♫ Mockingbird ♫

My friend Jerry often sends me ideas for my music posts.  He and I do not generally share the same taste in music, so it’s rare that I use his suggestions here, but a few nights ago he sent me one, saying …

“I know you’re not doing much on the music posts, but here’s one I think that YOU will like. I heard the song the other day and was curious if they did it live. The harmonies are hard to do the way they did it on record, but they sure did pull it off live. Impressive!!”

The song was Mockingbird, the artists are James Taylor, whom I adore, and Carly Simon, and he’s right … they sure did pull it off!

It turns out that Inez and Charlie Foxx initially recorded this in 1963.  According to SongFacts …

  • This is based on a traditional American folk song sometimes known as “Hush Little Baby.” The song is a lullaby, intended to soothe a young child to sleep with promises of expensive gifts. Northern Mockingbirds were often kept as pets in America, which explains the significance of the lyrics.
  • Bo Diddley used the traditional lyrics for his 1955 song “Bo Diddley,” but his song had a completely different arrangement.
  • Inez and Charlie Foxx were brother and sister. In 1974, James Taylor and Carly Simon, who were married at the time, recorded their version, which was also a hit. Country singer Toby Keith recorded it with his teenage daughter Krystal in 2004, and that same year, Eminem made it into a song for his daughter Hailie. Eminem’s song veers from the traditional lyrics as he details his struggles to raise his daughter and threatens to break the bird’s neck if it doesn’t sing.
  • Toby Keith did a duet of this song with his daughter, Krystal, for his 2004 Greatest Hits Volume 2 album.
  • This song is part of a key scene in the 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber, where Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels sing it for musical entertainment.

And Jerry later sent me another message saying that “Interesting tidbit about the song, when JT does it nowadays, his daughter, that he had with CS does her part. When CS does it, the son they had together, does his part. Talk about keeping it in the family.”

And so, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado I present to you James Taylor and Carly Simon!  (My apologies for the funky alignment of the lyrics … it’s late, I’m tired, and I have no idea why it won’t align properly, so I’m going to bed now!)

Mockingbird

James Taylor & Carly Simon

Mock (yeah)
Ing (yeah)
Bird (yeah)
Yeah (yeah)
Mockin’bird, now

Everybody have you heard
He’s gonna buy me a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing
He’s gonna buy me a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring won’t shine
He’s gonna surely break this heart of mine

And that’s why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, oh

Hear me now and understand
He’s gonna find me some peace of mind

And if that piece of mind won’t stay
I’m gonna find myself a better way

And if that better way ain’t so
I’ll ride with the tide and go with the flow

And that’s why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, oh

Now, everybody have you heard
She’s gonna buy me a mockingbird
Yeah if that mockingbird don’t sing
She’s gonna buy me a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring won’t shine
Yes, it’ll surely break this heart of mine
And there’s a reason why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

Listen now and understand
She’s gonna find me some peace of mind
Yeah if that piece of mind won’t stay
I’m gonna get myself a better way

I might rise above, I might go below
Ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that’s the reason why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, now, now. baby

♫ Anticipation ♫

A couple of nights ago, I played You’re So Vain by Carly Simon, and Clive commented that while he liked the song fine, his favourite by Ms. Simon is Anticipation.  And so tonight … this one’s for you, Clive!

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Carly said she wrote this song about Cat Stevens while she was waiting for him to pick her up for their first date. Simon was opening for Stevens at the Troubadour in Los Angeles; she invited him to come by her apartment for their date after the show, and he accepted. As time ticked by, Simon got peeved and vented her frustration by writing this song.

When Stevens did show up, it marked the beginning of a loving relationship Simon spoke of fondly many years later. She ended up marrying James Taylor in 1972.

This song was revived in a series of Heinz ketchup commercials in the late ’70s, including one starring a young Corey Feldman. Heinz ketchup is thick and pours very slowly. In the commercials, a person would be shown waiting for the ketchup to come out of the bottle as the chorus of Anticipation played in the background. For this reason, many people (myself included) think of this song as “The Ketchup Song.”

Anticipation is one of Simon’s biggest hits. It has been included on several compilations of her work, including The Best of Carly Simon (1975), Clouds in My Coffee (1995), The Very Best of Carly Simon: Nobody Does It Better (1999), Anthology (2002), and Reflections: Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits (2004).

Released in 1971, this song reached the #13 spot in the U.S. and #9 in Canada, but did not chart in the UK.

Anticipation
Carly Simon

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’

And I tell you how easy it feels to be with you
And how right your arms feel around me
But I, I rehearsed those words just late last night
When I was thinkin’ about how right tonight might be

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’

And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways
So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days

And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Carly Simon
Anticipation lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ You’re So Vain ♫

I last played this one in April 2019 and had a lot of fun with it back then.  So, tonight being one of those nights when there isn’t a song in my heart and I’m too tired to try to put one there, I’m replaying it! 


