We Brits are well known for our obsession with the weather. But this past week has given us good reason for that. Thankfully, things here are now warming up: today is forecast to reach the giddy heights of 11C, after a week when the temperature didn’t rise above 0C. And now we’ve had rain to wash away what remained of the snow. But I still think it worth sticking with the theme I chose for this week’s tunes while I was shivering: cold.
The word ‘cold’ appears in many song titles, but these are often describing someone’s heart rather than the temperature outside. So what! It is still a good starting point for this week’s music. To get the party going, how about this:
See what I mean? Nothing to do with climate, but it’s one I’ve always liked. Foreigner were formed in New York in 1976, and were three parts each American and British. This was a track on their debut album, entitled Foreigner (what else?), released in March 1977. The album peaked at #4 in the US but didn’t chart here. This was the second single taken from it, and it reached #6 in the US and #24 here. Memory can play tricks on you, can’t it – I’d always thought that did better here, but on the whole the band performed less well in our charts despite their British connections.
Speaking of British, they don’t come more British than this lot:
That wasn’t a particularly big hit as a single – #33 in the UK and #26 in the US, when it was released in 1980, but I love that video and the typical Jagger pouting and posing. But the album it came from – Emotional Rescue – was #1 both sides of the Atlantic. If I’m honest, I don’t think this was one of their best albums, but that is probably being a little harsh considering how many great albums they have made. On a completely unrelated side note, I have mentioned before – and shared in number 19 of this series – the Clark family. Little Bellamy is clearly a fan of Mick’s.
Time to slow things down a bit with the next one. This from a band who have been through a great deal, including a recent name change, but came back last year stronger than ever – their stonkingly good new song was in number 26 of this series. I’ve loved their music since they started, and this is a live performance of an early track of theirs:
This was on Fly, their second album on a mainstream record label, following some previous low key releases. It was a US #1, and got as far as #38 here. The album comprised 13 tracks, of which 8 were released as singles, including this one. It only reached #65 in the US, though, and didn’t chart here.
My next ‘cold’ choice was never released as a single, and I can’t find a live performance of it, either, so I’m afraid it’s static video time:
That was on Rod’s sixth album, Atlantic Crossing, which was released in August 1975. The album was, as you would expect, a #1 here (his fourth #1 in a row) but only got to #9 in the US: it is notable for being the one that contained what many will probably know as his biggest hit (here in the UK, anyway), Sailing, which closed the album. For me, this was the time when Rod was still at his best, before he morphed into being a cabaret singer (my view – you are entitled to disagree!).
As I’m now onto this week’s fifth tune, maybe it is about time that I actually included one where ‘cold’ means ‘cold weather?’ You’ll have to take my word for it, though, as this one is in German. The clue is in the title – guess what ‘kalte’ means:
That is a track from Faun’s 2013 album Von Den Elben (of/from the elves), which reached #7 in the mainstream German albums chart – quite an achievement for a band that describes its music as being ‘pagan folk’ in style. It is an adaptation of a traditional song, known usually as either Cold Haily Rainy Night or Cold Haily Windy Night. I first heard the song on Steeleye Span’s second album, Please To See The King, but it has been covered many times by folk musicians from all over the place and not just in English, as this version shows. The song is about a young man pleading with his love to let him in out of the freezing cold, though the English lyrics imply another meaning of the phrase ‘let me in’ (she does). Much though I’m a fan of Steeleye, I shared this version as I think the vocals and musicianship are gorgeous, and the setting of Marienburg Castle, in Lower Saxony, Germany, is perfect in creating the ambience. I’ve mentioned Faun before, but this is the first time I’ve shared one of their songs – I may do this more often, as they show that we don’t always need to understand the lyrics to be able to enjoy the beauty of the music.
I thought I’d leave you this week with something rousing, and they don’t come much better than this:
Watching that makes me realise how much I wish I’d been able to see Tom Petty play live, as there is so much energy in that performance. The video makes up for the loss, a little. This was a track on Tom’s 1991 album Into The Great Wide Open, which accompanied me on many car commuting journeys – this song, in particular, was a great one for driving to, even if it was only on the North Circular Road in London! The album reached #13 in the US but did better here, getting to #3. This was released as a single: it didn’t chart in either country, though it did make #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, which is based on airplay rather than sales. That has long been one of my favourites of his albums, though he never made a poor one!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s selection. I doubt I’ll be able to use ‘heatwave’ as next week’s theme, so I’ll have to rely on the little grey cells to come up with something. I hope to see you again then but, in the meantime, stay safe and warm. Especially warm!