Wednesday, 30 January 2013

My Top Ten Phone Number Songs (Vol. 2)

Volume 1 featured songs about getting someone's number... this time, it's songs that feature actual phone numbers. Mostly in the title; occasionally, prominently within the chorus.

Start dialling now...

10. Tommy Tutone - 867-5309

A big American hit in 1982... I wasn't in American in 1982. I've never been to America. Maybe I heard Rick Dees or the Emperor Roscoe play it?

9. Hawkshaw Hawkins - Lonesome 7-7203

Hawkshank changes his number when his other half leaves because the only callers he gets are asking for her. He leaves his new number out there though... just in case that special lady ever wants him back.

Hawkshank died in the same plane crash that took Patsy Cline from us. 

8. The Kinks - Long Tall Shorty (424-689)
Well, girls, if you get lonely
Dial 424-689
And your troubles will be over
I'll even give you back you dime
What a gentleman!

7. Squeeze - 853-5937

Could also have made it into my Top Ten Answering Machine Songs, but seemed more appropriate here.

Squeeze were shrunk down to microscopic size to record the video for this song inside an actual telephone.

6. The B52s - 6060-842

Tina finds this number scrawled on the wall of the lady's room. And she actually calls it. Serves her right if Fred Schneider answers. Phew - the number's been disconnected!

5. The Marvelettes  - Beechwood 4-5789

You can call her up and have a date any old time. Alternatively, you could call Karen Carpenter on the same number.

4. AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (362436)
If you're havin' trouble with your high school head
He's givin' you the blues
You wanna graduate but not in 'is bed 

Here's what you gotta do
Pick up the phone, I'm always home

Call me anytime
Just ring: 362436, hey
I lead a life of crime
AC/DC, so the story goes, were sued by an American couple who were getting hundreds of prank calls as a result of "their phone number" being included in this song. But anyone calling was mishearing the lyrics of the song - hearing the "hey" as an "8" to complete the couple's actual phone number.

3. City Boy - 5705

If City Boy were from Birmingham (UK), why were they paying for their calls with a dime?

2. The Glenn Miller Orchestra - Pennsylvania 6-5000

If you don't already consider this a classic, I suggested you watch what it does to Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks...

1. Wilson Pickett - 634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)

If you need a little lovin', call up the Wicked Pickett - he'll be there as soon as he can.

Which one will you be calling next time you're lonely?

Monday, 28 January 2013

My Top Ten Phone Number Songs (Vol. 1)

Ten songs about getting someone's phone number... or getting it wrong.

Please note - songs featuring actual phone numbers will be featured in a separate Top Ten. I thank you for your patience.

10. The Beatles - You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Someone on youtube claims this song as proof that "even when the Beatles were just dicking around, they were better than anything today".

I respectfully disagree. Still, it's a fun enough diversion... until Macca starts the creepy whisper-crooning. Brrr...

9. Luxembourg - Not My Number

Either you're not using your phone at all... or... just perhaps... it's not his number that you call.

8. Elbow - I've Got Your Number
Don't put this note by your face on the pillow
Don't put this letter in the pocket near your heart
Keep it in the bottom drawer where you hide the sex tools
I pray you always need them
I know what you have done
Only Guy Garvey could sing a line like "grow a fucking heart, love" and make it sound both caring and scary.

7. The Cure - Wrong Number
I had the best laid plans this side of America
Started out in church and finished with Angelica
Red and blue soul with a snow-white smile
Can you dig it?
Definitely a wrong number.

6. The Drifters - You're More Than A Number In My Little Black Book

No, really, baby, this time's different... you and me, we're special...

(Why don't I believe him?)

5. Cosmo Jarvis - Jessica Alba's Number

Ah, it's a dilemma faced by many young men living in the unreal world...  if Cosmo had Jessica Alba's number, he'd call her up and ask her to marry him. But he's not all that choosy...

