Elly McDonald



With a song in my heart

Julie AndrewsThis is my 100th blog post since I set up my Elly McDonald Writer blog site 25 months ago. You might think I’ve posted weekly, or four times a month. In truth, I binge blog.

I ignored good advice to keep my blog posts brief, visual, funny, gossip-filled and fortnightly. But I do feel my 100th post should be celebratory and light. And what do I do when I want celebration and light? I sing.

I sing in the car. I sing on the beach. I sing in the kitchen. I have sung in choirs, small groups and school musicals. I have sung in churches, and from the audience at gigs by local bands and major international rock acts. Sometimes it’s hard to shut me up.

When I was a kid I wanted to be Julie Andrews: a “singing star”. Occasionally I still dream I’m a cabaret artist – but only when I’m sleeping. Planet Earth is safe.

I wouldn’t make it through auditions for The Voice. I just, as they say, love the sound of my own voice.

What do I sing?

Left to my own devices, I default to the pop music of my early teens, particularly the glam rock idols. I sing tracks that suit my voice, with lyrics that tickle me.

Here’s a sample:

I sing David Bowie. If I need cheering up, it’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. My sister and I duet on Moonage Daydream:

I’m an alligator, I’m a mama-papa coming for you
I’m the space invader, I’ll be a rock’n’rollin’ bitch for you
Keep your mouth shut
you’re squawking like a pink monkey bird
And I’m busting up my brains for the words

… and Suffragette City:


dd1001_david_bowieIf I’m pensive, it’s Lady Stardust:

People stared
at the makeup on his face
laughed at his long black hair, his animal grace
The boy in the bright blue jeans
jumped up on the stage
And Lady Stardust sang his songs
of darkness and disgrace

And he was alright, the band was all together
Yes he was alright, the song went on forever
And he was awful nice
really quite out of sight
([second time:] really quite paradise)
And he sang
all night long

Femme fatales emerged from shadows
to watch this creature fair
Boys stood upon their chairs
to make their point of view
I smiled sadly for a love I could not obey

Lady Stardust sang his songs
of darkness and dismay

Oh how I sighed
When they asked if I knew his name

or Rock’n’Roll Suicide:

Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on a finger, then another finger, then a cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Oh oh, you’re a rock’n’roll suicide

You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
and the clock waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a café but you don’t eat when you’ve lived too long
Oh no no no you’re a rock’n’roll suicide

David BowieIf I’m ambling or reflective, my go-to Bowie is Hunky Dory and The Man Who Sold The World. Specializing in The Bewlay Brothers:

And it was Stalking Time
for the Moon-Boys
The Bewlay Brothers
With our backs on the arch
and the Devil may be here
but he can’t sing about that
Oh, and we were gone
Real cool traders
We were so turned on
You thought we were fakers

I sing Marc Bolan and T-Rex. Jeepster as my happy song, Children of the Revolution as my F.U. song. And when I’m sad…. I slide

I could never understand
the wind at all
was like a ball of love
I could never never see
the cosmic sea
was like a bumblebee
And when I’m sad
I slide

Watch now I’m gonna slide


I sing Sweet. My sister and I cue up: “Ready, Steve?” “Uh-huh…” We do Ballroom Blitz:

I see a man at the back as a matter of fact
his eyes are as red as the sun
And the girl in the corner let no one ignore her
’cause she thinks she’s the passionate one

Oh yeah! It was like lightning
Everybody was fighting
And the music was soothing
And they all started grooving

Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah yeah
And the man in the back said everyone attack
and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said boy I wanna warn ya
it’ll turn into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz

In my Zoolander moods I do Foxy on the Run:


don’t wanna know your name

‘Cos you don’t look the same

Last week I heard Sweet’s Blockbuster on the radio and sang along happily.


I sing Slade: pretty much everything, with special mentions to Coz I Luv You and Pouk Hill. I can do Darlin’ Be Home Soon complete with Noddy’s burp.


I sing Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees:

Oh, who needs that sentimental bullshit, anyway
You know it takes more than just a memory to make me cry
And I’m happy just to sit here round a table with old friends
And see which one of us can tell the biggest lies

I sing Crimson and Clover.

Now I don’t hardly know her
But I think I could love her
Crimson and clover

I sing Frank Sinatra, almost everything from the Capitol Years, with special love for I Thought About You and You Make Me Feel So Young:

I took a trip on a train
and I thought about you
I passed a shadowy lane
and I thought about you

Two or three cars parked under the stars
winding stream
Moon shining down on some little town
and with each beam, the same old dream

And every stop that we made
Oh, I thought about you
and when I pulled down the shade
then I really felt blue

I peeped through the crack
looked at the track
Oh I’m going back to you
And what did I do?

I thought about you

Frank Sinatra

25-yr-old Frank Sinatra poised at mike, singing As Time Goes By at Riobamba nightclub. (Photo by Herbert Gehr/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

I sing Johnny Cash, the Statler Brothers, almost anything country. I can make anything country.

I sing Julie Andrews: My Fair Lady and Camelot.

Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?
Where are all those adoring daring boys?
Where’s the knight pining so for me
he leaps to death in woe for me?
Oh where are a maiden’s simple joys?

Shan’t I have the normal life a maiden should?
Shall I never be rescued in the wood?
Shall two knights never tilt for me
and let their blood be spilt for me?

Oh where are the simple joys of maidenhood?

Shall I not be on a pedestal,
Worshipped and competed for?
Not be carried off, or better still,
Cause a little war?

Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?
Are those sweet, gentle pleasures gone for good?
Shall a feud not begin for me?
Shall kith not kill their kin for me?

Oh where are the trivial joys?
Harmless, convivial joys?

Where are the simple joys of maidenhood?

Singing: a simple joy.