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Remember My Name: Songs with Names as Titles

August 18, 2010

Another videotastic entry! This time it features songs with first names as titles. I tried to stay away from the obvious cuts; though don’t hesitate to include them in the comments! I just picked songs I enjoy, so hopefully that explains why some aren’t included! Also I was trying to limit the entry to ten songs. There were so many worthy candidates!

“Oh Sheila” – Ready For The World

Even many decades later, this cut from RFTW is still dance floor ready!

“Valerie” – Steve Winwood

Is it me, or do all of Winwood’s late 70s/early 80s songs sound exactly the same? Whenever I heard the intro I always thought it was his other song “Freedom Overspill” or “Arc of a Diver” or possibly “While You See a Chance”. Yeah, I am well versed in the solo works of Mr. Winwood.

“Pamela” – Toto

Instead of selecting the obligatory “Rosanna” I opted for this deep cut from the late 80s. I also like it much better.

“Brandy” – Looking Glass

There was a Time Life commercial featuring a bunch of songs I tend to associate together, despite not having anything to do with each other except being featured on the TL compilation. The songs are Convoy, Dancing in the Moonlight and this one. I love a song with a story! Actually, “Brandy” belongs to that legion of cherished songs that includes: “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” and “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”.

“Peg” – Steely Dan

If I ever get another tribute band together I’m totally going to make this song a part of every set.

“Son of Sam” – Elliott Smith

My all time favorite Elliott Smith song!

“Last Dance with Mary Jane” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

This video is appropriate for any number of recent posts! IFMiB is a pro-Petty environment!

“Lay Down Sally” – Eric Clapton

Look, it was either this song or Boston’s “Amanda”. Besides, Nathan East is shutting down that bass. Does Mark Knopfler follow Clapton around playing “Lay Down Sally” with him?

“Joanna” – Kool and the Gang

Awww, this song is so sweet!

“Papa Come Quick” – Bonnie Raitt

This is quite possibly my all time favorite Bonnie Raitt song. Only Bonnie can make young love, family interference and bigotry so toe tapping fun.

42 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    August 18, 2010 6:36 am

    Felicia by The Constellations is my current favorite song on the radio.

  2. August 18, 2010 7:43 am

    yes!!! a great category Snarky. Damn, you’re right, I do love that Tom Petty song, it’s fun to sing at karaoke too. I have that same Time Life association with Brandy, too!

    ok, here we go:

    I know Amy Winehouse and all, but it’s Mark Ronson’s horns (and she’s not in the video), so give it a shot. It gets me dancing every time. (Start at 50 second mark, I don’t know what all that boring business in the beginning is.)

    Daisy Jane is Mary Jane’s cousin, I think.

    This isn’t the official video — it’s a student zombie film instead!!

  3. August 18, 2010 7:54 am

    there could be a subset of famous people names in the song title!

  4. August 18, 2010 7:56 am

    Also a Fleetwood Mac subset:

  5. August 18, 2010 8:05 am

    Let’s take a look at a few that aren’t about romance…

    First up, Elvis Costello’s “Veronica” based on his memories of his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s:

    Then there’s the Henry Gross very 70s ode to Carl Wilson’s dog, Shannon:

    and finally, a love song to a rat, Michael Jackson singing “Ben”

  6. August 18, 2010 8:06 am

    BEN!! Redlami wins.

  7. August 18, 2010 9:41 am

    I’m sure nobody reads my journal here, (since I’ve seen the stats), but I had been posting the Isolation Generation Soundtrack with clips recently and I’ll repost my comment about “Brandy” here:

    Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) – Looking Glass: We aren’t told exactly when and where this story takes place, but the hint is Barbary Coast, circa late 1800’s. A serving wench, working a bar for hundreds of men a night, saves her heart for the one guy who can’t tear himself away from his job (“my life my love and my lady/is the sea”). Unrequited love isn’t as bad as obsession, but it’s still not healthy.

