Tuesday Tunes 49: Anniversary


Today marks exactly a year since I first began this series, a year since our country was first placed into lockdown. It seemed right, therefore, to make this week’s theme for my tunes something befitting this occasion so, after last week’s celebration of Birthday this week it is the turn of Anniversary.

Most of the songs associated with anniversaries are romantic in nature, as you might expect. There are loads in that category, but not many actually have the word in their title, which by the ‘requirements’ I mostly apply to these posts tends to rule them out. You are no doubt familiar with the old standard by the name of Anniversary Waltz, of which there are so many versions, but it isn’t really my cup of tea. This one, however, which is masquerading under the same title, definitely is:

That was released as a non-album single in September 1990, under the title The Anniversary Waltz – Part One, and the anniversary highlighted in the banners on the video is for the approaching twenty fifth anniversary of Status Quo first getting together as a band, originally under the name of The Spectres. Thirty one years further on and they are just about still going! That was a #2 hit here but, as usual, did absolutely nothing in the US charts, though it did make the top twenty in eight countries across Europe. I’ve shared them before in this series, and commented on their lack of chart success in the States: I’d have thought their brand of unpretentious, feelgood rock music would have done better over there. I know I can always rely on them to get these posts off to a rousing start.

The rest of today’s posts have a strong feeling of ‘singer-songwriter’ about them. This isn’t deliberate, its just that these are the types of anniversary songs I wanted to share. And they aren’t all celebratory in nature, either, which I think is fitting in marking a year of Covid restrictions. The first one is by a longtime favourite of mine:

As Suzanne says on the intro to this video on YouTube, it was written for those affected by 9/11, a year after the event. This is a newly recorded lockdown version from last autumn, and in the context of the current tally of more than 2.7m deaths worldwide from Covid it remains both relevant and poignant. This was a track on Suzanne’s seventh album, Beauty & Crime, released in 1997. The album wasn’t a major chart success, reaching only #129 in the US and #127 here, though it did reach #9 in Estonia (answers on a postcard, please). Notwithstanding its lack of chart success the album did win a Grammy, for ‘Best Engineered Album – Non-classical.’ Good to know that the Grammys were just as relevant back then as they are now! Incidentally, the guitarist with Suzanne is Gerry Leonard, who played on the original album version, and has credits for playing with the likes of David Bowie to his name, too.

There seems to be a sub-theme forming here, of songs marking sad anniversaries, as this next one also fits into that category:

This was the final track on Al Stewart’s fifteenth album, A Beach Full Of Shells, which was released in June 2005. It is a song written to mark the departure a year previously of a woman: as that was the year in which his marriage ended I think I’m on pretty safe ground in assuming this was for his ex-wife. The closing verse sounds fairly definite:

This is your anniversary
I’ll light a candle in the window so you might see
This is the day you had to go
Good-bye then, this concludes your portion of the show

Apart from a brief period in the 70s, with Year Of The Cat and Time Passages, Al Stewart has never enjoyed much chart success. This album was no exception to that, not charting anywhere as far as I can tell. Nonetheless, his albums are full of carefully crafted songs and meaningful lyrics, and are well worth delving into. I once saw him play live in his early days before those two hit albums, in a small venue: it was a wonderful, spellbinding evening. [I’ve been advised that this link doesn’t work in the US – my apologies. The only other way I can find for sharing this track is this link https://youtu.be/JR-1SBv3_1E but I fear that may just be the same video again. Sorry!]

This next one is from someone with the saddest of stories. Eva Cassidy died from melanoma in relative obscurity, in November 1996, at the age of just 33. Her musical career and subsequent success was all posthumous, following from the compilation album Songbird reaching #1 here in the UK. This is beautiful, and very poignant when you listen to the lyrics:

The song is about someone remembering a lost love who is no longer with us. You’d have to have a very hard heart not to see and empathise with the parallel with her own brief life. The song was on the album Time After Time, released in 2000, four years after her death. The album reached #25 here, but only #161 in the US, a pattern reflected in most of her recordings, which have all performed better outside her home country. The song was written by a guy called Steven Dignam, who wrote several others that Eva recorded, as well as being a musician and journalist. He is also credited with the invention of ‘Glow in the Dark Luminescent Violin Rosin; manufactured and distributed by Dodson’s MFG.’ So if you’ve ever seen a fiddler with luminous strings on their bow, now you know who to blame!

