One of the comments on last week’s Tuesday Tunes post was made by fellow blogger Hugh, who suggested Andrew Gold’s Lonely Boy as another possible song that matched the theme of growing up. That song is one I’ve always liked, and I had the album back in the days of vinyl, but as I said to Hugh it meant something different to me. This got me thinking, and I realised I could feature it as a song representing a number of themes. And here we are, with one of those possibilities. This week’s theme is: disappointment (and the frustration that can go with it).
Having had it suggested to me, I really couldn’t start anywhere else, could I? So, heeeere’s Andrew:
If you listen to the lyrics you can hear why I thought it fitted this theme. It describes a boy who felt that his parents had made him a promise that he would be their only one, who then felt badly let down when they gave him a sister. Now he was no longer in that position, hence his disappointment. Many of the details – especially the dates – match his own life but he denied that the song was autobiographical, saying that he’d had a happy childhood. The song was first released on Gold’s second album, What’s Wrong With This Picture, in 1976 and became a single in 1977. The single peaked at #11 in the UK and #7 in the US. The album, which was generally given poor reviews, didn’t chart in the UK and only reached #95 in the US. I enjoyed it, though! As well as making his own records Gold produced many others, including Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel. Listen carefully and you may just hear her briefly on harmony vocals on this one, too – she’s on the second verse.
This week’s second tune is about the frustration and disappointment of not finding what you want in life. I’ll admit to some misgivings about U2, who began as a great rock band but were, in my view, overtaken by Bono’s ego and belief in his own publicity. Some of their earlier songs, in particular, are still favourites of mine, though, including this one:
I suspect that many of us can relate to that feeling. The song is on U2’s fifth – and I think their best – album, The Joshua Tree, from 1987. It was released as a single and reached #1 in the US and #6 in the UK. The album was #1 in both countries – and many others too, selling over 25m copies thus far. Maybe others don’t share my doubts about Bono, and that song is rather good, after all.
This week’s third tune is one of many about how love doesn’t always run the course we might have hoped for, giving rise to disappointment. Maybe frustration too, but I’m not going down that road (it’s your mind, not mine!). This is a classic ‘boy wants girl, girl not interested‘ song. I’ve loved it since it was first released and this video for it is a piece of creative genius. This is still one of my all time favourites, even though those with a sense of humour bypass would probably want it banned nowadays (but she does smile to him right at the end!):
The song was on The Cars’ fifth album, Heartbeat City, which peaked at #3 in the US but only reached #25 here in the UK on its 1984 release. I think I almost wore out my copy, though! It was one of those albums which spawned a multitude of singles – six, in this case. You Might Think was the first of them, and got as high as #7 in the States but only #88 here. In my view, that is criminal! The best known of the album’s singles is probably Drive, which peaked at #3 in the US and #5 here, and then went one better to #4 when it was re-released in 1985, having featured as a backing track to some of the most memorable and poignant footage of African famine victims which supported the Live Aid concerts of that year.
I seem to be getting into a routine of indecision when it comes to choosing my Tuesday Tunes. Again, I’m unable to reduce the selection below four, and I have left out a great many that could equally as well have been chosen. So, for this week’s fourth and final song, I’ve picked one which has a positive message mixed in with the disappointment of reality:
The song is the final track on the Stones’ eighth album, Let It Bleed, which was released in 1969. This is, by any reckoning, a classic album: a record that begins with Gimme Shelter, has seven more great tracks, and then ends with this seven minute epic, complete with choral backing vocals. It was, in my view, a triumph. The album was, of course, #1 here in the UK but only got to #3 in the US: letting the side down a bit, chaps! The song was the B-side of Honky Tonk Women but was re-released as a single in its own right in 1973, reaching #42 in the US. The verses cover various types of hope and expectation, which end in disappointment and disillusionment, but the chorus carries the uplifting message that ‘if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need,’ even if what you want is untouchable. There is a strong sense of realism and pragmatism in that, which I rather like: after all, do we really need everything that we think we want? Somehow, I doubt it.
I realised when I chose this theme that it could be a little downbeat, but I hope you didn’t think that. In any event, music isn’t always happy, is it? Hopefully you’ve enjoyed all of the songs but, if I can’t get what I want, maybe at least one of them? Be fair: I’ve given you more than nineteen minutes of music here!
Have a great week, and I’ll see you again next Tuesday. Take care, stay safe.