Wednesday 31 July 2013

My Top Ten Summer Rain Songs

Well, we all knew it couldn't last, didn't we...?

10. Ash - Summer Snow

Steady on, Tim, you always have to take these things to an extreme, don't you?

9. ELO -  Summer and Lightning

For Christmas, 1976, Jeff got the BBC Sound Effects: Weather LP.

8. Elkie Brooks - Sunshine After the Rain

 The original: much better than the 90s cover.

7. Placebo - English Summer Rain

Good one from the goth-pixie.
Always stays the same, nothing ever changes,
English summer rain seems to last for ages.
6. Peter Gabriel - Red Rain

OK, I realise this is a stretch, but I love the song and that's all it takes to get out my shoehorn.

Warning: do not google search what this song is about. It's by Peter Gabriel... just accept the story behind it will be more mental than anything you can imagine.

Don't watch the scary video either.

5. Turin  Brakes - Pain Killer (Summer Rain)

Olly and Gale's biggest hit. Great to hear it again. 
Leave all this misery behind...
4. Belinda Carlisle - Summer Rain

Another of my unashamed teenage pop crushes. Ah, Belinda...

3. The Alarm - Rain In The Summertime

Some knew them as the Welsh U2. Except: they were good.

2. Bruce Hornsby & The Range - Mandolin Rain

Can't believe I've published over 150 posts on this blog and this is the first time I've been able to include any Bruce Hornsby. Gorgeous stuff.
Running down by the lake shore,
She did love the sound of a summer storm,
Played on the lake like a Mandolin,
Now it's washing her away... once again....
1. Beta Band - Dry The Rain

"I will now sell five copies of The Three E.P.s by The Beta Band", says John Cusack in the film version of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity (which, you will not be surprised to discover, is one of my favourite movies). However, the pedant in me always wants to complain that the version he plays in the shop isn't the one on The Three E.P.s... it's been specially edited for the movie.

Still. Great song. 

Which one is sheltering under your umbrella?

Monday 29 July 2013

My Top Ten Sloth Songs (Seven Deadly Sins #4)

Yawn. I really can't be bothered introducing the fourth deadly sin...

10. Oasis - The Importance Of Being Idle

Yes, I chose an Oasis song. It's not completely unheard of. I reckon this is one of their best, perhaps because it owes far more to The Kinks than The Beatles. Plus I like Rhys Ifans in the video... but more on that later.

9. The Charlatans - Can't Get Out Of Bed

See also Can't Get Up by Supergrass, I Should Get Up by Teddy Thompson and, of course, Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed by Matt Bianco. Give it time, I'll do a whole Top Ten of them.

8. Moxy Früvous - The Lazy Boy

Ah, Moxy. Whatever happened?
I have a life of pleasure
I am submerged in armchair leisure
I put my feet on the ottoman....empire!
7. Belle & Sebastian - Lazy Line Painter Jane

Another infamous lazybones, Stuart Murdoch did write most of his most famous songs in his bedroom. See also Sleep The Clock Around and We Are The Sleepyheads

6. Suede - Lazy 
Here they come, gone 7am
Getting satellite and Sky, getting cable,
Bills and Bens and their mums and their friends
Who just really, really want to be loved,
Uncle Teds and their legendary vests
Helping out around the disabled,
From the flats and the maisonettes
They're reminding us there's things to be done.
Nothing lazy about those lyrics.

See also the gorgeous One Lazy Morning by Brett Anderson, solo (i.e. the rest of the band stayed in bed).

5. The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon

As in "Lazing on a..."

Poor old Ray, the taxman's taken everything he's got.

See also Dead End Street... then go listen to that Oasis song again. (Lazy Noel even nicked the video from Ray & Dave.)

4. The Supernaturals - Lazy Lover

What a bunch of lazy bleeders the Supernaturals were - not only lazy lovers who can't be bothered getting into bed... but when they eventually do, they moan I Wasn't Built To Get Up. They can't even stay awake in their videos.

See also this little ditty from The Auteurs, who have apparently been married to The Supernaturals for 20 years.

