Archive for Music

The Incomplete Database of Song Titles with Girl’s Names

AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF GOOD SONGS WITH GIRL’S NAMES AS THE TITLE

 

Guidelines: Here’s my exhaustive but by no means complete list. Hopefully it’s entertaining. Thanks to many of my Facebook friends who helped generate a lot of these titles — we crowdsourced the heck out of this one. As the final arbiter, I ruled out many great songs with girl’s names in the title, such as “Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad” by the Clash or “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” by the Ramones. This helped narrow the results. I was seeking that tightly focused, one name title: Deborah, Angie, Ophelia, Pocahontas. I eliminated titles with first and last names, such as “Anna Eng” by They Might Be Giants. And, yes, I tossed titles where the name is repeated, “Mary, Mary” by the Monkees, “Corrina, Corrina” by Bob Dylan. After some internal debate, I decided to keep middle-name songs such as “Barbara Anne” by the Beach Boys and “Carrie Anne” by the Hollies. However, again, no last names or initials –- I’m awfully sorry, “Suzie Q.” 

If you’d like a suggest a song in the comments section, please do. Note that the comments are moderated; if it’s your first time commenting here, it won’t appear until after I get around to approving it. Otherwise, there’s just too much spam, too much nonsense.  

 

Adia, Sarah McLachlan

Alexandra, Hamilton Leithauser

Alice, Moby

Allie, Belle & Sebastian

Allison, Elvis Costello

Amelia, Joni Mitchell

Amie, Pure Prairie League

Amoreena, Elton John

Andalucia, John Cale

Angela, The Verlaines

Angela, Lumineers

Angelina, Marillon

Angi, Davey Graham

Angie, Rolling Stones

Ann, Stooges

Annie, Elastica

Barbara Ann, Beach Boys

Bernadette, Four Tops

Bertha, Grateful Dead

Beryl, Mark Knopfler

Beth, Kiss

Billie Jean, Michael Jackson

Brenda, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Caldonia, Louis Jordan

Candy, Iggy Pop

Carol, Chuck Berry

Cath, The Bluebells

Cath, Death Cab for Cutie

Caroline, Silos

Carrie Anne, The Hollies

Cecilia, Simon & Garfunkel

Celeste, Donovan

Christine, Sioxsie & the Banshees

Christy, Natalie Prass

Cleopatra, Lumineers

Daisy Jane, America

Deanna, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Deborah, Dave Edmunds

Deborah, T. Rex

Denise, Fountains of Wayne

Diane, Husker Du

Donna, Hair Soundtrack

Dora, Mekons

Doreen, Old 97’s

Elenore, The Turtles

Emmylou, First Aid Kit

Evangeline, Icicle Works

Evangeline, Matthew Sweet

Evangeline, Los Lobos

Florence, The Paragons

Francine, ZZ Top

Georgia, Boz Skaggs

Gina, Blues Traveler

Glendora, Downliners Sect

Gloria, Van Morrison

Gloria, Patti Smith

Grizelda, Yeasayer

Guinnevere, Crosby, Stills & Nash

Iris, Split Enz

Jane, Barenaked Ladies

Jane, Ben Folds Five

Jeanette, The English Beat

Jennifer, Faust

Jessica, Allman Brothers

Joanne, Michael Nesmith

Jolene, Dolly Parton

Johanna, Stooges

Josephine, Magnolia Electric Co.

Josie, Steely Dan

Julia, The Beatles

Karen, The Go-Betweens

Karen, The National

Kathleen, American Music Club

Kathleen, Josh Ritter

Kayleigh, Marillion

Kim, Ryan Adams

Layla, Derek and the Dominoes

Linda, The Go

Lola, Kinks

Lorelei, The Sneetches

Lucille, Little Richard

Lysistrata, Utopia

Marlene, Jackson C. Frank

Martha, Jefferson Airplane

Mary Anne, Marshall Crenshaw

Matilda, Alt-J

Maureen, Sade

Maybelline, Chuck Berry

Melissa, Allman Brothers Band

Michelle, Beatles

Mona, Bo Diddley

Nadine, Chuck Berry

Naima, John Coltrane

Nouel, Laura Marling

Ophelia, Lumineers

Ophelia, Natalie Merchant

Ophelia, The Band

Peg, Steely Dan

Peggy Sue, Buddy Holly

Philomena, Decemberists

Pocahontas, Neil Young

Polly, Kinks

Polly, Nirvana

Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac

Rosalita, Bruce Springsteen

Rosalyn, The Pretty Things

Rosemarie, Superchunk

Rosie, Jackson Browne

Roxanne, Police

Sara, Bob Dylan

Sara, Fleetwood Mac

Sherry, Four Seasons

Sonja, Lyle Lovett

Stacy, Ween

Sunny, Bobby Hebb

Suzanne, Leonard Cohen

Tallulah, Company of Thieves

Valerie, Amy Winehouse

Valerie, Richard Thompson

Valerie, Steve Winwood

Valleri, Monkees

Veronica, Elvis Costello

Victoria, Kinks

Winona, Matthew Sweet

 

So, okay, what did I miss?

