Monday 14 April 2014

AAA Songs About Horses (Top Ten, News Views and Music 240)

Dear all, it's horses for courses this week as we follow up Stephen Stills' pony pursuits with his horse Major (the only horse to make an AAA album cover) and ask why so many AAA members ride those crazy horses. Yes that's right - get on the saddle because this week we're taking you for a ride on our little AAA ponies! Or are we just horsing around?! (Neigh! Err I Mean nay - no we're not!) What's the deal with sitting on a poor defenceless animal anyway - why not sit on a cow, they're much more my speed. Humans are weird. Still, there's no denying people's fondness for their pet horses, including these ten (black?) beauties. Interestingly the kings of racing, who must surely have all been brought up on farms and lots of empty desolate countryside turn out to be... Mancunians The Hollies with three entries (two of them made our list - there's also 'Ride Your Pony', a cover from last year's BBC Sessions CD we left out simply because most of you won't know it). Anyway you know the score by now: 10 AAA songs about horses in strict chronological order, it's as simple as that. Hi ho Silver, awayyyyyy....

1) Stewball (The Hollies, 'The Hollies' 1965)

Peter, Paul and Mary's song about their dreams of a perfect pet horse is, in truth, a bit of a dirge. More of a canter than a gallop, it's almost painfully slow but is rescued by some sterling Hollies harmonies. Stewball is kind of the 'David Watts' or horses - far too good to be true - with a mane of silver and a bridle of gold and a million stories that can 'never be told' apparently. However is there a darker side in all this because Stewball sounds a bit of an alcoholic too: 'he never drank water and only drank wine'. I'd keep that nag in the stables if I were you

2) Pegasus (The Hollies, 'Butterfly' 1967)

The Hollies' second magical horse really is magical with wings that allow him to fly. Tony Hick's first solo composition is a lovely song about all the mythical and mystical places Pegasus can fly to and makes this Greek legend sound totally in keeping with the psychedelic era. The song is a kind of mid-paced trot with a lovely flowing trumpet riff that sounds just like Pegasus whinnying!

3) Dig A Pony (The Beatles, 'Let It Be' 1970)

John Lennon was, by his own admission, writing about nonsense here, taking a title phrase that's meaningless out of context and writing a sub-I Am The Walrus song about how words only have meanings because of some pact across humanity but by themselves mean nothing at all. Ponies, though, have quite a history within the Beatles: most of the group learnt to ride in childhood and even poor Ringo - who'd never had a go - somehow learnt to stay upright for the 'Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields' promo where the fab four ride horses around London. Paul McCartney even owned a handsome collection of horses himself after he and Linda spent their early days togetherhorse-riding. Lennon's last great Beatles riff sounds like quite a (night) mare to ride and tries hard to throw the Beatles off-course throughout the song (no wonder they all went to so many takes!) 

4) Chestnut Mare (The Byrds, 'Untitled' 1970)

Roger McGuinn had a great idea in 1969 to re-write folk tale 'Peer Gynt' in a modern America setting, the outlaw finding he has to become a politician and make changes democratically to create the 'great future' he believes in. 'Gene Tryp', as the character became in anagram form, had to be given a more modern form of companion than the deers in the Norwegian original though - and what better choice than a horse, the animal that had helped define America more than any other? 'Chestnut Mare', the most famous song from the unfinished work, has Gene taming a wild horse to be his companion and some unfortunate comparisons between the horse and his wife. Still, the flowing middle eight where the chestnut mare suddenly leaps off a cliff and time stands still may well be the single most beautiful bit of music McGuinn ever wrote and 'Chestnut Mare' deservedly became by far the most successful 'horsey' song on this list and the Byrds' last top ten hit.

5) Wild Horses (Rolling Stones, 'Sticky Fingers' 1971)

Keith Richards had just become a father in 1971. Just think about that for a minute: Keith Richards. As your dad. 'Don't do that? Oh what the hell - if it's against the system do it anyway!' The birth of son Marlon clearly brought out his sentimental side and some of his greatest ballads. The title actually comes from the line when asked if he was going to the hospital to see the birth despite having to leave a Stones tour in the middle: 'Wild horses wouldn't drag me away'. Apart from the melody and title, however, much of the song is Mick Jagger's and may well be about his then-girlfriend Marianne Faithful (legend has it the song was inspired by her attempted suicide and his struggle to get her side in a hurry - the first time, at least). A lovely stately melody with a gleam in its eye, many consider this the finest horse in the Stones' paddock. 

