Tuesday Tunes 50: Golden

The theme for this week’s Tunes was an easy one to choose. This is the fiftieth edition of this series, and as fiftieth wedding anniversaries and royal jubilees are celebrated as Golden that is what I’m going with. As it is a big anniversary I’m also giving you a few extra tunes this week (OK, I couldn’t decide which ones to leave out, you got me!). So you’re getting four songs with ‘golden’ in their title, three with ‘gold,’ and one which is a blatant cheat!

I’m starting with a singer and song that has been a favourite of mine for many years:

If you watch that on YouTube the first comment is the wonderful Willie Nelson quote about Linda: “There are two kinds of men in this world. Those with a crush on Linda Ronstadt and those who never heard of her.” And why not? I’ve been a fan since those early days, which put me in the minority in this country, as her chart success here has been very limited. Like many of her records this was a cover version – of a song originally recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1956. Linda’s version is from her 1973 album Don’t Cry Now, which peaked at #45 in the US and #46 in Australia, but didn’t chart here in the UK. It was released as a single the following year, when it got to #67 in the main US chart, and #20 in their country music one. It would be another year before she appeared in the UK charts, though, when her cover of Tracks Of My Tears scaled the peaks of #42.

This week’s second tune is from a band that grew out of the punk scene here, but this is a long way from that:

I’ve always liked this one, and that video from Top Of The Pops really is a piece of its era! The band were formed as The Guildford Stranglers in 1974, and abbreviated the name when their career began to take off. This was a track from their sixth album, La Folie, which was released in November 1981, reaching #11 in the UK albums chart. It was released as a single in January 1982, and is still their best performer of all time, reaching #2 here and the top ten in several other countries. As far as I can see, none of their records – albums or singles – has reached the US charts, so I’m guessing that this might be a new one for our friends across the pond.

It’s back to the sixties for this week’s next song, a real pop classic:

The Tremeloes were originally founded in 1958, with Brian Poole as their lead singer – he had left in 1966 before their string of late sixties hits. Released in 1967, this was their fourth single without him as the band’s frontman, and it was a huge hit: #1 here and #11 in the US. The band are still going, or at least they were until the pandemic hit us. They have regularly featured on the ‘revival’ tours that are popular here, and three of this line up remain.

This next one is a real classic too. I love this video, in which Neil Young rummages around in his pockets going through his harmonica collection and then proceeds to give a perfect live performance of what at the time was a ‘new song’:

This was side 1 track 4 on Neil’s fourth album, Harvest, which was the one that confirmed him as a huge star. The previous album, After The Goldrush, had reached the top ten in the US, UK and his native Canada, but this one took off in a major way: it was #1 in all of those countries, and several others too. It was released in February 1972, and was the best selling US album of that year. My copy went to uni with me later that year, too. It has to date sold upwards of 10m copies – a success by anyone’s reckoning. The song was also a #1 single in the US and Canada, though it only got to #10 here: I guess we all bought the album instead!

I thought I’d go British for this next one:

Woe betide anyone who thinks that was an Eva Cassidy song! This was a track on Sting’s fourth solo album after leaving The Police – Ten Summoner’s Tales, which was released in March 1993, a few weeks after I began my NHS career. The album accompanied me on many a long commute, and I loved every song on it. This was probably my favourite, though. The album reached #2 in both the US and the UK, and this was also a hit single, reaching #16 here and #23 in the US. The video is as lovely as the song, in my view – a perfect fit.

My next choice is from a band I loved and bought all of their albums:

For some reason America never had much success here. They began with the massive hit single Horse With No Name, and their hit debut album, but it rather tailed off after that. Their albums, particularly Homecoming (their second) saw me through my uni days. This was a track on their fifth album, Hearts, which was released in March 1975, when I was busy revising for my final uni exams. I can still remember going into Norwich the day after finals finished and buying this album, to celebrate being able to listen to music again without feeling guilty about not working! The album reached #4 in the US but did nothing here. This was also a #1 US single, but like the album it failed to reach our charts. Sometimes I just despair of British record buyers!

