Saturday, 9 November 2013

Secret Agent Songs

In a historic week in which all three chief spies in the UK came out of the shadows and reported live on TV to Parliament, well I say live but there was a two-minute delay on the transmission which was a bit useless as people were live tweeting it - but anyway, I thought I'd do a chart of spy and secret-agent related songs.

Enjoy (in private, unless the NSA are listening in to your internet surfing).

1) Last Of The Secret Agents - Nancy Sinatra
Or James Bond goes jaunty country & western. Actually this is nothing of the sort, but a paean to her man who is a complete fantasist, but Nancy still stands by him

2) Secret Agent Man - Devo
Devo sounding more like Cabaret Voltaire here. Do you remember a time before music videos? Well Devo in the late 1970s were making quite disturbing ones and were way ahead of the trend. The keyboardist here looks like he's moonlighting from Doctor Who.

3) Espionage - Green Day
I never got the whole Green Day thing, but well here they are. It;s funny how most songs about spies/secret agents have the chugging rhythms that reference TV shows like "Dragnet"and of course the James Bond movie themes.

4) I-Spy - Beat Happening
... or they go a bit Oriental to suggest the exotic climes in which the spies work. I love Beat Happening and yet couldn't recall this song at all.

5) Double Agent - Rush
Rush appear far too many times in my charts, not because I particularly like them (punk rock saw an end to my flirtation with heavy rock), but because their song titles seem to chime with whatever zeitgeisty theme I happen to choose, to make a chart for, so props to them for that. This song is pretty dreck though!

6) The Spy (In The House Of Love) - The Doors
Named after an Anais Nin novel, Morrison again resorts to literature for his lyrical delivery. This one is sort of whiskey bar boogie. Musically the band were so damn good.

7) Spy Vs Spy - The Spinto Band
I remember casting around for some music to listen to and The Spinto Band came highly recommended. Too floppy and feeble for me, I didn't really get on with them though. I only dredged this from my recall because Spy Vs Spy echoed a Billy Bragg album title and I was ,uch more into him.

8) CIA Man - The Fugs
See what happens when you give some poets a bunch of musical instruments? All good fun really, I do wonder if one of my favourite bands were influenced by them both politically and musically in songs like "Big Stick".

9) Spy - They Might Be Giants
Here's a band I haven't featured in my charts before, so glad to welcome TMBG. Again that chugging rhythm albeit with a jazz vive over the top of it. I don't know, maybe the rhythm is to suggest a pursuit or something...

10) Surveillance - Clint Mansell
Now this one definitely breaks the mould compared to the others. No chugging rhythms, just a genuinely creepy sense behind the music. I've not seen the movie, but am tempted to track it down.

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