♫ Manic Monday ♫

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a song with the word ‘Monday’ in the title on … a Monday, of course.  That led to a suggestion for another, which I played the following week, and other suggestions rolled in as well … okay only a few, but still, enough for my feeble mind to try to remember.  One of the suggestions was this song, Manic Monday, by the Bangles.  The title didn’t ring any bells, but when I listened to the song, I well remembered it.

I may have recalled the song, but I was very surprised to find that it was written by Prince!  According to SongFacts …

Prince wrote this alliterative song under the name “Christopher” (the name of his character in his movie Under the Cherry Moon), and it became the Bangles’ first hit. The purple one discovered the group after coming across the video for one of their early singles, “Hero Takes a Fall,” on MTV. He showed up at a Bangles gig in Los Angeles, then he put together a very special mixtape for the group – one with two original songs he had written and wanted them to record. In a Songfacts interview with Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, she explained: “I went and picked up a cassette. It had two songs on it and one of them was ‘Manic Monday.’”

Susanna Hoffs sang lead on this track, but she wasn’t their lead singer: all four members of the group shared vocal duties. They took pains to make sure each member was represented equally, which is clear on the album and single art where their individual photos are displayed in an even grid. Despite their efforts at equality, Hoffs got most of the press attention, with many assuming she was the group leader. This caused considerable discord, especially after “Eternal Flame,” another Hoffs lead vocal that was a huge hit. It played out with the band breaking up in 1989 and Hoffs going solo. On her own, she never came close to the success she attained with the Bangles; in 1998, at her behest, they got back together.

The SongFacts article is lengthy, but interesting, so if you’re so inclined, read the rest on their site.  This song reached the #2 spot in both the UK, the U.S., and Canada, and charted well throughout the EU.

Manic Monday

Bangles

Six o’clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin’ Valentino
By a crystal-blue, Italian stream

But I can’t be late
‘Cause then I guess I just won’t get paid
These are the days
When you wish your bed was already made

It’s just another manic Monday (Woah, woah)
I wish it was Sunday (Woah, woah)
‘Cause that’s my fun day (Woah, woah, woah, woah)
My I don’t have to run day (Woah, woah)
It’s just another manic Monday

Have to catch an early train
Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an aeroplane
I still couldn’t make it on time

‘Cause it takes me so long (Oh, oh)
Just to figure out what I’m gonna wear
Blame it on the train
But the boss is already there

It’s just another manic Monday (Woah, woah)
I wish it was Sunday (Woah, woah)
‘Cause that’s my fun day (Woah, woah, woah, woah)
My I don’t have to run day (Woah, woah)
It’s just another manic Monday

Of all my nights
Why did my lover have to pick last night
To get down?
(Last night, last night)
Doesn’t it matter
That I have to feed the both of us?
Employment’s down

He tells me in his bedroom voice
C’mon honey, let’s go make some noise
Time it goes so fast
(When you’re having fun)

It’s just another manic Monday (Woah, woah)
I wish it was Sunday (Woah, woah)
‘Cause that’s my fun day (Woah, woah, woah, woah)
My I don’t have to run day (Woah, woah)

It’s just another manic Monday (Woah, woah)
I wish it was Sunday (Woah, woah, woah, woah)
‘Cause that’s my fun day (Woah, woah)
It’s just another manic Monday

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Prince Rogers Nelson

Manic Monday lyrics © Npg Publishing

♫ Fire and Rain ♫ (Redux)

I last played this one a couple of years ago, but tonight I’m just in the mood for some James Taylor … hope you are too!


I love James Taylor’s voice … it is sensual, somehow.  It is … as if he is singing to me and only me.  I did not know, until doing a brief bit of research for this music post, that he had been heavily into drugs.  Silly me, eh … what else should I have expected?  Sigh.

Taylor wrote this in 1968 at three different times. He started it in London, where he auditioned for The Beatles’ Apple Records. He later worked on it in a Manhattan Hospital, and finished it while in drug rehab at The Austin Riggs Center in Massachusetts. In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor explained: “The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend (that would be Suzanne – explained below). The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it. And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs which lasted about five months.”

“It concerned a girl called Susanne I knew who they put into an isolation cell and she couldn’t take it and committed suicide.”  Her name was Susie Schnerr, and Taylor also explained that it was months before he found out about her death, as his friends withheld the news so it wouldn’t distract Taylor from his burgeoning music career.

