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This used to be my playground by Madonna

This is a beautiful ballad about wishing to keep your childhood memories when you’ve come to be an adult and life sometimes seems to be getting rougher and rougher every day. It’s all about longing for the time when you had lots of dreams and few worries. I’m not especially keen on Madonna, but I love this song.

The song is also a very good example of the verb form “used to” to express past habits or facts. Here you’ve got some links to help you understand it.


‘used to’ grammar

Grammar and exercises

Exercise about Madonna’s song

ELS Quiz:  Memories_Used to

A whole lesson (BBC Learning English) with lots of activities on Used to for past habits

Grammar lessons and exercises » used to, be used to, get used to



April 29, 2017 Posted by | 1st INT, BASIC, GRAMMAR, MUSIC | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is the title of a song that Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote in 1984 in order to raise money to fight famine in Ethiopia. On 25 November 1984 it was recorded by Band Aid, a group of popular and successful musicians, in the United Kingdom, where it became a fast-selling hit just in a few weeks. Later it was also released outside the UK and reached the tops in thirteen more countries around the world.

The song raised much more money than Geldof himself had hoped, around 8 million pounds, in just 12 months. What’s more, this UK idea led to other charity musical projects and events such as the song “We are the World” by USA for Africa, charity Comic Relief and the Live Aid concert; but above all, it served to make people be aware and financially help alleviate famine in Africa.

“Do they know it’s Christmas?” has been recorded again three more times, in 1989, 2004 and 2014, to provide funds either for famine relief or for the Ebola crisis in west Africa. However, this song hasn’t been the first to be considered as a charity record.

Back in the early seventies, ex-Beatle George Harrison recorded the single “Bangla Desh” to raise money for the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the Bangladesh Liberation War. On 1 August 1971 Harrison and Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar organized The Concert for Bangladesh in New York. That event, which gathered a supergroup of performers, was probably the first benefit concert ever. No only did it raise awareness and big money but it also inspired subsequent charity events and records, such as “Do they know it’s Christmas?”.


It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade
And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy

Throw your arms around the world
At Christmas time

But say a prayer and pray for the other ones
At Christmas time, it’s hard but while you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear
Where a kiss of love can kill you, and there’s death in every tear
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you

Bring peace and joy this Christmas to West Africa
A song of hope they’ll have is being alive
Why is comfort deadly fear
Why is to touch to be scared
How can they know it’s Christmas time at all

Here’s to you
Raise a glass to everyone
Here’s to them
And all their years to come

Can they know it’s Christmas time at all

Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again
Heal the world

Read more: Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas Lyrics | MetroLyrics

December 18, 2016 Posted by | MUSIC, VIDEOS | , , , | Leave a comment

The debate is “blowing in the wind”

Years ago I wrote a short post about Bob Dylan and his popular “Blowing’ in the wind”. I had noticed that quite a number of students had little or no idea who this singer-songwriter was and how much he had influenced music in the sixties and in subsequent years.


Never had I imagined that he could be presented with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobody, I think, would have dreamed that a singer could be awarded such honour.

Whether we believe Dylan deserves the prize or not, we cannot deny his long-lasting and influential career for over five decades. He has become a legend in music by singing in his low and rough voice about “life’s greatest tragedies”: “war, heartbreak, betrayal, death and moral faithlessness”.



Bob Dylan, who was born 75 years ago in Duluth, Minnesota, has not really been a man for interviews. He has always been a secretive and elusive person, never inclined to make his life public. Actually, he has said very little about the Swedish Academy’s decision, keeping  his opinion to himself, and oblivious to the intense debate that is taking place.

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Listening, MUSIC | , , | Leave a comment

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”

This is probably one the most popular songs of all times, or at least that’s what I thought before I realised that for many of you, young students, Bob Dylan and his ‘protest’ song belong to my time. In fact, he wrote it in 1962, the same year I was born. Unfortunately nowadays his questions about peace, war or freedom haven’t been responded yet, so the answers are still ‘blowing in the wind’, and I’m afraid  future generations will keep asking the same questions again and again.

Blowin’ in the Wind  –   Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes and how many times must the cannonballs fly
before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind;
the answer is blowing in the wind.

Yes and how many years can a mountain exist
before it is washed to the sea?
Yes and how many years can some people exist
before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes and how many times can a man turn his head
and pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind;
the answer is blowing in the wind.

Yes and how many times must a man look up
before he can see the sky?
Yes and how many ears must one man have
before he can hear people cry?
Yes and how many deaths will it take till he
that too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind;
the answer is blowing in the wind.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | MUSIC | , | Leave a comment

Prefixes, suffixes and roots

Here you can listen to a rap song about prefixes, suffixes and roots, done by http://www.educationalrap.com.

