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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Answering Song Quiz Questions and Fun Song Facts

I hope you had some memories and some fun with the post yesterday. As promised, here are the song titles for the "opening line" songs I used. I'm going to refrain from giving the artists because some have been recorded and promoted by various artists. And, most of you already know the artists anyway. 

1. Danny Boy, 2. Sweet Baby James, 3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, 4. Choices, 5. Strange Fruit, 6. In My Life, 7. Pastures of Plenty, 8. I'm Sitting On Top of the World, 9. See See Rider, 10. Who Do You Love?

11. Hoochie Coochie Man, 12. Across the Borderline, 13. Ramble On, 14. Tears In Heaven, 15. The River, 16. Do Wah Ditty,  17. Only the Lonely, 18. 3 A.M.,  19. You Can't Always Get What You Want, 20. Cowboys To Girls.

21. The House of the Rising Sun,  22. Allison,  23. Ohio,  24. My Generation,  25. God Only Knows,  26. Born On the Bayou,  27. A Whiter Shade of Pale,  28. Will the Circle Be Unbroken?  29. Werewolves of London,  30. I've Never Been To Spain.

31. Wichita Lineman,  32. Cross Road Blues,  33. Get Up, Stand Up!  34. Surfin' Bird,  35. Me, the dummy skipped it,  36. Turn, Turn, Turn,  37. Subterranean Homesick Blues,  38. Like a Rolling Stone,  39. Sweet Little Angel,  40. I Can't Stop Loving You.

41. Shake, Rattle, and Roll,  42. Silver Wings,  43. Summer In the City,  44. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, 45. Eve of Destruction,  46. Wild Thing,  47. Old '55,  48. Catch the Wind,  49. Southern Accents,  50. Just Like a Woman.

51. Traces,  52. Heard It In a Love Song,  53. Sounds of Silence,  54. What's Going On?  55. Everybody's Talking,  56. Graceland,  57. Jumpin' Jack Flash,  58. Lonesome Suzie,  59. Jackie Wilson Said,  60. Suspicious Minds.

61. Mystery Train,  62. End of the Innocence,  63. Fat Man In the Bathtub,  64. Voodoo Child (Slight Return),  65. No Regrets,  66. Are You AlRight?  67.  Tales of Brave Ulysses,  68. A Pirate Looks At 40, 69. The City of New Orleans,  70. One Less Set of Footsteps.

71. Freedom For the Stallion,  72. Sixteen Tons,  73. Begin the Begin,  74. Hallelujah,  75. Tutti Frutti. 

Some Song Facts To Follow-up

"Tutti Frutti"

When originally performed, the line "a wop bam boom" was "A good Goddamn." Long before Little Richard recorded "Tutti Frutti," he performed it at his shows as "Tutti Frutti, Loose Booty." It was a very raucous and sexual song and was considered too suggestive for white audiences, so it was cleaned up considerably when he recorded it.

"Jumpin' Jack Flash"

Who is the Rolling Stones' "Jack Flash"? His name is Jack Dyer, and he was Keith Richards' gardener. Richards explained to Rolling Stone in 2010: "The lyrics came from a gray dawn at Redlands. Mick and I had been up all night, it was raining outside, and there was the sound of these boots near the window, belonging to my gardener, Jack Dyer. It woke Mick up. He said, 'What's that?' I said, 'Oh, that's Jack. That's jumping Jack.' I started to work around the phrase on the guitar, which was in open tuning, singing the phrase 'Jumping Jack.' Mick said, 'Flash,' and suddenly we had this phrase with a great rhythm and ring to it."

"Who Do You Love?"

This song is a big Bo Diddley beat. The title is a play on the word "Hoodoo," which is a folk religion similar to Voodoo and also popular in the American South. Many Blues musicians mentioned Hoodoo in their songs and like Diddley, conjured up images of the skulls, snakes and graveyards.

"Cowboys To Girls"

Songwriters Gamble and Huff were constantly writing down ideas for Intruders' songs, and they often started with a title, which they did for this one. Huff explained in a 2008 interview with National Public Radio: "It's a story. Little kids grow up, and they're beating the girls up, pulling their hair - they don't treat them tender. Then all of the sudden they realize that girls are made for kissing. And the girls go from baby dolls to boys. We were trying to write lyrics that were different, take a different angle and be as clever as possible."

"Like a Rolling Stone"

Dylan got the idea from the Hank Williams song "Lost Highway," which contains the line, "I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone and lost." Al Kooper, who was primarily a guitarist and went on to be a very successful music producer, played this organ on this song. If you listen very closely at the beginning of this song, you will notice that the organ is an 1/8th note behind everyone else. Kooper wasn't an expert on the organ, but Dylan loved what he played and made sure it was turned up in the mix.