An old friend sent me a text message yesterday:

Got a song that you may want to delve in. “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. A good investigating song. Try and figure out who the three men are that it’s about.

Well, me being me … half deaf and never paying much attention to music trivia until recently … I had no idea that the song was actually ‘about’ anybody, but his challenge piqued my curiosity.

The song, written by Carly Simon herself in 1971, was released the following year, and apparently each of the three verses is about a different ‘vain’ man.  In 2015, she admitted that one of the men was Warren Beatty, but other than that she has only given clues, such as that one of the men’s name contains ‘A’, ‘E’, and ‘R’.  She has also said it is not about Mick Jagger, who contributed uncredited backing vocals to the song, or her ex-husband James Taylor.  Wait … what???  I never knew that James Taylor was married to Carly Simon!  And here I thought James Taylor was saving himself for me!  Where have I been all my life?

In 2015, Simon published her memoir titled “Boys in the Trees”, but she gave away no answers to the puzzle there, either, and the book is largely about her often tumultuous relationship with Taylor.

In short, I don’t know the answer.  Howard Stern does, for she reportedly told him, but swore him to secrecy.  But here are some of the possibilities:

  • Sean Connery
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Terrence Malick  (who???)
  • Bob Rafelson (again, who???)
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Cat Stevens

It is said that during each of the verses, you can hear a whisper of the name that verse is about.  Now, since I do well to even hear the words that are sung, I’ll leave it up to you guys to listen for the whisper.  And thank you, J.R., for issuing the challenge … it was fun!

You’re So Vain
Carly Simon

You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse, naturally, won
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend,
Wife of a close friend, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Songwriters: Carly E. Simon
You’re So Vain lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Her Town Too ♫

I was going to play something meaningful tonight … you know, something to make us believe that there are brighter days ahead, that the human experiment isn’t failing, something like Cat Stevens’ Peace Train or the composite of so many artists for a good cause, We Are The World.  Or even John Lennon’s Imagine, or Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney’s Ebony and Ivory.  Instead, I settled on the voice of James Taylor to bring a smile to my face, and I hope he brings one to yours as well.

James Taylor and J.D. Souther wrote this song with Waddy Wachtell, a guitarist known for his work with Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt and Warren Zevon. The song tells the story of a woman who finds herself living alone after a breakup with her man, and has to deal with the small town gossip. Many people speculated that the song was doubly autobiographical: Taylor’s marriage with Carly Simon was ending, as was Souther’s relationship with Linda Ronstadt. Taylor and Souther refuse to say who they were singing about, though many speculate it was his breakup with Carly that inspired the song.

Her Town Too
James Taylor / J.D. Souther

She’s been afraid to go out
She’s afraid of the knock on her door
There’s always a shade of a doubt
She can never be sure
Who comes to call
Maybe the friend of a friend of a friend
Anyone at all
Anything but nothing again

It used to be her town
It used to be her town, too
It used to be her town
It used to be her town, too

Seems like even her old girlfriends
Might be talking her down
She’s got her name on the grapevine
Running up and down
The telephone line
Talking ’bout
Someone said, someone said
Something ’bout, something else
Someone might have said about her
She always figured that they were her friends
But maybe they can live without her

It used to be her town
It used to be her town, too
It used to be her town
It used to be her town, too

Well, people got used to seeing them both together
But now he’s gone and life goes on
Nothing lasts forever, oh no
She gets the house and the garden
He gets the boys in the band
Some of them his friends
Some of them her friends
Some of them understand
Lord knows that this is just a small town city
Yes, and everyone can see you fall
It’s got nothing to do with pity
I just wanted to give you a call

It used to be your town
It used to be my town, too
You never know ’till it all falls down
Somebody loves you
Somebody loves you
Darling, somebody still loves you
I can still remember
When it used to be her town, too
It used to be your town
It used to be my town, too

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John David Souther / James Vernon Taylor / Waddy Wachtell
Her Town Too lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Shower The People ♫

Last week I played a James Taylor song, Fire and Rain, and friend Larry aka justdrivewillyou, mentioned that his favourite by James Taylor is Shower the People.  Well, I aim to please and fully intended to play it a day or two later, but then Little Richard died and I felt it would be wrong not to do a brief tribute to the man and his music.  And then, I fell somewhat under the weather and haven’t done a music post since that one on May 10th, nearly a week.