3. The Small Faces - Lazy Sunday

Probably should have been Number One... but I just couldn't be bothered.
Gor blimey, hello, Mrs. Jones - how's your Burt's lumbago?
2. Morrissey - Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning

When it came time to select songs about sloth, Morrissey was obviously going to feature. Take your pick from The Lazy Sunbathers or All The Lazy Dykes... but this one's my favourite: quintessential Mozzer... 
Please don't worry
There'll be no fuss
She was... nobody's nothing

When he awoke
The sea was calm
And another day passes like a dream
1. The Lemonheads - The Outdoor Type

While the rest of the artists on this Top Ten are bone idle Brits (with the exception of comatose Canadians Moxy Früvous), the laziest man in rock has to be American "Slacker King" Evan Dando. This could well be my favourite Lemonheads song, in which Evan confesses his lethargic credentials...
I can't go away with you on a rock climbing weekend
What if something's on TV and it's never shown again?
It's just as well I'm not invited, I'm afraid of heights
I lied about being the outdoor type

Can you be bothered to leave a comment?

Friday 26 July 2013

My Top Ten Songs About (The) Rolling Stones

As Mick Jagger turns 70 (and I already did My Top Ten Rolling Stones Songs), here's ten songs about Rolling Stones... and Stones that Roll.

Happy birthday, Mick!

10. Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera - Move Like Jagger

Don't expect either Maroon 5 or Christina Aguilera to be making regular appearances on this blog, but as it's Mick's birthday and he apparently finds this track "very flattering", I pretty much had to give it  spin.

I actually used this in my class to demonstrate the use of simile in pop song.

9. Tim Hardin - Rolling Stone

The only song on this list that officially doesn't gather any moss.

8. The Verve - The Rolling People

A slight cheat, but The Verve were famously sued by Andrew Loog Oldham for sampling his cover of The Last Time (by The Stones) on Bittersweet Symphony with the credits on that track being forcibly changed to Jagger / Richards / Ashcroft and 100% of the royalties ending up with Mick 'n' Keef.

The Rolling People comes from the same album, and presumably was written and recorded before all that kicked off. It still sounds pretty cool...

7. Cloud Control - The Rolling Stones

This song by Australia's Cloud Control has very little to do with Mick 'n' Keef, but it is quite lovely.

6. Dr. Hook - Cover of the Rolling Stone

About the magazine, not the band, obviously.
I got a freaky old lady name o' Cocaine Kitty who embroiders on my jeans
I got my poor ol' grey haired daddy, drivin' my limousine
Now it's all designed to blow our minds but our minds won't really be blown
Like the blow that'll getcha when you get your picture on the cover of The Rolling Stone
Worth checking out Poison's cover version too... if you're a glutton for hair metal punishment (as I am).
5. Mott The Hoople - Roll Away The Stone

Ian Hunter gets born again. Top guitar and sha-la-las.

4. Carly Simon - You're So Vain

There is great debate over who this song is actually about... and Mick Jagger is only one of many suspects (Warren Beatty, David Geffen and Nick Nolte are also likely candidates). Whether Mick is the vain one (he probably thinks this song is about him), he did sing backing vocals on Carly's biggest hit... and it's too good a song not to include here. Amazing lyrics...

3. The House Of Love -  The Beatles & The Stones

 If I ever get round to doing a Top Ten Songs About The Beatles... expect this to make a return appearance.
The Beatles and the Stones
Sucked the marrow out of bone
Put the V in Vietnam
The Beatles and the Stones
Made it good to be alone
To be alone
2. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone

Ooh... controversial. Hands up if you thought this would be Number One?

How does it feel...?

1. The Temptations - Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Better than Dylan? I'll leave that to the musos to argue over. For me, this is the Temps finest hour, one of the greatest basslines in the history of pop, and the intro alone gets it to the top spot.

Which one would you dedicate to the birthday boy?

Wednesday 24 July 2013

My Top Ten Bag Songs

What have I got in my bag today...?

10. Robert Palmer - Trick Bag

Forgotten tune from the Riptide album - not listened to this in years. Great stuff.

9. Dean Friedman - Shopping Bag Ladies

See, I'm not going to apologise for thinking that Dean Friedman is an under-appreciated genius. And his voice is still so good, even on the tiny stages he plays thirty years after his peak.

8. Mystery Jets - Little Bag of Hair

 There's a story in this song, and it's heartbreaking.

7. Malcolm Middleton - Blue Plastic Bags
The whole world's going home with blue plastic bags,
6 bottles of Stella, Jacobs's Creek and twenty fags

And you know there is no shame
'Cus we're are all doing the same, 

Staying in is the new going out,
No one's even coming round,
We'll have toy fights in the hall...
Who needs visitors?