 

If My Siblings Were Album Covers

I’m the youngest of seven children. I grew up with a rich inheritance of music. As my brothers and sisters went off to college and other experiences, many of their albums found their way upstairs in the crappy stereo cabinet, their divergent tastes all mashed together. It was amazing, and I’m still in awe of that great motherload of music I got to hear at any early age.

One game I played a lot involved a small garbage can set up on a table and a wadded up piece of paper. I’d pretend — for hours, it seemed — to be players on the New York Knicks. I’d invent elaborate games, acting out shots, keeping score. I was Dave Debusschere, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Dick Barnett, Bill Bradley. That classic 1969-70 team. And all the while, I rocked the house. Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Donovan, Spooky Tooth, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, on and on, endlessly.

Proust can have his madeleine cake. But in terms of generating memories, there’s nothing for me like the associations that come with specific songs and albums. Today I decided to show one album cover for each sibling. Not necessarily their favorite, or most representative, but one that always brings them to mind.

FlowersLP

My brother Neal was a Dylan fanatic, and definitely my most influential brother when it came to music. He loved to sing, something that the rest of us never attempted. He was singular in that regard. This album always makes me think of him. Could have gone with early Dylan or “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

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I can’t hear this great album without flashing on my brother Al. I also remember him talking to me about Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” Problem is, Al’s not really a Hendrix guy.

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This one is slippery. Compared to Neal, Billy didn’t have super refined tastes from what I recall. He kind of bounced around, listening to whatever. I do remember his red-and-white box of 45s, which I loved flipping through. But this album will always remind me of a specific day. It was Billy’s return from Vietnam. He came home with a great stereo system, as so many soldiers did, including a “light box” that flashed along to the music. A bunch of his friends and I, his adoring and much younger little brother, crowded into his bedroom when he played this album. Hey, yours is no, yours is no disgrace.

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Almost went with Dan Fogelberg here. Or James Taylor. Jean definitely had the classic teenage sister tastes — the sensitive songwriters — along with her Richard Brautigan novels. I still have a soft spot for most of it. Even the dreaded Fogelberg.

Oldies-But-Goodies-Vol-9-cover

Kind of a cheat here. Barbara in my mind was the least musical, in that I find it hard to recall her ever being particularly enthusiastic about any particular album. She did have this fantastic collection of 50s records — “Oldies But Goodies” — and I enjoyed playing those fun songs over and over again. “Alley Oop!”

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My brother John introduced me to this album. I remember him telling me about it, and playing it for me. I also remember playing the Doors “Waiting for the Sun” album in his bedroom, acting out “The Unknown Soldier” in front of a mirror, falling on his bed at the sound of the gunshot. I did that a lot. Just a little boy playing with his brother’s records.

It occurs to me now that I still love all those albums. It’s partly transference, I’m sure. When I play some of this music, I hear my life reverberating back like a distant echo in the hills. Just lucky, I guess. Let the good times roll.

BANG: 30 Songs About Guns

I’ve made mixes all my life. Still do, though now we call ’em playlists. In this case I went thematic. I can’t say why, it just worked out that way. I’m passing it along for your (possible) enjoyment. And, of course, as document. Feeding the interweb’s gaping maw.

Note: As with any playlist, I created it for my own listening pleasure. There are some obvious songs I didn’t include here — “Saturday Night Special” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, for example — and entire genres that I ignored in the interest in continuity. Also, there’s simply a lot of songs I haven’t heard or didn’t think of. If you’d like to add a song, make a comment. Sonically, I think it holds together pretty well through the first 20 tracks, then it gets kind of wobbly after that. But it’s an interesting subgenre. Guns & America. Let’s get it started with a banjo . . .

 

Time To Get a Gun, Fred Eaglesmith

Miranda Lampert covered this song, which I gather was good news for Fred Eaglesmith and his bank account. For my mix, I’ll stick with the man who wrote the song.

“Time to get a gun.
That’s what I’ve been thinking.
I could afford one,
if I did just a little less drinking.

Time to put something,
between me and the sun.
When the talking is over
it’s time to get a gun.”

– –

Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash

This song had to be here, so might as well get it out front.