    And now I’ll give you all the rest of the songs from the Iso-Gen soundtrack that fit the category!

    From “Manic”: Windy – The Association: We know the title character is a child because of the things she does (“peeking out from under a stairway”), but she’s growing up fast (“trippin’ down the streets of the city”). She knows right from wrong (“stormy eyes/that flash at the sound of lies”) and she has some special talents (“wings to fly/above the clouds”). On top of that, everyone knows her! Why not? She’s smiling at everybody she sees. All in all, she’s a groovy role model. The song ends repeating the hook and adding an element each time, representing this wild daughter of Mother Nature acquiring followers as she breezes on to her next adventure: Chicago’s Lakefront, perhaps?–Windy

    From “Depressive”: Stormy – Classics IV Featuring Dennis Yost: Windy’s big sister is this young lady who has broken the heart of the singer (“my world is cloudy and gray/you’ve gone away”). But, in typical Boomer fashion, she isn’t asked to return; she is commanded (“bring back that sunny day”). Even when mortally wounded, the Boomer Mind still stays in control, and forces the world to abide by its rules… or tries to.–Stormy

    Abraham, Martin And John – Dion: The anthem of 1968. After Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen, this song came out, eulogizing the political and spiritual leaders taken from us far too soon (“he freed a lot of people/but they say the good die young/I just looked around/and he was gone”).–Abraham+Martin+And+John

    Master Jack – 4 Jacks And A Jill: This group hailed from South Africa and, in 1968, it’s apparent even in that oppressive society, this new generation was questioning what the elders were saying (“you taught me all those things/the way you’d like them to be/but I’d like to see/if other people agree/it’s all very interesting/the way you disguise/but I’d like to see the world/through my own eyes”). Concepts of the adults are in the crosshairs, and they began to fall as this generation came into power.–Master+Jack+Jun+’68–HQ+Stereo+Dub

    Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles: Could this be the theme of the generation? This pair of lonely people, the dowager and the priest, are isolated and performing meaningless tasks (“darning his socks in the night/when there’s nobody there/what does he care”). They interact with each other only after her death. How could you not feel for them both? The string quartet was a masterstroke, as both brilliant songwriting and a representation of the moods of these two shouldn’t-be-strangers: A solemn end to this collection.

    From “Commercials”: Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey: “Goldfinger,” the motion picture, is the single reason why James Bond movies are still being made. It is the perfect 007 film. It has the right Bond (Sean Connery). It introduces the most incredible ‘gadget’ of all time (the Aston-Martin DB5). It has a worthy adversary (Gert Frobe in the title role), who has a sidekick who could kill you with his hat (the memorable Oddjob). On top of all of this, there is this incredible theme song, performed by that remarkable voice. The song itself is brilliantly constructed (listen for the classic Bond theme, subtly worked into the piece). Bassey’s powerful delivery is the knockout punch. And, it’s all tied together with a universal theme: greed (“he loves gold”).–By+Shirley+Bassey

    Lady Madonna – The Beatles: Give high marks to The Beatles for being visionaries: they even predicted the most commercial artist for the 1980’s some twenty years in advance! In reality, this was a religious paean, albeit mocking, about the problems of our commercialized society (Lady Madonna/children at your feet/wonder how you manage/to make ends meet”) and about the compromises people are forced to make to make it. “Madonna as Whore” is the implication here. Even religion takes a backseat to the Almighty Dollar.

    From “Psychedelics”: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles: The initials said it all.

    Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) – John Fred and His Playboy Band: A parody of the above Beatles hit and, in fact, a more popular song. But what exactly was JDG?–Judy+In+Disguise+(with+Glasses)–1967


  8. August 18, 2010 9:47 am

    From “Sugar Sweet Seventies”: Daniel – Elton John: A definitive “soft rock” song, it seems like there’s a concrete meaning to this tune, and yet, there’s plenty of room to project your own feelings into it, making it more appealing for everybody. Elton was commercial from the very start.–Daniel

    Angie – The Rolling Stones: Devoid of both Love and Money (“with no loving in our souls/and no money in our coats/you could say we’re satisfied”), this relationship is over, whether anyone is willing to believe it or not. Clearly depressed, but unsure of what to do next, the singer is trying desperately to find a grip on reality, though gently.–Angie

    Vincent – Don McLean: The artist Van Gogh is the unmistakable subject of this song, filled with images of both his art and his life (“starry, starry night/paint your palette blue and gray…”). It’s a kindly revisionist’s history though. Everything was being romanticized at this time.–vincent

    Clair – Gilbert O’Sullivan: Clair is a little girl, and, by today’s cynical standards, we would probably consider the singer a pedophile (“the moment I met you I swear/I felt as if something somewhere/had happened to me/which I couldn’t see”). That’s a sad statement. Still, though, there is a romantic element between these two, the doting babysitter and the child. It’s clear they care for each other, though what isn’t clear is their relationship (the singer isn’t Clair’s parent, since you cannot baby sit your own daughter — “I don’t care what people say/to me you’re more than a child”). But, if you can remove your gray-colored glasses, you’ll find an exceptionally sweet song to end Part I.’Sullivan–Clair

    From “Coming of Age – ‘Pre-Lunar'” Billie Jean – Michael Jackson: It’s amazing to think that this was the very first video by a minority artist on MTV. Another catchy hook offered by the “King of Pop,” Michael moonwalks his way through charges that he fathered a child (“she’s just a girl who/claims that I am the one/but the kid is not my son”). I think we can safely say Michael isn’t lying. It was his spectacular performance on the “Motown 25” special that shot the album “Thriller” through the roof. It’s still the best-selling original single album, ever.–lyrics

    And “Coming of Age ‘Post-Lunar'” Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice: This song takes the ‘stereotypical’ elements of rap and clichés them all the way. Included are the cheap sample (Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”), the Caucasian guy turned urban hero (Robert Van Winkle), and the requisite lyrics about girls, guns, drinking, driving and drugs. And that hair in the video! Everybody do “The Running Man!”–Ice+Ice+Baby

  9. August 18, 2010 10:02 am

    Dean, I haven’t been to your blog since it started, and I’m so excited by the soundtrack postings. I love so many of those songs, it’s like my own Time Life commercial whenever I want!

  10. August 18, 2010 10:23 am

    Just wanted to say I love, love, love Son of Sam. One of my favorite Elliott Smith tracks too. Also, this name song of his:

  11. IrishUp permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:27 am

    Well, how about some Golden Oldies?
    Peggy Sue:

    Run Around Sue:

    A Boy Named Sue:

  12. IrishUp permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:32 am

    Or the Neil Diamond set?
    Sweet Caroline
    Cherry Cherry
    Cracklin Rosie
    Holly Holy

  13. IrishUp permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:41 am

    Punk representing:

    Ramones: Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Judy is a Punk
    The Clash: Jimmy Jazz, Janie Jones
    Iggy Pop: Candy, Ceasar
    Patti Smith: Frederick, Kimberlee

  14. August 18, 2010 10:46 am

    YAY!!!! I love this post!

    I would automatically go with “Amanda” by Boston. They were one of my dad’s favorite bands, so I know more than “More Than A Feelin'” by them.

    The Beatles have a ton of name songs. We’ve already had Elenor Rigby mentioned, but there’s Paul’s ode to his sheepdog, “Martha My Dear”

    And then there’s Julia, which is technically about John’s mom, but refers to Yoko a lot.

    And then there’s the “response” song to Elenor Rigby by The Turtles, “Elenore.”

    I enjoy the romance found in the chorus “You’re my pride and joy, etc…”

    Ok, last one… I think I’ve posted this video on here before, but I love this song. And there’s a freakin’ donkey in this video, so….