I'd like to go see Toy Story 2,
With just me and Britney Spears, 
And then she'd say "Hit me baby one more time" 
And I'd say, "No way Britney, Domestic Violence is a crime" 
I like the one from Showgirls, 
When she's dancing 'round those poles, 
Or the really, really fit one, 
Who sings in the Pussycat Dolls.
I've nearly got a moustache, 
And they still wouldn't look at me,
Kate Winslet naked in Titanic, 
Or the lesbian from the OC.
4. The Undertones - You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)

If you wanna, wanna, wanna have someone to talk to... give Feargal Sharkey a call.

3. William Bell & Judy Clay - Private Number
Baby, baby, baby... let me have your private number!
Go on, Judy - he did ask nicely.

2. Steely Dan - Rikki, Don't Lose That Number

There are some bloody excellent songs on this particular Top Ten, and for a while I thought this might come out top. Then I had a change of heart...

1. The Jags - Back Of My Hand 
I've got your number - written on the back of my hand
A classic slice of early 80s power pop, reminiscent of Elvis Costello at his best. Sadly it was the band's only big hit.

So... who you gonna call?

Friday, 25 January 2013

My Top Ten Breakfast Menu Songs

Ten songs you might find on your breakfast menu. Don't worry, Supertramp fans, I'll get on to songs with "breakfast" in the title... some other day.

Special mention, of course, goes to Orange Juice, Marmalade and Martha & The Muffins.

I'll dedicate this one to Kelloggsville!

10. G. Love & Special Sauce - Milk & Cereal

Ah, the 90s. So much to answer for.

Unlike most of the songs in this Top Ten, this is exactly about what it says it is.

9. Adam & The Ants - Omelette From Outer Space


New Adam Ant album out this week... and from my first listen, I think it sounds pretty spiffy.

8. Electric Six - French Bacon
And now she's living in a shack on the firing line,
With a fridge filled with French bacon,
Mouthing all the words of a famous mime,
For whom she's commonly mistaken.

I love her, I knew her,
I knew she couldn't hang,
And now she's dying in a ditch on the county line,
From a device of her own making.
7. The Band - Orange Juice Blues

Woke up this morning and all I had was Sunny Delight...

(Not really. I hate Sunny Delight.)

6. James - Coffee & Toast

One of my favourite James songs, frustratingly unreleased except as a bonus download from one of their later albums. They should have made it a single.

Also featured on my Top Ten Coffee Songs, some years ago. Along with Squeeze's Black Coffee In Bed, if you were wondering.  

Coffee & Toast by James on Grooveshark

5. Mystery Jets - Flakes

OK, so it's probably got very little to do with Mr. Kelloggs' greatest invention. But it's a mighty, mighty tune nevertheless. Video's a bit weird though.

4. Tom Waits - Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac With Susan Michaelson)

Tom Waits has eaten breakfast at every joint in town. This is his recommendation.

Extra points for rhyming "tipsy hacks" with "insomniacs".

3. Placebo - Special K

Brian Molko's breakfast of choice. He likes to keep his sylphlike figure.

(What do you mean he's not singing about cereal?)

2. Labelle - Lady Marmalade

Voulez vous coucher avec moi?

(But not if you prefer the All Saints version.)

1. Streetband - Toast

When he grew up, he wanted to be Paul Young. Result! (Except it's arguable whether he ever made a better record.)

Which one will you be ordering this morning?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My Top Ten (Non-Christmassy) Snow Songs

Because it's been snowing this week. Round these part, anyway. And, as usual, people have been acting like it's the end of the world...

The only rule for this one was that I couldn't have any Christmas songs. For obvious reasons. Hence, no matter how good a song 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow' might be... it's not getting in.

10. Belle & Sebastian - The Fox In The Snow

Having grown up on a farm and seen the after-effects of a fox in a chicken house, I shouldn't have much sympathy for the animals. But I do. Besides, Stuart Murdoch could make me shed a tear for even the most hateful of creatures: that's just his gift. One day he'll write a song about Tom Hanks or Michael McIntyre and all will be forgiven...

9. Shirley Lee - The First Time You Saw Snow

I make no apologies for featuring two Shirley Lee records in the space of two Top Tens, even if most of you have never heard of him. Sadly this one has disappeared from its original online source, but I'm sure you can hear it somewhere if you search hard enough. It's worth the effort!

