Don't you just hate those people who introduce you to their record collections saying, "yes, I have a very eclectic taste in music"? Well, I'm gonna do just that this week. Sometimes these top tens come together with such a delightful blend of genres... I feel quietly proud of myself. And you should hear some of the songs I left out! Come on, allow me a little hubris for once... don't walk away just yet.
Special mention to Juliana Hatfield for her instructional album, How To Walk way.
10. Cast - Walkaway
I have a bit of a downer on Cast. Britpop-by-numbers, my abiding memory of the band is seeing them play live at a festival back in their fifteen minutes; the onstage electric went out and John Power piped up, comedy Scouse, "'Ey - 'ave we not paid the 'leccy meter?"
But this is a lovely little song despite my prejudices. And I still prefer them to Oasis.
9. The Zac Brown Band featuring Alan Jackson - As She's Walking Away
A song about falling in love with a girl at first sight and doing absolutely nothing about it. Because, as Elton once sang, it's easier to walk away.
Pretty much sums up my teenage years and most of my 20s. Sadly, I never had Alan Jackson to give me his neat-moustached advice.
8. Black Sabbath - Walk Away
And this is why they call it Classic Rock.
7. Franz Ferdinand - Walk Away
I love the sound of you walking away......is a great kiss off, and there's more to come as Alex Kapranos nicks Morrissey's poison pen...
And as you walk awayOne reason why FF are a fantastic foursome.
My headstone crumbles down
As you walk away
The Hollywood winds will howl
As you walk away
The Kremlin's falling
As you walk away
Radio Four is static
(And yeah, I almost went a week without mentioning the M word. Sorry.)
6. Sisters of Mercy - Walk Away
To appreciate this fully, you have to watch the video. Andrew Eldritch: sunglasses, hair, glittery dance... and a voice like Satan serenading sea lions.
5. The King Blues - Walking Away
I miss The King Blues since they split. I know Johnny Itch is still doing his own thing, but this band burned very brightly while they were around. Like Billy Bragg, they had two sides: the angry young men & women (angrier, at times, than Billy ever got) and the sweet-hearted romantics. This is firmly in the latter camp, a gorgeous little bus stop romance. Goes nicely as an accompaniment to my number #2 song this week.
4. Tom Waits - Walk Away
From the soundtrack to the Sean Penn / Susan Sarandon film Dead Man Walking, it's time for Tom to walk away and start all over again. Nice and jaunty. (There's a word I'm not sure I ever typed before. It looks weird on the screen.)
3. ELO - Don't Walk Away
Classic Jeff Lynne orchestral melodrama, sounding more like the Bee Gees than the Beatles on this one.
2. Billy Bragg - Walk Away, Renee (version)
A version, but not a cover, though Billy does get Johnny Marr to strum the tune from our number one song while narrating a tender, touching and beautifully funny tale of first love left behind. So many great lines, I never tire of listening to this.
But all love is strange1. The Four Tops - Walk Away, Renee
And you have to learn to take the crunchy with the smooth, I suppose
She began going out with Mr. Potato Head
It was when I saw her in the car park
With his coat around her shoulders that I realised
I went home and thought about the two of them together
Until the bathwater went cold around me
I thought about her eyes and the curve of her breasts
And about the point where their bodies met
I confronted her about it
I said, "I'm the most illegible bachelor in town!" and she said "Yeah that's why I
could never understand any of those silly letters you sent me"
And then one day it happened
She cut her hair and I stopped loving her.
The original version of this song, by The Left Banke, is a very fine record indeed. But it doesn't quite stop my heart in the same way Levi Stubbs' vocal does. This is heartbreak at its finest, pure and simple. One of Motown's greatest recordings... which makes it one of the best pop singles ever. No hyperbole.
Before you walk away... leave a comment, won't you?