Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Color in Songs

To accompany the story by Rob Reck about his HAPPY ROCKS just posted, here is a list of color-filled songs. If you think of some not on the list, let me know.

I think I have found the Mother Lode of song titles with color/s in them. Some are repeats, a few have partial lyrics too, and the names of those who recorded them:

Color Song Titles

Anfield Rap (Red Machine In Full Effect) - 1988 - Liverpool CBaby Blue (are you really wise?, do you realize, that those devil eyes are bluer than the skies?, baby blue, I love you, I do) - 1961 - The Echoes
Baby Blue (did you really think that I'd forget, and regret, the special love I have for you, my baby blue; all the days became so long, did you really think I'd do you wrong?) - 1972 - Badfinger
Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk (she don't say nothin', but baby makes her blue jeans talk, baby makes her blue jeans, yes she makes her blue jeans talk) - 1982 - Dr. Hook
Baby's In Black - 1964 - The Beatles
Back In Black – 1980 – AC/DC
Back On Black II - 1993 – Heart
Ballad Of The Green Berets, The - 1966 - Sgt. Barry Sadler
Behind Blue Eyes (no one knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man – behind blue eyes; no one knows what it’s like to be hated, to be fated – to telling only lies, but my dreams, they aren't as empty, as my conscience seems to be) – 1971 – The Who
Behind These Hazel Eyes – 2005 – Kelly Clarkson

Big Green Tractor – 2009 – Jason Aldean
Big Yellow Taxi (don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot, ooh ba ba ba ba, ooh ba ba ba ba; hey farmer farmer, put away that DDT, see these spots on the apples, leave them for the birds and the bees, please) - 1970 - Joni Mitchell
Big Yellow Taxi (don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot, ooh ba ba ba ba, ooh ba ba ba ba; hey farmer farmer, put away that DDT, see these spots on the apples, leave them for the birds and the bees, please) - 1994 - Amy Grant
Big Yellow Taxi (don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot, ooh bop bop bop, ooh bop bop bop; hey farmer farmer, put away that DDT, see these spots on the apples, leave them for the birds and the bees, please) - 2002 - Counting Crows with Michelle Branch

Black And Blue - 1988 - Van Halen
Black And White- 1971 - Greyhound
Black And White (the ink is black, the page is white, together we learn to read and write; a child is black, a child is white, the whole world looks upon the sight, what a beautiful sight) - 1972 - Three Dog Night
Black And White – 1982/1983 - INXS
Black And Yellow – 2010 – Wiz Khalifa
Black Berries (Part 1) – 1969 – Isley Brothers
Black Betty (ram-a-lam) - 1977 - Ram Jam
Black Cat (black cat, nine lives, short days, long nights, living on the edge, not afraid to die) - 1990 - Janet Jackson
Black Coffee - 2000 - All Saints
Black Denim Trousers - 1955 - The Cheers
Black Diamond – 1974 - Kiss
Black Dog (hey hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove) - 1972 - Led Zeppelin
Black Eyed Boys, The - 1974 - Paper Lace
Black Flag (it was a black flag on my morning, it was a black flag on my day) - 1992 - King's X
Black Hand Side – 1993/1994 – Queen Latifah
Black Heart Inertia – 2009 – Incubus
Black Hills Of Dakota - 1954 - Doris Day
Black Hole Sun - 1994 - Soundgarden
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – 2006 – KT Tunstall
Black Is Black (black is black, I want my baby back, grey is grey, since she went away oh-ho, but what can I do?, 'cause I, I'm feeling blue) - 1966 - Los Bravos
Black Is Black - 1977 - La Belle Epoque
Black Magic Woman - 1968 - Fleetwood Mac
Black Magic Woman (she's a black magic woman; she's trying to make a devil out of me) - 1971 - Santana
Black Night - 1970 - Deep Purple
Black Or White (it don't matter if you're black or white) - 1991 - Michael Jackson
Black Orchid - 1980 - Stevie Wonder
Black Pearl - 1969 - Sonny Charles & the Checkmates, Ltd.
Black Pearl - 1970 - Horace Faith
Black Rain – 2010 – Soundgarden
Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys - 1971 - Equals
Black Slacks - 1957 - Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones
Black Superman-"Muhammad Ali" - 1975 - Johnny Wakelin & the Kinshasa Band
Black Velvet (black velvet if you please) - 1990 - Alannah Myles
Black Velvet Band - 1967 - Dubliners
Black Water (Mississippi moon won't you keep on shining on me) - 1975 - Doobie Brothers
Blackberry Way - 1969 - Move
Blackbird - 1968 - The Beatles
Blackjack County Chain - 1967 - Willie Nelson

