Wednesday 31 October 2012

My Top Ten Haunted Songs

Have a haunted Halloween on me...

10. Shirley Lee - The Haunted
So much sadness is not good for you...
From last year's excellent double album Winter Autumn Summer Spring, the Spearmint man scares away the spectres.

9. John Fogerty - Haunted House

For the man who gave us Bad Moon Rising, living in a haunted house is no big deal.

8. Seth Lakeman - I'll Haunt You

When Seth Lakeman goes off to sea, his woman promises to be faithful. When the Dear John letter arrives, he threatens a punishment most eerie...
I'll haunt you, haunt your bed
Tap the windows, you'll wake in dread
I pray that you love me instead
I'll haunt you, I'll haunt your bed
And I'll haunt you, sleep in fear!
Whisper secrets in your ear
A world away but I'll be near,
I'll haunt you.
7. Dodgy - Melodies Haunt You

Not the Dodgy song everybody remembers, but certainly less dodgy than many of their Britpop contemporaries.

6. Superman Revenge Squad - Yeah, This House Is Haunted

Can't go wrong with a bit of Superman Revenge Squad every now and then. Great lyrics, as always.

5. Saint Etienne - Haunted Jukebox

From the new Saint Etienne album, Words & Music, which is really quite lovely in places.

4. Pavement - Haunt You Down
Just a guess here, but Stephen Malkmus might be seeing ghosts because of something he's been smoking. Hardly a case for Scooby Doo or Peter Venkman. 

3. Haunted Love - Werewolf

A seriously spooky song from a New Zealand band named after an old Charlton horror comic. What's not to love?

2. Gene - Haunted By You
From the pub to the grave
I'll be haunted by you
Yes, you, you're in my way
Seems as good a place as any to mention the long-awaited solo album by Martin Rossiter... if you haven't ordered your copy yet, find out more about it here.

Gene almost won their second Number One here on My Top Ten... and then I remembered this...

1. Sinéad O'Connor & Shane MacGowan - Haunted

As everyone's favourite Christmas record proves, there's something irresistible about pairing the drunken bum vocals of Shane MacGowan with an angel. Kirsty will always be the most famous example of that... but Sinéad comes a close second. Just beautiful.
The first time I saw you 
Standing in the street 
You were so cool you could have 
Put out Vietnam

Those were the most haunting songs in my collection... but which one keeps you awake a night?

Sunday 28 October 2012

My Top Ten London Songs

This weekend, I have mostly been in a small southern village... amazingly, despite it being the kind of one-cow town that doesn't even appear on most maps, a few songwriters have still made records about it. Here are ten of the best... 

(By the way, don't all start crying out for Waterloo Sunset or Parklife or Baker Street... the rules of this one were It Must Have London In The Title. And I still could have done another twenty...)

10. Frank Turner - The Ladies Of London

Like How Soon Is Now relocated down south...
There’s so many beautiful girls in here tonight,
I can hardly stand it.
Where do they go during the day?
Who the hell do they go home with at the end of the night?
I don’t understand it.
They never go home with me.
9. The Pet Shop Boys - London

One of their best songs. Especially the piano version.

8. Luke Haines - Love Letter To London

Luke Haines has written many songs about the south. And quite a few about the north. He's always a lot nicer when on his home turf...

7. The Smiths - London

Not actually one of my favourite Smiths songs, but still better than most other things in life.

Do you think you've made the right decision this time?

6. Gene - London, Can You Wait?

Gene beat the Smiths for once - who'da think it?

5. The Pearlfishers - London's In Love

The word 'luscious' was coined to describe records by the Pearlfishers.

