Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Shoot 'em While They Run Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means, Yes, my Oriental glandular manipulation therapist and spiritual advisor Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading to beautiful downtown Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of libertarian/Teabagger senatorial candidate Rand Paul. Mr. Paul is planning on attending a Bar Mitzvah at Bowling Green synagogue Congregation Am Shalom, but we will be joining the venerated Rabbi Chaim LeChaim in barring the door and informing Mr. Paul that "We reserve the right to refuse services to you."

The being the case, and since things will be a little quiet around here for the forseeable future, here's a fun little project for us all:

Best or Worst Post-Beatles Pop/Rock/Soul Song or Record That References Firearms in Either the Title or the Lyric!!!

Self-explanatory, so no arbitrary rules, but by firearms I mean the obvious, i.e. handguns, rifles, etc. In other words, if you try to sneak in something like Bruce Cockburns' otherwise quite splendid "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" I'll make merciless fun of you.

And my totally top of my head Top Ten is:

10. Terry Reid -- Bang Bang

Written by Sonny fricking Bono, and covered here to within an inch of its "my baby shot me down" life. Reid, of course, is the man who passed on Robert Plant's gig in Led Zeppelin, thus altering history in unfathomable ways.

9. The Connells -- Get a Gun

From 1990 and a long-time fave of mine. Utterly gorgeous on every level, I think, but to this day I haven't the slightest idea what it's about. These guys are apparently still a going concern, however, and if I ever run into them maybe I'll ask.

8. Warren Zevon -- Jeannie Needs a Shooter

Thought I was gonna say "Lawyers, Guns and Money," didn't you?

7. Mission of Burma -- That's When I Reach for My Revolver

Mission of Burma - Thats When I Reach for My Revolver .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine
Yeah, it's a great song. Still, and I forgot who said it, but there comes a time in everybody's life when they look at their CD collection and realize that those three Mission of Burma albums are basically just taking up space.

5. Hackamore Brick -- Zip Gun Woman

From the 1971 cult album. These guys are supposed to be some kind of proto-something -- punk, powerpop, I don't know what -- and people I know whose opinions I respect actually like the record. All I know is, I pull it out once every year or two to see if it makes sense to me yet, and it never does.

5. Webb Wilder -- The Devil's Right Hand

Written by Steve Earle, natch, and still the best anti-gun song ever. From Wilder's brilliant 1986 debut album, and recorded live obviously.

4. Bruce Springsteen -- Held Up Without a Gun

The Boss Goes Punk, and (at a breathless 1:22 seconds) just a total pleasure. This is the studio version from The River sessions, which has never been on legit CD to my knowledge.

3. The Goo Goo Dolls -- Naked

"The shots in the dark from empty guns/Are never heard by anyone." I don't really care that these guys ripped off everything they ever did from Paul Westerberg -- I like 'em anyway. Sorry.

2. The Killers -- Under the Gun

Because we like to have something recorded in the current century, obviously, but god knows if anybody deserves to have a song with "gun" in the title, it's these guys. Honorable mention: Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, for their superior song of the same title.

And the Numero Uno ode to the joys of blowing stuff up real good simply has to be...

1. The Guess Who -- Guns, Guns, Guns

This is one of the Guess Who tracks I usually pull out when people make fun of my obsession with the band. I'd actually forgotten it was a single; I mostly think of it as one of the best cuts from Rockin', the 1972 LP that's not only their masterpiece but one of the most unjustly overlooked albums of its decade. The song itself is sui generis; slash-and-burn guitars, a chorus for the ages, and a lyric -- at a historical moment when corporate greedheads may have befouled the Gulf of Mexico beyond repair and the NRA and their Supreme Court enablers won't rest until every American can walk into a bar carrying a Stinger missile -- that's obviously depressingly prescient.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema listomania -- theme: best or worst films about alienated teens -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I'd take it as a personal favor if you could go over there and leave a comment or two.]


geor3ge said...

Thought I was gonna say "Lawyers, Guns and Money," didn't you?

Actually I thought you were gonna say "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner."

cthulhu said...

I strongly suspected you would pull out Guns, Guns, Guns for the numero-uno slot; no complaints here. Zevon could fill the whole category, though: Lawyers, Guns, and Money; Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner; I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, featuring the line "I've got a 38-special up on the shelf"; The Envoy, with the line "nuclear arms in the Middle East" (OK, broke your rule); Jungle Work; etc.

Don't forget Won't Get Fooled Again - "and the shotgun sings the song" - either. As overfamiliar as it should be, I still come back to that song on a regular basis. Would love to find a digital copy of the Pete Townshend / John Williams acoustic version on the Secret Policeman's Ball.

