Nirvana! Laura Nyro! Harry Nilsson! Coconuts And “Swirling Jacksons”! Song’s With An “N”!

Songs With An “N”!

I’m celebrating New Year’s Day with some of my favorite Artists and songs!

My musical look at the alphabet from “A to Z” lands on “N”, with classic Artists like The Jackson Five and quirky hits like “Coconut”!

Let’s begin with the beginning of the 90’s – when grunge music took over thanks to these guys, who recorded what was called:

“the anthem for apathetic kids”

Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

An explosive song that changed a generation of music…from my hometown of Seattle – in a Rolling Stone interview in 1994, Kurt Cobain revealed this:

“I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”

And what about those lyrics:

“With the lights out it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an Albino
A mosquito, my libido, yeah!”

Here is the explosive music video:

Oh, in case you didn’t know, this video has been viewed 635-MILLION TIMES!

According to wikipedia, Cobain came up with the song’s title when his friend Kathleen Hanna, at the time the lead singer of the riot grrrl band Bikini Kill, wrote “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his wall!

Next up is one of the most under-appreciated Singer/Songwriters of her time:

Laura Nyro – “Poverty Train”

Laura Nyro wrote some incredible music – much of it made famous by Artists such a Barbra Streisand and The Fifth Dimension – more on that in a moment – Nyro’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival is the stuff of legend – more on that as well, but first, here is Nyro performing at that 1967 festival:

The controversy about Laura’s performance at Monterey Pop is because she felt she was booed by the crowd! That myth grew over the years – here is the story about that day:

https://johnrieber.com/2014/04/15/laura-nyros-brilliant-monterey-pop-performance-and-legendary-musical-myth/

Nyro also performed “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Eli’s Coming” – both huge hits for other Artists! She also wrote Barbra Streisand’s hit “Stony End” as well:

She had a bunch of songs that other people recorded – here is a look at those hits for other Artists:


https://johnrieber.com/2016/05/07/laura-nyros-smash-hits-for-barbra-streisand-three-dog-night-fifth-dimension/

Next up is a band about to embark on a twenties anniversary tour!

“Narcolepsy” by Third Eye Blind

I have always liked this band, with hits like “Losing A Whole Year” and “Semi-Charmed Life”, but this song really shows their ability to set a tone and mood and then blast out a great hook.

Here is the band performing the song at The Fillmore in San Francisco:

Next up is a gorgeous ballad – sung by a twelve-year-old Michael Jackson!

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson Five

Originally, this song was going to be recorded by Diana Ross & The Supremes, but Motown decided to give it to The Jacksons instead, and it was a huge hit in 1971.

Here is a real time capsule – the brothers performing the song on a TV show in the early 70’s…look how young Michael is – and make sure to watch the incredible “Wwirling Jacksons” behind him!

I just love that synchronized dancing behind Michael – did you know he sang at the Academy Awards a year later – because of a love song to a rat?

Yes, the song was nominated for an Academy Award – see Michael performing it live on the Oscar telecast by clicking here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/08/02/killer-rat-horror-willard-michael-jacksons-ben-love-song-jacksons-oscar-night-performance/

Finally, a amazing Singer/Songwriter was also John Lennon’s drinking partner during the Ex-Beatles’ legendary “lost weekend”!

Harry Nilsson – “Coconut”

Yes, Harry and John were legendary for carousing in Hollywood in the early 70’s, but Nilsson also released some of the biggest hits of that time, with “Jump Into The Fire”, “Everybody’s Talkin'” and “Without You.”

However, one of his most unique songs was “Coconut”, with the iconic lyrics:

“She put the lime in the coconut, she call the doctor, woke him up
And said “doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take?”
I said “doctor, to relieve this belly ache?”

And remember:

“Put a lime in the coconut and drink ’em bot’ together
Put the lime in the coconut, then you’ll feel better”

Here is the original music video, and yes, the song is performed by Gorillas!

Harry Nilsson was a terrific Artist, and you can see more videos and find out about his time with John Lennon by clicking here:

https://johnrieber.com/2013/05/29/lime-in-the-coconut-harry-nilssons-musical-madness-john-lennon-shenanigans/

Let me know your favorite “N” songs!



Categories: 70's Music, Action Films, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Horror films, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Music, Talent/Celebrities, The Beatles, TV Show, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

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6 replies

  1. A great post, John. I look at Michael Jackson when he was young and wonder why he wanted to change himself. He looked absolutely fine as he was.

  2. I don’t know what it is but I still love that Coconut song! 🙂

  3. An interesting mix as always from you, John.
    I will have to add my own top choice for ‘N’, Paolo Nutini, with ‘Last Request’.
    Best wishes, and a happy new year for 2018.
    Pete.

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