Thursday, 9 January 2014

My Top Ten Gangster Songs

Let's go sleeping with the fishes... cement shoes optional.

10. Bruce Springsteen - Murder Incorporated

Always good to start the new year with a bit of Bruce... new album out Monday, boss-fans! (Can't wait.)

9. Fatboy Slim - Gangster Trippin'

Of course, I don't like dance music. Yet I always had a soft spot for Norman, as far back as his Housemartin days. This is one of his best - particularly the bit where he dips the tune in his bath and lets it slowly float to the surface.

8. Talking Heads - Gangster Of Love

In which David Byrne calls out Al Capone. I know who I find scarier.

See also this other famous Gangster of Love / Space Cowboy who speaks of the "pompatous" of love. (He made that word up.)

7. Alabama 3 - Woke Up This Morning

The theme tune to The Sopranos, of course. Although I never watched The Sopranos and I was into the A3 beforehand anyway. Really. I planted that flag. Shoot me if I'm lying.

6. Ice-T - O.G. Original Gangster

You could probably fill a horse's head with gangster rap songs. This is the only one I had space for... perhaps 'cos Ice namedrops Marvel Comics halfway through.

5. Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Stool Pigeon

Remember, if you want to squeal to the FBI, they can make a deal... make it worth your while. (And they like a guy who will stab a friend.) Ha-cha-cha-chaaa!

As Stephen Malkmus says in his excellent new song: "We grew up listening to the music from the best decade ever..."

4. The Specials - Gangsters

 Terry Hall dreads to think what the future will bring... when we're living in gangster time.

3. Catatonia - I Am The Mob

Ah, Cerys, much as I enjoy your folky solo offerings and eclectic 6Music radio show, I'll always pine for the glory days of Catatonia. No one could sing "When duty calls, I'm gonna bust some balls," in quite the same way.

2. Morrissey - First of the Gang To Die

You probably expected this to be Number One, knowing your host, the Top Tenmeister General. It's certainly one of Mozzer's finest moments of the 21st Century: a touching love song to his Mexican gang chums / fanbase. And it's not his only gangster record either - I could easily have gone for Ganglord or the majestic Last of the Famous International Playboys, his slightly dubious ode to Reggie and Ronnie Kray. Ah, but, but, but...

1. Paper Lace - The Night Chicago Died

Go on, admit it, you really didn't expect this, did you? Not at Number One, surely? But they don't make 'em like this any more... some might say "for good reason". Me: I say, EMBRACE THE CHEESE!

Brother, what a night it really was
Brother, what a fight it really was
Glory be!

Sorry, Coolio fans, Paradise wasn't half a nice as any of these! But who's your Godfather...?


  1. Yup, Kid Creole's Tropical Gangsters still does it for me every time.

    1. Why do I picture a sugary brand of soft drink...?

  2. Paradise, not in there? Coolio is my Godfather. Man, I'm going to see that someone pays for this, big time buster...... yup, that's about as gangland as my talk goes, I'm really not going to fool anyone am I.

    HWMBO says OG is soft. There goes the Neighbourhood by Body Count, is his prefered Ice-T link. Although he is rather proud to own a copy of Body Count with Cop Killer on it. I mean, who wouldn't be!

    1. I like soft.

      And Coolio was just ripping off Stevie Wonder and I already featured the original in My Top Ten Paradise Songs.

  3. Surely there's a place for Al Capone by the fabulous Prince Buster?

    1. There's always room for Prince Buster.

  4. And thank you very much for inserting the Night Chicago Died into the roundabout of my mind. This is gonna be a long day at work LOL

  5. Hee, hee, I wasn't expecting that, but I'd forgotten what a great song it was in its day. A smile on my face at the end of the long first week back after Christmas! Well done!

  6. Hi Rol, happy new year to you and your family. Wow, you weren't kidding when you suggested that cheese was on the menu for this list!! I am more a "Billy, Don't be a Hero" man though!

    In terms of the topic, I haven't studied lyrics closely enough but the first sort of songs that came to my mind were "Mack the Knife" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown". I should really do my research and check if these are appropriate or not...

    Have been a bit slack with keeping up with your blog posts and indeed my own. My little ones are walking/running/climbing now and so I usually return from work with a trail of destruction to take care times.

    1. Something else to look forward to...!

      Mack The Knife was in serious consideration, but I'm saving it...


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