6. Rod Stewart - Handbags & Gladrags

Written by Manfred Mann's Mike D'Abo, originally recorded by Chris Farlowe, used as the theme tune of The Office, slaughtered by Kelly Jones... but it's Rod's version I favour. Whatever else you might think of Rod, you can't deny that voice. 

5. James Brown - Papa's Got a Brand New Bag

I was lucky enough to see James Brown live back in the late 90s. I'm pretty sure he did this... once he eventually arrived on stage. Longest build up to an entrance ever, each member of the band got their own intro song before The Godfather finally appeared. Worth the wait though.

4. George Baker Selection - Little Green Bag

You ever listen to K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies?

3. Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag

I had high hopes for Wheatus after this song, a cracking self-pitying loser-rock single. They followed it up with - of all things - an Erasure cover... then promptly disappeared off the face of the earth.

Still, we'll always have dirtbag.

2. Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - My Bag
Hey I was walking my bag
Through a 20 story non stop snow storm
Pirelli calender girls wrestling in body lotion
My head's swimming with poetry and prose
Excuse me one moment whilst I powder my nose...
No prizes for guessing what was in Lloyd's bag on the final Commotions album.

1. Pixies - Bag Boy

A new entry, in at Number One with a silver bullet. First new Pixies material in some time (minus Kim, sadly) and it's a classic. Download it free from their website.
Cover your breath... polish your teeth.

I was surprised how many great bag songs there were in my collection - could easily have gone another ten. But I thought I'd leave some room for you guys... what's in your bag?

Monday 22 July 2013

My Top Ten Summer Clothes Songs

What are you wearing to keep cool in this hot weather?

10. Animal Collective - Summertime Clothes

The Animal Collective are soaking their heads in the sink. Which can't help but remind me of these guys.

9. Ben Kweller - Sundress

Ben takes his girl to all the most glamorous parts of town, just to see her in her sundress.

8. Sonic Youth - Swimsuit Issue

In which Kim takes a summer job as a secretary for a lecherous boss... with hilarious consequences.

7. ZZ Top - Cheap Sunglasses
Spied a little thing and I followed her all night
In her funky fine Levis and her sweater kind of tight
She had a west coast strut that was as sweet as molasses
But what really knocked me out was her cheap sunglasses
Stalker alert.

See also Sunglasses by Skeeter Davis... or Tracey Ullman. Take your pick.

6. The Wedding Present - Silver Shorts

Wear your silver shorts today and David Gedge won't go away.

5. The Airborne Toxic Event - Girls In Their Summer Dresses

A guilty husband protests that he's not perving over the girls in their summer dresses... and anyway, they were looking at him first!

4. Timbuk 3 - The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
I'm a Peeping Tom Tacky with X-Ray eyes...
They're all at it!

Dig that crazy harmonica.

3. Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Accept certain inalienable truths: 
Prices will rise, 
Politicians will philander, 
You too will get old, 
And when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders. 

 Respect your elders.
2. Bruce Springsteen - Girls In Their Summer Clothes

If this wasn't one of Bruce's best radio pop records since the heights of Born In The USA, you might be attempted to accuse him of being the bloke in the ATE song. Then you listen to the lyrics and hear an aching melancholic nostalgia... and everything's right with the world.

1. Gene - Long Sleeves For The Summer

Does you heart sag?

I'm just sitting here waiting for someone to suggest Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini so I can tell them where to go. 

Friday 19 July 2013

My Top Ten Greed Songs (Seven Deadly Sins #3)

Back to the 7 deadly sings... with ten songs about greed (as opposed to stuffing your face gluttony).

10. Seth Lakeman - Greed & Gold
Forever the loneliest road.
9. Cracker - I Want Everything

First of a number of songs on this chart by artists who won't be happy till they've got it all. Greedy buggers.

8. Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg - The Power of Gold
Are you under the power of gold? 
The late Dan Fogelberg. Top man.

