Songs about your hometown

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Are there any good songs out there about the place you live? Does the song capture anything interesting or accurate about your town or city?

Mark, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Between the public hospital and the red light district in my home town is a long bridge called Grafton Bridge - it's old and arched and high above the motorway, underneath is an atmospheric cemetery where goths go and write 'I love you my Angel' on cards they put onto children's graves - the favourite suicide bridge, during the 70s and 80s a fence was built along the side - my friend's mother saved someone from jumping off and a friend tried to jump off and was caught by the cops, it's that popular - Proud Scum wrote this song about their bass player? in the 70s:

come on John it's all downhill - why not give us all a frill - (chorus) you should jump off Grafton Bridge

Maryann, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

(Proud Scum = Auckland's answer to Sham 69. "Frill" = they sang w/ fake Cockney accent.)

Oddly, there is even a song about my home town....even more oddly , it is by ROD McEWEN. "At Long Last, Timaru".

duane zarakov, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Artists from my immediate area: Singer from Blind Melon, guitarist from Matchbox 20... ug.

Axl Rose grew up in the town where I go to buy records, and if "Paradise City" is indeed about this same place he.is.way.OFF-BASE.

Keiko, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Don't You Go To Goleta by Camper Van B.

The Ataris have a song called "1/15/96" which has a line "Stay out drinking really late/stumble home drunk from lower State." State is a street in Santa Barbara, and people drink there and are, by extension, drunk.

Toad The Wet Sprocket came from SB.

JM, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"Knoxville Girls", the old bluegrass standard. The Tennessee Waltz. Johny Fahey recorded "Knoxville Blues". And there's a trashcountry band called "Knoxville Girls", whose organist/pianist is a v. nice and knowledgable guy who works at Rocks in Your Head on Prince St. He told me they played in Nashville once, in a bar on the main drag behind the Ryman theater. The bar's barker, the guy who stands by the door and lures folks in from the street, repeatedly came inside to tell the Knoxville Girls (none of whom are girls, or from Knoxville) to turn down their amps, and finally demanded they "play something nice" or they'd have to stop because the bar was losing essential business... Bands actually from Knoxville: the Judybats, Superdrag.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

well, to my knowledge there aren't any. although i believe there was a band called Bradford. that'll have to do.

gareth, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

So I idly Googled "leatherhead lyrics" and imagine my SCHOKK when it turned out that my hometown was captured in song by none other than THE LOLLIES (in their "List Song" which features a large number of other no-mark towns, the tarts).

Also there's a Robin Hitchcock song that mentions it. I hate Robin Hitchcock.

I also learned that John's Children came from there. Good work the 'head.

Tom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

aha! i believe bradford is of course mentioned in Its Grim Up North

gareth, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

So I copycatted the [hometown lyrics] idea, and discovered something too awful to bear!!

Redux of page found: "TIM BOOTH, JAMES vocals, birthday : February 4, 1960, band Nickname : Monty Moneybags - dates back to early years in the band and Tim's middle-class background, first Gig : Cockney Rebel, Leeds Town Hall, Manchester University drama student and ex-pupil at Shrewsbury School where he gained 11 O Levels, during James early career, Tim was plagued by a liver disease which dated back to his childhood and it was this that contributed to his pursuit of alternative forms of healing and stimulation [ed note: too much info,], including membership of the Lifewave group in the 1980s and his interest in shamanic dancing which he still pursues actively today. The liver condition has lead Tim to abstain from the traditional rock n roll lifestyle of drink and drugs and his abstinence and beliefs have led James to be labelled as Buddhists, vegans and all sorts of other implied insults. Tim's interest in certain themes - religion (Tim went to the religious Shrewsbury School [ed note: not true]and was expelled for being a bad influence), suicide, victimhood, betrayal - run through James's whole career. The embittered lyrics of Seven and Laid reflect the fallout from his relationship with the band's ex-manager Martine, mother of Tim's son Ben - the inspiration for Gold Mother whilst the lovestruck Just Like Fred Astaire and Shooting My Mouth Off reflect Tim's contentment with fiancee Kate. Tim spoke openly to ITV's Faith And Music documentary about his beliefs in June 1999. In addition to his vocal duties [!great phrase!] with James, Tim maintains his interest in acting, taking the lead in Edward Bond's production of Saved at Bolton Octagon in May 1998. He also has taught Five Rhythms dance on a regular basis in Manchester, New York and California during quiet periods for James. He also recorded a solo album Booth and the Bad Angel with Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti in 1996. More recently, Tim narrated the ITV programme commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Strangeways riots."

