You’re never more impressionable than during those fleeting moments right between waking up and getting ready to go out and face the world. At that point, one song can make your whole day, so here are six grade-A jams that will put a spring in your step when you most need it.
‘Just A Little Lovin’ – Dusty Springfield
Far from being a one-hit wonder (though what a hit it is!), the impressively coiffed Dusty Springfield has a rich catalog of wonderful blue-eyed soul records, the high point being 1969’s “Dusty in Memphis”. This song, with its thesis statement that “just a little lovin’ beats a cup of coffee for starting off the day”, sets the mood for the rest of the album. And yes, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ is also on here.
‘Sunday Morning’ – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Now, smartasses will tell you that this song is in fact “ironic”, a joke on the listener by the iconic New York avant-garde band. And it’s true that the album it opens – the one with Andy Warhol’s legendary banana cover – is mostly about noisy tales of debauchery and decadence. But we like to think that Lou Reed was totally sincere when he wrote this gentle little tune, which might just be the ultimate song about a terrible hangover.
‘Mannish Boy’ – Muddy Waters
If you hear the words “blues music” and “morning”, you probably involuntarily start humming stuff like “woke up this morning to a mailbox filled with bills”. But Muddy Waters, who perfected bragging as an artform decades before hip-hop, is more optimistic than that: “Everything is gonna be alright this morning” he proclaims, followed by an immortal blues riff. There are as many versions of this song as there are catfish in the sea. But for our money, the definitive one is found on his 1978 comeback album ‘Hard Again’.
‘Breakfast in Bed’ – Lorna Bennett et al.
The lyrics to this song about are actually not that chipper if you listen closely – but who listens closely after just waking up? What’s remarkable is how many great versions of this Hinton/Fritts composition there are. Originally written for aforementioned Dusty Springfield, it was later covered by many reggae and soul artists. Also by UB40, but avoid that one, because it’s UB40.
‘Happier Than The Morning Sun’ – Stevie Wonder
Nobody sings about the stars, the moon and the rising sun quite like Stevie Wonder – nobody sings quite like Stevie Wonder, period – and this ballad from his ‘golden era’ is ample proof of that. Wonder – on lead and backing vocals, also on clavinet and bass – transports the listener into a state of quiet bliss for the duration of the song, which also includes one of the sweetest “I love yous” in music history.
‘Breakfast’ – Kelis
Fans of R&B goddess Kelis – and who isn’t? – know about her affinity for all things culinary, breakfast explicitly not excluded. Just about every song from her concept album ‘Food’ could serve as the perfect soundtrack for a long and rich brunch, but we want to highlight this one: half sparse ballad, half stirring anthem, it’s a wonderful reminder that waking up is nice but that waking up next to a person you love is even nicer.