♫ I Will Always Love You ♫

Dolly Parton wrote this and did the original version in 1974, which went to #1 on the Country chart that year. She recorded another version for the 1982 movie The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, which also hit #1 on the Country chart. She wrote the song after the breakup of the musical partnership she had with country singer Porter Wagoner, though the two were never romantically involved.  While I like Dolly Parton just fine, I prefer the Whitney Houston version of this song.

Whitney’s version would stay at #1 in the U.S. for 14 weeks in 1992, a record at the time. An interesting bit of trivia:  In 2002, while the US was preparing to go to war with Iraq, Saddam Hussein ran TV and radio ads using this song as he prepared to be re-elected. Whitney Houston’s record label filed a complaint with the Iraqi mission to the United Nations.

In an interview with UK music magazine Q, Dolly Parton said she “was blown away” by Whitney’s version. She said: “The way she took that simple song of mine and made it such a mighty thing, it almost became her song. Some writers say, ‘Ooh, I hate the way they’ve done that to my song or that version wasn’t what I had in mind.’ I just think it’s wonderful that people can take a song and do it so many different ways.”

I Will Always Love You
Whitney Houston

If I should stay
I would only be in your way
So I’ll go but I know
I’ll think of you every step of the way

And I… will always love you, ooh
Will always love you
You
My darling, you…
Mmm-mm

Bittersweet memories –
That is all I’m taking with me.
So good-bye.
Please don’t cry:
We both know I’m not what you, you need

And I… will always love you
I… will always love you
You, ooh

[Instrumental / Sax solo]

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of
And I wish you joy and happiness
But above all this I wish you love

And I… will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you

I will always love you
I, I will always love you.

You.
Darling, I love you.
I’ll always…
I’ll always love you.
Ooh
Ooh

Songwriter:  Dolly Parton

♫ Home ♫

A rare visit to one of the blogs I follow made me think of this song, and it got stuck, as songs are wont to do, inside my head.

Home was Michael Bublé’s breakthrough song.  He wrote this song for his then-fiancée, Debbie Timuss, describing the pain of being away from her. His song “Lost” was also inspired by her, but it was about their break up after a relationship of 8 years.

Home
Michael Bublé

Another summer day
Is come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I want to go home
Mmmmmmmm

Maybe surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just want to go home
Oh I miss you, you know

And I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two
“I’m fine baby, how are you?”
Well I would send them but I know that it?s just not enough
My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that

Another aerorplane
Another sunny place
I’m lucky I know
But I want to go home
Mmmm, I’ve got to go home

Let me go home
I’m just too far from where you are
I want to come home

And I feel just like I’m living someone else’s life
It’s like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not
Come along with me
But this was not your dream
But you always believe in me

Another winter day has come
And gone away
And even Paris and Rome
And I want to go home
Let me go home

And I’m surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel alone
Oh, let go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I’ve had my run
Baby, I’m done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all right
I’ll be home tonight
I’m coming back home

Songwriters: Amy Foster- Gillies / Michael Buble / Alan Chang
Home lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ A Change Is Gonna Come ♫

Sam CookeThis one was never a #1 hit, maybe some of you have never even heard it before, but in light of today being the one-year anniversary of the terrible tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, I felt this was the most appropriate song to share.  I do hope you will spend the 3 minutes to listen … it is poignant, moving.

The song was inspired by various personal events in Cooke’s life, most prominently an event in which he and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana. Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his struggle and of those around him, and that pertained to the Civil Rights Movement and African Americans.

On October 8, 1963, en route to Shreveport, Louisiana, Cooke called ahead to the Holiday Inn North to make reservations for his wife, Barbara, and himself, but when he and his group arrived, the desk clerk glanced nervously and explained there were no vacancies. While his brother Charles protested, Sam was fuming, yelling to see the manager and refusing to leave until he received an answer. His wife nudged him, attempting to calm him down, telling him, “They’ll kill you,” to which he responded, “They ain’t gonna kill me, because I’m Sam Cooke.” When they eventually persuaded Cooke to leave, the group drove away calling out insults and blaring their horns. When they arrived at the Castle Motel on Sprague Street downtown, the police were waiting for them, arresting them for disturbing the peace.

Upon hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 1963, Cooke was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black, and was also ashamed he had not yet written something like that himself. However, his image and fears of losing his largely white fan base prevented him from doing so. Cooke loved the song so much it was immediately incorporated into his repertoire.

Many others, including Aaron Neville and Patti LaBelle have recorded this song, but … well, it belongs to Sam Cooke, so without further ado …

♫ I Feel The Earth Move ♫

Written and recorded by pop singer-songwriter Carole King, I Feel the Earth Move, along with its flip-side, It’s Too Late became among the biggest mainstream pop hits of 1971.  Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend, and this song happened to come up in the convo … it then managed to embed itself in my head, so I am sharing it with you in hopes that it will hop from my head to yours!  This is my favourite version of the song, for James Taylor on guitar adds a certain energy to the song that the version on King’s album Tapestry just doesn’t seem to have.  Or maybe it’s just the fact that I drool over James Taylor!

