Friday Five :: Songs with My Name
What’s in a name, and what does it say about the person you are, or about the person you become as your life unfolds? If it is someone else who chooses, how does the name become who we are? Does our name define us before we are aware of it? Or do we mold our name into part of who we are as we get older? As someone who has named three children, and countless pets, I have wrestled and wondered on these questions many times.
I have a theory that has built up over the years that my first name, whenever used fictionally or artistically (films, books, song titles, song lyrics, television, etc.) are always associated with death and loss. Music especially seems to use the name for both scenarios, or for craziness (loss of sanity is still loss). When I was first dating my husband and the holidays came around, when I asked what I’d like as a gift I said “find me a song with my name in it that isn’t about death or loss”. It was a harder challenge than he’d first thought, and in the end the only song he could find involved a Laura who was in the throes of a robot-invaded apocalypse and was kidnapped by a robot. I suppose that is a step above death, right?
When thinking of putting a Friday Five theme together this week I thought about doing songs about names, but there are so many, too many really, and I’m quite sure I could not just pick five. I decided to take on my own name, cursed as it artistically seems to be, and share my five favorites of the bunch.
I’d love to know what your favorites are of your own name, and also, if you by chance know any non-death, loss, kidnapped by robots songs with “Laura” in them, please share.
A favorite fictional Laura, dead, and wrapped in plastic, Laura Palmer
Here are my 5 Laura songs:
1. Laura :: Bat For Lashes
“You’re the train that crashed my heart,
you’re the glitter in the dark;
ooh Laura, you’re more than a superstar.”
2. Landlocked Blues (live) :: Bright Eyes
“And Laura’s asleep in my bed,
as I’m leaving she wakes up and says,
‘I dreamed you were carried away on the crest of a wave
baby don’t go away,
3. Laura Palmer :: Bastille
“The night was all you had,
you ran into the night from all you had,
found yourself a path upon the ground.
You ran into the night,
you can’t be found.”
4. Laura :: Ella Fitzgerald
“And you see Laura on the train that is passing through,
those eyes how familiar they seem,
she gave your very first kiss to you,
that was Laura,
but she’s only a dream.”
5. Laura :: Flogging Molly
“So bye bye, Laura,
’cause no one could take your place.
Bye bye, Laura,
your beauty will never fade”
Film noir about a New York City police detective who is investigating the murder of beautiful and highly successful advertising executive, Laura Hunt.
6 thoughts on “Friday Five :: Songs with My Name”
The Bat For Lashes one has to be one of the best songs EVER.
I like your picks! You’re right I can’t think of any Laura songs that aren’t about death or loss…if I think “well there’s this..oh no that song is about turmoil or break ups or pain…loss category.” I use to know a Laura and I remember her playing a mix cd in the car with the Billy Joel “Laura” song that her boyfriend made her, that was her favorite Laura song.
I only know the more major songs for my name I think and then some of the Susan-ish songs
“Suzy Is A Headbanger”-Ramones
“To Susan On The West Coast Waiting” Donovan
“Runaround Sue” Dion & the Belmonts
“Black Eyed-Susan” Morrissey
then the “Wake Up Little Susie” which I always HATED, “Crocodile Rock” which I LOVED, “Susanne” by Weezer…mostly the songs are decades old when the name was more popular so I don’t know many new songs. There are others that get less Susan-ish “Peggy Sue”(also hate) and stuff I’m sure I’m forgetting but I honestly don’t know that many. Project!
I was named after the film noir Laura (of the movie of the same name) that Laura Palmer was somewhat modeled after (of the idea of). But there are so many other fictional Laura’s that are all about death or loss. I recently read a book about ghosts and being haunted, and the main characters best friend/first love/obsession was a Laura who, you guessed it, died young. There is a new horror film out that I keep seeing ads for, “Unfriended”, and the girl who dies that everyone sees online – Laura. I make jokes when watching a tv show and there is a supporting character named Laura – I’ll say “well you’re dead” or “don’t date her, she’ll leave”. Even High FIdelity is about the lead character dealing with the loss of Laura, who breaks-up with him. I could go on and on and on.
I actually don’t know the B. Joel Laura song, which is funny as I love him/his music. Is it about death or loss?
Susan songs…hmmm…there is Suzanne by Leonard Cohen, but that is a take on your name. Susan by the Buckinghams – but that’s an oldie song. Susan’s House by EEls.
Project! Do it 🙂
I’ve never heard “Susan’s House” I’ll check it out…I know it’s like eehh iffy w/the takes on Susan. I let Susanne slide since I use to date somebody that called me that but I swear I think he thought my name was Susanne, he was an idiot.
Here’s “Laura” by Billy Joel…it’s not the happiest of tunes! But it’s a cool song and the first lyrics is “Laura calls me in the middle of the night” which is an amazing first lyrics if I must say so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALp9rfnPJ8c
In the middle of the night
Passes on her
Then these careless fingers
They get caught in her vice
Til they’re bleeding
On my coffee table
Living alone isn’t all that
It’s cracked up to be
I’m on her side
Why does she push the poison on me?
Has a very hard time
All her life has
Been one long disaster
Then she tells me
She suddenly believes she’s seen
A very good sign
She’ll be taking
Some aggressive action
I fight her wars
While she’s slamming her doors
In my face
Failure to break
Was the only mistake
That she made
Here I am
Feeling like a fucking fool
Do I react the way exactly
She intends me to?
Everytime I think I’m off the hook
She makes me lose my cool
I’m her machine
And she can punch all the keys
And she can push any button I was programmed through
When she needs a good fix
All her questions
Will get sympathetic answers
To all of her tricks
On her second chances
Sometimes I feel like this
Godfather deal is all wrong
How can she hold an umbilical chord
For so long?
I’ve done everything I can
What else am I supposed to do
I’m her machine
And she can punch all the keys
And she can push any button
I was programmed through
Even if I don’t care
That’s my problem
That’s her sacred absolution
If she had to
She would put herself in my chair
Even though I
She always says
I’m the best friend that
She’s ever had
How do you
Hang up on someone
Who needs you that bad?
Wow…yeah…that is a great first line/lyric, but it is certainly not a happy song. The curse of Laura.
Someone told me that the first actual “love song” was written to/about a Laura – maybe this is the backlash to that 🙂
Such a cool, though dark, legacy your name seems to have with music and movies. It’s obviously an influential name to artists. Plus it’s such a feminine delicate name, it’s just so pretty so the contrast with all these tragic characters is neato.