Sunday, 4 October 2015

Men's Names Songs

There are so many songs penned to the muse or a lost lover as I covered in a previous music chart, but maybe not quite so many for men's names. Here's a chart to partially redress the balance. As you'll see, these are songs mainly by men and male bands, unlike the many paeans to women made by men.

1) Department S - "Is Vic There"?
A John Peel favourite and very hip post-punk band to like, although I can't actually remember any of their other songs.

2) Au Pairs - "Dear John"
The only females to appear in this whole chart. There are a few Country & Western female singers bemoaning their men by name, but I can't stand C&W so none of it gets in here I'm afraid. My blog, my rules!

3) Stiff Little Fingers - "Johnny Was"
Cover version of a Bob Marley song. I've never actually heard the original. Always a favourite at their live shows for me.

4) Undertones - "Jimmy Jimmy"
Classic pop-punk. They also had a song called "What's With Terry" and another called "There Goes Norman" and when you see singer Feargal Sharkey's coat you realise this was the original boy band singing about boys' problems, not what we mean when we utter the dread phrase Boy band these days.

5) Sham 69 ' "Hurry Up Harry"
Less classic yet strangely more successful pop-punk in terms of chart placing. Harry doesn't go down the pub these days, can't afford the prices. So in the video, you've got the guitarist wearing a Union Jack t-shirt, but the drummer sports a backward facing baseball cap, some identity confusion in evidence there.

6) XTC - "Making Plans For Nigel"
Another unexpected chart hit, but not really representative of a band who desperately tried to forge a British rock/pop sound that didn't really on the Blues influence on rock and roll.

7) Smiths - "William It Was Really Nothing"
As I don't like the Smiths, this is here grudgingly. My blog, my rules. Oh no wait... 

8) Jimi Hendrix - "Hey Joe"
Classic song about a man who feels his woman done him wrong.

9) T-Rex - "Telegram Sam"
Not quite "Ride A Swan", but one of the few acceptable glam artists before punk tried to sweep all that away.

10) Elvis Costello - "Oliver's Army"
Elvis Costello started out as a punk, but like so many eventually moved into where his true musical roots, somewhere between the balladeer and country and western. Punk rock gave a leg up to many artists who were dubbed punk but in retrospect never were really.

11) Tom Robinson Band - "Martin"
Aw, sweet sentiment, a criminal big brother who tries to do right by his baby brother.

12) Monochrome Set - "He's Frank"
This was an A-Side single that had the far superior "Alphaville" backing it. They were a band who when they played live stood stock still on stage while a screen had film projections of them moving. Odd.

13) Birthday Party - "Nick The Stripper"
I love the video for this, that lifting of the tent flap inviting you to come in to the strange carney world beyond. 

14) Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - "Box For Black Paul"
When Nick Cave left the Birthday Party for a solo career, this was one of the songs from his debut album. It evidenced his tendency for literary writing in his lyrics, or perhaps over-writing, but I do love this song.

15) Pink Floyd - "Careful With That Axe Eugene"
And did Eugene listen? Not to judge by the screams towards the end of the song.

16) Lemonheads - "It's A Shame About Ray"
Never was much of a Lemonheads fan, but many were.

17) Black Flag - "Louie Louie"
Cover version of the classic Kingsmen song. Only when singer Henry Rollins says he's going on a killing spree, you believe him.

18) The Specials - "Message To Rudy"
Another cover version, this time of a song by Dandy Livingstone. As with everything the Specials touched, this was pure gold.

19) Eminem - "Stan"
Not a paean to Stan Collymore, just one of Eminem's intricately created characters in song.

20) REM - "What's The Frequency Kenneth"?
Again, not a band I was overly a fan of, but I did remember liking this title when it came out.

Bonus Track:

The Who - "Boris The Spider"
Only the anachronistic dates prevent this being an ode penned to the departing Mayor of London... This is what happens when you let the bassist in the band pen a song.

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