I walk the busy streets of london 
On a beautiful cold November day 
And I feel the buildings, and I hear the traffic 
And the zum of the telephone wires 
So many people, so many stories 
Too much for a worried boy from the north 
I’m applying for the role of most disenchanted soul on Piccadilly

4. ELO - Last Train To London

Many years ago, when I started work in the Evil Industry, this was the only ELO record on the playlist at the radio station I was sentenced to. It came round as a recurring oldie about three times a day. Because some idiot in charge thought it "tested" well. There's nothing wrong with the record, but there are a dozen other great ELO singles they could have played for variety. But oh no, that's not what the listeners wanted...

3. Thea Gilmore & Sandy Denny - London

Written, though never released, by the late Sandy Denny. Finally given life by the divine Ms. Gilmore. Great to hear this played as part of the Olympics coverage.

2. Warren Zevon - Werewolves Of London

He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent
Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair
Better stay away from him
He'll rip your lungs out, Jim
I'd like to meet his tailor
1. The Clash - London Calling

 Well, it had to be, didn't it?

Those were mine... but which is your capital city song?

Thursday 25 October 2012

My Top Ten James Bond Themes

Apparently there's a new James Bond film out this week. I know, I wish they'd spend a little more money promoting it too, it can be very easy for low-budget films like this to slip through the cracks and not find their audience at the multiplex. Still, if you can't find a cinema in your local area that's taking a punt on it, here's a reminder of some of 007's greatest hits. I actually quite like Adele's new theme song... but not as much as these...

10. Jack White & Alicia Keys - Another Way To Die (from Quantum of Solace)

A little too derivative to be considered classic, but Jack White has a License To Kill.

9. a-ha - The Living Daylights

I never rated Timothy Dalton, he's probably my least favourite Bond (Lazenby might clinch it... were On Her Majesty's Secret Service not such a great film despite him). That whole "new man" thing was such an 80s blunder for a character like Bond. This was by far the best thing about The Living Daylights.

8. Rita Coolidge - All Time High (from Octopussy)

Written by John Barry (and Tim Rice), hence: ace. Even better: the Pulp cover version

Speaking of Pulp, how much better would Tomorrow Never Dies have been if their theme tune had been chosen over Sheryl Crow's?

7. Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever

John Barry again, with Don Black on lyrics, and - of course - the immortal Dame Shirley on diamonds.

6. Nancy Sinatra - You Only Live Twice

So good, Robbie Williams stole its timeless intro for his second biggest hit. Barry again.

5. Paul McCartney & Wings - Live & Let Die

Possibly the first Bond film I ever saw, so Roger Moore and his eyebrows were officially MY Bond... as a kid, at least. I like Macca's original, but I do prefer Axl's sneering cover. It's just so nasty.

4. Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger

Barry, Bassey... and a young Jimmy Page on guitar. Or so legend has it. 

3. Louis Armstrong - We Have All The Time In The World (from On Her Majesty's Secret Service)

Whenever I'm stuck behind a car driving at 20 miles an hour, I call the driver a 'Louis'. Well, it's better than some of the words I might choose.

As mentioned previously, though I don't particularly rate Lazenby, OHMSS has possibly the best Bond plot ever. That final scene is just a killer. And this - John Barry and Hal David... well, nobody does it better.

Or do they...?

2. Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me)

Written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager (of You're Moving Out Today fame), this is the song that most says Bond to me... well, apart from our far too obvious Number One. (Aimee Mann does a lovely cover too.)

1. John Barry - The James Bond Theme

Not the Moby version, the David Arnold version or the one where some idiot decided it might be a good idea to let random tone-deaf Irish egomaniacs with a God Complex have a go. The original... and still the best.

Those were my best Bonds... but which is your Nobody Does It Better?

Monday 22 October 2012

My Top Ten Rat Songs

Ten songs about vermin. Because it's a wet Monday.

10. Roland Rat - Rat Rapping

You had to be there.

9. UB40 - Rat In Mi Kitchen

Yes, I know I featured this not long ago in my Top Ten Kitchen songs, but I can hardly ignore it here, can I?

Short of me doing a Top Ten 'In My' songs, this should be the last you hear of it.

