A Musical A-Z: Y

After the problems with ‘X’, ‘Y’ is a breeze. More a case of what to leave out this time. Please play along. Any song, album, artist, or band. As long as the name begins with ‘Y’.

This is a 1998 song from the American Indie band, New Radicals. As far as I know, it was a definite one hit wonder, but what a hit it was! I loved this song back then, even though I never actually bought the album it came from. I still play it on You Tube, at least once a week. It cheers me up, no end.
And as well as that, it’s a truly great pop song. At least I think so.
You Get What You Give

The Lovin’ Spoonful, with the glorious lead vocals of John Sebastian, were one of the great sounds of the 1960s. Their big hit, ‘Do You Believe In Magic’, is one of my favourite songs of all time. Most of us will also remember that summer anthem, ‘Summer In The City’ too. Fortunately, they have an equally good song that begins with a ‘Y’. Back to that Summer Of Love, on a cloud…
You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice

English singer-songwriter James Morrison had a huge hit with his debut album in 2006, and won a Brit Award for this single from that. He went on to have another huge hit, a duet with Nelly Furtado, and wrote many songs performed by other artists. Still performing and recording now, here’s that award-winning song. Great stuff!
You Give Me Something.

British duo Yazoo consisted of singer Alison Moyet, and musician Vince Clarke. Vince went on to form the successful band Erasure, and Alison has enjoyed a popular solo career. Back in 1982, they released this song, showcasing her powerful voice, and his talent for electronic pop music. It was a big hit, big enough to launch two careers. Alison’s voice is just great!
Only You

I couldn’t let ‘Y’ go by without featuring one of my favourite songs from the American group, The Young Rascals. Despite being released in 1967, this song is as fresh today as it ever was. A real timeless classic. Just lay your head back, and drift away.
Groovin’

Bernard Butler used to be in the British band Suede. He later teamed up with singer Mark McAlmont and recorded this quite wonderful song, in 1995. They had some other hits, but nothing came close to this cleverly-constructed orchestral classic.
Yes

I loved this song back in 1994. British singer Des’ree had a short lived career, with only three hits in the UK, and one in the US. But she made some great songs, and they hung around in the charts for months at a time. You might think you have never heard of her. Listen to this, and think again.
You Gotta Be

My top pick today is a song that everybody knows. But this is the original version, by the wonderfully talented woman who wrote it. Now associated with other powerful female solo singers, just forget all of them, and relish the original. From one of the best albums ever released, Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’, in 1971.
You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman

‘Y’ is huge So off you go, and enjoy yourselves.

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50 thoughts on “A Musical A-Z: Y

  1. Not sure this one has been mentioned, but ‘Your Song’ by Elton John is a favourite of mine, not that I am a fan of his or even have any of his albums, but this song was popular at the time of my first love and the words were very significant.

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  2. Wow, kind of an eclectic playlist! From kicking Courtney Love’s behind to mellowing out with Carole King. I love that New Radical’s song, and every tune on Tapestry. I’ve heard Erasure, but didn’t know Yazoo at all – – Alison Moyet has a neat voice, but I could really do without the Flock of Seagulls guy with the toy synthesizer. I also never heard of James Morrison, good stuff! that song’s got a great retro soul sound, I’d have thought he’s been hanging around Detroit, not UK. The Lovin’ Spoonful is one of my dad’s favorites, and shows how light, pop music can be memorable and excellent.
    And By Hook Or By Book has a great list, too (Yea! for “YMCA” we all just have to admit we love that tune)
    Surprised I don’t think anyone listed Yo La Tengo – – I was persuaded to get some of their albums but never really got into them, but in the US, the music writers have fawned over them, for decades. “Autumn Sweater” is kind of cool, I guess they borrowed the funeral parlor organ from Ray Manzarek and the Doors.
    And here’s another heretic idea: I don’t get why the Yardbirds were a big deal, I just don’t care for Clapton (ducking for cover now).
    Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” is classic, an example of how you never know what will appeal – – thin, almost whiney voice, and it doesn’t matter, I just love that song. OK I think I actually stuck with the letter “Y” per the rulebook, cheers!

