Tuesday, 26 September 2017

My Top Ten Greta Garbo Songs

I can't claim to be the world's biggest expert on Greta Garbo. In fact, compared to the actors and actresses featured so far in this series, I know virtually nothing about her, and would struggle to name more than a couple of her movies. I do, however, understand how she might vant to be alone...

Songwriters, though, they just won't leave her alone at all...

(Special mention to The Pogues - Garbo (aka In & Out), which is a pretty cool tune but isn't about Greta at all, it's slang for garbage.)

10. Stevie Nicks - Garbo

You can see how Stevie Nicks would be inspired by Garbo. Crazy runs deep.
I love to waltz with a man in a dark linen suit
All alone -- at a party with someone I knew
From a time gone by -- turned to stone
Speaking of insanity, see also Falco - Garbo. No, really. You owe it to yourself.

And, in a similar vein...

9. Van Morrison - Just Like Greta
Well, I guess I'm going A.W.O.L.
Disconnect my telephone
Just like Greta Garbo
I want to be alone
Grumpy old git.

8. Patty Larkin - Rearview Mirror

 Like Suzanne Vega? Give Patty Larkin a try...
I trusted you
I trusted you
Poured my heart out like a friend
But Great Garbo found out in the end
Who's who
7. Neil Finn - Recluse

I guess all those years being in a Crowded House made Neil long for a little solitude too...
JD Salinger lived long ago and far away
Greta Garbo parked her car and walked home from a glamorous party
I just want to be alone
6. David Bowie - Quicksand
I'm the twisted name on Garbo's eyes
Living proof of Churchill's lies, I'm destiny
I'm torn between the light and dark
Where others see their targets, divine symmetry
Should I kiss the viper's fang?
Nope. Not a clue what all that's about. 

5. Nanci Griffith - Late Night, Grand Hotel

But this is sheer class...
And maybe you were thinkin'
That you thought you knew me well
But, no one ever knows the heart of anyone else
I feel like Garbo in this late night grande hotel
Cause living alone is all I've ever done well
4. Mansun - I Can Only Disappoint U

One of my favourite Mansun songs. The title is my mantra.
I traveled from Dublin, you said you'd change the world
You sing like Sinatra, always
You pulled 'em for miles now, like Garbo in Berlin
You played 'em for zeroes, just like always
Tonight, some bitch is hassling me
And tonight, it feels so good feeling cheap
I can only disappoint you cause I always let you down
3. Bryan Ferry - These Foolish Things

Normally I'd go for Frank over Bryan any day, but I have a special fondness for the Ferryman's version of this Cole Porter clssic.
The smile of Garbo and the scent of roses
The waiters whistling as the last bar closes
The song that Crosby sings
These foolish things remind me of you
Speaking of Cole Porter, let's not forget You're The Top...
You're the purple light
Of a summer night in Spain,
You're the National Gallery
You're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane. 
Imagine living in a time where cellophane is a technological marvel. 

2. Manfred Mann - My Name Is Jack
...and I live in the back of the Greta Garbo Home for Wayward Boys and Girls.
There actually was such a place, apparently, a hostel in San Francisco in the 60s.

1. Lloyd Cole - Perfect Skin

Some of the best lyrics of the 80s...
At the age of ten she looked like Greta Garbo
And I loved her then, but how was she to know that
When she smiles my way
My eyes go out in vain
She's got perfect skin

And I could easily have gone another ten. But which one do you want to be alone with?


  1. Excellent No. 1 - Like you I know very little about Garbo other than her desire to be alone so amazed she popped up so often in lyrics.

    I'm off to Amsterdam next month so I think you can guess which song by Lloyd Cole & Co will be featured when I get back.

  2. Where the hell do you get the time to do such astonishing and informative research?

    Astoudnding stuff. I could only come up with the #1


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