...but don't forget the songs that made you smile, and the songs that made you cry [...] and the songs that saved your life!

Dear K103 people,

I was offered the opportunity and had the pleasure to create and present "The Sound of The City" at K103, from February 2009 to March 2012. During that period I produced and presented a total of ninety nine shows. I mixed the old with the new, I followed my train of thought as it was lead by melodic or rhythmic similarities from one song to the next, or by the songs' lyrical relevance.

I never cared to present songs that did not appeal to me. I believe that even pop songs have to mean something. I did appreciate the songs I shared with the audience, thinking they were amusing in a positive way. I enjoyed sharing the music that appealed to me. I appreciated being offered the opportunity to play the pop songs that I love. Many of them I have loved deeply for many years.

Morrissey wrote in one of the Smiths' songs: "but don't forget the songs that made you smile and the songs that made you cry [...] and the songs that saved your life". I always thought that the stories behind such songs may be as important as the songs themselves, so I had to look. In the process of that weekly presentation, I was forced to figure out -- in order to explain to myself as well as to the listeners -- why I considered the songs I chose to present more important culturally than just a passing fad for ephemeral release. Truth be told, first and foremost I had fun.
I hope you did too.

Thank you!

The Girls can't Help it!

Never before did so many girls defy authority so openly
Never before did they break so many police lines with such force
Never before did so many girls at the same time realize that there's more to life than getting married
Never before did they scream so loud.
The Girls couldn't help it!
The Beatles deserved their love.
They asked politely 'please, please me!'

Researchers have suggested that part of the Beatles' magnetism was due to the fact that they sang in voices high enough for girls to sing along. Eddie Reader with the Fairground Attraction truly proved that point when she sang Do You Want To Know A Secret, a song first sung by Beatle George, the one girl-groupies had named 'The Body'. Cass Elliot also known as Mamma Cass, along with the Mamas and The Papas sang the Beatles' I Call Your Name in 1966. And if you pay attention you'll hear her whisper John Lennon's name between the verses, for she was had a crush on him. The Webb Sisters have covered a few Beatles' songs, but George Harrison's I Need You, wins the prize. It has retained the urgent honesty of teenage love, and much like the original delivery has a flair of its own. The Third Wave were a girl group of Thai vocalists who released an EP produced in Europe back in 1966. There's no relation to the feminist movement of the same name, which surfaced in the early 90s however the coincidence is funny. Especially since the girls did an exceptional cover of the the hit about a famous spinster Eleanor Rigby. Beth Orton recently covered I Me Mine for a collection by Mojo magazine. In spite of the selfishness the song reflects upon, the Beatles made audiences feel part of a larger community, where women would not feel they were from some other planet, they did not have to the 'opposite' sex.
The girls loved the Beatles because they did not bully, they did not shout, they did not threaten or whine, they reached out through their music and let us know that that kindness, creativity, and vulnerability could go together and were not necessarily unmarketable traits. Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves covered Come Together back in 1996. The Beatles did not worry about turning the roles around, they made Desmond the silent provider and Molly the star, singer in a band. Celia Cruz changed the names to Pedro and Celia, the lyrics from English to Spanish, but it's still Obladi Oblada and life goes on. Down South in the Bible Belt, there's Memphis Tennessee. Although many Beatles' records were burned in bonfires after Lennon's 'Beatles are bigger than Jesus' statement, there were fans that opposed to bigotry with banners that read 'Lennon Saves.' Two albums titled Fried Glass Onions - Memphis Meets The Beatles, are proof that sizzling love prevailed. Z-Da was the Day Tripper, and Dani in Old Brown Shoe was very convincing when singing the lyric 'for your sweet top lip I'm in the queue'.
The Beatles are the band that may well have triggered and certainly spread the 60s sexual revolution, since 'the Beatles were sexy; the girls were the ones who perceived them as sexy'. In short, the girls were the pursuers". The cover of I'm Looking Through You by Danilelle Denin dates from that era. When the Beatles first played in Paris, they dreamed of pursuing Brigitte Bardot lookalikes. Soon they found themselves hunted by the French girls. On the other side of the Atlantic, a guitar hero of George Harrison's, Chet Atkins, accompanied Suzy Boguss on All my loving.
East or west, north or south, it made no difference, the girls loved the Beatles. Lucy in the Sky with diamonds by Rita Lee was recorded in 2001, but Rita an original member of Brazilian psychedelic band Os Mutantes, is an old devoted fan. Another special individual who drew her own path in pop music Rickie Lee Jones covered the sombre For No One in one of her albums. The Beatles swiched perspectives, male, female, it did not matter, as long as the perspective was humane. In Blackbird McCartney was inspired by the civil rights movement in the US, and particularly the black womens struggle. Julie Fowls a this cover in Gaelic for the 40th anniversary of the release of the Beatles, also known as the White album. Here comes the sun, was recorded on a similar occasion by Charlie Dore.
Many artists took the opportunity to rejuvenate their careers, or dip their fingers into the pop genre by covering Beatles' songs. However Ella Fitzgerald's cover is special, and fitting. Ella had a sweet tooth, a love for candy. Her cover of Savoy Truffle is as yummy as licking chocolate off your fingers.
The struggle to achieve gender equality is like traking a Long and winding Road still not having reached our destination. Aretha Franklin's voice, the queen of soul who took 'Respect' and turned it into an anthem for than cause, knows a thing or two about putting us on the right path.


