Looking back over previous posts I noticed that in January last year I chose Hope For The Future as one of the weekly topics for this series, and it seemed a good idea to share a similar theme for this first Tuesday Tunes of 2022. I wanted to choose a completely different set of songs, and decided on New Beginnings as this week’s theme, as it reflects what I imagine many of us are hoping that this year will bring us. The songs are a mixture of looking ahead to the future and looking at what we have now, and reflecting on the good things. I’m hoping that many of these will be new to you: if any of you knows more than three of these you’re doing well, and I’m not counting the original of one of these among that number!
I thought I’d start with one of those I think you may well know:
This was the opening track on John Lennon’s album Double Fantasy. It was released in October 1980 as the lead single, as Lennon believed it gave the right message as to how he felt about the album, which was his first release in five years, after he dedicated his time to bringing up his son Sean. The album was released on 17 November: three weeks later, Lennon was murdered and the album, which had largely received negative reviews from critics, stormed up the charts and became #1 in both the US and the UK, and also in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. As a single, the song was #1 in the UK, US, Australia, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland. Knowing what happened shortly after its release, this still feels poignant to me when I hear it now, and acts as one of those reminders that we can never take anything in life for granted.
This next one begged to be included just for its title, but with its beautiful harmonies and lyrics, and delicate tune, I was never going to leave it out:
CSN&Y released what turned out to be their final album, Looking Forward, in October 1999. As you can see, this was the title track, but as it wasn’t released as a single there is only the audio version available to me to share with you. I’ve always thought this a lovely song, from a band who gave us so many greats. The album wasn’t a huge hit, reaching #26 in the US and #54 in the UK, but has sold upwards of 600k copies – not bad from a band whose heyday was arguably thirty years behind them.
One of the interpretations of today’s theme is the ‘putting it all behind me and moving on’ approach. This is one such song:
Go on, tell me you saw the title of that and thought I was going to play you THAT song from Frozen. No chance! This was the title track from Tim McGraw’s album Let It Go, which was released in March 2007, reaching #1 in both the US and Canada. This was the sixth track from the album to be released as a single, in July 2008, and it reached #47 in the US and #75 in Canada – #2 and #4 in the respective Country charts. I’ve always liked its positive message of throwing off the burdens that have been holding him down and moving forward with life.
The new beginnings meaning can also apply to relationships, at the point where one of them is looking ahead to what they hope might happen. This is a good example of that:
David Bowie wrote Absolute Beginners for the soundtrack to the 1986 movie of that name, in which he played the role of a photographer pursuing his idealised dream girl. It was released as a single, reaching #2 in the UK and #53 in the US. The movie bombed, and along with a couple of other failures was blamed for the collapse of Goldcrest Films, its distributor, though the company did make a comeback. I’ve seen it on tv and rather enjoyed it: it has a great cast list of British actors and pop stars of the Eighties, and I don’t think it deserved the bad press it got.
My next choice is one of those songs which reflects a new stage which is beginning in life, and the hopes and dreams that go with that – in this case, leaving home and going away to college/university:
The Chicks had their big breakthrough with their Wide Open Spaces album, which was released in January 1998, and peaked at #4 in the main US chart whilst reaching #1 in the Country albums lists. It also achieved a creditable #26 placing in the UK – not bad for a band who were largely unknown here prior to this record. This track was released as a single in July 1998, and made #1 on both the US and Canadian Country charts, and #41 in the mainstream Billboard standings. As a song that talks to the experience of so many, both as students and the ‘bereaved’ parents whose ‘baby’ has grown up and left home, there are few better than this one.
I mentioned at the outset that I would be playing you a cover version of a very well known song. That time has come. I featured this band for the first time during my Advent Calendar and they were very well received, so when I saw that they had covered this song I was intrigued. When I saw their video for it I knew I had to include it in this set:
The Hound and the Fox, are, as I mentioned previously, the husband and wife duo Reilly and McKenzie Zamber. They have made a large number of cover versions, and produce videos both for themselves and for others: this is typical of their work, and is utterly charming. Thinking Out Loud is, as I’m sure you know (there’s a clue on the video heading), an Ed Sheeran song, written by him in collaboration with Amy Wadge. Amy has written songs with and for many artists, in addition to making her own music. British viewers may well know her for the beautiful, haunting soundtrack she provided for the three series of the BBC drama Keeping Faith, but she has many more strings to her bow. I’m not an Ed Sheeran fan, but this is an undeniably beautiful song about the joy two people find in their love for each other and their hopes for their future together. I just hope it brings the Zambers better luck than it did for Mr Sheeran, who is no longer with the girlfriend about whom he was writing!
I thought I’d finish today with a very loose interpretation of hoping for something good to come along in the future. How about hoping that tonight will be fun, rather along the lines of the date night being planned in that previous video? This is from one of my long time favourites, who I saw perform this live even before the record had been released:
Richard and Linda Thompson were married in October 1972, but initially carried on playing as Richard Thompson and Linda Peters, which is how they were billed when I first saw them at Uni in 1973. They had already recorded their debut album, from which this is the title track, but in those days the UK was suffering fuel shortages which were impacting on the production of vinyl, so the record company held back its release until April 1974. It was the first of six albums they made together, none of which created even the slightest ripple in the charts anywhere, but I love them all, have them all and still play them. Richard in particular has had a long musical career, and is a highly respected singer-songwriter and guitarist – I have a full collection of his albums. Check out his Wikipedia page to get an idea of how influential he has been, especially the long list of his collaborations. As I said, I included this one as a bit of an outlier, to show that looking ahead to something new doesn’t have to be a life-changing experience: there’s a lot going for the here and now!
That’s all for this week, and I hope you enjoyed them. I’m off to work out what to say in my annual review of the past year on my blog, other than that it included a good deal of music! In the meantime, I hope you manage to stay safe and well and steer clear of the Omicron variant.
See you again soon 😊