Song Lyric Sunday — School Pride

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams chose “School/Books/Learning.” I was originally thinking about the 1958 song, “The Book of Love” by the Monotones. But then I remembered a song that was popular when I was in high school, the 1963 Beach Boys song, “Be True to Your School,” and decided to go with that one.

“Be True to Your School” was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for the Beach Boys. It was released as the third track of their album, Little Deuce Coupe, on October 2, 1963, and later that month as a single. The song ultimately reached number 6 on the Billboard Top 100.

Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and Al Jardine all went to Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, CA. Brian, who wrote the track, incorporated some of Hawthorne’s fight song into “Be True to Your School.”

The cheerleaders on the track (chanting “Push ’em back! Push ’em back! Waaaaaay back!”) were from a girl group called The Honeys. Brian Wilson married Marilyn Rovel of the Honeys in 1964 and they had two daughters, Carnie and Wendy, who later formed the group Wilson Phillips.

Early Beach Boys songs dealt with issues important to teenagers — girls, cars, surfing, and in this case, school pride. These songs connected because of lead singer Mike Love’s lyrics, which captured a slice of life in the halls of American high schools.

Here are the lyrics to the song.

When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great
I tell him right away
“Now what’s the matter buddy
Ain’t you heard of my school
It’s number one in the state”

So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school

I got a letterman’s sweater
With a letter in front
I got for football and track
I’m proud to wear it now
When I cruise around
The other parts of the town
I got a decal in back

So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school

On Friday we’ll be jacked up on the football game
And I’ll be ready to fight
We’re gonna smash ’em now
My girl will be working on her pom-poms now
And she’ll be yelling tonight

So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school

Rah rah rah Be true to your school
Rah rah rah Be true to your school
Rah rah rah Be true to your school
Rah rah rah Be true to your school

Song Lyric Sunday — Werewolves

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams chose “animals.” And for my animals-themed song, I chose Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London.” Hey, werewolves are animals, aren’t they?

“Werewolves Of London” was sung by Zevon and was written by Zevon, LeRoy Marinell, and Waddy Wachtel. The song was included on Zevon’s third solo album, Excitable Boy. It was the only song of Zevon’s career to reach the Top 40, peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1978.

When Zevon was working with The Everly Brothers, he hired Wachtel to play in their backup band. At one point, Phil Everly asked them to write a dance song for the Everly Brothers called “Werewolves Of London.” Wachtel and Zevon were good friends and were strumming guitars together when someone asked what they were playing. Zevon replied, “Werewolves Of London,” and Wachtel started howling. Zevon came up with the line “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,” and they traded lyrics back and forth until they had their song.

The song was produced by Jackson Browne and featured backup vocals from Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac. The lyrics tell the story of “a hairy-handed gent who ran amok in Kent.” He’s well-dressed, well-groomed, and “preying on little old ladies.”

Zevon died from lung cancer in 2003. Here are the lyrics to his song.

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fook’s
Going to get a big dish of beef chow mein
Werewolves of London

If you hear him howling around your kitchen door
Better not let him in
Little old lady got mutilated late last night
Werewolves of London again
Werewolves of London

He’s the hairy handed gent who ran amuck in Kent
Lately he’s been overheard in Mayfair
Better stay away from him
He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim
I’d like to meet his tailor
Werewolves of London

Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen
Doing the werewolves of London
I saw Lon Chaney, Jr. walking with the Queen
Doing the werewolves of London
I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s
His hair was perfect
Werewolves of London again
Draw blood

Song Lyric Sunday — Money For Nothing

Jim Adams has given us the theme “occupation” for today’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt. So here’s a classic rock song from Dire Straits that compares working for a living to being a rockstar. It’s called “Money For Nothing.” (Below is the music video of the song. The longer album version appears at the bottom of the post after the lyrics.)

A track from their 1985 studio album Brothers in Arms, “Money For Nothing” was Dire Straits’ most commercially successful single, peaking at number 1 for three weeks in the United States. It won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1986.

The song is about rockstar excess and the easy life it brings compared with “real” work. Mark Knopfler wrote it after overhearing delivery men in a New York department store complain about their jobs while watching MTV. He wrote the song in the store sitting at a kitchen display they had set up. Many of the lyrics were things they actually said.

Sting sings on the recording and contributed to writing it. It’s his voice at the beginning of the song (album version) singing “I want my MTV.” Sting did not want a songwriting credit, since it was mostly Knopfler’s work, but his record company insisted because they would earn royalties from it. They claimed it sounded very similar to a song Sting wrote for The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”

Here are the lyrics to the album version of the song.

