My 100th Post, Linda Ronstadt and Different Drum

Well, didn’t think I’d reach this landmark so soon but after only 10 months of blogging I’ve made it to 100 posts – Averages out at…, well you can do the maths, but probably why I’ve not had much time for other hobbies this year (or seen as much of my friends, or got that promotion, or kept on top of the garden) but hey, I think I’m about to get one of those virtual blue “congratulations” badges from the WordPress people, so all worthwhile!

So, why did I start blogging? For all sorts of reasons probably but I realised that something had to be done last year on New Year’s Eve, when holed up in bed with a nasty cold. Due to miss the Hogmanay celebrations we are so fond of here in Scotland, and with not much to do except feel sorry for myself, I picked up my iPhone to do a bit of stalking, I mean Facebooking. Anyone who uses Facebook will know that there is a little box at the top with the prompt, “Whats on your mind?” – I took them literally. A thousand words later I was done (but not recommended as if you’ve ever done a 1000 word post on your iPhone you’ll know that after 500 words it starts to really slow down, only letting you key in one letter every 5 seconds). Most of my friends either ignored it or put it down to the delirium caused by my malady but one kind soul did submit the comment, “I see you’ve been busy sharing your thoughts. All the best for 2016”. Hmm… what would be the best for 2016 I wondered – Not sharing my thoughts on Facebook that’s for sure!

And so I discovered WordPress – Ideal, I could write away to my heart’s content without bothering any of my friends. A couple of decades ago I would have probably gone down the Carrie Bradshaw route (a bit of an idol of mine despite her expensive taste in shoes) but I no longer live in a city and I don’t think any of my middle-aged friends would appreciate having their sex lives strewn across the world wide web. No, it had to be something else and for some time I had thought it would be a good idea to write about those memories conjured up by a song or piece of music. After a few false starts and changes in format, WIAA? came about, and it has been quite a journey (as they say on those televised, reality-cum-singing shows).

First of all I had expected at least a few of my friends and family to read what I was posting but it turns out they don’t, so that is quite liberating and allows me to regale all sorts of tales from the past without fear of redress. Secondly, I hadn’t expected to make “blogging buddies” which I kind of think I have. Thanks to everyone who has left comments over the months, especially the hard-core music bloggers (their sites on my sidebar) as I know the song choices here at WIAA? are not always to their taste, but I’ve had to stay true to my remit of writing about what is relevant to me at the time, and if it happens to be the worst song in the history of mankind, then sobeit. (Hopefully not gone there yet but when National Treasure Sir Terry Wogan passed away I did include The Floral Dance although no-one would begrudge me that one I’m sure).

An unexpected bonus of writing about songs is that you have to do a fair bit of research beforehand and it has been a joy finding out so much more about the artists and songs than would ever have been possible first time around – It has been an education indeed, especially as I was always more of a “geek” about music, recording chart rundowns, alphabetising record collections and memorising books of hit singles.

What on earth to include in this historic post then? As it turns out that’s an easy call. Over the months it has become apparent that the year I keep coming back to is 1967 which is very bizarre because I was just a little kid then. I have put it down to the fact that songs from back then have not yet become over-familiar; no unpleasant memories are attached; spiritually I think I would have been a flower-child; the radio stations I listen to often play songs from that year and finally the sub-genre (I had no idea there were so many) I find myself warming to most of all, is orchestral/baroque pop.

A few months ago, over at A History of Dubious Taste, Jez featured the song Different Drum by Linda Ronstadt as part of his “Sunday Morning Coming Down” series. (To be fair the song is actually attributed to The Stone Poneys but she was the voice of the aforementioned Poneys.) I was smitten, and immediately had to make a purchase which wasn’t easy as it was one of those “buy the whole album or nothing” deals. It was of course from 1967, and was of the baroque pop/rock persuasion.

