Tuesday Tunes 115: Secret

The idea for today’s theme was gifted to me by a fellow blogger, the lovely Carol, who does a regular Saturday Snippets post based around a single word. This was one she posted a few weeks ago, and it gave me the idea that I knew of quite a few secret songs so this would make a good theme for me, too. As a slight departure from my usual practice, I’m including some tunes which don’t have the word secret in their title, but are about keeping secrets, for whatever reason. And none of the songs were in Carol’s piece, which I think goes to show how many there are: I have a list which is good for at least one more post!

One thing isn’t different, though. I like to get off to a rousing start and this one definitely fits the bill:

A great little song, and I love the video and all of the people sharing their secrets. Some are funny (the sink), several are rather sad, and others are downright weird: maybe these people shouldn’t be allowed out unaccompanied? The All-American Rejects are from Stillwater, Oklahoma, were formed in 1999 and comprise lead vocalist and bassist Tyson Ritter, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Nick Wheeler, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Mike Kennerty, and drummer Chris Gaylor. Wheeler and Ritter are the band’s songwriters; Wheeler being the primary composer and Ritter the primary lyricist. This song was a track on their second album, Move Along, which came out in July 2005 and got to #6 in the US and #45 in the UK. This was the first of three singles from the album, and was released in June of that year, getting to #9 in the US. It wasn’t released until October here in the UK, and only reached #94, but was reissued the following year and fared much better, getting to #18. I love the energy of bands like this: they put me in mind of Green Day, Blink-182 and Bowling For Soup, which is no bad thing.

Whilst I’m playing that as the lead song this week it wasn’t the first that came to my mind. This one was:

Semisonic released Secret Smile on their second album, Feeling Strangely Fine, which came out in March 1998 and peaked at #43 in the US, though it dd much better here in the UK, getting to #16. I played another track from the album a few weeks ago and, as I said then, this was one of the albums that kept me company on my long commute around the North Circular Road in London, and I played it a lot! This song was released as a single in January 1999 and also performed much better in the UK. In the US it didn’t make the main Billboard chart, though it did appear in several of their other listings, doing best on the Adult Alternative chart, based on radio airplay, where it got to #17. In the UK it peaked at #12 on our main singles chart, and I’ve always liked it. The video is a good accompaniment for it, I think.

For today’s next song I’m going way back into my childhood. This is actually a Beatles song, but wasn’t a single for them here. The big hit version for us was this one:

Do You Want To Know A Secret first saw the light of day on The Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me, released in March 1963, and staying at #1 in the UK album chart for thirty weeks until it was knocked off the top by their follow up, With The Beatles. The album wasn’t released in the US at that time: yet another example of record companies messing about with what were otherwise perfectly good albums. The song is credited to Lennon/McCartney, though it was mostly written by John, and George took lead vocal. It was a #2 hit in the US but here in the UK we had the Billy J. Kramer cover version, which was released in April 1963 when, by a neat piece of symmetry, it also peaked at #2. I was nine when these came out and was at that time really getting into pop music: The Beatles had burst onto the scene here and everything felt so new and exciting, not like the boring old dirges our Mum and Dad were listening to! Nowadays, nearly sixty years on, there is a charmingly innocent feel to the music.

I’m splitting this week’s selection 50/50 between songs which do and don’t have the actual word secret in their title. This is the first of the four which don’t, one of those songs which tells a story:

There are so many versions of this song to choose from. It was written in 1959 by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin, and was first recorded by Lefty Frizzell. The story of a man who wouldn’t reveal his secret, even though it meant he would hang for a crime he didn’t commit, is really romantic even if it is being sung by a ghost! The Band issued their version of Long Black Veil on their debut album, Music From Big Pink, in July 1968. The album got to #30 in the US and #18 in their native Canada, but wasn’t a hit here: I guess my purchase wasn’t enough! This was the first version of the song that I had heard and Rick Danko’s plaintive voice gives it such a haunting quality that I have always loved. Despite having since heard many others sing this, this is still the stand out for me. Other covers worthy of a mention include Johnny Cash (who once duetted on it with Joni Mitchell on his tv show), Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen (in live shows on the Seeger Sessions tour), Mick Jagger with The Chieftains – there are lots out there but, like everything they did, the version by The Proclaimers is bloody awful so I won’t mention it. Oops…

