Months Of The Year In Song: February, The Start of Celtic Spring

It is with good grace that I return to this series with another edition. Last time I had complained that such series can end up not being as much fun as was anticipated at the outset. It has come to my attention several times this week however that this is very much a First World problem. Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it occurred to me that if any of the displaced Ukrainians being put up locally in hotels stumbled upon my post, they would not be impressed. They have lost everything. I have just temporarily lost my enthusiasm for something which in the grand scheme of things, is a bit of light-hearted fluff and nonsense. With that it mind let’s get on with it.

The name February apparently comes from the Latin term februum which means purification. The Roman ritual Februa was always held on February the 15th to ‘purify the city’, promoting health and fertility. Hmm…, interesting, NOT. I don’t know about you but I feel these Latin names used for the months of the year have well and truly lost their meaning in today’s world, but they’re too engrained now to be changed or updated. Valentine-uary or Snowdrop-uary anyone? No, that definitely wouldn’t work either, for all sorts of reasons, so we’re stuck with them. A safe and familiar pair of hands I suppose. Let’s look at the songs that reference February.

I’ll start off with a song suggested by two of last month’s visitors. First of all we had C who remembered a song she has never been too keen on, but which fits the remit. Here are her own words:

I can’t think of anything at all, apart from January February by Barbara Dickson which as I’m sure you know is not my cup of tea at all, but for some reason I seem to know it very well – it must have had a lot of radio play at the time.

Rigid Digit also came up with Barbara’s song as a suggestion, ‘a Scottish MOR Folkie Two For The Price Of One’, he said. Sadly I had forgotten about it for the January edition so a lost opportunity, but happy to include it now as I quite like Scottish MOR Folk. She’s had a long career Barbara Dickson and I feel a certain loyalty to her as first of all she’s Scottish, but also she used to work for a good friend’s dad way back in the day before she got her big break. Yes, Barbara used to be a humble civil servant in Rosyth where she grew up. A lot less glamorous than the world of West End Theatre, where she ended up.

January February by Barbara Dickson:

I look at Barbara in that clip and remember a perm I had in 1978 (and in 1979, in 1980…) that looked just like her one. That was a really popular style for girls back then and although it looks very dated now, and a bit poodle-like, it was a great low-maintenance style that just needed to be washed and left to dry naturally. A bit of a fluff up with one of those afro combs and you were good to go. My middle-aged hair needs much more maintenance, so I look back at those days fondly, although I now realise there was an element of cultural appropriation going on. The afro comb became recognised as a way of saying no to oppression, and wearing it in the hair led to a kind of comradeship amongst those whose hair grows up and out, not down. I was definitely not aware of this back in 1978 when I headed along to our local salon.

But this is supposed to be all about February songs so what else was suggested last time. Rick dropped by again:

Not a ton of great February songs but Xmas in February by Lou Reed is a good one, pretty sad tale though it is.

Crikey Rick that really is a sad tale – what a song though. It often occurs to me that had some of the American bloggers who visit this place been born a few years earlier, Vietnam would have beckoned. Not lost on you either I imagine.

Next up we have Ernie Goggins whose blog I have just discovered (apologies for the delay Ernie). Here are his own words:

Only a couple of suggestions for February, both of them as miserable as Rick’s suggestion – Cold Days of February by Edinburgh’s own Incredible String Band and Sad February by The Unthanks.

I had started this series with September songs and they were pretty sad but February seems to be upping the ante. Here are Ernie’s suggestions.

Martin from the New Amusements blog offered up this song by Billy Bragg, The Fourteenth of February. This is the studio version but Martin also added a link to a lovely, simple, live version. What a beautiful love song. Unlike Billy I do remember everything about the first time I met Mr WIAA but just down to the kind of memory I have. He, needless to say, remembers nothing.

Rol decided he couldn’t beat Martin’s suggestion, but offered up February by Dar Williams as an ‘also-ran’. Hope Dar never drops by as not an ‘also-ran’ song at all, although September by now has well and truly been usurped by February in the sadness stakes.

Neil came up with another Two For The Price Of One suggestion – Van Morrison’s March Winds In February. Thanks Neil, a new one for me from Mr Grumpy of Belfast, a Mr Grumpy who delivers sublime songs.

Nearly at the end of the suggestions now but Rigid Digit did come up with a second one. Here are his own words:

From the Foo Fighters The Colour & The Shape – is it the best Foos album? – comes February Stars. Actually, writing out that album title, I’ve just noticed – The Foo Fighters spell “Colour” properly, not the US English version sans U.

Yes Neil and Rick, funny that an American band used the British English spelling as opposed to the American English version, or as RD calls it, the proper version! Here is their February song.

