Songs for a Monday morning

by Patrick S. Pemberton

McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

24 September 2007


Aw, geez—not Monday again.

Did somebody fast forward time during the weekend? Because it seems like it ought to be Sunday right now. Yet here we are, five long days before the next reprieve from our weekly toils.

Yes, Mondays can be downright depressing but fortunately, we have music to help us through them.

While you’re lamenting about how you need just one more day to unwind, play one of our Top 10 Monday songs:

“I Don’t Like Mondays” (Boomtown Rats)

On Jan. 29, 1978, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer started shooting at an elementary school located across from her San Diego home, wounding eight students and killing a custodian and the school principal. When asked why she did it, Spencer replied, “I don’t like Mondays.” Then she added, “This livens up the day.” Spencer remains in prison. The lyrically dark song she inspired has since been covered by Tori Amos and Bon Jovi.

“Rainy Days and Mondays” (The Carpenters)

Paul Williams of “Muppet Movie” fame co-wrote this with Roger Nichols. According to songfacts.com, Williams said the song was inspired in part by feeling down as an out-of-work actor and by lines from his mother, who was “feeling old” at the time. Williams actually wrote some of the song in his car. The group Fifth Dimension passed on recording it—their loss. The Carpenters made it a huge hit.

“Call It a Stormy Monday” (T-Bone Walker)

This blues standard, covered by dozens of artists through the years, is considered a breakthrough song for electric guitar. (B.B. King said it inspired him to pick up the instrument.) The song’s simple lyrics don’t only castigate Mondays: “But Tuesday’s just as bad/Lord, and Wednesday’s worse.”

“New Moon on Monday” (Duran Duran)

The song’s opening line—“Shake up the picture the lizard mixture”—won’t help anyone trying to figure out its meaning. But it’s definitely a love song. The video showed members of the band organizing a revolt against an oppressive regime.

“Blue Monday” (New Order)

New Order front man Peter Hook said he was reading about Fats Domino while writing this song. “He had a song called `Blue Monday,’” he told the Guardian, “and it was a Monday and we were all miserable so I thought, `Oh, that’s quite apt.’” With a drum pattern inspired by a Donna Summer B-side, “Blue Monday” is credited—for better or worse—with starting the synth-pop wave in America in the early 80s.

“Blue Monday” (Fats Domino)

Scientists have actually named the last Monday of January Blue Monday because it supposedly marks the week most likely to bring on the blues due to bad weather, Christmas debts and broken New Year’s resolutions. Fats Domino’s personal Blue Monday arrived on Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home, pianos and gold records. He was rescued by boat and returned to perform the song in New Orleans earlier this spring. “Blue Monday,” cited by Fats as his favorite, starts out: “Blue Monday, how I hate Blue Monday/Got to work like a slave all day.”

“Come Monday” (Jimmy Buffet)

A performer known to travel a lot, Buffet wrote this for his wife while he was away on a tour. In it, he talks of longing to see her on Monday.

“Manic Monday” (The Bangles)

The song was credited to “Christopher,” which was a pen name for Prince, who originally wrote the song for “Purple Rain” co-star Apollonia Kotero. Lyrics talk about the struggle of having to get up early and catch a train to work. But what really makes the day difficult is a long night spent with a lover just hours earlier.

“Monday Morning” (Fleetwood Mac)

This song is the first track on the first Fleetwood Mac album featuring newcomers Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. But while their arrival in the band marked a new beginning for their careers, it also marked the beginning of the end for their tumultuous relationship. This song captures that situation, noting how their feelings for each other changed with the passing days. The next album’s “Go Your Own Way” pretty well summarized how the relationship wound up.

“Monday Monday” (Mamas and Papas)

Perhaps the best-known Monday song, this was band member John Phillips’ attempt to write a song with universal appeal. Must’ve worked—the song won a Grammy in 1967 and became the band’s only No. 1 hit. It was also the first song recorded by a sexually integrated group to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

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