Volume Nine of the Play Playlist Lists will be the Opening Night mix for Lady Windermere’s Fan. The possibilities are limitless.
I have decided, though, to make a list of songs about gossip. It’s a play about gossip and scandal, more than anything, and the ways people protect themselves against it, or fall victim to it. And there are lots of good songs about gossip, so the problem is less the difficulty of coming up with songs and more choosing which songs (and versions of songs) to put on the mix. Still, this is my semi-traditional plea for recommendations: songs about gossip, please, in any style or genre.
Here’s a large double-handful of things I have come across already. I’ll note that the links are to YouTube, which often starts the video on loading the page, so restrict your workclickage accordingly. Also, I have started amusing myself, in making these mixes, by choosing less well-known recordings of the songs, which I am linking to; if y’all know of wonderful covers you should let me know.
- My favorite jazz trumpeter, Cootie Williams, co-wrote the “Concerto for Cootie”, which later got some lyrics added to it, and became Do Nothin’ til you Hear from Me; I’m considering using either the Gladys Knight version or Lena Horne.
- Another minor jazz classic is Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.
- The Mills Brothers do a Don Redman song called I Heard, which was also memorably done by Betty Boop.
- I also know Dirt Dishing Daisy (that’s Steve Gibson and the Red Caps) from the Mills Brothers version.
- I don’t know if anyone has ever covered Duke Ellington’s A Slip of the Lip (can sink a ship), though.
- The great Louis Jordan distributes the labor this way: You Run Your Mouth and I’ll Run My Business.
- I know this one from Elvis Costello doing it on a couple of live recordings, but Your Mind Is on Vacation, but Your Mouth Is Working Overtime is evidently a Mose Allison song. See also.
- While we’re on the blues, I like John Lee Hooker’s You Talk Too Much, but it really isn’t about gossip, just about talking a lot.
- I probably won’t use Bernard Cribbins’ses Gossip Calypso, but it’s an option.
- Which is where I’m at with The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane.
- I’m not altogether sure what the Ink Spots are singing about in Whispering Grass, but it seems to be about gossip, I guess.
- While Wake Up Little Susie isn’t about gossip, exactly, there’s stuff in there about reputation and so on; I think it counts.
- Similarly, Baby, It’s You just has a couple of lines about gossip, but those couple of lines are my favorite part of the song.
- There’s Maxine Brown’s Oh No Not My Baby, which is an excellent example of the sub-genre of songs in which the enamored hears rumors about the subject of affection.
- As is Marie’s the Name (of his latest flame).
- The classic, of course, is Heard it through the Grapevine, which will probably either open or close the playlist.
- And the obscurity is Kippington Lodge with Rumours.
- I am inclined also to include Lou Reed’s New York Telephone Conversation.
- The Eighties were an excellent time for songs about gossip, top among them Our Lips are Sealed.
- But also I Heard A Rumour.
- And the Timex Social Club, with Rumors. Remember them? Me neither.
- Moving on to the Nineties, there’s Something to Talk About, which is a pleasant enough song, although for some reason it doesn’t seem to have aged well.
- I Heard You Got Action by Pony Up! may get onto the mix solely because of the title; it’s not really a song about gossip, and isn’t even a very good song, but that title…
- And then it’s hard to leave off a song called Listen Up! by a band called Gossip! Alas, it’s not a song about gossip. Too bad.
- The most recent song I am familiar with is Adele’s Rumour Has It, which is a pretty good tune, actually.
There being so many songs that fit the category, I am uncertain about including the borderline ones, and even more uncertain about songs (such as Lovable or Baby, It’s You) in which there is a memorable line or two about gossip and reputation and so on and so forth, but in which it ain’t the real subject of the song.
So—What do you think about the ones I’ve started with? What am I missing? How should I put together the mix? I have a month, but (as usual) once I get to tech week, my time for messing about with mp3s is limited.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,