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Reelin’ In the Years 81: Benediction

This is perhaps my favourite Stealers Wheel track.

It was never released as a single as far as I know and came from the third Stealers Wheel album Right or Wrong. By the time it appeared the group had long since ceased to exist and both its leading lights, Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, were no longer working together.

From the outside I would say that the lyric maybe says a lot about a West of Scotland RC upbringing.

Stealers Wheel: Benediction

Reelin’ In the Years 79: Sail Away

Who says USians can’t do irony – or satire?

Randy Newman certainly can. Biting sharp lyrics against jaunty or haunting tunes.

Has anyone ever made an invitation to enter into slavery more beautiful?

Randy Newman: Sail Away

Live It Up 15: The Whole of the Moon

One from 1985. A mine of quotable lines.

“Too high, too far, too soon,” “trumpets, towers and tenements, wide oceans full of tears,” “every precious dream and vision underneath the stars,” “you came like a comet, blazing your trails.”

The Waterboys – The Whole of the Moon

Friday On My Mind 92: and Reelin’ in the Years 75: Abraham, Martin and John

It’s an anniversary today. You might have heard some mention of it.

This song was written as a response to that and later similar events of a turbulent decade.

From a fifty year perspective the lyric now seems overly sentimentalised.

The first version of this was by Dion but the UK hit came in 1970 from Marvin Gaye.

Dion: Abraham, Martin and John

Marvin Gaye: Abraham, Martin and John

Play Me?

When we were in Cockermouth earlier this year we were in an antique/junk shop where a radio was playing.

I was wandering round looking at items for sale vaguely listening, though the sound was quite muffled. On came the song below. I knew the correct words but for some reason when it came to the, “I’ll be home,” line I heard the next one as, “I’ll be your xylophone, waiting for you.”

It does make a weird kind of sense, though; as most misheard lyrics do.

The Foundations: Build Me Up Buttercup

The sound on this is from the record but the video was taken at a live gig, so goes on beyond the song.

Live It Up 13: Our Lips Are Sealed

Lyrically this reminds me of the hymn, “Christian Dost Thou See Them?” a version of which is on You Tube here.

The best known version in Britain is the one by Fun Boy Three, whose lead singer Terry Hall co-wrote it – a restrained, almost gloomy, treatment with more than a hint of menace.

The original by the Go Go’s (whose guitarist Jane Wiedlin was the other composer) is much more carefree; a typically bouncy pop song.

Fun Boy Three: Our Lips Are Sealed

The Go Go’s: Our Lips Are Sealed

Reelin’ In The Years 68: Oh What a Circus

It was this tune by Andrew Lloyd Webber I had in mind in my previous post in this category. This appeared a few years after Après Toi.

It’s a good tune. Lloyd Webber used it several times.

It’s not usually this lyric people think of though.

David Essex: Oh What a Circus

Reelin’€™ In The Years 67: Après Toi

I missed marking the Eurovision Song Contest last week so thought I’d make up for it now.

Vicky Leandros, as Vicky, sang L’€™amour Est Blue in the year Sandie Shaw won the contest, 1967. However she triumphed with this belter in 1972. A song in French by a Greek singer representing Luxembourg. Only at Eurovision.

By the way, is there anyone else who hears a resemblance in the tune for each verse to a certain work composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber?

For some reason it must have been thought no-one in the UK would buy a song with a lyric in French, as Vicky’€™s UK chart entry came with the reworking of Aprés Toi as Come What May.

Vicky Leandros: Après Toi

Vicky Leandros: Come What May

Live It Up 11: I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues

Another of the good lady’s favourites. I bought the album Too Low For Zero for her Christmas that year on the basis of this.

The track is an almost perfect latter day popular song, with a great Stevie Wonder harmonica solo. I especially liked the lyrical echoes of Amoreena from Tumbleweed Connection.

It’s also unusual in the John canon for giving a writing credit to Elton’s long time guitarist Davey Johnstone.

Elton wears a wig with a quiff in this. It suits him!

Elton John: I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues

Live It Up 10: My Baby Just Cares For Me

This one’€™s a bit of a cheat since it was recorded in 1958; as the names referenced in the lyric attest. It wasn’€™t a hit in the UK till 1985 though, on the back of a TV advert, so fits the category.

It’s also one of the good lady’s favourite tracks. I remember buying the 12 inch for her.

The accompanying video here has an interesting cartoon.

Nina Simone: My Baby Just Cares For Me

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