Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Listomania (Special You'd Never Know It, But Buddy I'm a Kind of Poet Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental fille de shmeckel-bopping Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading to the Canadian border, where we plan to bar the suddenly unemployed Lou Dobbs from entering illegally. Sorry, Lou -- you will not pass!!!

It'll be sort of like 300, only not as screamingly gay and with health insurance.

Sooo, as a result, posting by moi will be sporadic for a couple of days.

But in the meantime, here's a fun little project for us all:

Most Memorable Two Consecutive Lines in the Lyrics of a Post-Elvis Pop or Rock Song -- Couplet or Otherwise!

No arbitrary rules, obviously, and I've taken some liberties about just how long a line has to be to qualify. So feel free to take some of your own.

In any case, my totally top of my head Top Six are:

6. Guided By Voices -- Teenage FBI

"When you clean out the hive does it make you want to cry?/Are you still being followed by the teenage FBI?"

No idea what it means, don't care, it's great.

5. The Kinks -- The Village Green Preservation Society

"We are the Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium/God save the George Cross and all those who were awarded 'em." Seriously -- the Brits really need to nationalize Ray Davies.

4. Bob Dylan -- Tangled Up in Blue

"Later on, when the crowd thinned out/I was just about to do the same."

From our "wish I'd written that" file. And a song that's absolutely lousy with great lines, I should add.

3. Buffalo Springfield -- Bluebird

"Do you think she loves you? Do you think at all?"

The original 45 version of this (the first commercially available 7-inch record in stereo, BTW) faded out after that line, which I felt at the time was the most mysterious and haunting thing I'd ever heard. To this day, I'm not sure whether Stills meant that as "do you think she loves you at all?" or "do you think at all?" as in "are you some kind of a moron?"

2. Marah -- It's Only Money, Tyrone

Best opening line of any song of the last ten years: "Josephine cracked; her eyes black and bloodied/Screamin’ “Gimme back, back all that money Tyrone”. And the next two -- "So he snapped her neck back and slapped his lover/Put a bullet in her brain and threw her body off the bridge" -- are pretty good, too.

Don't even get me started on the chorus...

And the two most evocative consecutive lines in rock and pop history, it's not a contest not even remotely, obviously are...

1. Humble Pie -- 79th and Sunset

"There'll be some dramas/Inside your pajamas tonight."

Tell me Steve Marriott wasn't the greatest English language poet in the second half of the 20th century. Go ahead -- tell me.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: most memorable film whose title consists solely of somebody's first or last name -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to heading over there and leaving a comment, snarky or otherwise, it would help reassure management that I'm worth my truly scandalous freelance fee. Thanks!]


dave™© said...

You're upstairs with your boyfriend while I'm left here to listen/
I hear you calling his name, I hear the stutter of ignition...

-Elvis Costello, I'm Not Angty

Unknown said...

She said she was a (something) with the ABC News/But that was all the alphabet that she knew how to use."

Elvis Costello

"Let's burn down the corn field, burn down the corn field/And I'll make love to you while it's burning."

Randy Newman

"Hear the primitive wallflowers freeze when the jellyfaced women all sneeze/Hear the one with the mustache say, 'Jeez, I can't find my knees'."


"Patty Hearst heard the burst/Of Roland's Thompson gun and bought it."

Warren Zevon

"Hurry home early - hurry on home/Boom Boom Mancini's fighting Bobby Chacon."


"You may be the heavyweight champion of the world./You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls but you're gonna have to serve somebody."


"Senor, Senor, can you tell me where we're headin'/Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?"


"I got the heart and you got the blood/We cut through iron and we cut through mud."

BD (I could go on - so could he)

Mister Pleasant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Pleasant said...

Yep Ray Davies is a friggin' English-language treasure.

Of course from "Lola" -
Well I'm not the world's most masculine man/But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man and so's Lola

And Dave has already shared one couplet from that other clever UK wordsmith, Elvis Costello.

Here's another from "Brilliant Mistake"
She said that she was working for the ABC News/It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use (oops looks like Peter beat me to it)

TJWood said...

I'd say it's time for a Richard Thompson sighting:

You say he's a relative, some hope/If he's your uncle, I'm the Pope ("Don't Tempt Me" from Amnesia).

He's got better ones than that too, maybe even in the same song.

And, of course, from Richard Thompson it's only a hop, skip and a jump to...Emerson, Lake and Palmer:

Everyday a little sadder, a little madder/Someone get me a ladder ("Still...You Turn Me On" from Brain Salad Surgery).

Hey, we're talking memorable lines, which does not necessarily mean good ones.

steve simels said...

Well, as always, I'm going to have up the ante with the incredible Sensational Alex Harvey, from Midnight Moses

"I wish I was a forest ranger.

Danger danger danger danger."

