Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Our House

Our House…that is where most of us are today and for days to come. Here is a ballad that Graham Nash wrote for the Déjà Vu album. The first album to include Crosby, Stills, Nash, AND Young.

Graham Nash wrote this sentimental tune about his relationship living with Joni Mitchell in a cottage in LA’s Laurel Canyon around 1969. Mitchell and Nash were a romantic couple during the period in which Joni wrote the songs for Ladies Of The Canyon which, like Deja Vu, was released in 1970.

Our house peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100, #13 in Canada, and #19 in New Zealand in 1970.

Graham Nash: It was one of those gray cloudy days in Los Angeles that foreshadows the spring. When we got back and put our stuff down, I said, “I’ll light a fire”—she had an open fireplace with a stash of wood in the back—“why don’t you put some flowers in that vase you just bought. It’ll look beautiful. It’s kind of a bleak day. It’ll bring some more color into the room.” Then I stopped. I thought: Whoa! That’s a delicious moment. How many couples have been there: You light a fire, I’ll cook dinner. I thought that in the ordinariness of the moment there might be a profoundly simple statement. So Joni went out into the garden to gather ferns and leaves and a couple flowers to put in the vase. That meant she wasn’t at the piano—but I was! And within the hour, the song “Our House” was finished.

 

From Songfacts

Biographer Dave Zimmer shared what Graham Nash told him about the song in the 2007 CSNY Historian’s interview: “He once told me: ‘The time that Joni and I were living together was really interesting because I had left my band [The Hollies] successfully, I had left my country [England] successfully, I had been accepted here [Los Angeles, California], and I was feeling great. And Joni was feeling great, too; she had started to realize who she was and the fantastic work she was doing. She was painting and designing her second album cover, doing that self-portrait. And I remember being totally in awe of her. She’d go and make some supper and come down and we’d be eating, then she’d all of a sudden space out, go to the piano … to see her sit down and write ‘Rainy Night House’ and all those other things was just mind blowing.'” 

According to Graham Nash’s biography Wild Tales, a famous line in this song had a very specific inspiration. He and Joni Mitchell went to an antiques store and she picked out a vase. When they got home, Nash said, “I’ll light the fire while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.” He stopped dead in his tracks and went immediately to the piano.

In the earliest live performances of the song, Nash would introduce it as being “about my woman.” He never used Mitchell’s name, though.

This was used in ’80s TV spots for Eckrich sausage and the Pacific Bell telephone company.

Our House

I’ll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today
Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me

Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is good
Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the evening
Sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy ’cause of you and our la, la, la…

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy ’cause of you and our

I’ll light the fire, while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today

Rolling Stones – Factory Girl

Love the Beggars Banquet album (1968) and this song in particular. Mick remembers the working class in this song. It was written by Mick and Keith.

It’s a mostly acoustic number, with Charlie Watts playing tabla and Ric Grech sitting in on fiddle. Grech was a violinist and bass player who was a member of the band Family in the ’60s and went on to play in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton. He also played on Gram Parsons’ solo albums in the ’70s, and he appears on Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane’s 1976 Mahoney’s Last Stand project.

Dave Mason, who did some session work for Jimi Hendrix and was a member of the band Traffic, played the mandolin on this song.

The song wasn’t released as a single but it’s a great song like most of what’s on Beggars Banquet.

Drummer Charlie Watts: “On Factory Girl, I was doing something you shouldn’t do, which is playing the tabla with sticks instead of trying to get that sound using your hand, which Indian tabla players do, though it’s an extremely difficult technique and painful if you’re not trained.”

From Songfacts

This song is a great example of Mick Jagger taking on a persona, which he often did in his lyrics. Here, he sings from the perspective of a guy who is waiting for his girlfriend – a destitute, disheveled sort – to get out of work at the factory. It’s quite a contrast to Jagger’s reality: a glamorous rock star who often dated models.

Guitarist Keith Richards: “To me ‘Factory Girl’ felt something like Molly Malone, an Irish jig; one of those ancient Celtic things that emerge from time to time, or an Appalachian song. In those days I would just come up and play something, sitting around the room. I still do that today.”

