A Reprise For IWD

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.

These are the words that you first see when you visit the website for International Women’s Day. They go on to say:

Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity. IWD belongs to everyone, everywhere. Inclusion means all IWD action is valid.

IWD was yesterday, but being a day late doesn’t make the message any less valid. For the past two years I have given my Tuesday Tunes post over to songs by and about women, and this seems like a good time both to make a point that we should all value, and to share again one of my older posts, both for those who haven’t seen it before and for those who might enjoy hearing the music again. Last year I gave you a set of songs by bands with women at their head, in Tuesday Tunes 94, but the one I’m reprising today is from two years ago. As is my usual custom I’ll give you the post then return for a few more words and, in this case, a bonus video. Here is the piece from two years ago, which was also a day late:


I’m actually a day late on this, but please don’t hold it against me! Yesterday, as I’m sure you are aware, was International Women’s Day (IWD) and I felt I should mark it in my own way. So this week’s theme for my tunes is: women. The message for this year’s IWD is #ChooseToChallenge – if you want to know more about it, you can find the official website here. I’m acutely conscious of the fact that I, a man, am writing a post that marks the day for women – I assure you, it is done from a position of respect (a word that you will see again later). We are in the 21st century but women are in many ways regarded as inferior citizens: that is just plain wrong, and I fully support the day’s objectives, and hope that this post will in some way help to raise a tiny bit of awareness of the need for society to improve.

I feel that I should begin with something rousing and anthemic, and this one fits the bill:

Two female icons of pop music together: it doesn’t get much better than that. This was a track on the Eurythmics’ fourth album, Be Yourself Tonight, which was released in April 1985, peaking at #3 in the UK and #9 in the US. It was released as a single, and reached #9 in the UK and #18 in the US. If you didn’t already know that this was from the 80s there are some big style clues in there: Dave Stewart rocking the ‘pop star twat’ look is probably the biggest of these. But nothing can detract from the power of the song and its lyrics, which are still just as relevant today.

Today’s second tune is also a piece of iconic 80s pop. A simple song and message, with a superb video:

This was track 2 on Cyndi Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, which was released in October 1983. It’s a wonderful first record, and I played it a lot when I bought it. As well as this song, it includes Money Changes Everything, She Bop and Time After Time – see what I mean? The album got to #4 in the US and #16 here. This was the lead single for the album, released the previous month, and was a #2 hit on both sides of the Atlantic. The lady playing the part of Cyndi’s mum in the video is… Cyndi’s mum. Apparently the video only cost $35k to make, largely because the cast – who also include Dan Aykroyd – were unpaid volunteers. It is a load of fun, and the underlying message is still strong. It also won two best female video awards, one of them from MTV.

I’m taking the pace down a little with my next tune, which is also the only one this week by a male performer:

A simple song of love, apology and regret, and it is beautiful. This was a track from the 1980 album Double Fantasy, which was credited to both Lennon and Yoko Ono: they each wrote seven of the album’s fourteen tracks. It marked his return after a five year break following the birth of his son, Sean, and was released in November 1980, just three weeks before he was murdered. The album was #1 in both the US and the UK, as well as in Australia, Canada and Norway. Before he died, Lennon had chosen this to be the second single from the album, following (Just Like) Starting Over. It was released in January 1981, and was #1 in the US and #2 in the UK. Lennon described it as ‘an ode to Yoko, and to all women,’ and it is certainly that. As I said, it is a beautiful song, and you can feel the love in it.

A fun one next. I don’t think this one really has true ‘feminist’ credentials, though the lyrics kind of go in that direction, in a sort of follow up to Cyndi Lauper. To me, it is just a great pop song and an enjoyable video, and I like the way she reverses the genders on the way Robert Palmer did this:

This was a track on Shania Twain’s third album, Come On Over: the one that sold by the truckload. There were two versions of the album: the original, more country one for the US, and the ‘International’ version for the rest of us, which had re-recorded versions of all but one of the sixteen tracks, to make them more attractive to an international pop music audience. The track listing was also changed. I bought the version we were given, and played it to death! The video is for the version I knew back then, ie. the international pop one. The album was released in 1997, and made #2 in the US, though it was #1 on the country albums chart (for a total of 50 weeks!). The international version reached #1 here in the UK, as well as in Canada, Australia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway and New Zealand, so I guess the reworking proved to be a good idea. It has sold more than 40m copies worldwide, and is the ninth best selling album of all time in the US (sixteenth best in the UK). This song was the opening track on the US album version, though it was track 10 here. It was the eighth song to be released as a single – by then we were into 1999! – and was #3 here in the UK, #23 in the US mainstream chart and #4 on the country chart. To be honest, I was surprised people were still buying the singles by then – didn’t they all have the album already?!

