A Song for Sunrise – The Eagles

A Song for Sunrise – The Eagles. It’s the weekend. The all-night partygoers are on the beach watching the night out and the day begin. The evidence of the party chill is right there in the form of a phalanx of empty Corona bottles. The sun is beginning to burn a hole in the blue. Conversation fades and it’s just time to let those sloe colors do their magic. And if the luck is still on your side it’ll be a dash...

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Songs For New Orleans : Katrina

New Orleans is my essence, my soul, my muse, and I can only dream that one day she will recapture her glory – Harry Connick Jr.   All the songs - Spotify playlist A catastrophe like Katrina changes everything. The harsh and painful realities are so hard to bear. The experience losing your home and possessions, of enforced exile, of desperate choices forced on families, on entire communities can be a massive challenge to...

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Song for Sunrise: Ed Harcourt

‘Watching The Sun Come Up’ A daily routine of mine is a beach walk in the early hours. I usually make it to the shore before sunrise and I witness the day begin over the great Atlantic Ocean from a South Florida shore. My twilight journey to the shore is a song long – in that there’s usually time for a piece of music to play through before I walk out onto the sands to forget myself. There are lots of songs that...

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Songs for Sunrise: Nina Simone

“Feelin’ Good’ Sometimes I see it in the eyes of people as I walk the dawn shores. They are here at the beach for a purpose. For change. In their eye the sunrise marks an important moment of inspiration. The time for change is now. A sunrise can be a catalyst for action – witnessing the dawn with a new, steely eye, a clarity of purpose and understanding can be a life-changing thing. In these moments the sunrise...

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Songs For Cities : Dublin

Jackeens, Dubs and Liffysiders. Songs for the city of Dublin by Andy Royston  I first arrived in Dublin late in the year, November. I remember it was chucking down, and the place I stayed was on the northside, a block from the river, right up beyond the old Jameson Distillery. The whole place is all gentrified now, and posh trams run right through the place, but back then the area was all run down and deserted, and after dark the...

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A Song for Sunrise : Bob Marley

Picking a sunshine song from the great Robert Nesta Marley isn’t too difficult; most of his music has the glow of the dawn about it. I always turn to the glorious sun-baked Sun Is Shining to throw some light on the day. It dates from my favorite Wailers era – that period in the early 1970s, when, for want of musical direction (a cover of The Archies’ ‘Sugar Sugar’ and the similarly saccharine Dance Do The...

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Florida Songs: Margaritaville

And before you ask, it IS a song. Sure, now you can mosey into your big-resort Margaritaville restaurant and order your “Who’s to Blame” cocktail with your Cheeseburger In Paradise, and wash it down with Landshark Lager before heading into the casino for your Mississippi Stud or Texas Hold’em. Faux air-conditioned beaches, fake palm trees, old-time photos on the wall and Hawaiian shirts on backs of the...

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Songs For Swinging London

Andy Royston takes a look at swinging London and picks out the songs (and videos) that defined the era. ” Suddenly life broke out in warm colors again, so young and beautiful that a lot of people couldn’t stand to look at it. For the first time ever, kids were teenagers. They had loot, however come by, and loot’s for spending. And where there’s loot, trouble follows.” – Absolute Beginners Colin...

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Songs For London – Music Hall to Rock n Roll

Andy Royston puts on his titfer and whistle and wraps his britneys around some ding dongs. I should cocoa… Music hall songs are London’s folk songs. This is easy music, delivered in language as familiar to the elderly as to the child in the streets. Themes are interwoven with songs learned in the playground and the Sunday Schools, and delivered in the voices of the street barker and the barrow boy. They’ve borrowed...

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Under The Covers – Hallelujah

Andy Royston looks at how a quiet and modest song became one of the most performed rock songs in history. Hallelujah is a Hebrew word, which means ‘glory to the Lord’. The song explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist. I say all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal or religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion. Leonard Cohen...

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Songs For New York – 21st Century

Andy Royston concludes his three part Songs for New York with a look at Millennial recordings featuring this great city. You can read part one here, and part two here. New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village – the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying this way is up. EB White Here Is New York, 1949 Now you’re in New York, these streets will feel brand new, the lights...

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Songs about New York : The Streets

Andy Royston continues his New York music odyssey – and takes it to the streets. Read Part One here. I regret profoundly that I was not an American and not born in Greenwich Village. It might be dying, and there might be a lot of dirt in the air you breathe, but this is where it’s happening. John Lennon People are working every minute. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep. Andy Warhol Songs For New York –...

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Songs about New York : From Broadway to Harlem

Andy Royston writes about the songs that made New York. Part One : From Broadway to Harlem To say that New York came up to its advance billing would be the baldest of understatements. Being there was like being in heaven without going to all the bother and expense of dying. – P.G. Wodehouse New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten the children, its traffic is madness,...

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Songs for Cities – New Orleans

“New Orleans is the only place I know of where you ask a little kid what he wants to be and instead of saying, I want to be a policeman, or I want to be a fireman, he says, I want to be a musician.” – Alan Jaffe, Jazz Musician and Founder of Preservation Hall Where do you begin with New Orleans music? We all know that jazz music began in this city, and that it profoundly influenced American music thoughout the 20th century....