"The House of the Rising Sun" 

The melody of the song is a traditional English ballad, but the song became popular as an African-American Folk song. It was recorded by Texas Alexander in the 1920s, then by a number of other artists including Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and later Nina Simone. It was her version The Animals first heard. No one can claim rights to the song, meaning it can be recorded and sold royalty-free. Many bands recorded versions of this after it became a hit for The Animals.

Is the song about a brothel in New Orleans named "The House Of the Rising Sun after Madame Marianne LeSoleil? Or, is it about a women's prison in New Orleans called the Orleans Parish women's prison, which had an entrance gate adorned with rising sun artwork? This would explain the "ball and chain" lyrics in the song.

"My Generation"

"My Generation" is a signature Who song, but the BBC refused to play this at first because they did not want to offend people with stutters. When it became a huge hit, they played it. Roger Daltrey sang the lead vocals with a stutter, which was very unusual. After recording two takes of this normally, manager Kit Lambert suggested to Daltrey that he stutter to sound like a British kid on speed.

"See See Rider"

This is a Blues standard first recorded by Ma Rainey, whose version hit #12 in 1925 as "See See Rider Blues." The "C.C. Rider," also known as "See See Rider" or "Easy Rider," is a Blues cliché for the sexual partner, although originally it referred to the guitar hung on the back of the traveling bluesman. Chuck Willis and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels (medley with Little Richard's "Jenny Jenny") hit the charts with the song.

"Wild Thing"

Released in 1966, "Wild Thing" took the Troggs to the top of the charts. This was written by a songwriter named Chip Taylor, who has made tons of money from it because it has been recorded by many artists and is constantly being used in movies and TV shows. Taylor used a lot of this money to gamble - for years he bet about $10,000 a day and was kicked out of every casino in Las Vegas for card counting. He also wrote "Angel of the Morning" which was a hit for Merrilee Rush in 1968. Taylor is the brother of actor Jon Voight and the uncle of Angelina Jolie.


"Graceland" has stood the test of time, but when it was released as a single, it only charted at #82 in the US. The song features backing vocals by the Everly Brothers. In a 1993 interview on Larry King Live, Paul Simon said this was his favorite song.

According to an article in the London Times, this is an account of Paul Simon's marriage break-up with his first wife Peggy Harper. The nine-year-old "travelling companion" he refers to is their son Harper, who three years later, at the age of 12 accompanied his father on the Graceland tour. Harper Simon developed into a singer-songwriter who since the mid-2000s has teamed up with his stepmother Edie Brickell.

"Danny Boy"

Originally set to the tune of the Ancient melody "The Londonderry Air," this song has been rumored to have been written about a father singing to his son, who apparently was named Danny. The song was based on a story about an Irish father whose son was eventually going off to war in Ireland.

Prudish Victorians, concerned that "Londonderry Air" bore too close a resemblance to the phrase "London derrière," preferred to refer to it by the title "An Air From County Derry."

"Surfin' Bird"

This is a medley made up of the choruses of two R&B classics by the '60s Doo-Wop group The Rivingtons: "The Bird Is the Word" and "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow." The brainchild of Trashmen drummer Steve Wahrer, the song was a quirky and consumable hit, boldly combining Surf music with novelty R&B. The Trashmen were a garage band from Minneapolis, which isn't surfing territory. Despite critical acclaim, they managed just one more minor hit before disbanding in the late '60s: the 1964 #30 "Bird Dance Beat."

"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"

"Voodoo Child" was voted the best guitar riff in rock'n'roll history, by readers of  Music Radar. The website said "From its wah-wah into the the rhythm parts and the astonishing solo, this is still regarded by many as the high watermark of electric guitar expression." It was the last song Hendrix performed live. On September 6, 1970, which was 12 days before his death, he played it at a concert in Germany.

"Strange Fruit"

In 1999, Time magazine voted this the Song of the Century. When "Strange Fruit" first came out, it was denounced by the same magazine as "A piece of musical propaganda."

"Strange Fruit" was written by a white, Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from New York City named Abel Meeropol, who was outraged after seeing a photograph of a horrific lynching in a civil-rights magazine. The photo was a shot of  two black men hanging from a tree after they had been lynched in Marion, Indiana on August 7, 1930. The two men are the "Strange Fruit."

Billie Holiday sang this as the last song at her concerts. It signaled that the show was over.


Thanks to Songfacts site for the great collection of information about these songs. If you have never surfed Songfacts, I suggest you do so soon. The website has garnered a huge library of information about tons of tunes. Here is the address:

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