Monday, 18 March 2013

Days Of The Week AAA Style (News, Views and Music Issue 186)

Ooh I need your views, babe, guess you know it’s true, one thing I can say, girl, hope you know it’s true, hold me (if you’re reading this on an i-phone), love me, hold me, love me, ain’t got nothing but another article for you dear reader – twelve days a week! Yes, its every single instance (that we can think of) featuring an AAA band singing about a particular day of the week, listed in week order (and where we come from its a stated undeniable fact that the week starts on a Monday, not a Sunday, which is a hopeless modern invention!) Slight mystery though: why has there never been an AAA song about ‘Mondays’ or ‘Thursdays’? (I never could get the hang of Thursdays...) Hmm, answers in by the end of the week please:

The Rolling Stones “Ruby Tuesday” (A-side, 1967)
Apparently ‘Tuesday’ is the day of the ‘God of single combat’ and the ancient Greeks considered it the unluckiest day of the week. Not so in many of our examples, though, especially our first. Of all the Stones’ lyrics this is surely one of their strangest. When CSN tried (in vain) to record the song for their unfinished covers album in 2011 the sessions allegedly broke down because the trio couldn’t agree on what the words meant. What we do know is that ‘Ruby Tuesday’ is a mysterious, elusive creature (‘who could hang a name on you?’), urging the narrator on to ‘catch his dreams’ at any costs and at least appears to be a lucky break for the narrator, not an unlucky or unhappy one. This song clearly pits Tuesday as a mysterious, open day where anything can happen – and usually does.

The Moody Blues “Tuesday Afternoon” (‘Days Of Future Passed’, 1967)
A theme taken up by perhaps the most famous song on the list, originally part of a themed album about the times of day from morning to night and later a hit single. If I was Justin Hayward I’d have been cursing my luck about getting chosen to write a song about ‘afternoon’ to write as opposed to the more literary ‘morning’ or ‘dusk’, but the addition of the word ‘Tuesday’ gives the song another resonance with a supposedly mystical word, ‘the kind of day to leave myself behind’. Hearing mystical voices and the ‘fairyland of love’ calls the Moody Blues’ narrator on to see the beauty in the world around him and appreciate just what a glorious time Tuesday Afternoons can be (after all, they only come round once a week you know!) Tuesday as alluring and special, rather than the drabbest part of the week.

Cat Stevens “Tuesday’s Dead” (‘Teaser and the Firecat’ 1971)
Despite the title, this song clearly takes place on a Monday. Like many a Cat Stevens song of the period this is a questioning, looking for answers song but with the twist that however hard the narrator looks for answers they will always be cut off from him until the point he’s meant to learn them (‘and so, till tomorrow, Tuesday’s Dead’) Meanwhile, in the last verse, the narrator hears the humdrum of life existence going on outside his window, caught in the trap of the beginnings of the working week and without any great destination in mind except to survive until the weekend (‘and we must try our best to shake it down, do our best to break the ground, try to turn the world around one more time’). Wo-aoh let’s hope Tuesday isn’t dead anymore...

Simon and Garfunkel “Wednesday Morning, 3 AM” (‘Wednesday Morning 3 AM’, 1965)
And so on to Wednesday (or ‘Wodnesday’ as it was in ancient English), ruled by the God of mercury. Not that that will matter one jot to the narrator of this early Paul Simon song who has bigger and more pressing matters on his mind (not least the fact that he’s just robbed a hard liquor store and the police are on his tail). The criminal tries to equate what he’s done with the best of intentions (making money for his wife) with the joy there is in the world (such as his beautiful, blissfully sleeping wife lying beside him), but his guilty conscience gets the better of him and he finds himself, at 3 am on an unspecified Wednesday morning, debating about whether he should hand himself in to the police(as ‘the morning is just a few hours away’). This song was later re-recorded as the better known electric song ‘Somewhere They Can’t Find Me’, but that version of the song doesn’t give a day or a time so we couldn’t include it on our list.

Dennis Wilson “Friday Night” (‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ 1977)
Skipping Thursday we’re onto Friday, ‘the day of Frig’ (no not fridge – that’s not an excuse to stuff yourselves), an old English Goddess from Pagan days (wife of Odin) and said to have several prophecies to tell upon her special days. Not that the Romans cared, who booted her out of her day of the week and replaced her with the Goddess Venus, so in theory there should be lots of love songs written for this day. Typically Beach Boy Dennis Wilson isn’t playing ball and ‘Friday Night’ is instead a scary time when people’s ‘real’ selves come to the surface away from a working week and ‘white punks, motorcycle riders and people who pray’ all mingle on the streets together, the spaces between them becoming blurred. The narrator himself has his head turned by all three together, declaring ‘I believe my Jesus’ before cackling ‘come on brother, lets’ rock and roll!’

The Searchers “Saturday Night Out” (B-side 1963)
Saturn’s day, the God of time, ticks down relentlessly until the weekend is nearly over and five days at work face everyone once more. There’s one last chance for celebration however and the Searchers are the first of many on this list to use Saturday as a day of escape. Urging the girl he’s been dreaming about the whole week to go out with him and have a ball, Mike Pender’s narrator is thrilled to just be with her and doesn’t care what they do together to pass the time. All together now,‘On this night, everything’s right, woooh!’

