Songs of the Week

The Rolling Stone magazine interview asked, “What are your favorite songs about days of the week?” I got to thinking…

Although Monday is probably the most dreaded day of the week — Maybe The Mamas & The Papas put that into our collective consciousness: “Every other day of the week is fine.”… — there is no shortage of awesome songs about it. Here are three favorites:

“On a Monday” by Ry Cooder is a 1941 Leadbelly song that manages to actually mention all seven days of the week. Cooder covers it masterfully on his second album Into the Purple Valley (1972). (FWIW, this album also makes my all-time top ten cover art list.)

For something newer, “Monday (Every Time I Turn Around)” is off the Bottle Rockets latest release, 2016’s South Broadway Athletic Club.

And in the classic chestnut category, we have “Stormy Monday.” Written and first recorded by T-Bone Walker in 1947, there are countless versions: Allman Brothers, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Albert Collins, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, and on and on. File this song under classic blues. I’m partial to the Allman Brothers’ version. That part of the song when Gregg’s (RIP) organ solo kicks in never fails to tingle my spine.

For Tuesday, I’m going with Stevie Wonder’s “Tuesday Heartbreak” (Off 1972’s classic Talking Book), perhaps because it “…seems to be a drag.” A shout-out also goes out to the Rolling Stones for “Ruby Tuesday” (1967, way before the restaurant opened…;-).

Both Wednesday and Thursday offer slim pickings. Honors go to Lisa Loeb’s “Waiting for Wednesday” (1995) and to David Bowie (RIP) for “Thursday’s Child” (1999). Both songs are great, but both those days are wide open for all you aspiring musicians out there.

Turning to the weekend, the choices are many. I’ve got two for each day. I never tire of The Cure’s infectious “Friday I’m in Love” (1992… Can you believe that song is a quarter-century old?!?). And for many years I’ve played Steely Dan’s “Black Friday” (1975) in my history classes when our study evolves to The Great Depression and I’m trying to set the mood: “When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna stand down by the door; And catch the grey men when they dive off the 14th Floor.”

For Saturday, we got punk and fast with Graham Parker’s “Saturday Nite is Dead.” (Off his magnificent Squeezing Out Sparks, 1979) And we got poignant and slow with Tom Waits’ “The Heart of Saturday Night” (1974). Always love me some Tom Waits: “Tell me, is it the crack of the pool ball? The neon buzzin’? Telephone is ringin’… it’s your second cousin.”

Sticking with the punk/fast and poignant/slow dichotomy, Sunday kicks off the way it does for so many of us with the “Sunday Papers” (1979). This particular edition is served up by Joe Jackson. From there, we come down (literally) with Kris Kristofferson’s 1969 masterpiece, “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” (You know how country singer/songwriters sometimes joke about being “Road Scholars”? Well, Kristofferson really was a Rhodes Scholar!) “I stumble through my clothes in my closet to find my cleanest dirty shirt.”

That makes for a good week. Got any songs to add to the list?

Onward, Malcolm Gauld