Friday, 23 September 2016

My Top Ten Maths Songs (Volume 4: Multiplication)

Almost finished our Maths lessons now... how well do you know your times tables?

10. Bobby Darin - Multiplication

Always start with the obvious one. Bobby Darin is seen as the safe side of rock 'n' roll, and most of his tracks do have all the rough edges filed off. But if you're a fan of the era (as I am), it's still fun to give songs like this a spin every now and then.

9. Doc & Merle Watson - Three Times Seven

Ah, the arrogance of youth, perfectly expressed by Doc Watson, covering an old Merle Travis song from the 40s with his son, also called Merle.
I'm three times seven and I do as I doggone pleaseThere ain't no woman this side of heaven gonna get me on my kneesI'm three times seven, gals, and that makes twenty oneLord, I just won't tame, I'm gonna be the same 'till I'm three times twenty one
8. Mr. Hudson & The Library - 2 x 2

Mr. Hudson & The Library were guilty of that aggravating mix of beats and guitars I tired of very soon in the decade they will forever refer to as The Noughties (even though there was very little naughtiness involved). They redeemed themselves through evocative lyrics: 2x2 is a fine example of this. I understand Mr. Hudson himself is still in the go, but sadly the Library closed down. Sign of the times...

7. Ride - 0 x 4

Where shoe-gazing meets power-pop. Ride split in the late 90s but reformed recently to ride (punintended) the seemingly bottomless wave of nostalgia tours catering to middle-aged men desperate to recapture their misspent youth for at least one night a week... of which I would surely be a part if I had the time or the money.

6. Cake - Multiply The Heartaches

Cake's cover of the George Jones / Melba Montgomery country song was renamed to include 'Subtract One Love' in the title, so feasibly I could have included it in last week's chart. I stuck with the original name so we don't confuse our budding musical mathematicians.

Hard to believe Cake have been baking up tracks like this for over 20 years now, and they're still going... though there hasn't been a new album since 2011.

5. Commodores - Three Times A Lady

Definitely one to irk the musos due to its sheer ubiquity. I don't listen to Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs, but I'd be disappointed if I turned him on and he wasn't playing this. However, as monumental ├╝ber-ballads go, this one is in a class of its own and Lionel Ritchie is a legend.

If it's still too soppy for you, you might try the Cobra Starship version... but that only really works if you appreciate the original.

4. Silver Sun - 17 Times

James Broad's Silver Sun were one of my favourite bands of the Britpop era - although they weren't Britpop at all. Pure power-pop mixed with Beach Boys harmonies and James's angelic lead vocals; guitars so chunky they give Yorkies a run for their money. 17 Times is a b-side but it doesn't deviate from the template one jot. Like the Ramones, most Silver Sun songs sound exactly the same... but it's such a great song, who cares?

3. Cinerama - 7x

The 7x ingredients for Coca-Cola were a closely guarded secret, although the formula was allegedly revealed a few years ago.

Only David Gedge could use the Coca-Cola formula as a metaphor for a mysterious lady who won't talk to him anymore...
"It's 7X," and that's all that they'll say about Coke And you're just as circumspect and I didn't mean that as a joke
Because I know everybody's got a secret deep inside But you, oh you must be quite unique, the things you hide
2. The Doors - Love Me Two Times

We need more harpsichords in rock songs.

1. De La Soul - The Magic Number

Schoolhouse Rock was a series of educational songs that ran in and amongst Saturday morning kids shows on American TV in the 70s. These included a song for each of the times tables up to 12, the most famous of which was Bob Dorough's Three Is A Magic Number. This has been covered by a variety of pop and rock acts over the years, most notably Blind Melon, Jeff Buckley and Embrace. They're all fine versions (I'm particularly fond of the Embrace one), but they all stick very closely to Dorough's original. De La Soul, on the other hand, took the basic track and made it their own.
Shake, rattle and roll to my magic number...

Which is your multiplication fixation?


  1. Rol, Just catching up on this series. A-plus effort, sir, especially the recent one on subtraction. CC mentioned missing Less Than Zero, and I'm inclined to agree, but what would you subtract? A perfect 10. My vote today would be Pixies doing Distance Equals Rate Times Time, but that would mean losing Bobby Darin. No way. Enjoyed listening to that one too much.

    1. Thanks, Brian, glad you approve.

      I might save that Pixies track for my Physics Top Ten...

  2. This is a damn fine selection - particularly nice to hear Silver Sun again. My only additional suggestions would be the smooth jazz/funk of George Benson's 'Love X Love' and Bob Dylan's '2 X 2', though in the actual lyrics of the latter, Bob sings 'two by two' rather than 'two times two', so I guess that rules it out.

    1. Damn it - I had George Benson on my original list and somehow he got lost in the shuffle! Grrrr...

  3. No argument from me about your top 2, but I'd suggest Love - "7 And 7 Is" which is pretty fab. AND it's got "Oop-ip-ip oop-ip-ip, yeah!" in the chorus.

    1. Check out my Top Ten Addition Songs from a couple of weeks back... I think you'll be happy!

  4. Another fine collection.
    On a multiplication theme, I offer:
    Energy equals Mass times by the speed of light squared, or put simply
    E=MC² by Big Audio Dynamite (the band The Clash could've been)

    1. Another one I'm saving for the Physics Top Ten... honest!

  5. Like these puzzlers but a bit stuck as I think you've got them all! I still have a soft spot for Three Times A Lady though as it was "the" last dance song of my youth but as you say it sure does irk the musos - Around the same time was Chic with Good Times though and as good as I can come up with off the top of my head. Alyson, WIAAA?

    1. For a second there, Alyson, I forgot the name of your blog... so when I googled WIAAA, I came up with the Western Illinois Area Agency for Aging. We're neither of us from Illinois... but the rest of it might be apt. ;-)


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