 

Factory Girl

Waiting for a girl who’s got curlers in her hair
Waiting for a girl she has no money anywhere
We get buses everywhere
Waiting for a factory girl

Waiting for a girl and her knees are much too fat
Waiting for a girl who wears scarves instead of hats
Her zipper’s broken down the back
Waiting for a factory girl

Waiting for a girl and she gets me into fights
Waiting for a girl, we get drunk on Friday night
She’s a sight for sore eyes
Waiting for a factory girl

Waiting for a girl and she’s got stains all down her dress
Waiting for a girl and my feet are getting wet
She ain’t come out yet
Waiting for a factory girl

 

Bruce Springsteen – I’m Going Down

Bruce makes it abundantly clear that he is not going to town, nor dinner, or in any way… up…nope he is going down, down, down etc… He repeats “down” over eighty times in this song…My word count counts 90 in the song. I don’t care…its a good song and as Bruce always does he sings it with conviction.

The reason I like this song is the overall sound that Bruce got on the guitar and the echo in his voice… it’s just perfect. I can hear the Sun Records influence in this one.

Born In The USA was the album I listened to endlessly in 1984-1985. You heard it everywhere you turned. A friend of mine (big Bruce fan from the old days) saw Bruce in 85 and he was depressed that Bruce was no longer a cult performer anymore. The horse was out of the barn so to speak…The public knew and knew him well. Bruce and that bandana were all over the news and any magazine you read.

Born in the USA had 7 top ten singles… I’m Going Down peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 and #23 in Canada in 1985. The album was released on June 4, 1984… this song was at #9 over a year later on October 25, 1985. This was the 6th of the 7 singles to go to the top 10. My Hometown being the last in January of 1986…and it peaked at #6… within 5 months of two years after the release.

Lets fire up the Delorean and go back to 1985…please…

I’m Going Down

We sit in the car outside your house
I can feel the heat coming ’round
I go to put my arm around you
And you give me a look like I’m way out of bounds
Well you let out one of your bored sighs
Well lately when I look into your eyes

Down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down

We get dressed up and we go out, baby, for the night
We come home early burning, burning, burning in some fire fight
I’m sick and tired of you setting me up yeah
Setting me up just to knock-a knock-a knock-a me down

Down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down, hey now

I pull you close now baby but when we kiss I can feel a doubt
I remember back when we started
My kisses used to turn you inside out
I used to drive you to work in the morning
Friday night I’d drive you all around
You used to love to drive me wild yeah
But lately girl you get your kicks from just driving me down

I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down

I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, hey bopa d-d-down

I’m goin down, down, down, down
I’m goin down, hey bopa d-d-down
I’m goin down, down, down, yeah
I’m goin down, down, hey bopa hey bopa

Hey hey mmm bopa bopa well down
Hey babe mmm bopa bopa said down
Hey hey mmm bopa bopa well down
Hey hey mmm bopa bopa say
Hey unh say down, down, down, down, down
Hey down now, say down, down, down, down, down

Monkees – Monkees Theme

Hey Hey…Let’s all wake up to the Monkees on this quarantined morning. It’s hard to resist this song…it’s fun and reminds me of the intro to their television show…which is a good thing.

This was the first song written and recorded for The Monkees TV series, which ran on NBC 1966-1968. Written to introduce the Monkees and used as the theme song for the show.

It was written by the songwriter/producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who were hired to write three songs for the show’s pilot, including the theme. When they wrote it, the cast had not been chosen and they had very little direction…the show was pitched as “An American version of The Beatles” and loosely based on the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night.

Peter Tork: “I always thought the song worked fine as the theme song for the TV show. But I never allowed us to sing it in public,” “The whole idea of standing up there and singing, ‘We’re wonderful/We’re the wonderful ones/And our names are The Wonderful Ones,’ was too self-congratulatory. What we do now is, the backing band plays [the music] and Micky and I come out onstage to it. I can’t ever see us singing ‘Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees!’ I couldn’t bear it.”

 

From Songfacts

The finger snaps and “here we come” line were influenced by the Dave Clark Five song “Catch Us If You Can,” where they sing, “Here we come again, catch us if you can.”

The Monkees didn’t play on their early albums, so very often the only band member to appear on a song would be its lead vocalist, which in this case was Micky Dolenz. This song was produced by the song’s writers, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who had members of their band, the Candy Store Prophets, play the instruments. The backing credits are as follows:

Micky Dolenz: vocal
Tommy Boyce: backing vocals
Wayne Erwin, Gerry Mcgee & Louie Shelton: guitar
Larry Taylor: bass
Billy Lewis: drums
Gene Estes: percussion

Turns out this song works very well in a documentary about actual monkeys: It was used to open the 2015 Disney film Monkey Kingdom.

