Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My Top Ten Park Songs

Fancy a walk in the park...?

Special mention to Maxïmo Park, Van Dyke Parks, South Park and Ray Parker Jr. Of course.

10. Dubstar - Cathedral Park

I always thought Dubstar was a rubbish name for a band, particularly a band with very little dub in their sound. I always liked the fact that you could hear Sarah Blackwood's northern accent in her vocals though.

The interweb tells me Dubstar are recording again and soon to release a new record. Ooh... 

9. The Auteurs - After Murder Park

A song about dead children to cheer your dark winter days. Could have been worse (?) - I could have gone with Tom Lehrer - Poisoning Pigeons In The Park.

8. Feist - The Park

Feist thinks she's seen an old love in the park... it's unlikely she'll see him there again.

Beautiful song. 

7. Georgie Fame - Sitting In the Park

Or you may prefer the original by Billy Stewart, which I only just discovered, but it is rather fine. 

6. Cinerama - Barefoot In The Park

Named after the old Jane Fonda / Robert Redford movie, this is David Gedge going all romantic on us again. Hardly the sort of thing you'd hear on Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs, but perhaps it ought to be...
Yes it's because you're just sublime
That I think about you all the time
Don't ask me if it's true
Because how could anybody not love you?
5. Blur - Park Life

You may have expected this nearer the top... but in retrospect, isn't it just the teeniest bit annoying? Great single, but still... a bit annoying. Actually, I'm not sure who's more annoying, Damon or Phil Daniels. Probably Damon... Phil's just playing a part.

For something slightly less annoying from the Blur boys (but not half as catchy), try Trailer Park.

4. Bruce Springsteen - 4th of July, Asbury Park

Look, I'm not going to apologise for the amount of times Bruce makes My Tops Tens... but I should probably apologise that this one only got to #4. In any other chart... Number One With A Bullet.
And me, I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades
Bangin' them pleasure machines
Chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk

Where they all promise to unsnap their jeans
And you know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag
I got on it last night and my shirt got caught
And they kept me spinnin', dear, didn't think I'd ever get off
3.  Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute

One of Billy's most heartbreaking songs, about a young boy coming to terms with the death of his father. Sends a shiver down my spine.  

For a much younger, much more raucous Billy, you might try: Riff Raff - Barking Park Lake.

2. Small Faces - Itchycoo Park
I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun
What did you do there?

I got high!

You don't say...

1.  Richard Harris - MacArthur Park

Yes, I could have gone with the Donna Summer version, the Glen Campbell version... or even Jimmy Webb's own version... but Richard Harris did it first, and most famously. This song gets a lot of stick, partly because as a singer, Richard Harris was a great actor... and partly because nobody can really agree on what the lyrics are about. Hell to all that - it's a metaphor, deal with it.


Those were my favourite park songs, but... which one leaves your cake out in the rain?


  1. Well there's also Linkin Park. The Lloyd Cole Album Park West...and I realise none to be counted. But, but, but...a childhood favourite...Nick Straker Band 'A walk in the park'. Pure class...

    1. Actually, Nick Straker was in serious contention... until I had another listen to it.

  2. Mmmm. There's that Jethro Tull song, Inside. I always loved that - "Take a walk in the park/Feel the wind in the dark..." - but I suppose it doesn't count.

    1. Anything counts if I like it and I always like a bit of Tull.

  3. Mcarthur Park was my first thought but my second was Lou Reed - perfect day but only for the line Drink Sangria In the Park. I like Lou Reed.

    1. How can anyone not like Lou Reed? Everybody loves a grumpy old bastard. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

  4. Prince - Paisley Park (which is known for the fact it attracts colourful people whose hair on one side is swept back)...

    1. Would have been in contention if Prince had improved his youtube policy.

  5. it always worries me when the first song that comes to mind is something the calibre of "Saturday in the Park" by Chicago...surely I can aim a bit higher than that.

    Glad to see Maccarthur, Itchycoo and Life in the list.

    A couple of others to throw in the mix.
    Footscray Park - Bob Evans, off his recently released album.
    Old Farts in Caravan Parks - John Williamson, some lightheartedness from the Aussie country musician.

    1. I'll definitely save that last one for my Top Ten Caravan Songs!


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