Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published November 19th 2020
Thank-you for the music
The end of November sees Thanksgiving in the United States. I know this because social media is suddenly filled with all sorts of "thanks" memes and comments and affirmations. And that is fine. While I'd love to do a column about the fallacies about the ceremony (for example, turkey as the "traditional" meal only appeared in the nineteenth century), what I am doing is responding to a couple of people on Twitter and giving everyone songs of thanks.
Okay, I set myself a few rules. One song per artist and me liking the song are pretty standard now. But also "thanks" or a synonym for "thanks" had to appear in the title. And none that were overly religious, so I don't offend anyone. Most are giving thanks for having a partner in the person's life, and most are slower. Listening to them one after the other, there is a tendency towards schmaltz. Sorry. But they are still all good songs.
No, really they are.
And, let's be honest, after the year 2020 has been for many people, giving thanks for what we do have is a positive thing to be doing for everyone, not just for United Estatians.
Let's enjoy the list!
'I Thank You' by Johnny O'Keefe (1962)
Quite popular at the time of its release, this is now one of JO'K's lesser remembered tracks, which is a shame because he actually sings it quite well. Mind you, it is a standard "thank-you" song, but he delivers it as though he means it.
'Danke Schoen' by Wayne Newton (1963)
Probably known to my generation from the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, this English version of a German pop song, an instrumental by Bert Kaempfert, is such a fun song. The phrase sort of means "thank-you very much" (according to a German friend), but that is a loose translation. Oh well, good song that always brings a smile to my face.
'Thank U Very Much' by Scaffold (1967)
Like many people of my age group in Australia (or maybe just South Australia), I was introduced to this song in a rewritten version for a charity in the 70s and 80s. Scaffold were an interesting collective, and this is just a straight forward thank-you song. Simple. And fun.
'I Thank You' by Sam & Dave (1968)
I have so many copies of this track! But let's look at the oldest one I own, with the smooth stylings of Sam & Dave driving it along. These two had such amazingly complementary voices and this track is one of their many, many great songs.
'Thank You' by Led Zeppelin (1969)
A slower track from Led Zeppelin and one of their better love songs. This is lyrically straight forward, thankful for the love they have. This is Robert Plant singing wonderfully and John Paul Jones on the organ is gorgeous. It is a beautiful song and one forgotten by all but the most diehard Led Zep fans.
'Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)' by Sly & the Family Stone (1969)
The title of this always got me. But the funk of the music by this incredible band just carries this on like a train. The fact that funk like this developed into disco is something that saddens me. Still, while we have tracks like this, I can ignore what came after.
'Thank You For The Music' by Abba (1977)
Okay, I admit it – I like a large number of Abba songs, and this is one of their better ones. Thanking people for the music is perfect for a band with the complex pop stylings of Abba. Those harmonies, that musicianship, the intelligent lyrics… Maybe pop music of today should look back at Abba and see how it is done properly.
'Thank You For Sending Me An Angel' by Talking Heads (1978)
An album track, but with Talking Heads a lot of their album tracks were as good as the singles because they are an incredible band. This track featuring wonderful percussion, great guitars and some strange David Byrne lyrics is a good track that feels almost like a dance song. And it's about a guy thinking his girl is an angel.
'Thank You For Being A Friend' by Andrew Gold (1978)
For people who watched TV in the 80s and 90s, this can only ever be one thing – the theme song to The Golden Girls. But, despite that, it is actually a good song, and one of the very few songs that celebrates friendship properly, without any strings attached.
'Thanks To Dave' by GANGgajang (1987)
I am willing to bet only people like me who own GANGgajang's first two albums know this song even exists! Basically, it takes Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five' and adds lyrics and it is just a really odd bit of Australian pop-rock.
'Gratitude' by The Beastie Boys (1992)
This is the Beastie Boys I prefer – they rock! The bassline and drumming just pounds, sending vibrations through you like an earthquake. And the song basically says stop whining – be thankful for what you've got. But the music. Wow.
'Thank You' by Dido (1998)
This song first appeared on the soundtrack of the film Sliding Doors before appearing on her 1999 debut album… and then became well-known by being sampled for Eminem's greatest song 'Stan' (a title that has now become a word meaning an over-zealous fan), which was how I discovered it. But the song is glorious on its own. There is a touch of sadness about it, but Dido's voice is beautiful.
'Thankyou (For Loving Me At My Worst)' by The Whitlams (1999)
Yet another Australian band that should have made a bigger impact internationally. This song is one of those quirky, realistic love songs that indy bands do so well. The Whitlams are great; this is one of my favourites.
'Thankyou, Mr. Ludwig' by Kram (2009)
An instrumental, a drumming one, and one of my favourite songs of 2009. I love this track, and it is a thanks to, I believe, a music teacher. I could be wrong. But I like the story.
A slow country piece by Urban basically thanking his wife Nicole Kidman for saving him from going right off the rails. It is so filled with love and it is really cool. I have this song on a sampler CD and had actually forgotten about it until listening to music for this list. The more I listen to Keith Urban, the more I think I have been under-appreciating him for too long.
And no, 'Thank U, Next' by Ariana Grande and 'Thank You' by Simple Plan are… not my sort of music. How's that for being polite? And, what do you know – a list with only one song from the 1980s! Another rather eclectic mix of music, so hopefully there's something here for everyone.
Anyway, songs giving thanks!
And from me, thank-you for reading and I hope you are enjoying these columns.