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    1. I try to encompass all genres when I can, Robert. The ‘Flock of Seagulls guy’, Vince Clarke, is something of a musical legend here. Before Yazoo, he was the man behind Depeche Mode, then went on to huge success with Erasure, as well as writing and producing for many others. He is notoriously shy, and rarely interviewed.
      I had never heard of Yo La Tengo until I saw it typed in your comment, in all honesty. I put them into You Tube and hit a pallid cover of ‘Friday I’m In Love’, the great song from The Cure. A pointless cover, if I ever heard one.
      I was a big fan of The Yardbirds in the early days. But I didn’t even know who Clapton was then, and just liked the song ‘For Your Love’. Keith Relf had a good voice for that kind of song. I looked him up today, and was shocked to discover he died in 1976, electrocuted by a badly-earthed electric guitar!
      I really never did like the Village People, not even YMCA. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. I hadn’t known about Keith Relf, I thought that guitar electrocution was an urban legend, like something from Spinal Tap. I did a news search and apparently, dangerous shocks aren’t uncommon, but fatalities, thankfully, are very rare. Close calls: Les Paul, Keith Richards, the Dead at Woodstock. Prince, and Squeeze at Jones Beach (1988) were mentioned as living dangerously, playing in the driving rain. There apparently is a cable show, called Rock & Roll Acid Test, which had an episode called “Light ‘Em Up” about electrocution, but couldn’t find it on YouTube.
        Personally, I’ve found there’s a lot of highly respected music I didn’t take to, at the first listen, including Billie Holliday, Kronos Quartet, Brian Eno, and then came to appreciate. As I indicated, I’m not a fan of Yo La Tengo, “pallid cover” is dead center, but it fascinates me that there’s a ton of music writers that haven’t tired of praising them for longer than I’ve been alive.

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  3. Carole King’s Tapestry is one of my favourite albums. I practically wore it out back in the ’70s.
    Here is one for you that you may never have heard of, a double Y 🙂
    Yothu Yindi

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      1. My ‘Aussie’ son used to send me CDs by Australian and New Zealand artists, so I have a few. Plus I got ‘sold’ listening to music when travelling on buses etc. This is a great series and if you don’t mind I will backtrack when I am back home and add some of the more obscure artists I have. Love reminiscing over the oldies!!

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  4. I know I’m only diving in occasionally, despite my resolve to read all the posts in the series, but I’d like to add a mention for Yello. I couldn’t get enough of them in the 80’s. Probably best know for their music in the Films Ferris Buellers Day Off and, my favourite, Nuns on the Run.
    I love so many more, including most of your choices, and my collection of second hand vinyl includes quite a few Yes albums, so I must dust them off and give a listen again 🙂

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    1. I remembered a Yello song called The Race. I had to look it up to be sure, but it was the one. That riff is used so often on soundtracks, it’s very familiar. Not my thing perhaps, but a very unsual choice, so thanks.
      Cheers, Pete.

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  5. I can think of only one musician that hasn’t been mentioned yet–Yanni.
    Songs:
    Yahweh – U2
    Yankee Doodle – Traditional
    Yes It Is/ Yesterday – Beatles
    Yesterday – Imagine Dragon’s
    Yesterday Once More -Carpenters
    You – George Harrison
    You and I – Lady Gaga
    You and Me Against the World – Helen Reddy
    You and the Night and the Music – Frank Sinatra
    You Are My Sunshine -Ray Charles
    You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson
    You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder
    You Better You Bet – The Who
    You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
    You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones
    You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond
    You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – David Bowie
    You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi
    You Have Been Loved – George Michael
    You Keep Me Hangin’ On – Supremes
    You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse
    You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone
    Y.M.C.A. Village People (I’m only adding this because my father absolutely loved this song, much to my eternal embarrassment!)

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  6. Ups, it’s all been called!
    My favourite Yes song is Awaken. Old Man and Out on the weekend of Neil Young!

    Thanks for Yakety Yak – I don`t know when I’ve heard that the last time! 🙂

    I add: Carly Simon with You`re so vain and Elton John with Your song.

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  7. As a fan of 70’s progressive rock, I’d add YES to this list, with either their 70’s “Your Move (All Good People)”, or their 80’s hit “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” – and using last names, I’d add the great Neil Young with “Old Man” – and finally, let me annoy you Pete – “Yellow Submarine!”

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    1. My favourite Yes song is ‘Yours Is No Disgrace’. But I left them for others to comment on. I will accept your love of the awful ‘Yellow Submarine’, but only because it’s you! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  8. “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” Ohio Express, “Yankee Rose” by David Lee Roth, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” BTO, ….we could go on forever with the “you” I’ll be a dude and leave some for others….peace out….chuq

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  9. I knew there’d be lots of “You-type” songs so I kept thinking about it. The cable co. I have has a lot of music channels and they love to play “Yakety Yak” and my oldie contribution is “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby”. [a lot better than I did with “X”!!]

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