We Love Lucy!

By Madeline Bocaro

 © Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.

 

THE BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ was originally recorded in 1974 by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show as a country song. It was written by Shel Silverstein, who also wrote ‘A Boy Named Sue’ which was a hit for Johnny Cash in 1969. Silverstein is known for his cartoons (some drawn for Playboy magazine) and for his children’s books.

Marianne Faithfull’s beautiful version of ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ appears on her ‘comeback’ album Broken English (1979). After a three-year silence between albums, Marianne returned with a very different voice. Her sweet serenades of the 1960s were now a thing of the past. This new voice was cracked and broken after severe laryngitis and years of drug addiction – yet a strange beauty emerged. The song subjects on Broken English were extremely harsh, and this voice was appropriate.

‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ (also released as a single by Marianne) is entirely propelled by synths instead of drums. The percolating synth sounds reflect the ill-minded, bored, depressed and hollow 37-year-old Lucy Jordan – deliriously ignoring the ringing phone and singing nursery rhymes. She lives with the eternal lament that she ‘will never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair’. The song is hauntingly sung by Marianne as if in a dream. The  despondent and delusional Lucy character reminds us of the desperate housewives in The Rolling Stones’ song ‘Mother’s Little Helper’. Lucy ascends to the rooftop and a crowd gathers, but her suicide is intercepted. She is led away to an asylum – in a long white car –  which she believes to be the fulfillment of her Parisian fantasy.

The song is always a highlight of Marianne’s live performances. It appears on two film soundtracks; Montenegro (1981) and Thelma & Louise (1991).

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0NxhFn0szc

Dr. Hook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDS2hSmokQ0

Also see my Marianne Faithfull concert review from 2011:

https://madelinex.com/2017/12/29/faithfully-fab-marianne-faithfull-live-in-nyc-december-19-2011/

 

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS

The epitome of psychedelia, The Beatles ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ is of course not about LSD at all. The lyrics were inspired by a drawing that John Lennon’s young son Julian had done in school based on his little classmate called Lucy Vodden, surrounded by glittering stars. Originally saved by Julian’s mother Cynthia Lennon,  Julian has alleged that David Gilmour of Pink Floyd now owns the original drawing.

John says that the song’s imagery also came from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. He had always imagined a mystical woman like Yoko Ono coming into his life, which is reflected in the prescient lyrics.

“There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me – a ‘girl with kaleidoscope eyes’ who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn’t met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be Yoko in the Sky with Diamonds.”

– John Lennon to David Sheff (All We Are Saying)

Julian and his class mate Lucy lost touch after he left school upon his parents’ divorce. They reconnected in 2009  more than forty  years after the song’s appearance on The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt.  Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. (The song also appeared on the Yellow Submarine film soundtrack in 1969).  When Julian learned that Lucy had been suffering from lupus, he sent her flowers and other uplifting gifts based on her love of gardening.

Lucy passed away after a five-year long battle with Lupus at age 46 in September 2009. She was never fond of the song. “I don’t relate to the song, to that type of song,” she told the Associated Press. “As a teenager, I made the mistake of telling a couple of friends at school that I was the Lucy in the song and they said, ‘No, it’s not you, my parents said it’s about drugs.’ And I didn’t know what LSD was at the time, so I just kept it quiet, to myself.”

Read more about Lucy:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6446014.ece

Lucy Vodden O’Donnel’s obituary (2009):

Lucy of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ fame dies

AP, Sep 28, 2009 10:45 am PDT

http://new.music.yahoo.com/julian-lennon/news/lucy-of-lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds-fame-dies–61994538

 

‘I Love Lucy’

Perhaps the most famous Lucy in the world is the lovable television character Lucy Ricardo, played by Lucille Ball in the wildly popular, timeless and classic American sitcom I Love Lucy’ (1951- 1957). The show’s theme song  has been perpetually etched into our brains via worldwide re-runs of the show over the decades. The instrumental was written by Oscar-nominated movie soundtrack composer Eliot Daniel. Many of his songs were also recorded by legends such as Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Sarah Vaughn and Guy Lombardo. The lyrics were written by Harold Adamson, who was also nominated for several Oscars in the 1930s and 40s for his work, including another song written in 1941 which appeared in another I Love Lucy episode, ‘We’re Having a Baby (My Baby and Me)’.

Another Eliot Daniel composition, ‘Lavender Blue’ was for the film So Dear To My Heart (1949). David Bowie adapted the lyrics and prefaced his song “Heroes” with the opening lines from ‘Lavender Blue’. He sang the opening lines to Daniel’s tune during live performances of  his own song, ‘”Heroes”’.

Lavender blue, dilly dilly

Lavender green

I will be king, dilly dilly

You will be queen

Watch – Bowie ‘Lavender Blue’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07acGplIPaY

My story about Bowie’s song ‘”Heroes” 

https://madelinex.com/2018/10/14/bowie-heroes-40th-anniversary/

Daniel’s theme to the tv show ‘I Love Lucy’ remains his most famous piece although at first, he chose to remain anonymous as to not tarnish his film reputation (the television medium was still new and uncharted territory). Once the show was proven to be a great success, Daniels claimed credit and royalties for the song.

Lucy’s husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz) sings the theme song to his wife in the episode Lucy’s Last Birthday.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fn7PKzf5tk

Instrumental version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSvpFv0e_W4

Desi Arnaz recorded ‘I Love Lucy in 1953 for Columbia Records with Paul Weston & the Norman Luboff Choir. It became the B-side of ‘There’s A Brand New Baby (At Our House)’. This was released when Lucille Ball gave birth to their son, Desi Arnaz Jr.  – coincidentally on the same evening of the broadcast episode (January 15, 1953) in which Lucy Ricardo has her baby (Little Ricky) on the show!