I Feel the Earth Move
James Taylor, Carole King

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Ooh, baby, when I see your face
Mellow as the month of May
Oh, darling, I can’t stand it
When you look at me that way

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Ooo, darling, when you’re near me
And you tenderly call my name
I know that my emotions
Are something I just can’t tame
I’ve just got to have you, baby, uh huh huh uh huh huh yeah

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down

I just lose control
Down to my very soul
I get hot and cold, all over, all over, all over, all over
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down,
A’tumbling down, a’tumbling down, a’tumbling down, a’tumbling down, tumbling down!

Songwriters: Carole King
I Feel the Earth Move lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Seasons In The Sun ♫

Little did I know until tonight that this song initially had quite a different set of lyrics in the beginning!  The song was initially titled Le Moribond (The Dying Man) and was written in French by Jacques Brel, a Belgian songwriter.  Since the original lyrics and concept are a bit disgusting, I won’t put them on this post, but if you’re the curious sort, you can find them at Songfacts.

Terry Jacks re-worked the song, changing the lyrics in honour of his best friend who had recently died of leukemia.  The song was released in 1973, topping the charts in both the U.S. and the UK, and it became the largest selling single in Canadian history.

Seasons in the Sun

Terry Jacks

Goodbye to you my trusted friend
We’ve known each other since we were nine or ten
Together we’ve climbed hills and trees
Learned of love and ABCs
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees

Goodbye my friend, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
Think of me and I’ll be there

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time

Goodbye papa, please pray for me
I was the black sheep of the family
You tried to teach me right from wrong
Too much wine and too much song
Wonder how I got along

Goodbye papa, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
Little children everywhere
When you see them, I’ll be there

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons, have all gone

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons, have all gone

Goodbye Michelle, my little one
You gave me love and helped me find the sun
And every time that I was down
You would always come around
And get my feet back on the ground

Goodbye Michelle, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
With the flowers everywhere
I wish that we could both be there

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the stars we could reach
Were just starfish on the beach

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the stars we could reach
Were just starfish on the beach

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons, have all gone

All our lives we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun

Songwriters:  Rod McKuen, Jacques Roman Brel

♫ Dance With My Father ♫

Luther Vandross, with help from Richard Marx, wrote this song shortly after he suffered a stroke on April 16, 2003, that left him in a coma for two months and eventually killed him two years later on July 1, 2005. The song is a tribute to his late father, and very poignant as it was one of Luther’s last songs. His father died when he was young, and Luther’s most poignant memory of his dad was him dancing in the house with his kids.

At the 2004 Grammy Awards, Vandross, by then confined to a wheelchair, appeared in a pre-taped video segment to accept his Song of the Year Award for “Dance with My Father”, saying, “When I say goodbye it’s never for long, because I believe in the power of love”. 

His last public appearance was on May 6, 2004, on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I love this song, but it always leaves me with a tear or two.

Dance with My Father
Luther Vandross

Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me
And then
Spin me around ’till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure
I was loved

If I could get another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love
To dance with my father again

When I and my mother
Would disagree
To get my way I would run
From her to him
He’d make me laugh just to comfort me
yeah yeah
Then finally make me do
Just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he
Would be gone from me

If I could steal one final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
Cause I’d love love love to
Dance with my father again

Sometimes I’d listen outside her door
And I’d hear how mama would cry for him
I’d pray for her even more than me
I’d pray for her even more than me

I know I’m praying for much to much
But could you send her
The only man she loved
I know you don’t do it usually
But Dear Lord
She’s dying to dance with my father again

Every night I fall asleep
And this is all I ever dream

Songwriters: Luther Vandross / Richard Marx
Dance with My Father lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

Jean

Jean is a popular song from the 1969 movie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. It was written by the American poet and composer Rod McKuen, who also recorded a version of the song, but I prefer this version by Oliver.  Oliver is William Oliver Swofford, and this song, along with Good Morning Starshine, put him on top of the heap for a short time, but it didn’t last long, and he eventually left the music business, opting for a career as a business manager for a major pharmaceutical company.  Oliver died in 2000 at the age of 55, despite receiving a bone marrow transplant 10 months earlier.

Jean
Oliver
.
Jean, Jean, roses are red
All the leaves have gone green
And the clouds are so low
You can touch them, and so
Come out to the meadow, Jean
.
Jean, Jean, you’re young and alive
Come out of your half-dreamed dream
And run, if you will, to the top of the hill
Open your arms, bonnie Jean
.
Till the sheep in the valley come home my way
Till the stars fall around me and find me alone
When the sun comes a-singin’ I’ll still be waitin’
.
For Jean, Jean, roses are red
And all of the leaves have gone green
While the hills are ablaze with the moon’s yellow haze
Come into my arms, bonnie Jean
.
(Jean, Jean)
Jean, you’re young and alive!!
Come out of your half-dreamed dream
And run, if you will to the top of the hill
Come into my arms, bonnie Jean
.
Jean
La-la-la-la
.
Songwriters: Robin Spielberg / Rod Mckuen
Jean lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ September ♫

I had a song picked out, but decided it was a bit on the dark side and we needed something lighter to cheer us today, so I thumbed through my playlist and settled on September by Earth, Wind & Fire.

