Song(s) Of The Day: Happy Birthday, George Harrison!

Today would be George Harrison’s 78th birthday, so I built a short playlist (5 songs) to honor the occasion:

  1. "Something": George’s most famous song, from Abbey Road. It was one side of a double-A side single (with "Come Together"), and reached #1 in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. By the end of the ’70’s it had been covered oer 150 times.
  2. "Crackerbox Palace": A fun song (and even more fun video) from his 1976 album Thirty-Three & 1/3. It reached #19 on the Hot 100.
  3. "Blow Away": From his eponymous 1979 album. It was a song he wrote on a rainy day when the roof in his house was leaking. He realized that getting upset over it was just making it worse, and it reminded him that he loved everybody and he needed to be more optimistic. Reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
  4. "All Those Years Ago": From 1981’s Somewhere In England, this was George’s tribute to John Lennon. Ringo played drums, while Paul, Linda and Denny Laine sang backup, stoking rumors that the band was getting back together. Reached #2 in the US behind Kim Carnes’s "Bette Davis Eyes" and topped the Adult Contemporary chart as well as reaching #1 in Canada.
  5. "When We Was Fab": From 1987’s Cloud Nine, a fond look back at the days of Beatlemania. Co-written by Jeff Lynne, who produced the album, the song features Ringo on the drums and some elements of psychedelia and Indian music. The video is priceless. Reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart, #10 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #7 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart.

Happy birthday, George!

Song of the Day: Dusty Springfield, “The Windmills of Your Mind”

Composer and pianist Michel Legrand would be 89 years young today. He wrote "The Windmills of Your Mind" for the 1967 film The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 1968. Noel Harrison sang it for the movie, but I’ve always liked Dusty Springfield’s cover, which reached #3 on the Easy Listening chart in 1969. (Sting sang the song for the 1999 remake starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.)

Song of the Day: Johnny Winter And, “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”

Guitarist extraordinaire Johnny Winter would be 77 today. "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" is a song by Rick Derringer, former member of The McCoys and a longtime associate of Johnny’s and his brother Edgar’s. Rick plays rhythm guitar here, with Randy Hobbs on bass and Randy Z on drums; the three of them comprised the "And" portion of "Johnny Winter And." This is from 1970.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: The Beatles, “Long, Long, Long”

Jim’s prompt for today is "Long, Short, Small, Tall," and my choice is The Beatles’ "Long, Long, Long."

George Harrison wrote this on the band’s trip to Rishikesh, India to study under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. He had just recommitted himself to playing the guitar after a couple of years spent mastering the sitar, and was especially inspired by Bob Dylan’s album Blonde On Blonde, the only record he brought with him on the trip. George experienced a musical "growth spurt" while he was in India; Wikipedia tells us "Donovan, the Scottish singer-songwriter who joined in the Beatles’ musical activities in Rishikesh, recalled that Harrison played both sitar and guitar at the ashram and was developing a style of music that became ‘the finest spiritual sound’." The chord changes in the song were based on those from Dylan’s "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," and its laid-back arrangement shows the influence of The Band’s Music From Big Pink.

Reviews were generally mixed, with some saying it was one of the best songs on the album, while others being totally underwhelmed by it. While at first you get the impression that he’s addressing a woman, George said he was addressing God.

The lyrics are from Genius:

It’s been a long, long, long time
How could I ever have lost you
When I loved you?

It took a long, long, long time
Now I’m so happy I found you
How I love you

So many tears I was searching
So many tears I was wasting, oh, oh

Now I can see you, be you
How can I ever misplace you?
How I want you
Oh, I love you
You know that I need you
Oh, how I love you

That’s Song Lyric Ssunday and Song of the Day for February 21, 2021.