In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor added: “I always felt rather bad about the line, ‘The plans they made put an end to you,’ because ‘they’ only meant ‘ye gods,’ or basically ‘the Fates.’ I never knew her folks but I always wondered whether her folks would hear that and wonder whether it was about them.”

When Taylor performed this in 2015 on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he and Colbert had some fun, with Taylor explaining that he was still working on it. “I wrote that song in 1970, and I just hadn’t seen that much back then – mostly fire and rain, so that’s why I keep saying it over and over again in the song,” he said.

Taylor then explained that he had never seen a calzone at the time, but if he had, he would have definitely added it to the lyric. Taylor and Colbert then performed an updated version of the song with new lyrics. A sample:

“I’ve seen man buns, Myspace and the Baha Men, but I never thought I’d see a new Star Wars again”

“I’ve seen grandmas reading 50 Shades of Grey”

“Quidditch teams and skinny jeans cutting blood off from my thighs”

Oh my!

And here’s James with Stephen Colbert in the updated version … I promise you will laugh!!!

Fire And Rain
James Taylor

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can’t remember who to send it to

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Won’t you look down upon me, jesus
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things
To come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I’d see you one more time again
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I’d see you, thought I’d see you fire and rain, now

Songwriters: James Taylor / James V Taylor
Fire And Rain lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Wooly Bully ♫

Here’s one I bet you haven’t heard in a while, or at least since I played it a couple of years ago!  The year was 1965 and this was the first and biggest hit for Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs.  It became a worldwide success, selling three million copies and reaching #2 in the U.S.  It reached #11 in the UK and was the first U.S. record to sell a million copies during the British Invasion, influenced by the British rock sound mixed with traditional Mexican-American rhythms.

The lyrics of “Wooly Bully” were hard to understand, and some radio stations actually banned the song. The lyrics describe a conversation between “Mattie” and “Hattie” concerning the “Wooly Bully” (a creature which Mattie describes as “a thing she saw [that] had two big horns and a wooly jaw”) and the desirability of developing dancing skills, though I have no idea what the connection between the two are.  “Let’s not be L-7”, means “Let’s not be square”, from the shape formed by the fingers making an L on one hand and a 7 on the other.  I never knew that!

Sam is Domingo “Sam” Samudio, known for his camp robe and turban and hauling his equipment in a 1952 Packard hearse with maroon velvet curtains.Sam-Sham-hearseAccording to Sam …

“The name of my cat was ‘Wooly Bully’, so I started from there. The count down part of the song was also not planned. I was just goofing around and counted off in Tex-Mex. It just blew everybody away, and actually, I wanted it taken off the record. We did three takes, all of them different, and they took the first take and released it.”

Wooly Bully
Sam the Sham, & The Pharaohs

Uno, dos, one, two, tres, quatro
Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw
Had two big horns and a wooly jaw
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Hatty told Matty, let’s don’t take no chance
Let’s not be l-seven, come and learn to dance
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Matty told Hatty, that’s the thing to do
Get you someone really to pull the wool with you
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Songwriters: Domingo Samudio
Wolly Bully lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Music Sales Corporation

♫ It’s Now Or Never ♫

I have often said I was not a fan of Elvis Presley … I thought he was a bit too much of a showman and not enough of a serious musician.  However, some of his music I did … and do … really like.  Tonight’s song is one such … for no apparent reason it popped into my head tonight … Oh wait … I remember why!  I was responding to a comment by Roger and used the phrase “It’s now or never” and thus the song popped into my ancient mind!  Anyway … according to SongFacts …

This Elvis classic borrows the chord progression as well as the melody from the Italian song “O Sole Mio,” which was first recorded by Giuseppe Anselmi in 1907. Mario Lanza popularized the song, and Tony Martin released the first English translation as “There’s No Tomorrow” in 1949.

When Elvis was in the US army, he was stationed in Germany and heard “O Sole Mio.” When he was discharged, he asked his record company to write an English translation for him, a task that went to songwriters Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, who according to Gold, did it in 30 minutes. It was a huge hit, knocking “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” from the top spot in America and staying for five weeks.