8. The Automatic - Rats

...does sound a little like a car alarm. Still.
I remember someone saying
That there's always at rat close by
7. The Pogues - Gartloney Rats
The Gartloney Rats they play away
They'd play for the pints and not for the pay
And the pints they'd go down in the usual way
And they'd never get drunk but stay sober
6. Badly Drawn Boy - Year Of The Rat

Not a badly drawn song... but I prefer the Al Stewart one it's paraphrasing. Cats beat rats any day.

5. Laptop - Ratso Rizzo

Whatever happened to Jesse Hartman? Here's his tribute to Dustin Hoffman...

4. The King Blues - The Schemers, The Scroungers & The Rats

Sadly, the King Blues broke up earlier this year... just a few months after I discovered them. I miss them already.
So hats off to the schemers, to the scroungers, to the rats,
To the ones who sleep on mattresses on the floor, clutching baseball bats,
To the beggars and the cheaters and the kings who rise at noon,
To the scoundrels, the misfits, the parasites, this one’s for you.
The crummy live recording on youtube doesn't really do the song or the band justice, but try and seek out the original if you can. It's well worth your time.

3. The Specials - Rat Race

Did Roddy “Radiation” Byers write Common People 15 years before Jarvis? (I had to check - I almost credited this to either Terry or Jerry.)
You plan your conversation to impress the college bar
Just talking about your Mother and Daddy's Jaguar
Wear your political T-shirt and sacred college scarf
Discussing the worlds situation but just for a laugh

2. The White Stripes - I Think I Smell A Rat

Jack White makes songwriting look so damned easy, doesn't he?

1. The Boomtown Rats - Rat Trap

The best Bruce Springsteen song ever written by a bunch of Irish reprobates and their soon-to-be-swearing-on-TV frontman, Sir Bob. This is Born To Run without the escape clause. I've always loved this record.

Top of the Pops obviously made Mr. Geldof change the lyrics to the line "Pus and grime ooze from the scab-crusted sores". Unfortunately, I can't make out what he's singing instead. Any guesses?

These are the vermin I found scuttling about in my record collection. Which one is your pet rat?

Thursday 18 October 2012

My Top Ten Hollywood Songs

Back to my American tour... with ten songs about Tinseltown.

Special mention, of course, to Frankie. Relax!

10. Suede - This Hollywood Life

Brett Anderson's songwriting has always combined glitter and grubbiness, so an ode to the capital city of both seemed inevitable.

9. Kasey Chambers - Hollywood

Kasey laments the fact that real life ain't like the movies. A cliche, perhaps... but that voice!

8. Ryan Adams - Goodnight, Hollywood Boulevard

Yeah, right.

7. The Blue Nile - Tinseltown In The Rain

 Glaswegian genius, from their debut album... 28 years ago. (Ouch.)

6. Father John Misty - Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

One of the more interesting new records I've discovered this year comes from ex-Fleet Fox J. Tillman aka Father John Misty. This is a standout track from his debut album (as FJM), Fear Fun.

5. The Wedding Present - Spider-Man On Hollywood

Comic book fan David Gedge obviously didn't think Hollywood's version of Spider-Man measured up to the one he read as a kid. And of course, he turns that into a metaphor for disappointing relationships.

4. Eminem - Say Goodbye To Hollywood

Another woe-is-my-awful-life ode from Slim Shady, but when he writes lines like this...
Bury my face in comic books, cause I don't want to look
At nothin', this world's too much
...well, obviously, I can relate.

Not to be confused with...

3. Billy Joel - Say Goodbye To Hollywood

Look, if you don't like Billy Joel... you don't like music. The Phil Spector-esque production on this BJ classic proved irresistible to Phil's ex, lead Ronette Ronnie Spector who went on to record her own version... with a little help from the legendary E Street Band.  

