Monday, 22 October 2012

My Top Ten Rat Songs

Ten songs about vermin. Because it's a wet Monday.

10. Roland Rat - Rat Rapping

You had to be there.

9. UB40 - Rat In Mi Kitchen

Yes, I know I featured this not long ago in my Top Ten Kitchen songs, but I can hardly ignore it here, can I?

Short of me doing a Top Ten 'In My' songs, this should be the last you hear of it.

8. The Automatic - Rats

...does sound a little like a car alarm. Still.
I remember someone saying
That there's always at rat close by
7. The Pogues - Gartloney Rats
The Gartloney Rats they play away
They'd play for the pints and not for the pay
And the pints they'd go down in the usual way
And they'd never get drunk but stay sober
6. Badly Drawn Boy - Year Of The Rat

Not a badly drawn song... but I prefer the Al Stewart one it's paraphrasing. Cats beat rats any day.

5. Laptop - Ratso Rizzo

Whatever happened to Jesse Hartman? Here's his tribute to Dustin Hoffman...

4. The King Blues - The Schemers, The Scroungers & The Rats

Sadly, the King Blues broke up earlier this year... just a few months after I discovered them. I miss them already.
So hats off to the schemers, to the scroungers, to the rats,
To the ones who sleep on mattresses on the floor, clutching baseball bats,
To the beggars and the cheaters and the kings who rise at noon,
To the scoundrels, the misfits, the parasites, this one’s for you.
The crummy live recording on youtube doesn't really do the song or the band justice, but try and seek out the original if you can. It's well worth your time.

3. The Specials - Rat Race

Did Roddy “Radiation” Byers write Common People 15 years before Jarvis? (I had to check - I almost credited this to either Terry or Jerry.)
You plan your conversation to impress the college bar
Just talking about your Mother and Daddy's Jaguar
Wear your political T-shirt and sacred college scarf
Discussing the worlds situation but just for a laugh

2. The White Stripes - I Think I Smell A Rat

Jack White makes songwriting look so damned easy, doesn't he?

1. The Boomtown Rats - Rat Trap

The best Bruce Springsteen song ever written by a bunch of Irish reprobates and their soon-to-be-swearing-on-TV frontman, Sir Bob. This is Born To Run without the escape clause. I've always loved this record.

Top of the Pops obviously made Mr. Geldof change the lyrics to the line "Pus and grime ooze from the scab-crusted sores". Unfortunately, I can't make out what he's singing instead. Any guesses?

These are the vermin I found scuttling about in my record collection. Which one is your pet rat?


  1. Once again you disappoint me, but there again, I'm a little pimp with my hair gassed back.

    1. I live to disappoint you, Frank.

  2. Sacrilege! How could you not include Down in the Sewer from the Rattus Norvegicus album by The counts as it has a section called Rat Rally...surely!

    Apart from that..what ever happened to Badly Drawn Boy..a short-time favourite

    And Saint Bob will be so pleased you put him at the top of the pile...

    1. I was aware of Rattus Norvegicus because some friends of mine often talk about it, but I didn't think there was actually a rat-based song on there. I live and learn.

      Badly Drawn Boy disappeared up his own tea-cosy.

      And Saint Bob could do not wrong when he was King Rat.

  3. my favourite quote from any film ever "light the lamp, not the rat, light the lamp, not the rat" - yep, I'm shallow! Now that SHOULD be a song!

  4. No shame in being a Muppet fan!

  5. Just down past the gasworks, by the meat factory door..

    I suspect that Rat Trap is scoffed (with sneering dismissals) by many an under-40. I was 15 going on 16, in a world of 1 in 10 unemployment. The song was new ground in the tradition of 1978.
    It might not be the purist’s idea of punk - but that's because it was NEW WAVE. Nothing with this kind of tone, attitude and drama had been heard at number 1 for a long time, if ever. Usurping the Grease summer stranglehold added to the moment.
    There were some great No 1s in 78 - but - even with the Liffey/Jersey Springsteen angles - this was groundbreaking.

    1. Many of my favourite acts are scoffed at or sneered at by either a) the under 40s or b) the muso cognoscenti. It makes me love them more.

  6. Roland Rat?

    Saved by Boomtown Rats at no. 1. From the ridiculous to the sublime.

    1. There were two icons of 80s TV who became the butt of playground taunts directed at me... despite the fact my name is NOT Roland. Of the two, Roland Rat is preferable.

      Roland Browning had much in common with Mr. Rat though. Both were extremely annoying, but not as annoying as their whiny voices sidekicks Kevin and Janet. It was Kevin and Janet's voices I heard mimicked more often than not in the playground.

      Oh, the scars.

  7. Not that fuckin big poodle on Eastenders?

  8. Not the fat kid on Grange Hill?

  9. Oh Rol. I'm sorry. Counselling is available through the NHS.
    (Although, my next guess would have been Ronald McDonald, so it could perhaps have been worse?)

    1. The words "I only want to help you, Ro-land," still send a shiver down my spine, almost thirty years later.


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