By Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced or reblogged in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
Let’s rock with some cool chicks – from Amoreena to Zarah…
‘Amoreena’ by Elton John is from his 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection, produced by Gus Dudgeon. Elton’s lyricist Bernie Taupin suggested the name Amoreena for the new baby of their friend Ray Williams (who had introduced Elton and Bernie). Bernie wrote the lyrics about a child in the guise of missing his lady. This gorgeous melody and lyrics evoke innocence and summer memories. It was used as the soundtrack in the opening scenes of the great Al Pacino film Dog Day Afternoon along with actual scenes of New York City in that era. Having nothing to do thematically with the film, it’s so evocative of that time that it’s perfect for the opening of the film. It transitions into the car radio of the bank robbers as they pull up to the bank to do their deed.
Lately I’ve been thinking how much I miss my lady
Amoreena’s in the cornfield brightening the daybreak
Living like a lusty flower, running through the grass for hours
Rolling through the hay like a puppy child
And when it rains the rain falls down
Washing out the cattle town
And she’s far away somewhere in her eiderdown
And she dreams of crystal streams
Of days gone by when we would lean
Laughing fit to burst upon each other…
‘Initials B.B.’ is a 1968 song about international sex symbol Brigette Bardot, sung by legendary French musician Serge Gainsbourg who had dated her. It’s a single from his album Initals B.B. The song’s opening lines quote The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, and musically it refers to Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony. Iggy Pop did a great cover of this song on the album Lulu Gainsbourg – From Lulu to Gainsbourg
Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz2p0Q8OXsk
Watch – Serge Gainsbourg:
There is a really cool Rolling Stones outtake from Some Girls (1978) called ‘Claudine’ which late appeared as a bonus track on the remaster. It’s about Andy Williams’ ex-wife Claudine Longet who was incarcerated for shooting her Olympic skier boyfriend. And yes, she’s back in jail again!
Marc Bolan’s pre-Tyrannosaurus Rex band John’s Children had a great song called ‘Desdemona’.
There is a great version of this by Marsha Hunt, the mother of Mick Jagger’s first child Karis.
Listen – John’s Chidren: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmU1_LoXmwU
Watch – Marsha Hunt 1969: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3LXJqGAhPw
Watch – Marsha Hunt on French TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rduvu-zCHpg
‘See Emily Play’ was the second single by Pink Floyd, released in 1967. It’s a lovely psychedelic tune written by Syd Barrett while hallucinating about a girl on acid. Bowie covered this on his 1973 album PinUps on which he covered his favorite songs.
Listen – Pink Floyd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6ci4pAYiUw
Listen – Bowie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6WQv9GwwbM
Here’s something by one of the first American all-girl groups, Fanny from Los Angeles, formed in 1969 by the Millington sisters (originally from the Philipines), June and Jean on guitar and bass. They split after recording four albums. They also covered the Eric /George Harrison song ‘Badge’
Watch: ‘Borrowed Time’ 1972: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av9kbWtcxKU
Listen – ‘Badge’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M24xNZYXOZw
Speaking of the name Fanny, I must include ‘Sweet F.A.’ (Sweet Fanny Adams) by The Sweet from their 1974 UK album of the same name. This was their second album in under the name Sweet (removing The from their title, and also changing from their glam style to harder rock. Their album title comes from the English slang term ‘F.A.’ referring to a murdered 8-year-old girl name Fanny Adams. It is also the term for ‘fuck all’, which means ‘nothing’. The track appears in the USA on their album Desolation Boulevard (1975)
‘Gloria’ is a 1964 b-side that became a well-known classic by Them, written by Van Morrison. Patti Smith re-vamped it on her 1975 debut album Horses. Patti drastically changed the lyrics, especially her now iconic opening line, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins / But not mine”.
Watch -Them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVjceA1WfJU
Listen: Patti Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPO0bTaWcFQ
The Quick released only one album, Mondo Deco. It is pure power pop heaven. ‘Hilary’ is about a loving German dominatrix. She is s vision dressed in white on her wedding day, but dressed in black she shows the singer that “there must be bad with good / pain with pleasure…” The song has the loving lyric, ‘Just the thought of you fills me with pain.” Another great Quick tune from their album is ‘No No Girl’.