2. Codeine Velvet Club - Hollywood

Sometimes side projects prove more exciting than an artist's day job. Codeine Velvet Club was the brainchild of lead Fratelli Jon Lawler and Glasgow club singer Lou Hickey. The male/female harmonies and big 60s production numbers they created on the band's 2009 debut album promised great things... though sadly, it doesn't seem they're destined to work together again.

1. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Hollywood Nights

One of beardy-Bob's bristling best.

In those Hollywood nights
In those Hollywood hills
She was looking so right
In her diamonds and frills
All those big city nights
In those high rolling hills
Above all the lights
She had all of the skills

Which Hollywood hit is your heartthrob?

Monday 15 October 2012

My Top Ten Frank Songs

Planning a Top Ten Frankenstein songs for Halloween, I was amazed to see how many great records there were about people called Frank. In fact, I could easily have filled a Top 20. The Monster will have to wait...

10. The Give It Ups - Let's Be Frank

A cool little indie pop song of the sort you didn't think they made anymore. Download it free and legal from the bandcamp link above.

(In case you're wondering, The Give It Ups narrowly beat The Monochrome Set onto this chart. It was an extremely close call.)

9. Longpigs - The Frank Sonata

It's a shame that the Longpigs are mostly remembered these days as "the band Richard Hawley played guitar in". They deserve far more recognition. Although god knows what's going on in this rather X-rated promo...

8. Cake - Frank Sinatra

You can't go wrong with a nice slice of Cake... in tribute to the greatest Frank ever?

And while we're on that subject...

7. Suzanne Vega - Frank & Ava
It's not enough to be in love.
6. Morrissey - Our Frank

In which it appears Morrissey has cut himself while shaving his eyebrows. These things happen.
Oh give us a drink
And make it quick
Or else I'm gonna be sick all over
Your frankly vulgar red pullover
See also Frankly, Mr. Shankly, of course.

5. Sister Sledge - Frankie

Few records take me back to 1985 like this one.

Do you remember me?

4. Simon & Garfunkel - So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

Thanks to the kind person who posted this on youtube, I've just discovered the "true" (?) story behind this song. Apparently it was Paul Simon's farewell to Art Garfunkel (himself an architecture major at university).
So long, Frank Lloyd Wright
All of the night we've harmonised till dawn
I've never laughed so long
3. The Lemonheads - Frank Mills

Another Brooklyn resident, this Frank was in consideration for that Top Ten too. A cover, it turns out, of a song from the musical Hair.
He has golden chains on his leather jacket,
and on the back, are written the names Mary and Mom and Hell's Angels.
I would gratefully appreciate it if you see him,
tell him
I am in the park with my girlfriend,
and please tell him Angela and I
don't want the two dollars back, just him.
2. Bruce Springsteen - Highway Patrolman

In any other Top Ten, Bruce's tragic tale of two brothers on opposite sides of the law (one of whom is called Frank) would have been number one. See also Frankie.

1. Tom Waits - Frank's Wild Years

My favourite Tom Waits "song". If you've never heard it before, please take 1 minute 48 seconds to discover why Tom Waits is one of the best storytellers in the music industry...

Let's be Frank... what's your favourite Frank song?

Saturday 13 October 2012

My Top Ten Stephen King Songs

My favourite writer has inspired, and been inspired by, all kinds of interesting songs... here's a few that share a title with the greatest hits of Stephen King's back catalogue.

By the way, I already did a Top 10 Misery Songs back on the old blog. Search that one out for Kathy Bates and her sledgehammer. 

10. James - The Shining

Stephen King stole the title of The Shining from Lennon's Instant Karma ("We all shine on...") James stole the title from King, as did Badly Drawn Boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

9. Murder By Death - Holy Lord, Shawshank Redemption Is Such A Good Movie

No idea why they decided to call this track what they did, since its only lyrics are...
You're all the way over there but we can dance to your music from here.
...but nevertheless, points for the title.

