Months of the Year in Song: November Nights (with a Nip in the Air)

Well, I had my doubts about this series but with all the great suggestions I got last month this post will practically write itself. As it’s the last day of the month however (also St Andrew’s Day here in Scotland) I’m going to have to be quick or I’ll miss my window of opportunity.

Yet again, as with September and October, the month of November is named after a Latin number, this time nine, or novem, all because the Roman calendar used to have 10 months with a gap for an “unorganised winter”. As we head into next year things will get a bit more interesting, promise.

Another picture by Veli Bariskan, who kindly let me use the banner image above

So far in this series we’ve had Sad September and Orange October. I had hoped there would be an obvious alliterative word to tag on to November, but all I can think of at the moment is Nights. Back in September there was a bit of debate about whether that month was really the tail end of summer rather than the start of autumn. At this point in November, as it’s very cold and dark much of the time, it feels more like winter than autumn. The clocks change back to GMT at the end of October and from then on it starts to get dark at around tea-time (if like me you live in the North of Scotland). If you’re busy at work for much of the day, any social activity will probably be done at night-time, and it will probably be very dark indeed. Great for Bonfire Night on the 5th of November (link here to a previous post) but also for other outdoor extravaganzas where darkness is required. We headed along to Brodie Castle the other week where the castle and grounds were illuminated with all sorts of relevant images and colours. Really pretty indeed and a nice warming hot chocolate to enjoy at the end.

Spot the wee windows on the castle (famous for its daffodils in Spring). We were also blessed with a full moon and a starry, starry night.


But this is supposed to be a music blog, so where are the songs?

Last month the first suggestion came in from Charity Chic, Mr. November by The National, although he did add a warning that it contains ‘sweary words’. If you’re likely to be offended, cover your ears. I was struggling to work out what the song is about, but here is a possible explanation. ‘He was a high school quarterback. November is playoff season for football. He was carried in the arms of cheerleaders. He was a hero. This character has peaked way too early. He’s had his big accomplishment already, so now he sleeps late.’ Makes sense.

The next suggestion came from C of Sun Dried Sparrows, Late November by Pavlov’s Dog. Here are her own words:

‘It comes from around 1975, I think. Sort of uncategorisable. David Surkamp’s vocals are… erm… not easy to describe in a complimentary way, you wouldn’t think they could work, and yet, and yet! – there is something incredibly charming about this – I just can’t put my finger on why. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea and I wouldn’t have thought it could ever be mine. But in this case, it is. Maybe it’s the song as a whole that just gets in there.’

Crikey, I see what you mean about those vocals C, but you are right, it does have a certain je ne sais quoi.

Next up we had a suggestion from Graeme, who remembered that Mike Oldfield had a song called Man in the Rain where the month of November is heavily featured in the chorus. Coming from the Orkney Islands Graeme is probably often a man who finds himself caught in the rain. Let’s have a listen.


Very nice indeed. The vocals on that one were apparently performed by Irish folk singer Cara Dillon.

Rol as ever was not found wanting when it came to suggestions, but one of them also overlapped with a second suggestion from C, so I’ll include it first. Here is what she said about it:

‘Another (different) Late November that comes to mind is the hauntingly beautiful, melancholy song by Sandy Denny. (There are a few versions floating around, some quite stripped back with just piano and vocals but the one I like most has more instrumentation on it.)’

Let’s hope I’ve found the one you were thinking of C.


But back to Rol, here is what he said about this next song, November Rain, the one I would probably have picked myself if thinking of one relating to this month.

‘November begins and ends with Guns n Roses for me. It was my late nephew’s favourite song too, and they played it at his funeral, so much as I enjoy Axl’s histrionics, it always comes with bittersweet memories.’

Hope you don’t mind that I shared your words Rol, and understandable that it would be a tough listen for you nowadays. From the era of the really big budget music video. They don’t make ’em like that any more.

November Rain by Guns N’ Roses:


For the record, Rol’s other suggestions were as follows:

Carter USM – Born On The 5th of November
Tom Waits – November
Harry Chapin – November Rains
Morrissey – November Spawned A Monster
Stornoway – November Song
The Waterboys – November Tale

Quite a range of styles there but an all-male line-up. Maybe we should shoehorn in some Julie London to redress the balance a bit. Here we have her singing November Twilight from her Calendar Girl album (always a good source of material for this series).


