Friday, July 11, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special What's in a Name? Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to Austin, Texas for a meet-up of role playing game enthusiasts in the company of Dungeons and Dragons afficianado Allen Butler, a/k/a the author of How to Care For Your Eyeglasses.

Daddy needs a new Sword of Wounding, bitches!!!!

Sorry, got carried away there. What I meant to say is that posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Best Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Song With a Name in the Title (That Was Written About an Actual Person)!!!

Arbitrary rule: Songs with the complete name of a celebrity -- i.e., "Robert DeNiro's Waiting" -- need not apply, although songs about celebrities not completely named -- i.e., "Salman" (if there were such a song about the great Rushdie) -- are okay.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Eight:

8. The Smashing Pumpkins -- For Martha

Jeebus fuck, Billy Corgan again? What's he been in now -- the last fifteen Listomanias? Anyway, this one is about his mother Martha.

7. The Rolling Stones -- Angie

Angie, as in David Bowie's then wife, who apparently Mick was boinking.

6. A tie --

Buddy Holly -- Peggy Sue


Ritchie Valens -- Donna

I think there's a cautionary lesson here: Write a song about a would-be girlfriend and die in a plane crash.

5. Neil Sedaka -- Oh Carol

For Carole King. Neil apparently had a teenage crush on her.

4. The Kinks -- David Watts

Ray based this on a real guy he met on an early Kinks tour -- not the abominable golden schoolboy of the lyric, but some local politico who in Ray's words, "had the whole town like this!".

3. Derek and the Dominos -- Layla

Eric Clapton's love letter to George Harrison's wife. Said it before and I'll say it again, it's amazing to me that Eric and George remained life long friends.

2. The Knack -- My Sharona

As in Sharona Alperin, now a real estate agent in L.A. The love of the teenaged Doug Fieger's young life, apparently.

And the number one pop/rock record about a real, live, actually existing person is, I can't believe we're even arguing about this it's so fricking obvious, is --

1. The Beatles -- Sexy Sadie

About the Maharishi, natch. Lennon changed it to avoid making trouble but later regretted it as a cop-out. In hindsight, of course, it's a much better song for the ambiguity.

Alrighty now -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (pretty amusing, I think) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you leave a comment, an angel gets its wings.]


geor3ge said...

How 'bout Dylan's "Song to Woody"?

Celebrity, I know, but just the first name. And, for street cred, Dylan actually met him.

Anonymous said...

The Replacements - "Alex Chilton"

Anonymous said...

whoops, missed the celebrity angle. Instead, I'll submit the Ramones' "Judy is a Punk"

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

John Fogerty - "Zanz Kan't Danz", later changed to Vanz Can't Danz, after Saul Zaentz sued...

Don McClean - "Vincent" - I had this on 8-track...

10.000 Maniacs - "Hey, Jack Kerouac"

Joni Mitchell - "Amelia"

Dave Alvin - "Everett Ruess"

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Stones -- Ruby Tuesday, 'bout a groupie friend of Keith's is the story i heard (how's that for a citation to authority?)

Kinks -- Mr. Churchill Says we gotta black up the windows and nail up the doors & keep right on till the end of the war

Anonymous said...

Beatles: Eleanor Rigby
Dylan: Rubin "hurricane" carter
Beatles: Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Dion: abraham , martin & john

Avedon said...

Or "Martha". Also "Lather".

Or "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine". Also "Janis".

Although, of course, these didn't much chart.

Feral said...

The Beatles - Ballad of John and Yoko. Self-referential, but I think it fits.

Allman Bros - In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant

Mojo Nixon - Elvis is Everywhere

TMink said...

We're The Replacements - TMBG
Edison Museum - Same
Meet James Ensor - Same
James K. Polk - Guess Who, I mean, you know

I have three more on the tip of my tongue but I cannot read them till I get my coffee.


Anonymous said...

Moody Blues - Timothy Leary

Anonymous said...

Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
Crosby, Stills and Nash - Suite: Judy blue eyes (about judy collins)
The Who - Pictures of Lily (Lily Langtree)

Anonymous said...

John Lennon: "Oh, Yoko"

Chuck Berry/ Beatles: "Roll Over, Beethoven"

Byrds: "Pretty Boy Floyd"

NYMary said...

Redd Kross:
-Debbie & Kim (Debbie Gibson and Kim Gordon)
-Annie's Gone (Ann Magnuson)
Linda Blair
-Janus, Jeannie and George Harrison
-Mackenzie (Mackenzie Phillips)

Avedon said...

Er, sorry, I think that should have been "Janis".

Anonymous said...

I Agree With Pat Metheny - Richard Thompson
Amelia Earhart's Last Flight - Ronnie Lane
2 H.B. - Roxy Music

and 2 from Mojo Nixon
-Debbie Gibson is pregnant with my Two-Headed Love Child
-Don Henly Must Die

Anonymous said...

James Dean" by the Eagles

"Keith Don't Go" by Nils Lofgren was about Keith Richards

Bo Diddley--Bo Diddley

Henry VIII -Herman's Hermits

Anonymous said...

Hey Jude - Beatles

Anonymous said...

Weezer's "Buddy Holly" and, uh, Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" (supposedly about Caroline Kennedy).

I win!

Anonymous said...

Er...on second thought, maybe not (I missed the "full name" rule). So, in its stead I'd like to nominate Dylan's "Hurricane."

B Northcut said...

Robyn Hitchcock:
"I saw Nick Drake"

Anonymous said...


TMink said...

Stevie Nicks Sit on My Face - I forgot who did that


Anonymous said...

Carrie Anne -by the Hollies
was about Marianne Faithful

Unknown said...