Different Drum by The Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt:

The song was actually written back in 1965 by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees, before he joined the band, and is penned very much from a male perspective but was tweaked a little for a female songstress. The song tells of a pair of young lovers, one of whom wants to settle down, while the other wants to retain a sense of freedom and independence. The narrator wants to remain free, telling the other that they’ll “both live a lot longer” if they part ways now. I can see a pattern forming here as the 1964 song We’ll Sing In The Sunshine by Gale Garnett (featured last time) told a similar tale but I’ll put it all down to “the times” as not something I could ever have done myself, being an all or nothing kind of girl.

Before discovering this song, my only memories of Linda Ronstadt were from the late ’70s and of her big hit Blue Bayou. She was cute as a button back in 1967 and even in 1977 she was the girl we all wanted to look like. I have written recently about how this was a really confusing time for young people in Britain – Out of the big cities, we still dressed like Amercian kids in wide flared jeans and oufits like the ones Linda Ronstadt wore (I had hair like this in 1977 although my mum made me take the flower out for school), but our boyfriends had adopted the clothes of their punk-rock idols. A right bunch of odd couples we must have looked – The song my new boyfriend (he’s been mentioned before and his ears will be burning wherever he is) and I adopted as “our song” in 1977, was indeed Blue Bayou. What I hadn’t realised then was that Linda had previously been with The Stone Poneys and unbelievably, once she set out on a solo career, her original backing band was The Eagles.

heart-like-a-wheel-outtake_0_1
Lnd Ronstadt circa 1977

In all, Linda produced more than 30 Studio Albums and has won 11 Grammy Awards. It is with great sadness that I have now discovered she has Parkinson’s disease, and “can no longer sing a note”. This nostalgic revisitation of the “tracks of my years” can be somewhat harrowing at times – Where have the years gone?

The orchestral pop genre that emerged in the late ’60s and which I seem to be so fond of, incorporated symphonic strings and horns played by groups of properly arranged studio musicians. Many pop arrangers and producers worked orchestral pop into their artists’ releases, including George Martin with the Beatles, and John Barry for his scores to the James Bond films. Burt Bacharach (who has featured here a lot) and the Beach BoysBrian Wilson were also seen as “gods” of orchestral pop.

As for baroque pop/rock, by early 1966, various groups had began using baroque and classical instrumentation. The Zombies‘ single She’s Not There marked the starting point and would inspire New York musician Michael Brown to form the Left Banke, whose song Walk Away Renée was possibly the first baroque pop single. Other examples include Spanky and Our Gang‘s Sunday Will Never Be the Same, and of course The Stone PoneysDifferent Drum, all of which used harpsichord and strings.

An extremely long post this so thanks for bearing with me if indeed you have. I wasn’t sure if I would keep going after 100 posts, as blogging does tend to impinge of the rest of your life, but I’ve enjoyed it all so much I think I will, until it no longer works for me.

Again thanks to those followers who have jumped in with comments – Chris, Marie, CC, Jez, Rol, C, The Swede, Rick, Lynchie, Ovidiu and anyone else I might have missed. It is much appreciated and I have in turn learnt so much from your blogs. Thanks also for allowing me to be part of The Chain Gang, despite my lame choices, and finally thanks to Denise Marsa for finding my post about her Lucky Stars duet with Dean Friedman and whom I cannot believe that I have as a follower.

Last but not least there is of course Mr WIAA to consider, who has had to spend long evenings watching television on his own this year whilst I have been beavering away on the computer. Couldn’t have done it without him though and despite the odd raised eyebrow when I am yet again caught blogging when supposed to be doing something else more worthy, on the whole he has been my biggest supporter. Not so much travelling to the beat of a different drum this year therefore, more a case of the same drum being in different rooms of the house. Post a hundred and one, here I come….