My penultimate tune for this week is another with a defiant, ‘in your face’ message:

I first became aware of Lady Gaga when the BBC showed her 2009 appearance at Glastonbury as part of their coverage of the festival. I thought she was remarkable, and put on an incredible show. That was in her relatively early days, but she was already a huge star. I was hooked! By then, she had released her debut album, The Fame, which was #2 in the US and #1 here, amongst other countries. This song was the title track from her second album, which was released in May 2011 and topped the charts in…wait for it…the US, the UK, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland! As a single, this was #1 in the US and several other countries, but only got to #3 here: what a bunch of slackers! The video is from the Grammys show of 2011, and emphasises Gaga’s power as a performer.

I’m closing today with where I began, well, half of the initial act anyway. Whatever the message about International Women’s Day might be, there is one thing that all women (men also) deserve:

Written by Otis Redding, that was the opening track on Aretha Franklin’s 1967 album I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You, which was #2 on the US mainstream chart, #1 on their R&B chart, and #36 here in the UK. As a single, it was #1 on both the US mainstream and R&B charts, and #10 here. The word ‘classic’ gets thrown around a lot – I’m as guilty of that as anyone – but in this case I think it really does apply.

That’s all for this Tuesday. I hope you’ve enjoyed some powerful ‘women’ songs and, if you have time, do visit the IWD website.

Till next time. Take care.


And this is me again today. That was a mixture of powerful messages and some fun videos, but I think they supported the point. I promised you a bonus video for today, as back in those days Tuesday Tunes was just six videos compared with the regular quota now of eight, so I didn’t want to short change you. This video was released a month ago as part of the promotion for a new expanded edition of Elles Bailey’s latest album. She is a singer-songwriter with support from her own band, who are very much in evidence here. Enjoy:

I’ve played one of Elles’ songs before, back in September, and on that occasion gave you some information about her. This is part of that:

Elles (short for Eleanor) is from Bristol in the UK, and has a notable back story. At the age of 2 she was hospitalised with a severe case of viral pneumonia and spent seventeen days – including her third birthday – with a breathing tube down her throat. Happily she survived that ordeal mostly unscathed, but she has credited, if that is the right word, her slightly husky voice to that experience: “I know how fortunate I am to have walked away with that husky voice. And my life.” She has won several awards here for her music, and has to date released three albums. She tours extensively and is, I think, one of the hardest working performers around.

I absolutely love her voice, and she makes such good music. If this had been around for last year’s IWD post who knows – I might have played it then as it definitely qualifies as being by a band with a female lead. It is a worthy addition to this reprise, I feel.

That’s all for today. I’ll see you again for Song Lyric Sunday, and leave you today with another link to the International Women’s Day website. It is well worth a visit.


38 thoughts on “A Reprise For IWD

  1. Pingback: March March | Take It Easy

  2. “If I’m going to sing like someone else, then I don’t need to sing at all.” – Billie Holliday

    As long as women remain second class citizens subject to patriarchal whims and antiquated ideas there will be no equity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great tribute Clive, Thank you for posting this..all great songs and to pick a favourite I’d be hard pressed …Loved the lady Ga Ga video I need to listen to her more…Lennon well he left us a great legacy of songs and the other ladies all great singers and women…Thank you, Clive 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad that you wrote this post. I’ve had some incredible role models in my life (at least have been females.) We are stronger as a whole when we treat everyone equally. Here’s to all of the strong women in the world who contribute to making the world a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pete. I also had some good female role models when I was growing up and later in life. I find it dispiriting that there even needs to be a day reminding us of the need for equality – in all aspects of life, as well as gender. But, sadly, that need exists.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your first paragraph, Clive. That is the world I envision myself in because it is the reality I want myself to live in. No gender discussions; everyone is allowed to be who they are; no differences or judgments. Just one world with beings that all have the same needs: to be loved and respected for who they are. Great and powerful song list, Clive!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin steal the show!! But I love all the songs you picked for IWD. I’ve seen Cyndy Lauper perform and she was great. The John Lennon song makes me cry every darn time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Darlene, I’m glad you liked them. You were lucky to see Cyndi – I’ve shared a live video of her and she was incredible in it. John Lennon wrote some beautiful songs, didn’t he.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Long ago I came to the conclusion that because men are physically stronger than women it somehow makes them think that they are also superior as well. However, they only have superior strength. This doesn’t make them superior, but it takes them many many years to realise this. Shame!

    Liked by 1 person

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