Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something's Missing And I Don't Know Why

I am superstitious. I don't walk under ladders. I hmm when I see a black cat. When I see a magpie on it's own I search the sky and branches or as my friend Brian said to a sole magpie one day "Where's your little friend?". So it is important not to associate a song with number 13. However, I did read that Madonna said that 13 is the luckiest number of all in Kabbalah so song number 13 will be a Madonna song. Bad Girl is one of my five most favourite Madonna songs. It reminds me of the in between years. In 1993 I hadn't bought my house yet. I was living in a horrible bedsit. I was working in a job I didn't like. Those years when you are in a kinda relationship or a two night stand. So the words I'm not happy in Bad Girl has always stood out for me. The single cover for Bad Girl is above. I love that image. It is perfectly constructed. It was perfect for the Erotica album and for the film Body Of Evidence which was also released that year. The 12" contains a free poster, one of the only times I remember a poster being part of a single release. That's why Paul's free gifts in his Best of Madonna box set made me smile this week. Bad Girl reminds me mainly of all the mixed experiences of meeting someone on the scene in Dublin. Something family never knew about and sometimes friends didn't either. Some relationships lasted more than a few weeks and the ones that did were often good ones. One was with a guy called Frank. He was someone who always made me laugh. Thinking about Madonna songs in the 1990s reminded me of a funny Frank moment. One day Frank was here in my house and I was playing music. As always! I had got Human Nature on 12" on my record player and was playing it a bit loud. As you do! My house is very small, part of a terrace. I am lucky to have lovely neighbours on either side. On the sitting room side is a lady who back in the 1990s would have been in her late 60s. Frank commented that all my playing of Madonna music must have an effect on her. He said that one day she would be down in Tesco and some old friend or parish priest would come up to her in Tesco and start moaning and complaining as only some old dears do. My neighbour would listen for a while and then say loudly I'm Not You're Bitch, Don't Hang Your Shit On Me. Anyway! Here's song number 13. From 1993 Madonna and the David Fincher directed video of Bad Girl.

Tell Me Why The Road Turns

It would not be possible to have a list of my favourite songs without having a song from the many songs of Motown. I think that the majority of modern pop and especially r'n'b began with Motown and the world is thankful for that. All of my forty songs are really just snapshots of moments in music. I could pick 40 Madonna or Prince songs. 40 songs from just the 80s or 90s. I could also pick 40 songs just by Michael Jackson or Diana Ross. 40 songs from the world of Motown. So here are two songs from two of Motown's most famous. The first is Diana Ross. I would like to choose Someday We'll Be Together, Love Child, Upside Down, Reflections, Love Hangover or The Happening but the song I decided on was Missing You. This is the sort of song that gives you comfort and sadness at the same time. It was written by Lionel Ritchie and was a tribute to the late Marvin Gaye. The video included images of Florence Ballard of The Supremes and Paul Williams of The Temptations. It is from 1984. I always thought it was from much earlier. I have seen Diana Ross twice in concert. Both times in the old Point Theatre. here in Dublin. Once with my cousin Ann and our friend Maria, that was a really great evening, those two girls loved seeing a star in concert. The other time was with my darling Tommy. How I loved going to concerts and movies and just anywhere with Tommy. Where are you now? I have wondered that a few times recently. If you do a blog post like this it's easy to slip into the past but if I had a birthday wish it would be to meet Tommy again. So, if my blog was my radio show then this song would be for Tommy. Here is song number 11. From 1984, Diana Ross and Missing You.
The second song is by Stevie Wonder. He is not an artist that I listen to all the time but whenever I play his best of I always play You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. Yes, I am an out and proud romantic. A big part of the reason I loved this song was because of the fact that the opening lines were sung not by Stevie but by someone else. Their names are James Gilstrap and Lani Groves. (I looked that up!). . This Grammy winning song was a number one in 1973 in the US. It's gorgeous and perfect and sums up Motown in one song. Here is song number 12. You Are The Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder.

Riders On The Storm

The tenth song of my 40 goes back to the 1970s. I remember my sister Jane loved The Doors and I would think she still does. While Jane was listening to The Sugarcubes, Nirvana and The Sundays I was listening to, well, you know what I was listening to! My other sister Emma still loves her pop and as ever I am always so glad that she reads my posts. It was only when I saw Oliver Stones film The Doors in 1991 that I really began to like their music. Especially the song Riders On The Storm. It is such a dreamlike and dark song. There is beautiful menace in it. I think that Jim Morrison was the kind of star that both women and men fell in love with. As a gay man I can and will say when a star, male or female, is attractive. I think that many straight guys also fall in love with male musical heroes but some will never admit it even though it is really completely harmless. I love the way that straight men love their music, it is not a sexual love but it is almost that. A great passion. I have great admiration for all those legendary rock stars. I like that certain genre of rock music as much as my pop songs. Riders On The Storm represents all those songs such as a lot of The Rolling Stones early music and songs by Bruce Springsteen such as The River and I'm On Fire. It represents the great American rock songs. The songs of the 60s and 70s and in the 80s. Here's song number 10. From June 1971 The Doors and Riders On The Storm.