Saturday, 6 October 2012

My Top Ten Brooklyn Songs

Loads of ideas for Top Ten lists... not enough time to write them. Here's another entry into my musical tour of the USA, stopping off in one of the five boroughs of New York City... because if I start trying to tackle the city as a whole, I'll be here till the end of time.

10. Al Stewart - In Brooklyn

Admittedly, this 10th spot would have gone to John Peel favourites Bob with their 1989 single 'Esmerelda Brooklyn'... if only I'd been able to find it anywhere online. Al Stewart gets a pass instead, a well-deserving runner-up.

9. Fun Lovin' Criminals - Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn

Gets in on the title alone.

8. Barton Carroll - Brooklyn Girl, You're Gonna Be My Bride

Seattle's Barton Carroll has a nicely cynical Nick Lowe-ish edge to his songwriting.

I'm not a dandy or the sharpest knife in the drawer
and I've always had to work with my hands,
But I use what I was given and I work for a living
and that's more than you can say for your man.

7. Woodkid - Brooklyn

Every now and then, in the course of compiling these charts, I come across a song I've never heard before by an artist I've never heard before, that's really quite lovely. I was taken with this one, until Louise came in and asked, "What are you listening to - it sounds like Kermit." Too late, I'd already downloaded it from Amazon. On her account (accidentally) - that''ll teach her to leave it signed on!

6. Steely Dan - Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)

As with most Steely Dan song, I've no idea what this is about. But it still sounds damned good.

5. The Black Keys - Brooklyn Bound

Could have been recorded any time in the last 50 years. I think that makes it timeless.

4. Jesse Malin - Brooklyn

Ten years ago, Jesse Malin released an album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, which still remains his career best. This song goes a long way towards explaining why.

3. Brooklyn Bridge - The Worst That Could Happen

Yes, I'm breaking one of my main rules here, but I couldn't resist. This one's a classic, written by the great Jimmy Webb, sung like his life depended on it by the late Johnny Maestro and his band... Brooklyn Bridge.

2. The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You

Someone on youtube describes them as "the American Mumford & Sons", which isn't a bad comparison. This is the most beautiful song they've yet recorded. Oh, and Brooklyn features heavily, even if it doesn't appear in the title.

1. The Beastie Boys - No Sleep Till Brooklyn


Were the Beastie Boys ever really this young? Were any of us...?

They were Brooklyn's best... unless you know different. As always, let me know your favourites - or any I left out...


  1. I was so sure there was a Simon and Garfunkel Brooklyn reference, but it eludes both me and Google

    1. You'd imagine there would be, with all the New York references in Simon's early songwriting... put I can't come up with one myself.

    2. Art Garfunkel had a solo song called Just Over The Brooklyn Bridge, not that that helps the S&G debate...

    3. No, but it helps the Brooklyn list - ta!

  2. All I can think of is Posh and Beck's son and I really don't want to be thinking like that.

    1. See, it never even crossed my mind. ;-p

  3. Sinatra : Brooklyn Bridge. I love his voice so much.

    1. I really should have that in my collection.


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