8. The Pernice Brothers - Snow

Or, if you prefer, from the same album: Pisshole In The Snow. Joe Pernice is a big Morrissey fan, you know.

7. Black Sabbath - Snowblind

Ozzy's got icicles in his brain. This could explain so much. (What do you mean it's a metaphor?)

6. Jackie Leven - Stopped by Woods on a Snowy Evening

A poem by Robert Frost, given gorgeous voice by the late Jackie Leven. As beautiful as a fresh snowfall.

5. Divine Comedy - Snowball in Negative
All through this short life we give of ourselves
Giving and giving and slowly diminishing
Leaving a mark that will gradually fade
Ash in the breeze, snowballs in negative
4. Handsome Family - The Snow White Diner

The first Handsome Family song I ever heard and still a favourite. As the youtube poster remarks, it's "very Twin Peaksy".

3. JJ72 - Snow

Another lost classic from a great little indie band named after 72 jam jars. (Or so says the ever unreliable t'internet.)

2. Anne Murray - Snowbird

Not only is this a beautiful song, but Anne Murray was also once the world's best female celebrity golfer. Elvis's version is pretty good, but he was rubbish with a golf club.

1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow

Nick goes all Mike Oldfield on our snowy ass. Chilling... in every sense of the word. 

I waved to my neighbour
My neighbour waved to me
But my neighbour
Is my enemy
I kept waving my arms
Till I could not see
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Those were my snowy songs... which one gets you all flakey?

Monday, 21 January 2013

My Top Ten Answering Machine Songs

Ten great songs left on answering machines...

10.  Ben Folds Five - Your Most Valuable Possession

So, apparently, Ben Folds' dad suffers from somniloquy, a condition where you talk in your sleep... which makes you, apparently, ring up your rock star son and leave garbled messages on his answering machine which he then sets to music and uses to pad out his records. Or so the internet would have me believe.

9. Dandy Warhols - Phone Call

I don't know the story behind this disturbing series of answer phone messages set to haunting music... but it scares the hell out of me nevertheless.

8. Laptop - End Credits

If you came home to an answering message like this one, you'd probably never sleep again.

7. Blake Shelton - Austin

Big-stetson C&W at its most shamelessly cheesey. Nothing wrong with that.
If you're callin' 'bout the car, I sold it
If this is Tuesday night, I'm bowling
If you've got somethin' to sell,
you're wastin' your time, I'm not
If it's anybody else, wait for the tone,
You know what to do
And P.S. if this is Austin, I still love you
6. Cinerama - Maniac

On the other hand, some exes leave rather less romantic answerphone messages. This one drives David Gedge to call back... no doubt making matters much worse. You've got to learn when to let it drop, Dave.
And when I made that stupid oath
About how I was going to
Pay for someone to kill you both
It was just my way of showing you

That I wasn't playing

Oh yeah, you're right, I sounded like a maniac
But that's just what I'm saying
You'll only see how much I've changed

If you come back
5. Shirley Lee - The Reservoir

Not the first time I've found a way to include this song in a Top Ten... doubt it'll be the last. A tribute to Shirley's dear departed dad, it's one of the most emotionally devastating songs I've ever heard. Never fails to bring a tear to my eye*, especially when he plays that answerphone message at the end.

the reservoir by Shirley Lee on Grooveshark

(*As proof, I just listened to it again now and my eyes are streaming.)

4. Paul Evans - Hello, This is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)

Wow. Not heard this for years, but it does remind me of my childhood. Guess they must have played it lots on Radio 2 when I was 7.

Evans was an old rock 'n' roller from the 50s - he had a hit with the original version of Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat). This was a surprise comeback hit in 1979, another excellent car crash song... with a morbid twist. The answerphone chorus is sung by Lea Jane Berinati. In case you were wondering.

3. De La Soul - Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)

You know, the one that Curiosity Killed The Cat... borrowed.

