Vanity thy name is Suzanne.. or how a name can inspire great music

Well it is coming up to Christmas, and if we weren’t snowed in we would be in party mode by now. The cancellation of my Christmas work do yesterday left me at home listening to favourite Christmas songs and checking out posts on the Blog Up North Musical Advent Calendar that has come up with some wonderful, and sometimes little known, Christmas tracks. Have a look – you may find some alternatives to Mariah Carey, which in my view can only be a good thing.

Anyway, one song featured was by a group called Hurts, who released a single called ‘Wonderful Life’ earlier this year. I noticed as I was playing their album on Spotify that the track features a girl called ‘Suzie’, which is the name I am generally known by. It is short for Suzanne, a name I love and which I would use more often if it didn’t remind me of times as a child when I was on the proverbial naughty step. It is much harder to be cross with someone called Suzie in my experience.

Anyway, Hurts reminded me of other songs that use my name, either in the body of the song, or as the title so I thought I would share with you my favourites. It is rather vain I suppose but it has been fun to research tracks I may never have come across before, and I recommend everyone to give it a go with their own name as a fun snowed-in occupation. So thank you Him Up North for the inspiration and I hope there is something for everyone here. If you have any others, let me know!

Suzanne Beware of the Devil – Dandy Livingstone. I think this was released in about 1972. It was one of the first 7″ singles I ever bought when I wasn’t much taller than the counter in Woollies:

Sorry Suzanne – The Hollies. Bit young to remember this one (1969 I think), but love it nonetheless. (bear with the link through to YouTube – it’s a copyright issue)

I Love You Suzanne – Lou Reed. Not sure this is Lou at his best, but I quite like the idea of Lou Reed singing to me…

Suzie – Boy Kill Boy. Now this is a fab song, and the original video is great too. This was the band’s debut single (although they have disbanded now which is a great pity) and I like the thought of it opening the Reading Festival…

Suzie Q – Creedence Clearwater Revival. Now this is the best cover of a song originally released in the 1950’s. Definitely a song I have come to later in life but love the guitar on this one. (Another link to YouTube)

Suzanne – Leonard Cohen. Frankly, this is one of the best songs ever, on my Desert Island Discs and not just because I like the sound of my own name. This video is a live version with Judy Collins, and this Suzanne sounds like the sort of girl I would love to have been….

I know I have left out The Everly Brothers but God forgive me I find that song irritating, and neither is Crocodile Rock my favourite Elton John Song, despite Suzie having so much fun. So I have missed those out. However, I must include the song that inspired this post. Hurts are a relatively new band with an old sort of ’80’s ’90s style which is a little derivative but they may be the next big thing. If so – I am glad their biggest hit so far Wonderful Life uses my name and that the Suzie in the song seems to be something of a heroine.

It is fun to live one’s life through music isn’t it?

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8 Responses to Vanity thy name is Suzanne.. or how a name can inspire great music

  1. Him Up North says:

    Hi Suzie. Thanks for the linkback. In addition to your list, Journey have a song called Suzanne too, as do Styx. You can tell my taste in music, can’t you? Like a bit of Laughing Len Cohen though too. :-)

  2. JulieB says:

    I am very envious – what a cool selection! I have to make do with Shakin’ Stevenson and Oh Julie. Cringeworthy!

  3. LOVE IT…. Of course Leonard Cohen sprung up immediately in my head…. lovely song (well, love ALL his songs, pretty much)…I get a name check from him too….Famous Blue Raincoat (and Jane came, by, with a lock of his hair….)
    My faves include the Stones – Lady Jane; Lou Reed – Sweet Jane and Nick Drake – Hazey Jane….
    Might have to nick this idea at some point – it’s SO good. But how do you get the links from youTube so neatly?? I can’t get them to post properly on my blog.
    jxxx

  4. Rod Miller says:

    Brilliant . . . and such memory jerkers! Have a brilliant Christmas – Rod

  5. Bethan says:

    Hi Suzie, there’s also a lovely track by the lovely Hope Sandoval (of Mazzy Star) called Suzanne that I’d recommend if like me you enjoy dreamy acoustic melancholia and gender-ambiguous lyrics. I’ve yet to hear my name in a song, I could never find it on any mugs or other merchandise as a child either unless I was in Wales. I love your writing and ideas and I miss you lots, we really should get together sometime X

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