Tuesday Tunes 55: Travel

One of the things which seems to be exercising many as we gradually crawl out of lockdown is when, where and how we will be allowed to travel. I’ve never been a great one for travelling, especially so since health has prevented it, but there is much talk here at present about whether foreign holidays will be possible this year. The rules are supposedly changing on 17 May to permit this, but with a restricted set of destinations: either the ones that our government will allow us to visit or those countries which will have us, though there is still some uncertainty around this date. It seemed a good theme for a post in this series, though, so this week I’m giving you: travel.  As usual, I aimed to give you six tunes and, as often, I missed the target, so you’re getting seven again. They are a mix of the hopeful, the despairing, the idyllic and one which borrows the usual holiday postcard sentiment.

After a long time waiting in hope, I suspect many might be thinking this:

Not strictly a song about going on holiday, this is one of those songs hoping for a better life in a better place, but I think the sentiment will be valid for many right now! Apparently that clip comes from a movie that included The Animals: I’ve no idea what the movie was, but it’s still a great song! The IMDb lists a 1965 movie (ie. it matches the date on the video) called The Dangerous Christmas Of Red Riding Hood, described as a ‘revisionist fairy tale.’ The band are all listed as cast members – lead singer Eric Burdon plays the ‘Leader of the Wolfpack’ – so I guess this might be the one, though the song isn’t listed on the soundtrack. Sorry to be so imprecise! As for the song itself, it was written by Barry Mann and his wife, Cynthia Weil, and was originally intended for the Righteous Brothers, but The Animals’ record producer, Mickie Most, got hold of it first. It was released as a single in summer 1965, and reached #2 in the UK and #13 in the US, and became very popular among American troops in Vietnam, for obvious reasons. There have been many cover versions, including one by The Partridge Family – I couldn’t bring myself to seek that one out!

Back to the theme of my story I hope that, when they made their escape from that place, they found a better route than this:

Again, this is a song about metaphorical travel rather than the real thing, but it is another which reflects the mood of 2021 as much as it did that of 1985, when it was first released. This was a track on Talking Heads’ sixth album, Little Creatures, which made #20 in the US and #10 here in the UK. It was also released as a single: it didn’t make the top 100 in the US but got to #6 here. I still love the song, though – one of their best. And there is an interesting snippet that gives an insight into a songwriter’s mind in this quote from David Byrne:

“The front bit, the white gospel choir, is kind of tacked on, ’cause I didn’t think the rest of the song was enough… I mean, it was only two chords. So, out of embarrassment, or shame, I wrote an intro section that had a couple more in it.”

On a more optimistic note, how about a song to mark the getaway? This one, perhaps:

On second thoughts, maybe that isn’t so optimistic after all – it looks like I’m back in ‘miserable old git’ mode this week! The song was written by John Denver in 1966, and recorded by Peter, Paul And Mary for their 1967 album Album 1700, which was a #15 hit in the US. Not much more was heard of the song until it was released as a single in 1969, when it got to #1 in the US and #2 here. It is a very emotional song, as you can see from Mary Travers and from some of the audience shots in the video, which is taken from a 1986 concert marking the band’s 25th anniversary together. This was also a song which resonated with US troops and their families at the time of the Vietnam War. The video is still an emotional watch, a further 35 years on.

This next tune is one about the frustrations of travel, especially when you have a good reason to be excited about your journey:

The video is a reworking, not an original, and it bears its creator’s stamp, but there don’t seem to be any other live videos of the band playing this one from their heyday. I think you’ll see why I wanted to include this, though: you get a real feel for the energy CCR created in their live shows. Sadly, I never got to see them, but I’d have loved to! This song was on the band’s fifth album, Cosmo’s Factory, released in July 1970, which topped the album charts in both the US and the UK, and in several other countries. The song was originally released as a single in January 1970 – in the US it was a double A-side with Who’ll Stop The Rain? which was also on the album. It peaked at #2 in the US and #8 in the UK.

