This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Recently Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I saw Coldplay perform a song called Paradise on TV. Both of us mentioned that we could think of several better songs with the same name.
We pretty much simultaneously came up with The Choirboys, John Prine and Tony Bennett. Others weren’t far behind. Naturally, in the way of these things, it led to this column that I originally called Paradise but The A.M. thought that “Run to Paradise” was a more interesting name, and so it shall be.
Since the column is called Run to Paradise, that’s the way we’re starting. These are THE CHOIRBOYS.
The Choirboys are a rock band formed in Sydney in the tail-end of the seventies and still going to this day. Singer Mark Gable and bass player Ian Hulme are the constants throughout their journey and a dozen or more others have come and gone over the years.
This is the song, a huge hit in Oz.
JOHN PRINE was another initial thought.
The writer Simon Winchester told me (and all the others listening to the radio at the time) that there are 18 towns in America called Paradise. Due to John's song, the town in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky is probably the most famous.
Ironically, though, the town no longer exists as it was dug up by Mr Peabody's coal company.
JOHNNY NASH is best known for his song, I Can See Clearly Now. That one has nothing to do with paradise so it won't be in today.
Johnny is more associated with reggae music which he recorded in Jamaica even though he's Texas born and bred. He was also a song writer and started a record company (that signed the Cowsills, if you can believe that).
His song is Halfway to Paradise, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
If there’s a possibility of getting BUDDY HOLLY into a column you can pretty much be sure that I'll include him, and here he is.
This is how Buddy and the Crickets originally recorded this tune without the overdubs of extra instruments and voices that I think detract from other versions of the song. The song is Fool's Paradise.
TONY BENNETT had to be present because his contribution is one that pretty much every reader of this column would know.
I really don't need to tell you anything about this one; anyone who reads this column would know Stranger in Paradise.
Here is another Australian performer because there are quite a number of people, okay, a hell of a lot, who claim that Australia is as close to paradise as you can get on this planet.
You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment. I'll just give you GRAEME CONNORS.
I'll also just let Graeme tell it like it is On the Edge of Paradise.
ELVIS, in contrast, suggests that Any Place is Paradise.
Well, if anyone would know whether that were so it'd be Elvis (except that he really didn't go anywhere much, so it may be a little problematic).
If CHARLES BROWN seems to be in the mix there’s no way he could be left out if the A.M. has any say in the matter. Which, of course, she does. With this column anyway.
The song has the same name as the one by Buddy, but it’s a different one. Fool's Paradise.
MARCIA BALL's background in Louisiana is obvious in the next song.
That's a good thing for fans of music from that area (of which the A.M. and I are two). She sings of yet another place that's paradise no longer – there are far too many of those. The song is This Used to Be Paradise.
I wasn’t going to include the next one but the A.M. insisted that it be present. The tune is an exercise in overblown-ness (if such a word exists – it should to describe this track). Here for your delectation is MEATLOAF.
Mr Loaf's song is from his phenomenally successful "Bat out of Hell" album. It's called Paradise by the Dashboard Light. He has the help of Ellen Foley on the track.
I trust that you all had a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
a flask of wine, a book of verse - and somebody or other
beside you singing in the wilderness,
and that wilderness was Paradise enow.