“I'll quit coffee. It won't be easy drinking my Bailey's straight, but I'll get used to it. It'll still be the best part of waking up.“ – Megan Mullally
The lists below are culled from a shortlist of almost 100. Thanks to all who offered nominations. As ever with this game, I could have drawn up half a dozen playlists from the songs on offer. Many nailed-on certainties fell off the A-list, then the B-list. Also, many new discoveries this week. For which, thanks all.
MS Subbulakshmi singing Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam. Nominated by Ravi Ramen, who adds that this is a song that you will hear all through South India early each morning. A beautifully sung, hypnotic devotional.
“Dawn is ahead. Flowers are opening their petals.
The morning breeze is bracing. Get up and bless Your devotees.”
Donovan – Colours. Nominated by Beltway Bandit, hope you don’t mind me using the original version here (with harmonica).
“Yellow is the colour of my true love's hair
In the mornin' when we rise
In the mornin' when we rise
That's the time, that's the time
I love the best”
Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer. Nominated by TatankaYotanka, the definitive interpretation of the Bacharach–David standard. I am a huge fan of Dionne Warwick, but her version of this song pales in comparison with Aretha’s portrayal of intense longing.
“The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little pray for you.”
Chuck Jackson – I Wake Up Crying. Another brilliant performance of a Bacharach–David song, this tearjerker from 1961 has Chuck mourning his lost love. An absolute beauty nominated by attwilightlarks.
“I wake up crying
After tossin' and turnin'
And yearnin' the whole night long
Pretty baby, since you went away
I haven't spent a happy day.”
Clara Smith – Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning. Magicman nominated two versions of this, both excellent. For me, Clara Smith’s 1925 recording edges it as, with backing from Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson, she lays out exactly how she feels.
“If I'd only had my way
The graveyard would be the place
My man would lay
Nobody knows the way I feel this morning.”
The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping. A more considered approach to regaining consciousness. Beltway Bandit has nominated a fantastic performance from Revolver, an album of fantastic performances. Rarely has falling back into bed seemed more attractive.
“When I wake up early in the morning
Lift my head, I'm still yawning
When I'm in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream (Float up stream).”
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Breathless. In contrast, megadom suggests this jaunty outing from Nick and the band. Our protagonist is positively itching to get up and about, full of the joys:
“It's up in the morning and on the downs
Little white clouds like gambolling lambs
And I am breathless over you.”
Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Nominated (none too enthusiastically?) by nosuchzone, I remain unabashed in my admiration of George Michael. Although not their best song, it offers the chance to get Wham! Into the Marconium and offers the same dopamine rush it did back in the early 80s.
“You put the boom-boom into my heart,
You send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts.”
Not so upbeat with Elastica. Happyclapper nominates Waking Up, where the prospect of another day at the coalface isn’t too enticing. Similarities to No More Heroes notwithstanding, this is still a great song:
“Make a cup of tea, and put a record on.”
I hadn’t previously heard this next one and it completely bowled me over. Thanks to untergunther for nominating Sudan Archives – Oatmeal. At first, the phasing had me thinking my hi-fi was on the blink. Not so. A brilliant song and the highlight of my week’s listening:
“Bake up, when I wake up
Make you oatmeal, hope you stay.”
And so to Cuba. Don Azpiazu introduced authentic Cuban dance music to US audiences when his Havana Casino Orchestra travelled to New York to cut El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor). A couple of years shy of 90, this song is still just great. Thanks again Ravi.
“In Cuba each merry maid
Wakes up with this serenade.”
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci – Diamond Dew. Nominator ShivSidecar puts it best: West Wales via Canterbury, I'd say. By accident or design, the opening lyric is oddly poetic:
“Awake, awake to love and work, luck is in the sky
Fields are wet, diamond dew, worlds awake to cry.”
It made my morning too!
Pulp – The Birds In Your Garden. From We Love Life and nominated by barbryn, this has long been a favourite and closes off this baker’s dozen.
“It's six o'clock, the birds are singing.
I'm wide awake whilst you're still fast asleep.”
The Wide Awake A-List Playlist:
MS Subbulakshmi – Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam
Donovan – Colours
Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer
Chuck Jackson – I Wake Up Crying
Clara Smith – Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning
The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Breathless
Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
Elastica – Waking Up
Sudan Archives – Oatmeal
Havana Casino Orchestra – El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor)
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci – Diamond Dew
Pulp – The Birds In Your Garden
The Bed Exit B-List Playlist:
Cookies - I'm Into Something Good
Glass Sun - Silence Of The Morning
Eskimo Joe - Head Hurts
REM - Get Up
Love - The Daily Planet
Life 'n' Soul - Peacefully Asleep
Elmore James – Dust My Broom
Emily Smith - Clerk Saunders
Josh Ritter - The Curse
Dusty and Tom Springfield - Morning Please Don't Come
Betty Lavette - You'll Wake Up Wiser
Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing
Talking Heads - Memories (Can't Wait)
Guru’s Wildcard Pick:
Closer to the King of Limbs and, for my money, one of the best things they have done. Wake me up, indeed!
Radiohead – Separator
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Morning glory? Songs about waking up. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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