♈ Aries ♀: “Love is Blindness” - Jack White
“Foxey Lady” - Jimi Hendrix
“Ring of Fire” - Johnny Cash
“Wild Thing” - The Troggs
“A Walk Through Hell” - Say Anything
♉ Taurus ♀: “Samson” - Regina Spektor
“Tomorrow Never Came” - Lana Del Rey
“Bring It On Home To Me” - Sam Cooke
“I Can’t Help Myself” - Four Tops
“Piece of My Heart” - Janis Joplin
♊ Gemini ♀: “New Person, Same Mistakes” - Tame Impala
“Mama, You Been On My Mind” - Bob Dylan
“Chelsea Hotel #2” - Leonard Cohen
“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” - Father John Misty
“Poetic Justice” - Kendrick Lamar
♋ Cancer ♀: “Sara” - Fleetwood Mac
“The Moon Song” - Karen O.
“So Emotional” - Whitney Houston
“Home” - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
“Keep On Loving You” - REO Speedwagon
♌ Leo ♀: “King and Lionheart” - Of Monsters & Men
“When You Were Young” - The Killers
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” - Elton John
“Meet Virginia” - Train
“Kiss It Better” - Rihanna
♍ Virgo ♀: “I Need You” - M83
“Summer Wine” - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood
“One Love” - Bob Marley
“Sweet Thing” - Van Morrison
“The Cure” - Lady Gaga
♎ Libra ♀: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” - The Beatles
“I Want To Know What Love Is” - Foreigner
“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” - Barry White
“Teenage Dream” - Katy Perry
“P.Y.T” - Michael Jackson
♏ Scorpio ♀: “Little Red Corvette” - Prince
“Whole Lotta Love” - Led Zeppelin
“Beast of Burden” - The Rolling Stones
“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” - The Smiths
“Bad Romance”- Lady Gaga
♐ Sagittarius ♀: “November Rain” - Guns ‘N Roses
“Boots of Spanish Leather” - Bob Dylan
“Love Lockdown” - Kanye West
“Maps” - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
“Last Night” - Niki & The Dove
♑ Capricorn ♀: “Re: Stacks” - Bon Iver
“Sweet Jane” - The Velvet Underground
“Lover” - Devendra Banhart
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” - Elvis Presley
“Honey & I" - HAIM
♒ Aquarius ♀: “DNA” - Empire of The Sun
“Cheree” - Suicide
“Love” - Lana Del Rey
“Drunk In Love” - Beyonce
“Somebody to Love” - Queen
♓ Pisces ♀: “Sweet Dream” - Greg Laslow
“I Would Die 4 U” - Prince
“Water Me” - FKA Twigs
“The Other Woman” - Nina Simone
“Cosmic Love” - Florence + The Machine
Ted Russell Suze Rotolo and Bob Dylan, New York City 1963
Dylan and Suze Rotolo were a couple for a few years in the early 60s. Suze’s parents did not like Dylan and disapproved of their relationship. In 1962, Suze was sent to Italy to do a semester abroad program, in large part to get her away from Bobby. Dylan wrote Boots of Spanish Leather about this separation and it’s one of his loveliest works.
Oh, I’m sailin’ away my own true love I’m sailin’ away in the morning Is there something I can send you from across the sea From the place that I’ll be landing?
No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’ Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled From across that lonesome ocean
Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine Made of silver or of golden Either from the mountains of Madrid Or from the coast of Barcelona
Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night And the diamonds from the deepest ocean I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’
That I might be gone a long time And it’s only that I’m askin’ Is there something I can send you to remember me by To make your time more easy passin’
Oh, how can, how can you ask me again It only brings me sorrow The same thing I want from you today I would want again tomorrow
I got a letter on a lonesome day It was from her ship a-sailin’ Saying I don’t know when I’ll be comin’ back again It depends on how I’m a-feelin’
Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way I’m sure your mind is roamin’ I’m sure your heart is not with me But with the country to where you’re goin’
So take heed, take heed of the western wind Take heed of the stormy weather And yes, there’s something you can send back to me Spanish boots of Spanish leather.
While it’s pretty self-evident why 99% of these English ballads about lovers parting ways involve the man leaving and the woman staying, I hadn’t realised that I was so accustomed to that dynamic that I’d failed to detect the complete reversal of gender roles in Boots of Spanish Leather.
The normal dynamic involves the man announcing his departure for either pleasure, war, whim, or, occasionally, because someone has forced him to leave the country. The woman either bids him farewell or listens to his promises of a hasty return. In some ballads the lovers exchange a token of affection, usually a golden or silver ring. Usually it is he who bestows the ring on her.
The only ballads I’ve found where it is the woman to bid farewell explicitly state that she’s going straight home to her father.
Adieu, my lovely Nancy, Ten thousand times adieu, I’m going to plough the ocean To seek for something new. Come change your ring with me, And that will be a token, When I am on the sea.