Here we have Elvis Presley, the undisputed king of rock and roll, singing a song with a traditional melody that sounds like something Dean Martin would record. It was quite a stretch for Elvis and also a challenge: in 1957 Frank Sinatra said, “When he goes into something serious, a bigger kind of singing, we’ll find out if he is a singer.”

This was one of 17 songs written by songwriter and producer Aaron Schroeder for Elvis. Others include “Stuck on You” and “A Big Hunk O’ Love” but this was the biggest hit that he penned for The King. Another familiar tune to many that he wrote was the theme song for the TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Schroeder also discovered, managed and directed the career of Gene Pitney and helped the young careers of acts like Jimi Hendrix and Barry White.

“O Sole Mio” was in the public domain in America, so the only songwriters credited are Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, who wrote the lyrics for Elvis to sing (earning a tidy sum for 30 minutes of work). In the UK, that song was still under copyright, which delayed its release until it could be cleared, with “O Sole Mio” composer Eduardo Di Capua added to the credits. This built up anticipation for the song, and when it was finally released in Britain, it racked up huge sales. “It’s Now Or Never” hit #1 on November 3, 1960 (two-and-a-half months after reaching the top in America), and stayed for eight weeks, the longest of any Elvis single.

Barry White heard this song in 1960 when he was in jail for stealing tires. The song had such an impact on White, that it convinced him to pursue a career in music.

And without further ado …

It’s Now Or Never

Elvis Presley

It’s now or never
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling
Be mine tonight

Tomorrow will be too late
It’s now or never
My love won’t wait

When I first saw you
With your smile so tender
My heart was captured
My soul surrendered

I spent a lifetime
Waiting for the right time
Now that you’re near
The time is here, at last

It’s now or never
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling
Be mine tonight

Tomorrow will be too late
It’s now or never
My love won’t wait

Just like a willow
We would cry an ocean
If we lost true love
And sweet devotion

Your lips excite me
Let your arms invite me
For who knows when
We’ll meet again this way

It’s now or never
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling
Be mine tonight

Tomorrow will be too late
It’s now or never
My love won’t wait

It’s now or never
My love won’t wait

It’s now or never
My love won’t wait
It’s now or never
My love won’t wait

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Aaron Schroeder / Wally Gold

It’s Now or Never (Bonus Tracks) lyrics © Gladys Music, Rachel’s Own Music, Universal Music Publishing Ricordi Srl., Abg Epe Gladys Music, Gladys Music Elvis Presley Enterprises Llc.

♫ Sacrifice ♫

I last played this in 1920 and several readers said it was among their favourite Elton John songs, so since I’m tired and feeling a bit under the weather tonight, I thought it was a good time to redux it!

As is the case with most of Elton’s songs, the lyrics are by Bernie Taupin and the music by Elton.  It was inspired both by the Aretha Franklin song Do Right Woman, Do Right Man and described as a Percy Sledge song by Elton John.

This was released as a single in 1989, but stalled at #55 in the UK. Six months later it was revived in the UK by DJ Steve Wright, who began replaying it on his BBC Radio One afternoon show. He reported the great listener reaction to Rocket Records, which reissued it as a double A-side along with his previous release “Healing Hands,” which had also flopped in the UK. By mid-summer 1990, the single went to #1 in the UK, but only reached #18 in the U.S.

Actually, now that I think about it, it’s rather a sad song and I was hoping for one to give me good cheer.  Oh well.

Sacrifice
Elton John

It’s a human sign
When things go wrong
When the scent of her lingers
And temptation’s strong

Into the boundary
Of each married man
Sweet deceit comes calling
And negativity lands

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

Mutual misunderstanding
After the fact
Sensitivity builds a prison
In the final act

We lose direction
No stone unturned
No tears to damn you
When jealousy burns

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all

Songwriters: Bernie Taupin / Elton John
Sacrifice lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ The Long And Winding Road♫ (Redux)

This is a redux from one I played back in 2020 … eons ago! 

Tonight’s selection is strange, in that it is a Beatles recording, yet while it reached the #1 spot in the U.S., it did not chart in the Beatles home country, the UK!  For me, at least, this is one of those that can get stuck in my head for days at a time, for I mostly love the tune, never knew the full lyrics until tonight!

