Friday, July 14, 2006

25 First Lines


Thank you, everybody for an overwhelming response. The phone lines are now closed and the winner is....


I know you all think he's an irritating know-nothing tosser but he really does know his stuff. He got the last two right and knew every other one, too. His knowledge of popular music is second to none (well, maybe Fearne Cotton runs him close). He is an expert on Black American Music 1957 - 2003. In fact that's the title of his doctorate, although I know he's been too shy to make this known publicly. But after the press leak revealing his £600,000 salary I'm sure you'd all like to know a bit about the real Chris and judge him for his knowledge, not for his wanky persona.

Everybody's doin' it, doin' it, doin' it.
Everybody's doin' 25 first lines.
(e.g. Billy and Patroclus)

But of course I haven't got the readership to do it.

But bollocks, I'm going to do it anyway. Come on, I must have at least 8 readers, three songs each?

I've listed the first lines (or more or less) of 25 songs. All you've got to do is tell us the names of the songs and the performers without googling for them. Come on, it's only a game. You're not all cynical bastards, are you?

Some of them are easy, some of them are hard. Some of them I hate but most of them I like. I haven't got that many songs on my mp3 player so I can't do a random play and make this the real thing, but these are some songs that are in my mind at the moment.

The person who guesses most right gets to wear a smug smile like the one currently on my face. I'll get back to everybody when I can, work and shopping permitting. I will also write a little bit about why I like or hate each song. So you see, this post could run and run. But probably won't.

So without further ado, here goes...

1. In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream...BORN TO RUN BY BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. Identified by Kapitano.
This always, always makes the hairs on my neck stand to attention. And it's not even from Bruce's best album which of course is Darkness on the Edge of Town.

2. Start spreading the news...NEW YORK NEW YORK BY FRANK SINATRA. Identified by Patroclus.
Yes, I hate this song for one reason. Wedding receptions. Say no more.

3. You're everywhere and nowhere, baby...HI-HO SILVER LINING BY JEFF BECK. Identified by Occasional Poster of Comments.
I should hate this song for one reason. Wedding receptions. But I don't. I love it.

4. Step right up, hurry hurry...Before the show begins...My friends...Stand in line, get your tickets, I hope you will attend...It'll only cost you fifty cents to see...What life has done to those like you and me...See the man with the broken heart, you'll see that he is sad, he hurts so bad (So bad, so bad)...See the girl who has lost the only love she ever had...There's got to be no sadder show to see...No doubt about it, satisfaction's guaranteed...SIDESHOW BY BARRY BIGGS. Identified by Chris Moyles (see comments).

5. When the night has come...STAND BY ME BY BEN E KING. Identified by Patroclus.
I know this is a classic 'n' all but I have an irrational dislike of it. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's because I'd rather have a nice sit down.

6. Goodbye England's Rose...CANDLE IN THE WIND (SONG FOR DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES) BY SIR ELTON JOHN. Presumably identified by everybody but I'm sure nobody would want their name against it.
We want a song for Diana's funeral, Elton. Can you write one?
I'll ask Bernie....Bernie? Can you write some words for Diana?
Diana who?
Our friend Diana. Princess of Hearts.
The football team?
Now you're taking the piss.
OK. But it's going to take some time.
We've got 24 hours till the funeral.
I'll come up with something.
You'd better.
I've never let you down yet, Reg.

7. I can't seem to face up to the facts...PSYCHO KILLER BY TALKING HEADS. Identified by Billy.
I love the first four albums by Talking Heads so much. 77 was the first alternative type album I ever bought and look at me now. The indie King! Remember the South Bank Show feature on the Heads? No sign of head shitting there, was there?

8. I was lost, lost on the by-pass road...HOMETOWN UNICORN BY SUPER FURRY ANIMALS. Identifed by Billy.
From the first album by the best band to come out of the Britpop era by a country mile. Melodies and singing that Damon Albarn could only dream of.

