Wednesday, 17 July 2019

My Top Ten "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover" Songs

Sound advice, I'm sure you'd agree. Here's ten songs that remind us not to do it...

10. Stevie Wonder - You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover

I'm not going to make the obvious remark here, because it would be crass.

9. Rupert Holmes - Nearsighted

I've been listening beyond Escape & Him. It's all part of my mid-life crisis that I feel the need to dig into 70s MOR whenever life gets too much. Here's Rupert Holmes singing a song about - literally - being nearsighted. Sounds a lot like Barry Manilow on this one.

I don't judge a friend or lover
By a first or second look
Nor a book just by its cover
I can't even see the book

8. The Castiles - You Can't Judge A Book

A rough around the edges live bar-room cover of a Bo Diddley classic. Hardly a great recording, but their guitarist shows promise. He could go far.

7. Dolly Parton - Backwoods Barbie

From the heart...

I've always been misunderstood because of how I look.
Don't judge me by the cover 'cause I'm a real good book.
So read into it what you will, but see me as I am.
The way I look is just a country girl's idea of glam.

6. Inspiral Carpets - Directing Traffik

You can't judge a man by his skin
Or a book by the cover it's in
But I can't help feel it's true
The devil's got a hand on you

Ray Manzarek, Clint Boon. That's how you start a list of the most distinctive keyboard players in the history of rock.

5. The Hawk - Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover (feat. Little Hannah Collins)

Must admit, I stumbled across this one by accident... but it's bloody good.

4. The Lucksmiths - Danielle Steele

She'd look beautiful in a tea towel
But she's dressed up to the nines
She's covered herself in make-up
But she can't make up her mind
She's a damsel in distress
She feels a damn fool in this dress
She lives alone
And I know how she feels
She has the mind of Sharon Stone
And the heart of Danielle Steel

Genius lyrics here.

Spends hours in front of the bookcase
A beast with two paperbacks in bed
She's read them all from go to woe
And arranged them from A to Z
And you can judge a book by it's cover
A kingdom for a horse, a condom for a lover

3. The Temptations - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

A pretty face you may not possess
But what I like about you is your tenderness
A pretty face maybe some guys taste
But I'll take lovin' in it's place

Charming! You're no oil painting yourself, mate.

2. Aerosmith - Dude (Looks Like A Lady)

Legend has it that Steven Tyler walked into a bar, spotted Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe from behind and was about to go chat him up until he realised his mistake.

So never judge a book by its cover
Or who you gonna love by your lover
Love put me wise to her love in disguise
She had the body of a Venus
Lord, imagine my surprise!

1. ABC - The Look Of Love

If you judge a book by the cover
Then you judge the look by the lover
I hope you'll soon recover
Me I go from one extreme to another

I'm not sure that really makes sense, but Martin Fry's lyrics never really did stand up to much analysis. Fortunately, his tunes were solid gold.

If you judged any of my suggestions too harshly... feel free to supply alternatives.


  1. Some great lyrics there, especially ones about looks. I have a soft spot for Dolly P and love how she knows exactly what she's doing business-wise, everything-wise, but knows people still judge her by how she looks. A smart cookie.

  2. Sex Pistols also used the adage (with a bit of added John Lydon wordy philosophy):
    Don't judge a book just by the cover
    Unless you cover just another
    And blind acceptance is a sign
    Of stupid fools who stand in line

    The song is an attack on their previous record company who gave the 40 grand to go away. It's also the closing track on Never Mind The Bollocks - as the track fades out, the last thing you hear is John Lydon blowing a raspberry. Still my favourite way to end an album. I think more people should do it


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