Having cranked up the fun factor, I’m now taking it a little further with this joyous song about the delights of travel:

A happy, infectious song, a brilliant video, and the gorgeous Kate Pierson – what more could you want? The B-52s could always be relied on to add some fun into their music, and they shared the approach too: if you don’t already know it, check out the video for R.E.M’s Shiny Happy People to see Kate bringing joy there, too. This was a track on the B-52s fifth album, Cosmic Thing, released in June 1989, reaching #4 in the US and #8 in the UK and by far their most successful album. This was also a hit single, peaking at #3 in the US and #17 in the UK. The video is still fun to watch over thirty years later.

I’m taking things back down again now. I mentioned that one of this week’s tunes reflects an idyllic mood, and this is it. It is a song about a journey taken at a leisurely pace, enabling its protagonist time for reflection on his life and prompting the joy of knowing his reason for wanting to reach his destination:

To me, that is a musical masterpiece, from a band I’ve loved ever since they formed in the late Sixties. You may recall that I featured it in the original Under The Covers post, back in 2019. Beautiful harmonies, a wonderfully crafted song, some great guitar work: about as close to perfection as you can get, and yet it is just one of many wonderful songs they have given us! The song features on Crosby, Stills And Nash’s 1982 album Daylight Again, which reached #8 on the US albums chart. It was also released as a single, peaking at #18 in the US. Neither the album or single made the UK charts: an omission I regard as criminal! An additional snippet about this song: harmony vocals on the record were also provided by Art Garfunkel (of Simon And…) and Timothy B Schmit (of The Eagles).

I’m closing this week with the song which shares its title with the words which have probably been written more often on holiday postcards than any other. Picture the scene: you’ve finally managed to escape the drudgery of everyday life, are sitting on the beach or by the pool, cocktail in hand, and write these words on a postcard going back home. Do you really want them there, though? Answers on a postcard, please…:

I somehow suspect that the sentiments in the song are more keenly felt than a few words on a postcard! That live performance dates from 1994, from the days when the band wasn’t in contact with Roger Waters, but the song was originally the title track of a Pink Floyd album from 1975, which reached #1 in both the US and the UK, and in several other countries. This song was written by Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters, though Gilmour took lead vocal on the record. It was one of the five songs they played at the Live 8 concert in 2005, after they had been persuaded to play together again by the unique negotiation skills of Bob Geldof. That was a wonderful show, and I’ll admit to shedding tear to see them together again after so many years apart.

That’s all for this week, and I hope I haven’t put you off travelling when we’re allowed to, if that is what you’re hoping to do. Hopefully the weather  will soon be drier and warmer too! Take good care, and keep watching for the next exciting episode in the BBC saga (Boris Bungles Control). 🤞

33 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 55: Travel

  1. Pingback: May It Was | Take It Easy

  2. I didn’t realise the B52s sang anything other than Love Shack. I really love the 1994 Pink Floyd performances. Reminds me of being in the car with my mum with Pulse in the CD player.☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoyed your selections Clive. B52s song is good fun. Eric’s voice was just amazing wasn’t it. I thought the Animals were underated. I’m a big fan of Crosby Stills and Nash and Floyd/Gilmour. I don’t know if you’ve seen this (you probably have) but to combine the last two musically (not by subject) check this one out. It gives me goose bumps. https://youtu.be/kEa__0wtIRo

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  4. The lead singer of The Animals has a very distinctive voice. The Talking Heads’ song was a new one for me, although I like it very much. The funny video is also a strong point. I never cared for Leaving on a Jet Plane (either version). I know this is sacrilegious to many, but I’m not a big Credence guy. I do like this one better than most. Speaking of distinctive voices—they don’t get much more distinctive than John Fogarty. The B-52s, on the other hand, can do no wrong with me. Such good music to dance to. Southern Cross is a classic. I didn’t know that two of my favorites were doing the harmonies. Pink Floyd has so many good songs. This is just one of them. I’m sure I’m the oddball here, but my first choice would be the B-52s with Pink Floyd a close second.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He does, and it helped create their style – remember House Of The Rising Sun? Nothing wrong with not liking a couple of them all that much – we’re each entitled to our own tastes. I’m intrigued by your ranking, though: as you say, you may differ from others. I love all of these but the real gem for me is Southern Cross – I’d post it every week if I could get away with it!

