Let’s Misbehave – Cole Porter (1927)

You could have a great career,
And you should;
Yes you should;
Only one thing stops you dear:
You’re too good;
Way too good!

If you want a future, darlin’,
Why don’t you get a past?
‘Cause that fatal moment’s comin’ at last…

We’re all alone, no chaperone
Can get our number
The world’s in slumber
Let’s misbehave!!!

There’s something wild about you child
That’s so contagious
Let’s be outrageous
Let’s misbehave!!!

When Adam won Eve’s hand
He wouldn’t stand for teasin’.
He didn’t care about those apples out of season.

They say that Spring
means just one thing to little lovebirds
We’re not above birds
Let’s misbehave!!!

It’s getting late and while I wait
My poor heart aches on
Why keep the brakes on?
Let’s misbehave!!!

I feel quite sure un peu d’amour
Would be attractive
While we’re still active,
Let’s misbehave!

You know my heart is true
And you say you for me care…
Somebody’s sure to tell,
But what the hell do we care?

They say that bears have love affairs
And even camels
We’re merely mammals
Let’s misbehave!!!

If you would be just sweet
And only meet your fate, dear,
‘Twould be the great event
Of nineteen twenty-eight, Dear.

Blue Skies – Josephine Baker (1927)

I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Ev’ry day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door
Skies were gray but they’re not gray anymore

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

I should care if the wind blows east or west
I should fret if the worst looks like the best
I should mind if they say it can’t be true
I should smile, that’s exactly what I do

Aba Daba Honeymoon – Helen Kane

“Aba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab”
Said the chimpie to the monk
“Baba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab”
Said the monkey to the chimp

All night long they’d chatter away
All day long there were happy and gay
Swinging and singing in their hunky tonky way

“Aba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab”
Means ‘Monk, I love but you’
‘Baba, daba, dab’ in monkey talk
Means ‘Chimp, I love you, too’

Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
Since they came from their aba daba honeymoon

Way down in the Congoland
Lived a happy chimpanzee
She loved a monkey with long tail
(Lordy, how she loved him)

Each night he would find her there
Swinging in the coconut tree
And the monkey gay at the break of day
Loved to hear his chimpie say

“Aba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab”
Said the chimpie to the monk
“Baba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab”
Said the monkey to the chimp

All night long they’d chatter away
All day long there were happy and gay
Swinging and singing in their hunky tonky way

“Aba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab”
Means ‘Monk, I love but you’
‘Baba, daba, dab’ in monkey talk
Means ‘Chimp, I love you, too’

One night they were made man and wife
And now they cry, “This is the life”
Since they came from their aba daba honey-

Aba, daba, daba

Aba, daba honeymoon

Bessie Smith & the Classic African American Female Blues of the Twenties

The classic female blues spanned from 1920 to 1929 with its peak from 1923 to 1925. The most popular of these singers were Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Ethel Waters, Ida Cox, Victoria Spivey, Sippie Wallace, Alberta Hunter, Clara Smith, Edith Wilson, Trixie Smith, Lucille Hegamin and Bertha “Chippie” Hill. Hundreds of others recorded including Lizzie Miles, Sara Martin, Rosa Henderson, Martha Copeland, Bessie Jackson (Lucille Bogan), Edith Johnson, Katherine Baker, Margaret Johnson, Hattie Burleson, Madlyn Davis, Ivy Smith, Alberta Brown, Gladys Bentley, Billie and Ida Goodson, Fannie May Goosby, Bernice Edwards and Florence Mills.

They sang often backed behind their bands consisting of piano, several horns and drums. These women were pioneers in the record industry by being the first black voices recorded and also by spreading the 12-bar blues form through out the country. In terms of performing, they often wore elaborate outfits and sang of the injustices of their lives, bonding with their audience’s sorrows. Their schedules were grueling, staying on the road most of the time with tent shows in the summer and theatres during the winter. With the crash of Wall Street in 1929, the popularity of the blues singers declined. Some went back home, took up jobs or moved to Hollywood. In the ‘60s with the blues revival, Sippie Wallace, Alberta Hunter, Edith Wilson and Victoria Spivey returned to the stage.

Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, form Georgia, was the “ Mother of the Blues,” and lived from 1886-1939. She was the first woman to incorporate blues into her act of show songs and comedy. In 1902, she heard a woman singing about the man she’d lost, and quickly learned the song. From then on at each performance, she used it as her closing number calling it “the blues.” She recorded over 100 songs and wrote 24 of them herself. “Bessie (Smith and all the others who followed in time), wrote jazz historian Dan Morgenstern “learned their art and craft from Ma, directly or indirectly.” Young women followed Ma Rainey’s path in the tent show circuit, since black performers were not allowed to be in venues. Eventually most singers were booked on the T.O.B.A. (Theatre Owners Booking Association) circuit.

The most popular of these women was Tennessee-born Bessie Smith, who would become the highest-paid black artist of the 1920s. She was known as the “Empress of the Blues.” She possessed a large voice with a “T’ain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do” attitude. Bessie was a dancer before she was a singer, but was let go because her skin colour was too dark. She also struggled initially with being recorded—three companies turned her down before she was signed with Columbia. She eventually became the highest-paid black artist of the ‘20s, but by the ‘30s she was making half as much as her usual salary. She died in a car crash in 1937, at the age of 41. Lionel Hampton is quoted as saying, “Had she lived, Bessie would’ve been right up there on top with the rest of us in the Swing Era.” Mahalia Jackson and Janis Joplin both claimed to have drawn great inspiration from her singing. Her work is well documented in print as well as recording with over 160 songs currently available.

Sources: Bessie (book), The Jazz Age (book), Wikipedia

He’s So Unusual – Helen Kane (June 14, 1929)

“He’s So Unusual” is a song from the late 1920s performed by Helen Kane, who was the inspiration for the Betty Boop character. The song was written by Al Sherman, Al Lewis and Abner Silver. Released on June 14, 1929, “He’s So Unusual” was featured in the motion picture, Sweetie. Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc. are the publishers of record.

He’s So Unusual” was later covered by Cyndi Lauper, in a short (45 second) version, on her Grammy Awardwinning album, She’s So Unusual. The sung lyrics continue in the background of the subsequent song “Yeah Yeah”, while the beginning of the song plays before “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in the song’s music video.

You talk of sweeties, bashful sweeties
I got one of those
Oh, he’s handsome as can be
But he worries me;
He goes to college and gathers knowledge
Hooh! What that boy knows!
He’s up in his Latin and Greek
But in his sheikin’, he’s weak!

‘Cause when I want some lovin’
And I gotta have some lovin’
He says, “Please! Stop it, please!”
He’s so unusual!

When I want some kissin’
And I gotta have some kissin’
He says, “No! Let me go.”
He’s so unusual!

I know lots of boys who would be crazy over me
If they only had this fellow’s opportunity
You know, I would let him pet me
But the darn fool, he doesn’t let me!
Oh, he’s so unusual that he drives me wild!

When we’re in the moonlight
He says, “I don’t like the moonlight
Aw, let’s not talk in the dark.”
Huh, he’s so unusual!

And when we’re riding in a taxi
He converses with the cheuffeur
Oh, why don’t he talk to me?
Oh, he’s so different!

Others would be tickled pink to bop-op-a-dop-e-dop!
He don’t even know what bop-op-op-a-dop’s about!
He says love is hokum
Oh, I’d like to choke, choke, choke him!
‘Cause he’s so unusual that he drives me wild!

You might as well be by yourself as in his company
When we’re out together, I’m as lonesome as can be

But still I’m mad about him
And I just can’t live without him;
‘Cause he’s so unusual that he drives me bop-bop-a-dop-bop!

Born Today Jean Genet and Édith Piaf

Today in famous people born in French history:

1910 – Jean Genet, French novelist, playwright, and poet (d. 1986)
Genet was a petty criminal early in life, and after ten convictions was threatened with a life sentence, but through the intercession of luminaries like Sartre and Picasso was left alone, and never committed a crime again.

1915 – Édith Piaf, French singer-songwriter and actress (d. 1963)
Here’s La Môme (her nickname, meaning “the little sparrow”). She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion, and took “Piaf”—slang for “sparrow”—as her last name.

