* * *Okay, so there are certain things that we know about Simon Cowell. He largely limits his clothes purchasing to t-shirts. He has a very low tolerance for country music. And he apparently has a phobia about birds. I have proof on that last one.
Exhibit 1: Carly Smithson does a lovely job on the Beatles classic "Blackbird," which Simon dismisses as a "song about a blackbird" and tells her that singing it was "not a smart thing to do."
Exhibit 2: David Cook does a great acoustic take on Dolly Parton's lovely "Little Sparrow," and Simon says, "If you can make a song about sparrows good, which actually you did, congratulations.
Exhibit 3: There were many problems with the producers saddling Syesha Mercado with "Hit Me Up," but it allegedly being "a song about penguins" was not the biggest one, you know?
I was going to put Exhibit 4 (Megan Joy sings Rockin' Robin, followed by an incongruous "caw, caw," and Simon loses it, but YouTube is only turning up studio versions of the song. Which I didn't want then. And don't want now.)
So, with that in mind, I suggest that Idol do a performance night of Songs That Drive Simon Nuts, aka, Bird Songs. Here’s a link to an iMix of most of the songs. (Warning: This will seek to open iTunes. Also, if you do check it out, feel free to check out my other iMixes, which you should be able to get to from a link on the page.) In any event, here’s the list:
1. Kelly Hogan, Rubber Duckie. Rubber Duckie, you're the one! Oh, so jazzy.
2. Eva Cassidy, Songbird. And the songbirds keep singing/like they know the score. (orig. Fleetwood Mac)
3. Annie Lennox, Little Bird. I look up to the little bird / That glides across the sky / He sings the clearest melody / It makes me want to cry. Some little Idolette would totally butcher this.
4. Harry Connick, Jr., A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. And as we kissed and said goodnight, a nightingale sang, a nightingale sang.
5. Josh Ritter, Snow Is Gone. Hello, blackbird! Hello, starling! Winter's over! Be my darling!
6. Neko Case, Maybe Sparrow. Maybe sparrow, you should wait. The hawk's alight til morning.
7. Wilco, Hummingbird. Remember to remember me/Standing still in your past/Floating fast like a hummingbird. Once I stop laughing at the thought of Wilco on Idol, I'm intrigued. I am easily amused.
8. Kate Nash, Birds. Birds can fly so high/and they can shit on your head/And they can almost fly into your eye/And make you feel so scared/But when you look at them/ And you see that they're beautiful / That's how I feel about you
9. Erin McKeown, Blackbirds. When that sun had risen and the rhyming it was through / Four and twenty blackbirds had rhymed that nursery tune / Fly away two blackbirds with nothing left to prove
10. Brooke White, Little Bird. So tell me, little bird / All of the good things that you've heard / Cause I need you, little bird / To sing me a sweet song . I suspect that being sung by a former Idol contestant will not immunize this lovely little song from Simon's wrath.
11. Rosie Flores, Red Red Robin. When the red red robin comes bop-bop-bobbin' along, along! There'll be no more sobbin' when he comes throbbin' his old sweet song!
12. Sarah McLachlan, Blackbird. Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these broken wings and learn to fly / All your life / You were only waiting for this moment to arise. (orig. Beatles)
13. Owl City, The Bird & the Worm. Postal Service on lithium is, as it happens, an apt description. You're the bird, and I'm the worm / And it's plain to see / that we were meant to be / Da dat dah da da da da da da dat dah
14. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Mockingbird. Mockingbirds sing / Sing me what the Lord was singing / On the day He made the water / The color of the blues
15. Joey + Rory, Free Bird. I'll admit it. I tried to avoid having this song on here. Ah, well. 'Cause I'm as free as a bird now / And this bird you cannot change. Extra points if the Idolette uses a cowbell.
16. REM, Swan Swan H. Swan, swan, hummingbird / Hurrah, we are all free now /What noisy cats are we. The concept of an REM night on Idol is both intriguing and utterly terrifying.