7. Hefner - The Greedy Ugly People
The Greedy Ugly People are not like us,
They don't feel the love that she and I would die without.
A sweet love story about how the rest of the world are a bunch of greedy, ugly bastards...
Love don't stop no wars, don't stop no cancer,
It stops my heart.
6. The Flying Lizards - Money (That's What I Want)

There are, of course, thousands of pop songs about love of money. They deserve, at least, a Top Ten of their own. There are also about a hundred different versions of this song, originally written and recorded by the mighty Barrett Strong back in 1959. But I love this version more than any other because it's truly unique... and because the video is like 1979 in a bottle.

5. Aztec Camera - All I Need Is Everything

Poor old Roddy, he didn't quite get it all. Although going from the video, he must have been about 12 when he recorded this, so he did pretty well for such a young 'un.

4. Go-Kart Mozart - We're Selfish & Lazy & Greedy

Three sins in one! Go, Lawrence!
People like me, oh we don't give a damn
We like staying bed if we can...
3. Rufus Wainwright - Give Me What I Want and Give It to Me Now!
Give me what I want 
And give it to me now!
Don't be such a greedy sow...
...Rufus threatens, before going on to reveal his own greed...
I'm the one who has
And I will tell you this,
With a biblical kiss,
I will eat you, your folks
And your kids for breakfast!
And then he gets really bitchy:
I'm the one who has
And I will tell you this,
That I would never wish
Death upon you, your cats
And your throw cushions on Christmas!
2. Queen - I Want It All

Thus did Freddie live his life...

1. The Wonder Stuff - Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More

It's about time The Wonder Stuff had a Number One round here, considering how much I loved them. 
Well,  hope I make more money than this in the next world...
Damn right!

I know, you want them all, don't you?

Wednesday 17 July 2013

My Top Ten Naked Songs

Well, after we stripped together... it's only natural that we explore our birthday suits.

10. Reef - Naked

Tonight we're going to party like it's 1995.

9. Super Furry Animals - Crazy Naked Girls

Quite mental, even by Super Furry standards.

8. Roy Harper - Naked Flame
I'm sorry that you thought of us as painful and superfluous
But please don't think I'm that thick skinned to want my seed in any old wind
I can't believe we'll just exist as figments of each others past
Where is it at to get to this, when lawyers lurk where lovers kiss?
Wow. Where do I begin?

7. John Mellencamp - Dance Naked

Not advisable unless you want everyone laughing at your jiggling bits.

6. Radiohead - Nude
Don't get any big ideas
They're not gonna' happen!
Aw, come on, Thom - join in with everybody else.
You go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking!
Fair enough. That's me told, then.

5. Jackson Browne - The Naked Ride Home
Just take off your clothes and I'll drive you home...
...yeah, how's that line working for you, Jackson?

4. Crosby & Nash - Naked In The Rain

There is, sadly, a far more well known record that shares this title. Unfortunately, it's the worst kind of abysmal 90s dance horrorshow. So you'll have to make do with Dave and Graham instead.

3. Richard Hawley - Naked in Pitsmoor

Pitsmoor isn't one of the more glamorous areas of Sheffield. Chances are Mr. Hawley is naked there because someone nicked his clobber.

2. Ida Maria - I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked

See, if you're gonna steal part of your tune from elsewhere, you can do so much worse than The Tra-la-la Song by the Banana Splits.

This is a very sexy song even despite all that.

1. Lloyd Cole - Undressed

All hail the mighty LC, with one of his greatest opening lines...
You look so good when you're depressed...
After that, and the bit where his girlfriend never locks the bathroom door... how could I not make this Number One?

OK, you can put your clothes back on now.

No, really.

Monday 15 July 2013

My Top Ten Summertime Songs

As Martin pointed out, my Top Ten Hot Summer Songs was quite an all-encompassing topic for me, hence why I was barely able to scrape the surface of all the great summer songs in my collection. Here then, in an effort to narrow the field, are ten great songs with "Summertime" in the title...

10. Girls - Summertime

I've told you before, if you're going to name your band "Girls", don't expect anybody to find you on google... even if you do get Jim Jarmusch to direct your video. (In Iceland. Hardly the most summery of locations, Jim.)

9. The Supernaturals - Summertime

From the final Supernaturals album, What We Did Last Summer; the one that, sadly, only I bought.

8. The Flaming Lips - It's Summertime

Wayne feels sad in the summertime. We all benefit from his misery.

7. Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness

Lana Del Rey seems to exist in a world of perpetual summertime... from another era entirely. 

Yes, she is so impossibly beautiful we really should hate her... if only she didn't write such beguiling songs.