8. The Ramones - Pet Sematary

The first King novel I read, back when I was only 14, and the one that got me hooked. This track was written for the less-than-great movie adaptation by a past-their-prime Ramones. Still. You take what you can get.

7. Bob Dylan - From A Buick 6

Despite his love of music, this is one of the few King novels to steal its title wholesale from a rock 'n' roll song. But if you're gonna steal, you might as well steal from Saint Bob. Everyone else does.

6. Cliff Richard - Carrie

The first, but I'm sorry to say, probably not the last time Sir Cliff will find his way onto this blog. I have a shameless soft spot for his mid-70s output... though I'm sure he'd be horrified at the suggestion that his song might have any connection to King's pig-blood drenched heroine.

5. Faithless - Insomnia
I can't get no sleep
Serves you right for reading SK just before bed, Maxi. 

4. House Of Love - Christine

I'm sure the Christine in question had very little in common with King's killer car... but this is a cracker nevertheless.

3. The Prodigy - Firestarter

Backstage at the V96 Festival, a mate of mine pulled Keith from The Prodigy round on a child's ride-on tractor.

Firestarter isn't one of King's best novels, but the movie adaptation was better than some. Good cast, at least, including Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott and Heather Locklear (who was contractually obliged to appear because it was 1984).

2. Ben E. King - Stand By Me

The movie of the same name was adapted from King's novella 'The Body', so he didn't steal the title of Ben E. King's classic soul heartwrencher himself. But it was a perfect fit.

1. The Alarm - The Stand

Directly inspired by King's magnum opus.
Oh I have been out searching 
With the black book in my hand 
And I've looked between the lines that lie on the pages that I tread 
I met the walking dude, religious, in his worn down cowboy boots 
And he walked liked no man on earth 
I swear he had no name 
I swear he had no name 

Got a favourite song with the same title as a Stephen King book? Celine Dion's Tommyknockers, perhaps? Share it with the class...

Thursday 11 October 2012

My Top Ten Beach Boys Songs

50 years. Wow.

I could pick up any Beach Boys Greatest Hits album and the first ten tracks would blow most other records recorded in the last fifty years out of the water. With lots of surf spray. So, yeah, this was another damned hard chart to compile...

10. Lady Lynda

A late 70s comeback record that was a surprise hit in the UK. Mostly an Al Jardine song, it steals heavily from Johann Sebastian Bach's Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring. One of the few classic Beach Boys records I can actually say I heard first time round... unless you count Kokomo. Which I do have great fondness for, but not enough to include it in a Top Ten... or even Twenty.

9. Long Promised Road

Everyone always says Pet Sounds is the greatest Beach Boys album, and far be it from me to argue with the experts. However, my personal favourite is Surf's Up, from their troubled early 70s phase. Here, as on the best Brian Wilson songs, the sunshine is tempered with darker shadows. Surprisingly, though, this was brother Carl's first full composition for the band. You wouldn't know it.

8. Don't Worry, Baby

One of Brian's early heartbreakers.

7. Sloop John B

Not that I'm about to ignore Pet Sounds entirely. Not an original composition, Sloop John B is actually based on an old folk song, The John B. Sails. One of the most covered songs in the Beach Boys canon, the original is also heavily referenced by other artists, most notably Okkervil River's haunting John Allyn Smith Sails.

6. California Girls

I can't help but be upset when I type 'California G...' into youtube and all I get are Katy Perry tracks. I must be getting old.

Let's face it, when the Beatles write a song that's little more than a parody record of one of your songs, you've pretty much got it made.

5. Surfin' USA

The archetypal Beach Boys song, from the early days. That opening riff never fails to make me want to hit the beach. They're often pigeonholed for writing sunshine / good times surfing songs... but not every surfin' song is automatically about sunshine...

