Tag Archives: david bowie

Music on Mondays (3-27-17)—Yertle the Turtle in Pet Sematary

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Bookless, I am.

My life is in turmoil when I don’t have a book of fiction to read. Such is the case today because I finished my book (Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith) Saturday night but the public library is not open on Sundays. Just a few more hours….

So I went looking for songs about, or inspired by, books for today Music on Mondays post. Here are five I found:

“1984” by David Bowie was inspired by George Orwell’s book with the same title. David Bowie was intending to do a 1984 musical but the project was killed when Orwell’s widow objected. Other tracks on Bowie’s 1974 album, Diamond Dogs, feature other Orwell references, including the song titles “Big Brother” and “We Are The Dead,” Winston Smith’s final words before being captured by the thought police in the book.

I never read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings so I never completely understood “Ramble On” from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 album, Led Zeppelin II:

Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her.

I’m completely unfamiliar with “that book by Nabokov” (Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita) that inspired The Police in 1980:

Young teacher the subject of schoolgirl fantasy
This girl is half his age
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov.”

I don’t really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers but I did understand “Yertle the Turtle” from their 1985 album Freaky Styley as soon as I saw the title because I am quite familiar with Dr. Suess.

I’m Yertle the Turtle
The things I now rule
I’m king of a cow
I’m king of a mule

“Pet Sematary” by The Ramones, from their 1989 album Brain Drain, was written for the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Pet Sematary, still one of my favorite books by King.

Molars and fangs
the clicking of bones
Spirits moaning among the tombstones.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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little drummer boy

Music on Mondays — The little drummer boy wants it straight, no chaser

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Merry Christmas Eve to everyone everywhere.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite Christmas songs, renditions, and videos for today, starting off with my favorite Christmas song, Little Drummer Boy. My favorite version of Little Drummer Boy is also my favorite Christmas song video, performed by my favorite all-female ensemble, Celtic Woman, accompanied by chorus and, of course, the Little Drummer Boy (who is anything but little):

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Then there’s Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ version of Little Drummer Boy, substantially Joan Jetted up, from their 1981 album I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll:

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One of the more interesting versions of Little Drummer Boy was performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Actually titled Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy, the counterpoint was written and performed by David Bowie specifically for Bing Crosby’s 1977 TV special Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas:

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In surfing through the YouTube videos, I found this snare drum performance from Church of Southland in Anaheim, California. I’ve always been infatuated with snare drums and this reaffirms my infatuation. Take five minutes and watch this.

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My all-time music favorite, Sir Paul McCartney, wrote Wonderful Christmastime back in 1979, and it’s become a staple of Christmas radio airplay to this day:

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The first Christmas song I can remember hearing on rock radio was by The Beach Boys, Little Saint Nick, from 1963:

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Lastly, we couldn’t possibly forget The 12 Days of Christmas. Let’s have a little fun with it with Straight No Chaser, a messed-up version as only Straight No Chaser could mess it up:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you ever get a chance to see Straight No Chaser in concert, take it. You’ll have a lot of fun and come away absolutely amazed at what they do, how they can take beautiful songs and mess them up beautifully.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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