Break On Through (To the Other Side) – The Doors

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side

We chased our pleasures here
Dug our treasures there
Can you still recall
The time we cried?
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side

Everybody loves my baby
Everybody loves my baby

She get high, she get high
She get high, she get high

I found an island in your arms
A country in your eyes
Arms that chain
Eyes that lied
Break on through to the other side

Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side

Made the scene from week to week
Day to day, hour to hour
The gate is straight
Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through, break on through
Break on through, break on through

Box of Rain – Grateful Dead

First performance: October 9, 1972, at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco. Disappeared from the repertoire less than a year later, brought back on March 20, 1986, at the Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. It remained in the repertoire thereafter—often sung in response to the chant “We Want Phil,” from Deadheads—and was the final song ever performed by the Grateful Dead, on July 9, 1995, at Soldier Field in Chicago, given as a second encore, following “Black Muddy River.”

Words by Robert Hunter
Music by Phil Lesh

Look out of any window
Any morning, any evening, any day
Maybe the sun is shining
Birds are winging, no rain is falling from a heavy sky
What do you want me to do
To do for you to see you through?
For this is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago

Walk out of any doorway
Feel your way like the day before
Maybe you’ll find direction
Around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet you
What do you want me to do
To watch for you while you’re sleeping?
Then please don’t be surprised when you find me dreaming too

Look into any eyes
You find by you; you can see clear to another day
Maybe been seen before
Through other eyes on other days while going home
What do you want me to do
To do for you to see you through?
It’s all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago

Walk into splintered sunlight
Inch your way through dead dreams to another land
Maybe you’re tired and broken
Your tongue is twisted with words half spoken and thoughts unclear
What do you want me to do
To do for you, to see you through?
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through

Just a box of rain, wind and water
Believe it if you need it, if you don’t just pass it on
Sun and shower, wind and rain
In and out the window like a moth before a flame

And it’s just a box of rain, I don’t know who put it there
Believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare
And it’s just a box of rain, or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there

Pictures Of You – The Cure

The song was written in response to Robert Smith’s nostalgia, when he found a photo of his wife after a fire at his house. That photo was used for the cover of the song’s single.

Robert Smith explained this track in a 1989 interview with Music Box TV, “The idea you hold of someone isn’t really what that person is like. Sometimes you completely lose touch with what a person has turned into. You just want to hold onto what they were.”

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they’re real
I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel

Remembering you
Standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
Remembering you
Running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and wider than snow
And screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage
To let it all go

Remembering you
Fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white
So delicate
Lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
Remembering you
How you used to be
Slow drowned
You were angels
So much more than everything
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly
Open my eyes
But I never see anything

If only I’d thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I’d thought of the right words
I wouldn’t be breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Knocking Round the Zoo – by James Taylor

This is an autobiographical song describing Taylor’s stay at McLean, a psychiatric hospital near Boston where he stayed while finishing high school. Taylor was attending a strict boarding school called Milton Academy when he suffered a bout of depression that led his family to pull him from the school and send him to McLean, where he took classes at their affiliated school.

In this song, he explains how it felt like a zoo, with bars on the windows and people coming to look at you – his sister Kate broke down in tears during one visit.

While Taylor was at McLean, he spotted Ray Charles, who was sent there for his heroin addiction. Taylor’s siblings Livingston and Kate also ended up spending time there. Over the next 15 years or so, James ended up in various other rehab centers and hospitals to treat his addictions.

Just knocking around the zoo
On a Thursday afternoon,
There’s bars on all the windows
And they’re counting up the spoons, yeah.
And if I’m feeling edgy,
There’s a chick who’s paid
To be my slave, yeah, watch out James.
But she’ll hit me with a needle
If she thinks I’m trying to misbehave.

Now the keeper’s trying to cool me
Says I’m bound to be all right,
But I know that he can’t fool me
‘Cause I’m putting him uptight, yeah.
And I can feel him getting edgy
Every time I make a sudden move,
Whoa, yes it’s true.
And I can hear them celebrating
Every time I up and leave the room.

Now my friends all come to see me,
They just point at me and stare.
Said, he’s just like the rest of us
So what’s he doing there?
They hide in their movie theaters
Drinking juice, keeping tight,
Watch that bright light.
‘Cause they’re certain about one thing, babe,
That zoo’s no place to spend the night, no.

Just knocking around the zoo
On a Thursday afternoon,
There’s bars on all the windows
And they’re counting up the spoons, yeah.
And if I’m feeling edgy,
There’s a chick who’s paid to be my slave,
Watch out Kootch.
But she’ll hit me with a needle
If she thinks I’m trying to misbehave.