The story of the song begins in 1978. Allee Willis was a struggling songwriter in LA — until the night she got a call from Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. White offered her the chance of a lifetime: to co-write the band’s next album.Willis arrived at the studio the next day hoping it wasn’t some kind of cosmic joke.

“As I open the door, they had just written the intro to ‘September.’ And I just thought, ‘Dear God, let this be what they want me to write!’ Cause it was obviously the happiest-sounding song in the world.”

There’s some interesting history about the month-long writing of the song on NPR if anybody is interested.

In July 2016, this song was used at the Republican National Convention, without prior approval, and Earth, Wind & Fire was none too happy, tweeting “Another unauthorized use (September) at the Republican Convention, against our wishes.” 

September
Earth, Wind & Fire

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love
Remember how we knew love was here to stay
Now December found the love that we shared in September
Only blue talk and love
Remember the true love we share today

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

The bell was ringing
Our souls were singing
Do you remember, never a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Songwriters: Al McKay / Maurice White / Allee Willis
September lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Rhythm Records Inc D/B/A Steelchest Music

House At Pooh Corner

Who cannot love both Kenny Loggins and Winnie The Pooh?  When you combine the two, you have … sheer magic!  pooh-1From Wikipedia …

kenny-loggins“House at Pooh Corner” is a song written by Kenny Loggins, based on the popular children’s book of the same name. The song was first performed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their 1970 album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy and then performed by Loggins and Messina on their 1971 album Sittin’ In. It is told from the perspective of both Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin, and serves as an allegory for loss of innocence and nostalgia for childhood. It has since become one of Loggins’ most popular and beloved compositions, and it remains a staple of his live performances.”

House At Pooh Corner
Loggins and Messina
Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon.
Posing our questions to owl and eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon.
But I’ve wandered much further today than I should
And I can’t seeem to find my way back to the wood.
So, help me if you can I’ve got to get
Back to the house at Pooh corner by one.
You;d be surprised there’s so much to be done,
Count all the bees in the hive,
Chase all the clouds from the sky.
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh doesn’t know what to do,
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose.
He came to me asking help and advice
And from here no one knows where he goes.
So I sent him to ask of te Owl if he’s there,
How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear
So, help me if you can I’ve got to get
Back to the house at Pooh corner by one
You’d be surprised there’s so much to be done,
Count all the bees in the hive,
Chase all the clouds from the sky .
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh,
Back to the days of Christopher Robin,
Back to the ways of Pooh

It’s hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all’s said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, kissed him
And as I was going
I swear that old bear whispered
Boy, welcome home!

Believe me if you can, I’ve got to get
Back to the house at Pooh Corner by one
What do you know, there’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh
Back to the ways of Christopher Robin and Pooh
Back to the ways of Pooh

 

Songwriters: Kenneth Clark Loggins
House At Pooh Corner lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Ode to Billie Joe

They made a movie out of this one … the song came out in 1967, the movie nine years later in 1976.  The song was written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry, a singer-songwriter from Chickasaw County, Mississippi.  The song tells of a rural Mississippi family’s reaction to the news of the suicide of Billie Joe McAllister, a local boy to whom the daughter (and narrator) is connected.

Questions arose among listeners: what did Billie Joe and his girlfriend throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and why did Billie Joe commit suicide? Speculation ran rampant after the song hit the airwaves. Gentry said in a November 1967 interview that it was the question most asked of her by everyone she met. She named flowers, an engagement ring, a draft card, a bottle of LSD pills, and an aborted baby as the most often guessed items. Although she knew what the item was, she would not reveal it, saying only “Suppose it was a wedding ring.”

“It’s in there for two reasons,” she said. “First, it locks up a definite relationship between Billie Joe and the girl telling the story, the girl at the table. Second, the fact that Billie Joe was seen throwing something off the bridge – no matter what it was – provides a possible motivation as to why he jumped off the bridge the next day.”

The song always leaves me a bit sad, but still, I like it …

Ode to Billie Joe
Bobbie Gentry

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton, and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And mama hollered out the back door, y’all, remember to wipe your feet
And then she said, I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

And papa said to mama, as he passed around the blackeyed peas
Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense; pass the biscuits, please
There’s five more acres in the lower forty I’ve got to plow
And mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin’ ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billy Joe MacAllister’s jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

And brother said he recollected when he, and Tom, and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn’t I talkin’ to him after church last Sunday night?
I’ll have another piece-a apple pie; you know, it don’t seem right
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge
And now ya tell me Billie Joe’s jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

And mama said to me, child, what’s happened to your appetite?
I’ve been cookin’ all morning, and you haven’t touched a single bite
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today
Said he’d be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin’ off the Tallahatchie Bridge

A year has come and gone since we heard the news ’bout Billy Joe
And brother married Becky Thompson; they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going ’round; papa caught it, and he died last spring
And now mama doesn’t seem to want to do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Songwriters: Bobbie Gentry
Ode to Billie Joe lyrics © Spirit Music Group