Ever since my English teacher played us the Wuthering Heights video in a GCSE lesson, I’ve wanted to look like Kate Bush in all her auburn glory. And from there stemmed the undying love for ginger musicians, and songs about gingers.
The Music Of Ginger Origin awards are coming up (yes, this is a real thing) in a few days and the categories are: best ginger musician (male and female respectively); best honorary ‘ginger by choice’ musician; best song with lyrics about red hair — and the all-important question asking if you’re a ginger yourself. My discovery of these ginger-worshipping awards is a recent one and got me thinking about the representation of girls with red hair in music. Granted, songs confessing love for gingers in general aren’t dominating the charts, but has anyone noticed that the poor males seem to be strangely absent? It leaves me wondering: where are all the redheaded men in songs? Why does nobody love them? A moment’s silence for the neglected gingers of the male species, please.
My favorite red-headed women immortalized in songs are as follows: Valerie, Jolene and Red Molly in 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. The Zutons sang ‘I miss your ginger hair and the way you like to dress’; Dolly Parton described Jolene’s nymph-like beauty and her ‘flaming locks of auburn hair, with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green’ — and Richard Thompson’s James pines for the girl he sees “on the corners and cafés… red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme.” All hail the gingers with weird dress sense, pale skin and a penchant for leather. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning isn’t included in the Music Of Ginger Origin nominations but it definitely deserves a place – and if you’re looking for a pretty cool cover, Blair Dunlop’s version can be found here.
Valerie, Jolene and Red Molly belong to some kind of unforgettably individual and quirky club – or maybe it’s just the Ginger Club in general. Many a time have I shared ‘the look’ with a fellow ginger on the street (one of these looks the other day made me laugh out loud): It’s a look of knowing, a special brand of tongue-in-cheek and a secret understanding.
Maybe it is Ginger Club member syndrome, but I’ve felt an affinity with the amazing women created in these songs and have always wanted to subscribe to their unique brand of cool.
You can vote for your favorite “I Love Gingers” song and the best musical redheads here. The results are announced on June 7th. So if ginger be the color of love, play on — and can someone fill the void and write a song about male gingers?
Laura Maw is an English student with a penchant for art and words, and can easily be spotted in a crowd as the one sporting masses of ginger curls. You can see more of her work here: www.laurajanemaw.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter @46gordonsquare
(Photo via The Richest)