“When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “Son,
Always be a good boy/
Don’t ever play with guns,”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die.”

 

The Devil’s Right Hand, Steve Earle

Another song that begins with a Mama’s warning, unheeded.

“My very first pistol was a cap and ball Colt,
Shoot as fast as lightnin’ but it loads a might slow.
It loads a mite slow and I soon found out
It can get you into trouble, but it can’t get you out.”

 

Put Down the Gun, Peter Case

He was the leader of the mighty Plimsouls for crying out loud. The man is a legend. And he’s a legend, too, for writing this song.

““I don’t want to swear it/ But it’s something that I’ve heard/ A gun in the first act/ Always goes off in the third.”

 

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), Nancy Sinatra

Written by Charles Harmon, Shaffer Smith, and Mr. Sonny Bono. To me, Nancy Sinatra forever owns this song. Quentin Tarentino used it to great effect in the film, “Kill Bill.”

“Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down.”

 

Bang Bang Bang, Ellen Jewell

Ellen Jewell offers a new take on Cupid, who in this version has upgraded his weaponry.

“He fired off a few hot rounds
Right into the sorry crowd.
No blood, no gore, no one hit the ground.
They all just fell in love
With whoever they happened to be around.

It’s funny, till it happens to you,
But be sure you stay well out of his way.
Love is careless, random and cruel,
He don’t take aim he just —
He don’t take aim he just bang bang bang.”

 

Gun, Uncle Tupelo

More gun as metaphor than actual gun, but a great tune and one of Jeff Tweedy’s best Uncle Tupelo numbers.

“Don’t tell me which way I oughta run
What good could I do anyone.
‘Cause my heart, it was a gun,
But it’s unloaded now. . .”

 

That’s When I Reach for My Revolver, Mission of Burma

Punk anthem, 1981.

“Tonight the sky is empty
But that is nothing new
Its dead eyes look upon us
And they tell me
We’re nothing
But slaves (That’s when I reach for my revolver)
Just slaves (That’s when I reach for my revolver)
That’s when I reach for my revolver
That’s when I reach for my revolver
That’s when I reach for my revolver
That’s when I reach for my revolver.”

Guns on the Roof, Clash

From the great “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” LP.

“Guns guns, a-shaking in terror
Guns guns, killing in error
Guns guns, guilty hands
Guns guns, shatter the lands.”

 

The Eton Rifles, Jam

Written by Paul Weller, who is awesome, in 1979.

“Sup up your beer and collect your fags,
There’s a row going on down near Slough,
Get out your mat and pray to the west,
I’ll get out mine and pray for myself.”

 

Bullet With My Name on It, The Dream Syndicate

I finally caught these guys live at Solid Sound, 2013, but I can still remember the first time a friend introduced them to me, on vinyl, in his East Village apartment.

“If you ever saw me
walking around
swear I’d try to disappear
I wouldn’t make a sound
Then something
got me on the run
it’s gonna be the last time
I let you hold my gun.”

 

Shoot Out the Lights, Richard and Linda Thompson

Thompson matches the gun’s menace note for note with his slashing guitar riffs.

“In the darkness the shadows move
In the darkness the game is real
Real as a gun
Real as a gun

As he watches the streets of the city
As he moves through the night
Shoot out the lights
Shoot out the lights.”

 

99 Year Blues, Hot Tuna

Originally written by blues musician Julius Daniels, this song appeared on the famous Anthology of American Folk Music box set. This “Burgers” LP was just huge with my friends and me back in high school. Jorma, man.

“Well, now give me my pistol, man
And three round balls
I’m gonna shoot everybody
That I don’t like at all.”

 

Bring Me My Shotgun, Lightnin’ Hopkins

Another “my woman done me wrong” song — with a nice twist at the end.

“Go bring me my shotgun,
You know I just got to start shootin’ again.
You know I’m gonna shoot my woman,
Cause she’s foolin’ around with too many men.”


Billy, Green on Red (Dylan Cover)

Nice cover by Green on Red of a minor Dylan classic off the underrated “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid” soundtrack. Gillian Welch also covers this tune in a way that’s worth hearing.

“They say that Pat Garrett’s got your number
So sleep with one eye open when you slumber
Every little sound just might be thunder
Thunder from the barrel of his gun.”

 

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Bob Dylan

Live by the gun, die by the gun. Sticking with the same LP, here’s the tune everybody knows — and everybody, it seems, has covered.

“Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore
That long black cloud is comin’ down
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.”

 

Me and Billy the Kid, Joe Ely

One more in our Billy the Kid trilogy. Here’s a classic take by the great Texas songwriter Joe Ely.