When I am on the sea, my dear, You’ll know not where I am, But letters I will send to you From every foreign land, When the secrets of my heart And the best of my good will Let my body go where it will, My heart is with you still.
As a young sailor and his true love one morning in May, Where walking together in the fields blithe and gay, Says the sailor to his true love, “My dear, for your sake, I’ll away unto the Indies whate’er does betide, And when I do return, my love, I’ll make you my bride.
O then from off his fingers a golden ring he gave, Saying, take this as a token for more you shall have, I’m bound unto the ocean where the billows loud do roar, For the sake of lovely Nancy, the girl I adore.
Now I am bound for a foreign land Against my inclination, Yes, I must leave my native home, Which fills me with vexation: As I am bound for Sydney’s coast Nature still does bind me To think on her I do adore: The girl I left behind me.
One where the woman speaks but it is still the man who’s leaving:
Farewell, my dearest Henry, since you to sea must go, To plough the raging ocean and face the daring foe, Oh, think of your poor Mary Ann, when on a foreign shore, You have vow’d that there is none but me you over can adore.
Then take this pledge of love, tis a ring I broke in two, One half then I’ll keep myself, that I may think of you. My love I’m sure it cannot change – be false I never can, One kiss, my love, before we part. Be true to Mary Ann.
On the other hand, in Boots of Spanish Leather the farewell is narrated as a back-and-forth dialogue where no genders are mentioned until the final stanzas. You begin listening with the assumption that it is the man doing the leaving, and consider the terms in which the lovers address each other to be reason enough to assume they wouldn’t part unless they were forced to. The assumption (reinforced by the fact that a man is singing those lines) is that this is one of those ballads where the sailor is leaving for either war or work. And their back-and-forth matches the dynamic of the usual ballads until in the final stanza it becomes clear that it is actually the woman who has left (”I got a letter on a lonesome day / it was from her ship a-sailing”). But the clever twists in dynamic throughout the narrative reinforce the exact opposite expectation.
Oh, I’m sailing away, my own true love, I’m sailing away in the morning. Is there something I can send you from across the sea From the place where I’ll be landing?
The idea of this being the man speaking (and therefore leaving) is reinforced by having the same person relentlessly trying to bestow gifts on the partner. As most of the gift-bestowing in English ballads happens for courting reasons or as a sign of parting, it is therefore in the majority of cases put into practice by men.
(One particular ballad called Alison Gross comes to mind where the same kind of relentless pursuit of gift-bestowing practices takes place and is indeed enacted by a woman for courting reasons. The only problem being that in Alison Gross the woman turns out to be an actual witchwho does not accept no as an answer and turns the man into a toad. Which, while marvellous and very appealing to me on the fairytale-level, puts the focus on the cunning, craftiness and untrustworthiness of the woman rather than on her independence.)
In the second stanza things start to become confused, as what we assume to be the woman replies:
No, there’s nothing you can send me, my own true love, There’s nothing I wish to be owning. Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled From across that lonesome ocean.
One starts reading this with the idea that it’s the woman speaking, but then the age-old association of the word spoil with the concepts of virtue, purity, sex, constancy and loyalty associated with women muddies the waters. It must be an odd ballad in which a woman leaves her own true love for no specified reason, but it must be an even odder one that in which a woman worries about keeping her man’s virtue unspoiled. So maybe at this point we’re leaning again towards this being the man speaking, relying solely on the association of “unspoiled virtue” with women.
But the third stanza messes with our expectations yet again by compressing in a single stanza 1. the association of aesthetic pleasantness with femininity: “Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine” 2. men’s buying power as usually showcased in old ballads (especially in ballads where the woman explicitly asks “how will you provide for me if I come with you”): “Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine / made of silver or of golden” 3. male independence and capacity to leave at will for whatever reason and go wherever they wish: “Either from the mountains of Madrid / or from the coast of Barcelona”
This is the sort of thing folk ballads have men saying to women, so we nod along uncomplainingly. And of course, any proper woman would reply that no, she doesn’t want any gaudy gold, she only wants her own true love. After all even in ballads when men threaten to kill women, women have sometimes replied:
“Sin’ I am standing here,” she says, “This dowie death to die; Ae kiss o’ your comely mouth I’m sure wou’d comfort me.”
So the next stanza seems to fulfil our expectations with:
If I had the stars from the darkest night And the diamonds from the deepest ocean I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss For that’s all I wish to be owning.
At this point there’s no more appealing to the lover’s understanding of gifts as symbol of final farewell. There’s no more trying to sweeten the break-up with endearing terms. The next repetition of the offer for gifts is considerably more snappish when compared to the initial “oh my own true love”s:
But I might be gone a long, long time And it’s only that I’m asking. Is there something I can send you to remember me by, To make your time more easy-passing?