6) Dark Horse (George Harrison, 'Dark Horse' 1974)

George Harrison loved the phrase 'dark horse'. Many reviewers of Beatle albums had called the 'quiet Beatle' just that and the phrase stuck after George came from nowhere to become the ex-Beatle with the biggest solo career in the early 1970s. George even named his own record company after the phrase, although sadly most records on it seemed to be cancelled or delayed so that 'Dark Horses' became a very rare breed indeed. The best use, though, comes when George finally turns the phrase into a song for his third solo album and is by far the album's best track. A sprightly runner, with a cute tune, 'Dark Horse' is a beast that will go his own way oblivious of what people assume about him, a 'dark horse running on a dark race course' that always wins against the odds long after everyone has forgotten about him. Sadly most fans know this record as 'Dark Hoarse': George wore his voice out on his tie-in tour and didn't regain it in time to record the album!

7) One-Trick Pony (Paul Simon, 'One-Trick Pony' 1980)

Paul Simon's One-Trick Pony is nothing of the sort: he whoops, he glides, he somersaults and goes through more changes of speed than most professional jockeys do in a career. The title track of not just Paul's fourth solo album but a film as well, it's actually 'sung' by Paul's alter ego Jonah: a failed singer-songwriter with one brief hit to his name who doesn't know when to give up a career that gave him up long ago. Poor Jonah needs to prove that he is much more than a one-trick pony and can live in an age of modern music he doesn't understand (the B-52s make their first ever appearance in a cameo in this film, making Jonah's retro 50s music seem even more hopelessly dated). The 'other' dark horse of the AAA pack, this is an animal you underestimate at your peril, by turns running with the wind and away with the fairies. 

8) All You Horse-Riders (Paul McCartney, 'McCartney II' Deluxe Edition, recorded 1980 released 2011)

Part of Macca's original and superior double-album version of his most out-there record McCartney II, this song was one of the few that probably should have been dropped when the album was shrunk to a single set: in truth this nag is a bit lame. Still, though, 'Horse-Riders' had to make this list as the only AAA song to actually re-create a true horse race - complete with spoof commentary from a deranged sounding Paul - and the 1980s synths do a marvellous job of sounding like tiny horses hooves trying to jump over a set of elaborate sounding jumps. The song falls apart at the end and segues into the much better 'Blue Sway' after this: are we to assume that the horse fell at the final water jump?

9) Don't Spook The Horse (Neil Young and Crazy Horse, B-Side 1990)

Neil's always liked using 'horse metaphors' for his longterm sideband in song but no others are as blatant as this song, recorded during the 'Ragged Glory' sessions but abandoned on a B-side and record for being too similar to other album songs (Neil cheekily sent this song out to some reviewers instead of the record, telling them it contained all they needed to know about the album). Why does Neil play such simple, sometimes plodding songs? In case it 'spooks' his backing band, who turn in one of their trademark three-note jams across the entire seven minute song. Listen out for some of Neil's silliest lyrics, with a last verse that repeats the entire song about a 'horse' from the point of view of a wife , no matter how daft the comparisons ('Make sure she ain't rolled in shit!' in this song's unique closing line). A bit of a clown, this horse - I'd keep him away from the others in case he upsets them... 

10) Judy and the Dream of Horses (Belle and Sebastian, 'If You're Feeling Sinister' 1996)

Many early Belle and Sebastian songs are based around 'Judy', Stuart Murdoch's female alter ego who feels hopelessly out of place in modern life. Trapped on all sides Murdoch's gentle narrator longs for her to feel free and encourages her to 'be' the person she can only be at night: free from everything and at one with another being, even if that being is a horse. Clearly inspired by Murdoch's years struggling with chronic fatigue and confined to his bed,  this song is actually more about the powers of dreams when you don't have any than the horse itself. There's no denying, though, that 'Dream of Horses' is a pretty creature and one that, although timid, would be sure to win any horse beauty pageants (perhaps even 'horse most like it's owner?!)

And that's enough horse-puns for another week! Trot along by next issue to read more news, views and music. Whinny!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

What difference does a name make? Arguably not much if you’re already a collector of a certain group, for whom the names on the album sleeves just...

This week’s top ten honours the humble motor car. The death trap on wheels, the metaphor for freedom, the put-down of capitalism, a source of...

This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...

Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...

There are many dying arts in our modern world: incorruptible politicians, faith that things are going to get better and the ability to make decent...

This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...

Naturally we hold our AAA bands in high esteem in these articles: after all, without their good taste, intelligence and humanity we’d have nothing to...

What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...

‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...

In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...

Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...

154) The human singing voice carries with it a vast array of emotions, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way except opening the lungs and...

Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...

Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...

Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...

159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

No comments:

Post a Comment