So far, things have been in keeping with the fact that this is an anniversary that none of us welcome, that isn’t something to be enjoyed, and the choices have been a little bit downbeat. So I thought I’d turn to The Cowboy Junkies to perk things up – now that’s a sentence I never expected to write! But this is a lovely celebration of an anniversary that means love, and the little things that make it special. And keep an eye out for a couple of sly digs in the names that feature on screen:

This is a track from the band’s fifth album, Pale Sun, Crescent Moon, which was released in 1993. They have never set the charts alight, but have made some great records. This one peaked at #25 in their native Canada and at #114 in the US, but didn’t chart here. The song was a #10 hit single in Canada, and reached #28 on the US Modern Rock chart, which is based on airplay. Their trademark sound has been descried as ‘ethereal,’ largely based around the gorgeous vocals of Margo Timmins. Again, theirs is a back catalogue I can recommend.

That just leaves one more to make up this week’s set of six. I really did consider giving you Vera Lynn singing the Anniversary Waltz, but decided not to – I didn’t like it when my parents played and danced to it, so why break the habits of a lifetime? But you may have noticed the ‘Part One’ in the title of the Status Quo track that I began with. Was there a ‘Part two?’ Of course there was:

A band at the peak of their powers, bringing fun and joy in their music to so many. What’s not to like? That was released as a single in December 1990: it didn’t do as well as the first part, only reaching #16 here, but it probably had a lot of competition from the usual batch of Christmas dross and re-releases to contend with. The two medleys are a great way to bookend this week’s selections, though.

As always, I’m signing off by wishing you a good week. At present, we’re scheduled to see the start of the gradual release from lockdown next Monday, but with our Prime Minister warning yesterday that a third wave will ‘wash up on our shores’ I think that might be in doubt. The government’s record on U-turns isn’t great, so watch this space: he might need to replace his ‘roadmap’ with a satnav. Any suggestions for a suitable voice? With his world weariness, I’m going for Tony Hancock. Or maybe Terry-Thomas telling us that we’re ‘a shower, an absolute shower.’

Take care 👍🤞

38 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 49: Anniversary

  1. Pingback: Marchin On | Take It Easy

  2. Ahhh small world.. Its because they hid from the world there… Lol… my dads sister lived in Shaftesbury avenue years ago… my family live around that area Ongar, the lavers,Matching green.. Memories.. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard Suzanne Vega before on here and really like her although in this one she looked as if she didn’t know the words and was reading them a little off-putting…
    Margo Timmins is a new artist to me but what lovely voice she has as clear as a bell and the Quo are always a good listen…Nice collection , Clive 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, but I didn’t see that. She wrote the song so she ought to know the words!

      Margo and her two brothers formed three-quarters of the Cowboy Junkies. Her voice is lovely, isn’t it. And I couldn’t leave the Quo out, could I! Glad you enjoyed them 😊 x

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      • I did, Clive
        . I met them years ago when I worked at a Country House Hotel such nice guys they used come and sit in my office and say go get us a burger.. Sods they were but great fun… 1986 Knebworth and Briggens House was quiet and private a few of the bands stayed there and were never bothered by anyone… I loved working there x

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      • I know the hotel and went there a couple of times for functions. It always seemed very pleasant but I never bumped into anyone famous there. That was in my married days, living in Harlow. I’m in Epping now – small world, eh! x

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      • He still does – he has a 180 acre estate at Copped Hall, just outside Epping, and could occasionally be seen in town before the pandemic. Cliff Richard used to live at Nazeing, David Beckham at Sawbridgeworth – Elton John played at their housewarming bash. It’s the land of the famous here, as well as your family and me 😉 x

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      • He also has a place in Sheering and was often seen in the farm shop on Gilden Way my friends have photos with him and Penny pre covid… I didn’t know he had kept Copped Hall Estate.. x

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      • I do…I am like a stalker…lol I have always been a fan from the get go with Rod…He played at the Blue Rooms in Brays Grove School many moons ago and a tiny little hall in St Margarets in Ware…x

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I know Bechams house used to be a council home for disabled kids we spent many weekends there my friend was a social worker there pre Beckham I would have loved to see what they did to the old house

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t heard of any of these songs, except the last one which is a fun compilation. I have written posts about Al Stewart and Eva Cassidy, who has a wonderful voice, and the song you posted is no exception. I also like Margo’s vocal talents…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember Status Quo from when you shared them before. I like their sound, and it does sound like something we Americans could get behind. One of the mysteries of music is why some songs do so well in one part of the world and not somewhere else.