Finally, we have Khayem’s pick for February:

My February suggestion is a lovely little instrumental ditty by Australian musical collective Architecture In Helsinki. One Heavy February is the opening song of their debut album (Fingers Crossed) from 2003, just under a minute long but with a fun video. 

He goes on to say:

I own a different version from 2008 on the Like It Or Not EP. No video for this one (though an image pops up around 0:38) but it’s a veritable extended club banger, with a handy run through of the calendar towards the end, all done in under three minutes. That’ll blow the cobwebs away! 

It certainly will Khayem, so thanks for suggesting that Australian collective with a Scandinavian capital in their name. Having just looked it up they apparently got their name after cutting up a newspaper and re-arranging the words. Was it a Finnish newspaper I wonder.

So, that brings our February edition to a close. All new songs for me apart from the Barbara one but regulars to this place would probably have expected that. A lot of sad songs amongst them, but personally I’ve quite enjoyed February this year. In the Celtic calendar, Spring starts on the 1st of February (Imbolc, written about here), and the lighter nights and flowers in my garden would attest to that.


Imbolc was one of the cornerstones of the Celtic calendar, as the success of the new farming season was of great importance. Winter stores of food were getting low and rituals were performed to ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest six months later. This year, it seems that however many rituals are performed, supermarkets are still going to be low on supplies of certain fruits and vegetables. All to do with climate change and politics though. Compared with what the people of Ukraine have been through over the last year I think we can forego our raspberries and cucumbers this month without too much complaint.

Next month is definitely a Spring month (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) and it also means we are now half way through this series. If you have any March songs you would like to see included, please add them to the comments boxes. I couldn’t do this one without you.

Until next time…

Xmas In February Lyrics
(Song by Lou Reed)

Xmas in February
Sam was lyin’ in the jungle
Agent orange spread against the sky like marmalade
Hendrix played on some foreign jukebox
They were praying to be saved
Those gooks were fierce and fearless
That’s the price you pay when you invade
Xmas in February

Sam lost his arm in some border town
His fingers are mixed with someone’s crop
If he didn’t have that opium to smoke
The pain would never ever stop
Half his friends are stuffed into black body bags
With their names printed at the top
Xmas in February

Sammy was a short order cook
In a short order black and blue collar town
Everybody worked the steel mill
But the steel mill got closed down
He thought if he joined the army
He’d have a future that was sound
Like no xmas in February

Sam’s staring at the vietnam wall
It’s been a while now that he’s home
His wife and kid have left, he’s unemployed
He’s a reminder of the war that wasn’t won
He’s the guy on the street with the sign that reads
“Please help send this vet home”
But he is home
And there’s no xmas in February
No matter how much he saves

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. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

21 thoughts on “Months Of The Year In Song: February, The Start of Celtic Spring”

    1. I do have Melancholy March on standby along with all the other Julie London months of the year songs (courtesy of Charity Chic who ran a 1st of the Month series once) and as she hasn’t appeared in this series for a while, time for another appearance. She was one of the last glamorous and sultry singers of that era but what a voice.

      I would never have known about Dory Langdon and only remember Andre Previn to have been married to Mia Farrow. Having just looked him up he had 5 wives, 10 children, AND lived to the age of 89. Not sure how he fitted in his professional career too but he certainly did.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Despite having pondered it since you posted this, I’m very late with my submissions which are as follows: “Marching On” by The Alarm, and two versions of the same song (“The Marching Song Of The Covert Battalions”) by Billy Bragg: firstly, the original which is on The Internationale EP, but secondly (and for my money, a much better) live version from a gig at the Mountain Stage where he was supporting R.E.M. which was broadcast both here and in the US. After his set, the US radio announcer had to state that Billy’s views did not reflect those of the US station it was broadcast on; when R.E.M. took the stage bassist Mike Mills said “The views of Billy Bragg very much reflect the views of R.E.M.”. Broadcast over here on Radio 1, I’ve posted it over at my place at least once or twice, it’s a brilliant example of a) how Billy connects with his audience and b) how he changes the words to suit current times. (Let me know if you need links to any of these!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries, as although I had moaned a bit about this series last time (after which you quite rightly pointed out that such issues for bloggers are definitely classed a First World problem) I did fit the February issue in before the end of the month. The March edition won’t be written for some time yet so still hoping for lots of suggestions.