Having reached my usual quota of six songs I’m now getting into bonus tracks/encore mode. This one may be familiar, as it comes from a little album called Rumours, of which you may have heard:

That version is actually from the live DVD The Dance, which was recorded in 1997, some twenty years after the original album, but the sound quality is so good that it had to be the version I gave you. So much has been said and written about Rumours that there really isn’t anything for me to add. The basic facts are that it was #1 in the US and the UK, and in several other places too. It is remarkable for the fact that relationships between band members were breaking up while it was being recorded, but that probably contributes to the overall feel – it certainly didn’t damage its chances of success, as it has to date sold upwards of 40m copies wordlwide.

At the beginning I mentioned that I would be giving you one song which was a blatant cheat. It doesn’t have any form of ‘gold’ in its title, but I still feel justified in including it – I make the rules! Spot the connection:

Either that is a little out of sync or they were miming – whatever, it is still a great record. Golden Earring are a Dutch band, and had a massive hit single with this – #13 in the US and #7 here. The album it was on, Moontan, was released in 1973 and got to #12 in the US, but didn’t chart here – none of their albums ever have. I first heard the band in the late sixties on the pirate radio stations, which were by then largely under Dutch control, and wasn’t surprised when they produced something this good. I saw them play live at my uni, probably in early 1974, I think, and after they finished their set with this we were chanting for the usual encore, but they didn’t come out again. The Student Union Social Sec had the unenviable task of telling us that they couldn’t play any more as the lead guitarist, George Kooymans, had cut his hand. We demanded proof, so the poor guy had to come back on stage with blood dripping everywhere! It was still one of the best shows anyone had played in my days there, though: the things musicians have to go through for their art!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this enlarged collection of tunes – I’ll try to be more decisive next week! By then, Easter will have been and gone, and we will have had a whole week of the first stage of Covid relaxations, so I may find a theme there. Then again, I could go for something related to the recent news story that our Prime Minister had a four year affair with a woman whose company was in receipt of public funds during his time as the Mayor of London. Anyone know any good songs about ‘scandal’ or ‘corruption?’ Or perhaps ‘serial shagger?’

Take care, stay safe and well, and I’ll see you next week for some more Tuesday Tunes.

39 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 50: Golden

  1. I’m going back up ways, but the whole trouble with Punk was no one knew how to record it. It lost all of its energy and grime in the studio. I heard a record by a girl group I forget the name of and their live clips were rude, loud, raw energy – The record? Bubble gum!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Tremoloes and America – Textbook doo-ahh backing vocals, the Tremoloes being one of my favorite bands. I loved watching their drummer and in my distant youth figured Blakely to be the prototype/archetype working garage band guitarist. So far as to have his visage in mind when i wrote a garage band coming of age novel. Great stuff. I like Sting better out of the studio where he has to work for a living. Ronstadt is always a privilege, Fleetwood Mac is the most incestuous revolving door anywhere, even today. Peter Green knew what he was doing when he bailed. Thanks for the trip! You know I’ve never seen the “SIG” video before. Always a Here Comes My (Hey) Baby fan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Marchin On | Take It Easy

  4. I agree Fields of Gold is a superb song on a superb album. For years we had the cassette of the album in the car. I’ve still got it but have nothing to play it on! Its so annoying that I can’t even play my CDs in the car now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Rondstadt was linked romantically to California Governor Jerry Brown for a time. He later ran for President but was defeated in the primaries. She’s a gem.

    As you predicted, I’ve never heard of The Stranglers. While I like most rock music, I was less interested in most Punk Rock, though there were exceptions.

    I sure like the harmonies on Silence is Golden.

    I generally like Neal Young, but I have some friends that would put him in their top three performers of all time. I can’t go there.

    Sting, on the other hand, is way up there for me. I go back to The Police and remember all their hits.

    America was one of the first groups I followed as a music lover. Sister Golden Hair, in my opinion, was one of their better tracks.

    I can listen to Fleetwood Mac seven days per week. They were brilliant. Stevie is awesome on this song.