Chris Whitley's lovely and intense Guns and Dolls, from his second album "Din of Ecstasy" deserves to be up there too.

geor3ge said...

Ooh, in my haste to be first I forgot Tom Waits's "Sixteen Shells from a Thirty Aught Six."

Dave said...

1. First choice for me has to be "Hey Joe." Growing up in L.A., it has always been a Leaves song, not a Hendrix song.

2. How about El Paso? I love the stateliness of the lyrics:

"I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle.
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest."
3. Tie between Folsom Prison Blues, Ohio, Stagger Lee, Shotgun, and Hurricane.

John Fowler said...

geor3ge already mentioned my top Tom Waits choice ("Sixteen Shells..."), but there's also "Romeo is Bleeding" from Blue Valentine.

XTC - "Melt the Guns" from English Settlement.

I have to mention Liz Phair's "Gunshy", off of Exile in Guyville.

Peter Gabriel - "Family Snapshot" from his 3rd album.

and Squeeze - "Annie Get Your Gun" (!!!) from Singles 45's and Under.

Too bad it's post-Beatles - we're missing "Happiness is a Warm Gun"...

Faze said...

The British group Gun was pretty much awful, but their song "Race with the Devil" (not to be confused with the Gene Vincent song of the same name) had just about the most compelling guitar riff ever devised.

Michael said...

Saturday Night Special by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The one and only song they ever recorded I want to hear.

steve simels said...

Jeez -- just checked out that Gun song "Race With the Devil." Great period piece -- can't believe I never heard it before.

steve simels said...

And kudos for "Annie Get Your Gun."

Sal Nunziato said...

Gun- John Cale

My Rifle, My Pony & Me-Dean Martin and Rick Nelson.

(From "Rio Bravo." Gets me everytime.)

NYMary said...

I know my job here. Let me offer two Shoes' songs which meet the category: 1982's overlooked "Under the Gun"--planned by the band to be the opener for Boomerang, and pretty unambiguously aimed at the record company executives imploding all around them, and "Love Is Like a Bullet," here in a live version off Fret Buzz.

Honorable mention, as always, goes to John's "Cruel You," in which he envisions a possible Freudian scenario:
Baby, when I pointed the gun at you
I thought that you'd be begging down on your knees.
Instead, you wouldn't even say please
And I didn't know what to do.

Feral said...

Neil Young - "Powderfinger"

Richard & Linda Thompson - "Shoot Out the Lights"

George Thorogood's (back when he was good) cover of Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues"

And I'll add another memorable Guess Who tune - "Rain Dance"

DeepKarma said...

No Clash mentions? I mean, where would you begin there.

How about Frankie's Gun by The Felice Brothers.


Shoot Your Gun by 22-20's

dave™© said...

No "I Fought the Law"? "Robbin' people with a (snare-snare-snare-snare-snare-snare) six-gun!"

And why NOT "Lawyers Guns and Money?" It truly is Zevon's masterpiece.

Noam Sane said...

Jr. Walker's "Shotgun," natch.

U2's Desire, which rhymes "shotgun" with "everybody's got one". Pretty good, there, Boner.

Elvis Costello's "Shot with his Own Gun" from "Trust" which in retrospect is a pretty crap album.

And, everybody run! "Homecoming Queen's got a Gun"! By Julie Brown (not the evil one).

Brooklyn Girl said...

I'm taking a liberal approach and assuming post-Beatles actually includes the Beatles, so afaic, "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (mentioned above) qualifies.

Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door" ...

Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can't shoot them anymore.
That long black cloud is comin' down
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door.

Brooklyn Girl said...

U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" ... Early morning, April 4,
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky

And no love for Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun"?

Anonymous said...

Armalite Rifle

Machine Gun

Libby Spencer said...

Okay, I'll cover the old fogie protest songs.

For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield

Unknown Soldier - Doors

Run Through the Jungle - CCR

Eve of Destruction - Barry (somebody)

That's When I Reach For My Revolver - Forget who did that

And not sure this is post Beatles but Ringo by Lorne Greene is a classic in the soundtrack of my life.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Wrong, wrong, wrong on your Burma assessment. The "Signals, Calls and Marches" EP and the "Vs." album are really some of the best music ever, and their second reunion album "The Obliterati" is easily one of the best albums of this decade. Still great live too.

Noam Sane said...

"Knocking on Heaven's Door" ...

Did Dylan cover that? Axl Rose must really be enjoying those royalty checks.

The Hamzinger said...

What, no love for The Pixies and There Goes My Gun?

steve simels said...

Actually, my favorite cover of Knockin' on Heaven's door is from Danny and Dusty: The Lost Weekend.
I really ought post the mp3 of that one of these days...

Anonymous said...