17. Carly Simon, Mockingbird. Everybody have you heard / She's gonna buy me a mockingbird / And if that mockingbird don't sing / She's gonna buy me a diamond ring
18. The Dead Weather, Birds. Instrumental interlude. Okay, okay. It's a singing competition. But I can do what I want. It's my playlist.
19. The Bird & the Bee, The Birds and the Bees. Why, oh why do the birds / Do all the flying / It could be me
20. Cassandra Wilson, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. Hear that lonesome whippoorwill, / He sounds too blue to fly.
21. Chaka Khan, The Lullaby of Birdland. See, this could rock. Lilly could perform this and I could get the MP3 off of itunes. And I would be glad.
22. Robbie Fulks, Bluebirds Are Singing For Me. There's a bluebird singing / in the Blue Ridge Mountains / It's callin' me / back to my home.
23. Supertramp, Free as a Bird. Ah but I'm free as a bird / As I walk right out that door / You have my word / I won't bother you no more
24. Nickel Creek, Cuckoo's Nest. Another instrumental. What can I say?
25. Simon & Garfunkel, Sparrow. Who will love a little Sparrow/And who will speak a kindly word?/ "Not I," said the Swan, / "The entire idea is utterly absurd, / I'd be laughed at and scorned if the other Swans heard."
26. Dave Matthews Band, Raven. I don't know why this is called "Raven," but it is, so….
27. Dolly Parton, Little Sparrow. Little sparrow, little sparrow / Precious fragile little thing / Little sparrow, little sparrow / Flies so high and feels no pain. Such a lovely little song.
28. Nelly Furtado, I'm Like a Bird. I'm like a bird, I'll only fly away....
29. Cowboy Junkies, Rock & Bird. She captured both rock and bird / tied one to the leg of the other.
30. Minus 5, Courage is the Smallest Bird.
31. The Tragically Hip, Emperor Penguin. I'm a wee bit proud of this one. I figured I'd be stuck with some song from some penguin cartoon, which would not have lyrics like: "walk for many days meet with emperor penguin devotion to the egg and their women are swimming from half an ocean away"
32. Dar Williams, I Saw a Bird Fly Away. And so I asked the light of the day / What's this rush for heaven / And I saw a bird fly away / And I could not ask again.
33. k.d. lang, Skylark. Skylark/ Have you anything to say to me / Won't you tell me where my love can be
34. Florence & the Machine, Bird Song. Okay, you might have already guessed that this is one of the songs that I found on itunes and bought to put on the playlist. True enough.
35. Iron & Wine, Flightless Bird, American Mouth. I love Iron & Wine, and I love this song. Can't really see it on Idol. However, if there were an Iron & Wine night on Idol, I would hope that we would also get video of the brawl that would ensue over who got to sing Such Great Heights.
36. Josh Rouse, Sparrows Over Birmingham. Oh, how those sparrows sang for you
37. Eddi Reader, Hummingbird. Hummingbird, hummingbird / Always on your mind / Sweetness you must find, does it get you down ? / You never reach the sky and you cannot touch the ground
38. Jonatha Brooke, Little Bird. Oh little bird I wanna sing like you. The whole day through.
39. Natalie Merchant with Wilco & Billy Bragg, Birds and Ships. The birds are singing in your eyes this day / Sweet flowers blossom in your smile
40. The Duhks, Turtle Dove. Turtle dove done drooped his wings / Went on to Zion and he did sing
41. Shawn Colvin, The Bird. What I like about the bird is she don't need nothing but sky,
42. Cowboy Junkies, To Live Is to Fly. To live is to fly/low and high/so shake the dust off of your wings/ and the sleep out of your eyes! Kind of cheating. But it is awesome, so.... (Orig. Townes Van Zandt)
43. Kelly Hogan & the Wooden Leg, Chicken Road. More cheating. But cheating the theme happens on Idol anyway, so....
44. Patricia Barber, Bye, Bye Blackbird. Where somebody waits for me / sugar sweet so is she / Bye Bye Blackbird
45. Eliza Gilkyson, Rare Bird. Rare bird/I know your loneliness/born into a crowded nest and given away
46. k.d. lang, Bird on a Wire. Like a bird on the wire, / Like a drunk in a midnight choir / I have tried in my way to be free. (orig. Leonard Cohen)
47. Imogen Heap, Little Bird. Little bird, little bird, little bird, what d'ya hear? / The clink of morning cheers / Orange juice, concentrate. Probably too layered to perform on Idol, but I'm all about choices.