This Saturday the Sound of the City brings a Lebanese blonde to our house

The Beautiful South found The One That I Want
The Roches had No Shoes but it's OK 'cause
as the Fairground Attraction declare The Moon Is Mine
and I Feel Fine along with The Beatles
in Our House by the Phantom Planet
going Through Time in the company of Roisin Murphy
and we Won't Get Fooled Again if Richie Havens has his saying
we'll go down to New Orleans to hear Tipitina by Professor Longhair
Fed up with Loneliness Sotiria Bellou and
Tom Waits will Tango Till They're Sore
Cassandra Wilson's Redbone has a problem and
You Never Give Me Your Money, you Devil's Rubato Band
but I'll conspire with the Thievery Corporation and
I'll watch the smoke of a Lebanese Blonde go up in the air
Just For Now...


Today on The Sound of the City erase and rewind a teardrop with the 'in' crowd!

Fatboy Slim will Praise You. Roam if you want to with the B-52s. You Spin Me Round, Dead Or Alive, so I Don't Fear The Reaper in The Beautiful South.
Ramsey Lewis Trio play for The 'In' Crowd, but 'Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean' cries Ruth Brown. You Really Got A Hold On Me with those Beatles. Agnetha Faltskog asks "Fly Me To The Moon"; Quel Dommage for Jay Jay Johanson. The Cardigans Erase and Rewind a Teardrop by Jose Gonzalez, while at the Cornershop there's plenty of Norwegian Wood. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby, is a reminder by Kirsty MacColl but the Traveling Wilburys offer instructions to Handle With Care. I hope You Got It as Bonnie Raitt did. Meanwhile, before Bic Runga waves her Honest Goodbyes, just to let you know, Here I Am Baby (come and take me)!

This Saturday the Sound of the City looks behind the bookends for a cold cold heart

The Beatles sing I'm Only Sleeping
but Slumber Party respond I Don't Mind
Susanna Hoffs analyses the Look Of Love
Simon and Garfunkel spot A Hazy Shade Of Winter behind the Bookends, 
Norah Jones tries to melt a Cold Cold Heart
 and the Ikettes are Blue (shoo be do be do be do)
But As Tears Go By in the company of the Primitives
Joey Ramone sings to himself What a Wonderful World
Right before an Interlude by Diamanda Galas
Johnny Cash is after his own Personal Jesus
Lloyd Cole wonders if he's Man Enough
Jill Scott wants to know How It Make You Feel
Close Your Eyes for Bebel Gilberto 
Get On Top of Tim Buckley (woman!)
Let Billy Preston take you to Outa-Space...
...Oh Darling!