The Monkees Theme

Here we come
Walkin’ down the street
We get the funniest looks from
Everyone we meet

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down

We go wherever we want to
Do what we like to do
We don’t have time to get restless
There’s always something new

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down

We’re just tryin’ to be friendly
Come and watch us sing and play
We’re the young generation
And we’ve got something to say, oh

Any time
Or anywhere
Just look over your shoulder
Guess who’ll be standing there?

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down

Whaaa, one time!

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down

We’re just tryin’ to be friendly
Come and watch us sing and play
We’re the young generation
And we’ve got something to say

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees

The Who – Squeeze Box

You go and see Pete Townshend to watch him windmill his guitar and jump about. Not on this song…you hear Pete happily playing on a banjo…and that is a great thing. He also slips in the accordion for good measure. This is not The Who’s best song but it’s happy and catchy. It’s also the first Who song I remember hearing without knowing much about them. My sister surprisingly had this single…a bright spot among the many bad ones she owned.

This song was on the album The Who By Numbers released in 1975 and peaked at #8. Squeeze Box made it to #16 in the Billboard 100 in 1976.

Townshend wrote all of the songs and they were deeply personal. He had just turned 30 and he was beginning to question his place in Rock and Roll. A question he would wrestle with a few more years.

Squeeze Box was originally intended for a Who television special planned in 1974. In the planned performance of the song, the members of the band were to be surrounded by 100 topless women playing accordions

Pete Townsend: “It’s not about a woman’s breasts, vaginal walls, or anything else of the ilk.”

Roger Daltrey: “What’s great about ‘Squeeze Box’ is that it’s so refreshingly simple, an incredible catchy song. A good jolly. I’ve never had a problem with that song because it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is and I love it for that. Live audiences love it. Nothing wrong with a bit of ‘in-and-out’, mate!”  

From Songfacts

Squeeze Box” is a slang term for an accordion, but it is also slang for the vagina. The band just wanted to see if they could get away with singing about the joys of explicit sex. 

In the liner notes to Pete Townshend’s compilation album Scoop, he wrote that he recorded the song for fun one day when he had bought himself an accordion. The accordion gave the song a polka-esque rhythm and the lyrics were “intended as a poorly aimed dirty joke.” Townshend had no thought of it ever becoming a hit.

The song is about an accordion (sort of), but there is hardly any of the instrument in the song. You can hear some in the section about 90 seconds in that goes, “squeeze me, come on and squeeze me,” but the subsequent instrumental section is mostly banjo. Pete Townshend played both instruments.

 

Squeeze Box

Mama’s got a squeeze box
She wears on her chest
And when daddy comes home
He never gets no rest
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

Well the kids don’t eat
And the dog can’t sleep
There’s no escape from the music
In the whole damn street
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes in and out and in
And out and in and out and in and out
She’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes, squeeze me, come on and squeeze me
Come on and tease me like you do
I’m so in love with you
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes in and out and in and out
And in and out and in and out
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

Moody Blues – Your Wildest Dreams

It’s easy to relate to this song… most have someone who they felt got away and you still think about them and wonder if they think about you.

It has a great hook and it gets you right away. The Moody Blues have been described as a progressive rock band but I have never thought of them that way. Maybe because I don’t particularly like progressive rock bands. I’ve always thought the Moodies were a great pop/rock band who plays for the song like Story In Your Eyes, Question, and others. This song is more of a pop song than some of their early ones but a catchy one.

It was written by Justin Hayward and peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the Adult Contemporary Charts, and #2 in the Mainstream Rock Charts in1986.

Justin Hayward: “I found with ‘Wildest Dreams’ that it was a common experience for a lot of people,” he said. “I thought I was writing a frivolous sort of song. I thought ‘Wildest Dreams’ would be a throwaway thing that people wouldn’t really take much notice of lyrically. But I found out that it was a common experience and desire by a lot of people. So that was very revealing.”

From Songfacts

The Moody Blues were one of the first bands to use a Mellotron, which was a keyboard instrument that played sounds by triggering tape loops. Mike Pinder, a founding member of the band, was their Mellotron virtuoso. After Pinder’s departure in 1979, Justin Hayward began experimenting with synthesizers and became particularly fond of the Yamaha DX7, which is apparent on this track.

