Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Hot 100 #50

That's 50 Cent, Fiddy to his mates, introducing us to the second half of our countdown of songs relating to numbers. Here's what you had for me this week...

Charity Chic kicked us off with the theme tune to Hawaii 5-0, which I wouldn't have considered, but as I did make it Number One in My Top Ten TV Themes (Instrumental) last year, it was a pretty good call.

Next came C, with a track that was definitely in consideration...
PJ Harvey - 50 Ft Queenie
Lynchie suggested a couple of fine lyrical fifties the first of which was this...
Talking Heads - People Like Us
In 1950 when I was born
Papa couldn't afford to buy us much
He said be proud of what you are
There's something special 'bout people like us

I've been listening to a lot of Talking Heads lately, so that went down very well.

Other songs about the year / decade 1950(s) included...
The Police - Born In The 50s
When Sting is finally called to answer for his many, many crimes against songwriting, this is one of those tunes that will spend quite some time in the witness box, particularly these lines...

Oh we hated our Aunt
Then we messed in our pants
Moving on...
Scotty Baker - '50 Buick
...was the only car song I could find this week.

I'm sure there are hundreds more songs that drop a lyrical mention to the decade that spawned rock 'n' roll, but we haven't got time to go fishing for them, so I'll finish with this... which doesn't appear to have much to do with the decade at all, but - as with 99% of all other Wedding Present tunes - is actually about screwed up relationships...
The Wedding Present - 50s
Where was I? Oh yeah: Lynchie's other suggestion... and it's a belter. This would have been a definite winner most weeks.
Battleship Chains - (made famous by) The Georgia Satellites
Warren Zevon covered this song. It rocks! (Actually, that's Warren with Peter Buck & Bill Berry from REM, trading as The Hindu Love Gods.)
 I love the original version by The Woods, cos it's got a ship siren at the start!
You got me tied down with battleship chains

50 foot long and a two ton anchor
Tied down with battleship chains
50 foot long with a two ton anchor

Like C, I didn't know that was a cover. I prefer the Georgia Satellites version though: it really does rock.

Finally, Lynchie asked whether or not 50/50 songs would be allowed. Well... go on then. Here's a few...
John Wesley Harding - Fifty Fifty Split
Cocteau Twins - Fifty Fifty Clown
Suzanne Vega - Fifty Fifty Chance
The Strokes - 50 50
The Del McCoury Band - 50/50 Chance
All the way from Dubai, Jim was back, digging around in his library to find a well-fingered copy of...

...sorry, Jim, I couldn't resist that... or the awful sub-Benny Hill pun that preceded it.

What Jim actually suggested was the far superior...
Edwyn Collins - 50 Shades of Blue
Jim's second suggestion was an entirely new one to me... definitely worth discovering though.
Steve Diggle - 50 Years of Comparative Wealth
Not the only song I found to mention 50 years though. Here are a few of my own...
Biff Bang Pow! - 50 Years of Fun
Guided By Voices - When She Turns 50
The Fall - 50 Year Old Man
(Surprisingly, The Swede didn't suggest that last one though he did suggest another Mark E. Smith tunes, Masquerade, for these cheery lyrics: '...like a fish dish the grim visage altered again and again, the fifty percent interest ran out today, account altered...')

And then there was this... my runner-up this week... a clear winner most other weeks. Aimee Mann's debut album takes some beating...
Aimee Man - 50 Years After The Fair
Roger McGuinn on guitar & backing vocals there, if you're interested.

Meanwhile, a couple more from The Swede...
Bob Dylan - The Tempest
...which he might have suggested because it mentions fifty thousand tonnes of steel... or maybe because it goes on for about 50 minutes.
Otway & Barrett - DK 50/80
To which the only response is...

(I'm obviously very excited to have Alan back on TV.)