      Thanks for these two suggestions and yes as I don’t have either so if you could perhaps provide a link to Billy’s song that would be great. Marching songs – hadn’t thought of that twist on this theme but why not. I like your story of how REM countered the US radio announcer with their support of Billy’s song/views. Yes, Billy seems to be good at adapting the words of his songs to fit the times. A National Treasure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great post, Alyson, together with some tunes I’ve never heard before which always adds to the fun. I’ve a lot of love for Lou Reed’s New York album, it felt like a real ‘comeback’ album when it was first released in 1989 and it’s one I keep coming back to.

    Like everyone else, I seem to have plenty of melancholy and quite a few marching songs but strangely enough, several very date-specific tunes too!

    First suggestion and in keeping with the Latin theme is the Ides Of March by John Cale & Terry Riley from 1971. It’s very long but probably the jauntiest offering from me this month!

    Slightly before then is March 9th, a B-side from My Life Story, who ploughed a similar furrow to The Divine Comedy but with less (commercial) success.

    There’s also a song titled March 19th by The Moody Boys aka Tony Thorpe but I couldn’t find a YouTube link.

    And there would be cries of dismay from the blogosphere (well, Swiss Adam at Bagging Area at least) if I didn’t include March Violets by Andrew Weatherall, sadly released shortly after his passing in 2020.

    There’s also a great song called March by Cardiacs but it only mentions the word once and seems more interested in Pandora’s Box. The lyrics are so typically far out there that I suspect it has nothing whatsoever with the third month of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again Khayem for all these great suggestions (of course it meant you didn’t get through the filter first time out but approved it manually). Very date specific indeed as you say.

      Glad you say you enjoy hearing the songs that are new to you. I can assure you, most of them are new to me too but I can stay too safe around here so good to mix it up a bit every now and again. I was blown away by Lou Reed’s song but that happens with most Vietnam songs for me.


  3. Love your perm memories! I wonder if that look will ever come back? Mr SDS and I were only talking the other day about how popular hairstyles of a certain time can later become ridiculed, we were thinking men’s styles more than women’s really, such as curtains and mullets, and reckon the fade, so commonplace at the moment – especially the really extreme one where back and sides are shaved completely – is going to be one that people are going to look back on in a few years and think “ugh”! (That’s what I think now, but what do I know?!)
    More February songs than I realised here and an interesting selection but I am completely stumped for March. I could only think of the bands the Ides of March and the March Violets, but I see Khayem is way ahead with two songs with both these names which I was completely unaware of! Excellent stuff.


    1. Ah yes, hairstyles and how they date. Sadly, I liked my hair much more when it was permed as so easy to manage and it made it look thicker. A big no-no now however, both because of he damage it does and because it looks a bit dated. After the perms I had a girl mullet which again, because my hair is quite thin at the top and sides but thick at the back worked well. I feel as if I’ve run out of options and however hard I try and grow out my current style, my hairdresser always seems to veer me back to it. Hair, argh…

      I didn’t even research February songs as I had so many suggestions already before I started. For March we’re going to have to go off tangent I think like with Jez’s marching songs and bands with March in the title. Thing the story of where the name comes from is a bit more interesting though.


  4. Excellent selection this month, Alyson. Thanks.

    Unusually for me I have something chirpy to offer this month – Rosa Passos with ‘Águas de Março’, which as George will tell you means ‘Waters of March’ in Portuguese:

    Slightly less chirpy but nowhere near as miserable as last month’s offerings I can also suggest ‘March Rain’ by Michael Chapman, from his excellent album ‘Fully Qualified Survivor’

    Finally, are you open to admitting bands with March in the name as well as songs? If you are then you might want to check out ‘Vehicle’ by The Ides of March. It was a big smasheroonie in the US in 1970, the same year as ‘Fully Qualified Survivor’ came out.

    On the hair front, I never had a perm myself but have vivid memories of the footballer perm craze of the mid/late 1970s.


    1. I totally rely on the suggestions from others for this series so thanks again for coming along with a few March ones, as not much out there it seems. Think we can include bands with March in their name too to mix it up a bit.

      Yes, just about every footballer had a perm in the late 70s/early 80s. Kevin Keegan had the most famous one but he was certainly not alone. ‘‘Twas the times.


  5. Sorry, Alyson – it’s taken me a week to sort through all the marching songs et al. that others have mentioned above. And yes, there are very few noteworthy tunes that mention the month of my birth. So I’m going to cheat and pick a band named after part of the month, specifically the 15th, the date by which Romans had to pay their taxes… and the day Caesar died, to boot. (I see the K and C, prior to forming their Sunshine Band, have both referred to this time / band… but I’m not going to let thar stop me.)

    The Ides of March – Vehicle

    Don’t accept lifts from strange men though, ladies.


    1. Thanks for the contribution – it’s going to be a bit of a different month this one anyway what with there being so few songs with the month of March in the title. I’m hoping the etymology behind the month’s name starts to get a bit more interesting from now on but I may be disappointed.