From their 1970 album Let It Be, this was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney.  The road McCartney is talking about is the B842 which runs down the east coast of Kintyre and on into Campbeltown near his Scottish farmhouse.  Says McCartney …

“I just sat down at my piano in Scotland, started playing and came up with that song, imagining it was going to be done by someone like Ray Charles. I have always found inspiration in the calm beauty of Scotland and again it proved the place where I found inspiration.”

Paul McCartney offered this song to Tom Jones in 1968 on the condition it be his next single. He had Without Love (There is Nothing) set for release so he turned down the offer, something he would later regret. Speaking with Media Wales in 2012, Jones explained:

“I saw him (McCartney) in a club called Scotts Of St. James on Jermyn Street in London. I said to him When are you going to write me a song then Paul? He said, aye I will then. Then not long after he sent a song around to my house, which was ‘The Long And Winding Road,’ but the condition was that I could do it but it had to be my next single.

Paul wanted it out straight away. At that time I had a song called ‘Without Love’ that I was going to be releasing. The record company was gearing up towards the release of it. The timing was terrible, but I asked if we could stop everything and I could do ‘The Long And Winding Road.’ They said it would take a lot of time and it was impractical, so I ended up not doing it. I was kicking myself. I knew it was a strong song.”

The Beatles recorded this in January 1969 as a fairly simple ballad. By 1970, The Beatles were breaking up and and Phil Spector was brought in to go through the tapes and produce the album. Spector was known for his “Wall Of Sound” recording technique, where he added many instruments and layered the tracks to create a very full sound. On this track, he took out most of The Beatles instruments and added a string section and choir (The Mike Sammes Singers). The result was very different from what the group originally had in mind.

Even though he wrote this song, Paul McCartney didn’t go to the sessions where Spector produced it. When McCartney heard the results, he made it clear that he hated what Spector did to his song, and tried to get the original version, which was mixed by engineer Glyn Johns, on the album. The band was already falling apart, and this caused further turmoil within the group, as Harrison and Lennon both supported Spector. Paul has not changed his stance over the years, and still believes Spector butchered it. Lennon and Harrison felt otherwise, and each had Spector produce their next solo efforts. Lennon said of Spector’s work on Let It Be:

“Phil was given the s–ttiest load of badly recorded s–t with a lousy feeling to it, and he made something of it.”

Some of the many artists who covered this song: Tony Bennett, George Benson, Cilla Black, Ray Charles, Cher, Judy Collins, Peter Frampton, Aretha Franklin, Richie Havens, Cissy Houston, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Liberace, The London Symphony Orchestra, Barry Manilow, Mantovani, Johnny Mathis, Bill Medley, George Michael, Olivia Newton-John, Billy Ocean, Stu Phillips, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Kevin Rowland, Sarah Vaughan, Andy Williams and Nancy Wilson.  Whew … that’s quite a list!

In an interview shortly before he became British Prime Minister, after five years as Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron told Q magazine that this is his favorite Paul McCartney song. He explained:

“It has a wonderful melody and emotion and pretty much sums up the life of the Leader of the Opposition.”

The Long and Winding Road
The Beatles

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Anyway, you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried

And still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
The Long and Winding Road lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Marrakesh Express ♫ (Redux)

I played this one a couple of years ago, but it was well-received and so tonight I shall … “Play it again, Sam” thanks to our friend Keith for planting this earworm!!!
Marrakesh is a city in Morocco famous for leather goods. The “Marrakesh Express” is the train Graham Nash took on a trip there from Casablanca in 1966. The lyrics are filled with the sights, sounds and vibes that he encountered on the trip.

Prior to exiting the Hollies in 1968, Nash offered this to his band mates. However, the tune was ultimately rejected as being not commercial enough. Their refusal to record this and other tunes he wrote was one of the main reasons Nash left the band and moved to Los Angeles to join up with Crosby and Stills.

“After a couple months of that, a man is liable to go insane. Especially being the only one who was smoking grass at the time.”

Fortunately, his new band mates liked the tune and it ended up on their debut album.

This became Crosby Sills And Nash’s first hit in the US, and surprisingly their only Top 40 single in the UK.  According to Nash …

“In 1966 I was visiting Morocco on vacation to Marrakesh and getting on a train and having a first-class ticket and then realizing that the first-class compartment was completely f–king boring, you know, ladies with blue hair in there – it wasn’t my scene at all. So I decide I’m going to go and see what the rest of the train is like. And the rest of the train was fascinating. Just like the song says, there were ducks and pigs and chickens all over the place and people lighting fires. It’s literally the song as it is – what happened to me.”

