The subject of this week’s Thursday Thirteen is the women behind the songs. I could think of more songs named after women, like Enchantment’s “Gloria” or Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally", for instance, but I could not find information about who inspired the song. These are listed in chronological order. What are some of your favorite women inspired songs?
1. Peggy Sue Gerron
From Buddy Holly's 'Peggy Sue' (1957) Holly wrote some lovely songs for his wife, Maria Elena, but his best-known hit was actually inspired by the woman who would later become his drummer's wife. Peggy Sue was a classmate of Holly's at Texas' Lubbock High when the song -- which the singer flirted with re-titling 'Cindy Lou' -- topped the charts. She's currently working on an autobiography titled 'Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?'
2. Donna Ludwig
From Ritchie Valen's ‘Oh Donna’ (1958) Valens wrote this song for his high school sweetheart, Donna Ludwig. Their relationship was included in the 1987 biographical film “La Bamba”. Donna Ludwig is now Donna Fox. She remains active in events having to do with her childhood boyfriend Ritchie Valens.
3. Carole King
From Neil Sedaka's 'Oh Carol' (1962) Impressing a love interest with a song gets a lot more difficult when said subject is just as capable of writing a smash hit herself -- but this bouncy tune helped Sedaka score points with high school sweetie Carol Klein. The song went on to become one of Sedaka's biggest hits, and inspired Klein -- who had by then adopted the nom de disque Carole King -- to record the answer tune "Oh Neil." Not even Neil Armstrong's moon landing some years later could make that one a hit.
From Donovan’s 'Jennifer Juniper' (1968) Fashion models often captivate rock stars, but even by the standards of that profession, Jenny Boyd had a special magic. The teenage waif proved equally enraptured with folkie Donovan, who serenaded her with this guileless song. Their romance would prove short-lived, and Jenny went on to marry and divorce Mick Fleetwood -- twice! -- before earning her psychology degree. Coincidentally, Jenny's older sister Patti -- married to George Harrison but in love with Eric Clapton -- was the inspiration for 'Layla'.
5. Caroline Kennedy
From Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ (1969) Diamond said he was a "young, broke songwriter" in the '60s when he saw a cute photo of Caroline Kennedy in a magazine. “It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony," he recalled. "It was such an innocent, wonderful picture; I immediately felt there was a song in there."
6. Candy Darling From the Velvet Underground's 'Candy Says' (1969) Lou Reed wrote this as an homage to Warhol "superstar" Candy Darling, who came to New York a shy young man and emerged as a glamorous blond woman. Reed channeled both Candy's delicacy and steeliness in lines like "I've come to hate my body/And all that it requires in this world" -- a reference to the female hormones that enabled her gender change but ultimately took her life. He also name-checked her in 'Walk on the Wild Side,' recalling, "In the back room, she was everybody's darling."
7. Judy Collins
From Crosby Stills and Nash's 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' (1969) Written by a man on the verge of a catastrophic breakup, this Stephen Stills composition chronicles his love for his longtime girlfriend, folk singer Judy Collins, and the differences that were driving them apart. The last verse of 'Judy Blue Eyes,' sung in Spanish, has absolutely nothing to do with Collins and instead focuses on an unfulfilled desire to take a trip to Cuba. We're presuming there's a veiled reference to Gloria Estefan in there someplace, but our language skills are a little rusty.
8. Patti D’Arbanville
From Cat Steven’s ‘My Lady Darbanville’ (1971) Cat Steven’s was inspired to write this song while in a relationship with actress Patti D’Arbanville, who would later become the girlfriend of Don Johnson and the mother of his son Jessie. I remember her best from the 90’s television show “New York Undercover”.
9. Sara Allen
From Hall and Oates ‘Sara Smile' (1976) Sara Allen was the love interest of Darryl Hall and a songwriter in her own right. Not only was she the inspiration for the 1976 hit Sara Smile. She was also inspired the song “Rich Girl” in a roundabout way, it was about a rich former boyfriend of Sara’s; however rich boy did not sound right.
10. Sara Recor
From Fleetwood Mac’s 'Sara' (1979) Anyone who thinks Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a tough game should try a round of with Sara Recor -- the subject of this airily pretty radio staple. Sara, a good pal of Stevie Nicks, actually helped write her own serenade -- a pretty gutsy move since she was on the verge of stealing Nicks' boyfriend, Mick Fleetwood. Recor and the drummer later married and divorced, but her relationship with Nicks survived -- long enough, at least, for Stevie to "borrow" Recor's first name for this song about Nicks' stint in rehab.
11. Sharona Alperin
From the Knack’s 'My Sharona' (1979) Knack frontman Doug Fieger was a twentysomething rock journeyman with a dirty-old-man streak when he met 16-year-old Sharona, who would give him his place in rock history. Fieger threw caution -- and age-of-consent laws -- to the wind and wooed Sharona, who inspired the song that bears her name, and she ended up posing for the single's picture sleeve. They remained a couple for four years, leaving Fieger as one of rock's great one-hit wonders and Sharona one of L.A.'s more successful real estate agents.
2. Rosanna Arquette
From Toto’s ‘Rosanna’ (1982) Ah, Hollywood. The Rosanna in question is surnamed Arquette -- yes, of 'Desperately Seeking Susan' fame -- and she happened to be the muse/lover of Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro. Ironically, Porcaro neither sang the song -- that would be frontman Bobby Kimball -- nor wrote it. The author was David Paich, who -- in a rare example of rock brotherhood -- penned the song to celebrate the love between his bandmate and Arquette, not to try to win her away from Porcaro.
3. Delilah DiCrescenzo
From Plain White Ts' 'Hey There Delilah' (2006) Plain White T's frontman Tom Higginson wrote this ode to Columbia University steeplechase runner Delilah DiCrescenzo. He fell for Delilah and told her he'd written a tune about her, then quickly backed off when she asked to hear the song, which didn't exist yet. By the time he got around to penning the ditty, Delilah was long gone. She has since weighed in, saying, "Part of me wants to scream at the top of my lungs that it's about me. Another part of me wants to cower and say it's not.
Enjoy Hall & Oates performing "Sara Smile" Live.
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