6. The Who - Summertime Blues

As I already gave Eddie Cochran pride of place in my Top Ten Hot Summer Songs, here's a somewhat rowdier version from the other side of the pond: Live at Leeds, to be precise.

5. Emiliana Torrini - Unemployed In Summertime

Sadly, from personal experience I can tell you it's not as much fun as Emiliana would have you believe.
Sorry don't get mad at me
I just did the sex quiz
From your magazine
You're my best friend in the world
Just like me you don't do
Anything you're told
Very cute song though.

4. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime
If ain't broke then don't try to fix it
22 years old.

Just sayin'.

3. Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime
Man, that is some serious facial hair. Must get sweaty and itchy in the hot weather.

Famously used for a "Don't Drink & Drive" TV advert due to its lyrical suggestions...

2. The Sundays - Summertime

Harriet Wheeler. *Sigh.*
And it's you I need in the summertime
As I turn my white skin red
Two peas from the same pod, yes, we are
Or have I read too much fiction?
Is this how it happens?
1. Fun Boy Three - Summertime

According to Iffypedia, there are over 25,000 recorded versions of this song, originally written by Gershwin for the musical Porgy & Bess. I can't claim to have listened to them all, but I do own fine versions by Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Janis Joplin, Paul Robeson and Nick Drake (among others).
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich
And your momma's good-looking...
Why choose this early 80s reggae-lite version from Terry Hall and chums out of all those? I think it was Terry's hairdo... and the hay bales, hammock and hi-jinks of the video.

Those were my favourite summertime songs. I know there is one glaring omission, but I'm saving it for another list. (And I'm waiting for the Sabrina fans to come out of the woodwork...)

Friday 12 July 2013

My Top Ten Hot Summer Songs (Volume 1)

How bizarre has this weather been lately? It's July in the UK and the temperature is heading into the thirties. There's no rain. And everyone's complaining about the heat! Not a traditional British summer at all... who can remember the last time we had a sunny Glastonbury AND a red hot Wimbledon. It's like the mythical long hot summers of our youths...

Anyway, to celebrate here are ten songs about hot summers. Enjoy them while they last.

10. Sly & The Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime

Very cool. AKA hot.

9. Glenn Frey - The Heat Is On

A good show-ow-ow-woah from Glenn... but he has to take second place to a fellow Eagle in the hot summer records.

8. The Hold Steady - Constructive Summer

Probably the least well-known song on this list, but it just fits. Perfectly.

(Plus, it rhymes "summer" with "Joe Strummer"...which guarantees it a place.)
Let this be our annual reminder that we could all be something bigger...
7. The Isley Brothers - Summer Breeze
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind...
Bloody hell, that's a great lyric.

6. Bryan Adams - Summer of '69

Leave Bryan Adams alone - his mum's from Huddersfield!
Oh, but when I look back now
Those summers seemed to last forever...
5. Billy Idol - Hot In The City

Any excuse to get your shirt off, eh, Billy?
I'm a chain 'round an A-bomb
Watch this video and try to tell me Billy Idol isn't a comedy genius. Just try.

4. Eddie Cochran - Summertime Blues
Well I'm a-gonna raise a fuss, I'm a gonna raise a holler...
After an opening line like that, how can any pop song fail?

3. The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City

For many, many years, I thought John Sebastian was singing "'Til I'm weezin' like a bus stop" which I considered a beautiful line, even though the imagery was rather skewed. Imagine my disappointment to discover it's actually "'Til I'm weezin' at the bus stop". Never mind, it spoils this perfect pop record not one jot.

Love the Eels cover too.

2. Meat Loaf - You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

Please be upstanding for the utter insanity that is the full, minute-long spoken word intro performed by Jim Steinman and Ellen Foley... after that, you wonder how Meat's song can ever live up to it. Amazingly, it does. If I could marry this record, I would.
I bet you say that to all the boys...
1. Don Henley - The Boys of Summer

Nothing says the summers of my teenage years like this song. Not that my own teenage years resembled those described by Don Henley one bit... but I could dream.
I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got that top pulled down and that  radio on baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone
I was always quite fond of The Ataris' cover version too. 

Hot damn, there are just too many great hot summer songs... ten barely scratches the surface. If the weather sticks, I'll come back with Volume 2 soon... your suggestions welcome, as always (though no guarantees I'll include them).