I want my—I want my MTV [4x]

Now look at them yo-yos, that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour TVs

See the little faggot with the earring and the make-up
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchens deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour TVs

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchens deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour TVs

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin’ in the camera man
We could have some fun

And he’s up there, what’s that? Hawaiian noises?
Bangin’ on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
Oh, that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Get your money for nothin’, get your chicks for free

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour TVs

Listen here

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free

Money for nothin’ and chicks for free
Get your money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
Money for nothin’, chicks for free
Get your money for nothin’, chicks for free

Money for nothin’, chicks for free
Get you money for nothin’, get your chicks for free
Get you money for nothin’, and the chicks for free
Get you money for nothin’, and the chicks for free

Look at that, look at that

I want my—I want my—I want my MTV [repeat until the end]

Get you money for nothin’, and the chicks for free
Money for nothin’, chicks for free
Get you money for nothin’, and the chicks for free
Get you money for nothin’, and the chicks for free

Easy-easy money for nothin’, easy-easy chicks for free
Easy-easy money for nothin’, chicks for free

That ain’t workin’

Money for nothin’ chicks for free
Money for nothin’ chicks for free

Song Lyric Sunday — Perfect Harmony

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams chose as his theme “Harmony/Melody/Music.” As soon as I saw that theme, a song popped into my head and has been an earworm ever since. That song is “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” recorded by The New Seekers in 1971.

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” originated as the jingle “Buy the World a Coke” in a 1971 TV commercial for Coca-Cola. “Buy the World a Coke” was produced by Billy Davis and portrayed a positive message of hope and love, featuring a multicultural collection of teenagers on top of a hill appearing to sing the song. Credits for songwriting go to William M Backer, Roger F. Cook, Roquel Davis, and Roger Greenaway.

Backer came up with the line “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company” when his plane to London, where he was slated to create the commercial, got diverted to Ireland because of weather. Backer noticed that the spirits of the unhappy travelers were lifted as they commisserated at the refreshments area over their shared experience. He also noticed that many of them were drinking Cokes.

British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway worked on the jingle with Backer and Billy Davis, who was the music director assigned to Coke’s account. The four of them stayed up all night writing the song, which Davis then produced with The New Seekers.

The New Seekers initially balked at recording the full version of the song, so Billy Davis put together a group of studio singers to record it and called them “The Hillside Singers.” This version was released as a single and picked up steam, which convinced The New Seekers to get in on the action, and their version was released a short time later. Both renditions climbed the chart simultaneously, with The Hillside Singers version peaking at number 13 the same week The New Seekers made it to number 7.

By the time the song was released as a full song, the melody was very much associated with Coke, so it amounted to free advertising. Most of the commercial is about honey bees, turtle doves and love anyway, so removing the Coke references didn’t disrupt the song. The lines “I’d like to buy the world a Coke / And keep it company” were altered to “I’d like to hold it in my arms / And keep it company.”

Here are the lyrics to the song.

I’d like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company

I’d like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills Ah, peace throughout the land

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony

I’d like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves

And here is the groundbreaking “Buy the World a Coke” commercial that started it all.

Song Lyric Sunday — Fool on the Hill

Jim Adams continues filling in for Helen Vahdati’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt. His theme this week is hills and mountains. My song choice for this theme is The Beatles “The Fool on the Hill.”

The song was written and sung by Paul McCartney and recorded in 1967 as a track on The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album. It wasn’t a hit for The Beatles, but a 1968 cover version by Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 went to number 6 in the U.S.

The story behind this song is a very strange event that occurred once to Paul McCartney and his friend Alistair Taylor when they both walking McCartney’s dog together one morning. They saw a man on a hill behind them, though there had been nobody there only a couple of seconds before, when they passed. That man told them what a great view of London there was from the top of the hill. When the two friends looked back a few seconds later, though, the man was gone, although it was impossible for him to hide anywhere.

McCartney said that the song was about a man who is considered a fool by others, but whose foolish demeanor is actually an indication of wisdom. He said, “I think I was writing about someone like Maharishi. His detractors called him a fool. Because of his giggle he wasn’t taken too seriously. It was this idea of a fool on the hill, a guru in a cave, I was attracted to.”

Here are the song’s lyrics:

Day after day, alone on the hill
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
And he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around

Well on the way, head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around

And nobody seems to like him
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around

He never listens to them
He knows that they’re the fools
They don’t like him

The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around

And in case you’re interested, here is the Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 cover of “The Fool on the Hill.”