Do I remember him, my EXACT contemporary? Not at all: "expelled for being a bad influence" — right, so I would forget THIS!?

OLD SALOPIANS OF NOTE!! Can we please put an amendment in the Declaration of Human Rights: does not apply to...!?

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Heh heh, Tom, we *are* tarts, as that is our contribution to the Ladyfest/Strange Fruit tour single! We slapped it on cause every time we perform it at a non-hometown gig we change the lyrics to slip in some local refernces, and we hoped that people would buy the single hoping to hear their hometowns so enshrined!

I have so many hometowns that I can't figure out which one I should homage in song. I'm pretty sure that the crap Essex new town where I was actually *born* is name-dropped in a Billy Brag song. Ditto southeast Herts and The Zombies, but I don't have the records here at Paul's, so I can't name you specifics. (I remember that Cheshunt, where we actually lived, was mentioned in Ray Davies' unauthorised autobio, though I note that he left OUT the fact that their equipment mouldered in our garage for several months while they rowed furiously with the label that wanted to repossess it).

New York and London both have too many songs to count. (though I think Tooting Bec only gets two mentions, in Hanoi Rocks and Huon)

But! Oh yes! The longest period of my life spent in one place concurrently (9 years of high school and college) was actually spent in Upstate NY, in the Hudson Valley. Although "The Hudson Line" namechecks more of the scenery, the song that more accurately captures the spooky, creepy, sleepy hollow *feeling* of the area is "Opus 40", named after a former quarry turned landscape art in the Catskills.

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Good god. I googled Woking and hit this on Momus's site:

Her next conquest was Finlayson, Tory whip from Woking/His eyes were icy blue, he was impeccably well-spoken/He caught her with his daughter and he got her under torture/To confess she'd taught her poker/And spanked them both until his pants were soaking

Also, I suppose plenty of Paul Weller lyrics must be about Woking. I used to work on Stanley Road, y'know. What an honour.

Madchen, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Recovered somewhat: more proper answer = 'Pastor Skull' by Blyth Power, which includes, as final verse:

"King's pawn has opened/Rookery rings to his ragged cry/Ask me the time by Shrewsbury clock in the morning/Knight takes pawn Bishop looks on/Front rank kneels in the rising corn/Enter rumour racked and torn/No time to rehearse his lines for the first performance" (All lyrics Gary Hatcher except five lines from poem by Darren Tansley [ed note: plus the Shrewsbury clock line nicked from Henry IV pt one, ahem: "fought for an hour by Shrewsbury clock".

"A medieval hunt sab song: St George killed the dragon, now we kill St George...)" A Pedant Notes: it is impossible to see any of Shrewsbury, inc clocktowers — anyway not yet invented in 14-whenever— from the actual site of the Battle of Shrewsbury

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Grimsby, from Elton John's 1974 album Caribou:

"Oh oh Grimsby, a thousand delights/ Couldn't match the sweet sights/ Of my Grimsby... Through nights of mad youth/ I have loved every sluice in your harbour/ And in your wild sands from boyhood to man/ Strangers have found themselves fathers... Take me back you rustic town/ I miss your magic charm... No Cordon Bleu can match the beauty/ Of your pies and peas"

i) Bernie Taupin was actually from Market Rasen;

ii) He then buggered off to California as soon as he got enough money;

iii) Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting was also inspired by Grimsby, and is frankly a much more accurate picture of said rustic town.

John Davey, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Grimsby! I'm from Barton-on-Humber originally, although haven't lived there since I went off to Uni in 1980. There are no songs which mention B-on-H, I'm convinced.

Dr. C, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Look it up on Google, Dr C: horrible free-lunch results guaranteed to send you INSANE (cf both my posts above).

Famous foax from Shrewsbury the town: Ian Hunter! Ronnie Laine! T'Pau!

Relatives of famous foax retired to super-posh Shrewsbury satellite suburb Bayston Hill: Ma and Pa Orridge, parents to wee Genesis P. I was once in car with MY mom (in Mardol, as a matter of fact, driving towards clocktower mentioned above, design based on Oslo's Rathaus) and she said, "Look at that funny little man!!" It was GPO! Dressed as a polish border guard!!