The Logical Song, by Roger Hodgson/Supertramp, has a lot of examples of adjectives and adverbs made from nouns:

The Logical Song Lyrics

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world’s asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

At night, when all the world’s asleep,
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | 1st INT, 2nd INT, MUSIC, VOCABULARY | , , | Leave a comment

Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac Peter Green

Black Magic Woman, written by Peter Green

Got a black magic woman
I got a black magic woman
Yes, I got a black magic woman 
Got me so blind I can't see
But she's a black magic woman 
And she's tryin' to make a devil out of me

Don't turn your back on me baby
Don't turn your back on me baby
Yes, don't turn your back on me baby
You're messin' around with your tricks
Don't turn your back on me baby
'Cause you might just break up my magic stick

You got your spell on me baby
You got your spell on me baby
Yes, you got your spell on me baby
You're turning my heart into stone
I need you so bad, magic woman, I can't leave you alone

Yes, I need you so bad 
Well, I need you darling
Yeah, I need you darling 
Yes, I want you love me
I want you love me 
Whoa, I want you love me, ah
Whoh, yeah 
Oh, whoa, baby 
Yes, I need your love
Oh, I need your love so bad
I want you love me

Reading (advanced): Music: the story of the Blues

50 greatest traditional blues songs

100 Greatest Blues Songs

Rock Hits You Didn’t Realize Were Blues Songs

Listening:     Good Old Blues

Sad music helps mend broken hearts

Muddy Waters playing ‘Mannish Boy’:

( “hoochie-coochie man” meaning)

April 7, 2015 Posted by | Listening, MUSIC, Reading | , | Leave a comment

Give a Little Bit

You’ve probably heard this song quite a few times, or maybe a lot, but do you know which band released it back in 1977? Well, Roger Hodgson brought it to his band Supertramp and they soon made it an international hit. Hodgson first wrote the song when he was still in his teens but didn’t record it until much later, when he was already a member of the English rock band. Years later, in 1983, he left the group and the former Supertramp co-founder continued his solo career.

That song has really taken on a life of its own, and I think it’s even more relevant today than when I wrote it. Because we really are needing to value love in a much deeper way, and also we’re needing to care. The song is basically saying: just show you care. You know, reach out and show you care. (Roger Hodgson)

The song has been recorded, played and performed lots of times, but it has also been used in TV, films, and for charities. Roger Hodgson’s version is currently the soundtrack of a commercial for a Seat car, which we have been seeing on Spanish TV recently. There was another TV ad -for Coca-Cola this time- that also used his version in 2012 and went soon viral. The commercial encouraged people to “look at the world a little differently.” and showed people being kind and sweet, and …, well, just human. Here you can download a worksheet on the Coke ad. Below you have the song performed by Hodgson solo: By the way, this year Roger Hodgson is giving two concerts, in Valencia and Murcia, in July. Just a few months later, in November, Supertramp are also performing in Barcelona and Madrid, as part of their Supertramp Forever tour in Europe.

March 23, 2015 Posted by | Listening, MUSIC | , , , , , | 3 Comments

1,000 miles in the name of love

Liu Peiwen walked 1,000 miles to prove his girlfriend he was devotedly in love with her. She had accepted his marriage proposal but had joked that only on condition that he walked all the way from his home in Henan Province, 1,000 miles away, to her door. When Ling Hsueh realized he had taken that seriously , he was already trekking the enormous distance, as in the song by the Scottish group The Proclaimers (1988):

“But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, to fall down at your door”

The song 500 miles became popular

January 19, 2015 Posted by | MUSIC, VIDEOS | , , | Leave a comment

So this is Christmas – John Lennon

Last 8th December was the 34th anniversary of John Lennon‘s tragic death. Here you have one of his songs, So this is Christmas.

This is a listening activity on the song.

December 15, 2014 Posted by | MISCELLANEOUS, MUSIC | , , | Leave a comment

Present Perfect and more…

These are the links from where I took the questions you asked each other in class last day:



Some other sites that you can use to study and practise more on the present perfect and its uses:




Below you can listen to a beautiful romantic song by James Blunt, which is quite appropriate for the season; you know, lovers’ day is coming! The song is also a good example of the uses of the present perfect and simple past tenses.

I hope you like it, even though it’s sad and melancholic.

You can work on the worksheet I handed out yesterday and then read the lyrics to check the listening task:

January 26, 2014 Posted by | 1st INT, GRAMMAR, Listening, MUSIC | , , , , | Leave a comment