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When we remember great songs it is usually the melody that comes to mind but aren't all the very best songs a marriage between wonderful music and great lyrics.
My musical "heyday" was the late 50s and the 60s but if you ask me to name my favourite musical eras they would be before I was born. The 1920s to 40s produced, what I consider, to be the greatest song writers of all time with the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart/Hammerstein, etc. Their music is still immensely popular 80 to 90 years later and the lyrics fitted their music perfectly and were, in so many cases, extremely well crafted and clever with people still remembering and singing them today.
A couple of Oscar Hammersteins extremely clever lyrics can be heard in "Ole Man River" from Showboat and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" from Oklahoma but there were so many wonderful songs from that period with lyrics that you were able to relate to and that is why, I believe, they are still popular today.
What song lyrics do you find memorable? Perhaps you like something far more up to date than me.
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One of my favs is a little number called " The Bertha Butt Boogie " , That and " Long Shot Kick De Bucket " ......
Odd really because the rest of my favs are all by " The Stones " ..... Far to many to list, But here is a snippet of lyric " Running For The Shelter Of Her Mothers Little Helper " ...Plus truck loads of others, Some political, Some just memorable for personal reasons, Like " The Girl With Far Away Eye's " .......Oh! Boy thats enough of that Mr C.....
For me, memorable lyric wise it has to be Fairytale Of New York by the Pogues with Kirstie McColl, up until then all christmas songs had to be cheesy and a bit naff, with jingle bells somewhere in the production, but Shane opens the song with his wonderfully pained vocal declaring "It was christmas eve babe, in the drunk tank....."
Then the Irish Jigging starts in earnest as the intro gives way to the full splendour of the harmonies and melodies, and then Kirstie, bold as anything, paints the most vivid image of some magical place which is probably nowhere but in their own artistic heads.
The most memorable part of the song which always makes me laugh is the;
You scum bag
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God It's our last!
Musically its very traditional, lyrical wise it was quite harsh but also poetic and romantic, and yet still strangely festive, and those lyrics above only need to be heard once and it will be imprinted on memory forever. It remains my most treasured christmas song ever, nothing shouts louder than this at christmas time, though it even sounds the dogs b........ in wet rainy november
I fully agree with Alexandra - 'Fairytale' has to be my favourite Christmas tune because the lyrics are so beautifully crafted very 'visual' (if that makes sense). I guess the best lyrics are like any type of writing, they allow the listener/reader to visualise the scene.
Quote: I guess the best lyrics are like any type of writing, they allow the listener/reader to visualise the scene.
Yes, I quite agree. That is why I listed "Surrey with a Fringe on Top". It is not my all time favourite but it tells a story and you can't help but visualise the scene.
Joe Walsh..........." You can cover up your guts, but when you cover up your nuts, your admitting that there must be something wrong"
....and he painted "Matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs"....just my twopennorth.
Tom Waits describing a super drunk night in the city " i was using parking meters as walking sticks" is just sublime . He has to be in the top two songwriters of my era
Many a song and many a liric work i think if it realates to an occasion you remember it well and sometimes read emotion into it.
Just done an Animoto video for a wedding with James Morrison ( you make it real) as the track which was the first dance song, to my own ends the photography was chosen to suit but I was in bloody tears when i whatched it.
anyone familiar with the lyrics to Birdhouse In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants? It came out in 1990 i think, that song just reminds me of a being in the back of a car during a trip back from some party in Northamptonshire, and somehow, all mashed and muntered, i mimed those lyrics much to the amusement of everyone in that car right then, it just came from nowhere, never mimed to a song before or since, i still get texts from Emma now and then telling me she heard my song on the radio or whatever, totally random but bang on topic
Can't help shouting this every time I go past the shop -
There's a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets !
Half Man Half Biscuit- National ***** Day
and this bizarre one from has stuck in my head for over 25 years -
It's not class or ideology,
colour, creed, or roots
The only thing that unites us is ........
.......Dr Martin's Boots !!!!!!!
Alexi Sayle in the Young Ones.
Squeeze in their heyday were very clever wordsmiths. One of my favourites (from Up the Junction..)
"one morning at four fifty
I took a rather nifty
down to an incubator
where thirty minutes later
she gave birth to a daughter
within a year a walker. She looked just like her mother
if there could be another..."
Ok see you Squeeze and raise you with cool for cats which I related to a bit more from my younger days, which probably dates me accurately.
Quote: To change the mood a little
I've been posing down the pub
On seeing my reflection
I'm looking slightly rough
I fancy this, I fancy that
I wanna be so flash
I give a little muscle
And I spend a little cash
But all I get is bitter and a nasty little rash
And by the time I'm sober
I've forgotten what I've had
And ev'rybody tells me that it's cool to be a cat
Cool for cats
And you can watch/listen. Is it Michelle Collins in the video and check out Mr Holland with Cigar.
The Jam also deserve a mention
Quote: Rows and rows of disused milk floats
Stand dying in the dairy yard
And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk
Bottles to their hearts
Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry
It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come
Fast and furious
In a town called malice.
And strangely this sort of sticks with me
Quote: Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Cannot have a decent thread about song lyrics without mentioning the ludicrous je t'aime ...moi non plus by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, even though the song is one of my all time favourites, translated to English this song just makes me laugh until i cry.
I love you, I love you
Oh, yes I love you!
no longer me
Oh, my love…
Like the undecided wave
I go, I go and I come
Between your back
I go and I come
Between your back
And I hold back.
Didnt hold back much did he? Is there some S&M thing going on here?
Serge G may not be to everyones taste but i really enjoy his music, though i speak very little french, i love the way he'd structure his lyrics, and the way he sounded, rarely singing, more like rapping, just talking over a beat, and sometimes barely audible, but always hypnotic, specially to such eclectic musical arrangements. I dont listen to many French performers, Penguin Cafe Orchestra being exception, but Serge takes some beating.
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