Listen: ‘Hilary’” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6L4WSTICRo
Listen: ‘No No Girl’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66x3DpxQFY8
The Girl from Impanema’ was a huge bossa-nova hit by one of the greatest guitarist (Joao Gilberto R.I.P.) and primo sax player Stan Getz. Bossa Nova – a Brazilian musical genre, translates as ‘New Wave’, which came after Samba. Joao Gilberto’s wife sang the English verse.
Watch – Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVdaFQhS86E
Listen – album version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8VPmtyLqSY
‘Sweet Jane’ was written by Lou Reed and appears on the 1970 album Loaded by The Velvet Underground album. The most famous version is Lou’s live performance recorded at the Academy of Music, New York City on December 21, 1973 and immortalized on the album Rock N’ Roll Animal released in February 1974. The highlight is the dual guitar intro by Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, both of whom also played on Alice Cooper albums. Hunter and Wagner reunited to perform the song with Lou during his 2006 tour – as the encore after playing his Berlin album in its entirety over 5 nights in Brooklyn.
Mott The Hoople also recorded a jangly version ‘Sweet Jane’ for their 1972 album All The Young Dudes, produced by David Bowie.
Listen – Loaded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHxLawJONeQ
Listen – Rock N’ Roll Animal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4VuHHqIBqI
Listen – Mott The Hoople: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPa8GZAZJFc
See my story about Lou Reed’s Rock N’ Roll Animal album
And my review of Lou’s live performance of Berlin in Brooklyn, 2006
‘Katharine Hepburn’ was written by Ron Mael of Sparks for singer Christi Haydon (who was also Sparks’ drummer in the mid 1990s). The lyrics ask the iconic actress for relationship advice.
What would Katherine Hepburn say, were she in my play?
What would Katherine Hepburn do, were she in my shoes?
What would Katherine Hepburn feel, here behind the wheel
Of my shiny new car, would she feel,
That I’m going too far, would she feel?
Would she feel?
What does she appear to say ? I can’t hear her…
Watch – Sparks perform the song in 2008 as part of their 21 albums in 21 nights concert spectacular:
‘Lola’ by The Kinks is about another kind of woman. The censors were so preoccupied with eliminating the brand name Coca-Cola from the song that they neglected to realize that it was about a transvestite. The BBC insisted that the lyric be changed for radio play. Ray Davies flew to London in the midst of the band’s U.S. tour to re-record the new lyric ‘cherry cola.’
The Kinks song was released in the summer of 1970. ‘Lola’ pre-dated Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ by two years.
‘Hello Mary Lou’ was a double- A-side hit (with ‘Travelin’ Man’) by Ricky Nelson in 1961. The song was written by Gene Pitney. It appears on Ricky’s album Rick Is 21. His double-tracked echoing vocals closely resemble the vocal style of The Everly Brothers.
‘Song for Nico’ is an ode to the beautiful German model/ singer/composer. It’s sung by her friend, colleague, and fellow girlfriend of a Rolling Stone, Marianne Faithfull. The song was co-written by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics. It appears on Marianne’s 2002 album Kissin Time.
Born in 1938
A good year for the Reich
She could not participate
She didn’t have the right
For she was fatherless in the Fatherland
Now it’s 1966 Andrew’s up to all his tricks.
And when Brian Jones is near
Nico doesn’t feel so queer;
She’s in the shit, though she’s innocent…
Here is a beautiful piece sung by Nico which accompanies a film featuring Marianne:
Watch – ‘Ulalume’: https://madelinex.com/2017/12/19/nico-reads-poe-ulalume/
Listen: Nico singing with The Velvet Underground: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZudHYTya-dQ
Opehelia Frump is Morticia Addams’ blonde sister on 1964 The Addams Family who grows daisies from the top of her head. She is also played by Carolyn Jones. Apparently, she has inherited Cousin Itt’s singing voice in this Addams Family episode, Ophelia’s Career.
