Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special The Big Apple Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental concubine secretary Fah Lo Suee and I are off to the Windy City (that's Chicago, to you rubes) to discuss some sort of political appointment with Governor Rod however-you-spell-his-last-name (what do you want from me, it's vaguely ethnic). I understand his lovely wife will be putting her two cents in as well, so it should be a colorful weekend, although no doubt we'll have to pay to play if you know what I mean.

In any case, as a result, 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-Beatles Pop/Rock Song/Record About/Referencing New York City and Environs in Title or Lyrics!!!

Okay, no arbitrary rules here, but if you nominate any version of "New York, New York" I will come to your house and kill you AND your family.

Okay, that said, my top of my head Top Seven would be:

7. Dirty Boulevard -- Lou Reed

From the New York City album, obviously. One of Lou's sharpest lyrics, I think, and his cosmic sense of timing on the chorus is a marvel.

6. Tonight, Tonight -- Smashing Pumpkins

Okay, if truth be told this has no connection to New York whatsoever except that it's where Smashing Pumpkins were playing at the time. Thus, we mark the official end of our ongoing project to shoehorn Billy Corgan and his pretentious cueball noggin into every Weekend Listomania theme no matter how tenuous the connection.

You're welcome. Incidentally, I've got an unopened DVD of the Pumpkins most recent two-disc live video collection, "If All Goes Wrong," if anybody wants it. First person to e-mail me...

5. King of the New York Streets -- Dion

From his unjustly overlooked Yo Frankie album in 1990, mostly produced by Dave Edmunds. Proof that Dion's a great songwriter, not just one of the greatest rock voices ever, although the last line has always struck me as a copout.

4. Six O'Clock -- The Lovin' Spoonful

I know, I know, "Summer in the City" would be a more obvious pick, but this one just feels so much like NYC when I lived there. Actually, so do a lot of Spoonful songs -- "Rain on the Roof" comes to mind as well.

3. New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones - Fear

The great Lee Ving on vocals, much beloved of John Belushi.

2. Christmas in Hollis -- Run D.M.C.

That Hollis, Queens, bitches! God, I love this song.

And the number one Big Apple record, it's not even close so don't give me any goddamn attitude, obviously is --

1. New York's a Lonely Town (When You're the Only Surfer Boy Around) -- The Tradewinds

"My woody's outside...covered with snow." That's future Ringo Star associate Vini Poncia, mastermind of the greatest NYC surf song ever, singing lead on Shindig.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (Theme: low budget flicks!] is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and leaving a comment, it helps keep me in good with management. Thanks!]


TJWood said...

The five choices for this one:

1. Simon & Garfunkel: "The Boxer"

2. U2: "Angel of Harlem" (although "New York" would have been a more obvious choice)

3. Bob Dylan: "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" (the "I'm going back to New York City..." line)

4. The Mamas and The Papas: "Twelve Thirty", and to get a left-field choice in there

5. Hello (or Ace Frehley, who did the more popular version): "New York Groove"

Brooklyn Girl said...

Curse you, TJWood! :-)

Four songs by Ben E. King and the Drifters:"On Broadway", "Spanish Harlem", "Under the Boardwalk" and "Up on the Roof"

Springsteen: "10th Avenue Freeze-Out"

Dylan: "Positively 4th Street"

Billy Joel: "52nd Street" (well, at least I didn't say "New York State of Mind")

cthulhu said...

Gonna have to get nitpicky on the "post-Beatles" here...

The Who, Water ("New York skyline is hazy") - from 1970 although unreleased until 1973's Odds 'N Sods album. Studio version is OK, but my fave is from the fabled Young Vic shows in April 1971.

Velvet Underground, Rock and Roll. From their best effort, 1970's Loaded.

Warren Zevon, Networking from the overlooked Transverse City; lyric: "Like Mayans in Manhattan and Los Angeles". Also note that on his 1992 tour, WZ covered Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan. The original was not really post-Beatles.

Donald Fagen, Maxine from his wonderful 1982 The Nightfly.

And a second to Billy Joel's 52nd Street, which is actually a pretty good song and album. Of course, he's totally sucked since then.

Neon Serpent said...

Would it be wrong to reference Alice Cooper's Big Apple Dreaming from Muscle of Love?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


When's the next bus to Oswego? said...

freedy johnston- responsible
('she has gone to new york city...)

velvets- waiting for my man

CoolSchool said...

Livin' for the City-Stevie Wonder
(New York City-just like I pictued it. Skycrappers and everything.)

Anonymous said...


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

He ended up like so many of them do, back on the streets of ... (Nick Cave, Dig Lazarus Dig)

Don’t it make you feel sick? (Ramones, 53rd & 3rd)

There’s UFO’s over New York (J.L. Nobody Told Me) (a fascinating story as most of you know, with John & May Pang on the roof looking at something huge & close)

Anonymous said...

Fairytale of New York. I win.

FeralLiberal said...

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Bowie - Jean Genie
Dr. John - New York City Blues
Simon & Garfunkel - 59th St Bridge Song
10cc - Wall Street Shuffle

Anonymous said...

new york city serenade - springsteen
sheena is a punk rocker - ramones

steve simels said...

Wall St. Shuffle certainly seems pertinent.

Actually, I think the early 10cc is deserving of a major reassessment. Those guys were quite brilliant....

Mike said...

Rockaway Beach - The Ramones

New York Shuffle - Graham Parker

NYC - Steve Earle

New York USA - Serge Gainsbourg

Brooklyn Girls - Black 47

If nobody's had their asses kicked yet for the Billy Joel mentions, how about Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)?

steve simels said...

