[Still too woefully busy and over-extended to do any lengthy new writing for a while -- sorry, RXH -- but in the meantime given the recent anniversary of the horror at Newtown, I thought it would be relevant to re-up this posting from 2010. It's been slightly edited for content and there's a new selection in there as well. -- S.S.]
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 Nine is:
9. 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. A certain Shady Dame and I were privileged to see Reid in a tiny club a few months ago, BTW, and it was in a word transplendent.
8. 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.
7. Warren Zevon -- Jeannie Needs a Shooter
Thought I was gonna say "Lawyers, Guns and Money," didn't you?
6. Mission of Burma -- That's When I Reach for My Revolver
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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. The Sevens -- Seven
Apocalyptic garage rock from the Rolling Stones of Switzerland. Actual gun shots -- a starter pistol, actually -- fired in real time in the studio, courtesy of producer Giorgio Moroder (in his pre-disco days, obviously).
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 are trying to convince us that fracking is good for you 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?