4x6RickyLucy

Desi Arnaz’ recorded version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3Hlu8Warlk

In Color: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSqPYH_0Hsc

Disco Lucy! The Wilton Place Street Band – 1976 (I have the 12-inch)! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHxyIpWOvPY

I love Lucy and she loves me

We’re as happy as two can be

Sometimes we quarrel but then

How we love making up again

Lucy kisses like no one can

She’s my missus and I’m her man

And life is heaven you see ‘

Cause I love Lucy Yes, I love Lucy

And Lucy loves me

Added bonus: Badass Babalu:

https://youtu.be/rAV3bOJaQuY

The title ‘Babalu’ is a reference to the Santería deity Babalú Ayé.

The song ‘Babalu’ is about a statue of the deity during a Santeria ceremony. The singer lights candles in the shape of a cross, offering the statue a cigar while praying for protection.

babalu-desiarnaz_0

Me & Desi Arnaz in 1977:

MeRickyDesi1977-1

LUCILLE

LITTLE RICHARD recorded ‘Lucille in New Orleans in 1956. The single was released by Specialty Records in February 1957. The song was co- written by Albert Collins and Little Richard, although first pressings credited only Collins. Little Richard (Richard Penniman) later purchased half of the song’s rights while Collins was imprisoned. Richard performed on piano and vocals. His band included Lee Allen on tenor sax, Alvin Tyler on baritone sax, Roy Montrell on guitar, Frank Fields on bass and drummer Earl Palmer.

Richard spoke about the song in his authorised biography The Life and Times of Little Richard by Charles White (1984)…

“Lucille was after a female impersonator in my home town. We used to call him Queen Sonya. I just took the rhythm of an old song of mine called ‘Directly From My Heart’ slowed down and I used to do that riff and go, “Sonya!” and I made it into ‘Lucille’.”

He also described the nearby passing trains shaking his cousin’s house in Macon Georgia – ‘chocka-chocka-chocka’ and that’s how he got the rhythm for both songs.

‘Lucille’ was released the height of Richard’s fame in 1956/57 when he sold 32 million records. His songs were also recorded by many other artists. The Everly Brothers recorded ‘Lucille’ in 1960. Their version peaked at the same position (No. 21). In 1963, The Beatles recorded the song  for the BBC’s Pop Go the Beatles #14, and again for Saturday Club’s 5th Birthday Edition. In 2002, ‘Lucille’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0Ujb6lJ_mM

Little Richard used women’s names as the titles for many of his songs  – a front for his gender-bending persona (‘Good Golly Miss Molly’, ‘Long Tall Sally’….) His follow-up single was ‘Jenny, Jenny.’

rs-183334-138517708-1480064950-6125

 

 

ESQUERITA was Little Richard’s flamboyant mentor from South Carolina. He also influenced many other famous rock n’ roll rebels. Esquerita had a song called ‘Hey Miss Lucy’ (too fat and juicy!). He only recorded on album, in 1959. Esquerita’s look and wildly camp on-stage chaos, yelps and screams (‘Woooo!’), his makeup, wigs piled upon his head, his pencil thin moustache, incredible piano skills and showmanship greatly inspired Little Richard. Both performers had strong religious backgrounds and had sung gospel in church as kids. Esquerita died of AIDS in 1986 at age 50.

Esquerita: ‘Hey Miss Lucy’ 1959: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imZyUcZjc0s

Esquerita & Little Richard:

 

 

B.B. KING

B.B. King named all of his guitars ‘Lucille (they were usually black Gibson ES-335 guitars). In 1949 King re-entered a burning music hall to save his favorite $30 Gibson guitar. He learned the fire was started when two men knocked over a burning barrel while fighting over a girl named Lucille. King has named every guitar he’s owned Lucille as a reminder. He also wrote a song called ‘Lucille’ about how his guitar saved his life, telling the story of how he got the name. The lyrics are a loving spoken soliloquy about King’s love for his guitar. He mentions the names of singers whom he idolizes, Sinatra, Sammy, Mahalia Jackson, etc… but nobody sings better than his guitar Lucille!

He also recorded a song titled ‘My Lucille in 1985. Gibson produced sever special editions of  B.B. King Lucille guitars over the years.

B.B. King ‘Lucille’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y8QxOjuYHg

B.B. King ‘My Lucille’ 1985: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHQjWLbazSw

The sound that you’re listening to Is from my guitar that’s named Lucille

 I’m very crazy about Lucille

 Lucille took me from the plantation

Or you might say, brought me fame…

  JmuASdLmwEYdLKVvyVQAb6-650-80

 

© Madeline Bocaro 2020. No part of the materials available through madelinex.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without the  prior written consent of Madeline Bocaro. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Madeline Bocaro is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission of Madeline Bocaro.

 

Read about other cool songs in my category

 ‘About A Song’

https://madelinex.com/category/about-a-song/

My Playlists:

https://madelinex.com/category/playlists/

 

2 thoughts on “We Love Lucy!

  1. I just started following your blog recently and I’m blown away by the depth and breadth of your knowledge, as well as how elegantly you present it. I will stop here, lest I pontificate, but I’m already looking forward to reading the rest of your stuff, old and new. Do you have anything in print?

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment Kenny. I’m so happy that you are enjoying my stories and information. I don’t have anything in print that is currently available. I will let you know if (by some miracle) I can get something published without too much of a hassle.
      All the best, Madeline

      Like

Leave a Reply to Madeline Bocaro Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s