Now, where red was the easiest colour for me to put together a list about, blue was the hardest. I mean that. I have ended up with twenty tracks here because I simply could not cut it down any further, and I still feel like I left too many really good songs out.
The thing is, blue is the colour of feeling sad. Or feeling "blue", if you will. And, yes, that does mean that a number of the songs in this list are slower and more depressing songs, but that's what blue means (and it is really easy to rhyme with so many words). Oh, and a blue moon is the second full moon of a month, a time when you're supposed to wish on the moon and your wish comes true.
So, with that in mind, let's hit this list. And it is one of the most eclectic lists I have put together.
'The Blue Danube' by Johann Strauss II (composed 1866)
Let's start with some classical, and one of the most recognised classical pieces, even if people don't know its name. Such a pleasant listening experience, a waltz, and when heard live in a good hall with good acoustics, it is actually quite stirring. A lovely way to start this list.
'Out Of The Blue' by Miles Davis (1953; recorded 1951)
This was tough. Which song from the Blue Period album did I choose? Well, one of my favourite two, obviously. I tossed a coin and here we are. So, we've had classical, now let's hit jazz, and one of my favourite jazz tracks ever. Davis nails it here. This is musicianship at its finest.
'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' by Elvis Presley (1954)
Taking another waltz – a bluegrass one – and rocking it up, Elvis showed just what he was capable of. Legend says they were struggling in the studio to find a song to back 'That's Alright Mama', his first single, when, during some downtime, Elvis started playing this up-tempo version of the old track, the band joined in and the rest, as they say, is history. I prefer this to the A-side. When he was with Sun Records, Elvis really was the King.
'Blue Suede Shoes' by Carl Perkins (1956)
Most people know the Elvis cover, but the original has a bit more of the proto-country-rock that Carl Perkins was renowned for. This is one of the first rock songs and it is a great track, and it is no wonder George Harrison considered Perkins a hero to his own guitar playing.
'Blue Moon' by The Marcels (1961)
A Rodgers-Hart composition, this song had been a hit quite a few times since the 1930s. Then The Marcels took it and made it their own in the era of pre-Beatles, when doo-wop was one of the many styles that appeared in the charts. This is, indeed, one of my favourite songs, and is one of my karaoke songs (but not until I am well-lubricated because my singing sounds like a strangled cat).
'Blue Bayou' by Roy Orbison (1963)
Roy Orbison is revered today, even so, many years after his death, for his glorious, operatic voice. And no song to me epitomises that as much as this early track from the man. His vocals make this song one of the best from his early canon. So good.
'Devil With A Blue Dress On' by Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels (1966)
A rocking cover (I have yet to procure a good recording of the original), often paired with Little Richard's 'Good Golly Miss Molly', this is a rocking song that just powers on. When Springsteen does his version in concert, it's Mitch Ryder he covers. Great little track.
'Behind Blue Eyes' by The Who (1971)
From the classic album Who's Next, this is one of the stand-out tracks from that fine collection of incredible songs. The ballad intro with a magnificent acoustic guitar into the grinding next section and closing out with Roger Daltrey's magnificent voice. This song is as close to perfect as you can get… if sung by The Who. I am yet to hear a cover version that even comes close. So, let's stay here and wonder why "no-one knows what it's like… behind blue eyes."
'Tangled Up In Blue' by Bob Dylan (1975)
Dylan had some lean times in the 1970s, but this song is still one of his best. He just has this way of telling a story with his lyrics, and here he actually sings well. I enjoy this track.
'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue' by Graham Bonnet (1977)
A cover of a Bob Dylan song, a song about an ending and a new beginning, I heard this version before I heard Dylan's original. I like it. My favourite cover of the track. Bonnet could really sing well.
'Mr. Blue Sky' by Electric Light Orchestra (1977)
This is one of those songs that is hard to describe. It makes full use of the 'Orchestra' part of ELO's name, and the vocoder vocals come out of nowhere. One of ELO's best-known and most beloved songs, it deserves that accolade, even now, more than 40 years later.
'Goodbye Blue Sky' by Pink Floyd (1979)
From The Wall, an album that is really deep and intriguing, and one I do not feel I can do justice to discussing, which is why I have not done a classic album review of it. But many of the tracks are incredible, and this is one that one of my first girlfriends in high school said was her favourite song ever. Because of that, I have such good memories of this, and it really is a good track.
'Midnight Blue' by Louise Tucker (1982)
A song I have mentioned before, being based, as it is, on Beethoven's 'Sonata Pathétique', this is one of my favourite songs as well. Yes, a number of 'Blue' songs are amongst my favourites… Well. I love the voice of Tucker and the male accompanying her, Charlie Skarbek, and the music is, of course, beautiful. A forgotten classic.
'Blue Eyes' by Elton John (1982)
One of Elton's slower songs, and one of his classic tracks that even non-fans seem to know. The piano playing is as good as ever, his voice is really smooth and done well, and the lyrics (by Elton himself and Gary Osborne, not Bernie Taupin) are very nice. A strong Elton track.
'Blue Monday' by New Order (1983)
Following the demise of Joy Division with Ian Curtis' tragic death, the remaining members formed New Order and hit the ground running with this, one of the best dance songs of the 1980s. At first, only available on a twelve-inch single (I bought it), the synth stabs and electronic drumming was so different at the time, and this song has gone on to influence more music that followed than maybe any other song in that decade. And it is a great track to boot.
'Blue Jean' by David Bowie (1984)
While not considered one of Bowie's best tracks by most commentators, it was still everywhere when it was released, and I know I enjoyed it at the time. I also remember it coming up at Blue Light Discoes at times. It's cool.
'Blue Day' by Mi-Sex (1984)
Mi-Sex always struggled to follow up their mega-hit 'Computer Games', but if any of their songs was going to do it, it should have been this one, which, to be honest, I prefer. The singing is better and the smooth use of synth is really nice. Another forgotten gem.
'Electric Blue' by Icehouse (1987)
By this time of their existence, Icehouse was essentially an Iva Davies solo project, but that didn't matter because this song was brilliant. It was everywhere that year; the Blue Light Discos played it at least once a night. Co-written by John Oates of Hall & Oates fame, it is such a glorious bit of 80s pop that it deserves its place in the classic songs of Australia list.
'Midnight Blue' by Lou Gramm (1987)
When Gramm left Foreigner to go solo, he really took off with a bang with this amazing song. He always could sing up a storm, and this track, the highlight of the album Ready Or Not, shows that in spades. Great rocking track.
'Blue (Da Ba Dee)' by Eiffel 65 (1999)
And we are going to finish with a song that I will declare is a guilty pleasure. It's silly and sounds stupid, but it is still a song I can't help but join in with whenever I hear it.
So, there we are – twenty songs about the colour blue. Yes, that's a lot, but I hope it has not ended up being as depressing as I had feared. A lot of these songs are fun.
As usual, if I've missed any, let me know in the comments below!