when this amazing album was first released. I know every track by heart, and still enjoy listening to it as much as I did when I was only 19 years old. Fifty years ago!

As I got older though, I resisted change. Even now, small changes to my routine can frustrate and annoy me, and I constantly find myself raging at the need for change in almost every single aspect of daily life.

I forgot what it is to be 19 years old, yearning for change.

But David reminded me, when I listened to this song again last week.

Here are the lyrics, written by him a very long time ago.

Changes
David Bowie

Oh, yeah
Mmm
Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
There’s gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Mmm, yeah
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Where’s your shame?
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time
Strange fascinations fascinate me
Ah, changes are taking
The pace I’m goin’ through
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Ooh, look out, you rock ‘n’ rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Bowie
Changes lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, DistroKid

And here he is singing them. Reminding me of the constant need for change.

Lyrically Evocative (32)

I complain a lot, I know. The weather mostly, but other stuff too.

However, I wouldn’t want anyone to ever think that I am not thankful for what I have. A decent home, mortgage-free. A wife to share my life with, and a wonderful dog to be my companion. Enough money to get by, and even save a (little) bit. Relatively good health, even in the midst of a pandemic crisis.

I am better off than so many other people, and I am thankful for that fact.

With that in mind, I was thinking about this song today. I bought the record a long time ago now, (1974) but it often sneaks into my mind.

And never was it more relevant, than in 2021.

Here are the lyrics. I may know nothing about a ‘Gangsta lean’, but I get William’s intention.

Be Thankful for What You Got
William DeVaughn

Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Just be thankful for what you got
Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin’ the scene
With a gangsta lean
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Just be thankful for what you got
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: William Devaughn
Be Thankful for What You Got lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

And here he is, singing his own song. (Not live, the original 7-inch single)

Let’s all remember to be thankful what what we have.

Lyrically Evocative (31)

From the first time I ever heard an Al Green record, I was hooked on his smooth soul voice, and excellent vocal range. I don’t think he has ever released a song I didn’t like, and some of his recordings have remained favourites of mine throughout my life.

The lyrics of this song have always resonated with me ever since I first heard it at the age of 23. He co-wrote the song, which was released in 1975 as a single from his latest album at the time. Here are the words I always like to hear.

L-O-V-E (Love)

I started to write this song about you
And then I decided that I would write it all about love
And it appeared to me
That you wasn’t happy
And that’s for sure, positively
That’s what the world is made of
So give me more L-O-V-E, love
Love is a walk down Main street (oh love)
Love is an apple that is so sweet (love)
Love is something that can’t be beat (love)
L-O-V-E is strange to me, oh
I can’t explain this feeling
Can’t you see that salvation is freeing
It’s all in the heavens, can’t you see
You can always depend on me
To give you love
Love is a flower in my soul (oh love)
Love is a story that just can’t be told (love)
Can’t you feel it burning more and more (love)
Stop and look at the big wheel roll
I can’t explain this feeling
Can’t you see that salvation is freeing
I would give my life for the glory
Just to be able to tell the story
About love
I didn’t mean to make you mad
A sweet story, I thought I had
But maybe time will bring us together
And I can be such a happy fella
About love
Love is something that is so divine (oh love)
Love is a feeling that’s a friend of mine (love)
It can’t be measured by no sign (love)
In your heart or even in your mind
About love, Love is as bright as the morning sun
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Al Green / Mabon Hodges / Willie Mitchell
L-O-V-E (Love) lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

And here is Al singing them.

Lyrically Evocative (30)

In 2004, I heard a song by the British band, Keane. It was called ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. I liked it a lot, but not enough to buy the album it came from as some of the other tracks did not appeal. Many years later, the song was covered by Lily Allen, to be used as the soundtrack for the John Lewis Christmas TV advert, in 2013.

Her plaintive vocals touched my heart, and for me they lifted the song to a new level.

Earlier this morning, I commented about her version on another blog post, and listening to the song once again, it made me remember just how relevant the lyrics are to me.

Here are those lyrics.

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete
Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So, tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin
I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?
Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So, tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin
And if you have a minute, why don’t we go?
Talk about it somewhere only we know
This could be the end of everything
So, why don’t we go?
Somewhere only we know
Somewhere only we know
Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So, tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin
And if you have a minute, why don’t we go?
Talk about it somewhere only we know
This could be the end of everything
So, why don’t we go?
So, why don’t we go?
This could be the end of everything
So, why don’t we go?
Somewhere only we know
Somewhere only we know
Somewhere only we know

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Rice Oxley Timothy James / Hughes Richard David / Chaplin Thomas Oliver
Somewhere Only We Know lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd.

And here is Lily’s version, with the animated TV ad.

Lyrically Evocative (29)

Sometimes, song lyrics can make you think about something that you have never experienced. When I heard the first few lines of this song back in 1977, I found myself in total agreement with the sentiments expressed. But I had no children. I still don’t have any, but I still believe the song says it all.

Written by Linda Creed and Michael Massa, it is probably best known as a huge hit for Whitney Huston, in 1985. She undeniably nailed the song, with her famous power-ballad voice.
But ‘my’ version will always be the George Benson original, which sounds as good today as it did to me when I was 25 years old.

It was intended for the soundtrack of the Muhammad Ali biopic, ‘The Greatest’, and included in that film in 1976. George later went on to release it as a record, and had a substantial worldwide hit. His voice suits the song perfectly, and gets right to the heart of the meaningful lyrics.

Here are those lyrics. Words that made me think seriously about having children at the time.

Read them as poetry, they are that good.

The Greatest Love Of All.

I believe that children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride, to make it easier;
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we use to be.
Everybody’s searching for a hero;
People need someone to look up to.
I never found anyone who fulfilled my need.
A lonely place to be, and so I learned to depend on me.
I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow.
If I fail, if I succeed.
At least I lived as I believe.
No matter what they take from me,
They can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.
I believe that children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride, to make it easier;
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we use to be.
I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow.
If I fail, if I succeed, at least I lived as I believe.
No matter what they take from me,
They can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.
And if by chance that special place that you’ve been dreaming of
Lead you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

And in case you have never heard that original, here is George singing them.

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 (27)

I had a brief flirtation with Folk Music in my teens. Bob Dylan, Donovan, and some British Folk Groups like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

Few of those songs stayed with me, and I rarely listen to any now.

But this song by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Covered by Donovan in the UK) is one that still has meaning to this day, and probably always will,

Here are the lyrics.

The Universal Soldier
Buffy Sainte-Marie

He’s five-foot-two and he’s six-feet-four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He’s all of thirty-one and he’s only seventeen
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years
He’s a catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jane
A Buddhist and a Baptist and Jew
And he knows he shouldn’t kill
And he knows he always will kill
You’ll for me my friend and me for you
And he’s fighting for Canada, he’s fighting for France
He’s fighting for the USA
And he’s fighting for the Russians and he’s fighting for Japan
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way
And he’s fighting for democracy, he’s fighting for the reds
He says it’s for the peace of all
He’s the one who must decide who’s to live and who’s to die
And he never sees the writing on the wall
But without him how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would’ve stood alone
He’s the one who gives his body as the weapon of the war
And without him, all this killing can’t go on
He’s the universal soldier and he really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him and you and me
And brothers, can’t you see
This is not the way we put an end to war?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Universal Soldier lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

Here is Buffy singing the song in concert.
(There is a very short interview first)

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.