So much for Art Terror.

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Amsterdam - Jacques Brel. Decent tune. City has changed a lot since that song. And the port he sings about has almost completely been changed into yuppie hell.

Omar, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

My question was inspired by a recent flip through old vinyl. I came accross O.M.D.'s Crush which has "88 Seconds in Greensboro," and now I live in Greensboro, NC. I'm sure they're not talking about this place, but where exactly is their Greensboro? 88 seconds is about all you'd want to spend here, at any rate.

I grew up in Lansing, Michigan. Verve Pipe and Crucifux are from there. I guess everyone here but me already knew that Magnetic Fields mentions the town in "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing" (I just looked it up!) It's no Paris, he got that right.

Mark, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"New York City" by The Cult "Back in the New York Groove" by Ace Frehley (Kiss) "New York" by U2 "New York, New York" by Sinatra "I Hate New York" by the Pop-o-Pies "Let's Get Rid of New York" by the Randoms "New York, New York" by Nina Hagen "Two at a Time" by Cop Shoot Cop "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel "Riot in Tompkins Square" by the Undead "East Side Beat" by the Toasters "Run, Run, Run", "Waiting for the Man" by the Velvet Underground (both tracks mention various NYC spots) "6th Avenue Heartache" by the Wallflowers "7th Avenue Hassle" by Firewater "53rd & 3rd" by the Ramones "No Sleep `Til Brooklyn" by the Beastie Boys

alex in nyc, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

OK Mark, I'll steel myself for a googlathon on B-on-H. Incidentally I've read/heard the stuff about Tim Booth going to Shrewsbury elsewhere.

Famous folks living in my "for the last 15 years" hometown, Twickenham are a fairly impressive bunch. Pete Townshend (walks dog in Marble Hill park), Robin Guthrie (has studio here), Ross Macmanus (Declan's jazz-singing dad seen last Tuesday buying frozen food at Tesco).

And The Strawbs.

Dr. C, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Hey, if we're going to talk about "famous people who came from your hometown" then hey! (I'm counting Cheshunt, Herts as my hometown cause I counted on my fingers, and Cheshunt beat Upstate NY for "longest continuous period living there" by about 2 months. Even though I was 2 days old when I arrived and 9 while I left.)

So... the most famous son... CLIFF RICHARD!!! Hah! Also, the earliest incarnations of the band that would become The Creation, and from nearby St.Albans, the aforementioned Zombies. Hooray for Herts!

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Songs that are about Montreal whether their authors want them to be or not :

Van Halen, "Jump" ("you got to roll with the punches and get to Montreal")

K.Rogers/D.Parton, "Islands In The Stream" ("islands in the stream/ that is what we are/ no one in between/ 'cept for Montreal")

Patrick, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Being born in London and having spent most of my life here, I don't want to repeat what's in the Songs mentioning New York London Paris Munich thread. So I'll have to be more specific. When I was born, we lived in St John's Wood. Err... nope. I now live in Stoke Newington. Uh-uh. I lived for a while in Hackney. There was a pre-gentrification Overlord X track called 'Rough in Hackney'. But I'll go with the place I have spent the longest period of my life so far. Step forward, Alexei Sayle:

"Is there life on Mars?
Is there life on Mars?
Is there life in Peckham?
Is there life in Peckham?"

And no, I'm not from Mars.

Nick, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

No, you are WRONG, Nick! There is a Stones song containing a line something along the lines of "Your mother owned a flat in St. John's Wood". I'm going to go insane looking for it... might have been Play With Fire or might have been something from that same 19th Nervous Breakdown era, but dammit, the only Stones record Paul owns is a best of compilation that doesn't have either!!!

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"Map Ref. 41 Degrees North 93 Degrees West" by Wire, one of the best songs from their third LP, "154," refers to Knoxville, Iowa, USA, of all places. (It depends upon the accuracy of your map, but this is about as close to a real town as you can get. The lyrics, as in any Wire song, are inconclusive. Needless to say, this is not the Knoxville of "Knoxville Girls" fame.) Not exactly my hometown, but close enough. I once very purposely drove through this tiny town with this song playing on my car's tape player very loudly and with the windows down. I wonder why Wire chose this location and if they ever realized that someone in that town would ever hear the song.

I, too, would like to know what OMD are singing about in the Greensboro song!

