Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Hot #100 27


This is the Canadian band called 27. Here they are Holding On For Better Days... a sentiment many of us are sharing at the moment.

Onto this week's suggestions, and The Swede was back in full force, albeit still smarting about missing a Dylan suggestion last week...

"So far today I have 27 by Young Fathers."

Interesting noise. I like it when the bass comes in.

"I also have an album called 27 Passports by The Ex. There is no title track and, as far as I can recall, no lyrical reference to the number 27 on any track, so I'm guessing that this doesn't really count?"

Probably not. But we can hear the full album on that link.

"I assume that nothing by Tom Robinson's Sector 27 will be acceptable either?"

No, but I was completely unaware of this chapter in Tom's career. And it definitely bears further investigation. I do like Where Can We Go Tonight?

"OK, I'll go with 27 Forever by A Certain Ratio."

Watch out, that was Swiss Adam's suggestion!

Lynchie was up next with two offerings taken straight from my short-list...

"The heartbreaking Red Dirt Girl by the beautiful Emmylou Harris has this verse:

Nobody knows when she started her skid,
She was only 27 and she had five kids.
Coulda' been the whiskey,
Coulda been the pills,
Coulda been the dream she was trying to kill."

Emmylou Harris - Red Dirt Girl

"And Nick Lowe's I Knew The Bride When She used to Rock'n Roll (a chart hit for Dave Edmunds) begins:

Well, the bride looked a picture
In the gown that her mama wore
When she was married herself
Nearly 27 years before
They had to change the style a little
But it looked just fine
Stayed up all night
But they got it finished just in time"

Nick Lowe - I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock n Roll

Alyson & C appeared next, not with a song, but a rather more morbid link to The 27 Club, a list of artists who tragically died at that very young age, including...

Jimi Hendrix 
Robert Johnson 
Janis Joplin 
Brian Jones 
Kurt Cobain
Amy Winehouse
Jim Morrison
Ritchey Edwards

There's even a song about it... 27 Forever by Eric Burdon.

A little more cheery, and all the way from Dubai: here's Jim...

"All I have this week is 1927 - That's When I Think of You, if you you allow that to count."

New to me, that lot, Jim. They don't pass because the 27 is a band not a song (see The Swede's SEctor 27 suggestion above). However, I don't disqualify years anymore. So you could have had this...

Randy Newman - Louisiana 1927

Or even this...

David Soul - 1927 Kansas City

As for breaking the rules... albeit creatively... here's mathematical genius John Medd...

999* - Emergency

* 3 x 9 = 27

Over to Rigid Digit...

Biffy Clyro - 27

Afraid the point of Biffy rather eludes me. Your next suggestion is more on the money...

Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombone

He put a spell on some poor little Crutchfield girl
And stayed like that for 27 seven years

As for your third suggestion... we'll come back to that.

Last week I said I was certain I knew what Martin's suggestion would be. But I reckon Martin was too busy preparing for his Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride to make the suggestion. (Wouldn't it be easier to do it the other way round? Surely there's more down-hill if you start in the Highlands?) Here's what I thought you were going to suggest anyway...

Martin Rossiter - 27 Strangers

That's a cover. The original is pretty cool too...

Villagers - 27 Strangers

Oh, by the way. Go sponsor Martin. Thank you.

The other thing I pondered last week was where our Canadian pal Douglas had got to. Holiday? Sadly not...

"For the record, I have not in fact been on holiday, but rather on strike. I am a teacher in the province of Ontario, Canada, and we are currently in the midst of troubled contract negotiations with the government over quality of education issues, and have been so for a while now, I regret to report.
Much to my surprise and chagrin, I have discovered that standing in a picket line in the midst of a Canadian winter is in fact not much like a holiday at all. The occasional cheery mid-finger salute from passing cars, the cheap coffee roasting on an open fire, the magically diminishing pay-checks as we prepare for the Yuletide season...very festive those.

But as we have gone from province wide strikes to rotating board-by-board strikes as of today, I had a chance to look in, and after being inspired immediately to think of "Never Had No One Ever", I realized that I was, sadly, late to the game, and it had been taken! (So perhaps in the spirit of having a horse in the game for that song, I will bypass the obvious Smith's version (perhaps the fact that a certain singer seems to be persona non grata in some quarters at the moment will mean a second-stringer may get a chance off the bench?) and suggest Billy Bragg's cover?

Other than that, I place my real serious cash down on John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High", which of course opens with some delightfully contradictory lyrics...