Tony Visconti, famous for his work with David Bowie, produced The Other Side Of Life album and encouraged the band to use some unusual instruments. “Most of ‘Wildest Dreams’ – 90% of it – is Tony Visconti, my DX7, and a guitar synth,” Justin Hayward tells us. “The piece at the beginning that sounds like a sort of Theremin, a (humming) ‘oooo ooo,’ that’s a guitar synth. All of that is. So it was just another way of exploring musical avenues. Tony Visconti was very much into that and the first person who really turned the band on to programming in a serious way. And he was very, very good at it, so I enjoyed every moment of that.”

Justin Hayward wrote the song “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” which appeared on the next Moody Blues album, Sur la Mer, as a sequel to this song, with the singer longing to find the girl.

For “Somewhere,” he went back to his Yamaha DX7 synthesizer and used the same keyboard and bass sounds, keeping the same tempo. This gave the songs a similar musical feel to connect them musically, and then he wrote the lyrics to continue the story.

Your Wildest Dreams

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn’t tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Beatles – Within You Without You

As Van Morrison would say…Into The Mystic… this song off of Sgt Pepper was a George Harrison song…and he was the only Beatle on it… This is about as sixties as you can get with the sitar and philosophical lyrics.

This was a brilliant addition to Sgt Pepper to show yet another side to the Beatles.

It’s hard to overestimate how profound of an effect that the introduction to Eastern religion had on George Harrison. Under the name of Sam Wells, George, along with his wife Pattie, vacationed in Bombay, India for six weeks, beginning on September 20th, 1966. At the suggestion of Ravi Shankar, from whom he was going to take sitar lessons while there, he grew a mustache as a subtle disguise so as to ward off any Indian “Beatlemaniacs” that may have been around in the area.

The book Autobiography Of A Yogi really changed his life and mind. It influenced his writing of songs like Within You Without You’ and many others. George started to write this song on a pedal harmonium at friend Klaus Voormann’s home.

During the recording, George was there with Indian musicians and they had a carpet on the floor and there was incense burning.

At George Harrison’s request, they added a small bit of laughter at the end of the song as it faded out to lighten the mood a bit.

John Lennon: “I think that is one of George’s best songs, one of my favorites of his. I like the arrangement, the sound and the words. He is clear on that song. You can hear his mind is clear and his music is clear. It’s his innate talent that comes through on that song, that brought that song together. George is responsible for Indian music getting over here. That song is a good example.”

 

From Songfacts

Although this song is billed as being recorded by the Beatles, George Harrison was the only Beatle to play on the track. There is no guitar or bass, but there are some hand-drums.

Harrison spent weeks looking for musicians to play the Indian instruments used on this. It was especially difficult because Indian musicians could not read Western music.

This is based on a piece by Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who helped teach Harrison the sitar. Harrison wrote his own lyrics and shortened it considerably.

Harrison wrote this as a 30-minute piece. He trimmed it down into a mini-version for the album.

This was the only song Harrison wrote that made it onto the album. He also contributed “Only A Northern Song” (recorded in February of 1967 as verified by the Anthology 2 album), but it was left off the album at the last minute. It was initially intended to go on the first side of Sgt. Pepper between “She’s Leaving Home” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” >>

This was one of Harrison’s first songs to explore Eastern religion, which would become a lifelong quest. He believed in reincarnation, which helped him accept death in 2001, when he lost his life to cancer.

Oasis covered this for the BBC to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

This is the second Indian classical-influenced song that George Harrison wrote for the Beatles, the first being “Love You To.”

“Now “Within You/Without You” was not a commercial song by any means. But it was very interesting. [George Harrison] had a way of communicating music by the Indian system of kind of a separate language… the rhythms decided by the tabla player.” –Sir George Martin, from the documentary The Material World.

Within You Without You

We were talking
About the space between us all
And the people
Who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth
Then it’s far too late when they pass away

We were talking
About the love we all could share
When we find it
To try our best to hold it there, with our love, with our love
We could save the world, if they only knew

Try to realize it’s all within yourself, no-one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you

We were talking
About the love that’s gone so cold
And the people
Who gain the world and lose their soul
They don’t know, they can’t see
Are you one of them?

When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you