The theme for this week’s Tunes was an easy one to choose. This is the fiftieth edition of this series, and as fiftieth wedding anniversaries and royal jubilees are celebrated as Golden that is what I’m going with. As it is a big anniversary I’m also giving you a few extra tunes this week (OK, I couldn’t decide which ones to leave out, you got me!). So you’re getting four songs with ‘golden’ in their title, three with ‘gold,’ and one which is a blatant cheat!
I’m starting with a singer and song that has been a favourite of mine for many years:
If you watch that on YouTube the first comment is the wonderful Willie Nelson quote about Linda: “There are two kinds of men in this world. Those with a crush on Linda Ronstadt and those who never heard of her.” And why not? I’ve been a fan since those early days, which put me in the minority in this country, as her chart success here has been very limited. Like many of her records this was a cover version – of a song originally recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1956. Linda’s version is from her 1973 album Don’t Cry Now, which peaked at #45 in the US and #46 in Australia, but didn’t chart here in the UK. It was released as a single the following year, when it got to #67 in the main US chart, and #20 in their country music one. It would be another year before she appeared in the UK charts, though, when her cover of Tracks Of My Tears scaled the peaks of #42.
This week’s second tune is from a band that grew out of the punk scene here, but this is a long way from that:
I’ve always liked this one, and that video from Top Of The Pops really is a piece of its era! The band were formed as The Guildford Stranglers in 1974, and abbreviated the name when their career began to take off. This was a track from their sixth album, La Folie, which was released in November 1981, reaching #11 in the UK albums chart. It was released as a single in January 1982, and is still their best performer of all time, reaching #2 here and the top ten in several other countries. As far as I can see, none of their records – albums or singles – has reached the US charts, so I’m guessing that this might be a new one for our friends across the pond.
It’s back to the sixties for this week’s next song, a real pop classic:
The Tremeloes were originally founded in 1958, with Brian Poole as their lead singer – he had left in 1966 before their string of late sixties hits. Released in 1967, this was their fourth single without him as the band’s frontman, and it was a huge hit: #1 here and #11 in the US. The band are still going, or at least they were until the pandemic hit us. They have regularly featured on the ‘revival’ tours that are popular here, and three of this line up remain.
This next one is a real classic too. I love this video, in which Neil Young rummages around in his pockets going through his harmonica collection and then proceeds to give a perfect live performance of what at the time was a ‘new song’:
This was side 1 track 4 on Neil’s fourth album, Harvest, which was the one that confirmed him as a huge star. The previous album, After The Goldrush, had reached the top ten in the US, UK and his native Canada, but this one took off in a major way: it was #1 in all of those countries, and several others too. It was released in February 1972, and was the best selling US album of that year. My copy went to uni with me later that year, too. It has to date sold upwards of 10m copies – a success by anyone’s reckoning. The song was also a #1 single in the US and Canada, though it only got to #10 here: I guess we all bought the album instead!
I thought I’d go British for this next one:
Woe betide anyone who thinks that was an Eva Cassidy song! This was a track on Sting’s fourth solo album after leaving The Police – Ten Summoner’s Tales, which was released in March 1993, a few weeks after I began my NHS career. The album accompanied me on many a long commute, and I loved every song on it. This was probably my favourite, though. The album reached #2 in both the US and the UK, and this was also a hit single, reaching #16 here and #23 in the US. The video is as lovely as the song, in my view – a perfect fit.
My next choice is from a band I loved and bought all of their albums:
For some reason America never had much success here. They began with the massive hit single Horse With No Name, and their hit debut album, but it rather tailed off after that. Their albums, particularly Homecoming (their second) saw me through my uni days. This was a track on their fifth album, Hearts, which was released in March 1975, when I was busy revising for my final uni exams. I can still remember going into Norwich the day after finals finished and buying this album, to celebrate being able to listen to music again without feeling guilty about not working! The album reached #4 in the US but did nothing here. This was also a #1 US single, but like the album it failed to reach our charts. Sometimes I just despair of British record buyers!
Having reached my usual quota of six songs I’m now getting into bonus tracks/encore mode. This one may be familiar, as it comes from a little album called Rumours, of which you may have heard:
That version is actually from the live DVD The Dance, which was recorded in 1997, some twenty years after the original album, but the sound quality is so good that it had to be the version I gave you. So much has been said and written about Rumours that there really isn’t anything for me to add. The basic facts are that it was #1 in the US and the UK, and in several other places too. It is remarkable for the fact that relationships between band members were breaking up while it was being recorded, but that probably contributes to the overall feel – it certainly didn’t damage its chances of success, as it has to date sold upwards of 40m copies wordlwide.
At the beginning I mentioned that I would be giving you one song which was a blatant cheat. It doesn’t have any form of ‘gold’ in its title, but I still feel justified in including it – I make the rules! Spot the connection:
Either that is a little out of sync or they were miming – whatever, it is still a great record. Golden Earring are a Dutch band, and had a massive hit single with this – #13 in the US and #7 here. The album it was on, Moontan, was released in 1973 and got to #12 in the US, but didn’t chart here – none of their albums ever have. I first heard the band in the late sixties on the pirate radio stations, which were by then largely under Dutch control, and wasn’t surprised when they produced something this good. I saw them play live at my uni, probably in early 1974, I think, and after they finished their set with this we were chanting for the usual encore, but they didn’t come out again. The Student Union Social Sec had the unenviable task of telling us that they couldn’t play any more as the lead guitarist, George Kooymans, had cut his hand. We demanded proof, so the poor guy had to come back on stage with blood dripping everywhere! It was still one of the best shows anyone had played in my days there, though: the things musicians have to go through for their art!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this enlarged collection of tunes – I’ll try to be more decisive next week! By then, Easter will have been and gone, and we will have had a whole week of the first stage of Covid relaxations, so I may find a theme there. Then again, I could go for something related to the recent news story that our Prime Minister had a four year affair with a woman whose company was in receipt of public funds during his time as the Mayor of London. Anyone know any good songs about ‘scandal’ or ‘corruption?’ Or perhaps ‘serial shagger?’
Take care, stay safe and well, and I’ll see you next week for some more Tuesday Tunes.