  6. March songs seem harder to come by than other months, but I do have on to offer.
    Journey – Winds Of March
    (quite like a bit of Journey in small doses, and Neal Schon is a pretty decent guitarist)

    Other than that …
    Iron Maiden – Ides Of March
    Helloween – Time Marches On
    (not about the month, but they have “March” in the title)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi RD – yes, it seems to be the consensus that March songs are few and far between yet you have come up with a few suggestions. I’ve just watched a clip of the Journey song on YouTube – not what I expected and I also realised that I didn’t know until now what they looked like. It will be included next month.


  7. It took me until March to get around to responding, but great Feb. post! “Cold February” by ISB I’ve known since I was a teenager as I would check that album out of my local library. I had forgotten about that Lou Reed track, that was my second favorite. I can’t think of any March songs, however.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always seem to be just managing to fit the latest edition of this series in right at the end of the month, so we’re usually into the next month until people drop by. I think I’m going to have to do better.

      To be honest until I started this blog I didn’t know anything about the ISB which is pretty awful as they are Scottish like me. I’m thinking they did well over with you in Boston then in the 60s/70s. That was a great service the library used to provide – a lot of illegal taping was done by me working my through their sizeable catalogue!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now that we’re a week into March, and I had time to listen to the songs included here (other than the ones I already knew (Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Foo Fighters and Billy Bragg), I can finally chime in. I’m glad you seemed to have a good February and things are starting to bloom for you. That has to put a smile on your face. Weather-wise it’s been pretty wonderful here in North Carolina. Late-winter & early-spring are unpredictable and can vary widely from year to year (sometimes day to day), but mostly mild & even warm temperatures have made life feel wonderful lately.

    The Barbara Dickson song was new to me, and reminds me a bit of artists like Sheena Easton, Bonnie Tyler and Laura Branigan. Not in my musical wheelhouse but glad I got to hear it. I’ve been curious about The Unthanks for years but haven’t checked them out. I’m wondering if all their music is like this particular song. If so, I might need to be in a somber mood to listen to one of their albums. I’m glad you closed things out with a peppy song from Architecture In Helsinki after so much bleak midwinter music.

    I can’t think of any March songs, but the band Ides Of March springs to mind with their horn-driven classic “Vehicle.” March also makes me think of this funny gag from an early Simpsons episode where they mention the misprinted calendars and the invention of “Smarch.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thanks for dropping by this series Rich. I had been wondering if I could keep going with it but people have been good at coming up with suggestions for songs to include so think I’ll stick with it.

      I spoke too soon! Things were definitely starting to get a bit Springlike around here but as of yesterday the snow has returned and it is bitterly cold. As you know I was having my weekend away (Kiss of the Gypsy say hello by the way & thank you for your 0.0001p contribution!) but not nice driving home yesterday.

      Glad to hear you discovered some new bands/artists in this post. Didn’t think Barbara would be your thing but she went on to star in many West End shows and acted in critically acclaimed television dramas, so many strings to her bow.

      Thanks for the song suggestion – same one as Rol actually so it will definitely be included next/this month.

      You have some memory to think of that Simpsons clip but very apt for this month of Smarch. Good one.


  9. I’ve never had a perm, but one evening in 1973 or 1974, when I was a long-haired 13 year-old Bolan obsessive, I persuaded my Mum to put my hair in curlers so that I could briefly ape Marc’s corkscrews. Amazingly there is no photographic evidence of the event in the family archive – I wish there was. I’d love to be able to remind myself how it looked. I can’t believe that Dad didn’t think to pick up the camera – too busy laughing perhaps!

    Here’s a very short offering for next month’s challenge. I’ve written about local favourites Christina Alden & Alex Patterson several times over at my place. They are absolutely lovely and if they tip up in your neck of the woods anytime, I can guarantee a splendid evening’s entertainment. ‘March’ is a brief instrumental interlude from their terrific 2021 ‘Hunter’ album.

    (The tune doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, but you should be able to embed it from their Bandcamp page )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really funny TS. From the pictures we’ve seen of you from your childhood you definitely didn’t have a head of curls, so to look like Marc those rollers would definitely have been needed! Nowadays there would always be photos, and they would go straight onto social media probably, but back then photos were much more rationed (and if you were indoors a non-starter unless you had a new batch of magicubes). Bet you’re glad your mates didn’t drop by at that time although if you were all fans of T.Rex they might have been jealous!

      Thanks for the March offering – new to me of course but that’s what’s been good about this series, I get to discover new stuff. I shall try to do the necessary ’embedding’.


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