X. Y. Zedd, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

No one sings about Shelburne Falls, goddamnit. So the Pixies' "UMass" is the closest thing I can think of to a song about my hometown, though I could imagine there being some awful song about Amherst by Dinosaur Jr.

Otis Wheeler, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yes! The Rolling Stones' "Play With Fire":

Your mother she's an heiress, owns a block in Saint John's Wood
And your father'd be there with her
If he only could
But don't play with me, 'cause you're playing with fire

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Well, I'm not exactly WRONG, kate. By 'err.. nope' I just meant I couldn't think of one. But, yes, you're quite right. The funny thing is I was listening to 'Play With Fire' a few weeks ago and I actually thought about the St John's Wood thing then. My brain is falling down. The line is "Your mother she's a heiress, owns a block in St John's Wood".

Nick, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Wait, going back to the Bradford thing: wasn't Bradford the effette Spandau Ballet-meets-Morrissey guy who had a single called "Skin Storm?" I have this on the Rough Trade last-gasp comp, "A Historical Debt," and it's so terrifically, hideously poncy that it winds up sort of lovable.

As for Lansing: there must be at least twenty Wally Pleasant songs mentioning Lansing, which is convenient, as hardly anyone outside of Lansing has any idea who Wally Pleasant is.

And as for my hometown (Pueblo, Colorado), the best I can do is the Dead Milkmen's "Stuart," which makes fun of our government printing office.

Nitsuh, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Unbelievably, for a Smiths-obsessed guttersnipe like myself, La Moz actually immortalized the town in which I grew up on the title song from his last lp, Maladjusted: 'From a Stevenage overspill, we'd kill to live in SW6'.

I fondly imagine that the entire output of the Fields of the Nephilim is full of coded references to Stevenage Town Centre as a post- apocalyptic wasteland. Nod the drummer was in the year above me at school.

Even more coincidentally, having been born in Huyton and now residing in SE16, Elvis Costello foretold my migrations in 'New Amsterdam': "Somehow I found myself down at the dockside / Thinking 'bout the old days of Liverpool and Rotherhithe". Crumbs.

stevie t, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Oops. I just realized that I can now safely refer to myself as being from Chicago, which opens up a wealth of options. Aside from this being "[Frank Sinatra's] kind of town" and Scott Walker repeatedly thanking Mr. James for it, I'd throw out two more: (a) USA's "Ashland Flies," a four-minute song about traffic on one of Chicago's main thoroughfares, and (b) a portion of Gastr del Sol's "Upgrade and Afterlife" that works its way rather cryptically around the neighborhood north of mine: "At Fullerton and California, California and Sacramento, at Fullerton and Damen. . ."

Nitsuh, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Nick, I believe the Pinefox has a lyric about Stoke Newington not being how he expected it to be.

Madchen, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

as far as i know bradford (the band) were a smiths style indie band from circa 90? don't know if they named themselves after the city or something else.

gareth, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

'Sheriff of Huddersfield' - Iron Maiden. Oh the shame of it!

Stevo, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

my hometown? "my hometown." it's kinda general and, really, it could be about anyone's small hometown in new jersey.

fred solinger, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

(though I think Tooting Bec only gets two mentions, in Hanoi Rocks and Huon)

I believe the Monochrome Set released an album called "Trinity Road" (which is both a local street name and the former name of Tooting Bec Underground station - renamed in 1950).

David, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

[I wanna know what Overlord X calls himself SINCE he went gentrified: cuz there doesn't seem much room for growth?]

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

And funnily enough, on the inside cover of the Stones compilation album that I dragged out to find the lyrics to Nick's thing about St. John's Wood, there is a photo of a ticket stub for the Rolling Stones and the Ronettes... at the Tooting Grenada! Wow! Tooting was once a hip and happening place!

masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm from Rockville, Md. (as in R.E.M.'s "Don't Go Back to Rockville"), but am still not convinced that the song is about the Maryland city named Rockville. The references in the lyrics to factories and a bus terminal (neither of which are within the city's rear region, as far as I remember) come across as lumpenproletariat, when in my experience the place is more accurately described (then and now) as lumpenmiddle-class.

J-Lu, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"near region" not "rear region," but references to Freudian slips do apply here.