Blue - 1996 - LeAnn RimesBlue (Da Ba Dee) - 1999 - Eiffel 65
Blue Angel - 1960 - Roy Orbison
Blue Angels - 1998 - Pras Michel/ODB/Mya
Blue Bayou (I'm going back someday, come what may, to Blue Bayou) - 1963 - Roy Orbison
Blue Bayou (I'm going back someday, come what may, to Blue Bayou) - 1977 - Linda Ronstadt
Blue Clear Sky – 1996 – George Strait
Blue Eyes - 1968 - Don Partridge
Blue Eyes (baby's got blue eyes) - 1982 - Elton John
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain – 1975 – Willie Nelson
Blue Guitar - 1975 - Justin Hayward and John Lodge
Blue Is The Color - 1972 - Chelsea F.C.
Blue Jean (I just met a girl named Blue Jean; you make my blue jeans blue) - 1984 - David Bowie
Blue Monday - 1957 - Fats Domino
Blue Monday - 1983 - New Order
Blue Monday 1988 - 1988 - New Order
Blue Moon - 1956 - Elvis Presley
Blue Moon (blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own) - 1961 - The Marcels
Blue Moon Of Kentucky - 1954 - Elvis Presley
Blue Morning, Blue Day (blue morning, blue day, won’t you see things my way, blue morning, can’t you see, what your love has done to me) – 1978/1979 - Foreigner
Blue On Blue - 1963 - Bobby Vinton
Blue River - 1966 - Elvis Presley
Blue Room - 1992 - Orb
Blue Savannah - 1990 - Erasure
Blue Skies - 1978 - WIllie Nelson
Blue Sky – 2010 – Emily West featuring Keith Urban
Blue Star - 1955 - Cyril Stapleton
Blue Suede Shoes (don't you step on my blue suede shoes) - 1956 - Carl Perkins
Blue Suede Shoes (don't you step on my blue suede shoes) - 1956 - Elvis Presley
Blue Velvet - 1963 - Bobby Vinton
Bluest Eyes In Texas – 1988 – Restless Heart
Blueberry Hill (I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill) - 1957 - Fats Domino
Bluebottle Blues - 1956 - Goons
Bluer Than Blue (I'm bluer than blue, sadder than sad, you're the only life this empty room has ever had, life without you is gonna be bluer than blue) - 1978 - Michael Johnson

Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes) - 1992 - Mint Condition
Brown Eyed Girl (you're my brown eyed girl) - 1967 - Van Morrison
Brown Eyed Handsome Man - 1963 - Buddy Holly
Brown Eyed Woman – 1968 – Bill Medley
Brown Girl In The Ring - 1978 - Boney M
Brown Sugar (how come you taste so good)- 1971 - The Rolling Stones

By The Light Of The Silvery Moon - 1953 - Doris Day
By The Light Of The Silvery Moon - 1958 - Jimmy Bowen
By The Light Of The Silvery Moon - 1959 - Little Richard
California Blue - 1989 - Roy Orbison
Charlie Brown (he's a clown, that Charlie Brown; why is everybody always picking on me?) - 1959 - The Coasters
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White (Instrumental) - 1955 - Eddie Calvert
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White (Instrumental) - 1955 - Perez Prado
Come On You Reds - 1994 - Manchester United Football Squad
Counting Blue Cars - 1996 – Dishwalla
Crimson And Clover (over and over) - 1969 - Tommy James & the Shondells
Crimson And Clover (over and over) - 1982 - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Crystal Blue Persuasion - 1969 - Tommy James & the Shondells
Deep Blue - 1971 - George Harrison
Deep Purple - 1963 - Nino Tempo and April Stevens
Deep Purple - 1976 - Donny and Marie Osmond
Deeper Shade Of Blue - 2000 - Steps
Dirty White Boy (I'm a dirty white boy) - 1979 - Foreigner
Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (don't know what's come over you, you've found someone new) - 1977 - Crystal Gayle
Don't Make My Baby Blue - 1965 – Shadows
Ebony Eyes - 1961 - Everly Brothers
Ebony Eyes (have you seen that girl in the corner? I'd like to take her out of her chains; your eyes got me dreamin'; your eyes got me hopin' that I'll be holding you close tonight) - 1978 - Bob Welch
18 Yellow Roses - 1963 - Bobby Darin
Electric Blue - 1988 – Icehouse
Evergreen (love, soft as an easy chair) - 1976 - Barbra Streisand
For You Blue (because you're sweet and lovely girl, I love you, because you're sweet and lovely girl, it's true, I love you more than ever girl, I do)- 1970 - The Beatles
Forever In Blue Jeans (money talks, it “can’t” sing and dance, and it “can't” walk) - 1979 - Neil Diamond