9. Beat-up little seagull, on a marble stair...BALTIMORE BY RANDY NEWMAN. Identified by Hannah.
My number one favourite lyricist. There is a superb reggae version of this by The Tamlins (as introduced to me by Betty).

10. Girl I can understand how it might be kind of hard to love a guy like me...I don't blame you much for wanting to be free...I just wanted you to know I've loved you better that your own kin did...From the very start it's my own fault...What happens to my heart...You see I've always known you'd go...DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO BY THE FOUR TOPS. Identified by Chris Moyles (see comments).

11. Well I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused...THE ANGELS WANNA WEAR MY RED SHOES BY ELVIS COSTELLO. Indentified by Patroclus.
I loved Elvis throughout my twenties and early thirties. Now his voice mostly annoys me but I do still like about 15 of his songs, this one included.

12. In a little while from now, if I'm not feeling any less sour...ALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY BY GILBERT O'SULLIVAN. Identified by
Morrissey likes Gilbert and so he bloody should. So should everyone. This is a very sad song and it makes me cry.

13. Shame on the man who pursued her, the villain who viciously wooed her...THE TATTOOED LADY BY PETER SKELLERN. Identified by Molly Bloom.
There's nothing I'd like more than to be able to walk out in the evening to nice country pub, have a few drinks and be entertained on the piano by Peter Skellern. It's not going to happen, though - it would more likely be Richard Stilgoe.

14. Well I was looking at a movie on the tv last night...Then I had a very funny notion, yeah! I really had to write a song about it...KING KONG SONG BY ABBA. Identified by
I love the ABBA women but you've gotta give Bjorn his due as a singer, too. And as we say in this house, he does have a hot little ass in those trousers.

15. A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace, and rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace...CLOSE TO THE EDGE - THE SOLID TIME OF CHANGE BY YES. Identified by Heather.
I told myself I must hate Yes for 23 years after loving them in my teens. I've just bought 5 albums by them. Oh dear.

16. Well I went to a party at the local county jail...RUBBER BULLETS BY 10CC. Identified by
They showed 10cc live from 1973 on BBC4 last week. The audience were dead. But the band were HOT! Whatcha gonna do about it? Whatcha gonna do?

17. Uh, what's happening CC? They still call it the White House but that's a temporary condition, too...Can you dig it, CC?...CHOCOLATE CITY BY PARLIAMENT. Identified by D. Prince.
"And don't be surprised if Ali is in the White House...Reverend Ike, Secretary of the Treasure...Richard Pryor, Minister of Education...Stevie Wonder, Secretary of FINE arts...And Miss Aretha Franklin, the First Lady"........."God bless Chocolate City and its vanilla suburbs." I should really have been going to see George Clinton in the late seventies instead of Rick Wakeman and Rush.

18. When I wake up, in the morning light...JEANS ON BY DAVID DUNDAS. Identified by Kapitano.
David Dundas is a real Lord. And this song was used to advertise the great BRUTUS jeans which I loved. I love the song, too.

19. I'm the shy boy, you're the coy boy...HOMOSAPIEN BY PETE SHELLEY. Identified by
Pete did do some good work outside the Buzzcocks. And this was it. Great jumping around music to a rythmic acoustic guitar. The 12 inch single rocks.

20. I was born in Stratford, in nineteen thirty-four...

21. T! R! E! X!...THE GROOVER BY T. REX. Identified by Tim Footman.
No, it's not a margarine. It's the name of the band. The best of glam. There was once a fight at our junior school between two boys, because one liked Marc Bolan and the other liked Gary Glitter. I think if the kids could've joined in then, the Marc Bolan boy would've got his head kicked in. I don't think there'd be the same result with the same protagonists now.

22. Forgot my six-string razor...ALL THE WAY TO MEMPHIS BY MOTT THE HOOPLE. Identified by Heather.
You've gotta love Mott The Hoople and you've gotta read Ian Hunter's Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star if you want to know how things really are on the road.