Tom Waits -- Downtown Train (from "Rain Dogs")

Avoid the awful Rod Stewart version, but the original's a great song/record.

Anonymous said...

Funky Broadway - Wilson Pickett
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City - Nilsson

The Phantom Creep said...

Boogaloo Down Broadway -- Dyke and the Blazers

Anonymous said...

Kitty's Back - Springsteen

ms. rosa said...

"I want to fly, fly, fly..." Dirty Boulevard is one of my fave Lou Reed songs forever and ever. What a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

New York Mining Disaster - Bee Gees

Anonymous said...

heres a good one -
“Life During Wartime”— Talking Heads. “This ain’t no disco . . . This ain’t no Mudd Club.”

“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”— Bob Dylan.“I’m going back to New York City, I do believe I’ve had enough"

Brooklyn Girl said...

"6th Avenue Heartache" - The Wallflowers

"Dancin' in the Streets" - (pick your version): "They're dancin' in Chicago, down in New Orleans, up in New York City" ...

"Truckin' - Grateful Dead: "Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on main street.
Chicago, New York, Detroit and its all on the same street."

MBowen said...

Anonymous @ 10:45 am sez:

Fairytale of New York. I win.

Yep. He does.

Gummo said...

"Truckin' - Grateful Dead: "Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on main street.
Chicago, New York, Detroit and its all on the same street."

"New York's got the ways & means
But just won't let you be, no no"

steves said...

One more S&G song no one's mentioned yet:

"The Only Living Boy in New York."

FeralLiberal said...

I was going to mention "Walk on the Wild Side" earlier, but that one pales in comparison to the other Reed cuts mentioned.

steve simels said...

I can't believe nobody said "The Boy From New York City."

And he's his mohair suit.

Anonymous said...

As a devout Red Sox fan, I'm obligated by law to select ONE anti-NY song, so I'll take Buck Owens' "I Wouldn't Live in New York City (If You Gave Me The Whole Damned Town.") Now that that's of the way - and I DO adore NY -I'll go with:

"Doin' The Things We Want Do" - Louis Reed (Also "Halloween Parade.")
"City Of Immigrants" - Steve Earle
"First We Take Manhattan" - Leonard Cohen
"Chelsea Hotel 1978" - Alejandro Escovedo
"Bleeker & MacDougal" - Fred Neill
"Broadway" - The Clash
"Harlem Shuffle" - Bob & Earl

(And of course The Mehta "Rhapsody in Blue" soaring behind the opening scene of "Manhattan.")
- bill buckner

Anonymous said...

Steve -

Doesn't Dion sing on "Dirty Blvd," or am I thinking of something else? -


MBowen said...

For something a little more post-Beatles (still not in this century, but at least from the '90s), the ridiculously adorable Cub with their paean to New York City, later to be covered by They Might Be Giants.

steve simels said...

Anonymous said...
Steve -
Doesn't Dion sing on "Dirty Blvd," or am I thinking of something else? -

Yup, that's him singing scat harmony at the end of the record. Lou's a big fan -- I believe he gave the speech inducting him into the Hall of Fame.

Libby Spencer said...

Well, I'm late to the party again, and most of mine of have already been taken. But I'll add:

Rolling Stones: Miss You (I've been walking in Central Park -
Singing after dark...)

Chelsea Morning - Joni Mitchell

and a really obscure reggae band whose name I don't remember but I have a homemade tape of the song made by my cab driver in Treasure Beach. The song started, New York, NY - a city so big they named it twice. And the lyrics went something like: If you want to go to New York. Your dollar's awful strong...

The Kenosha Kid said...

I guess I'm stuck with the leftovers. How about these:

"In the Sun" - Blondie
(New York isle is covered by gray
Concrete piles blues play my way)

"Positively 4th Street" - Bob Dylan

"No Sleep till Brooklyn" - Beastie Boys

"Subway Train" - NY Dolls

"Piss Factory" - Patti Smith (shame on SS for not putting this in the top ten)

"Chelsea Girls" - Nico

"Waiting for the Man" - Velvet Underground

"Pable Picasso" - Jonathan Richman (Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not in New York)

racymind said...

This comment is probably just for simels, the only one who checks out late comments.

What about new stuff talking about NYC, that's what's in my head. Here are some mentions from songs put out in the last 2 years.

The New Pornographers - Myriad Harbor ("stranded at Bleeker and Broadway, looking for something to do..").

Steve Earle - Down Here Below, from the Washington Square Serenade release. Excellent and beautiful, but strains to get into into the powerpop genre, perhaps. I hear this newer stuff from Steve Earle and I really feel what he says, a Southern type so drawn to the mixture only NYC offers. He sees the historical changes the rest of us, indeed the world are going through, finding the face of that change in the seemingly inevitable insults to NYC neighborhoods and culture. He makes poetry out of it, 'cause what the hell else are you gonna do with it?

I saw Joe Mitchell`s ghost on a downtown `A` train
He just rides on forever now that the Fulton fish market`s shut down
He said `they ain`t never gonna get that smell out of the water
I don`t give a damn how much of that new money they burn`

Now hell`s kitchen`s Clinton and the bowery`s Nolita
And the east village`s creepin` `cross the Williamsburg bridge
And hey, whatever happened to alphabet city?
Ain`t no place left in this town that a poor boy can go

Aces to Steve Earle for this one.

Noam Sane said...

Remember New York
Staring outside
As reckless winter made its way
From Staton Island to the Upper West Side
Whiting out our streets along the way

Anonymous said...