  15. August 18, 2010 10:56 am

    I actually had “Cracklin’ Rosie” in the Iso-Gen Collection, but left it off of this list for the reasons stated in my comments (which now put it on this list)!

    Cracklin’ Rosie – Neil Diamond: This is a happy-go-lucky song, until you realize Rosie isn’t a girl. “Cracklin’ Rosie” is actually Crackling Rosé, a very cheap wine (“you’re a store-bought woman/but you make me sing/like a guitar hummin’”). The singer is an alcoholic, riding the rails and possibly homeless. Have fun!–Cracklin’+Rosie+1970+High+Definition

  16. August 18, 2010 11:04 am

    Oh! I forgot one of my favorites! “Carrie-Anne” by The Hollies.

  17. August 18, 2010 11:19 am

    A major subgenre of this group is the “have sex with me, dammit” song (aka, “follow the bouncing blue ball”), which I think is best typified by Dexy’s Midnight Runners in Come on Eileen:

    “Ah come on, let’s take off everything” indeed.

  18. August 18, 2010 11:19 am

    oh, I love Carrie Anne, that is a favorite of mine as well!

  19. August 18, 2010 12:07 pm

    This post rules! Here’s a couple more for the name game.

    The Bangles – “James” (live): This is one of my favorites from their early days. And you get to hear Susannah Hoffs sing the word “shit”!

    Patti Smith – “Gloria” (live): It almost seems criminal that no one’s mentioned this version! This is one of my favorite “name” songs. This live version kills it.

    The Marvelettes – “Don’t Mess with Bill” (possibly live on TV):

    The Fifth Dimension – “Wedding Bell Blues” (live on TV): Okay, so there’s not a name in the title but she songs “Bill” over and over. Ladies were really in a snit over this Bill character, right? This was originally written and performed by Laura Nyro. But who can resist Marilyn McCoo??

    Elvis Costello – “Alison” (live): Again, no mention of this song? Blasphemy! 😉

  20. August 18, 2010 12:10 pm

    There’s too many! Like Jim Croce’s classic Bad Bad Leroy Brown

  21. August 18, 2010 1:14 pm

    Woo. I am loving these comments!

  22. August 18, 2010 1:20 pm

    Another classic by Mr. Slowhand himself:

  23. August 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Yay! I wanted to post it in the entry, but thought I might be chased off the internet!

  24. August 18, 2010 2:00 pm

    You can post Winwood but not Clapton? WTF?

  25. hsofia permalink
    August 18, 2010 2:03 pm

    Wow, I seriously did not realize that Prince wasn’t the one singing “Oh Sheila!” I would have sworn it!

    “Valerie” – Lord, I love me some Steve Winwood. “Higher Love” is one of my favorite songs EVER. But I must admit that I only learned recently that the name of this song was “Valerie.” I thought he was saying, “Follow me, call on me, Follow me, call on me.” Eek. Still a great song. And does anyone else think Winwood looks like a cross between Conan O Brien and Hugh Jackman? Okay, just me, then. Moving on.

    “Pamela” – Holy moley! this song sounds like it was a dropped track from Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album! This is my first time hearing it.

    Elliott Smith – yes!

    Petty – yes again!!

    “Joanna” – such a cute video – never saw it before.

  26. August 18, 2010 2:07 pm

    What about songs with specific people’s names as titles?

    The Replacements – Alex Chilton
    Uncle Tupelo – d. boon
    Vic Chesnutt – Lucinda Williams
    Sleater-Kinney – I Want To Be Your Joey Ramone

  27. hsofia permalink
    August 18, 2010 2:16 pm

    I have so many favorites …

    Lauryn Hill’s “Selah”
    Counting Crow’s “Anna Begins”
    Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Billy Don’t Fall”
    Patty Griffin’s “Sweet Lorraine”
    Regina Spektor’s “Samson”
    Tori Amos’ “Jackie” (about Jackie O)
    Bob Dylan’s “Sara”

    Another category could be names of couples in songs, like “Jack & Diane” and “Frankie & Johnny.”

