Freaking winter, am I right? But we’re done with two months of it, and now March brings the hoped for but illusory spring. In many parts of the USA, March will reliably produce green grass and some early buds and flowers. But here in Michigan, March usually brings things like sleet, ice storms, and roller-coaster barometric readings (great for the sinuses). Let’s take a break from the weather and enjoy a few tunes inspired by this month of transition.
“Winds of March” – Journey, 1978
Buried on side 2 of Journey’s breakout album Infinity, this is a passionate ballad that showed off new lead vocalist Steve Perry’s soulful, romantic side. The band had tried out Robert Fleischman (Vinnie Vincent Invasion) on vocals before the revelation of Perry, and this was quite likely one of Fleischman’s tunes (he gets a writing credit). “Winds” is a favorite album track for me, capturing the melancholy of late winter. This is a cool live clip from ’78, featuring some killer solos from keyboardist Greg Rolie and guitarist Neal Schon.
“Vehicle” – Ides of March, 1970
All right, so the song itself doesn’t have anything to do with the month of March (hey, you try to find songs about March that aren’t about “marching”). Plus, this track totally slams. As a horn player myself, I love rock songs that feature horns. Plus plus, I like the historical reference. “The Ides of March” refers to the date on the Roman calendar corresponding to March 15th, the date upon which Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus & Co. In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.” BTW: I have no idea why this video features clips of rockets to the moon.
“Waters of March” or “Águas de março” – Antônio Carlos Jobim, 1972
This is a classic latin jazz tune that has been recorded countless times, and shows up regularly in films, television, wine bars, and elevators. This version, from tenor saxophonist Stan Getz’s 1976 recording The Best of Two Worlds, is my all-time favorite. It features Jobim singing the Portugese lyrics and Jobim’s then-wife, Brazilian singer/composer Miúcha, singing the English bits. And, of course, some tasty blowing by Stan.
Old pal Art Garfunkel recorded a version of “Waters of March” for his 1975 album Breakaway. Art’s version recently appeared in the 2021 Norwegian film The Worst Person in the World. Our David Hopper recommends the film.
BONUS SONG ALERT!
“March the Mad Scientist” – Jethro Tull, 1975
This little ditty was recorded during the sessions for Tull’s ’75 release Minstrel in the Gallery, while the band were in tax exile in Monaco. It wasn’t included on the original release of the album, but an astute reader brought it to my attention from the 2002 reissue CD bonus tracks. “In March the mad scientist brings a new change.”