Phew, what a scorcher July was. We had record temperatures in this country, and if anyone has still to be convinced that climate change is real I feel sorry for their stupidity. But it did at least give me a chance to bastardise a song title for my monthly review. So I took that chance! Apart from sweltering, what else did I get up to last month? Well, there are a few things I won’t be mentioning, but as far as my blog is concerned it was, for me, a busy month – with thirteen posts – so there is plenty to cover in this recap.
The first post in July was my reminder of the previous month on my blog, in the imaginatively entitled June. The same old format as usual: links to all I had posted, plus the song which gave the piece its title. I was rather spoilt for choice but chose a lovely little number from Amy Wadge, who I’m guessing most people have never heard of. She has many songwriting credits to her name and makes lovely music of her own, so she is worth following up.
As always, the mainstay of my month was the Tuesday Tunes series, which seems to just run and run! The first of these was Tuesday Tunes 111: Sleep, which featured music by The Beatles, Semisonic, The Pretenders, Melissa Etheridge, Warren Zevon, Aerosmith, Matchbox Twenty, and R.E.M. A pretty good start to the month, I think, and for once they were mostly well known artists.
The three remaining Tuesday Tunes posts for July formed a mini-series around the theme of day. The first of these was Tuesday Tunes 112: Day which brought music from Badfinger, The Kinks, The Levellers, U2, Phil Collins, Bonnie Raitt and Richard Thompson, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, and The Hooters. A real mixed bag!
Next up was another imaginative title, in Tuesday Tunes 113: Another Day in which I played music by The Beatles (again), The Kinks (again), Frank Turner, Matchbox Twenty (again), Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, John Mellencamp, and Bruce Springsteen. I seem to have been relying on my favourites for that one!
I closed the month with the third episode, Tuesday Tunes 114: And On The Third Day – at least I put some thought into that one! The tunes were by The Beatles (yup, them), Steve Earle, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen (together), Mary Hopkin, Gerry Rafferty, The Monkees, The Beatles (who?), and I closed with a really beautiful song by Nick Drake.
During June I also started taking part in the Song Lyric Sunday challenge, and have kept that up. I posted every Sunday in July and intend to keep it going. The five July posts, which responded to the theme we were given for each of these weeks, started with Song Lyric Sunday: Something In The Air . We were given the theme of ‘one hit wonders’ and I went all the way back to 1969 for a song by Thunderclap Newman, which was pretty obscure outside the UK. Still a great song, though, with an optimistic message.
The next week’s challenge was to come up with a song which had been rejected by one band but became a hit for another. I went with another from way back when (i.e. 1969), in Song Lyric Sunday: (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice, a song which had originally been turned down by The Tremeloes but gave Amen Corner their first and only UK number one. Again this was one that didn’t do much anywhere outside the UK, but I was on a mini-mission to show North America what it had been missing!
We were next asked to come up with a song that topped the charts: so many to choose from! I carried on with my education for North Americans with a song which only got to #96 in the US but topped the UK charts in early 1975: Song Lyric Sunday: Make Me Smile which those of you from here will probably remember, with its subtitle of ‘Come Up And See Me.’ It was by Steve Harley – the epitome of cool – and his band Cockney Rebel, and contains one of the best acoustic guitar solos I know.
The next challenge was to play a song by a band who never had a number one. There are some surprising candidates for this, and I went with a band who had just the one chart topping album here and in the US (with different albums) but never had a number one single either side of the pond: Song Lyric Sunday: The Who was what I gave you. The featured track was one of their two number two hits, My Generation, and as a bonus I included a link to a wonderful cover version by The Zimmers, which is huge fun and has to be seen to be believed!
Last Sunday, for the final one of the month, I actually went for something much more recent, and by an American band – I didn’t want to typecast myself! The theme we were given was, quite possibly, one of the least inspiring I have ever seen: we were asked to play a song about illness, injury, or scars. Bring forth an outpouring of doom and gloom, and heavy metal songs about dismemberment! But I didn’t go there. Instead I chose Song Lyric Sunday: Her Diamonds, by Rob Thomas, the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, who *may* have got a look in elsewhere last month. If you don’t know the story, do follow the link to the post: it is one of the most inspiring back stories to a song that I know, and its positive message was one that I felt deserved to be heard for that challenge.
That just leaves three July posts to remind you of. Although, as you have probably noticed, I’m not American I have taken in recent years to marking their big day, and did so again this year in Happy Independence Day!🇺🇸. In this, I shared again the post I had given you for 4th July 2021, which included a trailer for the movie The Madness Of King George, and songs by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Shires, Martina McBride, Gretchen Peters, and Bruce Springsteen. I may have to think of something new for next year!
I shared a mental health-themed post last month, for the first time in a while. This was Mad As A Hatter, which was built around a song of that title by the band Larkin Poe. It was written by the sisters who front the band, Rebecca and Megan Lovell, about their paternal grandfather, who suffered from schizophrenia and dementia and the effect this had on them and their family. It is a powerful, moving song and gave me an opportunity to share my own family experience of what is a pernicious illness.
Last, but very far from least, is the post which meant most to me among last month’s offerings. This was An Anniversary, in which I reworked a piece I had originally written in 2016. That was to mark the first anniversary of the passing of my friend, supporter, and muse, Cyd, who was taken from us by brain cancer in 2015 at the age of just 45, and it felt right to mention her memory again for those – just about all of you – who weren’t following my blog back in 2016. This was one of my most viewed and liked posts in July, and it was pleasing to get your response to it. As I said in the piece, we all need a Cyd in our lives!
So, that was my blogging July. I hope this recap has been helpful for you and who knows, you may have found something you missed first time around. All that remains is to give you the song whose title I ‘borrowed’ for this piece. Anyone familiar with my musical tastes will probably have already guessed what it is:
As the video shows, Cold Day In July was a track on The (Dixie) Chicks’ album Fly, released in August 1999. This was a huge success for them, topping both the Billboard Country and mainstream charts, and even managing to get to #38 here in the UK. It has sold more than 10m copies in the US alone. Eight of its tracks were released as singles, including this one: it got to #65 n the main US chart, and #10 on their Country listing, but wasn’t a hit here in the UK. The song was written by Richard Leigh, who has been involved in a number of hit songs, probably the most well known of which is Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, which got to #2 in the US and #5 in the UK for Crystal Gayle.
That’s all for now, folks. See you again soon, I hope. TTFN.