Wednesday, 9 January 2019

My Top Ten Museum Songs

The National Centre for Popular Music, Sheffield's own pop museum, opened in late 1999... and closed a little over a year later. Maybe we're not as obsessed with pop music in this country as we think we are... or maybe the ticket prices were a bit too high.

The very fancy building, complete with rotating "drums" on the roof... is now the Student's Union for Sheffield Hallam University. And the drums don't rotate any more. Who says pop is dead?

Anyway, here are ten songs that surely should be museum pieces...

10. Ted Mizzy - The Addams Family

Their house is a museum
Where people come to see 'em
They really are a screa-um
The Addams Family.

9. Graham Parker - Museum of Stupidity

Graham has some very interesting ideas about what exhibits he would have in his Museum of Stupidity. Including...

You're bound to find there every advert on American TV
And every page of the British gutter press

See also They Might Be Giants - Museum of Idiots.

8. Robyn Hitchcock - Museum of Sex

Seaford, apparently. I'll have a ticket for one, please.

(I should probably have saved this one for the United Kingdom of Song.)

7. Half Man Half Biscuit - Emergency Locksmith

Stranded there
I dreamed a dream
Where I hold the key to the key museum, where
Opportunity knocks but I fail to progress
‘Cos I’m wasted with passions
I don’t have the courage to express

Yeah. We know that feeling.

6. ZZ Top - Got Me Under Pressure

She likes the art museum, she don't like Pavlov's dog
She fun at the mind museum, she likes it in a London fog
She don't like other women, she likes whips and chains
She likes cocaine and filppin' out with great Danes

I bet she has an exhibit in Seaford.

5. Mark Kozelek - The Mark Kozelek Museum

In which Mark imagines his fame to be great enough to deserve a museum of his own. And what will you put in your museum, Mark?

That's me on guitar, Steve Howe-style
I'm in the seventh grade, listening to The Yes Album
I love you, Steve Howe, you inspired me
Like how hopefully I'll inspire others
I got a Gibson ES-175 Sunburst just like yours, down to the very year
Actually that's not true, it's a '66, I wish it was a '64
One day, I hope it will be hanging in the Mark Kozelek Museum
And maybe that crystal that I took from Jim Morrisson's chandelier
Maybe postcards sent to my father from around the globe
I just gotta find a spot near my home
Or my other homes far away from home
Maybe Sweden, cause I believe I lived there in another life
Maybe further up northern California
Because my happiest memories were fishing up the coast
Maybe my birthplace, Massillon, Ohio, because that's where it all began
I don't know, but my guess is right here in San Francisco
If my legacy can afford it

4. Morrissey - Arthounds

Will you see Morrissey in European hushed museums? Will he be rhyming table with "aunt Mabel"? Anything is possible - his life is opera.

3. Art Brut - Demons Out

I wanted rock 'n roll, I got a science museum
So we stayed up, and we argued all night
If we can't change the world
Let's at least get the charts right
The record buying public shouldn't be voting

Art Brut vs. Satan... but Eddie's spirited defence of pop music probably belongs in a museum too these days.

2. Frank Sinatra - A Foggy Day

The British museum, it lost its charm...

Sinatra singing Gershwin, on the other hand, will never lose its charm.

1. Tiny Ruins - Me At The Museum, You At The Winter Gardens

You could almost believe this song had been written about Sheffield's ill-fated pop music museum, since the city's Winter Gardens are just a short walk away. Unfortunately, they weren't opened until three years after the museum closed down. Which would put a strain on any crosstown relationship.

Also, Tiny Ruins are from New Zealand, so they're probably singing about a completely different museum / winter gardens combo.

Lovely song though!

Any museum pieces in your collection?


  1. There's "Museum" by Herman's Hermits. ;-)

    1. Good one. By the way, thanks for your recent blog invite, Marie... it didn't work. ;-)

  2. Took all the trees, put them in a tree museum
    And they charged the people
    A dollar and a half just to seem 'em

    Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

    1. Damn. That should have been Number 2. Kicking myself.

  3. '...foreigners and experts go in and through my place, turn my home into a museum, like the murder squad they scan the room for the well of inspiration they don't tolerate ordinary folk and folk look at me strange, but I'll give them this at least, they pay for what they eat, visitors and peripherers never give, I just want room to live...'
    Is there an MES Museum yet? There should be.

    1. The whole of Manchester is an MES Museum, surely?

  4. Was up in Sheffield late last year, walked past that building and wondered about its purpose (and roof design). And now I know.

  5. The Sheffield building housed a club venue for a while. I careered round its dancefloor on a friend's birthday night out there.

    1. I should have mentioned that Louise and I went there for coffee on our first date, after going to the Showroom Cinema across the road. It was there I discovered she didn't like coffee. And yet somehow we're still together.

  6. Mug Museum by Cate Le Bon was the first song that popped into my head. I really dig these lyrics by Mark Kozelek.

    Here in Seattle, the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen established the Experience Music Project in 2000. It must not have been broad enough because a few years ago it was renamed the Museum of Pop Culture and now has much more than just music-themed exhibits, such as comic books, Star Wars and the like. Seems to be doing well. The building is a monstrosity. I'm not too taken by the looks of this building in Sheffield either. Maybe you need to see it in person.

    1. Seattle obviously wins Sheffield... this time. Pulp will always beat Pearl Jam though.

  7. I've just stumbled across Museum of Childhood by Jackie Leven

    1. Don't know it, but I know it'll be class if it's Jackie Leven.


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