  28. August 18, 2010 2:21 pm

    @Kathy… oh, fabulous suggestion! These also come to mind:

    Peter Gabriel — “Beko”
    Barenaked Ladies — “Be My Yoko Ono”
    Dar Williams — “I Won’t Be Your Yoko Ono”

  29. IrishUp permalink
    August 18, 2010 2:30 pm

    ” seriously did not realize that Prince wasn’t the one singing “Oh Sheila!” I would have sworn it! ”

    COSIGN, hsofia!

    The Earworm/Badradiohead set:

    Billy, Don’t Be a Hero – Paper Lace
    Oh Mickey – Toni Basil
    Brother Louie – Stories
    Run, Joey, Run – David Geddes
    Delta Dawn – Helen Reddy

  30. August 18, 2010 2:31 pm

    And, yeah also in the Iso-Gen collection is The Associaton’s “Along Comes Mary” which seemed to be Paul Shaffer’s go to choice as intro music for when Ms. Tyler Moore guests on “Late Show with David Letterman” but I didn’t include it here because the audio/video was not available on youtube!

  31. August 18, 2010 2:43 pm

    There’s also “Zak and Sara” and “Annie Waits” by Ben Folds.

    Tom Waits has a bunch on his Alice album: “Alice,” “Poor Edward,” and “Table Top Joe” pop to mind.

    “Suzanne” is a popular name for songs…. Leonard Cohen and Weezer both have songs titled that.

  32. IrishUp permalink
    August 18, 2010 3:05 pm

    Star-Crossed lovers?

    Frankie and Johnny (trad.)- Les Paul & Mary Ford
    Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits
    Bonnie & Clyde – Serge Gainsbourg

  33. August 18, 2010 3:50 pm

    We all get a big fail for not remembering Toni Basil’s “Mickey”!

  34. hsofia permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:05 pm

    IrishUp mentioned “Mickey” a few comments back.

  35. August 19, 2010 12:57 am

    Add me to the list that learned today “Oh Sheila” wasn’t Prince. I even had to change it in my itunes, whoever I downloaded it from made the same mistake!

  36. Lorraine Anderson permalink
    August 19, 2010 7:32 am

    Love this post! ‘Sweet Lorraine’ by Nat King Cole. That’s where my parents got my name. My mother use to point to him on television and say,”that’s your real father”, and my father would reply, “let him come feed her, then”. My lack of musical talent, indicates a family joke at my expense, but I love Nat King Cole, anyway.

  37. IrishUp permalink
    August 19, 2010 8:39 am

    @hsofia and Chriso –
    I did mention it, but lacked the follow-through to post the vid – all that talk about being chased off the interwebs got me nervous. So righteous props to Chriso!

  38. IrishUp permalink
    August 19, 2010 8:58 am

    Head Bangers Big Hair Set:

    Beth – Kiss
    Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Ozbourne
    Alexander the Great – Iron Maiden
    Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC
    Billy’s Got a Gun – Def Leppard

  39. August 20, 2010 10:57 am

    I’m late to the party, but may I present, ladies and gentlemen… The voice of God, Ms. Roberta Flack singing “Reverend Lee”

  40. August 20, 2010 11:50 am

    Oh snap! “Ode To Billy Joe” should be on this list!

    This song has always creeped me out, and this performance with the creepy-ass mannequins gives me the willies.

  41. lil anie permalink
    August 24, 2010 8:02 pm

    I am kinda partial to this one…

    I like this one too

  42. December 7, 2010 10:46 am

    damn, I was trying to find this post when I did my “Melissa” one last week, but I didn’t use the right search terms! i knew I hadn’t dreamed up this party.

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