“Yeah, me and Billy The Kid never got along:
I didn’t like the way he buckled his boots an’ he wore his gun all wrong.
One day, I said to Billy: “I got this foo
lproof scheme.
“We’ll rob Wells Fargo, it’s bustin at the seams.”
I admit that I framed him. I don’t feel no remorse.
It was just my way of gettin’ even with the man who shot my horse.”

 

The Rifleman, The Minus 5

Scott McCaughey’s pop collective out of Seattle. Maybe it would have been brighter if I grabbed something of their 2006 release, “The Minus 5”, AKA “The Gun Album,” but I don’t know it that well. Sorry. So shoot me.

“Did you see the rifleman, did you see that episode?
Every Crawford in the country got to see his little head explode.
Just a loaded Texas tin star who tried to fill his boots
With bullets from a stocking Christmas morn'”

 

Shoot Out on the Plantation, Leon Russell

Another fallen legend, Leon died on 11/13/16. I’ll always love him best for his work leading Joe Cocker’s sprawling band, Mad Dogs & Englishmen.
“Yeah, the drummer’s got the drum, the colonel’s got the gun,
And Junior’s only got a knife, he’d better run.”

 

I Wanna Be Your Gun, The Mayflies USA

Sonically maybe not the best fit for this playlist, but I’ve long had a soft spot for this NC band’s melodic power pop and vocal harmonies. Their first two CDs were produced by the great Chris Stamey, so there’s your bona fides.

“I don’t want a shot, I just wanna be your gun.”

Tommy Gun, Clash

The only band that gets two songs on this playlist, breaking all the rules. Boy, they seem to matter now more than ever. We miss you Joe Strummer!

“Tommy gun
You ain’t happy less you got one
Tommy gun
Ain’t gonna shoot the place up
Just for fun
Maybe he wants to die for the money
Maybe he wants to kill for his country
Whatever he wants, he’s gonna get it!”

 

Hand of Fate, Rolling Stones

Pretty good band. They might make it someday.

“My sweet girl was once his wife
He had papers the judge had signed
The wind blew hard, it was stormy night
He shot me once, but I shot him twice.”

 

Jeannie Needs a Shooter, Warren Zevon

The man, the myth, the legend.

“The night was cold and rainy down by the borderline
I was riding hard to meet her when a shot rang out behind
As I lay there in the darkness with a pistol by my side
Jeannie and her father rode off into the night.”

 

With a Gun, Steely Dan

“I could be wrong but I have seen your face before
You were the man that I saw running from his door
You owed him money but you gave him something more
With a gun
With a gun”

 

Happiness Is a Warm Gun, Beatles

Another song where they are not really singing about a gun, but there’s a lot of shooting going on. “She’s not a girl who misses much.”

“Happiness is a warm gun (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot)
When I hold you in my arms (oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (oh, yeah)
Because, (happiness) is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang bang shoot shoot)”

 

Ray’s Automatic Weapon, Drive-By Truckers

A man slowly losing it . . . with a gun in his possession. Songwriting Patterson Hood style.

“I got to tell you
You got to take that gun back
Cuz these things that I been shooting at are getting all too real
Don’t want to hurt nobody, but I keep on aiming closer
Don’t think that I can keep it feeling like I feel.”

 

Ten Cent Pistol, Black Keys

A scorned woman with a gun. That’s a combo for you. Hell, the song practically writes its darn self.

“There’s nothing worse
In this world
Than payback from a
Jealous girl
The laws of man
They don’t apply
When blood gets in
A woman’s eye.”

 

Pray for Newtown, Sun Kil Moon

Mark Kozelek was at his shambolic, idiosyncratic best on the 2014 CD, “Benji.” This is one of the songs on a weird, great disk.

“December twenty-fifth, and I was just laying down
I picked up a pen, I wrote a letter to the guy in Newtown
I said I’m sorry bout the killings, and the teachers who lost their lives
I felt it coming on, I felt it in my bones and I don’t know why.

So when Christmas comes and you’re out running around
Take a moment to pause and think of the kids who died in Newtown.
They went so young, who gave their lives
To make us stop and think and try to get it right
Were so young, a cloud so dark over them
And they left home, gave their mom and dad a kiss and a hug.

So when your birthday comes and you’re feeling pretty good
Baking cakes and opening gifts and stuffing your mouth with food
Take a moment for the children who lost their lives
Think of their families and how they mourn and cry.”