Gold (there's people out there turning music into gold) - 1979 - John Stewart
Gold - 1983 - Spandau Ballet
Gold - 1995 - Prince
Gold Digger – 2005 – Kanye West and Jamie Foxx
Golden Brown - 1982 - Stranglers
Golden Tears – 1979 – Dave and Sugar
Golden Years (nothing's gonna touch us in these golden years) - 1976 - David Bowie
Golden Years, The - 1980 - Motorhead
GoldenEye (from the movie GoldenEye) – 1995 – Tina Turner
Goldfinger - 1965 - Shirley Bassey
Grass Is Greener, The - 1963 - Brenda Lee
Grazin’ In Greener Pastures – 1970 – Ray Price
Green Door, The - 1956 - Jim Lowe
Green Door, The - 1956 - Frankie Vaughan
Green Door - 1981 - Shakin' Stevens
Green Eyed Lady (lovely lady) - 1970 - Sugarloaf
Green Grass - 1966 - Gary Lewis & the Playboys
Green Green Grass Of Home - 1966 - Tom Jones
Green Green Grass Of Home - 1975 - Elvis Presley
Green Leaves Of Summer, The - 1962 - Kenny Ball
Green Light – 2008 – John Legend featuring Andre 3000
Green Manalishi, The (With The Two-Prong Crown) - 1970 - Fleetwood Mac
Green Onions (Instrumental) - 1962 - Booker T. & MG's
Green River (I can hear the bullfrog calling me; come on home to Green River) - 1969 - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Green Tambourine (listen while I play my green tambourine) - 1968 - The Lemon Pipers
Greenfields - 1960 - Brothers Four
Grey Day - 1981 – Madness
Half Past Forever (Till I’m Blue In The Heart) – 1987 – T.G. Sheppard
Heart Of Gold (I've been searching for a heart of gold, and I'm growing old) - 1972 - Neil Young
Heart Of Gold - 1986/1987 - Willie Nelson
Hey, Hey, My My (Into The Black) - 1979 - Neil Young and Crazy Horse
House Of Blue Lights, The - 1955 -Chuck Miller
I Saw Red - 1991 – Warrant
In Color – 2008 – Jamey Johnson
Indescribably Blue - 1967 - Elvis Presley
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (that she wore for the first time today) - 1960 - Brian Hyland
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini - 1990 - Bombalurina
Ivory Tower - 1956 - Cathy Carr
Ivory Tower - 1956 - Gale Storm
Ivory Tower - 1956 - Otis Williams & His Charms
Just Be Good To Green – 2010 – Professor Green featuring Lilly Allen
Lady In Red, The (is dancing with me, cheek to cheek, there's nobody here, just you and me; I'll never forget the way you look tonight ) - 1987 - Chris DeBurgh
Lavender - 1985 - Marillion
Lavender Blue - 1959 - Sammy Turner
Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) - 1973 - Helen Reddy
Lil' Red Riding Hood (you sure are looking good, you're everything that a big bad wolf could want) - 1966 - Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
Lily The Pink - 1968 - Scaffold
Little Bit Of Red – 2009 – Serena Ryder
Little Brown Jug - 1976 - Glenn Miller
Little Green Apples - 1968 - O. C. Smith
Little Red Corvette (baby you're much too fast) - 1983 - Prince
Little Red Rooster - 1963 - Sam Cooke
Little Red Rooster - 1964 - Rolling Stones
Little White Church – 2010 – Little Big Town (country)
Lonely Blue Boy - 1960 - Conway Twitty
Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black - 1974 - Mungo Jerry
Love Is Blue (Instrumental) - 1968 - Paul Mauriat
Man In Black – 1971 - Johnny Cash
"Man With The Golden Arm, The" Main Title (Instrumental) - 1956 - Elmer Bernstein
"Man With The Golden Arm, The" Main Title Theme (Instrumental) - 1956 - Billy May
"Man With The Golden Arm, The" Main Title Theme (Instrumental) - 1962 - Jet Harris
"Man With The Golden Arm, The" Themes (Instrumental) - 1956 - Richard Maltby
The Man With The Golden Gun (from the movie The Man With The Golden Gun) - 1974 - Lulu
Maxwell's Silver Hammer (bang, bang, Maxwell's silver hammer came down on his head) - 1969 – Beatles
Mellow Yellow (they call me mellow yellow, quite right slick) - 1966 - Donovan
Men In Black - 1997 - Will Smith
Midnight Blue - 1975 - Melissa Manchester
Midnight Blue – 1979 - Electric Light Orchestra
Midnight Blue - 1987 - Lou Gramm
Misty Blue - 1976 - Dorothy Moore
Moody Blue - 1977 - Elvis Presley
Moonlight Serenade/Little Brown Jug/In The Mood (Instrumental) - 1976 - Glenn Miller
Mr. Blue - 1959 - The Fleetwoods
Mr. Blue - 1959 - Mike Preston
Mr. Blue Sky - 1978 - Electric Light Orchestra
Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter - 1965 -Herman's Hermits
My Blue Heaven - 1956 - Fats Domino
My White Bicycle - 1975 – Nazareth
Navy Blue - 1964 - Diane Renay
Nights In White Satin (letters I've written, never meaning to send; just what the truth is, I can't say anymore, and I love you, yes I love you, oh I love you) - 1972 - The Moody Blues
1, 2, 3, Red Light - 1968 - 1910 Fruitgum Co.
Orange Blossom Special – 1964/1965 – Johnny Cash
Out Of The Blue - 1988 - Debbie Gibson
Paint It Black (I see a red door and I want to paint it black) - 1966 - The Rolling Stones
Pink - 1997/1999 - Aerosmith
Pink Cadillac (I wonder what you do there in the back of your pink cadillac) - 1984 - Bruce Springsteen
Pink Cadillac (I wonder what you do there in the back of your pink cadillac) - 1988 - Natalie Cole
Pink Houses (little pink houses for you and me) - 1984 - John Cougar Mellencamp
Pink Shoe Laces - 1959 - Dodie Stevens
Pretty Blue Eyes - 1960 - Steve Lawrence
Pretty Blue Eyes - 1960 - Craig Douglas
Pretty Blue Eyes – 1967 – The Guess Who
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) (give it to me baby, uh-uh uh-uh; and all the girlies say I'm pretty fly for a white guy; if you don't rate, just overcompensate) - 1999 - The Offspring
Prize Of Gold - 1955 - Joan Regan
Purple Haze ('scuse me while I kiss the sky) - 1967 - Jimi Hendrix Experience
Purple People Eater, The (a one-eyed, one-horned "flying" purple people eater) - 1958 - Sheb Wooley
Purple Rain (I only want to see you standing in the purple rain) - 1984 - Prince & the Revolution
Raspberry Beret (she wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a secondhand store) - 1985 - Prince & the Revolution
Red Alert - 1999 - Basement Jaxx
Red Balloon - 1968 - Dave Clark Five
Red Dirt Road – 2003 – Brooks and Dunn
Red Dress - 1974 - Alvin Stardust
Red Light – 2009 – David Nail (country)
Red Light Special - 1995 - TLC
Red Light Spells Danger - 1977 - Billy Ocean
(Red Machine In Full Effect) Antfield Rap - 1988 - Liverpool C
Red Red Wine - 1968 - Neil Diamond
Red Red Wine - 1988 - UB40
Red River Rock (Instrumental) - 1959 - Johnny & the Hurricanes
Red Roses For A Blue Lady - 1965 - Bert Kaempfert
Red Roses For A Blue Lady - 1965 - Vic Dana
