Friday, 1 April 2016

My Top Ten Flight Attendant Songs

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 chair
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
7. Richard Thompson - Let It Blow
He was a species on the verge of extinction
She was an Air New Zealand hostess
They were mystically joined, like Rawicz and Landauer
Like Pinky and Perky, like Porgy and Bess
Extra points if you don't need to google 'Rawicz and Landauer'. I did. Richard Thompson: never will the word 'genius' be hyperbole.
But the fourth week, the whole thing was toast
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
6. Liz Phair - Straford On Guy

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 another
Delayed now, why do we bother?
And X on the calendar square,
New city - same stuff
Seatbacks and tray tables up...
4. The Replacements - Waitress In The Sky

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"
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
3. 10CC - I'm Mandy, Fly Me

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
Sara please

Which one lifts your tray table up?


  1. That Liz Phair song is the only song I know that references Galaxie 500 - so it's a shoo-in in my book.

    There's a top 10 for you - songs that reference directly other bands.

    Might be a short top 10 though.

    1. Are you kidding me? There's THOUSANDS!

  2. Amazed that you could find ten flight attendant songs, Rol. I think you should start accepting top ten challenges... for example, could you compile a half-decent top ten of songs about, oh I don't know, let's say toasters?

    1. Well, I did hoovers a while back. And while toasters is a bit of a stretch, I have got half a post compiled for kitchen appliances. And I'm always open to further suggestions!

    2. I take that back. Toasters are go!

  3. 10cc and Foo Fighters...excellent. I remember there was a Britney Spears video which had her dressed as a 'flight attendant' but can't for the life of me think what it's called let alone what its about

    1. There's a Britney Spears video where she's dressed?

  4. Flight Attendant Songs? That's a pretty niche market! What do you consider your nichest(?) top ten so far?

    1. Good question, Swede. I had a quick look, and some of the most niche were My Top Ten Decapitation Songs, My Top Ten Dead Pet Songs, My Top Ten Spock Songs, the aforementioned Vacuum Cleaner post, and My Top Ten MF Songs.

      I actually find it easier to go more niche - it narrows the running. Imagine trying to do a Top Ten Love Songs or Top Ten Moon Songs or Top Ten Heart Songs... it'd take forever and I'd have to miss too many great ones out.

  5. Before I opened this I thought 10cc were a shoe in for number 1.
    I was wrong there
    Impressive stuff

  6. Strictly speaking, Mandy should have been at #2... but I figured I'd lose my last remaining shreds of cred if I followed Hall & Oates with 10CC.


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