(Editor’s note: Palisadian Alan Eisenstock’s 19th book “Redeeming Justice” co-written with Jarrett Adams was named the Best Book of September by Amazon. “A consuming tale of a broken legal system, its trail of ruin and the fortitude needed to overcome its scarring.”
When Eisenstock is not writing, he pursues what he calls “a crazy labor of love side project” that he started in March 2020: sending a weekly Covid-themed playlist of songs to his family and friends. These playlists (which can be downloaded on Spotify click here span rock ‘n’ roll and pop music from the 1950s to 2020, and Eisenstock adds one or two lines of commentary about each song that is clever, amusing and informative.)
Covid has impacted every aspect of society, culture, and business, including the fashion industry. A fashion plate myself, I’ve been wearing basically sweats for two years. What to do? What to wear? Who knows? Idea. Here are 23 “fashion” songs. Listen up!
- “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” The Kinks. Brothers Ray and Dave Davies are the forces behind this famous British rock band from Muswell Hill in north London. This 1965 ditty written by Ray pokes fun at the sixties “mod culture.”
- “Diamonds on The Soles Of Her Shoes” Paul Simon. Here’s a classic cut from Paul’s sensational 1986 album Graceland. Ladysmith Black Mambazo sings backup in Zulu.
- “Blue Suede Shoes” Elvis Presley. In 1956, Elvis recorded the biggest hit version of Carl Perkins’s song, which many consider the first rockabilly song. Since then, many artists have covered the song, including Lawrence Welk.
- “Hats Off to Larry” Del Shannon. Born Charles Weedon Westover in Grand Rapids, MI, Charles changed his name and recorded “Runaway,” a runaway hit. This 1961 song, the follow-up, wasn’t as big a hit but does mention an article of clothing.
- “Venus in Blue Jeans” Jimmy Clanton. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, Jimmy was given the very specific and catchy nickname, “The Swamp Pop R&B Teenage Idol.” I guess “Teenage Idol” was taken. This 1962 hit was written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller.
- “Raspberry Beret” Prince. The Prince of Minneapolis, and one of my favorites, incorporates strings, cymbals, a harmonica, and his backup band, The Revolution, for this lush and luscious single from 1985. It’s about sex. Well, aren’t all Prince songs about sex?
- “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” Nancy Sinatra. Daughter of Frank. This 1966 song, written by Lee Hazlewood, was an absolute smash. Were the boots here “go-go boots?”
- “Short Shorts” The Madisons. This 1958 novelty song was written by Bob Gaudio and others and originally recorded by his group The Royal Teens, out of New Jersey. I can’t find any source for The Madisons, but Bob went on to become a member of The Four Seasons. And I can’t find the original Royal Teens’ recording.
- “Bell Bottom Blues” Derek & The Dominos. Eric Clapton and members of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends formed this short-lived band in the early seventies. Clapton and Bobby Whitlock wrote and recorded this terrific song in 1973. This week Clapton made news by saying that anyone who’s gotten the Covid-19 vaccine must have been hypnotized.
- “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” Elvis Costello. Declan Patrick MacManus aka Elvis Costello, British rock god, released his first album My Aim Is True in 1977. Supposedly, Elvis wrote this power rocker in ten minutes while riding on a train.
- “Famous Blue Raincoat” Leonard Cohen. Canadian-singer-songwriter-poet and one of my all-time favorites wrote this haunting song in 1971. Leonard owned the famous blue raincoat, a Burberry, that was supposedly stolen from his apartment. But the song is about a love triangle. LOVE.
- “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” The Gaslight Anthem. Brian Fallon leads this underappreciated rock band from New Brunswick, NJ. I dig this nostalgic rocker from 2009. “We are the heart of Saturday night.”
- “Boots of Spanish Leather” Bob Dylan. Early, acoustic Dylan from 1964 and The Times They Are a-Changin’. This tells the story of Bob’s breakup with his girlfriend, who’s heading overseas. LOVE.
- “cardigan” Taylor Swift. The pride of West Reading, PA, the daughter of two stockbrokers who named her after James Taylor, Swift is one of the best-selling artists ever. This song, co-written with Aaron Dessner of The National, comes from her folklore album. LIKE A LOT.
- Brian Hyland. Teenage idol and bubblegum rocker from Queens, this catchy and stupid 1960 song is Brian’s biggest hit. Writing credit, or should I say blame, goes to Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss.
- “Zoot Suit Riot” Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. A swing band out of Eugene, Oregon led by Steve Perry, the Daddies recorded their biggest hit, written by Perry, in 1997. The Daddies took advantage of the swing music fad, which started in October and fizzled out the following May.
- “You Can Leave Your Hat On” Randy Newman. One of our best songwriters. Randy who sings with a crusty Southern twang was actually born in L.A. He wrote this hit in 1972 from his album Sail Away. Joe Cocker covered the song in 1986, turning it into a huge hit.
- “High Heel Sneakers” Tommy Tucker. R&B singer-songwriter and one-hit-wonder Tucker, born Robert Higginbotham (fact check me) recorded his one big hit in 1964. High heel sneakers seems like an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, or small crowd, or Fox News.
- “Long Black Veil” The Band. Great Canadian-with-one-American and Dylan’s backup band first performed their version of this country classic at Woodstock in 1969. Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin wrote this mournful lament in 1959, recorded originally by Lefty Frizzell. The Band included it on their first album Music From Big Pink.
- “I Love My Shirt” Donovan. A goofy 1969 song from Scottish troubadour Donovan Leitch that’s ideal for this playlist. Come on, everyone, sing along: “Do you have a shirt that you really love, one that you feel so groovy in?”
- “A White Sport Coat and A Pink Carnation” Marty Robbins. Country singer-songwriter and NASCAR race driver wrote and recorded this hit in 1957. Ray Conniff, noted arranger and bandleader, oversaw the production of the record.
- “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” Bruce Springsteen. Bruce sings a song of vignettes from his 2007 album Magic. He goes for a full production. Not my favorite Boss song, but perfect for the playlist.
- “Devil with The Blue Dress On” Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. We end with William Sherille Levise, Jr. aka Mitch Ryder. Here’s his big 1966 hit backed up by his band, the Detroit Wheels. The rocker was written by Shorty Long (really) and William “Mickey” Stevenson. Get up and dance!
There you have it–an entire playlist devoted to fashion. Some advice:
Don’t Forget to Disinfect and… PLAY IT LOUD!
The link again: click here
“A wunnerful, a wunnerful…” Lawrence Welk did cover “Blue Suede Shoes.”
Eric Clapton did say that everyone who’s been vaccinated had to have been hypnotized.
LAST WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
The Band “Up on Cripple Creek” shut out Creedence “Up Around The Bend.”
THIS WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
A “blue” face-off: “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis or “Venus In Blue Jeans” by Jimmy Clanton. Who you got?
So many “fashionable” songs to consider…
Until next week,