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This One’s For the Birds

May 12, 2019

Ah, It’s Springtime, the season of flowers, ample sunshine (well at least some of the time) and many active birds. In fact, on just a couple of our recent walks along the river near our house, we’ve either seen or heard about 20 different species of birds. This has included the tufted titmouse, black capped chickadee, nuthatch, American robin, cardinal, blue jay, mourning dove, crow, Canadian goose, gull, wood duck, mallard, baltimore oriole, bluebird, red-winged blackbird, blue heron, white egret, among others that I have forgotten. So in honor of our fine-feathered friends, I thought I would create a list of my favorite songs with “birds” or bird types in the title. Per usual, it includes my strong preference for those rock and pop songs from the 1960s and 1970s. So here is a list of twenty-five favorites with songs alphabetically by bird type with generic bird songs last:

  1. “Albatross” -Fleetwood Mac (1968) – A nice guitar-led, instrumental rock song from the early years of Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green on guitar) before Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham joined the group. Originally a single,  “Albatross” was later included on a UK compilation album, fittingly entitled The Pious Bird of Good Omen.
  2. “Bat Out of Hell”- Meatloaf (1978)- Ok, I can hear you saying, “Doesn’t Bruce know that a bat is NOT a bird?” Well, I like this rock song a lot so I have decided to stretch the definition to include flying rodents too.
  3. “Blackbird” -Beatles (1968) – One of McCartney’s best solo composition while with the Beatles. Beautiful and haunting.
  4. “Bluebird”- Paul McCartney (1973) –  With the Wings group in shambles during the Band on the Run recording sessions (only Paul, Linda and Denny Laine were left as members), this song was a nice breezy pop song by Paul with very nice harmonies from Linda and Denny.
  5. “Bluebird”- Buffalo Springfield (1967) – Same title but a very different, up-tempo, melodious rock song written by Stephen Stills.
  6. “Voices in the Sky” – Moody Blues (1968) – Bluebird flying high, tell me what you say” – A nice composition and great vocal by Justin Hayward. Though bluebird is not in the title, I made an understandable exception for the Moody Blues.
  7. “Blue Jay Way” – Beatles (1967)– This George Harrison composition thought not his best, was interesting and fit right in with the psychedelic sound of much of the rest of Magical Mystery Tour album particularly the avant-garde “I Am the Walrus”
  8. “Dixie Chicken”- Little Feat(1973) – This is the signature song of this group which spanned most of the 1970s. A pretty good song as well.
  9. When Doves Cry” – Prince (1984) – Prince’s most popular song of his long career from the movie Purple Rain. Not my favorite by him, I prefer “1999” and “Let’s Go Crazy”, but still a very good song.
  10. “Edge of Seventeen (Just Like The White Winged Dove)” – Stevie Nicks (1982) – I must admit when I finally saw the record I was surprised it wasn’t called “white winged dove”, though it does make it into the parentheses of the official song title. It’s my favorite solo effort by Stevie Nicks.
  11. “Fly Like an Eagle” – Steve Miller (1977)- One of Steve Miller’s most popular songs with music that literally soars like an eagle.
  12. “Hummingbird” -Seals and Crofts (1972) – My favorite song by Seals and Crofts combines an exquisite tune with excellent harmonies. Not only that but it’s about one of my favorite birds which I love watching on our back deck. (Anne, please get the hummingbird feeder out!)
  13. “Mockingbird”- James Taylor and Carly Simon (1974) – The original by Inez and Charlie Foxx is also good, but always loved this duet from pop music’s top couple of the 1970s.
  14. Skyline Pigeon -Elton John (1972) – Another excellent piano song by Elton which I only recently rediscovered when I finally decided to buy Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player album.
  15. “Fly Robin Fly” – Silver Convention (1975)- Though I generally dislike disco music, this very popular song was not that bad and the chorus seems to always come to mind when I see a robin in flight.
  16. “Rockin’ Robin” – Bobby Day(1958)- Michael Jackson’s remake is better known, but I prefer Bobby Day’s original. Hard to see the robins congregating on our lawn and not think of this tune.
  17. “Little Red Rooster”Rolling Stones (1965) – An interesting blues song from “The Rolling Stones Now” album (1965). The song is a remake of a Willie Dixon original blues song first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961.
  18. “Cold Turkey” -Plastic Ono Band (1969) – A great hard rocker by Lennon with an important assist from Eric Clapton on guitar. Naturally, the song wasn’t about a turkey at all but rather the pain of kicking drugs “cold turkey”. However, one could be forgiven if upon hearing it three days after Thanksgiving one believed that the song was also about getting tired of eating cold turkey sandwiches.
  19. “The Vultures Fly High” – Renaissance (1975) – Though I prefer the group’s Turn of the Cards album, this short song from their Scheherazade album is also excellent. And as always Annie Haslam’s exquisite vocals soar!
  20. “White Bird”- Its a Beautiful Day (1969)  – In a similar vein as Renaissance, It’s a Beautiful Day was a progressive rock band that used orchestral sounds, electric violin and classical-style compositions. Both their best and best known song is “White Bird”, a beautiful soft rock classic.
  21. “Yellow Bird” – Mills Brothers (1959) – This Caribbean standard has been performed or recorded by countless folk, calypso and other pop groups and reached  #4 on the pop charts in 1961 in Arthur Lyman’s instrumental vibraphone version. However, it was the Mills Brothers who sang it the best. “Did your lady friend leave the nest again? That is very sad makes me feel so bad”.
  22. “Free Bird” -Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974) – Written as a tribute to Duane Allman after his death. A rock anthem and rock jam classic.
  23. “Songbird” – Fleetwood Mac (1977) – A beautiful Christine McVie love song, one of her best. “And the songbirds keep singing, like they know the score…”
  24. “Surfin’ Bird” – The Trashmen (1963) – I love this garage rock classic. “Bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word”!
  25. “The Birds and Bees”- Jewel Akins (1965)- “Let me tell you about the birds and the bees and the flowers and trees and the moon up above…”

Honorable Mention– “Birds”- Neil Young (1970), “Songbird”-Kenny G (1987), Night Owls – Little River Band (1981), “Rubber Duckie”- Ernie (1970)

Honorable Group Mentions– The Eagles, The Flamingoes, The Byrds, Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows

Dishonorable Mention: Disco Duck- Rick Dees (1976)

 

 

From → Music 60s70s

2 Comments
  1. Geoff Braine permalink

    No “El Condor Pasa”?

  2. I knew it! As hard as I tried, its hard to catch everyone of the bird songs. Even went thru the entire S&G collection and missed it.
    At any rate, this would have made the list (particularly since it is the only “condor” song that I know of). “Yes I would if only I could”

    P.S. please like this post on facebook as well as on the brainetrust.com. For some reason, very few people are seeing my posts these days. (Probably I have been branded subversive or dangerous by FB ;) )

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