Almanac Music: Put A Ring On It – Songs about Jewellery

 

Ammolite Jewellery.
(Wikimedia Commons.)

 

 

Almanac Music: Put A Ring on It – Songs about Jewellery

 

Well, it’s 2024! I’m happy to be back on deck with my Friday music spot, Almanackers!

 

This week’s piece about key popular song themes involves songs that focus upon jewellery. It ties in neatly with my last music post of 2023 concerning songs about clothing.

 

So, dear readers, please put your relevant ‘songs about jewellery’ in the ‘Comments’ section. The item of jewellery concerned could be mentioned in the song’s title, or in the lyrics.

 

 

‘She Wears My Ring’, original music by Narciso Serradell Sevilla, English lyrics by Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, performed by Johnny O’Keefe (1964)

 

More a charismatic shouter than an accomplished singer, JOK’s showmanship almost invariably got him through – this song is an apt illustration of the nature of the Oz rock ‘n’ roll icon’s appeal.

 

 

 

 

‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, performed by The Beatles (1964)

 

A Beatlemania era song par excellence, from the album A Hard Day’s Night, this rock ‘n’ roll classic, written by McCartney but attributed to his usual songwriting partnership with Lennon (as was usual then), will never grow old… ‘I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend, if it makes you feel alright…’ Who of a certain demographic doesn’t know the first line of the first verse?

 

 

 

 

‘Wedding Ring’, written by Stevie Wright and George Young, performed by The Easybeats (1965)

 

Catchy, hooky and charged with excitement, this rocker was the epitome of what Oz group the Easybeats were all about.

 

 

 

 

 

Surf’s Up’, written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, performed by the Beach Boys (1971)

 

Mix the musical invention of Brian Wilson with Van Dyke Parks’ poetic verbal gymnastics, some drugs, an era, a chequered recording history and this could be what you get – an uneven, highly melodic and richly harmonic work, with touches of genius throughout.

 

 

 

 

‘Golden Ring’, written by Bobby Braddock and Rafe Van Hoy, performed by Tammy Wynette and George Jones (1975)

 

A hit Country song for one-time real life couple George Jones and Tammy Wynette, this is a classy piece of songwriting about love and (failed) marriage.

 

 

 

 


‘Capricorn Dancer’, written and performed by Richard Clapton (1976)

 

With its reference to ‘diamonds scattered out to sea’, this quintessential 70s Australian rock song qualifies for a guernsey in relation to this week’s theme.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Pearl Necklace’, written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, performed by ZZ Top (1981)

 

Fundamentally, this rocking number by ZZ Top concerns a sexual act – work it out for yourselves, dear readers, or consult Wikipedia!

 

 

 

 

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)’ written by Beyoncé, Terius ‘The-Dream’ Nash, Thaddis ‘Kuk’ Harrell, and Christopher ‘Tricky’ Stewart, performed by Beyoncé (2008)

 

Basically a song about male non-commitment, this Grammy winning, international hit song first appeared on Beyoncé’s I Am… Sasha Fierce album.

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………

 

 

Now, wonderful readers (and listeners) – over to you. Your responses to this topic are warmly welcomed. In the ‘Comments’ section, please add your own choice of a song (or songs) involving jewellery, along with any other relevant material you wish to include.

 

[Note: Wikipedia has been a good general reference for this piece, particularly in relation to checking dates and other details.]

 

 

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About

Kevin Densley is a graduate of both Deakin University and The University of Melbourne. He has taught writing and literature in numerous Victorian universities and TAFES. He is a poet and writer-in-general. His fifth book-length poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws ... I'm Feeling Too Indolent, will be published in late 2023 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.

Comments

  1. The Beatles by a mile I reckon.

  2. Saw James Taylor do a dramatic version of his ex Carly Simon’s “Mockingbird” in the 80’s (“if that mockingbird won’t sing, he’s gonna buy me a diamond ring”). Seeing him again in April – like Bruce he’s ageless and timeless.
    JT’s trope was the lights dim when the song starts. Just him singing in the spotlight with something on a stool next to him in the dark. When the high pitched call and response of Carly’s bit kicks in, a red light glows on the stool illuminating an (even then) old fashioned reel to reel tape player. Carly was disposable, but her voice wasn’t.

  3. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Jim.

    Additions to my list are most welcome, too.

  4. Kevin Densley says

    Hi PB. Thank you for ”Mockingbird’, and the accompanying interesting story and commentary.

    Of further interest to me is that fact that one performer on my initial list of jewellery songs also did a version of ”Mockingbird” – Johnny O’Keefe. His partner in the song was a woman whose first name was Maureen, from memory. (Can’t remember her surname.)

  5. Kevin Densley says

    The Oz ‘Mockingbird’ recording I’m thinking of was by JOK and Margaret McLaren – just found out. (It was released around 1974, as I recall.)

  6. Do you mean like:

    Ring of Fire or Ring Ring?