And I am going big money on this bet as I am confident I am on to a winner; I did my research once again, and discovered that on a certain 10th of May in 2018, Mr John Denver placed 1st in a Top Ten list with a different song, "Leaving On A Jet Plane", so I am hoping there is a soft spot there for all things Denver.

Now, back to the "job action" (and what a delightful term that is!)."

Firstly, you have my sympathy - and solidarity, Douglas. As a teacher myself - and one constantly under attack - I wish you every success in your action. Even though, realistically, we're all doomed.

As to your suggestions... can I come back to those too?

First, the inevitable trawl through my own hard-drive...

The Divine Comedy - 27th of March

The Foxboro Hottubs - 27th Avenue Shuffle

(That's Green Day pretending not to be.)

Passenger - 27

The People The Poet - Club 27

Liz Phair - Stratford On Guy

I was flying into Chicago at night
Watching the lake turn the sky into blue-green smoke
The sun was setting to the left of the plane
And the cabin was filled with an unearthly glow
In 27-D, I was behind the wing
Watching landscape roll out like credits on a screen

So, in the end, it comes down to a toss-up between Rigid Digit and Douglas's shared suggestion of...

The Smiths - Never Had No One Ever

I had a really bad dream
It lasted twenty years, seven months, and twenty seven days

(Or, if you can stomach Morrissey anymore...

Billy Bragg - Never Had No One Ever)

And Douglas's well-researched second suggestion...

John Denver - Rocky Mountain High

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he'd never been before

And to be honest, I'm really torn this week. The Queen Is Dead is still my favourite album of the 80s. But Never Had No One ever is probably the bleakest song on there, and do we really need more misery this week?

Rocky Mountain High, meanwhile, is a fine entry from Mr. Denver... but can I really choose it over The Smiths, even in the era of Mozaggedon?

Probably not. But it was closer than you'd think...

Next week - the final letter of the alphabet. #26. Go!


  1. Scrolled all the way down thinking that Tower of Song was going to be the winner!

  2. Cheers for the bike ride plug, Rol, much appreciated. And you're right, I would have put the Rozza track in for 27. 26 though, that's hard.

    Marshall Mathers by Eminem has the lyric "Startin' shit like some 26-year-old skinny Cartman..."

    Also by Eminem, My Fault has the line "She said, 'I am 26 years old and I am not married I don't even have any kids and I can't cook'..."

    I'm revisiting Reelin' and Rockin' by Chuck Berry for the line "Well I looked at my watch, it was 10:26..."

    Chic had a song called 26 ("On a scale of 1 to 10, my baby's a 26...")

    But I reckon it has to be Waiting for the Man by The Velvet Underground and Nico, for the opening verse:

    "I'm waiting for my man,
    Got 26 dollars in my hand,
    Up to Lexington 125,
    Feelin' sick and dirty,
    Huh, I'm waiting for my man."

  3. That's a helluva lot of 27's and I'm thoroughly ashamed that I forgot about Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927".

  4. Sad to report I am still in the midst of “job action", but I find myself with a little time on my hands as we prepare to hit the picket lines again tomorrow. The weather forecasts call for temperatures around -12 C right around the time when we should be outside. Sigh. Oh, Canada.

    I don't recall if it has been mentioned many times already for other numbers, but Roger Miller's song “Got Two Again is chock full of numbers and sums, including this verse containing our beloved number 26:
    “...For the second verse
    I need someone to give me a number
    Between 12 and 14, I'll make a verse (13!)
    13, ah, 13, well, 13 multiplied by 1
    You still got 13 but wasn't that fun?
    Now, take that same 13 multiply by 2
    26 hours the train's overdue…”

    And if the train is indeed 26 hours overdue, then that would make R.E.M.’s 26 hour road trip described in the song “Departure" unfortunately twice as long, at 52 hours (keeping with the sums theme, though I suspect that if they are going via Singapore and Spain to Salt Lake City I suspect their mode of travel is more likely a plane?):

    “Just arrived Singapore, San Sebastian, Spain, 26-hour trip
    Salt Lake City, come in spring
    Over the salt flats a hailstorm brought you back to me
    Salt Lake City, come in spring
    Over the salt flats a hailstorm brought you back to me”

    And that's all I got, folks.

  5. Damn and blast. I was going to post "I'm Waiting for the Man" - it's one of the few Velvets songs that's any good!*

    * There'll be complaints about that line...

  6. If, like me, you are a bit of a sucker for just about anything sung in French, then I give you Stereolab's 'OLV 26'.

  7. Title:
    Chic - 26

    "In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26 ... In Vietnam hew was 19 (n-n-n-n-nineteen)"


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