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      • I know it’s not a competition, but I sometimes play the “What if I could only play one of these songs game?” It would be funny to see Southern Cross slipped in repeatedly. “I know this doesn’t fit this week’s theme, but I slipped it in anyway.”

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  5. Wow – you pulled out some classics here: Wish You Were Here, Southern Cross, Travelin’ Band, and We Gotta Get Out of This Place. But I think I’d have to pick Leaving on a Jet Plane as my favorite, particularly the John Denver version. I don’t know much about the B-52s or the Talking Heads, but they were both fun videos to watch.

    One of my favorite tunes about traveling is On the Road Again by Willie Nelson.

    Let’s hope we can all start traveling soon…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like you enjoyed them – I went down a better trodden path with this selection, and managed to get in a few that weren’t from the 60s or 70s! I always find it interesting to see how readers’ opinions vary on these: one person’s favourite can be the one that someone else doesn’t like, and that is part of the beauty of music for me. Having said that, the Willie Nelson one is ok but was nowhere near being chosen for this week 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am the same way; it’s fun to learn about other people’s favorites. I should have also mentioned another song, that is sort of like a traveling song, but it is more of a personal journey. It’s probably in my top 10 all-time favorite songs: On the Road to Find Out by Cat Stevens. We sang it at my high school graduation, and I’ll never forget it…

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      • I did consider that one but, as you say, it’s more about a personal journey through life than physical travel. Then again, that could be said of some I did choose! A fabulous song, from a wonderful album. I saw him play live about ten years ago. It was a magical evening.

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      • Probably my favourite singer-songwriter ever. I saw him at a concert held as part of a week celebrating the 50th anniversary of Island Records – his label here. He was that night’s headline act, after his son’s band (very average!) and the African singer Baba Maal (a revelation). Maal closed his set with Bob Marley’s One Love, which then morphed into a duet of U2’s song One, with another voice coming onstage with him: Bono. U2 then did an impromptu acoustic set of 4 songs. I was standing with a group of people from the record company, and none of them knew that was coming. All that excitement, and then the main man, who was spellbinding.

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  6. An enjoyable collection, Clive I am pleased you didn’t hunt out the Partridge Family… Eric is far preferable just listening to New Orleans which followed on….No travelling for us for the foreseeable except for window sill bay…sigh

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the travel theme and you picked some goodies as always. I saw Peter, Paul and Mary perform that very song. I swear Mary Travis was wearing that same outfit. I tried to see if I was in the audience but I think it was a different venue. CCR and CSN, both great tunes. Another one I like is Gordon Lightfoot´s, Early Morning Rain, which is more about missing a flight, but we´ve all done that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I’m pleased you liked the choices. You’ve seen quite a few bands, haven’t you! If it helps, that concert was at the Tennessee Performing Arts Centre, in Nashville. The Gordon Lightfoot song is a good one too 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • We saw them in Vancouver at the Orpheum Theatre. It would have been a couple of years later. Yes, my husband and I love attending live performances. Living in Vancouver was perfect as many tours included Vancouver.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s good to be somewhere on the circuit. I’ve never been that lucky, but have caught up a bit now that I’m living twenty-odd miles from London.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Don’t know the B52’s work so that was a nice treat. CSN made this for me though. Another great selection. How about Home Thoughts From Abroad by Clifford T Ward as a Travel choice or are you not a fan?
    Have a Great Week Clive. I’m hoping to be well enough to skip the border into England next week, about 20 miles but an hour and a half by bus. That’s my travel hope if the nurse turns he other way.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, David, I’m pleased I found something new for you. The B-52s had a few hit singles here, and their videos are always fun. That CSN song is incredibly good, isn’t it. Sorry, not a fan of Clifford but I can remember Terry Wogan playing him while I was driving round the North Circular on the morning commute.

      You have a great week too, and I hope you can make that journey into a foreign land 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great collection of songs Clive and all so fitting for the travel theme. I particularly like the Road to Nowhere and the highly infectious B52s. No plane travels for me for awhile I think but a camping weekend isn’t out of the question. Take care. 😊

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