2. Pulp - Ansaphone
Are you really not at home?
Or are you there but not alone?
Screening calls you don't want to receive
Meaning calls... calls that come from me.
If you weren't such  perv, Jarvis, she'd pick up.

1. The Replacements - Answering Machine

Raw and beautiful, Paul Westerberg and co. at their best.
How do you say goodnight to an answering machine?

Leave your favourite after the bleep.

Friday, 18 January 2013

My Top Ten Ohio Songs

Not done one of my US road trip Top Tens for awhile. Wasn't sure I could get a whole post out of songs about the Buckeye State, but it's amazing what you find when you start digging around in your music library...

10. Over The Rhine - Ohio

A native band who take their name from a historic neighbourhood in Cincinnati. Lovely song.

9. The Ohio Players - O.H.I.O.

The funkiest Ohio band ever, these guys were together in one guise or another for over 40 years, scoring a pair of US Number Ones in the mid-70s, Fire and Love Rollercoaster (covered in the 90s by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers who had a minor UK hit with it). O.H.I.O. isn't their greatest moment, but it is the one that spells out their state of origin.

8. Super Furry Animals - Ohio Heat
Sycamore trees blowing green in the distance
She sucked on her thumb in her beautiful jail
A sentence to serve as her dynasty blows up inside her balloon
Salty Maureen had a bun in the oven
The daughters of charity let out a sigh
As she suffered they pleaded for mercy she needed a long time ago
And that is why the SFA are ace.

7. The Melting Ice Caps - Ohio

You have to wonder whether professional British miserablist David Shah has ever set foot in Ohio. Sometimes I wonder if he ever sets foot out of his house. Still, more power to him as long as he keeps recording tunes like this one, free to download from the band's website at the link above.

I also just discovered they released a new album last year - available to buy from the Indelicates' Corporate Records site. I look forward to giving that a spin.

6. The Handsome Family - Banks of the Ohio

A traditional folk song murder ballad covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Olivia Newton John (in, of all places, a Cliff Richard movie). But the Handsome Family always win in the Murder Ballad Olympics as far as I'm concerned.

5. Bowling For Soup - Ohio (Come Back To Texas)

Bowling For Soup always make me smile.

4. Lambchop - Ohio

A song about Kurt Wagner's childhood paper round. I think. It's too lovely to dwell on the meaning - just enjoy the feeling.

3. Nilsson - Dayton, Ohio 1903

A Randy Newman song (here's the original), but the Harry Nilsson version is preferable... because it's Harry bloody-beautiful Nilsson.
Sing a song of long ago
When things were green and movin' slow
And people'd stop to say hello
Or they'd say "hi" to you
"Would you like to come over for tea
With the missus and me?"
It's a real nice way
To spend the day
In Dayton, Ohio
On a lazy Sunday afternoon in 1903
2. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

The National get carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees. Just another day at the office for them guys.

1. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Ohio

Neil Young's scream of protest against the Kent State massacre was banned by American radio for pointing the finger of blame at Richard Nixon. It remains one of the most powerful protest songs ever written.

The Dandy Warhols also did a suitably trippy cover.

Those were my Buckeyed Best... but which is your champion conker*?

(*On investigation, I discovered that the Buckeye is a tree which produces conkers similar to our own Horse Chestnut. See, we're not only about the obscure pop records here.)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My Top Ten Shopping Songs

Much is being written about the precariously uncertain fate of HMV, and while I'm not the regular customer I once was (partly due to other outlets, partly due to the lack of choice and other issues I have with our only remaining high street music chain) I would be sorry to see it go. Why, I was in there only the other day (before the news was announced), buying the Jake Bugg CD.

Anyway, in tribute, here's ten songs about shops and shopping...

10. Franz Ferdinand - Shopping For Blood

The FF boys channel Iggy Pop. Lovely stuff.

9. Athlete - Second Hand Stores

Maybe this is all we'll be left with soon...

8. Helen Love - Junk Shop Discotheque
Cos my record collection is your summer injection,
Of garage, beat, bubblegum, disco, and soul
7. Dean Friedman - Shopping Bag Ladies

A song that's more about the ladies than the shopping... but what a song! Even the ropey live recording can't rob it of its beauty.