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

"Darkness at the break of noon/Shadows even the silver moon/the handmade blade/the child's balloon/eclipses both the sun & moon/to understand you know too soon/there ain't no sense in trying" - Dylan

"Yo! Yo! What up, yo?/Say time is runnin' out,/It's for real, though/We should connect, politic, ditto/We could trade places/get lifted in the staircases/Word up!/Peace, incarcerated scarfaces." - Ghostface Killa (The Wu)

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

Oh, wait.....A profound, poetic line from Biggie:

"Fuck 'em in the ass/throw 'em offa the bridge."

The Kenosha Kid said...

Some silicone sister with her manager mister told me I got what it takes

She said I'll turn you on sonny to something strong if you play that song with the funky break

Do you pray to the Holy Ghost when you suck your host?
Do you read who's dead in the Irish Post?

Talking Heads:
Other people's problems they overwhelm my mind
They say compassion is a virtue, but I don't have the time

The Phantom Creep said...

Please -- I think we all know who today's greatest lyricist is.

"Cause i'm bluffin' with my muffin'
I'm not lyin' I'm just stunning with my love-glue-gunning."

Of course it sounds better when Christopher Walken is reading it...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

When California falls into the ocean/
as the mystics and statistics say it will/
I predict this motel will be standing/
Til I pay my bill...

cthulhu said...

Past time for some Who:
"Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss" (from Won't Get Fooled Again)

"Don't cry, don't raise your eye / It's only teenage wasteland" (Baba O'Riley)

"I expect I'll regret you / But the skin graft man won't get you" (Tattoo)

"Oh God I need a drink / Of cool cool rain" (Love Reign O'er Me)

"Hope I die / before I get old" (My Generation)

"This is what we used to believe / We thought we'd live forever" (Pete Townshend, spoken insert into a 1999 live version of Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere)

"Albert Einstein was a ladies' man / While he was working on his universal plan / He was makin' out like Charlie Sheen..." (OK, it's a triplet; Warren Zevon from Genius)

"Send lawyers, guns, and money / the shit has hit the fan" (WZ, Lawyers, Guns, and Money)

"On blood antenna / and dust radio" (Chris Whitley, Dust Radio)

"Lower me slowly and sadly and properly / Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy" (Tragically Hip, At the Hundredth Meridian)

gotta go to work now...

steve simels said...

When California falls into the ocean/
as the mystics and statistics say it will/
I predict this motel will be standing/
Til I pay my bill...

I think that's Zevon's best line, actually.

And possibly his best song., come to think of it.

Noam Sane said...

Lipstick gleam, hexacloraphine
Cling cling the ring, clang clang she sang

Anonymous said...

Everyone's missing the obvious All-Time Greatest Couplet in Music History -

"JFK, blown away,
What else do I have to say?"

- Long Island's own immortal bard

Anonymous said...

"She likes Dinosaur, Jr., but can't tell you why/says if you like country music, then you deserve to die..." - Bottle Rockets

"It's about some people in the strangest place/Woody Guthrie sang about b-e-e-t-s non b-e-a-t-s.." - X

"Grandpa pissed his pants again, he don't give a damn/brother Billy's got both guns out, he ain't been right since Vietnam.." - Zevon

"George Jones, better leave that cell phone alone/don't be talkin' as you try to get back home...
(if you don't change your ways my friend/you'll be singing duets with Tammy again..)" -Drive-By Truckers

And OF COURSE the immortal Nick Lowe:

"Do you remember Rick Astley/he had a big fat hit that was ghastly..." - bill buckner

Anonymous said...

The dust that Pancho bit down south, ended up in Lefty's mouth

Townes Van Zant

Anonymous said...

From Mission of Burma's "Nancy Reagan's Head":

"And I'm haunted by the freakish size of Nancy Reagan's head/ No way that thing came with that body."

Noam Sane said...

Sister Sue, she's short and stout
She didn't grow up - she grew out

Jon said...

But lovers turn to posers
Show up in film exposures
Just like in travel brochures
--Graham Parker

I'm getting nothing and expecting oblivion
The past ain't even worth livin in

Cousin Kevin said...

"Standing on a corner, suitcase in my hand.

Jack is in his corset, jane is in her vest, and me -- I'm in a rock n roll band."

There were giants in the earth in those days.

Wendy said...

Bob Dylan has so many, it's impossible to pick just one, but when Judy Collins sings "When you're lost in the rain in Juarez ...And it's Eastertime, too" I'm hooked.

Randy Newman: "Human kindness, overflowing ... and I think it's going to rain today". As a matter of fact that whole song is loaded with them:"Tin can at my feet ... think I'll kick it down the street ... that's the way you treat a friend."

Bruce also has a billion of them: "The screen door slams ... Mary's dress waves ... " I mean, you can see that.

Son of Pookie said...

What, no Chuck Berry?

From "Nadine":

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back/And started walkin’ toward a coffee colored cadillac

As Bruce Springsteen famously observed, I've never seen a coffee colored cadillac, but after hearing that I can sure picture one.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Gabba gabba we accept you, we accept you/
One of us
-- Pinhead, Ramones

And now and then I wonder why this painful memory/
Can never find it's way to you from me
-- Hung Up on You, FOW

And you may tell yourself: This is not my beautiful house!/
And you may tell yourself: This is not my beautiful wife!
-- Once in a Lifetime, them walkin’ talkin’ heds

dave™© said...

