And you think it's depressing where you live!
10. The Maisonettes - Heartache Avenue
The only good thing about moving onto Heartache Avenue is that you can live there rent-free.
9. Magnetic Fields - Lonely Highway
An alcoholic hits the road and leaves his abusive past behind him in Jackson. Stephin Merritt = songwriting genius.
8. Elvis Presley - (It's A) Long, Lonely Highway
Classic Pomus/Schuman number, used in the soundtrack of the movie Tickle Me. 'Nuff said.
See also Heartbreak Hotel, of course, which is located "down at the end of Lonely Street"...
7. The Pogues - Rain Street
A pretty bleak place to live, according to Shane, and not just because of the weather...
Down the alley the icewagon flewMy favourite verse introduces us to the local supermarket...
Picked up a stiff that was turning blue
The local kids were sniffin' glue
Not much else for a kid to do
Down Rain Street
There's a Tesco on the sacred ground
Where I pulled her knickers down
While Judas took his measly price
And St Anthony gazed in awe at Christ
Down on Rain Street
See also Lonesome Highway, in which Shane props up the bar with another tale of whiskey-tinged woe.
6. Lemonheads - The Turnpike Down
Although Evan Dando's certainly feeling down on the turnpike, he's at least cheered by the butterscotch streetlamps.
5. Ray Charles - Lonely Avenue
More Doc Pomus. Ray's girl's up and left town and he's too skint to follow her.
4. Bill Withers - Lonely Town, Lonely Street
Although he's best known for the sunshiney pop of Lovely Day, much of Bill Withers' material is dark and sorrowful. This is the man who wrote Ain't No Sunshine, of course, but also the singer who shoots himself at the end of the classic Better Off Dead. Lonely Town, Lonely Street is a song about lacking self-confidence... and failing because of that. Maybe that's why I love it?
And if you are shy, just not much of a talker3. The Kinks - Dead End Street
Don't impress the people that you meet
You might as well be a lonely walker in a lonely town, on a lonely street
The one that Oasis pilfered shamelessly for The Importance Of Being Idle...
There's a crack up in the ceiling,2. Morrissey - Late Night, Maudlin Street
And the kitchen sink is leaking.
Out of work and got no money,
A Sunday joint of bread and honey.
What are we living for?
Two-roomed apartment on the second floor.
No money coming in,
The rent collector's knocking, trying to get in.
Just about every Morrissey album has to half a 7-minute plus "epic", and this is the original, from Viva Hate, by which all others are measured. With its plodding beat and mournful vocals, it's the kind of song that naturally tags Moz with the miserablist label. But the lyrics are often hilarious, in a self-deprecating Alan Bennett kind of way.
Came home late one night
Everyone had gone to bed
But you know, no one stays up for you
I had sixteen stitches all around my head
The last bus I missed to Maudlin Street
So, he drove me home in the van
complaining: "Women only like me for my mind.."
1. Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams
I've been a fan of Green Day ever since I saw them set fire to the stage at Leeds Festival in the late 90s. I even use this track in my teaching to explain the concept of personfication to my students ("when the city sleeps") although if Billy Joe Armstrong ever walked into one of my classes with his surly sneer, folded arms and general air of stroppiness, I'd show him the door immediately.
Broken dreams, though. I know a few of those...
Those were my favourite sad streets. Which one cheers you up?