23. Tell her try your best just to make it quick, whom attend to the sick...NIGHT NURSE BY GREGORY ISAACS. Identified by Molly Bloom.
NOT a song about the famous cold and flu remedy, although Gregory does need something for that throat of his. I've loved this song for a very long time.

24. When you first left me I was wanting more...but you were fucking that girl next door...What'd you do that for?...SMILE BY LILY ALLEN. Identified by Nibus.
Yes, the current number one single really starts like that. And our children are buying it! If she thinks she's Althea and Donna mixed into one, she is seriously deluded.

25. I was working part time in a five-and-dime...My boss was Mr. McGee...RASPBERRY BERET BY PRINCE. Identified by Patroclus.
See Elvis Costello - used to love him, now like about 15 songs. This is one of his best.


  1. I'll go with:

    11. The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes - Elvis Costello

    25. Raspberry Beret - Prince

  2. And don't make me even think about the Princess Di version of Candle in the Wind.

  3. number 7 is psycho killer by talking heads, featuring legendary jobbie-balancer david byrne.
    number 8 is hometown unicorn by the super furry animals.
    number 17, I don't know it, but wasn't CC the guitarist off of Poison?

  4. 3 out of 3, P.

    But is England's Rose one of my favourites?

    I'll update the post later.

  5. Yes, yes and I don't know, Billy.

    It could be Christopher Cross.

  6. Erm:

    2. 'New York, New York' - Frank Sinatra

    16. 'Jailhouse Rock' - Elvis Presley

  7. 6. Elton John 'Candle in the wind' (sorry Patroclus, I don't know many of the others)
    18. The Beegees 'How Deep is your love'
    22. Bryan Adams 'Summer of 69' but I could be wrong about that one.

    I knew the Elvis one too. God my musical tastes must be mainstream.

  8. 5. 'Stand By Me' by Ben E. King?

  9. 5 is Stand by me by Ben E. King

    22 is all the way from Memphis by Mott The Hoople I think.

    15 Is The Solid Time of Change by Yes.

    The quiz is still running over at mine- I'll be posting the results up tonight.

  10. Bugger, Patroclus beat me to it for number 5, see that's what I get for dithering!

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  12. 2. Start spreading the news...
    New York, New York. Usually sung by Frank Sinatra. When not being murdered by karaoke singers.

    6. Goodbye England's Rose...

    That eyestabbingly bad version of Candle In The Wind, by some rich old queen.

    7. I can't seem to face up to the facts...

    Psycho Killer, by Talking Heads. I was once in a band that covered it.

    16. Well I went to a party at the local county jail...

    Jailhouse Rock, by Colonel Parker's Frontman.

    18. When I wake up, in the morning light...

    "I pull on my jeans and I feel alright."

    Jeans On, and I have absolutely no idea who sang it.

    19. I'm the shy boy, you're the coy boy...

    Homosapien, by Pete Shelley! Contains the wonderfully uncloseted lyrics:

    "I'm the cruiser, you're the loser
    Me and you sir are homosapien too."


    "Homosuperior, in my interior."

  13. Oh yeah, I forgot:

    1. In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream...

    Born To Run, by Bruce Springsteen. Or Frankie Goes To Hollywood. One looks like a redneck but is on the political left. The other looks subversive, but was always a sellout.

    25. I was working part time in a five-and-dime...My boss was Mr. McGee...

    Raspberry Beret, by Prince. He's bsessed with sex, god, and purple things.

  14. Frangelita, it pains to me to admit to knowing this, but the first line of 'Summer of '69' is 'Got my first real six-string, bought it in the five-and-dime'.

    In fact to my horror it appears that I know *all* the words to 'Summer of '69'. How did this happen?

  15. Hmm, the five-and-dime has become a leitmotif for this might help if I knew what a five-and-dime actually is.

  16. Wow, this is the way to get comments! I can't keep up and I've got to go to the supermarket tonight.

    As young Mr Grace would say, "You're all doing really well."

    But it's NOT Elvis The Pelvis.

    Jailhouse Rock starts with "The warden threw a party in the county jail."