Last but definitely not least we have a suggestion from Khayem, who came up with this:

‘I was surprised to find I’ve relatively few ‘November’ songs in my collection. However, I will give a nod to November by Echo & The Bunnymen. The song was a B-side (if it can be classed as such) to their 2009 digital single I Think I Need It Too. I’m not going to pretend that this is anything close to imperial phase E&TB, but I love the opening bassline and musically, it’s far jauntier than I’d expect a song with that title to be.’


To be honest I hadn’t even realised that Echo & The Bunnymen are still active as a band as I don’t think I’ve listened to them since their ‘imperial phase’ as Khayem calls it. A nice reminder of how they used to sound back then, and still do today.

So, that’s your lot for this month, something for everyone I suspect. I’ve been shocked at how quickly winter has come upon us this year and despite all my good intentions about not turning up the thermostat, I have indeed succumbed, so it’s feeling pretty cosy at WIAA Towers with the curtains shut tight of an evening. If you do venture out, as well as fireworks and lightshows, you might have spotted a pretty spectacular crescent moon this week. Some of the planets have also been visible in the night sky.

Next month is December – how the heck did it come round so quickly, but then I say that every year. There will be plenty of song choices for that month I’m sure but feel free to add your tuppence worth to the comments boxes. Always grateful for any of your suggestions.

Until next time…

November Rain Lyrics
(Song by Axl Rose)

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But, darlin’, when I hold you
Don’t you know I feel the same? Yeah

‘Cause nothing lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain

We’ve been through this such a long, long time
Just tryna kill the pain, ooh yeah
But lovers always come and lovers always go
And no one’s really sure who’s lettin’ go today, walkin’ away
If we could take the time to lay it on the line
I could rest my head, just knowin’ that you were mine, all mine

So, if you want to love me
Then, darlin’, don’t refrain
Or I’ll just end up walkin’
In the cold November rain

Do you need some time on your own?
Do you need some time all alone?
Ooh, everybody needs some time on their own
Ooh, don’t you know you need some time all alone?

I know it’s hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn’t time be out to charm you, whoa-whoa

Sometimes, I need some time on my own
Sometimes, I need some time all alone
Ooh, everybody needs some time on their own
Ooh, don’t you know you need some time all alone?

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain, ooh yeah
I know that you can love me
When there’s no one left to blame

So, never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one, you’re not the only one
Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody

Months Of The Year In Song: Sad September

I can’t believe I’ve reached the age I have, without noticing the names given to the last four months of the year come from the Latin words for seven, eight, nine and ten: Septem, Octo, Novem and Decem. It’s so obvious now but of course at first glance it makes no sense as we have 12 months in our calendar and those months find themselves sitting at ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth positions. That would be because the first calendar was a Roman one, and they liked the decimal system of doing things in tens. Their calendar year started in March but of course the summer and winter months would soon become misplaced so additional days belonging to no particular month were added as an “unorganised winter”, allowing things (nature) to restore to their proper place.


In time the Julian and then Gregorian calendars took over which included January and February, and the introduction of an extra day every four years (a leap year) to more closely approximate the 365.2422-day solar year determined by the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. The mathematically astute amongst you will notice that every so often another adjustment has to be made to keep things in line, but the last time that happened was in the year 1900 and the next time it’ll happen will be the year 2100, so not going to be during my lifetime.

But why am I rabbiting on about calendars? Well, I had prewarned you I intended to start a new series featuring songs relating to months of the year and despite this month having not turned out as I had expected here in the UK, what with the passing of our monarch, there is still time to list the great suggestions put forward for September. As I’ve already written about the Earth, Wind & Fire song September as part of my Wheel of the Year in Song series (link here), I’ll concentrate on new finds.

The first song I’m going to include is September Gurls by Big Star, that suggestion put forward by both Charity Chic and C from Sun Dried Sparrows. This is a new song for me, and to be honest, until I saw the band pop up on some of the other more serious music blogs, I had always assumed Big Star were a pop outfit, lumping them in with Big Fun and Five Star! My bad, but thanks guys for drawing my attention to a band from my favourite era who are very much in my wheelhouse. This song often talked about by fans as “the greatest number-one song that never charted”.


The next suggestion comes from Khayem who is a relatively new follower of this blog but his recent comments have been much appreciated. We could probably include this one again in 11 months time because of the title, but here is August & September by The The. Powerful lyrics there from Matt Johnson.