Red Rubber Ball (to you I'm just an ornament, something for your pride; the roller coaster ride we took is nearly at an end, I paid my ticket with my tears and that's all I'm gonna spend; and I think the worst is over now, "yes", it's "going to" be all right, the morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball) - 1966 - The Cyrkle
Redneck Woman (I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad) – 2004 – Gretchen Wilson
Reverend Black Grape - 1995 - Black Grape
Reverend Mr. Black - 1963 - The Kingston Trio
Ride A White Swan - 1971 - T-Rex
Roses Are Red (My Love) - 1962 - Bobby Vinton
Roses Are Red - 1962 - Ronnie Carroll
Roses Are Red - 1988 - MAC Band featuring The McCampbell Brothers
Sail Along Silvery Moon (Instrumental) - 1958 - Billy Vaughn
Say It Loud- I'm Black And I'm Proud (Part 1) - 1968 - James Brown
Scarlet Letters – 2009 – Mudvayne
Scarlet Ribbons (for her hair) - 1959 - The Browns
Scarlett O'Hara - 1963 - Jet Harris and Tony Meehan
Silence Is Golden – 1964 – The Four Seasons
Silence Is Golden - 1967 - The Tremeloes
Silver Bird – 1976 – The Guess Who
Silver Dream Machine (Pt. 1) - 1980 - David Essex
Silver Lady - 1977 - David Soul
Silver Machine - 1972 - Hawkwind
Silver Spoon – 1989/1990 - Kiss
Silver Springs (and did you say she was pretty?, and did you say that she loves you?, baby I don't wanna know; time cast a spell on you, you won't forget me; I know I could have loved you, but you wouldn't let me, I'll follow you down 'til the sound of my voice will haunt you, you'll never get away from the sound of the woman who loves you) - 1997 - Fleetwood Mac
Silver Star - 1976 - Four Seasons
Silver Threads And Golden Needles - 1962 – Springfields
Sister Golden Hair (will you meet me in the middle?, will you meet me in the air?, will you love me just a little?, just enough to show you care, well I tried to fake it, I don't mind sayin', I just can't make it) - 1975 – America
Soldier Blue - 1971 - Buffy Sainte-Marie
Solid Gold Easy Action - 1972 - T-Rex
Someday Out Of The Blue - 2000 - Elton John
Song Sung Blue (weepin' like a willow) - 1972 - Neil Diamond
Spin The Black Circle - 1994 - Pearl Jam
Star Is Born, A (Evergreen) (Love Theme From) (love, soft as an easy chair) - 1976 - Barbra Streisand
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (I am yours, you are mine) - 1969 - Crosby, Stills and Nash
Tangled Up In Blue - 1975 - Bob Dylan
That Old Black Magic - 1958 - Louis Prima and Keely Smith
Theme From "Mahogany" (do you know where you're going to) - 1976 - Diana Ross
There's A Gold Mine In The Sky - 1957 - Pat Boone
This Golden Ring - 1966 – Fortunes
Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree (do you still love me?) - 1973 - Dawn (featuring Tony Orlando)
Touch Of Grey -1987 - Grateful Dead
True Blue (I'm gonna be true blue, baby I love you) - 1986 - Madonna
Union City Blue - 1979 - Blondie
Venus In Blue Jeans - 1962 - Jimmy Clanton
Venus In Blue Jeans - 1962 - Mark Wynter
Walk In The Black Forest, A - 1965 - Horst Jankowski
We Are Golden – 2009 – Mika
Welcome To The Black Parade – 2007 – My Chemical Romance
When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - 1956 - Elvis Presley
When The White Lilacs Bloom - 1956 - Helmut Zacharias
Where The Blacktop Ends (I’m gonna kick off my shoes and run in bare feet where the grass and the road and the gravel all meet) – 1999 – Keith Urban
White Cliffs Of Dover - 1995 - Robson Green and Jerome Flynn
White Flag – 2004 - Dido
White Horse (I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale, I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet, lead her up the stairwell, this ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town, I was a dreamer before you went and let me down, now it’s too late for you and your white horse to come around) – 2008 – Taylor Swift
White Horses - 1968 - Jacky
White Knight, The - 1976 - Cledus Maggard & the Citizen's Band
White Liar (hey, white liar, the truth comes out a little at a time, and it spreads just like a fire, slips off your tongue like turpentine, and I don’t know why, white liar) – 2009 – Miranda Lambert (country)
White Lines (Don't Do It) (get higher baby, and don't ever come down; white lines blow away, ticket to ride, white line highway, tell all your friends they can go my way, pay your toll, sell your soul, pound for pound costs more than gold, the longer you stay, the more you pay; with nothing to gain except killing your brain) - 1983 - Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious Five
White Lines (Don't Do It) (get higher baby, and don't ever come down; white lines blow away, ticket to ride, white line highway, tell all your friends they can go my way, pay your toll, sell your soul, pound for pound costs more than gold, the longer you stay, the more you pay; with nothing to gain except killing your brain) - 1995 - Duran Duran
White On White - 1964 - Danny Williams
White Rabbit (go ask Alice, I think she'll know) - 1967 - Jefferson Airplane
White Room - 1968 - Cream
White Silver Sands - 1957 - Don Rondo
White Silver Sands (Instrumental) - 1960 - Bill Black's Combo
White Sport Coat, A (and a pink carnation) - 1957 - Marty Robbins
White Sport Coat, A - 1957 - King Brothers
White Trash Wedding (you can’t afford no ring, you can’t afford no ring, I shouldn’t be wearing white and you can’t afford no ring; you finally took my hand, you finally took my hand, it took a nip of gin, but you finally took my hand) – 2002/2003 – Dixie Chicks
White Wedding (hey little sister, what have you done?, hey little sister, who's the only one?, hey little sister, who's your superman?, hey little sister, who's the one you want, hey little sister, shotgun; it's a nice day to start again, it's a nice day for a white wedding) - 1982/1985 - Billy Idol
Whiter Shade Of Pale, A (we skipped the light fandango) - 1967 - Procol Harum
Who Could Be Bluer - 1960 - Jerry Lordan
Wrapped In Grey - 1992 – XTC
Yellow - 2000 - Coldplay
Yellow Bird (Instrumental) - 1961 - Arthur Lyman Group
Yellow River - 1970 - Christie
Yellow Rose Of Texas, The - 1955 - Gary Miller
Yellow Rose Of Texas, The - 1955 - Mitch Miller
Yellow Rose Of Texas, The - 1955 - Johnny Desmond
Yellow Rose Of Texas - 1955 - Ronnie Hilton
Yellow Submarine (we all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine) - 1966 - The Beatles
Young Gifted And Black - 1970 - Bob and Marcia
You're More Than A Number In My Little Red Book - 1977 - Drifters