    Ok, I get it, so, for starters, Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell (and Bruce)

    Great call with Golden Rings by George and Tammy, what a song.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thinking cap engaged KD

    Locket Love – Ramones
    Diamonds and Pearls – Prince

    Some groups named after jewellery

    The Jesus and Mary Chain
    The Bangles
    Golden Earring

  8. In February 1947 Hank Williams recorded, ‘When God Comes & Gathers His Jewels’ .

    Glen!

  9. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Rick – yep, ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, a bit of a beauty!

    Ring-a-ding-ding!

  10. Kevin Densley says

    Cheers, Swish.

    Thank you for both the songs and the band names.

  11. Kevin Densley says

    Good stuff,Glen!

    The more I listen to Hank Snr, the more I like him.

  12. Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Kanye
    Band of Gold, Freda Payne
    On the Other Hand, Randy Travis
    Spare Parts, Bruce
    Diamonds and Rust, Joan Baez (about you know who)

  13. Kevin Densley says

    Great, Rick. Some fine songs here. To pick out one from the bunch – Kanye’s is pure (eccentric) genius.

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Kicking myself for missing Band of Gold, an all time great. A bit like that ZZ Top song, I went off prematurely.

    Diamond Dogs – Bowie
    Diamond Sea – Sonic Youth
    Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Beatles
    Emerald City – Seekers

    If we stretch things a bit:

    Ruby Tuesday – Stones
    Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
    Pearl’s A Singer – Elkie Brooks
    Ruby Horse – Wonder Stuff

  15. Kevin Densley says

    Ha ha Swish – re the ZZ Top reference! Many thanks for your additional songs, including the ‘stretches’.

  16. Peter Crossing says

    Diamonds – Jet Harris and Tony Meehan (ex Shadows members)
    Won’t You Wear My Ring Around Your Neck – Elvis
    Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes – Paul Simon
    Shine On You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd
    String of Pearls – Glenn Miller
    Baubles, Bangles and Beads – Frank Sinatra

    Sad Cinderella – Townes Van Zandt (When the bandits have stolen your jewellery and gone) Great song

    Artists
    Jewell
    Jewel Akins (The Birds and Bees)
    Jackie Opel – They loved him in Barbados (Check out Pity The Fool)

  17. “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” by the incomparable Linda Ronstadt.

  18. Kevin Densley says

    Excellent, comprehensive response, Peter C. A number of your songs occurred to me when I was doing my initial list, like ‘String of Pearls’ and the Sinatra song. All worthy inclusions, indeed. Regarding the artists’ names – it seems we’ve created a sub-category here.

  19. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks again, PB – I suppose we could make jewellery out of silver threads and golden needles! (A bit of a stretch, I humbly submit!)

  20. Leah – Roy Orbison
    Diamonds are a Girl’s best Friend – Marilyn Monroe
    Diamonds on the Water – Enya
    Diamond Heart – Lady Gaga
    Crack in the Pearl – Mark Ronson
    City of Gold – Dragon Force
    Candy Necklace – Lana Del Ray

  21. Kevin Densley says

    Many thanks for this excellent bunch of songs, Fisho. To single out just one – ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ by MM. What a classic in terms of this week’s theme!

  22. Here’s a couple more .
    Where were you on my Wedding Day – Lloyd Price.
    What do you want – Adam Faith.

  23. DBalassone says

    I could mention Dylan’s ‘jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule’, but I will use this thread to highlight one of my favourite pieces of music. It comes from Warren Zevon’s song ‘Empty-Handed Heart’ (maybe the best love-lost song ever written) when Linda Rondsadt sings a descant in between Zevons ‘Then I’ve thrown down diamonds in the sand’ part:

    (Remember when we used to watch the sun set in the sea)
    Then I’ve thrown down diamonds in the sand
    (You said you’d always be in love with me)
    Then I’ve thrown down diamonds in the sand
    (All through the night we danced and sang)
    Then I’ve thrown down diamonds in the sand
    (Made love in the mornings while the church bells rang)
    Then I’ve thrown down diamonds in the sand

  24. Kevin Densley says

    Thank you again, Fisho. (It’s at this stage of the discussion that I usually say that we’re developing a really good collection of songs here.)

  25. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Damian – and what a beautiful Zevon song! That man was a dead set songwriting genius!

  26. Karl Dubravs says

    Welcome back KD (I kinda missed ya!)
    I note Damian got in early on Dylan’s ‘Vision of Johanna’ – ‘jewels & binoculars’
    Here’s a few more from Mr Dylan:
    Dark Eyes – where the Earth is strung with lover’s pearls, and all I see are dark eyes
    Just Like A Woman – with her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls
    She Belongs To Me – she wears an Egyptian ring that sparkles before she speaks
    Like A Rolling Stone – but you better lift your diamond ring, you better pawn it babe
    Isis – I was thinking about diamonds and the world’s biggest necklace
    Gotta Serve Somebody – you may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
    Slow Train – Sheiks walkin’ round like kings, wearing fancy jewels and nose rings
    Early Roman Kings – sluggers and muggers wearing fancy gold rings
    I was surprised to find not one Dylan song with an item of jewellery in the title¬¬¬
    Cheers, Karl

  27. Liam Hauser says

    Four Little Diamonds: Electric Light Orchestra
    The Pearl: Fleming and John
    Band of Gold: Belinda Carlisle (original by Freda Payne as mentioned elsewhere)
    Diamonds: Rihanna (my former boss used to play Rihanna a lot on Youtube)

  28. DBalassone says

    Excellent work Karl, I knew you’d come up with the goods. I’ll add ‘Black Diamond Bay’, only through sheer coincidence as I was just listening to Desire in the car – one of my favourite albums, particularly Side 2 which starts with Joey, followed by Romance in Durango, which segues into Black Diamond Bay – it’s twenty minutes of Dylan artistry.