Television also knocked out Heaven's Door on their ROIR release.

Anonymous said...

your old skinny tie band's tune, Shot in the Dark...

and though no lyrics, Vaseline Machine Gun by Mr. Leo Kottke.


Edward said...

Most of my first choices are gone, so

Eaton Rifles: The Jam
Guns of Brixton: The Clash
If I Had A Rocket Launcher: Bruce Hornsby
Boomerang: T-Bone Burnet ("He pulled out his pistol/They never heard the shot")
Scared of Guns: John Wesley Harding
Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die Rag: Country Joe & The Fish (screw the post-Beatles limit;>)

There's probably half a dozen rock era versions of Frankie & Johnny with result in gunfire.

And why not-- Frankie Laine: Blazing Saddles!

steve simels said...

Heh. Just might have to post that...

Anonymous said...

wait -- stupid question -- does the album title Revolver count?

to Libby: Barry MCGUIRE. Give the man some respect. The most easily parodied and famous protest song to have destroyed the most careers.


Michael said...

another...Black Uhura's "The youth of Eglington"
Love the way they sing "Smith and Wesson pistol pistol"
but in their Jamacan patois pistol becomes pisstyle

The youth of Eglington
Won't put down their Remington
I say the youth of Brixton
They put down their 45 Smith
and Wesson pistol pistol

Anonymous said...

Richard Thompson - Don't Tempt Me.

Floor Models - Shot in the Dark


Brooklyn Girl said...

Noam Sane said...

"Knocking on Heaven's Door" ...

Did Dylan cover that? Axl Rose must really be enjoying those royalty checks.

Um ...

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

Peter said...

Concrete Blonde - "God Is A Bullet"

Dave said...


Great catch on "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," but wrong Bruce -- it's Bruce Cockburn.

MBowen said...

Sandy Denny - John The Gun

Magazine - Shot By Both Sides

Voice of the Beehive - I'm Shooting Cupid

The Jam - Eton Rifles

Drive-By Truckers - When The Pin Hits The Shell, The Wig He Made Her Wear, Drag The Lake, Charlie, That Man I Shot

What does it say that the best band in America is so involved in firearms...

MBowen said...

I lived in Raleigh at the time
The Connells were playing out along with all the other local bands. Everyone else hated them because they were rich kids (their first self-released records were on Black Park Records, Black Park being a proto-gated community in Raleigh). They were the only ones who, if their van broke down, could afford to fix it.

Noam Sane said...

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

Oh. Well, at least he's still got "Live and Let Die"!

Todd Rundgren has a song named "Gun" on his latest. "I'm young, dumb and I've got a gun!"...something along those lines. That's a weird record.

And there's a really great Tubes song called "Fastest Gun Alive" off their cutout-bin classic "Genius of America". Some fine, if obscure, Tubery, for you fans.

Peter Gunn. Also.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Rocky Raccoon checked into his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Rocky had come equipped with a gun
To shoot off the legs of his rival


Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
Bungalow Bill?

He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun
In case of accidents he always took his mum
He's the all American bullet-headed saxon mother's son.
All the children sing


I guess the Beatles were into guns during the White Album period ...

steve simels said...


I didn't know the Connells were rich kids. Heh.

Seriously, they did have a very preppy air to them that seemed a bit odd at the time...makes sense, now that you mention it.

Edward said...

Great catch on "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," but wrong Bruce -- it's Bruce Cockburn.

Oops. Is there an emoticon for blushing in shame? Always check the record collection before posting;>

And more...
The Grateful Dead covered Big Iron
Gang of Four: Guns Before Butter
Richard Thompson: Guns Are The Tongues
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks: Jukies' Ball
and returning from last week
Tom Waits:Small Change (Got Rained on With His Own .38)
Bang Bang: Iggy Pop
Bang Bang: Squeeze

geor3ge said...

See also: just about every damn track on Nick Cave's Murder Ballads.

Anonymous said...

Devil's Right Hand is a fantastic song, and Webb nailed it. Steve Earle recorded several versions at different tempos, but none was as good as Webb's.

Steve in the ATL

Billy said...

from the mid 80's, the pride of central Illinois, the Elvis Brothers' "Don't Take My Guns Away" from their second LP on Portrait.

Lyrically they seem serious but it may be gun tongue in cheek.

They were a fantastic band worth checking out.

Marsupial said...

No one has mentioned (I don't think) 'Under the Gun' by Blondie, their tribute to Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Personally, I prefer the live version (off Blondie Live) to the version on No Exit -- it just seems like they had a better idea of what they wanted it to sound like by then.

Alex said...

"Tayter Country" by the Cavedogs and its "With a Machine Gun" chorus...

Anonymous said...

Bob Marley'S I Shot the sheriff