Friday, 19 May 2017

My Top Ten Paper Round Songs

I never had a paper round when I was a kid. I did, however, have a special fascination with the newsagents where I bought my weekly Spider-Man comics... I even went and interviewed the owner, Mr. Hudson, about his job, for a school project.

Here are ten songs about getting your papers delivered... which, I guess, not many people do these days. Bloody internet.

Special mention to Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, someone who's definitely worthy of further investigation, if Name Calling is anything to go by.

10. Jilted John - The Paperboy Song

Graham Fellows never fails to make me laugh. I love his description of getting his papers from the newsagents...
I walk into the paper shop
And say good morning, Keith
"Good morning, Keith!"
"Good afternoon!" Keith would shout.
Keith marked the papers out
A boy called Gary helped him
But he just pissed about.
9. The Marvelettes - Paper Boy

Not content with pestering the postman, The Marvelettes also went after the paper boy...

8. Soft Cell - Kitchen Sink Drama

A lonely housewife who imagines herself as Elizabeth Taylor has an eye on the paper boy while her husband's out at work. Does exactly what it says on the tin. 

7. The Courteeners - Take Over The World

He's only a paper boy from the north west, but he scrubs up pretty fine in his Sunday best.

Liam Fray may be a bit of an egomaniac, but he does know how to write a good song.

6. July Talk - Paper Girl

OK, here's my discovery of the week. While researching this post, even though I had loads of songs to go at from my own collection, I couldn't think of any that featured Paper Girls. So I did a little search and came up with this Canadian alt-rock band who are pretty amazing. In fact, I just bought their first album. Can't afford their second one (from last year) just yet, but it'll be on my wishlist if the tracks I've heard so far are anything to go by. Love the mix of vocals by Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis, who sounds not unlike this next gentleman...

5. Tom Waits - Saving All My Love For You

Not the Whitney Houston song... but wouldn't it be cool if Tom covered that?

Anyway, here he gets up so early that everyone's sleeping but the paper boys... poor kids are gonna be scared out of their wits if they bump into Tom on their round.

4. Guillemots - Made Up Love Song #43

My favourite Guillemots song. I love its theme of finding magic in the everyday, even if it can't help but remind me of the end of American Beauty.
You got me off the paper round
Just sprang out of the air
The best things come from nowhere
I love you, I don't think you care
3. Morrissey - I Have Forgiven Jesus

Much has been made lately of the fact that Morrissey is actually a bit of a dick. Even my (local) poetry hero Simon Armitage, on his recent 6Music show, after saying how Morrissey and Dylan were the two songwriters he felt were closest to being actual poets... then went on to remark, "Morrissey, who I had the great pleasure of meeting earlier this year... hmm." Never meet your heroes, Simon!

Anyway, despite all this, Moz will always be the second most important songwriter in my record collection, and I'll always love him for songs like this... which at the time of its release spoke to me more than just about any other song I'd ever heard.
I was a good kid,
I wouldn't do you no harm,
I was a nice kid, 

With a nice paper round
Forgive me any pain,
I may have brung to you,
With God's help I know,
I'll always be near to you...
Don't worry, Moz. I'll always forgive you. 

2. Don McLean - American Pie

There are whole websites devoted to the lyrics of American Pie. I'm not sure why, its meaning seems pretty straightforward to me: the British Invasion stealing away the American monopoly on rock 'n' roll soon after Buddy Holly's death. It all begins though with a very young Don delivering the fateful headlines that mark "the day the music died". No wonder February made him shiver. 

1. David Bowie - Modern Love

Of course, we should never take Bowie's lyrics literally. However, the intro to Modern Love always puts a very specific image in my head of the Dame chasing after his paper boy, presumably for chucking his copy of the Observer into the rose bushes outside Bowie Towers one time too many. He knows when to stay in; he knows when to go out... he definitely knows how to catch a paper boy.

If your paper round went past David Bowie's house, you'd have probably wished he would chase after you. That'd be the equivalent of having Prince turn up on your doorstep on a Sunday morning with a copy of Watchtower.

Which one gets ink on your fingers?


  1. Intriguing... having been an avid reader of your blogging output since the early days of Sunset Over Slawit, I'm wondering who is the most songwriter in your record collection, if Moz will always be the second most important?

    I'm going to guess. Freddie Mercury?

    1. Come on, Martin, you can guess better than that. You'll kick yourself...

    2. If Moz is 2nd, does that make Johnny Marr 1st?

      Or Billy Joel?

      Or Meatloaf/Steinman?

    3. See, you're kicking yourself now, aren't you?

  2. May I suggest another - Paperboy - Roy Orbison.

    1. Thanks, Bing. It was in contention. I'll make it an honorary #11.

  3. Excellent - I have a soft spot for Jilted John and had friends who were a couple called Gordon and Julie just at the time poor John got jilted. Oh the fun we had!

    1. True story. When I was on a kibbutz there was an American called Jordan who was a Mormon and who couldn't understand why we used to sing songs about him!

    2. Best story I've heard today Charity Chic. Please expand upon and repost it over at your place for anyone who might've missed it.

    3. I second that (e)motion.

  4. Always an education, Rol. On this side of the Atlantic, we call it a paper route, not a round, and delivering papers was a huge part of my childhood. I got my route at age 9, and I kept it up until I was 16 and old enough to get a more proper job. I grew up in the sticks, and our local paper was only twice a week... Mondays and Wednesdays. Wednesdays were the tough days. A slew of inserts made each paper triple the size of the Monday edition. It was so thick that when I was 9 I couldn't carry them in a bag. I pulled the 75 papers in a red wagon. To bring it back to the music, I was the luckiest kid in the world to have that route. Not many of my friends could go out and buy an album whenever they wanted.

    1. Thanks, Brian. I always like it when these lists stir up memories like those.

  5. The range of subjects you manage to unearth 10 songs about never cease to amaze me. Jilted John would've probably made my No.1 and bing stills picked up on the only other one I could come up with. I never had a paper round myself, but I did do the football pools door to door for a while.

    1. Ah, the days when. They allowed young children to go round d promoting gambling...

  6. Great batch of tunes here. As someone who had three paper rounds on the go at once when I was a lad, I'll say thanks for drawing attention to our labours. Not so many of them around now. Kids today, eh? Tom would be my favourite here. Heartbreaking.

    1. Three at once!? Did you ever get time to spend your money?

  7. I was another, like Brian, who delivered papers for the sole purpose of having enough money to buy singles and albums. Amazing that this never came up when we hooked up in Glasgow a few weeks back....

    Just one thing Rol. "Don't worry, Moz. I'll always forgive you."

    I'm sorry to say he's crossed the line for this long-time fan. My own wee silent protest is to remove the link from the list under 'Sites Fit For Heroes' over at my place. I'm also very unlikely to ever post anything by him again. Feel badly let down by so many of his recent utterances.


    1. To be fair, I wrote this point before his comments on the MEN tragedy. Like many people, I may have reached the point of no return after that. But I'm not going to write his past work out of my mind, it's too big a part of my life. I have to be able to separate the art from the artist.


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