6. Babybird - Cornershop

Another soon-to-extinct institution? They'll all be Tesco Directs and Sainsbury's Locals soon.

5. The Jam - Shopping
As I flit from shop window to window
I'm trying to pick up a friendly bargain
But it's not like the adverts all make out
And there's no one to greet you as a friend
4. The Clash - Lost In The Supermarket

Of course, supermarkets will never replace record shops, caring only about the pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap Top 40 and their bottom line. They have as much interest in music as I have in over 60s naked sky-diving.Still, if HMV does go under, perhaps the independent record shops will strike back...?

3. The Smiths - Shoplifters of the World Unite

 Now, Moz, that's hardly helpful, is it? Even if the owners of Nipper the Dog are one of the many record companies you've fallen foul of over the years.

See also Carter USM - A Nation of Shoplifters.
Well, never mind, never mind.
2. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Shop Around

As a young man, I used to shop around... just as Smokey suggests. Long, pleasurable Saturday afternoons spent wandering around Leeds, popping into all the record shops (and comic shops!), both chain and indie, looking for a bargain. I imagine a similar afternoon would be finished much more quickly these days...

I've always loved this song, but watching the video makes me love it all the more.

1. The Freshies - I'm In Love With A Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore's Checkout Desk

Well, it was the only record I could think of about big chain record shops... even if it does namedrop HMV's former rival.

RIP, Frank Sidebottom.

Those were my shopping songs... which one is your must-buy?

Monday, 14 January 2013

My Top Ten Operator Songs

Many, many years ago, when they had such things, my mum used to be a switchboard operator. The stories she could tell about the things she heard! Do we even still have operators? I can't imagine too many people dedicating a song to a pre-recorded "virtual switchboard". Press one for "the romance is dead".

Special mention to Operator Please, the band who recorded the amazing Just A Song About Ping Pong and The Operator by The Coral, which is actually about getting kidnapped and operated on by a bunch of psycho surgeons. Or something.

10. Gladys Knight & The Pips - Operator

As if calling her boyfriend to apologise for all the bad things she's done wasn't enough of a chore... poor Gladys has to go through the operator too!

9. Pete Shelley - Telephone Operator

Ever fallen in love with a video you shouldn't have?

Wikipedia informs me that if you play the arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, you get to dance to this song... in an arcade. Glad I don't believe anything I read on wikipedia.

8. Talking Heads - Dream Operator

Probably has nothing to do with making a telephone call... though you can never be sure with David Byrne. Still: quite lovely.

7. Nick Lowe - Switchboard Susan

How many telephone puns / innuendos can one songwriter squeeze into one song?
When I'm near you girl, I get an extension
And I don't mean Alexander Graham Bell's invention
6. Jim Croce - Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)

Or, if Jim's moustache is too much for you, can I recommend the rather fine Jesse Malin cover version?

5. Chuck Berry - Memphis, Tennessee

I make no apologies for the fact that this was already featured in my Top Ten Memphis Songs. It's a stone cold classic.

4.  The Rah Band - Clouds Across The Moon

In space, the intergalactic operator can't hear you scream.

If the future really looks like the Rah Band imagined it would in this video, I'll want my money back.

Never mind. I'll try again... next year... next year... next year...

3. The White Stripes - Hello, Operator

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Jack White's phone still had an operator. He probably refuses to use any of them new-fangled ones.

2. Dr. Hook - Sylvia's Mother

Dennis keeps trying to get through to Sylvia. Her mother just wants him to leave her alone. The operator keeps demanding "forty cents more" to continue the conversation "for the next three minutes".

1. Tom Waits - Martha

I almost gave this one to Dr. Hook, which would have been suitably anti-cool of me. But then I remembered
Operator, number please
It´s been so many years
And she´ll remember my old voice
While I fight the tears
Hello, hello there, is this Martha ?
This is old Tom Frost
And I am calling long distance
Don´t worry ´bout the cost...