J-Lu, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Chicago is cheating a bit, but the town in which I grew up, Livonia, Mich. is also Warn Defever's hometown, hence the His Name is Alive record of that name. He named it such because the place is so sterile that it gave him nothing to do but escape into his music. Too true.

scott p., Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

No one has EVER written a song about Hastings, MN or Ravenna Township. The only really famous person I know of from the area is Craig Kilborn (who was in my house when I was 7, ooh yer all jealous).

However, Bob Dylan had an album titled _Highway 61 Revisited_ and both Janet Jackson and Prince have name-checked Minneapolis. Shoot, Prince even wrote an entire song about Calhoun Square!

Dan Perry, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"Trinity Road": yup, the MonoSet's last album from '95. Single off that album: "I Love Lambeth". Which is pretty much where I was born (left aged 1) so can just about squeeze it in. Good song, too.

Can find a song mentioning Swanscombe, Kent, where I lived for 13 years: "The Kentishmen With Long Tayles" (sic): http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/~praetzel/thomas/CANT1.HTML, and a song set at Portland, Dorset, where I've lived for the last 7 years, "The Preacher" by Show of Hands: http://www.showofhands.co.uk/track lyrics.pdf (leave a space between "track" and "lyrics" if you want to type it in, if you care).

Robin Carmody, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Mark: I knew that Tim Booth went to Shrewsbury (well, I read once that he went to "the same school John Peel and Michael Palin attended", which confirmed as much) and I suspected that he was in your year, but I deliberately didn't say, so horrendous a man is he. I knew about his expulsion as well ...

Robin Carmody, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yes, but did you know abt his expulsion from independent sources, or is it all traceable to claims he's made to rock journalists? ie somewhat talking up an incident to make himself seem more street? I mean, given that he's already way talked up it's being a "religious" school... (In v.confusing way, incidentally: school = religious, so TB = religious, yet expelled for "being a bad influence"... Isn't there a bit missing from this story, Tim?)

This may be a mean and outrageous slur on TB's fine name: and it was a long time ago and besides the whatever is dead, but i'm just astonished that i wouldn't remember THIS!! It's not like ppl were being expelled every month (not like the 60s ha ha).

Oh well. Who cares, I guess: this is JAMES we're talking about.

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

FWIW, Mark, I know the Booth-expulsion story from one of those booklets about individual bands the MM used to give away circa 1991. So, no, not quite the most reliable source. By all accounts, though, he was told that his father was in hospital and might die that night, but felt he couldn't show any emotion because his housemaster was present. Probably quite true but, yeah, he did play up the public school = repressive line ("we had worse conditions than the local borstal ... you had to permanently repress your emotions" is one of his lines): I suspect quite possibly true, but melodramaticised as one might expect.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

So he was expelled for "not showing emotion" — despite this being a school where "you had to permanently repress your emotions"...?

Who is on crack here? The "worse conditions than Borstal" line is just a total and a ridiculous lie (how wd he know anyway?)

Enuff: I used to dislike James for their extremely bogus music (and half-baked bandname); now I find their singer is a class-anxious self-pitying mendacious drama-queen, who has caused me YET AGAIN to go off on one on a nice, well-meaning thread that was just minding its own business, not looking for any trouble...

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Booth was a boarder, unlike you, and maybe he means living quarters the size of a matchbox, as someone once said. But as you said, enough: any remaining conversation on this non-issue will be private.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Does the Princeton University fight-song count? Can't think of any songs about Princeton, come to think of it. As for Hoboken (where I currently live), all I know is that Sinatra got the hell out as soon as he could and never looked back.

I did spend a few months in New Hope, though, so I guess Ween's "Pumping 4 the Man" would be the closest I can come to a song about a town where I lived.

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Wait a minute ... I spent some time in Philadelphia, too. Let's see - - "Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John, "South Street" (forget the name of the group), "Freedom of '76" by Ween, "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen; then, of course, there's The Sound of Philadelphia, the Theme Song for American Bandstand, and Philly's mentioned in "Dancing in the Streets."

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

(Rod McEwen - I meant McKuen)(i think)

duane, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Urrr... I love in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. The only song I can think of that invoked it came from The JAMMs (KLF under their original name): "It's Grim Up North". The lyrics consisted entirely of Northern Town names in England. At one point you hear the vocalist intone: "Huddersfield".

Kodanshi, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I meant "live" - not "love".