This Saturday The Sound of the City picks up the pieces of your evil ways, baby

Hank Williams Sr was a Ramblin' Man
Moloko Remain The Same
The Average White Band Pick Up the Pieces
Sly sings Just Like A Baby,
Anna (go to him)!
You've got to change your Evil Ways, Santana baby...
Is This The End, Miss Li? Is it 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, mr Simon?
Is it Your New Cuckoo by the old Cardigans?
It's Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
it's I Me Mine by Beth Orton.
It's Jasmine Kara and an Ordinary Joe, and Big City Love for Laleh
in a West L.A. Fadeaway setting prepared by Los Lobos.
But oh, If The Stars Were Mine and not Melody Gardot's...
you'd all be Flying like Nice Little Penguins

(but not necessary in that order ;-) )


This Saturday the Sound of The City sits up on the roof and stares somewhere beyond the sea

Bobby Darin waves from Somewhere Beyond The Sea. Hello Stranger, responds Barbara Lewis. Caetano Veloso dreams of Diana. Betty Everett finds the Shoop Shoop Song (it's in his kiss). The Merseybeats are still Wishin' & Hopin'. Count Basie plays a melody From Russia With Love and Nancy Sinatra sings about The Last of The Secret Agents. Chuck Berry flies Back In The USA, whereas the Beatles fly Back In The USSR. Jackie DeShannon knows What The World Needs Now. Mongo Santamaria is the Watermelon Man. The Breuer Sisters send a Little Kiss and The Zombies wonder, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? The Bobbettes look at Mr Lee while The Drifters sit Up On The Roof. The Capitols are fascinated by a Cool Jerk. Peter and Gordon refuse to live in A World Without Love. The Shirelles recall Mama Said there'll be days like this, with Lonesome Tears In My Eyes in the company of Los Lobos. The Supremes sing of a Baby Love but as the Troggs know, Love is All Around...

The Sound of the City lost in the wild wood at last!

This Will Be Our Year down there at the Beautiful South. Paul Weller and Portishead fight over Wild Wood. Macy Gray needs A Moment To Herself. Crying Shame says Jack Johnson about the progress of the world and Language Is A Virus, adds Laurie Anderson, while back in the day the Beatles thought, I've Got A Feeling ands Etta James considered that, At Last her lonely days were over. Lloyd Cole just had a Rolodex Incident, and Everything But The Girl describe a haunting Hatfield 1980. The Jesus and Mary Chain are Half Way To Crazy and Tom Waits witnesses them Tango 'Til They're Sore, in the reflection of a Moonriver sang by Fleury Dandonaki ...Baby One More Time down by The Fountains Of Wayne. Bebel Gilberto says there's No Return, but as Elvis Costello insists you're Innocent When You Dream...


This Saturday The Sound of The City follows strange angels over the rainbow

The Pierces Turn On Billie, Paul McCartney stumbles upon Distractions, while Melody Gardot lists the things she'd do If The Stars were Mine. Ben E. King, Stand By Me cause there's a Girlfriend In A Coma at the Grand Prix. Kirsty MacColl insists, 'You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby', so we dive into the Pogues' Blue Heaven, only to find ourselves surrounded by Madness in Our House. There's Always Something there To Remind me of Sandie Shaw. Arleta foresees the Cold Approaching. Jeff Buckley chants Hallelujah. Strange Angels are singing just for Laurie Anderson. The Fläskkvartetten are heading somewhere Over The Rainbow in fear of Those Winters that Jenny Wilson describes. All You Need Is Love, believe it or not! Don't smirk! Elvis Costello wants to know What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love And Understanding?

This Saturday the Sound of the City goes searching through our darkness for the young idealists

In My Life I came across Johnny Cash when he sang a song of John Lennon's after he went to the Strawberry Fields Forever. On occasion he was Watching The Wheels and thinking that Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out. Harper Simon gazed at Wishes and Stars, while Charlotte Gainsbourg was trying to grasp Everything I Cannot See. Crosby, Stills and Nash came together to perform a suite for Judy Blue Eyes. Amidst Our Darkness explored by Anne Clark, we followed a Sunray by Jesus and Mary Chain, going after a Downhill Racer and Everything But The Girl. We searched for the Young Idealists and found Lloyd Cole. In front of a Valley Winter Song stood the Fountains of Wayne. Bic Runga was trying to Get Some Sleep, and Two Of Us were standing solo, wearing raincoats in the sun...

"The Sound of the City" is the show that presents the essential pop music. It mixes old and new, as well as the endless variety of existing sub-genres, from silly love songs to weird nightmares,
from a whisper to a scream anything you want, you got it!


Danai Vlachou.

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