  29. Peter Wilshire says

    Hi Kevin,
    A very nice selection!
    Has anyone mentioned ‘This Diamond Ring’, by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1965). I think it was written by a young Al Kooper.
    Keep up the terrific work!
    Cheers,
    Peter Wilshire.

  30. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Karl. It feels good to be back doing these themed music pieces. Thanks for your kind words and song selections. I continue to be highly impressed by your detailed knowledge of Dylan’s work!

  31. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Liam, for your contribution – on the money, as usual, and my ‘go to’ person as far as ELO is concerned.

  32. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Peter W – many thanks for your very positive response in general, and for ‘This Diamond Ring’ in particular, which is certainly a newie to the overall list.

  33. Diamonds in the Rough, The Carter Family & John Prine
    Wedding Bells, Hank Williams & John Prine
    Saginaw, Michigan, Lefty Frizzell & John Prine
    Far From Me, John Prine
    Living in the Future, John Prine
    You Got Gold, John Prine
    A Star, a Jewel, and a Hoax, John Prine
    Paper Rings, Taylor Swift
    Diamond Joe by Butch Hawes and sung by Cisco Houston, Ramblin’ Jack, Dylan and Guy Clark
    Black Diamond Strings, Guy Clark
    Hennessy Road, recent song by Dave Warner

    Cheers

  34. I seem to have missed the bus. Most of the songs that I know with jewellery in the title. I could add Deborah Conway’s String of Pearls to the list but I will need to look a bit further to find some more.

    However I did want to add one more performance. George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s performance of Golden Ring is great, but this version by Emmylou Harris joined by Kate and Anna McGarrigle and Linda Ronstadt is fantastic. These four women are amongst the finest performance of female harmony singing in country and folk singing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hNrsVZnz_w

  35. Kevin Densley says

    Thank you, Rick, for these additional jewellery songs – particularly interesting to see how many were connected to John Prine.

  36. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for your contribution, Dave. I like the Conway song and the Emmylou Harris ‘quartet’ version of ‘Golden Ring’ a great deal.

  37. Karl Dubravs says

    Another songwriter that I have loads of time for is Jackson Browne.
    I just remembered this song off his 1986 ‘Lives In The Balance’ album – & it fits the theme very nicely
    ‘In The Shape Of A Heart’
    It was a ruby that she wore
    On a chain around her neck
    In the shape of a heart

    BTW – from the list of songs so far mentioned – my favourite would have to be Freda Payne’s ‘Band Of Gold’. It kicked off the 70’s in fine style.

  38. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Karl, for ‘In The Shape Of A Heart’.

    I’m inclined to agree with you about ‘Band of Gold’, too.

  39. How about the Twelve Days of Christmas ?
    Here’s a few others I put my thinking cap on for – a couple from Guy Mitchell
    Truly, Truly Fair and She Wears Red Feathers
    Round and Round – Perry Como
    The Yellow Rose of Texas – Mitch Miller

  40. Frank perich says

    Hi there. In the back door again and trust none of the offerings have been slotted by others.
    Getting bands out of the way we have Pearl Jam , The Diamonds and Golden Earing. On the Pearl Jam theme Crown of thorns by former member of Mother Love Bone.
    If Ruby songs count then throw in Dion’s Ruby Ruby. On diamonds Shirley Basseys Diamonds are forever and Rihanna Diamonds in the sky courtesy of daughter.
    Now to Band of Gold. Same title different song by Don Cherry. Also Little Band of Gold by Bill Anderson. Song Sun is Shinining by Axeell and Ingrisso refers to Simple band of Gold wrapped around my soul. What about Bo Didley bought his babe a diamond ring. (My fav) Ronnie Hawkins laments that Mary Lou She took my diamond ring – she took my watch and chain. Struggled to get a Roxy/Ferry contribution and arrived at Phil Manzaneras Diamond Head. Credit to contributor of Lefty Frizell Saginaw Michigan that The Moonee Valley Drifters nail.
    Regards. Frank.

  41. Karl Dubravs says

    For some reason, I always thought that the cane was encrusted with a diamond, but alas I was wrong. So, another Dylan offering:
    William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
    With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger….

  42. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Frank. Your contributions are most welcome. This one contains much that I’m sure will be of interest to Almanac readers.Great detail.

  43. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Karl. Commendable specificity!

  44. Kevin Densley says

    And – out of sequence – thank you Fisho for your latest bunch of songs.

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