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Songs For Yorkshire

Yorkshire is, for those that don’t know, God’s own County, the largest in England. Visitors have to a bit tougher than the average. Yorkshire is a big, strapping rough-hewn diamond that even those born here are slightly in awe of. Here’s the tourism vid for the uninitiated. If you come to catch fish, be prepared to stand waist high in a picturesque, unforgiving river. If you want to write your poem expect to stand...

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Songs from the Heart : Landslide

A highlight of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks shows has always been Landslide, which is a song that seems to get stronger with age. In later live performances its clear that the song is almost a cathartic singalong, with Stevie; once the great Californian sex symbol, now fairy godmother to the classic rock generation, rising to the occasion. Her audience comes dressed in homage – top hats, shawls, feathers, long long hair and...

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Songs about Cities – Moscow

Before I start I would like to apologise in advance to my Russian friends who might be expecting Muslim Magomayev’s Greatest City on Earth, or a blast of Moya Moskva. And forgive my occasional inclusion of more general Russian songs too. I’m also writing this from a peculiarly British perspective, as most of my impressions of the city filtered through Hollywood movies, Peter and the Wolf the occasional bottle of...

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Songs about Cities – Manchester

I must confess I knew little of Manchester before I arrived there to study in the late 1970s. Thanks to my cricket fanatic father I was a little wary of the place. The red rose of Lancashire were the enemy of any self respecting Yorkshireman and not to be trusted. Yorkshire Vs Lancashire? Think ‘Game of Thrones’ with cricket bats. For them as don’t know, cotton was the making of Manchester. It was imported through...

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Songs about Cities : Chicago (Encore)

When it comes to Chicago music it all boils down to one thing. A cultural moment that overshadows all else. A watershed experience, not just for the city, but everyone else on the planet that witnessed the car crashes, the celebrity cameos, the flamethrower attacks, the shopping mall destructions, and the relentless car chase carnage that was The Blues Brothers. This is the second of two articles about music inspired by the great city...

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Songs about Cities : Chicago

Chicago is where I first set foot in America. I arrived at O’Hare International Airport and entered the city via an airport shuttle. The sun was just breaking through the morning rain and I was dropped right in the center of town, close to the Wrigley Building. I walked around like a chump for days just gawping at the place. It was so fitting that Chicago was my first experience of an American city. I’d been a follower of...

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Songs about Cities – Liverpool

When I was old enough to know about Liverpool it was almost being talked about in the past tense.  Liverpool for three hundred years was a magnificent seaport, the second city of Empire, with a flourishing trade with Virginia and the English colonies in America. It grew even larger during the industrial revolution as most of the English north east’s trade left via Liverpool docks. During the 20th century, especially after World...

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Songs about cities : Miami

Some cities have elegantly created meditative pieces written about them, that are played in ornate halls by string quartets.  Some cities are honored in symphonic jazz arrangements that are premiered by orchestras and conducted by legends. Miami on the other hand has good time party songs performed by dudes with moustaches, wearing wife-beaters, gold chains and sunshades. I looked long and hard for songs that might inspire the mind,...

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Songs About Cities : Paris

Ten Songs For Paris In setting out to compile a favorite list of Paris songs I admit to being totally anglo-centric. There are hundreds of exceptional songs and performances en francais and a few great blogs cover this very well (a great example is this by Paris Attitude)  so I won’t even attempt. Paris seemed to have inspired the jazz generation very much – there are enough Frank Sinatra songs about the city to fill an...

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Song for Sunrise – New York Morning by Elbow

  There’s this wonderful description of a New York morning hidden in an F Scott Fitzgerald short story, May Day, which he published in a long lost magazine. Smart Set. “Dawn had come up in Columbus Circle, magical, breathless dawn, silhouetting the great statue of the immortal Christopher, and mingling in a curious and uncanny manner with the fading yellow electric light inside.” F. SCOTT FITZGERALD The...

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Song For Sunrise – The Sopranos

“Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun…” The opening titles to the most highly rated TV show of the 21st century starts with a rumbling bass-driven trip hop track, and what sounds like a southern fried pick-up trucker drawling the lyrics. A small-time mobster, who we’d later get to know as Tony Soprano, speeds out of the Lincoln tunnel and heads down the New Jersey turnpike into the setting sunshine. The...

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A song for Sunrise – The Cherokee Morning Song

Over looking our Fort Lauderdale beach, his eyes trained on the morning sun, is a single tree totem, the Whispering Giant. He was carved out of a single cyress log by Hungarian-born scuptor Peter Wolf Toth. His aim is always to create a composite of all the physical characteristics of the local tribe or tribes, as well as their stories and histories. There are 74 documented giants around North America, one in each state of the union....

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Masterpieces – Five Songs about Art

There was a bit of a fad for singing songs about film stars and artists back in the early seventies, and once or twice such songs burst onto the radio. As a kid I found this fascinating, even when the songs were a little bit saccharine. There was Elton’s Candle in the Wind, an ode to Marilyn Monroe  long before the late Lady Di got her posthumous hands on it. There was You’re So Vain, Carly Simon’s beautifully...

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A Song for Sunrise – Mary Margaret O’Hara

Mary Margaret O’Hara turned up in London back in 1988 to play a show at one of those old London jewel box theaters. She’d released a remarkable album earlier in the year called Miss America, which had been a fascination of mine from the off. I couldn’t wait to see if she could live up to her extraordinary record. On Mary’s music there’s nothing particularly unusual going on. Accomplished country tinged...

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