Different Drum Lyrics
(Song by Mike Nesmith)

You and I travel to the beat of a diff’rent drum.
Oh, can’t you tell by the way I run
Ev’ry time you make eyes at me. Wo oh.
You cry and you moan and say it will work out.
But honey child I’ve got my doubts.
You can’t see the forest for the trees.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m knockin’.
It’s just that I’m not in the market
For a boy who wants to love only me.
Yes, and I ain’t sayin’ you ain’t pretty.
All I’m sayin’s I’m not ready for any person,
Place or thing to try and pull the reins in on me.
So Goodbye, I’ll be leavin’.
I see no sense in the cryin’ and grievin’.
We’ll both live a lot longer if you live without me.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m knockin’.
It’s just that I’m not in the market
For a boy who wants to love only me.
Yes, and I ain’t sayin’ you ain’t pretty.
All I’m sayin’s I’m not ready for any person,
Place or thing to try and pull the reins in on me.
So Goodbye, I’ll be leavin’.
I see no sense in the cryin’ and grievin’.
We’ll both live a lot longer if you live without me.

Postscript:

And just in case the 1977 boyfriend ever stumbles upon this (unlikely), here is something for old time’s sake. Good times that were “of their time”.

Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstadt:

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

24 thoughts on “My 100th Post, Linda Ronstadt and Different Drum”

      1. The answer will almost always be “Yes”, with the exception of one of the suggestions for next week’s edition (which admittedly has been submitted under the Worst Record of the Week heading)

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  1. Congratulations on your 100th post Alyson. I only discovered your blog relatively recently, but I’m trying to dip into your back pages every now and then to catch up on what I might have missed. I enjoy (and envy!) your naturally flowing style of writing, which makes it a real pleasure to read about your connections to particular pieces of music that I might otherwise overlook. Today’s post is a case in point. Here’s to the next 100 – long may you run!
    (PS. Have you heard The Lemonheads version of ‘Different Drum’?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much – Really chuffed with myself for having managed to do it as my posts tend to be on the longish side! I envy how you and the rest of the Chain Gang seem to have kept up with all the new stuff as I’m afraid I’ve just not been able to, but have really enjoyed revisiting some of the songs of my youth (and retelling the stories).
      Just listened to the Lemonheads version but it’s Linda for me all the way I’m afraid (although a song that really should be sung from a male perspective probably).

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    1. Yes, it was a landmark number I wanted to reach so let’s see if I can keep going. I think you’ve managed to post every day this year though so you are definitely on a roll.

      I may abstain from deciding which version of a Bob song is best this week however as I feel I am skewing your stats by always going for the non-Bob – sorry!

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  2. Congratulations, Alyson! I second The Swede’s praise for your writing style and, of course, I’m rather partial to your ’60s musical selections. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and just had to smile when I read about your husband watching TV on his lonesome. All the best, and looking forward to the next 100.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie. You’ve been great at leaving comments on my posts which is much appreciated. As for Mr WIAA,A? no need to feel too sorry for him as it’s given him a chance to watch all those action movies I’m not really partial to and he’s been spared my “chick flicks”!

      As for the next 100 it might take a bit longer than 10 months next time but who knows?

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  3. Congratulations on 100 posts! 10 a month is quite something, I applaud you! See, I can do the maths 😉
    I have some catching up to do on your back pages as we only connected very recently too…. but already looking forward to the next hundred anyway. As said by others above, your writing style is so lovely and easy to get into. I always enjoy reading that extra bit of personal background, story or experience in a blog post, maybe that’s a female thing, I don’t know – and much as I love our wonderful male blogging pals and their posts it’s really good to relate to another female’s perspective too as there don’t seem to be as many of us writing about music.
    Linda Ronstadt was never on my radar – punk being my entry point into ‘grown-up’ music! – so I actually heard the Lemonheads’ version of Different Drum first, in fact I confess I didn’t even know the song’s provenance until now!

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    1. Thanks very much C – I’m going to have to be careful not to get big-headed with all this praise but I didn’t realise when I started that I would end up being part of a little community – It has been lovely. What has been great also is that even if my song choices are not to everyone’s taste they take the time to read the post and hopefully find something of interest in there. To be honest I didn’t think I would end up revisiting so much music from the ’60s myself, I always thought it would be the ’70s/’80s stuff that would draw me back, but just how it’s turned out – I do have a list of drafts on the go however so there will be a few more songs that might be more your cup of tea coming up soon!

