Thursday, 6 March 2014

My Top Ten Cold War Songs

This week I will mostly be playing the 80's nostalgia card, thanks to the current tiff between Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama that inspired Dodgy Dave to put on his serious face for twitter.

10. Sting - Russians

Let's get the obvious one out of the way first, shall we?

Ah, Sting. Sting, Sting, Sting. It's not a bad song, it's just... like most of Sting's "issues" songs... it's about as subtle as all the bricks in the Berlin Wall piled up on top of each other in a Sting-shaped heap.  

"Do the Russians love their children too?"

At least it's not written from the perspective of a Russian dog. 

9. Prince - Ronnie, Talk To Russia

Blimey, a Prince song that's actually available on youtube. Not one of his best, but fascinating in a 80's time capsule kind of way.

8. Iron Maiden - 2 Minutes To Midnight

Far more subtle than Sting could ever be.

7. Nena - 99 Red Balloons

So Nena lets off a bunch of (luft)balloons with her boyfriend, only they get mistaken for missiles and BOOM. The world ends. You see how easy these things can get out of hand?

6. Elton John - Nikita

With hindsight, this looks even more unintentionally hilarious than Sting's Russkies, I can see that. In my defence, I firmly believe Elton has a sense of humour (unlike Gordon) - which the video surely proves.

Also, when I was 13, I thought this record was heartbreaking. (Then again, when I was 13, I thought most things were heartbreaking.)

5. The Beatles - Back In The U.S.S.R.

The best Beach Boys song the Beatles ever wrote. Brilliant.
Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind
4. Billy Joel - Leningrad

I keep comparing other songs on this list to #10, which is churlish. I really don't have anything against Sting. It's not like he's Bono or anything.

Anyway, here Billy shows the po-faced, bumblebee-shirted former teacher how to do it with class. A stunning piece of serious storytelling songwriting.

3. Donald Fagen - New Frontier

From the majestic Nightfly album, Fagen's 50s flashback finds a young couple planning for their future in the cosy warmth of their backyard bomb shelter.
We've got provisions and lots of beer
The key word is survival on the new frontier
2. The Smiths - Ask
If it's not love
Then it's the bomb
That'll bring us together...
Possibly the least cynical love song Moz ever wrote.

1. Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes

I told you it was 80's tribute week. You might not like this song (you'd be wrong) but you can't argue that this is one of the greatest pop videos ever filmed...

If you're still here to read this tomorrow... leave a comment amid the fallout dust, will you?


  1. Yay! Finally! I nominate the entire Killing Joke 80's back catalogue.

  2. Really interesting top ten, spent ages listening and thinking about this one. The happening of the 80s and the Cold War totally framed me in those teen years. And everything seem to reference it. One of the ones that still moves me is The Getaway, Chris De Burgh. I know he commands little respect but the getaway is a good album and the song is completely Cold War politics. As is The Visitors ABBA. It's an ABBA non-pop song. More subtle than the getaway but it is there I think.

    1. And let's not forget The Lady In Red... she must have been a commie.

  3. Replies
    1. Was that about masturbation too?

    2. You must be thinking of the J. Arthur Rank remix...

  4. the first song that came to mind, despite the fact it doesn't really fit the theme...was "Moscow" by Genghis Khan. So I better make a tenuous link. The song was a bit of an unofficial them for the 1980 Olympics, which the USA boycotted, part of the Cold War...hows that?

    My genuine suggestion though is "Wind of Change" by the Scorpions


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