Monthly Archives: November 2012

What songs were you surprised to find out were covers?

I’ve been driving round today listening to The Saints. This band was the soundtrack to my university days and I still love their raw energy and yet “tight” sound. If you haven’t heard them before – I suggest you listen to them. I’ll include a link at the end of this post to one their most famous songs – I’m Stranded.

What inspired this post was a memory when I heard their track Lipstick on Your Collar. I remember being very surprised one day when my mother showed she knew the words to this song – she knew every word! I didn’t know she was a fan of The Saints. I also remember her wanting to iron my shirt when I’d be off to see a band at some uni gig.

“Punks don’t iron their shirts!” I said  in surly disgust. (I was never a punk – but I liked the style of music!)

“Yes – but their mums DO!” was her retort.

(I was always too well-fed (i.e. chubby) and “ethnic” to be a punk – but I did enjoy the music of bands like The Saints and The Ramones and the Sex Pistols! I’m not saying the Saints were punk – but their music shared similar energy and pace and buzz guitar style ) I thought they were a bit too “sophisticated” to be limited to the punk label.

Anyway – it turned out that the Saints were covering the original version of the song – Lipstick on Your Collar” by 1950s star Connie Francis.

Anyway, here’s a link to The Saint’s version followed by the Connie Francis version.

My point is, we often think we  are “cool” listening to the music of OUR generation.  It’s interesting when we find out that we think is “OURS” is a cover of a song from a different generation.

I had a similar experience being  even more surprised that my grandmother knew the lyrics to the Ted Mulry Gang – Darktown Strutter’s Ball.

I don’t know for a fact – but I imagine the guys from The Saints probably heard their parents playing the Connie Francis version of  Lipstick on Your Collar – liked the chord changes and maybe the lyrics and wanted to do their own high-energy version of it. Kissing Cousins is another Saints cover – from the Elvis song from the movie by the same name!

Do you have  a similar story?

– A song that you were surprised to find was  actually a cover?

– Or a song that your kids like – and you surprised them by knowing the lyrics and tune – because it was cover of a song YOU knew?

another favourite group The Clash did cool covers – can you think of one?

I haven’t thought about this song (Lipstick on Your Collar)  for decades – until I heard the song on my car stereo this morning.

I’ll share the story and memory  with my mum when I pop out for a cup of tea… and to take out my ironing!    That’s a joke! 🙂

I do my own ironing these days – usually listening too my favourite music – like The Saints!

iron(ing) man – photographic proof!
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What memories do Simon and Garfunkel songs bring back for you?

What memories do Simon & Garfunkel songs bring back for you?

I probably wouldn’t be where I am now if it hadn’t been for  Simon & Garfunkel.   I’d probably be a rich lawyer instead!

But no – thanks to Simon & Garfunkel (and my fantastic English teacher Mr Bishop) I fell in love with the power  and poetry of words  – and I left the law to become a political speechwriter, and journalist, and now a business writing coach and trainer.

Interestingly Paul Simon briefly studied law – but left to pursue his music. Mind you Simon & Garfunkel would have still sounded good as a firm of lawyers.

But I digress…

Mr Bishop played us Simon & Garfunkel records and would show us the beauty of he poetic devices in the lyrics – the alliteration, the imagery, and the metaphors.

In a deep and dark December

Freshly fallen silent shroud of snow

I am a rock I am an island

To be honest, back at school, even ‘though I learned to love most of their music, I thought some Simon & Garfunkel songs (like their cover of   El Condor Pasa) and Scarborough Fair  were very, very uncool – but I later appreciated these were Paul Simon’s early forays into World Music – as later taken further in Graceland.

But once again – I digress.

When Australian band The Church recorded their heavier, janglier  version of I am a Rock  I was so happy because it combined one of my favourite bands playing one of my favourite songs!

Later, I found out an S&G connection with another of my favourite artists Billy Bragg. Bragg’s New England started with the lyric “I was 21 years when I wrote this song. I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long”

Bragg was quoting (as was the folkie tradition) another song in this case Simon & Garfunkel’s Leaves That Are Green.

I also have fond memories of listening to S&G while traveling the US on a greyhound bus – looking for America. That’s probably my favourite S&G song.

One of my favourite lyrics is from Kathy’s song:

As I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die.

Alliteration, personification and such exquisite observation.

Thank you Paul Simon – and Mr Bishop!

I’m sure so many people have their own favourite S&G lyrics!

It was my life-long dream come try  to see Simon & Garfunkel live a few years back.  Lots of my music-loving friends (who were more into “heavier and edgier” music) weren’t interested but I went with a friend who was also a big S&G fan.

The music of my generation was the Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Clash – not Simon & Garfunkel!  Still, I’m not ashamed to declare my love for Simon & Garfunkel – but I DO draw the line at pan pipes and El Condor Pasa!

At the concert I bought the Simon & Garfunkel T-shirt AND even a Simon & Garfunkel tote bag. I take my tote bag to carry all my books and my poetry to protect me!

(thanks to Simon & Garfunkel, I fell in love with language and the power of poetic devices to spread messages and connect with people)