This playlist was already designed and being built via GarageBand when word came in that Philip Roth had died. Amy Rigby’s sardonic tribute to him, via an imagined email the author sent to Bob Dylan on the occasion of Dylan’s winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, is now all the more poignant. Roth never won that award, a fact decried by many for many years. (I love the subtle touch of the email addresses: Roth’s is on Gmail, Dylan’s AOL.)
More poignancy: finally getting to hear Prince’s original version of the song he wrote that Sinéad O’Connor made famous. To my ears, O’Connor’s remains the gold standard, but Prince is no slouch here. Word has it he wrote the song in 15 minutes.
While we’re on the subject of covers, Juliana Hatfield is apparently an unironic superfan of Olivia Newton-John. Not all of the songs she’s constructed a tribute album out of are brilliant but you can’t deny the passion she brings to it, and this one, “A Little More Love,” is fabulous.
And while on the subject of brilliance, “Tightrope” just never gets old. Let’s hear it for ELO, too long shunned when they should have been celebrated.
As for Martha Jean Love, I have no idea who she is and neither, it seems, does the internet. Her two singles have been coveted rarities in the Northern Soul community for quite a while; “Don’t Want You To Leave Me” was, of course, the b-side, as is the Northern Soul inclination. YouTube makes such songs less difficult to hear than they used to be, but the vinyl remains valuable—I notice a near mint single selling currently via Discogs for $87.
Full playlist below the widget.
“Beware of Darkness” – George Harrison (All Things Must Pass, 1970)
“Army of Clay” – Belly (Dove, 2018)
“Nothing Compares 2 U” – Prince (unreleased single, 1984)
“Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes” – Charlotte Gainsbourg (IRM, 2009)
“Happy” – Mitski (Puberty 2, 2016)
“Tightrope” – Electric Light Orchestra (A New World Record, 1978)
“I Try” – Macy Gray (On How Life Is, 1999)
“Sentimental Walk” – Vladimir Cosma (Diva: Original Soundtrack, 1981)
“Today” – Jefferson Airplane (Surrealistic Pillow, 1967)
“Waiting For My Friends” – De Novo Dahl (De Novo Dahl EP, 2003)
“A Little More Love” – Juliana Hatfield (Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, 2018)
“Going in Circles” – The Friends of Distinction (Grazin’, 1969)
“Modern Love” – Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel, 1977)
“From firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com” – Amy Rigby (The Old Guys, 2018)
“Mimi On the Beach” – Jane Siberry (No Borders Here, 1984)
“Place Out There” – Ass Ponys (Electric Rock Music, 1994)
“Hunter” – Dido (No Angel, 2001)
“It’s Her Factory” – Gang of Four (Yellow EP, 1979)
“Don’t Want You To Leave Me” – Martha Jean Love (b-side, 1964)
“The King Is Half-Undressed” – Jellyfish (Bellybutton, 1992)