Kodanshi, Wednesday, 20 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Not too many songs about Brandon, Manitoba, man. Although: Farm Fresh had a few songs that referenced ye olde town (including a great namedrop of Rodos Restaurant). Also, Swiller and One Trick Pony (and any of their other incarnations) have probably mentioned something about the town at some point, though I haven't heard them in a while. Oddly, there's a song called "Brandon" on the new album by Manitoba, though I don't think it's about the town. If you really want to stretch things, maybe Tragically Hip's "At the Hundredth Meridian" could be about Brandon? Not likely, though.

Brandon's most famous namedrop is likely the opening line of Douglas Coupland's book Generation X. Oh well.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 20 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

There's an It's Immaterial song called "New Brighton" - it's on their forgettable second (third?) LP. So forgettable in fact, that I keep 'forgetting' to bring said item down to London after visiting my folks on Merseyside. The 70* Gwen Party records are still up there, too. (* - part of band name, not reference to quantity).

The It's Imm album was one English pound in a Virgin sale around 1992 - the sleeve also mistakenly contained a Bruce Hornsby album. What a marvellous bonus.

Michael Jones, Thursday, 21 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Ah, the pain I've had to endure to answer this question. The town I grew up in, Sidmouth, is the site of an (excellent) annual folk festival, so searching for 'Sidmouth, lyrics' returns all manner of no-mark acts from the dreadful English folk scene trying to flog their dodgy CD and going on about their appearance at "the prestigious Sidmouth International Folk Festival" (it's the international bit which is good). There are a couple of lyrical mentions of the old town in there also, but all are too excruciating to trouble you with. I am sorry to report that the Incredible String Band are playing Sidmouth this year. I'm just glad I don't live there anymore. I can recommend the last night of the festival for anyone in the area, mind.

Anyway, I move on to my current home. Since Stevie T has already had the Costello mention of Rotherhithe, I'll take the Squeeze option. Their "It's Not Cricket" begins with the line "She used to do a strip- show / Down at the Surrey Docks".

Tim, Sunday, 24 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Rest assured, Tim, that adore "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" as I do, I'd never dream of going to see the ISB *now*, because I don't see how it could be anything else than a shambolic pale shadow. I don't think it's paradoxical to love a band in their own context while regarding them *today* as everything you want to avoid.

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 24 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I shall rest assured of that, Robin. I agree that liking records someone made once upon a time is no reason to want to see them. FOr example, I have no desire to see the Beach Boys support ver Quo on their current tour. It can be fun to see old heroes in the flesh, though, even though their powers may be rather diminished.

Tim, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Quo not diminished, nor could they be...

mark s, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

So true, Mark. It's pretty much impossible to underestimate the Quo.

Tim, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

So I tried the google thing on my hometown, Calumet City, and I found a zillion musical acts. No lyrics, though, although I did get a collection of "Polish hymns" that I can't decipher, so who knows...

Only thing is that Cal City *is* mentioned on a record - Jake and Elwood Blues of the Blues Brothers are introduced as "from Calumet City, Illinois". There was also "Cal City Sucks" by my sister's high school boyfriend's punk band, Solid Waste. Surely there must be a rap song about it, but I can't find it. Another thing is that "city" sounds too much like "shitty", so that might be a problem.

Since we're a coal's throw from Gary, Indiana, (home of the Jacksons!) we usually adopted that song from the Music Man as our own.

Kerry Keane, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Now I come to think of it, the Quo-affiliated Beach Boys are barely the same *band*. How many original members left, Mike Love excepted?

Robin Carmody, Monday, 25 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Well, there's Al (who's an original except for a short break sometime in 1961 or something) and there's Bruce (who's been there long enough now, I think) and there's some geezer who was drafted in for touring in the 60s sometime and that's about it. Wilson-count: zero.

I did go and see the Beach Boys in '92 or '93 at the big ugly barn which is the Sheffield Arena. Mostly, it was horrible (stage made up like some poxy beach, favourite moments slapped carelessly into nasty medley versions, Al Jardine's son being in the band). But Wilson- count: one (Carl) and he sang "God Only Knows" and it was lovely. So that's what I mean: sometimes even a grossly diminished act can chuck out fab moments.

Some of the Vic Godard obsessives I know curse him for keeping on playing shows and making records. I'll grant that the records aren't always the best but the shows are generally fantastic and I'll never tire of hearing "Stool Pigeon" and the like.