4. Surf's Up

Some accuse Van Dyke Parks of writing pretentious, pseudo-poetic lyrics. And if you were merely to read the words to this song, you'd probably agree. Yet, when you hear them sung by Brian Wilson, accompanied by his ethereal, piano-led music... it's hard not to find them magical. A song that reminds me of the dark, spooky atmosphere Ray Bradbury created when writing Something Wicked This Way Comes. Yes, it's that good. 

3. Good Vibrations

A truly revolutionary recording. Pop music would never be the same again.

2. Heroes And Villains

The first Brian Wilson / Van Dyke Parks collaboration, a song that gets inside your head and just won't get out. I've listened to it thousands of times and I still haven't a clue what it's about. Perhaps that's why I love it.

1. God Only Knows

The greatest love song ever written? And it begins with the line "I may not always love you." That is the very definition of genius.

So, it was a damned hard list to compile. Which of your favourites did I miss out? Darlin'? Tears In The Morning? Do It Again? I Can Hear Music? Wouldn't It Be Nice? Lonely Sea? The one with Paul McCartney chewing a carrot? And which would have been your surfin' supremo? Do tell...

Tuesday 9 October 2012

My Top Ten Boom Songs

It amazes me sometimes what I find to make a Top Ten out of...

There were many, many truly awful records with the word Boom in the title... but you won't find the likes of The Outhere Brothers, The Vengaboys, N-Tyce or Shaggy cluttering up this chart.

10. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Boom Boom (Shake The Room)

You will, however, find Will Smith and that other bloke, if only because I'm feeling nostalgic for 1993. For a limited time only.

Don't worry, this list does get better...

9. Westworld - Sonic Boom Boy

...but perhaps not quite yet.

Those people who say the 80s have a lot to answer for... they might be right.

8. The Shangri-Las- Sophisticated Boom Boom

Now this, this is more like it.

Better yet, this is from a compilation album which describes the Shangri-Las as "The Myrmidons of Melodrama". Which would make Morrissey proud. Except for the fact that "Myrmidons", despite how fancy it sounds, were either vicious warriors, unscrupulous ruffians, loyal followers or "ant-people", depending on which Ancient Greek translation you want to follow. None of which does any kind of justice to the mighty, mighty Shangri-Las. Mermaids of Melodrama, perhaps?

7. James - Boom Boom

Tim Booth's tribute to Basil Brush. No, really, Mr. Roy.

6. Warren Zevon - Boom Boom Mancini

I was saving this for my Top Ten Boxing Songs, but who knows when I'll get round to that?
Hurry home early - hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini's fighting Bobby Chacon
5. John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom

And now, I'm gonna shoot you right down.

4. Flight of the Conchords - Boom
Oh my God. She's so hot. She's so flippin' hot. She's like a curry.
I want to tell her how hot she is, but she'll think I'm being sexist.
She's so hot she's making me sexist.
3. Imelda May - Johnny's Got A Boom Boom

And Imelda's got a quiff to make Morrissey jealous.

2. The Crew Cuts - Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)
Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alang
Boom ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay
They don't write 'em like that anymore.

1. The Hives - Tick Tick... Boom!

The Hives were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off. But this one blows the roof off too.

Those were my boombastic belters... but which one makes your heart go boom?

Saturday 6 October 2012

My Top Ten Brooklyn Songs

Loads of ideas for Top Ten lists... not enough time to write them. Here's another entry into my musical tour of the USA, stopping off in one of the five boroughs of New York City... because if I start trying to tackle the city as a whole, I'll be here till the end of time.

10. Al Stewart - In Brooklyn

Admittedly, this 10th spot would have gone to John Peel favourites Bob with their 1989 single 'Esmerelda Brooklyn'... if only I'd been able to find it anywhere online. Al Stewart gets a pass instead, a well-deserving runner-up.

9. Fun Lovin' Criminals - Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn

Gets in on the title alone.