Tom Waits sounds like a weary old man on this recording. The scary / crazy thing is, he was 24 years old when it was released...

Those are the songs that get me calling the operator - but which one would be your hold music of choice?

Friday, 11 January 2013

My Top Ten Susan Songs

My name is Sue... how do you do?

10. The Kinks - Susanna's Still Alive

Until I listened to it again while compiling this Top Ten, I had no idea just how gloriously miserable the lyrics to this song actually are.
Whiskey or gin, that's alright,
Both have been in her bed at night
She sleeps with the covers down,
Hopin' that somebody gets in.
Doesn't matter what she does,
She knows that she can't win.
Oh, Suzannah's gonna cry.
9. Aimee Mann - Susan

I love this song, but it always makes me wonder... do Americans really pronounce the word "buoy" as "booie"... or did Aimee just do that for the rhyme?

8. Morrissey - Black-Eyed Susan

Moz's tribute to Siouxsie Sioux, with whom he recorded the sublime duet, Interlude... and then, naturally, had a bit of a falling out.

7. Leonard Cohen - Suzanne

Just gorgeous.

6. The Art Company - Susanna

Or VOF de Kunst, to use their original Dutch name. Wonder why they changed it when they released this single in the UK?

If you don't already love this record, I suggest you watch the video then seriously reconsider your position.

5. Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

Buddy felt blue without her... and then, to make matters worse, she only went and Got Married. It could have been worse, Buddy might have met Julian Cope's Peggy Suicide instead.

4. Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue

Johnny played this one Live At San Quentin. Incitement to patricide, anyone?

Remember, John Wayne's Dad named him Marion and Big Daddy's Dad named him Shirley.

3. Pulp - Inside Susan
Susan catches the bus into town at ten-thirty a.m.
She sits on the back seat.
She looks at the man in front's head
and thinks how his fat wrinkled neck is like a large carrot
sticking out from the collar of his shirt.
She adds up the numbers on her bus ticket to see if they make twenty-one,
but they don't.
Maybe she shouldn't bother going to school at all, then.
Her friends will be in the yard with their arms folded on their chests,
pushing up their breasts to try and make them look bigger,
whilst the boys will be too busy playing football to notice.
2. Dion & The Belmonts - Runaround Sue

If the vocal intro to this song doesn't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you've got no rock 'n' roll in your soul.

1. Eels - Susan's House

Still the strangest song Mark Everett has ever recorded... can you imagine a world where this made the UK Singles Chart?

#9 in 1997... those were the days!

Apologies if I missed your favourite Susan... please don't (ahem) sue me.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My Top Ten Online Songs

Ten songs about the internet age... with some very pertinent observations.

10. O Pioneers!!! - Chris Ryan Added Me On Facebook

A bit shouty, but so true.

Let’s pretend, that we are friends 
Just like we were back in high school. 
You can send me messages, that I’m sure that I can relate to
Just like in high school. 
Every other week, you can call me. 
Call me on the telephone. 
We can talk about our misadventures, and our breakthroughs. 
Just like in high school. 

See I’m older now, and I don’t give a damn, if I ever talk to you again.

9. The Lancashire Hotpots - eBay 'eck.

See also: I Met A Girl On Myspace. If you like extremely juvenile innuendo.

Word to your mother - how is your mother?

8. Gym Class Heroes - New Friend Request

So click approve, so simple
Show me some kind of sign and let me know it's time to make my move
Just click approve, come on girl

7. Paul & The Patients - Blogspot

It seems that Paul believes blogs are full of self-opinionated blowhards constantly foisting their twaddlelicious opinions on other people. Well, I think that's JUST RUBBISH.

;-) Winking smiley face. ;-)

6. Evelyn Evelyn - My Space

Wow, is Amanda Palmer really old enough to remember myspace? Is anybody...?
And you can't always want what you get,
When you're looking for love,
In a cafe on the internet.
You want somewhere to hide,
Where everyone can find you.
You join hands with the world and say,
'I just want my space.'
5. Superman Revenge Squad - Woman Hating Internet Pornography

Good old Superman Revenge Squad, making a stand - and mentioning Morrissey in the lyrics too.

