Air hostesses, stewardesses, flight attendants... trolly dollies, as my old friend Ian jokingly describes himself (he's allowed to use that otherwise sexist term since... hell, that's his job). They pop up in pop songs more than you might expect. Here are ten high-flying examples...
Special mention to Flight of the Conchords - The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room). If there was a prize for the song I've shoehorned into this blog more than any other, this would be a strong contender. It never fails to make me smile...
You're so beautiful - you could be an air hostess in the 60s...
10. Busted - Air Hostess
Busted make me laugh in a 12-year-old-British-lads-play-at-being-Blink-182 kinda way. You've got to admire them for getting away with it as long as they did / have (living on now as McBusted - or in lead singer Charlie Simpson's rather dull in comparison "grown-up" solo career). Air Hostess is the kind of sexist nonsense you can only really get away with if you're a teenage lad... you can't really hate them for it.
9. Weird Al Yankovich - Airline Amy
If you only know Weird Al from his amusing (in small doses) parody tunes, you may be surprised to hear one of his own compositions such as this. The lyrics are as sharp as the parodies and the tunes offer some great power-pop rockin'.
8. Dawes - From A Window Seat
A few weeks back, I was singing the praises of Dawes' "debut album", All Your Favourite Bands. And nobody corrected me. Which only goes to show that a) nobody reads this stuff or b) Bob Harris doesn't read this stuff. Anyway, I've since discovered that AYFB is actually Dawes' fourth long-player. This is from their third, and it encourages me to dig further into their back catalogue...
I buckle my seat belt, plug my headset in a chair7. Richard Thompson - Let It Blow
And to the music, I watch flight attendants move
They are pointing out the exits, but it looks more like a prayer
Or an ancient dance their bloodline reaches through
He was a species on the verge of extinctionExtra points if you don't need to google 'Rawicz and Landauer'. I did. Richard Thompson: never will the word 'genius' be hyperbole.
She was an Air New Zealand hostess
They were mystically joined, like Rawicz and Landauer
Like Pinky and Perky, like Porgy and Bess
But the fourth week, the whole thing was toast6. Liz Phair - Straford On Guy
And she dragged her tail back to New Zealand
With threats of High Court and revenge
Meanwhile his eye did stray to the ample bustier
Of a novelty dancer from Penge
Liz Phair scares the bejeebus out of me like the worst kind of femme fatale.
A bad girl in a good way.
5. Fountains of Wayne - Seatbacks & Tray Tables
I think this is actually written from the perspective of a tired-of-touring rock star (although FoW dispute they are anything of the sort), but it could so easily be a first person narrative of a fed-up-with-flying attendant.
Trade one town for another4. The Replacements - Waitress In The Sky
Delayed now, why do we bother?
And X on the calendar square,
New city - same stuff
Seatbacks and tray tables up...
I guess Paul Westerberg had a bad experience with an air hostess...this was his typically grumpy response.
And the sign says, "Thank you very much for not smoking"3. 10CC - I'm Mandy, Fly Me
My own sign says, "I'm sorry, I'm smokin'"
Don't treat me special, don't kiss my ass
Treat me like the way they treat 'em up in first class
One of my favourites from the British spoonful (google the origin of their name if you don't know it), this has a rather interesting story behind it (which you can read here, I refuse to copy and paste from iffypedia). You can hear the way it's clearly three or four different songs stitched togethed - just like Bohemian Rhapsody or Paranoid Android - and when I listen to something like this, it makes me sad that bands aren't allowed to be this experimental in the mainstream anymore.
2. Foo Fighters - Learn To Fly
On the surface, Learn To Fly isn't really to do with flight attendants at all. As with most of Dave Grohl's lyrics, it's all so metaphorical it could be about anything.
The hilarious video, on the other hand, suggests otherwise...
1. Hall & Oates - Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)
On the classic 1973 album Abandoned Luncheonette, one of the best tracks is this laid back, slightly jazzy tribute to Daryl Hall's longtime girlfriend Sara Allen, a stewardess who would go on to become a frequent songwriting collaborator for the duo. (She was also the inspiration for their breakthrough chart hit: Sara Smile.)
And any night well she's here, half way 'round the world, oh I could cry
And so I know I've got to pray for delays and for days 'til she's besides me
All alone in her room and her scattered clothes remind me
Which one lifts your tray table up?