Thursday, 29 March 2018

My Top Ten Price Tag Songs

80p for a bag of crisps? I remember when you could get a bag of crisps for 12p!

Back in the early 90s, I briefly considered trying to get a mortgage for a £50,000 house. I decided against it: who wants a mortgage when they're in their early 20s? That same house is worth over £200,000 now.

You'd think pop stars wouldn't worry so much about the price of things... but then again, there's very few millionaires in the list below (with the possible exception of Tom: he must be worth a bob or two).

10. Eileen Rose - $20 Shoes

$20 is about the maximum I would pay on shoes. I realise this makes me some kind of relic. But I'd rather spend money on records.

9. The Fall - The $500 Bottle Of Wine

That's all you get most of the time
For all the life in crime
The 500 bottle of wine...

8. Ruth Etting - Ten Cents A Dance

Written by Rodgers & Hart, recorded in 1930. I miss David Jacobs.

If you don't fancy dancing with Ruth, you could always spend the same amount on a pistol from The Black Keys.

7. Ezra Furman - Maraschino Red Dress $8.99 At Goodwill

From the new album, Transangelic Exodus, which is pretty good.

(You'll have to take my word for it though because I couldn't find the track online and didn't have time to upload it.)

6. Tom T. Hall - Back When Gas Was Thirty Cents A Gallon

Don't even get me started on the price of petrol these days, Tom.

5. The Bottle Rockets - Thousand Dollar Car

If you only got a thousand dollars
You outta just buy a good guitar
Learn how to play and it'll take you farther
Than any old thousand dollar car
If a thousand dollar car was truly worth a damn
Then why would anybody ever spend ten grand
Oh, why did I ever buy a thousand dollar car?

The Handsome Family do a pretty good version of this too, available here.

4. Eels - $200 Tattoo

A drunken first date deal to each get a tattoo might seem like something both parties would come to regret, but E turns this into a sweet little love song...

It hurt a little, hell, it hurt a lot
But a man who won't commit is something I'm not
A little tear rolled down her face
When it was done we went back to her place...

3. Tom Waits - Twenty-Nine Dollars

You get the feeling that Tom will make those $29 count... but they might also cost him a lot more.

2. Half Man Half Biscuit - £24.99 From Argos

Quite a bit of discussion about this song over at the Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project, including what kind of keyboard it was that Nigel Blackwell got for £24.99 from Argos (and presumably recorded this song on) and where the twiddly bits in the tune might originate.

1. Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris - $1000 Wedding

A thousand dollars would be bloody cheap for a wedding these days, but I guess when Gram and Emmylou sang about it, it was pretty pricey.

Particularly if the bride doesn't show up...

Any price tags in your record collection?


  1. A bag of crisps for 12p?!?! I remember when you could get a pint of beer for 12 OLD P(ence) or a shilling as we old folk called it. That's 5p in new money.

    Meanwhile, in response to your price tag songs list, I've been driven to distraction trying to remember a hip-hop song which included the price of something followed by the words "batteries not included"...

    1. Drawing a blank on that, Lynchie. I'm guessing it's not Jethro Tull.

  2. Jessie J's Price Tag is in our record collection (surprisingly) - check out this great live version:

    - and similar memories about investigating getting a mortgage when in my twenties (in the '80s) The figures just didn't add up and it was impossible to even comprehend managing the repayments, so we haemorrhaged our hard-earned money on rent on godawful flats in dodgy parts of town instead.

  3. Yes Jessie J also sprung to mind. Not much else to add except Half a Sixpence (Tommy Steele) and Selling England by the Pound (Genesis) but that's an album title and maybe not even the right kind of pound.

    As for the shoes, have a rethink Rol - I read a while back that the two things you should never skimp on are shoes and mattresses as you spend your whole life either "in them or on them". I am looking around me at some ladies of my generation who are having to have horrid ops to correct years of wearing poor footwear - Don't do it!

    1. Tommy Steele. Of course!

      As I have corrective insoles for back problems gained earlier in life (not due to bad shoes), it doesn't really matter what I put them in... but I appreciate your concern, Alyson.

  4. $20 dollars for Eileen Rose's shoes?
    Pah! Rosie Thomas' were only $2!


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