4. Chumbawamba - On eBay

On eBay, they bought a whiskey drink, a vodka drink, a lager drink and a cider drink. Bargain!

See also Add Me...
I'm a loner alone with neuroses and hate
Anger is a permanent character trait
My letter bombs are primed and ready to send
Would you like to add me as a friend?
I'm a wound-up whiner with a fetish for guns
I'm almost 50 and I live with my Mum
I hope my nude picture doesn't offend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Add me. Add me
My mother says she wished she'd never had me
Add me. Add me
Would you like to add me as a friend?
3. Martin Rossiter - Where There Are Pixels 

From the amazing new album by the former Gene frontman. (Have I mentioned this previously?) Get it here.
I bear the torch, I hold it high
It burns aflame for those who tried
But found the outside far too dim
And soon realised
Their life's online... just like mine
2. Half Man Half Biscuit - Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess

Good old Nigel Blackwell... he doesn't just get pissed off by life's little niggles - he writes top songs about them too.
Dennis Bell of Torquay
Too late
With your N at E3
Good game, sir, do you want another bout?
Well, Dennis ain't replying cause he just signed out
Bad losers on Yahoo Chess!

Dennis Bell of Torquay
Too late
With your Nxe3
Good game sir
Do you want another bout?
Well Dennis ain’t replying
‘cos he just signed out
Bad losers on Yahoo Chess

From: Half Man Half Biscuit: Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess - lyrics
Dennis Bell of Torquay
Too late
With your Nxe3
Good game sir
Do you want another bout?
Well Dennis ain’t replying
‘cos he just signed out
Bad losers on Yahoo Chess

From: Half Man Half Biscuit: Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess - lyrics
Dennis Bell of Torquay
Too late
With your Nxe3
Good game sir
Do you want another bout?
Well Dennis ain’t replying
‘cos he just signed out
Bad losers on Yahoo Chess

From: Half Man Half Biscuit: Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess - lyrics
1. Brad Paisley - Online

In which George from Seinfeld creates a whole new internet identity for himself... he is Brad Paisley. (And his dad is Bill Shatner - how cool is that?)
'Cause online I'm out in Hollywood
I'm 6 foot 5 and I look damn good
I drive a Maserati
I'm a black-belt in karate
And I love a good glass of wine
It turns girls on that I’m mysterious
I tell them I don't want nothing serious
'Cause even on a slow day
I could have a three way... chat with two women at one time
I’m so much cooler online
So much cooler online

Those were my favourite songs about the internet... but which ones get you logged on?

Monday, 7 January 2013

My Top Ten Only One Songs

No. Not 'One & Only'. Chesney Hawkes fans, I'm sorry, there's nothing here for you today...

10.  The Clint Boon Experience - Only One Way I Can Go

Mr. Boon... play that tune!

9. Arctic Monkeys - Only Ones Who Know

A timely ditty from the second Monkeys album...
And I hope you're holding hands by New Year's Eve,
They made it far too easy to believe,
That true romance can't be achieved these days
8. The Sundays - You're Not The Only One I Know


7. Jimmy Ruffin - Maria (You Were The Only One)

Michael Jackson also recorded this. But with all due respect... not half as well as Jimmy.

6. Karine Polwart - Only One Way

The Scottish singer-songwriter whose first name I stole for one of my characters in Department of the Peculiar. (Not bought your copy yet? Get it here.)
And when a genocidal maniac talks about grief
And you kinda get the feeling that there’s nothing underneath
But you can’t believe a man would lie through such nice teeth
There's only one way
5. Billy Bragg - The Only One
The chain that fell off my bike last night
Is now wrapped round my heart
Sometimes I think that
Fate has been against us from the start
 No one writes 'em like Billy.

4. Harry Chapin - There Was Only One Choice

14 minutes long... and not a second wasted. A masterclass in songwriting... all about writing songs.
Strum your guitar -- sing it kid
Just write about your feelings -- not the things you never did
Inexperience -- it once had cursed me
But your youth is no handicap -- it's what makes you thirsty
3. The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet

OK, that rule I have about not including band names in my Top Tens? Breakable if the song's as good as this one. Space travel's in my blood...

