Thursday, 13 April 2017

My Top Ten Na Na Na Songs

Whenever I write these lists, I end up talking a lot about lyrics. I've always been a lyrics man, ever since I was a lonely teenager sat with his headphones on studying the Steinbeckian stories of Bruce Springsteen, trying to puzzle out the puns of vintage Elvis Costello or wondering (in my 20s, sadly, as I came to him late) how Morrissey could write so incisively about my life when he'd never even met me.

But... there is an alternative. Those jubilant singalongs where the lyrics don't matter - all you need is a good nananana! Don't even start me on the sha-la-las, lalalas, shooby doos or woo-hoos...

Be warned, this Top Ten starts off scary... and then goes places you really won't want to believe.

10. Bananarama - Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Originally by Steam, who had an unfortunate habit of being photographed like this...

...hence why I went with the Bananarama version. Well, that and they have nana in their name.

9. Opus - Live Is Life
Na-na na na-na.
"Formed in 1973, Opus remain active today."

Just you try to sleep tonight with that little factoid pinging around in your cranium.

8. Blur - Charmless Man
Nana nana naa na-naa-aa...
I bet Damon Albarn knows his claret from his Beaujolais. 

7. King - Alone Without You
Na-na. Na n-na. Nana na na na n-na.
Ah, the 80s. So much to answer for. What do you get when you cross a quiff and a mullet? A quillet or a muiff? Surely you must be paulking!

6. blink-182 - All The Small Things
 Nana nana nana na nana naa. Nana nana nana na nana naa.
Always loved the video to this, where the pop punk rascals pretend to be NSYNCH.

5. The Beatles - Hey Jude

Little-remembered beat combo from the 60s. Apparently the lead singer went on to form Wings. Don't know what happened to the rest of them.

4. My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na

Before they imploded and Gerard Way converted to pseudo-Britpop solo albums (!) and comic book writing, MCR became one of the more interesting pop bands of the 21st Century. Emo? What's emo?

3. Wilson Pickett - Land Of 1000 Dances
Na. Nana na naa. Nana na naa nana na nana na. Nana na naaa.
Already featured (in far more detail!) in My Top Ten Mashed Potato Songs, but too good to miss out.

2. Pink - So What
Nana nana na na naa, nana nana na na.
I love Pink. And I don't care who knows it.

She does scare the bejeebus out of me though.

1. J Geils Band - Centrefold

John Warren Geils Jr (pictured above) died earlier this week at the age of '71. He was the lead guitarist of the band that took his name, although lead singer Peter Wolf co-wrote a lot of the bands biggest hits along with keyboardist Seth Justman. In the UK, they're really only known for one song... but what a song!
Na na nana na na. Na na na nana na na na.
Their harmonica player was called Magic Dick.That will be all.

This was a re-post (edited somewhat to act as a tribute to the late J. Geils) from my old blog (December 2010). The scary thing is, the original post was a Top 20. So be warned... I have a volume 2 on standby if you say anything too hurtful in the comments section...


  1. It's late and I want to sleep, but I can't un-see the horror of that Steam photo.
    I trust that Volume 2, should it appear, will include 'Na Na Na' by 'the man with the 50 pound hammer', Cozy Powell?

    1. Yes. That was in the original Top 20.

  2. Good stuff, as always. Some more suggestions for Vol 2, if I may: Kaiser Chiefs "Na Na Na Na Naa" and (this will come as no surprise to you whatsoever) Quo's "Nanana"

    1. One of those was in the top 20, one wasn't....but should have been.

  3. An eclectic list. However, it's started me thinking of a Na Na Na song, the title of which escapes me and it's driving me up the bleeding wall...

    1. It's amazing, the many different inferences one can take from the word 'eclectic'.

  4. Brilliant as ever and I am just in awe of the meticulously typed out lyrics, the subtle but all-important difference between a na, a nana and a naa...
    But, like The Swede says, what's seen can't be unseen and I'm a little haunted by the steamy photo.

    1. Maybe this blog requires an 18 certificate?

  5. When I noticed you'dd made a new post I thought it said 'My Top Ten Sha Na Na Songs', which really would have been pushing it but for all I knew you were huge fan of the first rock and roll revivalists. Anyway, interesting and informative list. I'd have put Cozy Powell in there, though.

  6. Na, na, na, na, na
    Na, na, na
    Na, na, na, na, na
    Na, na, na

    "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys. Been bugging me all day that has.

    1. Wow. I had to listen to that again, all the way through, but I just couldn't work out where the nas were. Not that it's ever a trial to listen to Good Vibrations. Excellent suggestion. I shouldn't really be surprised though... What isn't in Good Vibrations?

  7. So many factoids about na na na songs and the artists who sang them - Who knew they could be so innuendo laden what with steamy pictures, quiff/mullet combos and harmonica players called Magc Dick (or is it just me). And no, I won't sleep now knowing that the septegenarians that form Opus are still "active".

    Excellent work as ever and good on you for managing to type out the rhythm of the na-nas - not easy.

    1. I'm glad my hard work has been appreciated.

  8. Bloody brilliant, Rol. Sure, some others come to mind, but it's the idea and typing out each na that might very well make this the best list yet. Cheers!

    1. Wow. And I just thought it was an easy filler because I've been too busy this week to write a new post!

  9. Fun idea for a list. Those na na parts are easy to sing along to, because you don't have to know the words.
    I was about to suggest Don't Fear The Reaper for vol 2, sadly it's "la" and not "na". oh well.

  10. My missus loves Blink 182..and this was the song thatr drew her to them. She's off to see them laster this year just a few weeks short of her 59th birthday. I'll wager she'll be the oldest person in the audience but she'll be one of the liveliest..

    Here's a na na na song for you; Egg Shaped Fred by Mansun. It's a good one too..


    1. I bet the days of blink-182 playing to a teenage crowd are long gone. I don't think your missus will be too out of place.

      Good call on Mansun.


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