Music and the mail.
Working on a recent project for a client, one of our employees gave an effort to take on the oft-impersonated Elvis with a “Return to sender” vocal solo. That prompted a discussion about all these love letter, postal-related songs within the music industry.
Is there anyone smoother than Elvis? Is someone really going to turn down a letter from The King? But that’s what a “lover’s spat” could lead to, playing a game of letter-tag. One of our employees recalled hearing this song many times while working at a grocery store. The song was a single off the soundtrack “Girls! Girls! Girls!” in which Elvis was the lead role. Now, go about your day and not hum, “Return to sender” in an Elvis baritone.
Get up and start dancing. So much pop and soul oozes from Stevie Wonder’s 1970 hit song. How do you deliver a letter? Seal it and deliver it, of course! If you are writing a letter, there better be some soul to it, and Stevie delivered.
“Please Read The Letter” by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss; Robert Plant & Jimmy Page
Sticking with legends of music, look no further than Robert Plant teaming with Alison Krauss to pen this catchy and pleading melody. From Led Zeppelin-fame, Plant and Jimmy Page recorded the first version of this love song before the remake with Plant/Krauss gained popularity. Hopefully the letter was read, because Plant certainly wasn’t screaming a la “Immigrant Song” in this tune, rather a slow plead for someone to read his letter.
“Send Me a Postcard” by Bob Mould, originally recorded by Shocking Blue (1968)
Channel your inner punk, psych rock for this one. “Waiting for a little sign” lyric can be achieved by just sending a postcard. “Don’t let me down, send the postcard!” Consider it a passive aggressive plea for some needed communication. Stamp it and send it so we don’t have to wait until the end of time.
You can’t have a list without a little weird. This is one of Weird Al’s original compositions in the pop world as part of his debut album, which gave us “I Love Rocky Road.” Featuring his trademark accordion, Weird Al looks to make his dreams come true, trusting the check is in the mail.
Have you ever written a letter to yourself? About the past? Or the future? In a diary approach, Paisley touches on various aspects of life – first dates, school and life. Increase your self-awareness and give it a shot. Write yourself a letter and open it a year from now. Set goals or reflect on where you are at in your current state.
Picture yourself in a rocking chair, swaying back and forth to the tunes of the soothing James Taylor. Plenty of reflection in this song, especially if you come from a small town that has gone through some struggles. It’s a deep track, but sometimes those are the best to dig out and play.
“Got a box full of letters think you might like to read. Some things that you might like to see but they’re all addressed to me.” Dig into the Wilco vault and find the gem Box Full of Letters. There is mystery and some emotion in this song. Sure there is the box full of letters, but also “I got a lot of your records in a separate stack,” sounds like someone hasn’t let go of love yet. It’s an early song by the band, which features songwriter/vocalist Jeff Tweedy who has gone on to success as a solo artist in addition to playing in Wilco.
“Please Mister Postman” by The Marvelettes (covered notably by The Carpenters and The Beatles)
Anytime this song gets covered and it comes back as a hit again, it has the making of something special. The Marvelettes hit a homer here. If “Please Mister Postman” is a good enough song for John, Paul, George and Ringo to cover, it’s got to be legendary. From so far away, the way to communicate in the 1960s was by way of letter. Who do we still wait to see when anticipating a piece of mail? Mister Postman.
“Mr. Postman, do you have a letter for me?” is a somber plea from The Decemberist seeking connection with love. The folk rock five-piece from Oregon doesn’t hold back emotion in this open desire to hear back from a true love. A letter will suffice, but it never seems to come.
A nod to a band who literally picked a name relating to mail. The Postal Service was a short-lived supergroup of sorts featuring Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and solo artist Jenny Lewis. Their lone album – Give Up – debuted on Sub Pop records (which reached fame with Nirvana’s success as an indie label). There was some legal action between the band and the United States Postal Service over the use of the name, but they eventually worked together to aid the marketing of both entities. Give the song “Such Great Heights” a listen from Give Up.