Thursday 30 November 2023

Title Fight #4: Angels, Bubbles & Bologna

Yes, that is Joan Jett. Yes, that is Mike Tyson. Best of friends, apparently. To the point that Mike used to insist that Joan called him up before every boxing match to ensure success. She was his good luck charm. The first time that didn't happen - in his bout against Buster Douglas on February 11, 1990 - he lost. 

Seems only appropriate that we kick off this week with a little Joan...

1. The Runaways - Neon Angels On The Road To Ruin

One of those song titles that reeks of sleazy rock & roll excess, just like the Runaways themselves. It prepares you for a debauched grindhouse B movie of a record, and the lyrics deliver that in spades. Jim Steinman would be proud.

2. Shirley Ellis - Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water?

A top notch suggestion from Ernie, although one that does beg the unfortunate question: which one of them farted? And I say that as someone who loathes fart jokes. 

Shirley Ellis recorded 3 albums then retired from the music business in 1968. I'm hoping she made enough money from The Clapping Song to keep her in the manner she deserved.

3. Norma Tanega - Walkin' My Cat Named Dog

When I feature an artist who's never appeared on the blog before, I like to to dig into their biography and find an interesting fact or two to enliven my leaden prose. Where do you start with Norma Tanega? She worked in a mental hospital and sang for the patients. She had a 5 year relationship with Dusty Springfield. After she stopped performing as a solo artist, she played percussions in bands called Baboonz, hybridVigor, and Ceramic Ensemble. Her song You're Dead (a comment on the competitive nature of the music industry) is used as the theme tune to What We Do In The Shadows. 

Even today's song has a wonderful story behind it. Tanega's New York apartment building wouldn't allow dogs, so instead she got a cat, called it Dog, and took it for walks on a lead. In 1966, Walkin' My Cat Named Dog reached the exact same position in both the US and UK charts: #22. It remains her most popular song, though title-wise, I was also tempted to go with A Street That Rhymes At 6am

4. The Isley Brothers - Cold Bologna

Hear me out on this one. On the surface, Cold Bologna isn't as eye-catching as most of the other titles in this series, but it is an excellent example of a title that doesn't set you up for something you're not going to get. If you call a song Cold Bologna, then I expect that song to be about a rather unappetising sandwich filling. And that's just what the Isleys deliver here... whilst also giving us a tragic metaphor for poverty and the class system filtered through the eyes of a child.

Talkin' bout that
Cold bolonga and mayonnaise and bread
If it wasn't for cold bologna by now
Y'all know I would've been dead

It also helps that I'm a big fan of words like "bologna" which don't sound anything like they're spelled. And the fact that "baloney" has a second connotation too... perfect.

5. Dougie Poole - Nothing On This Earth Can Make Me Smile

As usual, we close with a contemporary smash... although it sounds like it could be from an early 70s singer-songwriter. Jim Croce or even John Denver spring to mind. Dougie Poole is an alt-country singer from Brooklyn, once called "the patron saint of millennial malaise", which is a sobriquet to save for your tombstone if ever there was one. 

Which is your favourite title and which is your favourite tune? Do they match?


  1. Some interesting songs and excellent trivia today Rol.
    It's the Isleys for me

  2. Please tell me the Joan Jett/Mike Tyson trivia is made up...

    1. Well, it's as true as anything you can find on the interweb...


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