Another one without the word in its title is up next. Not my usual genre, perhaps, as it is more pop-py than songs I normally go for, but this is such a happy video that it begs to be included:

The Go-Go’s formed in Los Angeles in 1978 and are, according to Wikipedia, widely considered the most successful all-female rock band of all time – discuss. This song was co-written by their rhythm guitarist, Jane Wiedlin, along with Terry Hall of the Specials and the Fun Boy Three, and tells a story of girls refusing to retaliate when others are spreading what they consider to be lies about them. If only a certain recent former US President and an about to be ex-British Prime Minister could follow suit! This was a track on their debut album, Beauty And The Beat, which was released in July 1981 and eventually topped the US charts, getting there in March 1982. It was also a big hit in Canada, where it got to #2, but didn’t make the UK chart. The song was released as a single in June 1981, and reached #20 in the US and #47 in the UK, though it did best in Canada, where it got to #3. The Fun Boy Three released their own version of the song in April 1983 and it reached #7 in the UK singles chart. It’s ok, but it lacks one obvious attraction: their video doesn’t feature Belinda Carlisle!

This next one is the last one with secret in its title – well, a variation, anyway. You may not be a fan of Willie Nelson or country music but I urge you to watch this one, as it makes an important point in a gentle, humorous way:

This song was written in 1981 by Ned Sublette, a Latin country musician. Willie Nelson recorded it in 2006 for an iTunes session: it was released as a single and made #52 in the main Billboard chart. It was subsequently released on a compilation album, Lost Highway, in August 2009, which reached #29 on the US Country albums chart and #173 in the mainstream listing. The timing of Willie’s release was probably prompted by the success of the movie Brokeback Mountain, which ‘came out’ in cinemas in December 2005. The video is a little grainy – I couldn’t find one with clearer images – but I love the way it makes its point. As part of my public service I guess you may want to know what the Ned Sublette original sounded like. If so, you can find it here.

Today’s penultimate tune also carries a serious message. This is about child abuse:

Suzanne Vega released Luka on Solitude Standing, her second album, which came out in April 1987. The album peaked at #11 in the US but got higher here in the UK, making #2. She has released nine albums in total, eight of which made the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, all of them getting higher in the UK than in the US. This track became a single the following month, reversing that trend: it got to #3 in the US but only made #23 here. I’ve always thought this a powerful song, with its lyrics almost hidden inside a deceptively sprightly tune. Suzanne released a video last December of a stripped down performance, just her and her guitarist, Gerry Leonard, and it really enhances the power and beauty of the lyrics. Take a look here if you’re interested – you won’t regret it, as it really is lovely.

I’ve played today’s final song before in this series, but that was a long while back so I think I can get away with a repeat performance! This is a song about keeping secrets from a loved one – in other words, cheating – and the guilty feelings that can bring on:

[I’ve been advised that this video doesn’t work in the US. My apologies, as it is the record company’s official one! This version on YouTube should work for you, although it is an unofficial one: https://youtu.be/R6aSKDiqPKs – it takes you away from here so please come back after watching it!] Del Amitri released Be My Downfall on their third album, Change Everything, in June 1992. They weren’t the most prolific of recording artists, making just six albums in the period from 1985 to 2002, but these are all excellent. Four of those albums reached the UK top ten, this being the most successful, peaking at #2. It was also a #178 smash in the US. The song was a modest single hit here, getting to #30, but it didn’t chart in the US. The band were from Scotland and had the ‘distinction’ of recording the official song for the Scottish football team for the 1998 World Cup finals. Rather optimistically titled Don’t Come Home Too Soon, it fared better than the team, making #1 in Scotland and #15 in the UK as a whole, while the team did their usual trick of failing to get beyond the initial group stage. But at least they made the finals that time – a rarity of a sort, which England supporters always enjoy!

