C is for Circle Songs

The Cyrkle was a Pennsylvania band, managed by Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, and named by John Lennon.

The circle is considered the perfect symbol, something with no beginning and no ending. So I decided that all I want to post today are songs, specifically circle songs.

LISTEN TO The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell, a Canadian singer-songwriter, ended her 1970 Ladies of the Canyon album with this oft-covered tune. In fact, Tom Rush had already put it on his 1968 album named after this song. Here’s a 1967 version from Joni. Buffy Sainte-Marie had a minor hit with the song as well.

LISTEN TO Happiness Runs by Donovan

Donovan was one of those 1960s singers that some critics pegged as “the next Bob Dylan”, which is always an unfair comparison. Here’s the Scottish singer on the Smothers Brothers singing Lalena, then Happiness Runs (at 3:50) in 1968. I remember watching it at the time and loving it. The song at the end is, according to one source, Unknown Song, featuring Jennifer Warnes.
Happiness runs in a circular motion
Thought is like a little boat upon the sea.
Everybody is a part of everything anyway,
You can have everything if you let yourself be.

LISTEN TO Windmills of Your Mind by Alison Moyet

English pop singer Alison Moyet is one of several artists to perform this song by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, “from the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Noel Harrison performed the song for the film score. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1969.” The most famous version was by the late English pop/soul crooner Dusty Springfield, but there have been many others, including Petula Clark, Vanilla Fudge (!), Neil Diamond and Sting.
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel

LISTEN TO Will It Go Round In Circles by Billy Preston

American soul singer and keyboardist Billy Preston was a child prodigy and played with musicians such as Ray Charles and Sam Cooke. He befriended the Beatles and later became the first person to get a credit on a Beatles single. He was signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records, but his real success came when he moved to A&M Records and had four Top 10 hits, including this #1. Unfortunately, Billy died in 2006, at the age of 59.

LISTEN TO Will the Circle Be Unbroken by Michelle Wright, Iris DeMent, and Mairead Ni Mhaonaight

Will the Circle Be Unbroken is a 100+ year old song, which I most associate with legendary country music artists the Carter Family. It has been often covered, notably by Johnny Cash, who married into the Carter family when he wed June; and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, whose album of the same name “brings the longhaired West Coast band together with some of Nashville’s greatest artists.”

LISTEN TO Red Rubber Ball by The Cyrkle

Finally, a bit of a cheat. The Cyrkle was a Pennsylvania band, managed by Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, and named by John Lennon. This was their biggest hit, as it went to #2 in 1966, written by Paul Simon.

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

28 thoughts on “C is for Circle Songs”

  1. Very intelligent and interesting idea for this post.
    ** I’m sending love and good energies for your mommy!
    Léia – Bonjour Luxembourg

  2. Terrific, fascinating and informative post for the C Day as always, Roger! I love Windmills of Your Mind, the song and the movie. Hope your week is off to a great start!

    ABC Team

  3. You must have reached the inner circle. A surprising number of round songs, or is that a madrigal. Like Alison Moyer, but not her version of Windmills…

  4. Circles are cool, and I love that Joni song; my son used to sing along to it when he was little, so cute. Didn’t the chap who painted the Sistine Chapel (terrible memory for names, sorry) get the job because he was able to draw a perfect circle freehand. Or is that one of those myths people like me fall for?

  5. Wow, so many circle songs. Nice that you started with a Canadian singer-songwriter. And then a Scottish one. Good work, Roger! LOL
    But, seriously… good work, Roger!
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  6. I had to listen to the last song for sure. I like Paul Simon. I actually think he is a great poet without the music, but this song sounded very much like the Beatles’music which I also like. Will have to come back and listen to the others. I’m suddenly swamped with things to do. Could be because my husband just got back after three weeks away!

  7. Someone who knows Tom Rush! Whee! I love ol’ Tom. His resurgence in popularity is amazing and well-deserved.

    I recognize all of these except for the last.

    Hope your mom is doing okay.

    ABC Team

  8. I’ve always loved the Joni Mitchell song and also Will the Circle be Unbroken. I have a vinyl album with that as its title song. Great take on the them.

  9. The Circle of Life – soundtrack from the Lion King movie, was my kids’ favorite song for years. They both probably still know all the words.

    My thoughts are with you and your family during this time. Take care.

  10. Great word for the day. Circles are symbols for so many things representing infinity. So many cultures hold the shape in high reverence.

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