Saturday, 21 November 2015

My Top Ten Waitress Songs

This is the first time I've ever edited a Top Ten after publishing...but shortly after posting it for the first time earlier this afternoon, Simon popped up in the comments and pointed out the most egregious ommision I have ever made. I've forgotten great songs before when compiling Top Tens, but I've never neglected a glaringly obvious Number One before. Well, I just couldn't let it stand. So let's try this one again...

Ten songs dedicated to hard-working waitresses everywhere.

The image above is the cover to the Felice Brothers' album Favourite Waitress... but sadly, there's no song to go with it.

Special mention (as it's getting close to Christmas) to The Waitresses...

...and to Material Issue - Kim The Waitress

A great little power pop story that starts out sweet and shy... 
Writing poems in a corner booth
That I'd die
If she 
Before taking a much darker turn...
Though I don't stand a ghost of a chance with her
She's pretty (and that bothers me)
So pretty (and that bothers me)
And it bothers me.
It was Number Ten until I had to restructure this list to squeeze in the new Number One, and I didn't want to just drop it completely.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programme...

10. Loudon Wainwright III - Tip That Waitress

Leave it to Loudon to describe the horrors a real waitress faces every night...
She's been on her feet nearly half the damned night
Bringing your beverage and your late night bite
She remains cheerful, when you're nasty and tight
Makes change for a 50 in dim candlelight
Ignoring the groping, hoping you might
Come across with a tip and sympathize with her plight
Tip that waitress!
Mr. Blonde would disagree.

9. Tori Amos - The Waitress

When waitresses go to war. Don't mess with Tori, bitch! She'll kill you.

8. 5 Chinese Brothers - She's A Waitress (And I'm In Love)

A sage warning from the brothers who weren't Chinese (not sure they were brothers either... were there even 5 of them?) about never falling for that smile the waitress gives you...
In her tight uniform with a low-cut neck
And the way that the grease mixes with her sweat
She smells as good as the inside of a new Corvette
She fits your dreams like a baseball glove
And when she smiles at you, that's when you realize
That's not the way she smiles at all the other guys
You see her sneak a peek from behind the pies
She's a waitress, and you're in love
There is no happy ending to this story.

7. Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress

The title track from Stuart Murdoch's most outrageously "pop" album (he even hired Trevor 'Buggles' Horn to produce). Lyrically, it's the usual Murdoch mix: equal parts melancholic whimsy and 'the sun'll come out tomorrow' pipe dreams.

6. Fountains Of Wayne - Halley's Waitress

Any excuse to play some Fountains. This is one of the most laidback tunes in their repertoire. Reminds me a bit of Steely Dan, yet it's still unmistakably FOW.

5. Flight of the Conchords - The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)

OK, it's a shameless Prince spoof from a sitcom soundtrack album... but that doesn't stop it being one of my favourite songs of the last 15 years. The musos would have you believe that the above disqualify it from contention. I firmly disagree. This song makes me smile every time I hear it. In that alone, it's on a par with Wichita Lineman...
You're so beautiful...
You could be a waitress

You're so beautiful...
You could be an air hostess in the 60s
You're so beautiful...
Well, you could be a part-time model
(But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job)
I'd probably have made it Number One, but I wanted to save it up so I could use it again on my Top Ten Flight Attendant Songs*, Model Songs, and Beautiful Girl Songs...

(*And if you're wondering where Waitress In The Sky by The Replacements is (Miller), there's your answer.)

4. Don Henley - Waiting Tables

Taken from Don Henley's first album in 15 years, Cass County, which is a damned fine record. Proof, if proof were needed, that he can still tell a great story... and sing it with the voice of a weary angel.

3. Joni Mitchell - Barangrill

Joni at her storytelling best...
Three waitresses all wearing
Black diamond earrings
Talking about zombies and Singapore slings
No trouble in their faces
Not one anxious voice
None of the crazy you get
From too much choice
The thumb and the satchel
Or the rented Rolls-Royce
And you think she knows something
By the second refill
You think she's enlightened
As she totals your bill
You say "show me the way
To Barangrill"
 ...apparently inspired by a stop-off at a late night gas station where the attendant started singing to her (when she wouldn't sing to him).

2. First Aid Kit - Waitress Song

11 months on and Stay Gold is still my favourite album of 2014. (I'm currently considering this year's Top Ten... a tough selection process!) This is one (of many) stand out tracks, a song about wishing you could run away and start over somewhere else, with a sly nod to Cyndi Lauper.

And yes, First Aid Kit were originally Number One on this countdown. Until Simon pointed out the obvious...

1. The Human League - Don't You Want Me?

One of the great songs of the 80s? Apparently Phil Oakey thought it was a substandard filler track and didn't even want it releasing as a single (particularly as the album it came from had already spawned three hits and he thought the record buying public was "sick of the Human League"). It went on to become the 23rd best-selling single in UK chart history - and a Christmas Number One to boot.

Sheffield has a lot to answer for... although the video was filmed in Slough.
You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you...

Please don't leave a tip. I don't deserve one this week. Just don't tell me I forgot another classic waitress song... 


  1. Don't You Want Me by that there Human League is my number one waitress song I think.

    1. Yeah, I should have thought of that. Face-palm.

    2. I'm rarely tempted to redo these posts in response to comments... but that's about as close as I've ever got.

    3. Scratch that. I did it anyway. Thanks, Simon. You get a lifetime subscription for this.

  2. Out of interest who dropped out to accommodate the Human League?

    1. Material Issue (though as I explained in the intro, I couldn't lose them completely).

  3. lol, I did notice this had disappeared and then promptly forgot all about it! I have to admit I was a bit surprised it didn't even feature. It was the first song that came to mind when I saw the original post. I was singing it as the page loaded.

    Happy new year!


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