Marrakesh Express
Crosby, Stills & Nash

Looking at the world
Through the sunset in your eyes
Trying to make the train
Through clear Moroccan skies
Ducks and pigs and chickens call
Animal carpet wall to wall
American ladies five foot tall in blue.

Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find
Hope the days that lie ahead
Bring us back to where they’ve led
Listen not to what’s been said to you

Would you know we’re riding
On the Marrakesh Express
Would you know we’re riding
On the Marrakesh Express
All on board that train

I’ve been saving all my money just to take you there
I smell the garden in your hair

Take the train from Casablanca going south
Blowing smoke rings from the corners of my my, my, my, my mouth
Colored cottons hang in air
Charming cobras in the square
Striped Djellebas we can wear at home
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh
All on board that train
All on board that train

Songwriters: Graham Nash
Marrakesh Express lyrics © Spirit Music Group

♫ Monday Morning ♫

Last Monday, I played Jimmy Buffett’s Come Monday, mostly because it had “Monday” in the title and I was attempting to be creative.  Clive was the first to suggest another Monday song, then a few others followed suit with their own suggestions.  Since Clive was first, and since this isn’t a bad song, I’m playing it this Monday!  I will probably play some of the others on future Monday mornings!

I found very little background or trivia about the song beyond this from SongFacts …

This was written by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. He and his girlfriend at the time Stevie Nicks were recording as the duo Buckingham-Nicks and had released one album when they were asked to join Fleetwood Mac. This song was written for a second Buckingham-Nicks album, but when they joined Fleetwood Mac they brought this with them along with “Landslide” and “Rhiannon.” These songs helped make Fleetwood Mac a force in the pop music world and establish a strong radio presence for the band.

Wikipedia goes into just a bit more detail …

Like “Rhiannon” and “I’m So Afraid”, “Monday Morning” was intended for a second Buckingham Nicks LP, but the album never came to fruition as their label, Polydor Records, dropped the duo from their roster before they could record a follow-up. The three aforementioned songs were presented to the rest of Fleetwood Mac on Buckingham’s 4-track tape machine during the 1975 recording sessions of Fleetwood Mac. While drummer Mick Fleetwood immediately took a liking to the demos, bassist John McVie was initially hesitant to venture away from the band’s blues roots. Producer Keith Olsen convinced McVie that the band would be more successful embracing pop rock, quipping, “It’s a much faster way to the bank”.

During live performances from 1975-1978, Buckingham performed an intro that would later become the melody of “Tusk”. The song was performed on all of the band’s tours from 1975 to 1978. The song reappeared on the Unleashed Tour in 2009 and later the An Evening with Fleetwood Mac Tour in 2018-2019.

Monday Morning

Fleetwood Mac

Monday morning you sure look fine
Friday I got travelin’ on my mind
First you love me and then you fade away
I can’t go on believin’ this way
I got nothing but love for you
Tell me what you really want to do
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don’t mind, I don’t mind, yeah

I’ll be there if you want me to
No one else that could ever do
Got to get some peace in my mind

Monday morning you sure look fine
Friday I got travelin’ on my mind
First you love me and then you say it’s wrong
You know I can’t go on believing for long

But you know it’s true
You only want me when I get over you
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don’t mind, no, I don’t mind, yeah

I’ll be there if you want me to
No one else that could ever do
Got to get some peace in my mind

But you know it’s true
You know you only want me when I get over you
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don’t mind, no, I don’t mind, yeah

I’ll be there if you want me to
No one else that could ever do
Got to get some peace in my mind

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Lindsey Buckingham

Monday Morning lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

♫ Your Song ♫ (Redux)

I know I just played this last year, and I do try not to redux a song for at least two years, but I have a reason for reduxing this one tonight!  On Friday night, Sir Elton John played at a concert in the White House hosted by President and First Lady Biden.  The concert, titled “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” was part of his farewell tour after a glittering 50-year career. It was also an event to honor “everyday history-makers in the audience,” according to the White House, among them teachers, military families and LGBTQ+ advocates.

