Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Music Colour Therapy - Songs about colours

Color Me Badd, as if there aren't a host of bands with a colour in their name, Black Sabbath, White Stripes, Green Day, Blue Oyster Cult, Simply Red, Maroon 5, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry...

But here are songs involving colours rather than just the band names. Good and bad!


1) "Paint It Black" - Rolling Stones
Beatles or Stones? I was never really either, but I preferred the Stones' edge over the Beatles, though didn't really dig many of their songs. This however is a classic and has a real menace.

Honourable mentions:
"Black Candy" - Beat Happening
"Black Betty" Ram Jam
"Blackheart Man" - Bunny Wailer
"Black Night" - Deep Purple
Black Dog - Led Zepplin

Dishonourable Mentions:
"Men In Black" - The Stranglers makes David Bowie's "Laughing Gnome" sound meaningful

2) "Curious Oranj" - The Fall
Orange, the word that has no rhyme and therefore unlikely to lend itself to lyricism. Unless you're Mark E Smith, who echoed a 60s avant garde film from Yugoslavia and composed a score for a modern ballet (performed by Michael Clark's dance company) based on the colour divide in Northern Ireland. Barmy but fun.

Honourable mentions:
"Orange Crush" - REM

3) "Purple Haze" - Jimi Hendrix
'Scuse me while I kiss this guy'... Simply definitive song by the master. It's about drugs ya know? I see purple landing smoke canisters for helicopters in Vietnam whenever I hear this song. Like I say, definitive...

Honourable mentions:
"Purple Rain" - Prince

4) "All Cats Are Grey" - The Cure
After their debut album of low-fi pop pun, that difficult follow-up album was the doomy gloomy "Seventeen Seconds" from which this track was taken. It was the prelude to Smith's ridiculous White Rabbit meets Goth phase which was cartoonish in its sentiment, but this track represents them when they actually meant their angst.

Honourable mentions:
"Fade To Grey" - Visage
"Grey Day" - Madness

5) "Green Light" - Sonic Youth
From when Sonic Youth were still good and making interesting, discordant music. Although this song musically references another of their own songs "Death Valley 69" which is a bit cheeky methinks. There are many honourable mentions for this colour, the colour must conjure up lots of things. Note, rap artists singing about 'green' as in money were not considered for this category

Honourable mentions:
"Everything's Gone Green" - New Order
"Pretty Green" - The Jam
"Green Green Grass Of Home" - Tom Jones
"Green Onions" - Booker T & The MGs

6) "Golden Brown" - The Stranglers
I remember this with its whimsical harpsichord vibe getting into the charts. And yes it's about drugs. Colours... drugs, seeing a theme develop here.

Honourable Mentions:
"Golden Years" - David Bowie
"Fools Gold" - Stone Roses
"Brown Sugar" - Rolling Stones
"Don't It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue" - Crystal Gale

Dishonourable Mentions:
"Brown Girl In The Ring" - Boney M
"Gold_ - Spandau Ballet - always hated this song, even before it became the theme or motif music of 1001 quiz and sports' shows

7) "Blue Monday" - New Order
The Blues, well this colour clearly would have the most entries, but this is the daddy of them all.

Honourable mentions:
"Mr Blue Sky" - ELO
"Preaching The Blues" - Gun Club
"Gravedigger Blues" - Beat Happening

Dishonourable mentions:
"Mr Blue Sky" - ELO - sometimes it's just too damn cheerful for my mood. Music can be like that you know!

8) "Pink Turns To Blue" - Husker Du
A band of heavy guitar punk/new wave playing really muscular music, all three members of this power trio eventually coming out as gay which gave a whole new insight into their love songs. Fabulous.

Honourable mention:
"Pink Cadillac" - Natalie Cole
"Pretty In Pink" - Psychedelic Furs

9) "Violet" - Hole
I know it's heresy, but I actually preferred Mrs Cobain's band to Kurt's mob. If you'll excuse the implicit sexism, she had more balls in her music and lyrics than hubby.

10. "White Lines" - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
Has this been bettered as early hip-hop? I don't think so. White, symbol of purity (and purity of powdered drugs) seems to be a very popular colour of choice in song titles. White noise? Don't you believe it.

Honourable mentions:
"White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane
"White Riot" - The Clash
"White Punks On Dope" - The Tubes
"Whiter Shade Of Pale" - Procul Harum
"Knights in White Satin" - Moody Blues
"Ride A White Swan" - T-Rex

10) "Silver Machine" - Hawkwind
Hawkwind were a band that divided (I mean check out this video for bubbles, flutes and strange mute women in astral make-up as to why) but still the greasers stuck to their preferred choice of music. I happen to be a punk who really likes this song.

Honourable Mention:
"Silver Rocket" - Sonic Youth
"Silver" - Pixies

Dishonourable mention:
"Silver Lining" - Stiff Little Fingers - what punk mutated to when they ran out of rage

Dishonourable mention - The colour red.
Red, colour of passion and flame and yet a strange paucity of songs honouring the colour. All I could think of was "Red, Red Wine", a ska reggae version by Tony Tribe which is pretty neat, but then later covered by UB40 which should have been named "Red, Red Whine".


Hawksword said...

There is the unutterably awful Lady in Red...

Sulci Collective said...

So unutterable I couldn't bring myself to mention it here