Ophelia loses her voice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTwki-4KaI8
Watch: Cousin Itt speaking on Ophelia’s singing.
And I have his autograph!
‘Polythene Pam’ is dirty old ‘Mean Mr. Mustard’s plastic-wearing sister. They are John Lennon’s two degenerate characters in the brilliant Abbey Road medley.
‘Little Queenie“ was written and recorded by the great Chuck Berry and released as a single in 1959. He performs the song in the films Go Johnny Go! and also in Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many others have performed the song live. It has influenced many other songs as well.
‘Rosalyn’ is a classic with a Bo Diddley beat by The Pretty Things from 1964. It was their first hit single. The band was up-and-coming in the same London era as The Rolling Stones. They were also American blues purists. Ian Hunter (of Mott the Hoople) loves telling the funny story of the song’s co-writer Bill Farley collecting royalty checks for the simple lyrics, “Hey Rosalyn / where you been / where you been/Rosalyn”.
It was one of David Bowie’s favorite songs as a teen. Bowie covered it on his album PinUps. Bowie also covered The Pretty Things song ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’.
Listen – Bowie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbXn7bYwMu8
Little Susie falls asleep during a boring movie. Now her date has some explaining to do to her parents in ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ by The Everly Brothers.
The opening guitar riff to ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ was copped by John Lennon and repeated by himself and Eric Clapton throughout Yoko’s song ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko’ (about her missing daughter) first performed in 1969 at Live Peace in Toronto with Eric Clapton. A studio version of the song became the b-side to John’s ‘Cold Turkey’.
Watch (@ 36:40) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GfXg5QrKpc
‘Tracy’ is a million selling pop tune in 1969 by The Cuff Links (a band from Staten Island, New York). The lead vocal and harmonies are all by Ron Dante (singer of The Archies’ hit ‘Sugar Sugar’ which was on the charts at the same time). The Cuff Links’ album was also titled Tracy and was produced by Rupert Holmes.
‘Uma Thurman’ is a song about the actress who stars in the films Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. The song is by the band Fall Out Boy. It features the theme song of The Munsters TV show. It appears on the album American Beauty/American Psycho released in 2015.
The Pixies had a great track called ‘Velouria’ featuring a wild theramin on their album Bossanova released in the summer of 1990. No, the song is not a bossanova.
‘Windy’ by The Association was a great No. 1 pop tune from 1967. This features the great Hal Blaine on drums. It was the follow-up to their previous No.1 hit ‘Cherish’ (1966). Another hit for the band was ‘Never My Love’ in 1967.
‘X Offender’ was the debut single by Blondie, which appears on their first album in 1976. It was written by guitarist Gary Valentine and by Debbie Harry. The song was originally called ‘Sex Offender’ – about consensual sex amongst teens. The premise was changed to that of a prostitute who is enamored by her arresting officer.
‘Oh Yoko’ is a sweet love song by John Lennon to his savior and muse Yoko Ono. This was written in the Bahamas in May 1969 (in between their two Bed-Ins for peace). It appears on John’s 19971 album Imagine produced by Phil Spector.
Watch 1971: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYUZ4rhpjqQ
Watch – Acoustic in the Bahamas 1969: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59qSQRoDj4w
Zarah Leander was a film actress from Sweden who starred in many German films. With her very deep voice, Zarah was one of the best-selling female singers in Europe during WWII. Hitler was one of her biggest fans, which was ultimately not good for her career.
German New Wave artist Nina Hagen recorded a dance / hip hop adaptation of Leander’s song ‘Ich weiss es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehen’ calling it ‘Zarah’. This appears on Nina’s 1983 album Fearless, produced by Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey.
Watch: Zarah Leander – ‘I know That Someday a Miracle Will Happen’
ich weiss es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehen
Nina Hagen: Watch – ‘Zarah’ Nina Hagen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFtIhGbTdbU
Watch – Nina Hagen – Rockpalast Live 1999: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_wYuY97PO8
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