Monday 2 November 2015

My Top Ten Debra / Deborah / Debbie Songs

Ten songs about women named Debra, Deborah or Debs.

Special mentions to a couple of the famous Debbies referenced below...

10. Stina Nordenstam - When Debbie's Back From Texas

Frustratingly absent from youtube, but I wanted to include it anyway because I love Stina's voice... and because I always wondered if the Debbie in question had been visiting... erm, Dallas.

9. The Fat Lady Sings - Deborah

Forgotten (by all but the blogosphere) Irish band of the early 90s. This is from their still-impressive debut album, Twist. 

8. The B52s - Debbie

Sounds pretty much like every other B52s record you ever heard. Still loads of fun.

7. Beck - Debra

From the days when Beck wanted to be Prince. He does a pretty good impersonation...

6. Mojo Nixon - Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child

All you need to know about this is the title... and the fact that Winona Ryder plays Debbie Gibson in the video. She claims it was her favourite role ever. Well, it's certainly a better performance than the one she gave in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

5. Helen Love - Debbie Loves Joey

Another irresistible bag of cartoon indie popcorn from Helen, Sheena and Ricardo Autobahn.
When they walked downtown all the people would stare
They used to laugh at their clothes and the colour of their hair
She was 17 and she didn't care
Cause baby's gonna take her everywhere
Cause he said they'd live in New York
And the stars would be their own
She was Debbie Harry and he was Joey Ramone!
4. Slaves - Where's Your Car, Debbie?

So Slaves get lost on the way home from a gig and can't find their mate's car. That's pretty much the entire song (until it all goes a bit Blair Witch)... but we've all been there, and that's what makes this a tiny blast of turbo-charged genius.

3. Courtney Barnett - Debbie Downer

Does Courtney consider herself a Debbie Downer? She shouldn't. She always cheers me up...
Tell me when you're getting bored and I'll leave
I'm not the one who put the chain around your feet
I'm sorry for all of my insecurities, but they're just a part of me
"Envy is thin because it bites but never eats"
That's what a nice old Spanish lady once told me
"Hey Debbie-Downer turn that frown upside down and just be happy!"
2. T-Rex - Deborah

Yes, if anyone was going to rhyme Debra with Zebra, it would have to be Mark Bolan: King of Naff Rhymes. (The critics say "he made nursery rhymes sound profound"... I think he was either off his mitts or taking the bliss.)

Deborah was Bolan's first ever Top 40 "hit", from back in 1968 when his band was still called Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was reissued in 1972 when T-Rex were much a bigger thing and then it made the Top Ten. Lyrically it was utter tosh, but Bolan was a proper pop star, so we could forgive him anything. 

1. Pulp - Disco 2000

Based on a true story about a girl called Debbie that young Jarvis was infatuated with... the only bit he made up was the "woodchip on <her> walls".

Watching Mark Radcliffe's recent BBC4 documentary series on the history of indie (Music For Misfits), a good argument was put forward by the assembled talking heads (chiefly The Grauniad's music critic Alex Petri-dish) that Pulp should not be classed as Britpop as they had so little in common with Blur, Oasis and the New Lad / New Labour pop culture of the mid-90s. I'll always have a soft spot for Britpop as those were my gig-going years and I had many a fine evening watching the likes of Shed Seven, The Bluetones and The Verve... but yes, Pulp were more than just a cut above: they were in a league all their own.

Disco 2000 is Pulp at the height of their chart-conquering success. But just as the name Deborah never suited the girl in the song, being pop stars never really suited Jarvis and co. They hated fame so much they were soon keen to press the self-destruct on Top of the Pops success and go back to being a proper indie band.

They even banned the record from being used in any TV or radio trailers in the run up to the Millennium. Which would have made them a pretty penny... but I guess they were never in it for the money.

Which Debbie does your Dallas? And which is your Debbie Downer?


  1. Dave Edmunds - Deborah from Tracks on Wax 4. 1978(Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds)

  2. When Debbie’s Back From Texas, on the YouTube:

  3. MF DOOM - No Names(black Debbie)

  4. Debbie by the quireboys


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