Color in Art and Song


Creative and funny Rob Reck sent me his writing about the HAPPY ROCKS he bestows, spreading joy and color around for his students and friends.  Enjoy:

The Story of the Happy Rocks

"I want to thank Barbara Loyd, creator of this blog,  for asking me to take time to write my story down. We were discussing this before Sunday school recently and I didn't realize at that time how her life was tied up in color and visual art. This is where she lives. I was flattered that she was even interested. Perhaps this will be interesting to someone and not just an exercise in self-indulgence.


I have been teaching music in public schools for a long time. Long enough that the newest teachers were born after I started teaching. As a young teacher I tended to really internalize stress. I don't think I would have kept at it so long and so happily if I had not learned some ways of dealing with the everyday stress of teaching. Did I say I teach at the middle school level? Some people will notice their stress level going up just communicating with a middle-school-aged student, much less a room full of them. This is about one of those ways.

I am not a visual person, really, but somehow I got the idea, from a lot of different directions, that it wold be good to have something on my desk that was both a relaxing color and perhaps a point of focus when I was having a long day. I can't really pinpoint the source of this idea. I thought maybe some kind of inexpensive gem stone from a hobby store or a crystal like they sell in the roadside stands on the way to Hot Springs, Arkansas would be good. I rarely go to hobby stores and then not by myself. And I have never stopped at a roadside stand on the way to Hot Springs. So it didn't seem likely that I would find anything that I could try out.