      Yes realising that there aren’t so many females who write about music so it’s been good to touch base with you also – Am going to delve back into your archives also (sounds painful but won’t be) as I’m really learning a lot about music that may have passed me by when I was just so busy memorising my books of hit singles and recording the Top 40!

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  4. Congratulations. Very nice post # 100. One thought though, – I think many would label Sunday Will Never be the Same ‘sunshine pop’ rather than ‘baroque pop’. I certainly would do so even though I know the genre definitions are not set in stone. It just seems to cheery and sunkissed for it to be recognised as baroque pop. I really cherish both genres. Check out Sandy Salisbury’s ‘All I Really Have is a Memory’ on youtube. Probably my favorite baroque pop song of all time… Here’s to the next 100 posts! 🙂

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    1. Thanks very much – As for Sunday Will Never be the Same I am happy to defer to someone with a greater knowledge of all these sub-genres than I. It really has been quite an education over the last year discovering how music has evolved over the last 50 – 60 years and how all these sub-genres have come about (Cue Castanets! a great site by the way). Grey areas with some of them and maybe this is a case in point. Discovered the term “sunshine pop” when I wrote about California Dreamin’ which I found amusing in a way, the lyrics being about someone holed up in New York on a cold winter’s day!

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  5. Congrats on the 100th post, just got there myself a few months ago but it took me a lot longer. Funny you should have posts about “Different Drum” and “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” back-to-back. Two of my faves from my earliest radio listening days! (Also loved “End of the World” by Skeeter Davis, a real four-hankie ballad).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much – Yes I remember your 100th post. Easier for me though as I really just write about my memories of the songs with a bit of back story thrown in. Doing it just for fun really and it certainly has been. Glad you liked my last two choices and as for Skeeter Davis’ song, it has graced these pages in the past and not just a four-hankie one, more like a whole box.

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  6. Like many, I came to Different Drum via the Lemonheads and then Nesmith, but I do like Linda’s version. There’s a part of me always gets the title confused with Distant Drums by Jim Reeves who was the most requested artist during my days on hospital radio.

    Oh, and happy 100th. As I’m sure no one else will, here’s a telegram from the Queen with an appropriate message…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – and a telegram from the Queen no less – excellent choice by what seems to be the blogging band of the moment.

      Funnily enough when trying to buy the Linda Ronstadt track online I too kept confusing it with Distant Drums – a favourite of my parents when I was growing up and I must admit that although Jim Reeves is not really my thing, he does have the most mellifluous voice.

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  7. I’ve just been bouncing around today, one blog leads to another. When I read about her having Parkinson’s, it’s hard to lose the ability to sing. I, too, was a singer and lost my voice although I want famous. I was working, though, and thought some time off would help but it didn’t. I’m also a keyboardist but my ego was such that I didn’t want to be someone’s sideman. I’m much older now. In my 60’s and finally recording and writing music these past years. I write music to accompany your dreams. I have two blogs and you’ll find many pieces scattered through out or you can find it all at http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick.

    Something else, you mentioned family never reading what you write. I found the same thing but your family may be reading and just not saying anything. You have to write for yourself and what you get out of it. Good luck. I’ve met some great people here at word press.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment – I will investigate your blogs and music. Glad that unlike Linda you found your voice again.

      As for family and friends reading my blog, I don’t think I would mind if they did stumble upon something as nothing hopefully there to cause any upset, it’s just that I prefer this place to be my private little world so not really told many people about it at all! My little mum however is a fan but she knows nothing about the internet or how to get online, it’s just that we read the posts together on my device when I go to visit so been a nice little bonus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You and my mom are a like. I think she is afraid of it. No matter how often I tell her how to find things it is brand new each time. So it’s better if I pull up something I think she’ll like. Then she doesn’t change upon things she won’t understand. Thanks much for your response!

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