Tim, Tuesday, 26 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
An attempt to revivie this thread...

Mark, Thursday, 7 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

...and Nitsuh, how in God's name do you know Wally Pleasant?

Mark, Thursday, 7 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I was raised in the borough of 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy'

The closest I've got is 'Ohio' by Neil Young (grew up just outside of Kent) or 'My City was Gone', which names towns around me, and yes, they've all been suburbanized. (I don't live there anymore.)

Dave225, Thursday, 7 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Quite a good list for Streatham.

There's Stay Free by the Clash - "and weekends we'd go dancing/down Streatham on the bus."

The Chemistry Between Us by Suede - "and maybe we're just Streatham trash."

While googling I found one called "Craig 'N' Bentley" by what looks suspiciously like an NF/Oi group called the Warriors, which ends: "As you took your last steps in jail/Sadly your mates walk the streets of Streatham Vale."

Also obscure '60s psyche act the Cuppa T (whose first single Miss Pinkerton is a bit of a classic) followed it up with a song called Streatham Hippodrome. They do not appear ever to have put out a third.

(fact found incidentally - Cupid's Inspiration "Yesterday Has Gone" - bass player: Gordon Haskell)

Also discover that Tori Amos briefly lived in Streatham but felt she wasn't cut out for the place.

Oh yes, and there's one further one:

"Streatham princesses in sherbert stilettoes".

This comes from a song called "Shaftesbury Avenue" from an album entitled "Don't Stop The Night" released in 1989 by somebody called - oh, I've forgotten the guy's name, it'll come to me in a moment - that's it, Moment? Mammoth? Mensa? Menus? Bloody hell that one's stumped me.

Terry Shannon, Thursday, 7 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark R. thread revival! Without Googling, I can only think of one song that mentions Fairfax: Shawn Mullins' "Lullaby", which talks about a Sbarro there IIRC.

Vinnie, Thursday, 7 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Fleetwood Mac's "Silver Springs" is misspelledly about Silver Spring, MD. There are lots of songs about New Orleans, most (if not all) of them bad. Yes, that includes the "Mardi Gras Mambo."

adam, Saturday, 9 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I have the feeling Low probably mentions Duluth in a song or two, but I don't really know 'cause I can't stand Low.

Dan I., Saturday, 9 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Colin Newman mentions Oslo in the lyrics of "Lorries" off Not To. The full chorus apparently goes
Soixante nouveau
Lieb' dich, bateaux
Warsaw, Treptow
Venezia, Oslo
Moscow
So, it doesn't seem to "capture anything interesting" about the town - - but that is Mr Newman for you, I spose.

Quite like the song and album, though.

OleM, Sunday, 10 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Just done the websearch thing, and I'm bemused to find that there's a song by the Fall called The Horror In Clay which is about some weird goings-on in Penzance. Apparently. I downloaded the lyric, but can make head nor tail of the thing.

Anyone like Gilbert & Sullivan?

harvey williams, Sunday, 10 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, technically it's not about the city, but Autechre named one of their earlier songs Montreal. (This was on Amber when the songs had melodies and their titles were pronounceable) Someone told me it's because they first tried ecstasy when they played here in '93 or '94 ....interesting.

Elliot, Monday, 11 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Thanks for reviving this thread.

Not my home town for many years, but the first place I thought of when reading the question was Crawley, hometown also of Robert Smith - not that he would ever have dreamt of mentioning the place in a Cure song. So to google, and I'm past the 100th ranked hit and have almost given up, when there it is: "Sea Side Shuffle" by Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs. (woo-hoo)

Jeff W, Monday, 11 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Ooooh, fuck! I've got one!

Mirror People by Love & Rockets is about a punk/new wave bar (or, its patrons) from the early 80's - just down the street from me (although the name is never mentioned in the song.)

Dave225, Monday, 11 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

That only mentions Crawley because it's about driving from London to Brighton and it's somewhere you go through: "down on the coast, way past the town of Craw-LEE" (emphasis on second syllable, improbably).

I like Gilbert & Sullivan.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 11 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

There's at least one song per Ida record about my hometown; my favorite is "Downtown." I especially like the reference to Chick & Ruth's Deli, and the correct observation that "downtown (Annapolis, Maryland) is full of the sound of the full- and the part-time losers."