48. Fleet Foxes, Meadowlarks. Meadowlark, fly your way down / I hold a cornucopia and a golden crown / For you to wear upon your fleecy down
49. Robinella, Mornin' Dove. Oh, sing little mornin' dove / that he is my only love.
50. Lizz Wright, Wake Up, Little Sparrow. Wake up, wake up Little sparrow / Don't make your home/ Out in the snow
51. Alison Krauss & Union Station, Cluck Old Hen. Instrumental interlude. Again. What?
52. Indigo Girls, Chickenman. Okay, again cheating. The protagonist is a chickenman, not a chicken.
53. Allison Moorer, Mockingbird. Mockingbird singing a tune. / No one knows she's got the blues
54. Kasey Chambers, Little Sparrow. From the excellent tribute album to Dolly Parton.
55. Diana Krall, Black Crow. I feel like that black crow / Flying / In a blue sky
56. Dianne Reeves, Straighten Up & Fly Right. The vulture told the monkey / You're chokin' me / Release your hold and I will set you free / The monkey looked the vulture right dead in the eye / and Said your story's touching / but it sounds like a lie.
57. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife 3. A gray sky, a bitter sting / A rain cloud, a crane on wing.
58. David Cook, Little Sparrow. One of the songs that started this off. Alas, no longer for sale.
59. Erin McKeown, Air. We will become like birds....
60. Frank's Sister, Cardinal. There's something trapped inside of me / just a bird yearning to be free.
61. Counting Crows, A Murder of One. Well, I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow/ Casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there counting crows.
62. Jenny Lewis, Pretty Bird. There's a mirror in heaven, Pretty bird, pretty bird, There's a window on earth
63. Neko Case, Magpie to the Morning. You thought that you could outrun sorrow!
64. Andrew Bird, A Nervous Tic Motion to the Left. Well, his last name is Bird.... Heh. Trying to imagine the little Idolettes dealing with the whistling portion.
65. Bobby Day, Rockin' Robin. (Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee, tweedle-lee-dee-dee x 3) (Tweet x 4)
66. Ryan Adams, Night Birds. And night birds sing you an empty tune, yeah / In an empty house, in an empty room
67. Allison Moorer, Crows. The crow in the yard is trying to tell me something / I see him out there trying to catch my eye
68. The White Stripes, Little Bird. I got a little bird / I'm gonna take her home / put her in a cage.
69. Death Cab for Cutie, Talking Bird. Oh, my talking bird / Though you know so few words / They're on infinite repeat / Like your brain can't keep up with your beak
70. Amy Ray, Birds of a Feather. If we are birds of a feather / why can't we fly away?
71. Cake, Comfort Eagle. I'm not sure who or what "comfort eagle" is supposed to be, but....
72. Ingrid Michaelson, A Bird Song. I hope one day to again to hear you sing.
73. Norah Jones, Nightingale. Nightingale/Sing us a song / Of a love that once belonged / Nightingale / Tell me your tale / Was your journey far too long?
74. Camera Obscura, Swans. One swan is deceiving us all / Oh, I for one should know / I never felt myself so graceful / And I never swam so slow / So slow, so slow, so slow ...
75. Nicole Kidman, One Day I'll Fly Away. A bit of a cheat again. Only available as part of the soundtrack album purchase, unfortunately.
76. Patty Griffin, Top of the World (live). Every version of this is awesome, but I do love this one. Gonna grab a hold of that little song bird / take her for a ride to the top of the world right now!