Another relatively new follower to this blog is Lizza, who is the same age as me and seems to have led a bit of a parallel life, enjoying the same songs in similar contexts. She first mentioned these two suggestions last year when I wrote a post about the Autumnal Equinox and Harvest Moon, which happened to coincide that year. Here are her own words:

“I love September Song, J P Cooper’s 2017 tale of teen romance, and also a much earlier September Song, first recorded by Walter Huston in 1938. It was one of my mum’s favourite songs – it was featured in a 1950s film, September Affair, which she saw on one of her first visits to the cinema after she moved to London to begin her career as a teacher … The singer admits that he’s lost a tooth, and is a little lame – but on the plus side: “I have a little money and I have a little fame”. September Song has been recorded by many other artists since Walter Huston, from Frank Sinatra to Jeff Lynne, but I think they all leave out the reference to the lost tooth and the lameness!”

A couple of great September songs there and the first one takes me right back to my teenage years. Both sad songs however as many that mention the month of September invariably are.



To finish off I’m going to share a couple of songs from opposite ends of the spectrum. The first by Green Day and the second by Julie London who made an entire album of songs, each of them featuring a different month of the year. The Green Day song was an ode to the songwriter’s father, who died in the month of September. Julie’s song is a standard and has been recorded by many others, but again a sad song, this time about nostalgia (first shared by CC who liberated the album from one of the many fine charity shops in his locale and created a whole series out of it!).

Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day:

September In The Rain by Julie London:


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I always feel a bit sad when we hit September and it seems I’m not alone as the month does seem to be a bit of a metaphor for the passing of time and the end of things (for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere). Others however, like my daughter, who enjoy wrapping up in their winter woollies and sitting around roaring fires, would beg to differ.

Whatever camp you fall into, there certainly seem to be plenty of songs out there featuring the month of September. Will there be as many about the month of October? Not sure yet, but hopefully some of you will be able to help me out. As ever, suggestions would be most welcome.

Until next time…


September In The Rain Lyrics
(Song by Al Dubin/Harry Warren)

The leaves of brown came tumbling down
Remember, in September, in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying ember
That September in the rain

To every word of love I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it’s still September
That September in the rain

To every word of love I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it is still September
That September in the rain
That September that brought the pain
That September in the rain

The NaNoWriMo Challenge, Julie London and ‘November Twilight’

I’m going to attempt something new around here. For one month only, I’m going to set myself the challenge of becoming… A Daily Blogger. Argh, what am I doing to myself?

I’ve tried 7 posts in 7 days before, and succeeded, although the plan to make them shorter didn’t quite come off, so it was quite a task. This time I’ll be kinder to myself and probably use a few shortcuts. If you are a regular visitor, don’t feel any pressure to populate the comments boxes (although always nice), as this is really just a personal challenge tied in with my college course.

I’ve shared poems around here before from the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenge, but now it’s time for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and we’ve all been encouraged to join in. The idea is to throw down 1650 words per day for the whole of November, and by the end of it all you’ll have a novel. It will probably be rubbish, and just the seed of something to work on in the future, but for many writers it’s a wonderful wordy workout.

Of course I have no illusions about being a writer myself, I’m just an enthusiast who likes using this place as her web-diary, and as somewhere to share the music she has enjoyed over the years. I am never going to write a novel, as that’s just not my thing, but I’m hopeful the ‘essays’ I post around here could be turned into some sort of volume down the line. Something for the grandchildren, if I ever have any. (The way this pandemic is playing out, our single offspring are finding the dating game nigh impossible at the moment, so any future grandchildren might end up being of the virtual variety.)

So, in solidarity with some of my classmates, there will be something new here every day until the end of the month, always including a featured song. Hopefully I will end up with a few gems, but at this stage who knows, it might be an epic fail. I suppose that’s going to be the fun of it.

As today is the first day of November, and as I am a fan of Julie London, here is something liberated from Charity Chic’s blog last year, when he very kindly shared a song at the start of every month from her Calendar Girl album. The song for today is November Twilight.