My favorite song about the town in which I now live is the Tiger Lillies' "Russians," which is about the Saturday flea market in Sachsenhausen.

Colin Meeder, Tuesday, 12 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

four months pass...
The Rentals and Mark Eitzel both name-check Columbus, OH, in one song each. I'm sure a handful of Eitzel songs are about Columbus in one way or another, but I don't know what they are.

bryce, Wednesday, 10 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

three years pass...
Janet Bean of Freakwater released a solo album last year called Dragging Wonder Lake, named after my hometown in northern Illinois. Her parents met there. A really excellent album, totally overlooked when it was released.

also, on the east side of the lake, about three miles away is the town of Johnsburg, IL, which was namechecked in TWO songs: Tom Waits' "Johnsburg, IL" and the Handsome Family song "In the Air", from the album of the same name. It's a tiny town, maybe a thousand people. Same as mine.

gear (gear), Saturday, 31 December 2005 06:40 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't have a hometown, really, but I don't know any songs about either the place I was born (Palo Alto) or grew up in the general vicinity of (Rochester). Someday I will write the Palo Alto Rochester Blues.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Saturday, 31 December 2005 07:33 (fourteen years ago) link

There a really terrible Tom Cochrane song about a club in Vancouver (where i live)

Freud Junior (Freud Junior), Saturday, 31 December 2005 08:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Taxi Girl - PARIS

snowballing (snowballing), Saturday, 31 December 2005 10:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Sods: Copenhagen ("Copenhagen cancer city kill")
Love Shop: Copenhagen Dreaming

Jay-Kid (Jay-Kid), Saturday, 31 December 2005 10:45 (fourteen years ago) link

"Susie Cincinnati" The Beach Boys
"Cincinnati Fatback" Roogalotor
"Cincinnati Jail" Lonnie Mack
"Camp Washington Chili" Lonnie Mack
"Oh Atlanta" Little Feat (describes CVG airport)
"Cincinnati Daddy" Duke Ellington
"Cincinnati Stomp" Big Joe Duskin
"Cincinnati Dancing Pig" Tennesse Ernie Ford
"The Cincinnati Kid" Ray Charles

m coleman (lovebug starski), Saturday, 31 December 2005 12:14 (fourteen years ago) link

John cale - PARIS 1919
(on est dans la place, mister boule de neige!)

My life with Baaderonixx and the Choco-pops babies (Fabfunk), Saturday, 31 December 2005 14:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I think the song's called "The Pop Place" or something (it's on the third Trashcan Sinatras album, a Happy Pocket) but it does namecheck my hometown of Dumfries, Scotland.

Binjominia (Brilhante), Saturday, 31 December 2005 14:43 (fourteen years ago) link

there have never been any songs written about either brooklyn or new york to my knowledge.

is this an institution of learning or a teenage brothel? (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 31 December 2005 14:44 (fourteen years ago) link

although technically i was born in queens. one day i'll write a song called "queens."

is this an institution of learning or a teenage brothel? (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 31 December 2005 14:45 (fourteen years ago) link

pharoahe monch beat you to it

jermaine (jnoble), Saturday, 31 December 2005 15:46 (fourteen years ago) link

i won't tell if you won't

is this an institution of learning or a teenage brothel? (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 31 December 2005 15:48 (fourteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...

The Tannahill Weavers, "Gloomy Winter's Noo Awa'"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiwXsaPR14w

Sonny Shamrock (Tom D.), Friday, 31 July 2020 17:49 (one week ago) link

The Fegs, "Mill Street Law and Order"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-Gm9OXQFog

Sonny Shamrock (Tom D.), Friday, 31 July 2020 17:50 (one week ago) link

... (translation) All coppers are bastards.

Sonny Shamrock (Tom D.), Friday, 31 July 2020 17:55 (one week ago) link

Beside the ones already mentioned (love ´em both : Cale and Taxi Girl), to me the best is « Paris S’Eveille » by Dutronc.

AlXTC from Paris, Friday, 31 July 2020 17:59 (one week ago) link

Oh you'll have hundreds of them, I don't have many to choose from, that Tannahill Weavers one is lovely though.

Sonny Shamrock (Tom D.), Friday, 31 July 2020 18:01 (one week ago) link

We love to get down in Ypsilanti.
https://youtu.be/e_vyGFvPaMs

BrianB, Friday, 31 July 2020 18:18 (one week ago) link


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