8. Barton Carroll - Brooklyn Girl, You're Gonna Be My Bride

Seattle's Barton Carroll has a nicely cynical Nick Lowe-ish edge to his songwriting.

I'm not a dandy or the sharpest knife in the drawer
and I've always had to work with my hands,
But I use what I was given and I work for a living
and that's more than you can say for your man.

7. Woodkid - Brooklyn

Every now and then, in the course of compiling these charts, I come across a song I've never heard before by an artist I've never heard before, that's really quite lovely. I was taken with this one, until Louise came in and asked, "What are you listening to - it sounds like Kermit." Too late, I'd already downloaded it from Amazon. On her account (accidentally) - that''ll teach her to leave it signed on!

6. Steely Dan - Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)

As with most Steely Dan song, I've no idea what this is about. But it still sounds damned good.

5. The Black Keys - Brooklyn Bound

Could have been recorded any time in the last 50 years. I think that makes it timeless.

4. Jesse Malin - Brooklyn

Ten years ago, Jesse Malin released an album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, which still remains his career best. This song goes a long way towards explaining why.

3. Brooklyn Bridge - The Worst That Could Happen

Yes, I'm breaking one of my main rules here, but I couldn't resist. This one's a classic, written by the great Jimmy Webb, sung like his life depended on it by the late Johnny Maestro and his band... Brooklyn Bridge.

2. The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You

Someone on youtube describes them as "the American Mumford & Sons", which isn't a bad comparison. This is the most beautiful song they've yet recorded. Oh, and Brooklyn features heavily, even if it doesn't appear in the title.

1. The Beastie Boys - No Sleep Till Brooklyn


Were the Beastie Boys ever really this young? Were any of us...?

They were Brooklyn's best... unless you know different. As always, let me know your favourites - or any I left out...

Tuesday 2 October 2012

My Top Ten Songs About Elvis

Because, as Neil Young will remind us later in this list, He Was The King.

Before I begin, can I just point out that much as I love 'The King of Rock 'n' Roll' by Prefab Sprout... it ain't about Elvis. Just in case you were wondering...

10. The Gaslight Anthem - Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?

Then again, I'm not sure this is much about Elvis either. But it's more about Elvis than Paddy's song was. Honest.

9. Phil Lynott - King's Call

It was a rainy night the night the king went down
Everybody was crying it seemed like sadness had surrounded the town
Me, I went to the liquor store
And I bought a bottle of wine and a bottle of gin
I played his records all night
Drinking with a close, close friend

Featuring Mark Knopfler... not the last we'll hear from him on this list.

8. Generation X - King Rocker

No one owes their career (and their sneer) to Elvis more than Billy Idol.

7. Dire Straits - Calling Elvis

The video features a freakish Gerry Anderson style Knopfler puppet. It scares the hell out of me.

6. Manic Street Preachers - Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier

American trilogy in Lancashire Pottery

5. Gillian Welch - Elvis Presley Blues
Just a country boy that combed his hair
And put on a shirt his mother made and went on the air
And he shook it like a chorus girl
And he shook it like a Harlem queen
He shook it like a midnight rebel, baby
Like you never seen
4. Bruce Springsteen - Goodbye, Johnny

In which Bruce tries to break into Graceland to meet Elvis... and ends up writing a song about it (with a little help from Chuck Berry).

3. Belle & Sebastian - A Century Of Elvis

In which Elvis moves in with B&S bassist Stuart David... and watches a lot of TV.

2. Neil Young - He Was The King

The last time I saw Elvis
He was shooting at a colour TV
The phones were ringing in the pink motel
And the rest is history
He was the King

See also Hey Hey, My My / My My, Hey Hey... the songs that gave Kurt Cobain his suicide note.

1. Kirsty MacColl - There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis

We miss you, Kirsty.

And Elvis too.

See also Killen ner' på Konsum svär att han är Elvis: the, erm, Swedish cover version by Elisabeth Andreassen.

Thank you very much.
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