February 23, 2007

Take Five--Top Girl's/Women's Names For Pop Songs

[Take Five. Every Friday, Fire on the Mountain picks a category and lists five cool things in it. It's up to you, dear reader, to add your own in the Comments section. Just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of the piece and you're off to the races.]

Might call this one Five by Five.

It got started when iTunes random brought up Arthur Alexander's "Anna" and I fell to thinking about the fine old '50s rock and roll practice of recording songs with female names as the title. I think the theory was that there was such a plentiful supply of Sherrys, Donnas, Susies, Rhondas, etc. around that literal-minded boyfriends buying 45s and asking for dedications on radio request shows might just get a group some sort of half-assed hit.

So are there names that particularly lend themselves to pop glory? You just betcha! Here are five of the best names and, to prove my contention, for each one five totally worthy songs with the chosen name in the name in the title itself for you to check out.


Annie The title rule means I couldn't even include Buddy Holly's "Midnight Shift" and The Band's "The Weight."

Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy--Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Poke Salad Annie--Tony Joe White
Work With Me, Annie--Hank Ballard & The Midnighters (actually all of the"Annie" trilogy)
Annie's Lament--Annie Ross & Brad Mehldau
Wildhorse Annie--Tom Russell & Patricia Hardin

Valerie Oddly, all five of these have just the name as title and I've got as many more, but only a couple where the "Valerie" is part of a longer title.

Valerie--The Zutons
Valerie--The Monkees
Valerie--Ghost Of The Robot
Valerie--Ronnie & The Hi-Lites
Valerie--Richard Thompson & Ry Cooder

Mary Ann Throw in Mary Anne (as preferred in the UK) and Marianne (The French) and you've got a hands down winner.

Keep Your Skirts Down, Mary Ann--Aileen Stanley & Billy Murray
May Ann Thomas--Bobby Freeman
Mary Ann--Ray Charles
Mary Ann--Regina Spektor
How Married Are You, Mary Ann?--Bill Anderson

Caroline In the face of some stiff competition, the first song here may be the best of the 25.

Caroline, No--The Beach Boys
I Did Acid With Caroline--Daniel Johnson
Caroline--Kristy McColl
Caroline Oh Yeah Hey!--TéTé

Sally Like Annie, a plain name, but a lotta tunes, especially ones with "[adjective(s) or noun used adjectivally] Sally" as a title, like two of these.

Mustang Sally--Sir Mack Rice (the man who wrote it)
Sally, Go Round The Roses--The Jaynetts (also The Pentangle, The Great Society, Mitch Ryder, Holly Golightly)
Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley--Lee Dorsey
The Ballad Of Sally--The Mekons
Long Tall Sally--Little Richard

Your turn. Give me another name with five genuinely listenable songs, or five more similarly excellent songs for one of the existing names and win a prize--assuming you have included an email somewhere so I can contact you.


Anonymous said...

Suzy Creemcheese - Mothers
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
A Boy Named Sue - Shel Silverstein
Susan - Buckinghams
Oh, Susanna - Stephen Foster

Mary, Mary - Paul Butterfield Blues Band (also covered by Monkees)
Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep - trad. gospel (covered by Pete Seeger and, memorably, Take 6)
Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner (I know, I know -- I just prefer their version over Creedence's more plodding original)
Oh, Sweet Mary -- Big Brother & the Holding Company, feat. Janis Joplin
Along Comes Mary -- the Association

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, here is a list of songs that have girls names in the song title or lyrics


Anonymous said...

Cindy tells me (Brian Eno)
Cindy of a thousand lives (Billy Bragg)
Taste of Cindy (Jesus and Mary Chain)
Spark and Cindy (Ocean Colour Scene)
Cindy cindy (everyone from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash)
Indie Cindy (The Pixies) (thats six to pick from)

Slick Riddles said...

Mary, Mary was not 'covered' by the Monkees, Mike Nesmith wrote it.
Amanda by Waylon Jennings might be the song that the most women are named after