    I could feel my leg vibrating as I wrote that.

    I don't know what a five and dime is and I don't think I have any readers from the USA. We might have to google that one.

  17. One of the reasons I left work was because my colleague Hamish loved 10cc (16 - is it rubber bullets?) and Gilbert O’Sullivan (12 - Alone again).
    I know some of the good ones as well.

  18. I like the cut of Hamish's jib, Kaz. I'm sorry I brought those songs back to you but they're favourites in our house.

  19. 'The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes' is a great song. Have you heard the Hem cover of it? And I know this is utter heresy but 'Alison' is probably my least favourite song off 'My Aim Is True', whereas 'I'm Not Angry' is probably my favourite. So *there*, rock music journalists.

  20. Everybody beat me to my old faves. Costello, Mott,Talking Heads, Elton(GBYBR Elton!) great idea.

    I actually stopped by to tell you that I had the best larf all week with your Gimme Dat comment on Vicus! Did the Pipkins ever do anything else?

  21. Yes, Ian Hunter - a man who looks cool in sunglasses inside at night.

  22. Patroclus - Sorry, I haven't heard the Hem version. Ahem, I haven't heard of Hem. I used to like Alison but I really don't like the verse that starts "I see you've got a husband now..."

    HE - The Gimme Dat thing was actually done in the seventies on The Big Match. I just added the violence.

    Krusty - Whereas Bono...

  23. 9) Baltimore - written by Randy Newman, performed by Nina Simone, covered by The Gray at V2003. Brilliant stuff.

    Yay, I got one!!!

    (Tell me I'm wrong and I'll have to kill you.)

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  25. 24 is Lily Allen's Smile

  26. Seriously, has no-one got Hi-Ho Silver Lining yet? Number 3 - Jeff Beck.

    I can hear Tom Waits singing number 4, in his Circus barker persona, like at the beginning of the Black Rider. Apparently, it's not him, though. But, dammit, it should be.

  27. I was just going to write Hi Ho Silver lining for No 3, because I'm of that age, too, but I've been buggery beaten to it.

  28. 21 is 'The Groover' by, uh, T. Rex, maybe? (The clue's in the question.)

  29. 17 is: Chocolate City by Parliament.

  30. Thank you all for your contributions, and you're all right.

    So you can't kill me, Hannah.

    Only 6 left!

  31. Oh, the fun that's been had while I've been away! And to think I could have answered some of those... really! I don't know the answers to the remaining clues, however so I'm out of the game.

    But I learned something...
    All this time I thought I had the lyrics wrong to Close to the Edge. I said to myself, "they couldn't possibly be saying 'rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace'"
    Yet there it is. I thought it was a case of misunderstood lyrics.

  32. Sorry MJ. I didn't think this would take off so quickly.

    Whatever you think Jon Anderson's singing, he usually is. Just don't have the liver and bacon round at his.

  33. Damn...I got here too late for this. Sorry. I'll have a look and see if I can do any of the ones left.

  34. 13. Is this 'Lydia (the tattooed lady) - but lots of people sang that song - Groucho Marx, Kirsty MacColl, Kermit the Frog even. I'm going for Kermit. Oh go on...lemme have it. I'd be well impressed if you had the Kermit version.

  35. 23. Is it 'Night Nurse' Greg Isaacs.

    Night Nuhurhurse..great song.

  36. 14 is from an ABBA song. Their little known Satanist period I think....dh

  37. Raspberry Beret is such a fine song. It's one of those songs where you think...Raspberry Beret is about to come on...tra la la..washing up....and then it starts and you hear those first few seconds and you think...flippin' eck I'm stopping the washing up now. And you start to dance and smile.

  38. Have just gone on massive Prince downloading spree, thanks for that Molly! I'm now re-living summer 1984, or is it 1985? Mmm, neon t-shirts.