November Twilight by Julie London:


Looking at the album cover, it does seem to fit the remit well, Julie sporting some very skimpy outfits indeed and not the kind of thing for a dark and dreich November night here in Scotland. Julie was of her time however and always oozed glamour, so in 1956 I imagine this went down well with her fanbase. She has appeared around here a couple of times before (link here) as I’ve always loved her sultry voice, especially when singing her signature song, Cry Me A River.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I’ve ended up being too wordy already and it’s only day one of my challenge, but I will, by necessity I’m sure, have to ease up on the wordcount as the days go by. Thanks again to CC for sharing Julie’s wonderful album last year as we now have a go-to track for the start of every calendar month, should we need it. Looking at the first line of the song, it bears out what’s been happening around here this weekend – What with all the wind, the trees are looking very bare indeed, stripped of all those beautiful autumn colours.

As it looks as if it’s going to be another tough month for the country, I’ll try and make this a fun place to visit for the next 30 days. Always plenty of good music to share (it won’t always be from 1956) and I will avoid mentioning the pesky pandemic as much as possible. By the time Julie is ready to sing Warm In December (that Santa suit doesn’t look very warm at all), things might be a whole lot brighter.

Julie London

Until next time….

November Twilight Lyrics
(Song by Pete King/Paul Francis Webster)

The branches of the trees are bare
The smell of burning leaves is in the air
November twilight steals across my heart

At five o’clock the streets are dark
Across the empty bandstand in the park
November twilight softly falls again

So still that you could hear a voice
If one were calling
So quiet that you could hear a tear
If one were falling

And April’s laughter steals once more
Across the dark pavilion of my heart
And then I miss you most
Miss you with the ache of long lost things
Of sunburnt hours and garden swings
When life was beautiful
And love was young and gay
November twilight must you stay?

“Wives and Lovers”, Mad Men and Julie London

Since giving up work a few weeks ago, my life has taken a serious turn for the better – Suddenly there is enough time for everything I need to do in my life and joy of joys there is also enough time for some things that I don’t really need to do, but am enjoying immensely. One of the frivolous things I don’t really need to do, has been to binge watch one of my favourite television shows, Mad Men, set in the 1960s at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York’s Madison Avenue. Season One begins in March 1960, just before I was born, and it’s almost worth watching it for the clothes alone. Totally impractical but incredibly beautiful.

The show won many awards over the years and has been lauded for its historical accuracy. For fans of music, the song choices for each episode were spot on in terms of evoking the era and how they related to a particular scene or storyline. This song, Fly Me To The Moon by Julie London, featured in the first season of Mad Men. I have always loved her languid voice, especially when singing her signature song Cry Me A River, and Julie’s look and sound were totally appropriate for this glamorous show.

Towards the end of the first season, the upcoming presidential elections feature highly as the agency was to work with Nixon’s team to help him secure that win. They think it’s a foregone conclusion but of course we all now know it turned out very differently back in 1960 and Nixon ended up being pipped at the post by a young Jack Kennedy. Mad Men depicts the American society and culture of the 1960s, highlighting cigarette smoking, drinking, sexism, adultery, homophobia and racism. It kind of reminds us that although we have a nostalgia for the past, we also sometimes have a selective memory.

A song I have in my digital database by Julie London is this one, but not easy to listen to nowadays. Despite the fact I love the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the lyrics to Wives and Lovers are just so at odds with how a 21st century woman would think, or more importantly how a man would expect her to think, that they become quite laughable. However if you watched only the first episode of Mad Men, set in 1960, they suddenly seem frighteningly accurate:

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door.
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore   (?!)

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men.
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again   (?!)

Wives and Lovers by Julie London:

There is a lot of talk in the media at the moment about certain “unsolicited actions” and “inappropriate behaviour” having been carried out by people in power. Our blogging buddy Jez has written a very good piece about it this weekend (link here) which I would thoroughly recommend. As he says, time and time again we hear the defence that the accused is “a dinosaur”, that their behaviour was acceptable “back in the day” – No, it really wasn’t.

Until next time….

Wives and Lovers Lyrics
(Song by Burt Bacharach/Hal David)

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He’s almost here…

Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you’d wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love

Postscript:

Just in case anyone hadn’t heard of her before, Julie London was an American singer and actress, whose career spanned over forty years. She released 32 albums of pop and jazz standards during the 1950s and 1960s, her signature song being the classic Cry Me a River. Julie’s 35-year acting career began in 1944 and included roles co-starring with Rock Hudson, Gary Cooper and Robert Mitchum. She achieved continuing success in television in the 1970s, appearing in the show Emergency! with her husband, Bobby Troup.