One day not so very long after I decided this might be something I would like to try, I  shopped in one of those stores where everything is a dollar. There are a few things I buy there from time to time. And I was walking down the aisle and noticed that they had bags of various kinds of stones for, of course, a dollar. I had a look. These were nothing fancy, obviously, but I did find a bag (one pound) of little oval or oblong stones with rounded ends that were sort of a light blue or aqua color. So I spent a dollar for a bag of rocks and another dollar for a little parfait sort of glass to put them in. I put them in the back of my van and, true to my form, forgot about them for awhile.

But one day when I was unloading an instrument into my orchestra room at one of my schools I noticed the bag of rocks and the parfait glass and I took them into my office. There were way more of the rocks (gem stones, glass thingies, whatever) than the glass would hold and I it took less than half of them to fill the glass. I put the rest in a file drawer.

I have to say they did look nice and, true enough, it seemed to be a calming color as I had hoped. I don't really have any decorations on my desk. The pictures of my family sit up on the computer monitor. So it was kind of obvious to anyone who came into my office that there was a parfait glass of aqua colored stones on my desk. They are out of place amidst the clutter and no mistake. I had not thought about how others would react to this, but, sure enough, a student asked me, “Mr. Reck, what are those?”

Since I am a creative person and crazy enough to teach middle school, there is no way I was going to say that it was a parfait glass with colored stones I bought from the dollar store. Before I even had a chance to think about it, I said, “Those are happy rocks.”

”Can I have one?” I hadn't thought about that, either. Who would have thought that would happen, really? Certainly not me. I took awhile to answer to develop some sense of suspense, and finally said, “I suppose...” And I let the student pick out a rock. This happened more than once. More than twice. So, of course, I had to up the ante and have some fun with it.

Eventually, it became sort of a ritual. If there were other students around who already had happy rocks they encouraged the students and we were all happy.

“Mr. Reck, can I have a happy rock?”
“Who told you about happy rocks?”
“Your orchestra student, _____.”
“Hmmmmm..... Well, you know, you don't actually choose your happy rock, your happy rock chooses you!” The other students would murmur in agreement after we had been doing this for awhile. “Close your eyes and reach into the happy rocks. When you find the one that makes you laugh, that is your happy rock.”

“What if I don't laugh?”
Someone always would say, “Everyone laughs..” This has turned out to be true.

And the student would reach into the glass, giggle, and pull out a rock. Some students did not giggle. They laughed out loud. Some of the students named them. Some students have told me that they took their happy rock to class when they had a hard test. Some of them take them places like all-district band or orchestra auditions. Students who have  happy rocks will bring other students in to get one. So this has moved way beyond the orchestra program.

Last summer I taught a class called “Psychology of Performing Music” at the SWOklahomaSU band camp. This class is for students who, like me, have had issues with performing in pressure situations. The last day of camp I dumped a bag of rocks purchased just for the occasion on the desk at the front of the room. This, by the way, had been a most excellent and awesome class in every respect. It was a joy to teach. Someone in the class finally asked, “What are those?” “Those are happy rocks. You can have one if you like.” Many of the students stopped by and picked one up on their way out. Since then many of them have gotten in touch to tell me that they took their happy rock to all-state and all-district auditions. This has also made me happy.

A few weeks ago my wife, who teaches down the hall from me in the same school, came into my office and saw the parfait glass on my desk. “What are those?” “Those are my happy rocks!” “Can I have one?” “Sure.” She keeps it on her dresser.

There are lots of ways you can use a stone as an object of focus or as something to hold in your hand and “worry.” Someone in the family gave me a worry stone when I was a child, as I recall. I talked about some of these ideas with my camp students when I was visiting with them individually. But for the most part it is just about having something to remind you to think happy thoughts.

That is the story so far. Maybe there will be more to say some day.

Rob Reck
Tulsa, Oklahoma
February 9, 2011

I would like to update this story:  I told a teacher friend of mine that I had a happy rock if she wanted one.  She was in the middle of one of those stressful times that happen to music teachers.  We never see each other, but one day we did so I handed her her happy rock.  She seemed more than glad to get it.  And one to a member of her family who was with her. (I happened to have some in my coat pocket because the bag broke...)  I can't remember who said what, but we agreed that it would be cool if I kept some happy rocks with me always so that I could spread more joy. I don't know why I didn't just think of that.

I keep some in my van most all the time now and I have an old draw string bag with some in it as well.  I gave one away to a friend at the National Memorial in OKC last week.  It made her laugh.  I was happy too.

I'm still working on the song...

It might seem trivial
But you could do worse
Than to spread some joy
With a song and verse

Well what could it hurt and
Who would it shock
To help someone smile with
A happy rock"

Thank you, Rob, for sharing your delightful and creative way of spreading joy.

Readers, why don't you visit a dollar store and find a bag of rocks in your favorite color to share as a way of spreading happiness?

P.S. Rob gave me one of his Happy Rocks and made me smile.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Artists' April Birthdays

If you have an April birthday, see if an artist was born on the same day. They may be less well known, but you can discover interesting things about them and their work, maybe even a connection.