  39. I do love Prince, so many of his songs just make me happy and want to dance.

    Geoff, don't put yourself down for going to see Rush and Rick Wakeman, I actually had a summer of prog a couple of years ago, seeing Yes, Rush and Peter Gabriel live all within 2 months. It may be sad but it was brilliant.

  40. You're setting a personal comment record here, Geoff.

    I'm a YES fan so you can turn up the volume.

  41. Neon t-shirts? Did you put one on just for jolly so that you could dance around? I'm impressed.

    Raaaaaspberry Beret! Hurrah!

  42. Neon t-shirts? Did you put one on just for jolly so that you could dance around? I'm impressed.

    Raaaaaspberry Beret! Hurrah!

  43. Did I get 13 and 23 then?

  44. Did you know that "Jeans On" had been done by Mr Keith Urban? My daughters absolutely love it, but every time I hear it, I just think of Lord Dund Ass on ToTP.

  45. Molly - It isn't Lydia (the tattooed lady)but another song called The Tattooed Lady sung by Peter Skellern and written by O'Keefe, whoever he or she is. Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs is correct too, although I had the words wrong for 25 years as I always thought he was singing "woman tend to the sick." Like an order.

    DH - It is King Kong Song by ABBA (how do they reverse the 1st B). It's off Waterloo - the 30th Anniversary Edition out a couple of years ago.

    And what's my connection between Yes and Prince? Theirs were the only 2 live performances I've seen in the round at Wembley Arena. I saw Bruce Springsteen there as well but he was up the end and might as well have been playing in a different venue.

    I haven't heard Keith Urban's version, Rob. Has it got the Mungo Jerry style "ch ch"?

  46. Is no 4 something to do with a cartoon?

  47. I don't think so, Richard.

    Though it could be the beginning of Billy Smart's circus.

  48. I have to admit Geoff, I ruled myself out by cheating, however, I'm none the wiser because it's one that I don't recognise whatsoever although I dare say I'd know it if I heard it. The "cartoon" thing was a misunderstood reference because this track featured on a soundtrack to a film that shares a name with a popular contemporary cartoon series. Apparently. I now realise there's a large basket full of popular culture I'm completely unfamiliar with.

  49. Geoff, Urban does do a bit of the "ch ch." Drop me an email (mcmrbt [at] gmail [dot] com if you want it!

  50. Chris Moyles1:33 PM

    50th comment, Geoff. This is a record for you, isn't it?

    Of course I know numbers 4 and 10! I'm a Radio 1 DJ and we all have to have a vast popular music knowledge. I specialise in black music. Yes me, Chris Moyles, future MOBO nominee. I heard Gary Crowley on some Gold radio station or other yesterday playing a Motown song. You see, we're all versed in all sorts of music, just in case our BBC careers go belly up.

    Anyway, number 4 is a piece of piss - Sideshow by Barry Biggs. I love a bit of poppy souly reggae, me. Did you know it was a cover of a Blue Magic song? The Philly soul band? There you go, learn something new every day.

    And number 10 is of course Do What you Gotta Do by the Four Tops. Written by the great Jimmy Webb, no less. No one put MY cake out in the rain, I would've killed them if they had. I love cake, me. Heh heh.

    I actually knew every one of those songs, Geoff. Even the Yes one. Comedy Dave's a massive Yes fan. He pretends he likes Starsailor but no-one with brains REALLY likes that shit. We just pretend we do for our student audience. Fuck me, how easy it is to get a degree nowadays!

    I couldn't get number 20 though, Geoff. You've stumped me there, mate.

    Anyway, see you at Glastonbury next year? No, thought not, you lightweight! We're gonna play a practical joke on Keane. Public school wankers!

    Heh, heh, heh, see ya!

  51. Pah - so much for the blogosphere stamping all over Big Media. We was robbed, my comrades in arms, the big, bullying, hegemonic culture industry...again...where's Theodor Adorno when we need him?


  52. Richard Fleeshamn4:02 PM

    Oi, Moyles, I bet you don't half smell in this weather

  53. chris moyles10:47 PM

    fuck off, fleeshman. at least i'm legal.