And with that dig at Scottish football, which really does merit it, this week’s selection of tunes comes to a close. Thanks again to Carol for giving me the idea, and do come back for another set which she may or may not have prompted. I’ll be back in a couple of days, so until then I hope you have a great week 😊

33 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 115: Secret

  1. Pingback: August | Take It Easy

  2. Well, you certainly brought some that I’ve never heard before! The first one, I did not like the music at all, but did get some chuckles over the secrets! I knew and liked well enough the Beatles “Do You Want To Know A Secret”, but I believe that is the only one I was familiar with! Thanks for introducing me to some new ones … a couple I kinda sorta liked and will go in search of the lyrics later tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I try to play some I think will be unfamiliar. The complete absence of crooners and almost complete absence of Motown in this series may not be good for you, but hopefully I can broaden your horizons a little. I’m pleased you liked some, though. If you couldn’t see the last one I’ll be adding in a link to an alternative video for the song, as the original seems to have copyright issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed … you have broadened my horizons quite a bit! I will always likely love Motown (especially Stevie) but I like other things, too, and I do really enjoy much of what you play! Admittedly, on occasion I cannot listen to an entire song if I just really don’t like it, but I listen to those that don’t send sharp objects flying through my head! Keep up the good work … and you’re right, I forgot to mention it but I wasn’t able to view that last one, so I’ll check out the new link in a bit. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll keep doing what I’m doing – I’m enjoying it too much to stop now!

        The new link does work over there – Pete kindly tested it for me. Hope you like it – it’s a lovely song of a man torn by his guilty secret.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My three favorites this week were Dirty Little Secrets, Secret Smile, and Luka. I remember the latter took a while to grow on me back in the day. I like the lyrics of that song a lot. The last one isn’t viewable for us on this side of the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A wide range of eras and genres covered, and I get what you mean about the Bands version of LBV. It is still the yardstick for all other versions for me, and oddly I’ve been listening to ‘The Shape I’m In’ over the last few days! A great Band.
    Also love the wry title of the Scottish teams anthem- well, you gotta laugh, it is so pithy; ‘Don’t Come Home Too Soon’ indeed. Talk about tempting fate- and what an open invitation for an own goal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like to mix these up if I can, though I do tend to revert to my youth if I’m not careful! I’m with you on The Band – I have yet to hear a version that comes close for me, though Jagger and The Chieftains deserve a mention.

      For those who know Scotland’s history at World Cups that really was an invitation. Written by a Scot, too. Irony overflow!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Beatles song is my faovrite out of this list, but you have several good ones! Long, Black Veil and that cowboy song were really good as well. Suzanne Vega’s song is very good, just so sad! Child abuse is horrible. I detest how rampant it is. I remember we lived beside a family where the wife and little kids were abused. They had to call their Dad, “Big Jim!” and he was Big! I was scared to death of him whenever I would see him in the yard. My parent’s tried to help, if I remember correctly I think she finally did leave with the kids.
    As always thanks for the songs. I get a smile out of your descriptions about them as well. You do have to wonder about some of those “dirty little secrets.” LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Joy, I’m pleased you found several that you liked and that the descriptions went down well, too. I think child abuse has always been there, but has wider recognition these days, but that is an incredibly good song. As for the dirty little secrets – there are quite a few in that video that prompted my comment about weird people!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. A great rousing start, Clive,,, love Willie Nelson and Luka great song choices, Clive …Thank you for the shout-out…I am happy you got a blog post out of my one-word prompt, and maybe 2…I always enjoy your song choices not listened to Del Amitri or maybe just don’t remember quite like the Go Go’s although pop-py it’s a nice video and a lively song…xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carol, and for the prompt too! Glad you liked the choices: I went for my usual mixed bag, and it isn’t often you’ll see gay cowboys and child abuse in the same post, is it! You should listen to more of Del Amitri: Justin Currie writes beautifully crafted songs. I’ll admit to the Go-Go’s being there for Belinda, who was so cute, but I quite like the song too 😊 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree- but then I would, wouldn’t I! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. All of their albums are great but as a taster you might start with their ‘best of’ collection, Hatful Of Rain. It’s a good distillation of what they do. xx

        Like

  7. Clive, I was going to share this, but it is a secret. I did hear a few new ones on this post. I am listening to Suzanne Vega as I type. As for the Go-Gos, have you seen the documentary on them? They toured in England as they honed their craft and became better musicians. As they switched from punk rock to more upbeat songs, they were treated poorly by the punk crowds, so they also got tough. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very good, Keith, I see what you did there!

      I’m pleased to have brought you some new ones, as that is always my aim. I didn’t know there was a documentary about the Go-Go’s but thanks for the tip.

      Liked by 1 person

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