    This is the only Golden Earring song I remember, but what a good one! I like all of the riffs throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, Pete, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I remember Linda being with Jerry Brown, and also his failed ambitions. A lot of punk was, to me, tuneless shouting, but the Stranglers and the Clash stood out from that for me. There are some good tunes among the rest, aren’t there, and I bet you aren’t alone in knowing just the one Golden Earring song. They were superb live.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think London Calling by the Clash was the only punk album I owned, but there was the occasional song by someone else that I liked.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great fact. I don’t think I went to school with anyone who became relatively famous. Sara Bareilles is from my hometown, but I didn’t get to teach her. I do like to tell people that one of my former students is now Jennifer Lopez’s nanny. My ex-student’s dad is our accountant, and each year he gives us a Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Antony update when we get our taxes done. Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      • There weren’t many others from my school that I know of. A couple have played cricket for Kent – which is pretty high level – and one in my year signed for the Arsenal football team. I don’t think he ever played for them though! You have a connection with a star too – a good thing 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Some amazing tunes here. I´m a big America fan and of course our own Neil Young. I love that performance! The Tremeloes and Linda Ronstadt songs bring back fond memories. I could listen to all of these songs more than once, in fact, I think I will play them all again while I do the dishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you are enjoying them, Darlene. As I said in the post America never did as well here as I think they deserved. Quite a lot of oldies in this post – I think music was better then!

      Maybe I should start a new series of ‘Washing Up Music’…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. love that Willie Nelson quote about Linda – and so true!

    and yes, that Stranglers song is a new one for me… interesting song, and as you point out, far from what I think of as punk…

    I also like Silence Is Golden – I just never knew the name of the band that sang it!

    And in a post about Golden, you can’t leave off Neil Young. loved the opening to the video…

    when I read your opening paragraph, the first song I thought of was Sister Golden Hair, so I was happy to see it included. I had a chance to see America in concert, they were wonderful…

    and Gold Dust Woman is one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac Songs…

    and I am glad you snuck in Radar Love – it is such a classic song.

    congrats on 50 posts – this was one of my favorites! look forward to the next 50…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great quote, isn’t it – and so accurate!

      The Stranglers were much more musically adept than the average punk band. Their breakthrough hit was a song called Peaches – if you can find it you’ll see how far they had come from their beginnings.

      The Tremeloes were big here for three or four years. My favourite is one they wrote themselves, called Call Me Number One. Ironically it peaked at #2 here…

      That Neil Young video is great, he’s just so natural in it. And that jacket seemed to have a lot of pockets!

      Sister Golden Hair was actually the first one I thought of when I chose the theme. I envy you having seen them play live. They actually started here, being the sons of USAF fathers based here, but when they broke big in the US they returned home and were lost to British audiences. Criminally underrated here, in my view.

      The final two deserved their places, I think – two great live bands.

      Glad you enjoyed this one so much. I’d actually been toying with closing the series at 50 as viewing figures have rather fallen away in recent months, but there are several regulars, such as your good self, who keep me going.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. perfect theme and the neil young heart of gold is my top song today!
    we just heard “old man take a look at my life” and i guess it it is eric clapton’s birthday today so lots of clapton tunes already today!
    and serial shaggar?? hahaha – love the phrase and looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    there is a new netflix show called “bodyguard” that talks about london politics – your closing comment reminded me of it ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to have hit the right note for you. I didn’t realise it was Clapton’s birthday – time I included him in a post!

      ‘Serial shagger’ isn’t original, I’m afraid, but he certainly merits it. I don’t think he knows how many kids he has by different mothers, and his usual pattern is to be cheating on one before moving on. A despicable individual, and not exactly a role model to trust. I’m not sure that it would make for much of a post theme, though ‘cheat’ might…

      Is that Netflix show the drama starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes? If so, you’re in for a treat – it was shown on tv here three years ago and it is excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes sir – the one i mentioned was with Richard Madden
        i finished it and Clive – it was a treat. So good – only complaint was last episode was way too long with main character in the blow up vest –
        but it was good

        and wishing you a nice day – be back soon to check in

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you enjoyed it. The same writer is also behind the Line Of Duty series, which is also very good. Enjoy the rest of your day 😊

        Like

  9. Ah, Neil. I love that song and yes, I bought ‘Harvest’ when it came out. When my youngest son and his fiancee got married, they had a choir sing ‘Fields of Gold’ while they signed the register. I’ve never heard that ‘America’ song, but I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great song, from a great album. A lovely touch to have Fields of Gold sung at their wedding, it must have been a tearjerker for you! I think you’re on the same lines as most of the UK with the America one – as I said in the piece I’ve always been bemused at how quickly their sales dropped off here. If you liked that one, try ‘Head And Heart’ from their second album, Homecoming – it’s lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

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