Wednesday 10 July 2013

My Top Ten Stripping Songs

Is it me, or is it getting hot in here...? Time to take off a few more clothes.

10. Hawksley Workman - Striptease

This gets in here purely so I don't have to mention the song with the most offensive title in my record collection. (It's by The Bloodhound Gang... but it's not one of their better offerings.)

Anyway, dig Hawksley Workman.

9. Chris De Burgh - Patricia The Stripper

The Lady In Red Man attempts to become Noel Coward. So bad it's good... (perhaps).

See also this entirely different song of the same name by The Wombats which - quite incredibly - manages to be nowhere near as "good" as old crazy eyebrows.

8. The Birthday Party - Nick The Stripper

Nick is a fat little insect, hideous to the eye. I'd save your cash if I were you.

7. Stereophonics - She Takes Her Clothes Off

I know - what sort of crazy fool places the Stereophonics above Nick Cave?

It won't happen again, I promise.

6. Morrissey - Striptease With A Difference

Never officially released (Moz obviously didn't like it very much), this sees the Pope of Mope getting involved in a late night game of Strip Poker, trying his best to lose...
Exchanging a king for your two
While you're out of the room
Have a shufty over your shoulder

Well, all the same, it's a shady game
And I want to lose...
5. Depeche Mode - Stripped
Let me see you stripped down to the bone
Sigh. You always have to take things one step too far, don't you, Dave?

4. Sohodolls - Stripper

Ah, yes, the 21st Century Republica. Take that as a compliment if you wish...

3. Adam Ant - Strip

Do you know what's insane? This single never made the Top 40. (It peaked at #41.) Record buyers of 1983, hang your heads in shame.
When it gets so hot the end of the day
You may find your clothes getting in the way
If a pretty dress hides your true desire
Fold it nice and slow, throw it on the fire
2. Jermaine Stewart - We Don't Have To (Take Our Clothes Off To Have A Good Time)

Have a glass of cherry wine on me.

1. Mansun - Stripper Vicar

One of Mansun's finest, though it obviously owes a great debt to The Smiths' Vicar In A Tutu. Video filmed at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire, I reckon.
And we know him as our vicar
And by night a part-time stripper
And the vicar got suspended
In his stockings and suspenders
And he's making wine from water
While he dresses like his daughter
And we know that he's a rip off
'Cos we've seen him with his kit off

Anyone who suggests Man 2 Man meets Man Parrish loses 274 points immediately.

Monday 8 July 2013

My Top Ten Going Out Songs

"Do you want to go out with me?"

A question I never actually plucked up the courage to ask...

Special mention to This Charming Man, who would go out tonight but he hasn't got a stitch to wear.

10. Francis & The Lights - Going Out

According to Iffypedia, "Francis and the Lights is the stage name of American songwriter Francis Farewell Starlite."

So, let me get this straight... his real name is stagier than his stage name?

9. The Human League - The Stars Are Going Out

One of Louise's friends lives across the road from Phil Oakey. Fact!

8. Little Anthony & The Imperials - Going Out Of My Head

No. Indeed. They do not make them like this anymore.

7. Tom Waits - Goin' Out West
Well my friends think I'm ugly
I got a masculine face
Count yourself lucky, Tom. People say I look like a girl. A pretty ugly girl. 

6. Kirsty MacColl - (I'm Going Out With An) 80 Year Old Millionaire
He won't last much longer if he keeps drinking gin
I filled up the bottle that's marked medicine
He says that he'll leave all his empire to me
And sitting on top is the best place to be
So don't get impatient now boys you must wait
We'll all have such fun when I own the estate
Britt's got her toy boys but I don't care
'Cos I'm going out with an 80 year old millionaire
Ah, Kirsty, how we miss you.

5. Spearmint - We're Going Out

Shirley Lee: Godlike Genius. 
I know nothing seems to excite you anymore
I know it feels like you've got nothing to look forward to
But it's OK - everybody feels like that somethimes
It's just a phase we're going through, that's all

Put your coat on - we're going out!
4. Supergrass - Going Out

Any father's worst nightmare. Your daughter's going out on her first date, there's a knock at the door, and who should be standing there but one of the scruffy, long-haired muppets from Supergrass looking like they haven't had a bath since before the last Olympics. I'm glad we're having a boy...