Elton dedicated Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me to Ryan White and his mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, who attended the concert. Her son lost his life to AIDS-related complications after a blood transfusion and died in 1990, just a month before his high school graduation.

But the real surprise of the evening came at the end of the concert when President Biden awarded Elton John the National Humanities Medal for his work and activism with numerous charities and humanitarian causes, especially those tackling HIV/AIDS.  Said Elton, fighting back tears …

“I’m never flabbergasted, but I’m flabbergasted and humbled and honored by this incredible award from the United States of America. I will treasure this so much.”

And after seeing that … how could I not play some Elton?


This was one of the first songs Elton John wrote with Bernie Taupin. They met after a record company gave Elton some of Taupin’s lyrics to work with. Eventually, they both moved into John’s parents’ house, where they started working together.

The song was written in 1967, when Bernie Taupin was 17 and Elton was 20. Both Elton John and Bernie Taupin agree that this is one of their best efforts. Said Taupin:

“I think ‘Your Song’ is a gem. Our classic, I’m not sure. I’ll let others decide that. But it’s like an old friend, it means so many things on equally as many levels. It’s certainly proved its worth, and I’ve heard it sung a million times. It’s like a good dog, it’s always there.”

Elton performs this at all his concerts. He once said of this song: “I don’t think I’ve written a love song as good since.” He has called it “A perfect song,” and says that the older he gets, the more the lyrics resonate with him.

In 1998, Your Song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2004, the song was placed at number 137 on Rolling Stones list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, as well as in its 2010 list. The song is listed among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. A demo version was included in John’s 1990 box set album To Be Continued.

The song has been covered by a number of artists, including Ellie Goulding, whose version reached number two on the UK Singles Chart in late 2010, and Lady Gaga. The song was also covered by Ewan McGregor in the 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge! and by Taron Egerton in the 2019 film Rocketman. The song was eventually certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA.

Your Song hit #8 in the U.S., #3 in Canada, and #7 in the UK.

Your Song
Elton John

It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide
I don’t have much money, but, boy, if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live
If I was a sculptor, heh, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song, and this one’s for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well, a few of the verses, well, they’ve got me quite cross
But the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song
It’s for people like you that keep it turned on
So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do
You see, I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue
Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen

So excuse me forgetting
But these things I do
You see I’ve forgotten
If they’re green or they’re blue
Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin
Your Song lyrics © Dick James Music Ltd.

 

♫ Another Saturday Night ♫

On Monday, I played a ‘Monday’ song, Come Monday, and as a result have gotten several suggestions for other ‘Monday’ songs!  So, after finishing Saturday Surprise last night, I thought maybe I’d dig through my repertoire for a ‘Saturday’ song and this was the first one I came up with.  It was actually a toss-up between this and Chicago’s Saturday in the Park, but I just played that one last year and I haven’t played this one in over four years!  Feel free to make some suggestions for future Saturday music posts — or any other day, for that matter!

Sam Cooke wrote this when he was touring England in 1962 with Little Richard.  Cat Stevens also recorded it in 1974, and later (1993), Jimmy Buffett of Margaritaville fame recorded it, but … I always prefer the Sam Cooke version.  I didn’t realize it, but this was the first song Cooke released after the tragic drowning death of his 18-month-old son, Vincent.

Cooke was one of the first African-American artists to truly cross over onto the Pop charts and resonate with white audiences. Cooke cultivated his crossover success, opening up venues to African-American artists that had largely been denied them.

Another Saturday Night
Sam Cooke

Another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful way
Let me tell you ’bout it, lookie here

I got in town a month ago
I seen a lotta girls since then
If I could meet ’em I could get ’em
But as yet I haven’t met ’em
That’s why I’m in the shape I’m in

Here, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful way

Now, another fella told me
He had a sister who looked just fine
Instead of being my deliverance
She had a strange resemblance
To a cat named Frankenstein

Here, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful way, yeah

Man, another Saturday night, ain’t got nobody
If I’d’ve been back home now, I’d’ve been swinging
Two chicks on my arm
Lord, sad weekend
Let me tell you now, huh

It’s hard on a fella
When he don’t know his way around
If I don’t find me a honey
To help me spend my money
I’m gonna have to blow this town

Here, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful

Here it is, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful

One more time, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful

Songwriters: Sam Cooke
Another Saturday Night lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc

Saturday night