Do you remember kindergarten? Do you remember how you had a Valentine for everyone in the class? This morning we decided it would be fun to offer 26 musical Valentines by playing songs that refer to women’s names A-Z. Yes. It required cheating. And last minute audibles. I think it would have been less of a challenge if I leaned on ‘name’ songs from the 50’s and 60’s because there are many of them. Just think of the possibilities with The Beatles alone. I chose to mix up the vintages and feature songs that XRT has played over the years.
“Alison” — Elvis Costello. Starting with a consensus favorite.
“Bertha” — Los Lobos. Originally scheduled Bernadette by The Four Tops but received a request for “Bertha.”
“Cleopatra” — The Lumineers. Had to jump at the chance to play a new ‘name’ song and mixed in Richard Burton as Anthony speaking of Elizabeth Taylor, a fabulous Cleopatra in the movies.
“Diane Young” — Vampire Weekend. Short and sweet and more contemporary.
“Come On Eileen” — Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Dexy lovers came out of the woodwork when they heard this one. Also considered Keith Richards solo doing “Eileen.”
“The Weight” — The Band. Just didn’t like playing ZZ Top “Francince.” Opted for the line “Take a load off Fanny.” Not Annie. Fanny.
“Gloria” — U2. You all waited to see if I’d play “Gloria” by Them or The Shadows of Knight or Patti Smith. Threw you the old curveball. Fun fact: The t-shirt Bono wears in the video says J.B. Scotts, which is the Albany, New York music club where U-2 played their second ever gig in the U.S. early March 1981. Their appearance there in front of 300 people who had paid three bucks to go followed the infamous radio interview where I introduced Bono by mispronouncing his name.
“Helen Wheels” — Paul McCartney & Wings. I’d forgotten about the nifty guitar solo.
“Goodnight Irene” — Huddie Leadbetter. Played an excerpt which some people missed. Shoulda played Izabella by Hendrix.
“867-5309/Jenny” — Tommy Tutone. Sweet Jane is the money song here, but trying to lift myself out of the late 60’s/early 70’s. Plus I love that Joe Maddon used this phone number for his lineup card a few years ago. The numbers correspond to positions on a baseball field so this would start: Centerfielder, Shortstop, Leftfielder, which is usually a solid start.
“Kathleen” — Catfish and the Bottlemen. Thank you Catfish for a new song tackling the letter K. Also thought about Simon and Garfunkel’s reference to Kathy in “America.”
“Pictures of Lily” — The Who. This was originally “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” but already played Paul.
“Three Marlenas” — The Wallflowers. So many Mary songs. So little time.
“Nadine” — Chuck Berry. Teased the people hoping for “Maybelline,” and gave them their Chuck fix here.
“Ophelia” — The Lumineers. There is The Band “Ophelia” but I already played The Weight. And then I forgot I played “Cleopatra” by the same band because I was using MY BRAIN instead of a computer.
“Peg” — Steely Dan. Just missed slipping in a Peg Bundy clip. This song became much cooler after De La Soul sampled it.
“Casino Queen” — Wilco. About a boat. I love boats. Especially gambling boats. Might have played Stones’ version of Little Queenie, but I didn’t.
“Rita Mae Young” — The Record Company. One of the cooler new tunes out there so a fine alternative to the meter maid.
“Sheena is a Punk Rocker” — Ramones. Listener named Sara said I’d better play a ‘Sara’ song since my wife is named Sara. “Sara Smile?” She hates that song. She likes The Ramones. And I had plans.
“St. Teresa” — Joan Osborne. Mary Dixon comes thru in the clutch with the difficult ‘T’ selection.
Ursula Andress as Honey Rider in Dr. No. You were expecting Ursula Dudziak? No song. Just the actress Ursula Andress telling Bond her name was Honey Rider. “Pretty name,” says Bond.
“Victoria” — The Kinks. This is why I did not play ‘Lola’ earlier. Wanted to save The Kinks for this underplayed masterpiece.
“Born to Run” — Bruce Springsteen. Poised to play “Wendy” by The Beach Boys when the polymath Mary Dixon said, “You haven’t played any Bruce and Born to Run is a Wendy song.” Man, she must get tired of saving my ass.
Wendy, let me in. I wanna be your friend.
“Xena: Warrior Princess main title” — Joseph LoDuca. There were listeners who saw this coming and then heard it coming complete with some Lucy Lawless warbling.
“Yolanda, You Learn” — Pat Metheny Group. Played this as an instrumental bed while I reviewed the 26 songs for 26 women for Valentine’s Day. I also explained I was forgoing the letter Z (sorry Rufus Wainwright and Allen Sherman) to play the most important Valentine’s Day dedication of all. The one to my wife. The Stevie Wonder song.
“I Believe (When I Fall in Love)” — Stevie Wonder
Hope you enjoyed the musical voyage and the peak inside my head.