3. Younger Younger 28s - We're Going Out
Lipstick, cigarette, packet of three... we're going out.
YY28s: should have been massive.

2. Cypress Hill - Ain't Goin' Out Like That

I suspect the definition of "going out" in this song has little to do with dinner and a movie.

Wins many extra points, however, for the line...
Outlaw, I'll kick ya like Billy Ray... Cypress... Hill
1. Joe Jackson - Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Can we all be upstanding for one of the greatest opening lyrics in the history of pop...?
Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street...

Which one would you go out with?

Friday 5 July 2013

My Top Ten Gluttony Songs (Seven Deadly Sins #2)

The Seven Deadly Sing Songs continues...

Gluttony comes second. As greed is third, and the two are somewhat intertwined, I've tried to draw a line between them. Chances are, if you don't hear it here, I saved it for the Greed Top Ten. Gluttony songs tended to be more about overdoing it...

Special mention to INXS, naturally. 

10. Toto Coelo - I Eat Cannibals

The 17th biggest selling single of 1983... in South Africa.

That seems pretty gluttonous to me.

9. Marianne Faithfull - Gluttony

Marianne tells the story of a model who loves to eat but signs a contract to stay slim...
There's no market for hippos in Philadelphia!
You'll have to take my word as youtube's never heard of it.

8. Ash - Palace of Excess
Dancing with the trustafarian girls...
Yes, I had to google "trustafarian". But it fits.

Get well soon, Lemmy!
Eat the Rich: there's only one thing they're good for
Eat the Rich: take one bite now - come back for more
Eat the Rich: don't stop me now I'm goin' crazy
Eat the Rich: that's my idea of a good time baby
Verges on the Greed Top Ten, but I chose to include it here.

6. Hey, Elastica! - Eat Your Heart Out

From 1982, in case you were thinking they were saying hello to Justine Frischmann.

See also Eat Your Heart Out by Dio which is also from the early 80s but might as well be from a different planet.

5. Art Brut - Just Desserts

Whenever Eddie gets hurt, he skips dinner and has a big dessert...
I know I should take better care of my health 
But when I'm down, vegetables don't help...
4. Jellyfish - Glutton of Sympathy

I know this probably gets boring, but I can't help it: this song is 20 years old.

Now I'm officially depressed.Not enough to eat a Jellyfish though.

3. Ben Folds - All U Can Eat
Son, look at all the people in this restaurant
What d'you think they weigh?
And out the window to the parking lot
At their SUVs taking all of the space
You know the sort of people he's singing about.

2. Peter Gabriel - Big Time  
Hi there! 
Peter overdoes it in every area of his life... his belly's getting bigger - and his bank account.
My parties have all the big names
And I greet them with the widest smile
Tell them how my life is one big adventure
And always they're amazed
When I show them round the house to my bed
I had it made like a mountain range
With a snow-white pillow for my big fat head
And my heaven will be a big heaven
And I will walk through the front door
1. Buckcherry - Gluttony

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Also: ROCKS.

From the new album Confessions which features a song for each of the 7 deadly sins. We may return to that at a later date. No promises. 

Please, sir, can you have some more?

Wednesday 3 July 2013

My Top Ten Las Vegas Songs

It's been a while since I went off on my American road trip. Let's take a quick stop in the city of sin...

Special mentions to Terry Hall and Dave Stewart's Vegas, Dirty Vegas and Death In Vegas

10. Tony Christie - Las Vegas

Las Vegas will be the death of Tony. He should have stayed in Sheffield.

9. Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas

The Cocteau Twinshave to be the least Vegas act on this list. Extra points for that.

8. Sheryl Crow - Leaving Las Vegas

Moody, poorly lit video saved by the flying Elvises.

7. Sleeper - Vegas

In which Louise Wener plays air hostess to a plane load of Elvis impersonators. What else do you need to know?

6. Meat Loaf - Elvis in Vegas

Fifteen year old Marvin Lee Aday snuck out his bedroom window and hitched a ride to Vegas to see the King. It obviously had a profound effect...

5. Tom Waits - Straight To The Top (Vegas)

Grizzly Tom turns loungebar act, channeling Sinatra with style: sax, golf clubs and fez-wearing piano player included for extra effect.