 

Shots, Neil Young

One of those great Neil songs it’s easy to miss, because this hidden gem is off the  1981 “Re-ac-tor” LP, which is about when I began losing some enthusiasm for Neil who wandered lost in the 80s wilderness until he surprised us with “Freedom” in 1989. I went with the electric version here, though there’s some really nice solo acoustic versions floating around the interwebs. If I was feeling clever, I could have started this thing off with the acoustic and then closed it out with the visceral noise of Neil and Crazy Horse kicking up a storm.

“Shots
I hear shots, I keep hearing shots
I keep hearing shots
I hear shots.”

 

Two Gunslingers, Tom Petty

Off the “Into the Great Wide Open” CD. My last song for this set, and I hope a fitting way to close it out.

“Two gunslingers walked out in the street and one said
“I don’t want to fight no more”
And the other gunslinger thought about it and said
“Yeah, what are we fighting for?”

Cookies, Carols, Movies, Santa, Jigsaw Jones, and Holiday Greetings

die_hard_christmas

 

Well, we’re getting to that time of year again, when I accept the challenge and attempt to prove that man can live by cookies alone.

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Also, for our family, there’s Christmas and all the good that comes with it. Yes, the songs, the songs, the songs. I’ve long collected “cool yule” tracks and dutifully compile new playlists every holiday season. This year’s favorite, among so many strong contenders, is Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas from the Family.”

Of course, I love the movies, too. Elf, the Grinch, Charlie Brown, A Christmas Story (my favorite), Rudolph, and Die Hard.

Because . . .

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Even so, a writer still has to make a living. And believe me, I’m still typing!

51poJdDWQNL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_In The Case of the Santa Claus Mystery, I gave Jigsaw the toughest case of his career — Sally Ann Simms wants proof that there’s a Santa Claus. And I gave myself a tough assignment, too. I attempted to write a truly heartfelt, entertaining Christmas story with soul, soul, soul. It’s out of print now, like all books Jigsaw, and honestly I’m not sure anyone noticed at the time, but I still like book a lot. It captures a fleeting something of holiday spirit. Who knows? Maybe it’ll come around again.

 

Here’s a quick moment that still makes me smile, ten years later:

 

 

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Happy holidays, one and all!

Girl from the North Country

 

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I want to tell you a little bit about Annika, the pink-laced lass pictured above, whom I met on a recent visit to northern New York, or where locals refer to as “the North Country.”

During a period of downtime in the school library, Annika came to have her book signed. I had remembered her face from an earlier presentation. She had that kind of presence, the way she leaned in and listened. When I talk to a group, it’s natural to scan the gathered faces. The bored ones, the curious ones. I’m grateful when I find a student who is fully there, like a friend, smiling, enjoying it.

So now here she stood, still smiling, asking for me to sign her book. Of course, I was honored to do so. We got to talking. About movies and books and stuff. Neither of us in a particular hurry.

I later learned that Annika happened to be the daughter of the school librarian. “Ah,” I said, the pieces falling together. I was also informed that Annika was not merely an avid reader. She was a trapper, too. Like her daddy. “She earned $500 last winter,” her mother told me. “Skins ’em herself, too.”

Really?

Oh, yes, really.

“She’s a real North Country girl,” her mother said. “Here, let me show you a photo . . .”

And so she did.

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That’s one of the reasons why I love to do school visits. They get me out of the house, out of my small world. I see new places, try to look around if I have some time, open my eyes a bit wider. Some days I get to meet seven-grade wonders like Annika, and I am always glad for it.

Meeting Annika reminded me of a favorite song by Bob Dylan, “Girl from the North County,” off the Freewheelin‘ LP.

The lyrics:

If you’re traveling the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
For she once was a true love of mine.

If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin’ winds.

Please see if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair’s hanging long
For that’s the way I remember her best.

I’m a-wonderin’ if she remembers me at all
Many times I’ve often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.

So if you’re travelin’ the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was the true love of mine.

Dylan wrote this song in 1962, soon after spending time with folksinger Martin Carthy, who introduced Dylan to a great many traditional English ballads. You can hear in the syntax of the lyrics, the entire setup of the song (the instructions to the listener, “If you’re traveling,”), and even in the song’s closing lines, borrowed verbatim from an old ballad, “Scarborough Fair,” later popularized by Simon & Garfunkel. Importantly, while the traditional lyrics of “Scarborough” call on the lost love to perform a series of impossible tasks, in Dylan’s tune he wishes only for her warmth and remembrance.

I love the understatement of this lyric, the quiet poetry, the things not said. Remember me to one who lives there. He wants to know, simply, that she has a coat to keep warm from the snow and howlin’ winds. He wants, only, for her to remember him, as he remembers her after all these years. Through time and absence and cold winds. Just beautiful.