Rigid Digit was next up with this little beauty... with Stephen Fry on guest vocals.
Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow
And also a lyrical 50 which he became rather pedantic about and I had to challenge on the basis of artistic license...
Squeeze - Up The Junction 
"This morning at 4:50, I took her rather nifty..." 
Great song, a soap opera in 3 and a half minutes. But one cannot ignore the chronological error. 
This morning she gave birth to a daughter (at 5:20, pedantic fact fans) 
Within a year she was a walker (OK, this may have been a guess or expectation). 
But then, just 2 lines later, he is already 2 years in the future
Like I said: artistic license. And I thought I was a pedant. Great song though.

We then welcomed a new player, Douglas McLaren, with a very fine suggestion...
The Tragically Hip - Fifty Mission Cap
...and with songs like that, Douglas, you're welcome back here anytime.

However, sometimes I just have to go for the obvious choice... so here it is, a tune I've always had a great fondness for.

King of Pedantry Rigid Digit pointed out that Paul Simon only actually names 5 of the 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover...

Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan
Don't need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free

...and both he and Alyson wondered what the other 45 may be.

To answer that question, I can direct you towards Carol Brown by Flight of the Conchords, in which Jermaine Clement gives you at least another 19, including...

Loretta broke my heart in a letter
She told me she was leaving and her life would be better
Joan broke it off over the phone
After the tone she left me alone

Jen said she'd never ever see me again
When I saw her again, she said it again
Jan met another man
Liza got amnesia, just forgot who I am

Felicity said there was no electricity
Emily, no chemistry
Fran, ran, Bruce turned out to be a man
Flo had to go, I couldn't go with the flow

Carol Brown just took the bus out of town
But I'm hoping that you'll stick around

Mimi will no longer see me
Brittany, Brittany hit me
Paula, Persephone, Stella, and Stephanie
There must be fifty ways that lovers have left me

Mona, you told me you were in a coma
Tiffany, you said that you had an epiphany

(Bruce is my favourite.)

And while I can't name the other 26 off the top of my head, I can also direct you Okkervil River's Plus Ones, a very fine song which reveals #51 (as well as revealing what happens to the 97th tear and the 100th luftballoon, among others)...

51st way to leave your lover
Admittedly, it doesn't seem to be as gentle
Or as clean as all the others

Still. The problem is all inside your head, it seems to me...

49 next week. I have a feeling these posts are about to get longer and longer...


  1. A shorter Bob Dylan suggestion for you this week, 'The Days of '49'. I've also got a bit of soulful jazz in The Lightmen's 'Luke 23 32 49'.

  2. On another hard-drive I've found 'The 49th Day' by El Ten Eleven, 'Bob Dylan's 49th Beard' by Wilco and 'Funk #49' by The James Gang.

    1. "On another hard-drive"... there speaks a man with too much music.

    2. So much music, so little time.

  3. Big Joe Williams, Bukka White, Eric Clapton, Omar and The Howlers and many more have all recorded "Highway 49".

  4. I'd have gone for "The Days Of 49", but that's taken so I'll have Bruce Springsteen "Cadillac Ranch"...
    "James Dean in that Mercury '49
    Junior Johnson runnin' through the woods of Caroline
    Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans Am
    All gonna meet down at the Cadillac ranch"

  5. I love the bit in Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros song Johnny Appleseed where he sings 'there it goes Buick 49....'

  6. A dance track which was in the charts around the late 80's, Touch Me by The 49ers and Should Be More Ideal by 49 Americans from the Messthetics CD.

  7. Stiff Little Fingers - Gate 49
    The number of the Departure Gate at Heathrow songwriter Henry Cluney regularly walked through to get back home to Belfast

    10CC - Rubber Bullets

    "Down at Precinct 49
    Having a teargas of a time"

    Phil Lynott & Gary Moore - Parisienne Walkways
    "I remember Paris in 49
    The Champs Elysees, St Michel
    And old Beaujolais wine"

  8. Whoops - I meant to say "49 Bye Byes" - Crosby, Stills & NASH.
    (Concentrate, Marie!)

  9. I will try again with another loosely Canadian themed long shot: Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 2012 version of the classic Clementine (yes, as in Oh, Ma Darlin'). For the tried and true lyrical connection "dwelt a miner, '49er, and his daughter Clementine..."


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...