Released in June 1976, this is not one of Taylor’s most popular songs, reaching only #22 in the U.S., not even making the top 40 in Canada, and as far as I can tell it didn’t chart anywhere else.  I suppose it is for that reason that I cannot find much in the way of background information about the song and its origins.  I did learn something that I, the cultural throwback, did not know … James Taylor was married to Carly Simon, who did the backing vocals for the recorded version of this song, from 1972 – 1983!  Who knew?  Okay, yeah, probably everyone in the world but me.  🙄

It may not have been wildly popular, but I like the song, like the message …

Shower The People
James Taylor

You can play the game and you can act out the part,
Even though you know it wasn’t written for you.
Tell me, how can you stand there with
Your broken heart ashamed of playing the fool?
One thing can lead to another; it doesn’t take any sacrifice.
Oh, father and mother,
Sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice,
Just shower the people you love with
Love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will do as I say, just
Shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.

You can run but you cannot hide, this is widely known.
Tell me, what you plan to do with your
Foolish pride when you’re all by yourself, alone.
Once you tell somebody the way that you
Feel, you can feel it beginning to ease.
I think it’s true what they say about
The squeaky wheel always getting the grease.
Better to shower the people you love
With love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be just fine if you
Only will what I’d like to do to you.
Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.

Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
You’ll feel better right away.
Don’t take much to do, sell you pride.
They say in every life,
They say the rain must fall, just like pouring rain, make it rain.
Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine, oh yes,
Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine. Everybody, everybody.

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Taylor James V
Shower The People lyrics © Country Road Music, Country Road Music Inc

♫ It’s Too Late ♫

It was almost a year ago that I played the flip-side of this one, I Feel The Earth Move.  Carole King wrote this with Toni Stern, a free-spirited painter and lyricist from Los Angeles who complemented King very well. Said Stern:

“I’m sure there was a California quality in me that appealed to Carole. She was moving from a familial, middle class lifestyle to Laurel Canyon, where she started to let her hair down, literally and figuratively. We worked off our contrasts.”

This song was rumored to be about James Taylor, who was good friends with King and played on the Tapestry. In early 1971, Taylor and King toured together with King the opening act. Many people tended to think that this song was about a short romance between the two. King never confirmed these rumors, and Taylor later dated and married Carly Simon.

Toni Stern, however, did have a relationship with Taylor and wrote the lyrics after they broke up and he moved on to Joni Mitchell, but she won’t confirm it’s about the troubadour. “I won’t say who ‘It’s Too Late’ is about.  I don’t kiss and tell.”

Some people saw a political message in this song, as the idealism of the ’60s had faded and the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy in 1968 had left a young generation jaded, believing that “It’s too late” to change things.

It’s Too Late
Carole King

Stayed in bed all mornin’ just to pass the time
There’s somethin’ wrong here, there can be no denyin’
One of us is changin’, or maybe we’ve just stopped tryin’

And it’s too late, baby now, it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it
Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide
And I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no

It used to be so easy, livin’ here with you
You were light and breezy, an’ I knew just what to do
Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool

And it’s too late, baby now, it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it
Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide
And I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no

There’ll be good times again for me and you
But we just can’t stay together, don’t you feel it, too?
Still I’m glad for what we had and how I once loved you

But it’s too late, baby now, it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it (we can’t make it)
Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide
And I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no, no, no, no

It’s too late, baby, it’s too late now, darling
It’s too late

Songwriters: Carole King / Toni Stern
It’s Too Late lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ You’re So Vain ♫

An old friend sent me a text message yesterday:

Got a song that you may want to delve in. “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. A good investigating song. Try and figure out who the three men are that it’s about.

Well, me being me … half deaf and never paying much attention to music trivia until recently … I had no idea that the song was actually ‘about’ anybody, but his challenge piqued my curiosity.

The song, written by Carly Simon herself in 1971, was released the following year, and apparently each of the three verses is about a different ‘vain’ man.  In 2015, she admitted that one of the men was Warren Beatty, but other than that she has only given clues, such as that one of the men’s name contains ‘A’, ‘E’, and ‘R’.  She has also said it is not about Mick Jagger, who contributed uncredited backing vocals to the song, or her ex-husband James Taylor.  Wait … what???  I never knew that James Taylor was married to Carly Simon!  And here I thought James Taylor was saving himself for me!  Where have I been all my life?

In 2015, Simon published her memoir titled “Boys in the Trees”, but she gave away no answers to the puzzle there, either, and the book is largely about her often tumultuous relationship with Taylor.

In short, I don’t know the answer.  Howard Stern does, for she reportedly told him, but swore him to secrecy.  But here are some of the possibilities:

  • Sean Connery
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Terrence Malick  (who???)
  • Bob Rafelson (again, who???)
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Cat Stevens

It is said that during each of the verses, you can hear a whisper of the name that verse is about.  Now, since I do well to even hear the words that are sung, I’ll leave it up to you guys to listen for the whisper.  And thank you, J.R., for issuing the challenge … it was fun!

You’re So Vain
Carly Simon

You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse, naturally, won
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend,
Wife of a close friend, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Songwriters: Carly E. Simon
You’re So Vain lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group