Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Hot 100 #52

This week's image was an obvious choice, and even came up as a song suggestion from Brian...

The B-52s - 52 Girls

Madge and Mabel
Biddie, see them on the beach
Or in New
York City, Tina Louise
And there's Hazel and Mavis

But this wasn't the only mention of the B-52 bomber I found in my library. We could also have...

Bobby Gibson & The Voyagers - B-52

Saint Etienne - 52 Pilot

David Lee Roth - Skycraper

Float like a buttuerfly
Sting like a B-52
And the radar locks on you
No static

The Monochrome Set - Apocalypso

I'm wrapped in silver foil
My blood is on the boil
B-52s flutter coyly

Or... my own personal favourite, natch...

Bruce Springsteen - Growin' Up

...a song where the B-52 button on a jukebox allows Bruce to bomb them with the blues.

A few other lyrical 52s that you suggested include:

The Cure - So What (C)

Cake icing and decorating set
Special offer
Only 3 pound 30
Save 1 pound 52 on recommended retail price

(No prizes for guessing why Robert Smith required such a product. Presumably it's what he used to apply his make-up.)

The Divine Comedy - Festive Road (Rigid Digit)

...which gets top marks for being a song about 80s kids' TV show Mr. Benn. Another hero of my childhood.

Dave Edmunds - I Hear You Knocking

I told you way back in 52
That I would never go with you

C wondered who did the original of that. RD replied that it was Smiley Lewis... and that if you listen carefully to the instrumental break, Dave gives a shout out to him, along with Huey 'Piano' Smith (who played piano on the original version), Fats Domino (who also covered it) and Chuck Berry (who doesn't appear to have recorded it at all, but maybe he played it live?).

Smiley Lewis - I Hear You Knocking

Rigid Digit also suggested this belter...

The Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star

I heard you on the wireless back in '52...

RD then offered the controversial opinion that the cover versions by Ben Folds Five and Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club were both better than Trevor Horn's original. I'm not sure I agree with that - there's something about the original that just sends a shiver down my spine (in a good way) although they're both fine covers. I'd add the version by Presidents of the United States of America to the list of cracking covers.

Other songs I found that referenced 1952 included...

Roger Miller - South

She was born in '52, she finished in a Mississippi school

M. Ward - Beautiful Car

It was a baby blue fifty-two Roadstar
It was a beautiful car

The Swede offered one of his go-to artists...

Robyn Hitchcock - 52 Stations

(I'm going to see Robyn play Huddersfield Library on a Sunday afternoon soon. ROCK 'N' ROLL! Wonder if he'll play that then?)

Meanwhile, I found a few more lurking in the back of my hard-drive...

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Area 52

Fish - Brother 52

There are, of course, 52 weeks in a year, so I thought I might find loads of references to that. However, the only ones that leapt out at me were these...

Julia Fordham - Downhill Sunday

52 weekends
52 to go
Sliding from heaven
To the flames below

The Undertones - I Don't Know

I got a postcard from my Majorca
She's now in love with a hotel worker
Holiday extended 52 weeks a year
I wish that I never tried to hurt her

There are also 52 cards in a pack... which obviously led me to this "classic" of my misspent youth...

Wink Martindale - Deck Of Cards

...which I'll play for Lynchie, because I know it's one of his favourites.

And friends, the story is true.
I know, I was that soldier.

All of which leads us to one of Lynchie's other suggestions... which is my runner-up this week...

Billy Joel - 52nd Street

(With a quick mention for Van Morrison - St. Dominic's Preview, which also takes a stroll on that particular road.)

However, I have to agree with both Lynchie and Rigid Digit that there was one very clear winner this week. It was the song that introduced me to this particular artist and established him in my mind as both a lyricist and guitar player of great note...

Said James, "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a '52 Vincent and a Redheaded girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greavses won't do.
Oh, they don't have a Soul like a Vincent '52

If that doesn't break your heart by the end of the song, then you've got granite in your chest...

51 next week... anyone got anything that can challenge The Swede's obvious suggestion?


  1. Deck of Cards?!?? Jeezo - scarred me for life that one did.

    I've been saving this one up for the Hot 100 #51. It's Vern Gosdin (Vern The Voice) with "Set 'Em Up Joe":

    They got a vintage Victrola 1951
    Full of my favorite records that I grew up on
    They got ole Hank and Lefty and there's B24
    Set 'em up Joe and play "Walking The Floor"
    Set 'em up Joe and play "Walking The Floor"


    Another song from the same album which has "Set 'Em Joe" is "Chiseled In Stone" - a real country tearjerker. The guy has a gorgeous voice.

  2. Not sure how I missed the obvious one , duh
    So getting this week's obvious ones in first
    Heartland by The The and 51stState by New Model Army on an identical theme

  3. Highway 51 Blues, by Bob Dylan which, in its guitar motif at least, seems to owe a debt to the Everly Brothers.

    51-7 by Camper van Beethoven is pretty fair.

    The atypical I Move On by Cowboy Junkies contains the line "51 years, a child upon the Earth, trying to find the answers without digging in the dirt..."

    12:51 by The Strokes sounds exactly how you'd expect (no bad thing).

    ...and one more...

    Koka Kola by The Clash starts with the line In the gleaming corridors of the 51st floor...

  4. I'd like to second CC's choice of The The - "Heartland" - a song that's as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

  5. That's all my thoughts gone in those last comments.
    Except one ...
    Pink Floyd re-recorded Careful With That Axe Eugene for the film Zabriskie Point and gave it the new title of:

    Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up

  6. '...will the dinosaurs come back and haunt us? I've a bet down fifty-to-one...' Super Furry Animals - Hit & Run.
    Steve Gunn & the Black Twig Pickers - Cardinal 51.

  7. I am a wee bit biased but I would like to third The The 'Heartland'

  8. Jimi Hendrix 51st Anniversary, Purple Haze B-side no less.

  9. This series is growing arms and legs like Jez's Chain. I'm rubbish at remembering anything from lyrics but here is one:

    51st State - New Model Army

    1. Oops - Just noticed CC has already suggested that one.


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