Monday, 5 August 2013

My Top Ten Fairground Ride Songs

Although I was a fan of the Ghost Train, I was generally too chicken to go on any of the scarier fairground rides.

Special mentions to Chairlift, Fairground Attraction (again) and Rhubarb's Ill-Maintained Fairground Contraption.Oh, and if you must have a song about the dodgems... try this.

10. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Carousel

There's a gorgeous Thea Gilmore track called Carousel Queen which would have beaten Siouxsie onto this list if I could have found it anywhere. 

See also carousel songs by Blink 182 and The Hollies

9. Gaslight Anthem -  The Patient Ferris Wheel

"Maybe I should call me an ambulance" is an excellent chorus line... though I'm never entirely sure what makes this Ferris Wheel so patient.

See also Big Wheel by Laura Cantrell.

8. Elvis Costello - Ghost Train

There were a number of Ghost Train songs, including those by Madness, The Stranglers, Gorillaz, Counting Crows and Marc Cohn. But only one was about characters called Maureen and Stan... 

7. Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride

Seriously psychedelic.

6. Morrissey - Speedway

Morrissey + chainsaw = magic. Seriously, though, imagine how much better Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be if Morrissey was Leatherface. It'd bring a whole new meaning to 'I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a stitch to wear'.
And when you try
To break my spirit
It won't work
Because there's nothing left to break
I seem to remember the Speedway was even scarier than the waltzer. I've been on a waltzer once in my life and I thought I was going to die. Hence, I've never been on a speedway.

The only waltzer song I could find was by Jethro Tull. It's not one of their best.

5. The Beatles - Helter Skelter

One of the Beatles' more interesting records (it must be a good one if I place it higher than Moz), many serious musos claim it as a stepping stone towards the creation of heavy metal, though it latterly became more infamous as the inspiration for Charles Manson's insanity. 

4.  Richard & Linda Thompson - Wall of Death
You're going nowhere when you ride on the carousel
And maybe you're strong
But what's the good of ringing a bell?
The switchback will make you crazy
Beware of the bearded lady
Oh let me take my chances on the wall of death
REM did a cracking cover of this too.

3. Dire Straits - Tunnel Of Love

There are three great Tunnel Of Love songs... and one by Westlife.

Knopfler's is the longest, and on many other lists it may even have taken top spot. Competition was fierce in this particular fairground though...

2. Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel Of Love
Fat man sitting on a little stool
Takes the money from my hand
While his eyes take a walk all over you
Hands me the ticket
Smiles and whispers 'good luck'
Well, cuddle up angel
Cuddle up, my little dove
And we'll ride down, baby
Into this tunnel of love...
'Nuff said?

1. The Fun Boy Three - Tunnel Of Love

Tunnel of Love is one of my favourite Springsteen albums and I adore the title track beyond blueberry ice cream... yet as much as Bruce will always be Number One for me, I have a special affection for FB3's Tunnel of Love: one of Terry Hall's finest kitchen sink dramas.
You gave up your friends for a new way of life
And both ended up as ex husband and wife
There were 22 catches when you struck your matches
And threw away your life in the tunnel of love

Which one would you buy a ticket for?


  1. Wendy & Lisa - "Sideshow".

    1. Why am I not surprised to find you hanging about in the freak tent?

    2. Gotta make a living somehow...

  2. Hi, as you gave us the heads up for this list, I already had a few suggestions. But you covered Helter Skelter, and you mentioned "On a Carousel" by the Hollies.

    The others I had were:
    Merry Go Round - Cold Chisel
    Carousel - Michael Jackson (a rare one, it was recorded for the Thriller album but didn't make the final cut)
    Ferris Wheel - James Reyne (another rare one, a great B-side from one of my favourite artists)

    and, your fairground was missing a rollercoaster, so the best I could do was:
    Rollercoaster - Machine Gun Fellatio - a catchy pop tune (almost annoyingly so - but not quite) from a weird Aussie band.

    1. Thanks, Deano. I've actually been considering a separate rollercoaster top ten... though curiously, Machine Gun Fellatio were a possibility for another Top Ten I've been working on, only I couldn't find the track in question on youtube.

  3. I thought of Hall of Mirrors...which title has been taken by both Kraftwerk and Siouxie and the Banshees...I think there are halls of mirrors at most fairgrounds...but do they count as a ride? I also thought of around and around...couldn't get it out of my head to discover lyrics from Rihanna, so I've decided it doesn't count in any way shape or form...

    1. I had a similar (Hall Of Mirrors) debate over Funhouse by The Stooges or even House of Fun by Madness (although that's about a chemist's shop really).


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