This is a continuing activity that Sugar and I are doing for our own amusement. Every so often one of us posts a theme, and we both come up with three or more songs that we feel fit the theme. There are no other rules, and the objective is to have fun and maybe have another song to add to our DiNOPods.
I’ve chosen the theme “songs that tell a story” for my turn. Some genres take to this naturally (folk, country). I’m going to avoid movie soundtracks and West End/Broadway musicals altogether (I’ll leave that for another day).
Kenny Loggins – The House at Pooh Corner
“Winnie the pooh doesn’t know what to do,
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose;
He came to me asking help and advice,
From here no one knows where he goes.”
I’ll open with a meta-storytelling song, of a man singing a story about a bear and his friends to his son. The video is jumpy, but the audio is good enough, and the intro is priceless. I am a Milne Pooh fan, and have quoted Winnie Wisdom a few times in my life. Oh, bother. (The last stanza of the song also evokes strong Calvin and Hobbes images, another cartoon that I consider required reading.)
Sting – Tomorrow We’ll See
“They say the first is the hardest trick,
After that it’s just a matter of logic;
They have the money I have the time,
Being pretty’s my only crime.”
When I first got the Brand New Day CD back in 1999, I was enthralled by “Desert Rose” and its Cheb Mami-fuelled hook. After listening to that several times, I went through the rest of the CD. It was very good, and at the end it was this song that stuck with me. It has the smoky vibe that is reminiscent of “Moon Over Bourbon Street”, the other Sting song the I considered for this list. But musically, “Tomorrow We’ll See” is stronger to me, so it’s here. Sting helpfully explains the story in the intro to the song in the video. What a guy.
Richard Marx – Hazard
“I swear I left her by the river,
I swear I left her safe and sound!
I need to make it to the river
And leave this old Nebraska town.”
It’s a murder mystery! I’m using the official music video, because it aids in the storytelling and actually seems to give the viewer clues if they watch closely. I even remember there being more than one version of the video, and you could try to put together a case from the things you saw. I like many of Richard Marx’s songs, but this one is pretty much unique in his catalogue.
Trisha Yearwood & Don Henley – Walkaway Joe
“She only wanted love didn’t bargain for this,
She can’t help but love him for the way he is.
She’s only seventeen
And there ain’t no reasoning.”
I wanted to use a live (ideally acoustic) version of this song to better showcase Yearwood’s voice, but there is no live version that has Don Henley. Henley is the man and his vocals are important to the song, so we stick with the official video. This is the quintessential “run away with your bad boy boyfriend” story, sung with so much pain and regret.
Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling
“Across the stratosphere
A final message:
“Give my wife my love.”
Then nothing more.”
This song was definitely going to make my list. Peter Schilling’s story of an astronaut lost in space was one of the more unusual hits during the New Wave Era. There have been a gazillion remixes of this track, but the original English version is the one I remember best.