Welcome to Autumn: Songs of the Season by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Kinks, U2, White Stripes, Green Day, Yo La Tengo, ABBA and More
This afternoon, as Rocks Off was editing an article for next week's print edition, I realized it will be October when the issue hits the stands next week. Where has the year gone?
Where all the other ones go, I guess. Rocks Off can also already feel himself growing more introspective and reflectory, so it must be getting toward fall, and indeed the autumnal equinox was yesterday. I thought I'd do a little research - i.e. Googling "songs about autumn" - to see what kind of playlist I could come up with to mark the change of season.
Let's start with George Duke's beautiful 1934 ballad "Autumn In New York," as sung by U.S. pop singer Jo Stafford, who passed away earlier this year at age 90. (Talk about autumnal.) Also, can someone please tell me what "first nighting" is?
Closer to home, there's George Strait's "Chill of an Early Fall," the title track to his 1991 album. Look at the pretty trees, which I might add don't seem especially fall-like...
They're not all this melancholy. OK, they mostly are. Brew up a hot mug of cider and see what other songs might turn your green leaves to gold.
Frank Sinatra must have had an affinty for autumn, because two of his signature songs contain "September" in their titles. First here's his version of German Threepenny Opera composer Kurt Weill's "September Song."
Willie Nelson also did "September Song" on his smash 1978 album Stardust:
Back to the Chairman. 1965 brought "September of My Years," which has always been one of Rocks Off's favorite Sinatra songs:
Neil Diamond chimed in about this month on the title song of 1979's September Morn. Think he'll do this one at Toyota Center next month?
Also in 1979, Earth, Wind & Fire reminded us that just because the days are getting shorter, that's no reason not to dance. (Told you I'd throw an up-tempo song or two.) Dig the groovy '70s video effects!
Since September was so well covered, U2 decided to name their 1981 album after the next month. Bono and the boyos break into "New Year's Day" about halfway through here - part of their legendary 1983 gig at Red Rocks, finally about to be issued on DVD - which technically falls in winter, but we'll let it slide just this once.
It doesn't get much better than Nat King Cole singing the popular French song "Autumn Leaves" ("les feuilles mortes"), also recorded by Edith Piaf, among others:
Speaking of dead leaves, this White Stripes song is probably about autumn.
La la la, it's the Kinks, whose "Autumn Almanac" was a chapter in 1972's Kink Kronikles:
No trouble guessing which season it is on this moody Moody Blues classic, from London's Royal Albert Hall
Sometime after the gold rush (around 1991-'92), Neil Young penned this ode to a "Harvest Moon":
Yo La Tengo wrapped themselves in an "Autumn Sweater" on the New Jersey indie-rock gods' 1997 album of the same name; it's since become a staple of their live shows.
Wayward Welshmen Manic Street Preachers - who, as you can tell from the crowd, are much bigger across the pond than here, where they'd be lucky to fill Rudyard's - break out the Waterboys widescreen chords on the anthemic "Autumnsong," from last year's comeback album of sorts, Send Away the Tigers:
Green Day pleaded for someone to "Wake Me Up When September Ends" on 2004's American Idiot. This is still hard for me to watch without getting choked up a little. Stupid war.
Finally, ABBA's "When All Is Said and Done" - released at a time, 1981's The Visitors, when it pretty much was all said and done for the Swedish pop juggernaut - has references to "the autumn chill" and "when the summer's over." And so it is...
It may make everyone else sad, but due to the gorgeous weather, heavy concentration of touring shows and proximity to Rocks Off's birthday, autumn has always been my favorite time in Texas. Of course, to most people around here, it means one thing and one thing only: football. Maybe we'll do that next time. - Chris Gray