Sunday, 28 October 2012

My Top Ten London Songs

This weekend, I have mostly been in a small southern village... amazingly, despite it being the kind of one-cow town that doesn't even appear on most maps, a few songwriters have still made records about it. Here are ten of the best... 

(By the way, don't all start crying out for Waterloo Sunset or Parklife or Baker Street... the rules of this one were It Must Have London In The Title. And I still could have done another twenty...)

10. Frank Turner - The Ladies Of London

Like How Soon Is Now relocated down south...
There’s so many beautiful girls in here tonight,
I can hardly stand it.
Where do they go during the day?
Who the hell do they go home with at the end of the night?
I don’t understand it.
They never go home with me.
9. The Pet Shop Boys - London

One of their best songs. Especially the piano version.

8. Luke Haines - Love Letter To London

Luke Haines has written many songs about the south. And quite a few about the north. He's always a lot nicer when on his home turf...

7. The Smiths - London

Not actually one of my favourite Smiths songs, but still better than most other things in life.

Do you think you've made the right decision this time?

6. Gene - London, Can You Wait?

Gene beat the Smiths for once - who'da think it?

5. The Pearlfishers - London's In Love

The word 'luscious' was coined to describe records by the Pearlfishers.

I walk the busy streets of london 
On a beautiful cold November day 
And I feel the buildings, and I hear the traffic 
And the zum of the telephone wires 
So many people, so many stories 
Too much for a worried boy from the north 
I’m applying for the role of most disenchanted soul on Piccadilly

4. ELO - Last Train To London

Many years ago, when I started work in the Evil Industry, this was the only ELO record on the playlist at the radio station I was sentenced to. It came round as a recurring oldie about three times a day. Because some idiot in charge thought it "tested" well. There's nothing wrong with the record, but there are a dozen other great ELO singles they could have played for variety. But oh no, that's not what the listeners wanted...

3. Thea Gilmore & Sandy Denny - London

Written, though never released, by the late Sandy Denny. Finally given life by the divine Ms. Gilmore. Great to hear this played as part of the Olympics coverage.

2. Warren Zevon - Werewolves Of London

He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent
Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair
Better stay away from him
He'll rip your lungs out, Jim
I'd like to meet his tailor
1. The Clash - London Calling

 Well, it had to be, didn't it?

Those were mine... but which is your capital city song?


  1. The one and only Ralph McTell and The Streets of London...

    1. You're right. That omission is unforgivable.

  2. Sun is in the sky, oh why oh why, would I wanna be anywhere else?

    (The Windrushing) Lord Kitchener and his 'London Is The Place For Me' has to be in there if only for social history.
    All The Umbrellas In London - Magnetic Fields. For the odd time when the sun isn't in the sky.
    London, Queen Of My Heart - Cath Carroll - touches rather hauntingly on 'the whole of human life' angle atop the night bus from Camden Town.
    London's Brilliant - Wendy James - by Elvis Costello - Hat tipping to The Clash. "One Day It's Gonna be Mine".
    London Boys - David Robert Jones (Bowie)- From 1966. To my ears, one of his finest songs. And as himself rather than a bizarre alter-ego.
    London Hooligan Soul - Ballistic Brothers. I like lists I can understand (ie; non-100 mph rap).
    London Belongs to Me - say the French footie team inspired St Etienne.
    London Homesick Blues - Gary P Nunn. "And I'll substantiate the rumour that the English sense of humour is drier than the Texas sand". They want out.
    Leaving London - Tom Paxton. He wants out too.
    London By Night - Frank Sinatra. Romance in each cigarette's glow. Magic in the air indeed.

    1. Like I said, I could have gone another 20... you just upped that to 30!

  3. If the Clash wasn't number 1 I would have stopped reading your blog LOL

    1. Well, we wouldn't want that, would we?


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