10 Songs

Friday, August 29, 2008 0:33 | Filed in Memes, Music, The Pickards

For no particular reason — other than that I was running out of things to post about — I decided to have a trawl through my iMusic Collection. This got me thinking about songs which for some reason have a special meaning to me, or which stuck in my head for some particular reason.

I therefore bring you a list of 10 songs which have some meaning or significance to me. It seems the sort of thing which will work as a meme, so feel free to take it up yourselves if you want. Here they are — in no particular order, and with no guarantee that I’d not pick a different list on a different day:

  1. Ghost Town (The Specials): I’ve always been a fan of ska/2-tone beats and this example by The Specials is as near as dammit perfect. I think that ever since I first heard this, even though my musical tastes have changed, this has been a song I’ve always liked. And it has a wonderful cameo in Father Ted, where they are going to have a disco, only the DJ has forgotten all of his records — except Ghost Town. It also perfectly captures the sense of failure, disillusionment and despair of those growing up in Thatcher’s britain of the early 80s.
  2. Your Song (Elton John): Not a song that I would normally place in a list of my favourites; I’m not a massive fan of Elton, nor am I generally a fan of ballads, but this one certainly has a great deal of meaning to me, being the song played for my first dance with my wife on the evening of our marriage — it was one of the few songs that we both liked that the DJ actually had — so I look on it with a great deal of fondness for that. We were also pleased when the DJ told us that he “didn’t have the Ewan McGregor version, would the Elton John one be all right”, as that was the version of the song we’d actually wanted in the first place.
  3. Vengeance (New Model Army): when I’m going out somewhere and I want to get myself nicely psyched up, this is the perfect track (although the studio version sounds better). It tells the story of people getting vengeance against Nazi war criminals, drug dealers, and rich fat cats who avoid justice through buying the law: “I believe in justice; I believe in vengeance; I believe in getting the bastard…”. It also fulfills one of my key criteria in my musical taste: it’s a song with a bit of anger in it.
  4. Stop The Cavalry (Jona Lewie): this is the song which, every year when I hear it, tells me it will soon be Christmas. It’s not really a Christmas song (other than by containing the line “wish I was at home for Christmas”), it’s really an anti-war song, but as it’s always on the Christmas compilations, it seems to have been officially classed as a Christmas song. And it’s one that I get sick of a lot slower than the other Christmas songs, so I must really like it. But I still don’t know who Luzar and Jim are.
  5. Jump Around (House of Pain): Don’t pretend you don’t know this one. It’s been played everywhere, at pretty much every event. But I remember it from the album, I remember it from rock clubs, and I remember it from seeing the band House of Pain play at Newcastle’s Mayfair in 1994 or 1995 (sorry for not remembering the exact date) when the Newcastle crowd managed to completely silence and confuse the band for a few minutes by chanting “Keegan! Keegan!” and “Toon Army!”. Those were the days…
  6. Oliver’s Army (Elvis Costello and the Attractions): another one of my all time favourite songs. This for me is a classic pub jukebox song. It’s the sort of thing that is great for you to kind of drink along to…
  7. A Tout Le Monde (Megadeth): taken from the album Youthanasia, this is another song I first heard as a student which still resonates with me. Indeed, I have specifically written into my will that I’d like this song to be played at my funeral, because the lyrics of it seem to sum up how I would feel in the circumstances…

    So as you read know my friends
    I’d love to stay with you all
    please smile when you think of me
    My body’s gone that’s all
    A tout le monde
    A tout mes amis
    Je vous aime
    Je dois partirMegadeth: A Tout Le Monde

    …bonus point if you understand the French.

  8. Sweet Dreams (Marilyn Manson): I quite like the song, and I do slightly prefer Manson’s version of it to that of the Eurythmics, but I would have never picked this song to go in this list if it wasn’t for the video. This is rock-as-horror-film at its finest: the way Manson is made up and contorts his body, the grimy, gritty, slightly surreal feel to it seems as though you’ve stepped very much inside Manson’s nightmare world, and when he tells you that “some of them want to abuse you: some of them want to be abused” you suspect Manson falls firmly into both camps. It may be odd, and more than a little disturbing, but the video makes this a classic
  9. Language of Violence (Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy): another one from my student days (Hat-tip: Sir Loz of Beckenham), this song is about a cycle of violence: a young boy who is bullied and then beaten to death at school for appearing to be homosexual, then the cycle of violence continues as his tormentors suffer violence themselves in prison. This song has stuck in my head simply for some of the lyrics which I feel are really quite profound about the objectification of people and how dangerous it is: “words can reduce a person to an object; something more easy to hate”; “dehumanizing the victim makes things simpler”. A message that has stuck with me ever since and tried to encourage me to challenge people when they use words that dehumanize or objectify others…
  10. Baggy Trousers (Madness): another pop-ska record. This one however is included not because I particularly like the video nor the song (I do like the video and the song, but there are other Madness ones I prefer). No, it’s been included pretty much because of the number of weddings and other similar events with a DJ that me and a certain person who goes by the initials of GSS (with other, admirable supporting turns) would leap about madly for three minutes before needing a sit down. It’s not dancing, it’s very definitely “leaping about madly”, and I think we did it at pretty much every event of that nature we attended…

So that’s my 10. What’s yours?

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33 Comments to 10 Songs

  1. mark fairlamb says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 9:50 am


  2. JackP says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 9:52 am


    You’re not doing some sort of roadie sound check, are you?

    One… er…. one … er … one … er … Dave, what’s after one?

  3. mark fairlamb says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 9:59 am

    don’t know what happened there:
    1) word up – cameo
    2) here i go again – whitesnake
    3) the boys are back in town – thin lizzy (of course)
    4) eloise – the damned
    5) something about you – level 42
    6) i just died in your arms – cutting crew
    7) epic – faith no more
    8) love really hurts without you – billy ocean
    9) cum on feel the noize – slade
    10) disco down – shed seven

  4. mark fairlamb says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    apparently 8 is a happy number today as well.
    i’ve got plenty more, but we are taking 80s pop one-hit wonders.

  5. Darren Taylor says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Ghost Town reminds me of an episode of Father Ted called Think Fast! Classic comedy.

  6. JackP says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Yup, that’d be the one. I forgot the title of the episode…

  7. mark fairlamb says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    actually, can i have some more:
    11) antmusic – adam & the ants
    12) boxer beat – joe boxers
    13) tom hark – the pirhanas
    14) geno – dexys midnight runners

    sorry, all these classic songs just keep jumping into my head.
    there may be more

  8. mark fairlamb says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    14) sign of the times – belle stars
    15) rip it up and start again – orange juice

    i promise that’s the end of it

  9. Shannon says:

    August 29th, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I always think of the movie Snatch when I hear Ghost Town.

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  12. Matt says:

    September 4th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    I hate these things always look back a few days later and not have picked anything on my list, so my top 10 songs for right now are…

    1) One – Metallica
    2) Ebaneser (sp) Good – The Shamen
    3) Disco 2000 – Pulp
    4) Sittin On the Dock of the Bay – Otis
    5) Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
    6) Wonderwall – Oasis
    7) Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
    8) Bulls on Parade – RATM
    9) Paradise City – GnR
    10) Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash

  13. pat says:

    October 7th, 2008 at 5:46 am

    I love oasis

    disco down I like it

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