Tuesday, 18 August 2015

My Top Ten Miracle Songs

With college enrolment upon us, it's a miracle I've had time to put together a top ten this week. Here are ten miraculous tunes - special mentions to Miracle Mile and - of course - Smokey!

10. Mike & The Mechanics - All I Need Is A Miracle

Let's start as we mean to go on this week... by wallowing in 80s nostalgia. Sometimes these Top Tens are hip and indie. Sometimes they range from the 40s to the present day. Sometimes they embrace the cutting edge (though only occasionally, to be honest). Sometimes they're guilty pleasures. Sometimes they start with Mike & The Mechanics and (depending on your cred-threshold) it's all down hill from there. As Huey said: it's hip to be square.

Mike Rutherford was never going to be the coolest man in rock - hell, he wasn't even the coolest man in Genesis (although he was, at least, cooler than Collins) but he did write a decent pop song on occasion. This benefits from Paul Young (not that one) on vocals and Roy Kinnear in the video. Go on, give me a break...

9. Ian McNabb - Livin' Proof (Miracles Can Happen)

Stepping out of The Icicle Works warmed Ian McNabb up considerably. He's recorded some amazing anthemic rock songs since, and rarely gets due credit for them. This is from his self-titled 2001 album, known as the Batman album because Ian (at least, I presume it's him) wore a pretty bad Batman costume on the cover. But not as bad as the one George Clooney wore. There were no nipples on Ian's.

8. Queen - The Miracle

The Miracle isn't one of Queen's best songs, but it was released at the height of my obsession with the band in 1989 (I was 17). It struggles under the weight of a saccharine and simplistic message - there are loads of miraculous things in the world (including The Taj Mahal, Jimi Hendrix and a cup of tea on Sunday mornings) but we're all still waiting for the miracle of world peace - but no more so than Lennon was lauded for with Imagine, Give Peace A Chance et al. In retrospect, however, we now know this was written soon after Freddie's HIV diagnosis so he was obviously seeing the world through sentimental shades. The video's conceit - 'let's get a bunch of kids to dress up as us and perform the song for us' - has been done to death in subsequent years... and it's always very, very annoying, whoever does it.

7. Bruce Springsteen - Countin' On A Miracle

Written in the wake of 9/11, the album this came from (The Rising) gave Bruce's songwriting a shot in the arm after a few years of wedded bliss had dulled his muse.

6. Eurythmics - The Miracle of Love

I was never a huge Eurythmics fan when I was a lad, with the exception of any songs they recorded with the word 'Angel' in the title. My appreciation has grown over the years, and this now sounds glorious when listened to through the headphones of nostalgia.

5. Limmie & The Family Cooking - A Walkin' Miracle

Limmie Snell doesn't get to do a whole lot on this 70s soul classic: in the video, he just wops and bops some backing vocals with his shirt unbuttoned while his sister Jimmie does all the heavy lifting. The band were from Ohio but had more hits in the UK than their home country. A Walkin' Miracle was originally recorded in 1963 by The Essex (also from the USA, not TOWIE) featuring Anita Hume.

My Top Ten - scrabbling around for obscure musical trivia on iffypedia so you don't have to.

4. Elvis Costello - Miracle Man

From Declan's debut, My Aim Is True, released in 1977 yet still sounding fresh today.

Baby's gotta have the things she wants.
You know she's gotta have the things she loves.
She's got a ten-inch bamboo cigarette holder
and her black patent leather gloves.
And I'm doing everything just tryin' to please her,
even crawling around on all fours.
Oh, I thought by now that it was gonna be easy,
but she still seems to want for more.

Been there, got the T-shirt, Elv.

3. Prefab Sprout - Life's A Miracle

Let Paddy tell you why life's a miracle...

Tell someone you love them, there's always a way
And if the dead could speak I know what they would say
To you and me... don't waste another day

2. Colin Blunstone - I Don't Believe In Miracles

The voice of the Zombies also has the voice of an angel. After the Zombies broke up towards the end of the 60s, Blunstone apparently went off to work in the insurance industry, handling burglary claims. Fortunately, he realised proper jobs are rubbish and returned to the pop charts in the year of my birth, 1972. A beautiful song: I can't imagine anyone singing it better.

1. Leonard Cohen - Waiting For The Miracle

One of Lennie's finest (helped on by his sometime songwriting parter Sharon Robinson), Waiting For The Miracle is a mystery wrapped in an enigma waiting for a bus in the desert. Its menacing tone made it perfect for the soundtrack of Natural Born Killers, but the lyric holds all kinds of fascinating ideas and observations. Is it a love song, a song about love never realised, or a song about love finally achieved? Is its protagonist an old man looking back on a life of missed opportunities or a dead man talking to us from the other side? What is the miracle, who's waiting for it, does it actually happen... or will it never, ever happen?

One more listen and you might guess the answer...

Do you believe in miracles?


  1. I'm waiting for the first Simple Minds fan to speak up...

  2. Since I know you love U2 so much Rol (!), I'll throw in The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)...

    1. Much as I dislike U2, I can think of more songs by them that I do like than by the aforementioned Scottish U2. If that helps.

  3. It's a Miracle you didn't include one of my favourite happy songs from the 80s https://youtu.be/YewVugPHon4

    1. I know... I just couldn't ever get into Culture Club. Then again, I wouldn't like to belong to any club that would have me as a member.

  4. HWMBO said Miracle Man by Ozzy - I said "he's already got that but it's Elvis Costello" "There's no way on earth it's the same song" he said and I do believe he was right https://youtu.be/j34juXrJWqw Actually, it's a really good 'song' - but I'm not sure I understand the pigs. "Shaaaaaaron, why the fuck is the church full of pigs" !!! I can hear it now!

    1. Whereas that one actually was in serious contention... if only for the hilarious video. Love Ozzy.

  5. Worked A Miracle, by Trashcan Sinatras, followed closely thereafter by It's A Miracle, by same.

    1. Thanks, TSOAC: I obviously need to expand my TCS collection.


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