The Monkees “Saturday’s Child” (‘The Monkees’ 1966)
Each child born on a day of the week is meant to have certain qualities. I can’t say I’ve noticed any correlation myself (even if I was born on a Sunday, which is clearly the day of the week the inventor of the rhyme was born on too as they get by far the best deal) but David Gates, soon to be of the band ‘Bread’, seems to think the rhyme is true gauging by one of the better moments on the first Monkees LP. He prefers ‘Saturday’s Child’ though, traditionally the child who ‘works hard for a living’, for no other reason than that she ‘drives him wild’. This kind of thinking rather limits his selection of girlfriends, you’d expect, cutting them down by 6/7ths but does make for a cracking pop song.

Jefferson Airplane “Saturday Afternoon” (‘After Bathing At Baxters’ 1967)
The band that uses days of the week most in the AAA canon is undoubtedly the Jefferson Airplane, with guitarist Paul Kantner declaring the days of the weekend as his ‘special days’. In the Airplane/Starship catalogue spaceships get hijacked by hippies to spread peace throughout the galaxy on a Friday night and the ‘holy day’ of Sunday is his day of campaign of the revolution. On this earlier song, though (heard in a medley with ‘Won’t You Try?’) its Saturday that’s open to the world’s possibilities, the one day of the week not shackled to what others want you to do. In the street there are ‘people dancing everywhere, loudly shouting ‘I don’t care’ and enjoying ‘acid, incense and ballons’, freeing themselves up to a new understanding of what it means to live and recognising Saturday Afternoon as a ‘time for growing and for knowing love’. If only every day was a Saturday.

Grateful Dead “One More Saturday Night” (‘Europe ’72’ 1972)
Saturday is party day where the Grateful Dead live too, the band often kicking off any of their concerts that happened to fall on a Saturday with this hard-rocking song from Bob Weir. In the song even the Gods in the heavens declare that tonight is party night and the appearance of the president (back in 1972 still Richard Nixon) appearing on the TV news with a sour face can’t get in the way of a night built for dancing. The twist comes in the last verse, when its revealed that the Earth was built on a Saturday not a Sunday and was designed specifically for people to party on – all the other stuff that gets in the way like work and responsibility is just down to the stupidity of humans and not our creators, who buil,t us simply so they could have someone to party with every week.

The Monkees “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD’ 1968)
Sunday, named after the Sun the giver of life, is generally seen as ‘the Lord’s day’ by most religions. Why an omnipotent being needs a rest when he can just magic himself up some energy or add an extra day every week that only he ‘exists’ in is something that none of the major (or indeed minor) world religions ever fully explained. Certainly not much is happening in surburbia, the scene of Carole King’s best known song written for The Monkees. This land is far too pre-occupied with status symbols, Mrs Gray pruning her roses that no one looks at anyway and Mr Green with ‘a TV in every room’ (this is in 1968, remember, before there were televisions in every bedroom) that he cannot possibly watch. The narrator is numbed by all this capitalism on such a spiritual day, however, and finds ‘his thoughts stray to places far away’, ending up in a trademark Micky Dolenz vocal scream into the chorus ‘I need a change of scenery!’ American consumerism gone mad, set to a great rock and roll riff.

The Small Faces “Lazy Sunday” (‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ 1968)
Steve Marriott’s narrator is having a lovely time after a hard back-breaking week, indulging himself in all the things he loves: loud music, lots of birds and oodles of empty time for sleeping and doing not much in particular. Unfortunately his neighbours aren’t so happy, in fact ‘they’re doing me crust in’ and complaining all the time about every little thing he does. Many fans who only know this as a single have scratched their heads over the line about a ‘party where you suss out the moon’ – if you’re curious too then head immediately to parent album ‘Odgen’s Nut Gone Flake’ side two which is all about Happiness Stan’s search for the disappearing moon and do not pass go. Not so us, byt the waty, as traditionally the bulk of this website is written on a Sunday and finished off the following afternoon. ‘Scuse me, I’ll be needing a nap about now then, I’ll just close my mind and drift away....zzz.....

Oasis “Sunday Morning Call” (‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ 2000)
Noel Gallagher often quotes this song as the least favourite of his Oasis compositions (his abuse on the commentary for the music video included on Oasis DVD ‘Time Flies’ is hilarious), but I for one really love it and I’m sure I’m not alone. The narrator wakes up with a hangover (one that sounds pretty similar to a chronic fatigue attack) and wonders why everything feels so wrong on ‘a day that couldn’t give you more’. He’s spent the rest of the week ignoring all the ‘thoughts in your head that only talk to you at night’, but suddenly thanks to the hangover they’re the only things that make any sense to the narrator and they’re making him see life in a completely different way. The very sound of insecurity and frustration, no wonder the narrator sings hazily to us that he’s no longer sure ‘if everything will ever, ever, ever work out right’. Which brings us back again, quite neatly, to the start of the week again (as Neil Young once put it ‘it’s Monday morning, wake up, wake up, wake up...)

Well that’s all from us for another week. We have to go now or we won’t get the next issue in for Monday, the God of all deadlines. Be sure to join us then for more news, views and music whatever day of the week happens to be your day for tuning into ‘News, Views and Music’!

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