2. Huey Lewis & The News - The Only One

A belter from Huey's second album, Picture This. The story of a high school hero whose later life leads to tragedy. You know, the sort of kid you think: he's got it made... and then, years later, you find out how much he blew it. I'd forgotten how much I loved this song when I was a teenager. Perhaps I was maliciously wishing a similar fate on some of the "popular" kids I knew in high school...

1. The Charlatans - The Only One I Know

The Charlies' biggest hit has a fantastic funky intro, and a Hammond organ that could only have come from the early 90s.

I chose ten... but you can have only one. Obviously.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My Top Ten Thirteen Songs

Happy New Year from Top Ten Towers!

So, it's Two Thousand Thirteen, or Twenty Thirteen, or Another Bloody Miserable Year... whatever you choose to call it. Thirteen's traditionally an unlucky number... but then again, considering the world was supposed to end in '12, we're already starting ahead of the game.

Happy New Year to you anyway - may 2013 bring you all your heart desires... or, at the very least, ten great songs with the number 13 in the title...

(Special mention to Thirteen Senses and the marvellous Thirteenth Floor Elevators.)

10. Big Audio Dynamite - V. Thirteen

The last song Mick Jones and Joe Strummer ever wrote together sounds, unsurprisingly, like The Clash playing one final concert in Sodom and Gomorrah.

 Sodom and Gomorrah? This is London, guv.

9. Ann Margret - 13 Men

When the H-bomb goes off, Ann Margret finds herself the only girl in town... with 13 blokes in hot pursuit.

Uh, there were two men every morning
A-seein' that I was well fed
And believ-a you me, one sweetened my tea
While the other one a-buttered my bread
Simon Armitage and the Scaremongers recorded a song with the same title, but that was a tribute to a local Rugby League team... and sadly, it's not online anywhere for me to play it for you.

8. The Delgados - Thirteen Gliding Principles

Look what you've left me, your bottles of camomile
funny old phrases and outdated style

Does camomile come in bottles north of the border? Down here, we get it in bags.

7. The Pixies - No. 13 Baby

In which Frank Black meets a six foot, sweaty lass with XIII tattooed on her tit.

If man is 5, the devil is 6 and God is 7... what the hell's 13?

6. Johnny Cash - Thirteen

Johnny Cash covers Glenn Danzig. Now there's something I never thought I'd hear... and yet, it works beautifully.

5. Pink - Conversations with My 13 Year Old Self

Obviously Pink remembers what it feels like to be 13 - she's hardly grown up since. If you're a 13 year old Pink fan, this will obviously offer you some comfort... good luck in growing up like your heroine though.

4. Elvis Costello - 13 Steps Lead Down

One of many classic Costello songs I fell in love with despite having zero idea what it was all about.
When nobody knows, she puts on secret clothes
And lies in her splendour for a picture opportunity
Cover up that bruise, put on patent leather shoes
Just stop playing that bad mood music
Still don't.

3. The Cure - The 13th

In which Mad Bob McMad falls asleep watching telly... and has some typically bonkers dreams.

2. Ooberman - 13

Dan Popplewell spends the majority of this song wishing he was still 13. And then he changes his mind...
Do you remember rounders on the top field? 
Playing 'three and in' in your Dunlop Green Flash? 
Getting chucked in the park lake by the thick lads on the way back from school? 
Actually when I think about it, when I was 13 I was a deeply unpopular child... 
13... Thank God I'm not 13... 
1. Big Star - Thirteen

Alex Chilton, on the other hand, recaptures the crazy, confusing, combustible feeling of being a newly-heeled teenager with one of his most simple yet heart-wrenching ballads...
Won't you let me walk you home from school?
Won't you let me meet you at the pool?
Maybe Friday I can
Get tickets for the dance
And I'll take you.

Those were my favourite 13 songs. Which one gives you triskaidekaphobia?

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