Thursday, February 14, 2019

Three Great Wake-Up Songs

Ingeborg Von Agassiz @ Cedar Lounge
Every morning at precisely 7:00 a.m. my father would go downstairs, turn up the furnace and turn on the radio in the kitchen, its dial perpetually set to WOR in New York, the Rambling With Gambling show. If memory serves me well, 7 to 7:15 was news and then the actual show would begin, almost always some kind of cheerful, upbeat music leading into it. One song that John Gambling liked to play was Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Another was a song with no lyrics that was all whistling, as in a marching band. There may have even been some Mitch Miller material in there, I can't recall. What I do recall is "upbeat" being the theme, a feel good lift to launch you into the new day.

This all came to mind when someone on social media asked, "If you had to spend the rest of your life with only one wake up song, what would it be?"

I didn't have to think very hard about it. Three came immediately to mind, not necessarily in this order. I don't play music in the morning when I get up except inside my head. At different times each of these has been my waking accompaniment at one time or another.

New Morning by Bob Dylan
I couldn't find the original version from Dylan's New Morning album, but over the course of near 50 years now this song has given me a lift. The opening cut from side two, here's the first stanza:

Can't you hear that rooster crowin'? 
Rabbit runnin' down across the road 
Underneath the bridge where the water flowed through 
So happy just to see you smile 
Underneath the sky of blue 
On this new morning, new morning 
On this new morning with you

New Morning was one of several early post-motorcycle crash albums, the first track of the album being "If Not For You." What intrigued me was how George Harrison recorded that opener on his first solo album, but the you seemed clearly God-directed, "If not for You."

In light of Harrison's interpretation, I often felt Dylan's own version was really in that vein. And in light of this perspective, the song "New Morning" could be given a similar slant. In the bridge where he sings, "The night passed away so quickly, it always does when you're with me" sounds like a night spent with a lover, but could easily be a metaphorical image. The darkness comes into our lives, but it's always followed by a new morning. "Thank you, Lord. It always does when You're with me."

However you want to interpret it, it's a nice wake up song.

Good Day, Sunshine
The Beatles produced so many great songs that never get old. And if you want to wake up with a spring in your step, the opening reps of "Good Day Sunshine" will take you there. George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" from Abbey Road is a nice runner-up from the Beatles catalog.

Oh What A Morning
Duluth singer-songwriter/performer Ingeborg Von Agassiz may not be a household name, but her album O Giver of Dreams became an immediate favorite for me as I listened to it enough times to internalize much of the material. For a couple weeks straight I woke ever day with the intro to "Oh, What A Morning" as my accompaniment. Great way to start your day.

Here's a fun video to get you familiar with the song.

Here's another video of Ingeborg performing the song live in the KUMD studio here in Duluth. I share it only to show how the song has been constructed.

* * * *
Well, if you're a little slow getting up to face the day, any one of these might be a good addition to your internal playlist. And if that doesn't work, try Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.

* * * *
Today on Medium I saw this article on How to Wake Up Smiling. It has nothing to do with music. The title corresponded to our theme here, so I have added it. Some good suggestions for a better life.

Happy Valentine's Day.


Anonymous said...

The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun is on Revolver, not Abbey Road!!

LarryK said...

Arlo Gutlhrie: "Oh, In the Morning"...Luis Bonfa: "Manhia de Carneval"...Riohard and Mimi Farina: "Good Morning Teaspoon"..."Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" (many versions)...LarryK

Ed Newman said...

Thanks, anon. I often make an error, but in this case I believe you are mistaken. Here Comes The Sun opens side 2 of Abbey Road.

Larry, thanks for the suggestions. They brought to mind a song from the musical Oliver that I used to like when much younger... Good Morning Starshine.