Artists’ Birthdays in April

·        1 Edwin Austin Abbey, Am., 1852
·        2 Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, Fr., 1834, Max Ernst, Gr., 1891
·        4 Edward Hicks, Am., 1780, Pierre Paul Prud’hon, Fr., 1758, Maurice de Vlaminck, Fr., 1876
·        5 Jules Dupre, Fr., 1811, Jean Honore Fragonard, Fr., 1732, Felix Nadar, Fr., 1820
·        6 Rene Lalique, Fr., 1860, Gustave Moreau, Fr., 1826, Raphael, It., 1483
·        7 Gerard Dou, Dutch, 1613, Frederick Carl Frieseke, Am., 1874, Gino Severini, It., 1883
·        8 Cornelis de Heem, Dutch, 1631, Clarence H. White, Am., 1871
·        9 Charles Burchfield, Am., 1893, Eadweard Muybridge, Br., 1830, Victor Vasarely, Fr., 1908
·        10 Ben Nicholson, Br., 1894, Kenneth Noland, Am., 1924
·        11 John Northcote Nash, Br., 1893, Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian, 1869
·        12 Imogen Cunningham, Am., 1893, Robert Delaunay, Fr., 1885
·        13 James Ensor, Belgian, 1860, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Br., 1769
·        14 Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, Fr., 1724
·        15 Charles Willson Peale, Am., 1741, Theodore Rousseau, Fr., 1812, Leonardo da Vinci, It., 1452
·        16 Ford Madox Brown, Br., 1821, John Chamberlain, Am., 1927, Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun, Fr., 1755
·        18 Wynn Bulock, Am., 1902, Ludwig Meidner, Gr., 1884, Max Weber, Am., 1881
·        19 Veronese (named for his home town, Verona), It., 1528
·        20 Daniel Chester French, Am., 1850, Joan Miro, Sp., 1893, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Gr., 1805
·        21 Lodovico Carracci, It., 1555, Jean Helion, Fr., 1904, Francesco de Mura, It., 1696
·        22 Sidney Noland, Australian, 1917, Odilon Redon, Fr., 1840
·        23 J. M. W. Turner, Br., 1775
·        24 Willem de Kooning, Am., 1904, Bridget Riley, Br., 1931
·        25 Karel Appel, Dutch, 1921, Giovanni Battista Foggini, It., 1652, Cy Twombly, Am. 1928
·        26 Eugene Delacroix, Fr., 1798, Dorthea Lange, Am., 1895, Edmund Charles Tarbell, Am., 1862
·        27. Samuel F. B. Morse, Am., 1791
·        28 Yves Klein, Fr., 1928
·        29 David Cox, Br., 1783, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, It., 1675
·        30 Francesco Primaticcio, It., 1504

Blue, a favorite color of many

The bluebonnets are just beginning to color the roadways in Texas now. We can thank our former First Lady,  Lady Bird Johnson, for initiating the bluebonnet seeding program with the Texas Department of Highways many years ago. Blue-violet is more the color of the flowers when they are viewed close up.

Stained glass windows, according to Abbe Suger who built St. Denis in Paris, let in light “to illumine men’s minds so that they may travel through it to an apprehension of God’s light.” Brilliant reds and blues were originally an accidental byproduct of the use of Beechwood ash in glass manufacture.Copper and zinc needed to be added in the process. Blue began to rival red for supremacy within the church, although blue never became a vestment color. When St. Louis built his Chapel and the Capet family became the rulers of France with Mary as their patron, the gold fleur-de-lis on a blue background became the family standard as well as the flag of France The fleur-de-lis symbolizes the lily of Mary, seen in annunciation scenes. Some associate this symbol with a blue iris. The flower’s vertical and horizontal petals are seen as a symbol for Christ’s cross.
Artists depicted cherubs’ garments with pastel blue in Christian 15th century paintings. Later, in Baroque art, cherubs were often shown as chubby, winged, nude infants, striking a more playful note carried over into modern Christmas traditions in which angels symbolize joy as much as goodness.
The celestial symbolism of blue made it a Chinese emblem of scholarship and gave it a wider meaning of spiritual knowledge in Buddhism. For the same reason, blue is still generally thought of as the least material shade of the spectrum, suggesting the calm life of the conscious mind, as it does in Jungian psychology. 
Joseph Itten, the  color pioneer, found in research that most people who prefer blue unconsciously chose it because it complements their skin and eyes. Blue is among the most popular colors. Sapphire jewels adorn some engagement rings because the color symbolizes truth, serenity, harmony and domestic peace, all qualities that suggest the hope of lasting love. Highly prized Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan was ground up to produce vivid pigments for early oil painters. This hue was used to designate the Virgin Mary in many religious paintings prior to the Renaissance period because it symbolizes heaven, heavenly love, and truth. In many paintings Christ and the Virgin Mary wear mantles of blue, Christ during his ministry on earth, and the Virgin while holding the infant Christ.

In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the something blue bridal 
tradition suggests love and is part of the bride’s collection to carry in her bouquet or have

upon her person when she takes her wedding vows.