    I’ve only heard a couple of Suzanne Vega songs before, but I like this one a lot. The guitar on that song is pleasing to my ears.

    The Al Stewart song is unavailable to us. I had no idea he released 15 albums. I like Year of the Cat much better than Time Passages.

    I’m unfamiliar with Eva Cassidy or this song, but I can see why it did so well in the UK. How sad that she passed so young.

    The Cowboy Junkies is also a new group for me. This one is great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, it’s odd isn’t it? It works both ways, though: there are many American bands who have been hugely successful there and haven’t done a thing here.

      You should try more Suzanne Vega if you like this one! Gerry’s guitar has a really nice sound to it, doesn’t it.

      Al Stewart has released several more since that one! I couldn’t choose between either Year of the Cat or Time Passages: both albums have been with me for so long! I’m sorry it doesn’t play for you, probably a copyright thing. I’ve trawled YouTube but can only find this: https://youtu.be/JR-1SBv3_1E – I fear that may be another link to the same one, though!

      Eva Cassidy’s story is very sad. She had huge posthumous commercial success here, but next to nothing over there. Odd!

      I’m pleased you like the Cowboy Junkies – long a favourite band of mine. I guess their music didn’t travel to you all the way from Canada!

      Thanks as always for reading, listening, and providing your detailed thoughts, Pete. I really do appreciate your support.

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  6. Nice to finish with Status Quo! The idea of a sat nav with a weary voice made me smile. There’s still so much uncertainty, Mystic Meg or Russel Grant may be possible candidates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A preferable ending to Vera Lynn, I think. It would probably be the first job either of them has had in years, but can you imagine how annoying Grant’s voice would become if you were stuck with it in the confines of a car!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Quo have always entertained me, since way back when. I’m glad you like the Cowboy Junkies one: they’ve long been a favourite of mine, and Margo Timmins really does have a lovely voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am not sure if Covid lockdown is an anniversary I want to celebrate, Clive, but you have picked some great songs. The Suzanne Vega song was new to me. I know her many for the song about the abused child. I think its called “My name is Luka”. We are hearing rumours of a third wave here too. I hope it won’t ruin Easter again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, and hope I made it clear that I was marking the anniversary, not celebrating it! Luka was indeed Suzanne Vega’s big hit, along with Marlene On The Wall, which you might also know. I was rather guessing that most of this week’s choices wouldn’t be known by many. I’m hoping for a better Easter too, but not banking on it!

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      • Yes, of course, Clive. There have been some good things coming out of lockdown. Some people have found a new passion and I think parents have had a rare opportunity to spend more time with their children. I tried to embrace these positives and be grateful for them.

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  8. Dear old Quo. I’ve seen them so many times I’ve lost count. Francis has a one-man show that is back on after being postponed last year. We had tickets, but now are going somewhere else. I wonder if we’ll get a refund (lol)?

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  9. Clive, all brilliant tracks and a real treat this morning! Status Quo are terrific and I had no idea they fared so poorly in America, thought it would have been perfect for them. I love Eva Cassidy and hadn’t realised she’d passed away before the release of even her first album. Very sad. Oh, it’s a long time since I’ve listened to the Cowboy Junkies! I remember a year ago saying to my husband get used to these walks around the village, we will have a year of ambling around them. I had hoped we wouldn’t have to enter the first anniversary of lockdown whilst in another one. Yep, the PMs words were far from reassuring and we are all SO weary. I just hope things continue to go better. Meanwhile, I’ll be playing through your selection once more! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Annika. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them all – a bit of a mixed bag, which is probably a fair reflection of the way my mind is at present! Eva Cassidy’s story is a tragic one, but at least we still have the beauty of her voice to listen to. The Cowboy Junkies are exquisite – and as this one shows, they don’t always do downbeat stuff. I don’t think any of us thought a year ago that we would still be in this situation, and despite the vaccine there are still plenty of dark clouds on the horizon. Fingers crossed!

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