4. Drive-By Truckers - Checkout Time In Vegas

The Truckers write songs like mini movie scripts. Here they arrive in Vegas with "a bloody nose, empty pockets, a rented car with a trunk full of guns", which is a great set up for any thriller. They save the best line till later though...
They'll be after me by the time the buffet closes...
3. Brandon Flowers - Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas

The Killers hail from Vegas and much of their music reflects the glitz, glamour and gaudiness of their home. But Brandon waited till his solo album to unveil this particular love letter, named after the sign that welcomes all visitors to town.
The sun sets and you're afraid of that itching in your skin
You stumble down the boulevard of neon encrusted temple
You're looking for the grace of God in the arms of a fellow stranger
Disciples hand you catalogs of concubines
As you stumble down the boulevard crying "Hosanna"

Welcome to fabulous
Welcome to fabulous 

Las Vegas
Give us your dreamers, your harlots and your sin
Las Vegas
Didn't nobody tell you the house will always win?
2. Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris - Ooh Las Vegas

Gram was obviously much enamoured by Vegas... he also wrote the excellent Sin City as part of the Flying Burrito Brothers.

1. Elvis Presley - Viva Las Vegas

Yeah, it was a no-brainer. Many fine versions of this song, including Bruce Springsteen, The Dead Kennedys and ZZ Top (featuring a familiar ghost), but there's only one king.

Credit to Elvis for carrying on recording this sequence even though he's lost a couple of buttons from his shirt.You know how embarrassing that can be.

Which one's gonna set your soul on fire?

Monday 1 July 2013

My Top Ten Wrestling Songs

Easy! Easy! Easy! Easy!

10. Does It Offend You, Yeah? - The Wrestler

I'm getting too old for this shit.

9. Reverend & The Makers - The Wrestler

The Reverend gets pinned down by his conscience.

8. Hot Chip - Wrestlers
The gloves are off...
Hang on, do wrestlers wear gloves?

7. Superman Revenge Squad - Kendo Nagasaki

You may be surprised to learn that this is not the only song about Peter Thornley in this Top Ten.

I don't often steal an entire song's lyrics... but these are worth repeating.
I caught myself crying in the mirror

I was pathetic, I was the angriest dog in the world, 

I was Kendo Nagaski looking back over a lifetime just spent sweating in the ring, in a mask, and feeling ashamed.

I put your postcard on the side

And it makes me happy that you're not happy – it makes me smile

Was in your top eight friends on myspace for half a week, but Thursday night I'd disappeared, but you made me feel special for a while.

I guess everything leads to loneliness
And Weatherspoons meals are cheaper when there's two
We're gonna gather all the lonely people, let them enjoy the two-for-one
Then go back to being strangers when they're through
And maybe one or two won't be strangers anymore

And it makes me happy that you're not happy – it makes me smile
Find out more about Superman Revenge Squad here.

6. Jill Sobule - Mexican Wrestler
Sometimes I wish that I was a wrestler
A Mexican wrestler in a red vinyl mask
And I might grab you, body slam you, and maybe cause
Physical harm
No, really, it's a love song.

5. Art Brut - Unprofessional Wrestling

Art Brut have just released a two-disc best of compilation. Great - like I don't have little enough money as it is. (Unprofessional Wrestling isn't on it, by the way.)

4. Frightened Rabbit - The Wrestle

Apparently, this is about sex...
I'm torn limb from limb
There is bone, there is gristle, and spit
In the clotheless wrestle
The clotheless animal
Animal, animal, animal 
..I must be doing it wrong. (Thankfully.)

3. Carter, The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Is Wrestling Fixed?
Am I un H A P P why?
Does a new born baby cry?
Did Little Red Riding wear a hood?
Did the three bears shit in the woods?
Was Humpty Dumpty fat?
Does the Pope wear a funny hat?
Is wrestling fixed?

2. Bruce Springsteen - The Wrestler

One of Bruce's best songs of the 21st Century, hard not to picture a battered Mickey Rourke when you hear it.

1. Luke Haines - Inside The Restless Mind Of Rollerball Rocko / Big Daddy Got A Casio VL ToneHaystacks In Heaven / Gorgeous George / I Am Catweazle / etc.

Only Luke Haines could write an entire album about spending Saturday afternoons watching wrestling on World of Sport (as I did, in my distant childhood). If you don't believe me, I suggest you track down a copy of Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & early 80s.

Which one takes you down?
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