            “Some say blue at its most true is found in nature but rarely, and it is possibly this rarity that has led people to seek it. That it is rarely attained makes it all the more desirable. Infant Pharoahs were swaddled in blue to indicate their celestial state. For the Chinese, blue was the color of the transcendental path to immortality. Grindings of costly lapis lazuli, from Afghanistan, were used in icons for the robes of the Virgin Mary throughout the Middle Ages. This precious color came to represent both the Virgin Mary and the power and wealth of the church of the day. Blue dyes have long been sought for religious and commercial purposes, and two dye plants grown for thousands of years, woad and indigo, are seen in many gardens. Indigo-dyed textiles have been found in Egyptian tombs, and the demand for blue has spread the cultivation of such plants as indigo around the world. Much wealth and energy have also been invested in seeking out blue-flowered plants to embellish the garden, from the absurd folly of a blue rose to the purest-hued delphinium.
            All colors can vary in several directions. Blue can vary in hue, to be more greenish or more reddish; it can vary in saturation, to appear more or less watery; it can vary in brilliance, as it is more or less diluted with white or black; and it can vary in effect. For example, when it is surrounded by orange, its complementary color, it vibrates. It is common knowledge that blue is a cool color and red a warm one. This is partly the effect of association, the heat of a red fire, the chill of blue shadows on snow.        If one paints a flat piece of metal pure blue and another pure red, and sets both in the sun for a few minutes, when a hand is placed on each, the red will be warmer to the touch. Why? Blue absorbs less light than red does. Light is energy, and when absorbed, it becomes heat.
            The color of unreachable horizons, blue also represents the coolness of withdrawal. Visually, blue objects always appear more distant. Emotionally, blue is remote, constrained; “I feel blue” or, “We sing the blues when we’re down-hearted.”
            There is no passion in blue. It is the color of the pinstriped suit of power and reason, of refined and confident contemplation.
            In The Elements of Color, the Swiss color theorist Johannes Itten says that blue is “a power like that of nature in winter, when all germination and growth is hidden in darkness and silence.”
            Blue is a building block, the primary color from which we begin to construct the complexity of our color world. Matisse said that, “Given a correct fundamental attitude, it would turn out that the procedure of making a ‘picture’ garden is no less logical than that of building a house.”

(Excerpt from Nori and Sandra Pope’s gorgeous book Color in the Garden.)

The link between sadness and feeling “blue” is fairly recent. The expression derives from folk songs sung by black American slaves and later developed into the music called the blues. An example:
“From a jail came the wail of a downhearted frail and they played that as part of the blues. From a Whip-poor-will out on a hill, they took a new note, pushed it through a horn ‘til it was born into a blue note. Then, they nursed it, rehearsed it, and gave out the news that the Southland had given birth to the blues” (lyricist unknown).
Artist Robert Genn comments about using blue in paintings in a recent newsletter: “While reading Denis Dutton's The Art Instinct, I learned that predominantly blue paintings indulge our primordial tendencies and satisfy our inner Neanderthal. New blue research at the Sauder School of Business here in Vancouver, B.C. adds:
‘Blue is the color to choose when creativity is a priority," says Dr. Juliet Zhu, an assistant professor of marketing who led the study. About 600 undergraduate students took part. While red might boost the brain's attention to detail, blue is simply loaded with other benefits. On memory tasks, for example, those presented with a red background on their computer screens were able to accurately recall a list of items. Those using a blue background made many more mistakes. ‘People are less literal and more exploratory with blue,’ says Zhu. One test in the Zhu study had pages of 20 potential toy parts illustrated in either red or blue. She asked participants to choose five parts to design a creative toy. A panel of judges found that those using red parts produced designs that were less creative. Those using blue parts came up with the more creative toys. The researchers felt the results were based on learned associations. Red, for example, is associated with ambulances, stop signs, emergencies and blood. With red one is more inclined to be vigilant and careful.
Blue makes folks think of expansive skies and open oceans--perhaps of endless possibilities---which may explain the link to creative, unencumbered thinking. Funnily, the people tested thought blue would help them with both creativity and attention to detail (66 per cent and 74 per cent respectively). Blue is liked. Blue gets a good rap. In reality, blue helps only when the task is creative. When you need attention to detail you should go with red. Apart from blue's obvious uses in marketing and advertising, blue does something to folks when it's hung on a wall. If you want that dreamy, distant look on your collectors' faces, use blue.’
Blue is America’s favorite color. The universal appeal of blue skies and water create a feeling of serenity and openness. Aqua blue is a more frivolous and sunny color. As an exterior paint color, blue works beautifully as either a trim or a whole-house color.
As Colette stated so well, “There are connoisseurs of blue just as there are connoisseurs of wine.” Analyzed by the artist Raoul Dufy, blue holds its own better than other colors. He wrote, “Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones... it will always stay blue; whereas yellow is blackened in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another color – pink.”
 Blue is in the title or mentioned in many songs, i.e. "Blue Suede Shoes," "Blue Velvet," etc. Can you think of others? If so, list them in comments.