It becomes clear that something is off. The gift is not “just a token for more you shall have” – it’s a passive way to break things up without resorting to direct confrontation. And the reason the lover keeps insisting is, of course, that a refusal to accept the gift means a refusal to accept the termination of the relationship. The tone of the dialogue changes: one becomes snappish and the other frustrated:
Oh, how can, how can you ask me again it only brings me sorrow
But the departing beloved is having none of it. The cards are revealed in the last three stanzas, when it becomes clear that the departing lover is in fact not the man but the woman, and moreover, that she is leaving him for the sole reason that she feels like leaving him:
I got a letter on a lonesome day. It was from her ship a-sailing, Saying, “I don’t know when I’ll be coming back again, It depends on how I’m a-feeling.”
If you, my love, must think that way I’m sure your mind is roaming, I’m sure your thoughts are not with me But with the country where you’re going.
The whole narration is based on such small storytelling tricks: the assumption that the departing lover is the man, which leads to the assumption that he’s departing for some specific reason dictated by external forces which, from the very beginning, is reinforced by the assumption that this is a smooth, loving relationship between two people who can communicate very well with each other.
And by the end of it all it turns out that what we’ve actually listened to was a dialogue between two people who don’t know how be straightforward and admit that their relationship is deteriorating.
So take heed, take heed of the western wind, Take heed of the stormy weather, And yes, there’s something you can send back to me: Spanish boots of Spanish leather.
Only in the last stanza can he accept the end of the relationship and name his final gift. Boots of Spanish leather, not only as in “something fine,” of course, but as in “boots and spurs.” Boots as in: finally walking away.
Saw our recommendations for another fandom. What are your fic recs for SOA?
The only soa fics I read are Jax x Tara, so if that’s what you are asking for, I can do that. *Some are AU, hope that’s okay.* Sorry for the long list, but this a collection of years reading Jax x Tara fanfics!
Suze Rotolo [Susan Elizabeth Rotolo; 20.11.43 - 25.02.11]
Suze Rotolo was an artist, and the girlfriend of Bob Dylan from 1961 to 1964. Dylan later acknowledged her strong influence on his music and art during that period. Rotolo is the woman walking with him on the cover of his album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. As an artist, she specialized in artists’ books and taught at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Rotolo became pregnant in 1963 by Dylan and had an abortion. Their relationship failed to survive the abortion, Dylan’s affair with Joan Baez and the hostility of the Rotolo family. They broke up in 1964, in circumstances which Dylan described in his “Ballad in Plain D”. Rotolo has been credited as the inspiration behind several of his finest love songs, including “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”, “Tomorrow Is a Long Time”, “One Too Many Mornings”, and “Boots of Spanish Leather”.
“Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was the most erotic thing I’d ever seen. She was fair skinned and golden haired, full-blood Italian. The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard… Meeting her was like stepping into the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights. She had a smile that could light up a street full of people and was extremely lively, had a kind of voluptuousness—a Rodin sculpture come to life.” -Bob Dylan
“Bob was charismatic: he was a beacon, a lighthouse, he was also a black hole. He required committed backup and protection I was unable to provide consistently, probably because I needed them myself. I could no longer cope with all the pressure, gossip, truth and lies that living with Bob entailed. I was unable to find solid ground. I was on quicksand and very vulnerable.” -about the downfall of her relationship with Dylan
“People say I was an influence on him, but we influenced each other. His interests were filtered through me and my interests, like the books I had, were filtered through him … It was always sincere on his part. The guy saw things. He had an incredible ability to see and sponge—there was a genius in that. The ability to create out of everything that’s flying around. To synthesize it. To put it in words and music.”
Songs about Derek Hale, as sung by Stiles Stilinski (Smokes for Harris) with the help of Erica Reyes (Royales) during Smokes’ 2016 European Tour. LISTEN HERE
i. oh my god, whatever, etc.; ryan adams // ii.lover, you should’ve come over; jeff buckley // iii. hang me up to dry; cold war kids // iv.love songs drug songs; x ambassadors // v. first day of my life; bright eyes // vi. all i want; kodaline // vii.take me out; franz ferdinand // viii.re:stacks; bon iver // ix.do you wanna know; arctic monkeys // x.three little birds; brendon urie // xi.when it rains; paramore // xii.green eyes; coldplay // xiii.feeling this; blink-182 // xiv. boots of spanish leather; bob dylan // xv. into the airwaves; jack’s mannequin // xvi. don’t look back in anger; oasis // xvii. you remind me of home; ben gibbard & andrew kenney // xviii. play crack the sky; brand new // xix. looking up; paramore
Playlist based on fictional covers by characters from the amazing fic Play Crack the Sky, written by the equally amazing Wearethecyclones. A few songs aren’t part of their covers, but do appear in the fic and are great so WHY NOT.