Summer has returned to central England. The sun is shining, the grass is green, the flowers are blooming. In the corner of our garden there’s a large buddleia bush full of blossom and the butterflies love it. So, by way of celebration, here’s a short playlist of ‘butterfly’ songs.
Tracks (with Spotify links)
- Dog and Butterfly by Heart.
- The Butterfly Collector by The Jam.
- Catching the Butterfly by The Verve.
- Butterfly On A Wheel by The Mission.
The Crotchety antennae first picked up the scent of Heart in the early ’80s. After hearing tracks from their first two albums they were characterised as a rather good rock band with the potential to be great. Although much of their material was conventional it spanned the rock style spectrum – sometimes heavy, sometimes sweet – and was always delivered with feeling and conviction. Dog and Butterfly is from the lighter, folksy end of Heart‘s repertoire – acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies from Ann and Nancy Wilson, and even some wind chimes on the fadeout, just right for a lazy summer’s day.
In contrast, The Butterfly Collector is a bitter commentary on those who go out to trap nature’s colourful creatures, watch them suffocate in a glass jar and pin them to a display board alongside so many others. Except that the victims in this song have monochrome skin. They are the people whose once colourful personalities were blanched white in the ruthless race for fame and success. Another notch on the bedpost. Another discarded, desiccated shell.
You’ve achieved your aim by making the walking lame.
The Verve have a much more cheerful message. They see a radiant child within each of us, full of life, full of promise, fizzing with hope and expectation. They want to capture the pure free spirit of childhood to guide them through their own lives. And they keep catching that butterfly in recurring lucid dreams. How could anyone deny them that?
Wayne Hussey’s Mission feeds us the bitter gall of fragile wings broken on the rim of a heavy wheel before administering the sweet nectar of an all-healing love. Butterfly On A Wheel from the band’s third album, Carved In Sand, is their most streamed track on Spotify. The Crotchety Analysts wouldn’t disagree with the popular vote; it’s certainly the standout track in the random samples the backroom boys have examined. And this wheel rounds off the playlist nicely.
There have been a couple of butterfly mentions in these pages before: the original Bob Lind version of Elusive Butterfly and an improvised piano piece by Annie Lennox called Parnassius Apollo. Add those to your listening if you’d like to add still more colour to the butterfly wings.