Go Betweens- "Lee Remick"
Elvis Costello - "Alison"
Manhattan Love Suicides - "Suzy Jones"
Tullycraft - "Georgette Plays a Goth" and "The Cursed Miss Maybelline"
Television - "Venus"
Dream Syndicate - "John Coltrane Stereo Blues"
The Owls "Peppermint Patty" and "Isaac Bashevis Singer"
R. E. M. - "Wendell Gee" and "Mr Richards"
Magnetic Fields - "Xavier Says"
VU "Lucy Says" and "Sweet Jane"
Heavenly - "Ben Sherman"
Sprites - "George Romero"
O.M.D. - "Joan of Arc"
Cars Can Be Blue - "Tom Petty Hair"

TMBG - "John Lee, Supertaster"

TJWood said...

My five randoms for this category, in no rhyme or reason order:

1a) Paul McCartney--The Lovely Linda
1b) Paul McCartney--Heather
Neither song is exactly a masterpiece by even solo McCartney standards, but it's not a tough guess as to which one Macca regrets having written.

2) Bob Dylan--It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, said to be written about fellow singer-songwriter David Blue

3a) John Lennon--Oh, Yoko
3b) John Lennon--Dear Yoko

4) Kula Shaker--Grateful When You're Dead/Jerry Was There--referencing both the Grateful Dead and its leader who passed away the year before the song was released

5) Patti Smith--Frederick--written for husband-to-be, the late Fred "Sonic" Smith. Steve, I remember vividly, raved about this song in his review of the 1979 Patti Smith Group album, Wave

Note to Trey: "Sit On My Face, Stevie Nicks" was done by the Rotters in 1978.

Anonymous said...

Rosalie - Thin Lizzy (Rosalie Trombey, DJ)

MBowen said...

'Til Tuesday - "J For Jules"(about Jules Shear, who had just split with Aimee)

Barcelona - "Haunted By The Ghost of Patty" (about Patty Donohue, late singer of The Waitresses)

The Beach Boys - "Caroline, No" (about an old girlfriend of Tony Asher's)

Steve Earle - "Condi, Condi" (about his crush on the Secretary of State)

The Flaming Lips - "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" (about Yoshimi P-We, drummer for The Boredoms)

Rickie Lee Jones - "Chuck E's In Love" (about former running buddy Chuck E. Weiss)

The Left Banke - "Walk Away, Renee" (about Renee Fladen-Kamm, "then-girlfriend of The Left Banke's bassist Tom Finn and object of Brown's affection.", per Wikipedia)

Loudon Wainwright III - "Rufus Is A Tit Man" (about his son...oh, the ironies)

R.E.M. - "Monty Got A Raw Deal" (Montgomery Clift, honey!)

Will Rigby - "Leanin' On Bob" (about Bob Dylan)

Patti Smith - "Kimberly" (about her little sister)

The Young Fresh Fellows - "Hank, Karen, & Elvis" (Williams, Carpenter, and Presley, respectively)

B Northcut said...

noice list, nyc

Anonymous said...

I've got a kickass one

The Verlaines "Death and the Maiden"

Anonymous said...

Cool Korean Power Pop

Peppertones - Ready, Get Set, Go!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! I can't believe nobody (including me) mentioned Lennon's "Julia" yet.

One of the Beatles prettiest, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Right now I've got Hello Sandy Allen by Split Enz playing, about the world's tallest woman.

Claudette - Roy Orbison/The Everly Brothers (Roy's wife)
Boom Boom Mancini - Warren Zevon
Jools And Jim - Pete Townshend (NME writers Julie Birchill and Tony Parsons)
Annette's Got The Hits - Redd Kross (which I'm assuming is about the Mousketeer)
Michael Picasso - Ian Hunter (his partner in crime and all around guitar hero Mick Ronson)
Stuffin' Martha's Muffin - Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper (love song for the original MTV veejay pixie)

TuneLovinJacket said...

The Hudson Brothers - Sweet Cindy
The Pirates - Gibson Martin Fender
The Jazz Butchers - President Reagan's Birthday Present
Screaming Blue Messiahs - President Kennedy's mile
Camper Van Beethoven - Joe Stalin's Cadillac

Anonymous said...

I know it doesn't quite fit the very limited criteria, but I couldn't resist adding "Jilted John" to the list.

steve simels said...

Well, as long as everybody is breaking the rules and including songs about celebs using their full names -- tsk tsk -- my all time favorite is:

The Jazz Butcher: Shirley MacLaine

"I've had a thing for Shirley MacLaine since I was this high..."

Anonymous said...

Hey, as long as everybody's breaking the rules and using full names of celebs, I'll use one of my faves:

Jean Arthur by Robbie Fulks

Any woman God's made yet
Stands like a rough draft by her
She could light one cigarette
And smile while the world caught fire
And a voice so pure and sweet
Violins admit defeat
And the angel of whom I speak
That's God's Jean Arthur

Anonymous said...

late to the game! 37 comments??

anyway, i'm gonna try my challenge and so i'm writing a special name song about a special someone, but in the meantime, whoohoo! i already have a name song:

weary heart (for townes) that i wrote for townes van zandt. you have to click on the actual song title on the page, otherwise, 222-blue plays automatically.

Anonymous said...

"Harry Truman", by Chicago

And surely the shortest entry:

"Farewell to John Denver", by Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Anonymous said...

Sonic Youth - Tunic (Song for Karen [Carpenter])

VU - Candy Says [Candy Darling]

And everything on nymary's list. How did I not know that Annie's Gone was about Ann Magnuson?

Unknown said...

thanks for the kudos, virgotex

a couple more, not from the winamp

dB's - "Sharon," "Judy" and "Ask for Jill"

Anonymous said...

best song about a girl ever:
Dave Edmunds, Deborah

X -- Riding with Mary (about exene's sister)

Anonymous said...