Send lawyers, guns and money/
The shit has hit the fan
-W. Zevon

dave™© said...

More Elvis:

It's a dog's life in a rope leash or a diamond collar/
It's enough to make you think right now, but you don't bother...

-"Suit of Lights"

dave™© said...

BTW, someone should point out that a guy named David Lindell had a hand in writing "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"...

Anonymous said...

"It's a picture of the future
and you're not in it /
a picture of the future
and you're not in it /
a picture of the future
and you're not in it /
I can't picture me
without you..."

--Treat Her Right, "Picture Of The Future" from the cd, Tied To The Tracks

***and of course***
every word ever uttered
by Tom Waits, from "mama" on down
including these, from his first live album, Nighthawks At The Diner:

"It was just about that time that the sun came crawlin' yellow out of a manhole at the foot of 23rd Street /
and a dracula moon in a black disguise was making its way back to its pre-paid room at the St. Moritz Hotel."

Love that dude.
Shook his hand once and told him
'I'm from Drunk and I'm alabama'
(but that was a long long time ago).

Unknown said...

My favourite pun-based couplet:

You may not be an old-fashioned girl
But you're gonna get dated

-- Elvis Costello, "Girls Talk"
(I love the magnificently Joycian lack of apostrophe in the song's title)

My favourite nonsense-based couplet
(even though Bob Dylan holds the record for the greatest amount of nonsense that sounds mind-blowingly deep):

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May Queen


-- Robert Plant (with music by Jimmy Page), "Stairway To Heaven"

steve simels said...

I got yer bustle in yer hedgerow right here.

Unknown said...


(PS: The Blogger Comment confirmation word was a real one this time: "ampere".)

Anonymous said...

"Without looking back she tinkled on the track/Now Angel Claire is everywhere"
Butterscott, "Danger 3rd Rail"

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Joy to the world was a beautiful girl

But to me Joy meant only sorrow

-- Harry!

Anonymous said...

How could I possibly forget "Bo Diddley didn't start no mess/he's got a gun on his hip and a rose in his vest?" The classics never get old.. - bill buckner

Unknown said...

Really, more Elvis:

Sometimes I think that love is just a tumor/
And you've got to cut it out
--Lipstick Vogue

I was a fine idea at the time/
Now I'm a brilliant mistake
-- Brilliant Mistake

etc, etc, etc

Anonymous said...

Conjunction Junction
What's Your Function

MBowen said...

"She's a rag trade girl, she's the queen of porn/She's the easiest lay on the White House lawn" - Rolling Stones, "Respectable"

"I loved you then as I love you still/While I put you on a pedestal he put you on the pill" - Billy Bragg, "A New England"

"And then you met that girl who left you with your money spent/And now it's no concern of yours if I sleep with the President" - Kirsty MacColl, "My Affair"

"Have a little faith, there's magic in the night/You ain't a beauty, but hey, you're all right" - Bruce Springsteen, "Thunder Road"

"'Cause it's rare that you ever know what to expect/From a guy made of corpses with bolts in his neck" - Aimee Mann, "Frankenstein"

Dave said...

Dan Bryk's "BBW (Chunky Girl) -- is this the first, last, and only rock love song to a BBW?

"she don’t have to be cool, she don’t have to be straight

"although i would admit that would be great"

Dave said...

Wow, the word verification for me was "DEROCKEL"

danny1959 said...

Oh, we can't salute ya, can't fibd a flag/
If that don;t suit ya, that's a drag!

Alice Cooper from "School's Out"

danny1959 said...

Forgive me publishing before proof reading above.

Maruspial said...

It's not right that this thread has gone this long without some Sparks:

Props to my peeps and please keep your receipts / I'm a Suburban Homeboy. (Suburban Homeboy)

There's got to be a million girls like her / Though I can't think of one. (At Home, At Work, At Play)

But then we had that three-month hot spell / You really turned into a bombshell! (Over the Summer)

We're the future and the past / We're the only way you're gonna last. (Tryouts for the Human Race)

I better stop. I'll be up all night...

Unknown said...

"Got a girl named Lucinda/They call her the great pretender."

Little Richard, "Bama Lama Loo" This one IS post-Elvis.

"I had a good Christian Raisin' and a 8th-grade education/ Ain't no call in y'all a-treatin' me this way"

Billy Joe Shaver

"I'm talkin' out loud, drawin' a crowd, and I like gravy/About half off the wall but I learned it all in the Navy."

Willie Nelson

Oooops! You said "pop or rock."

"Drivin' like a fool out to Hackensack/Drinkin' his dinner from paper sack"

The Dan of Steel

"Come together right now/Over me"

best of all IYAM

steve simels said...

I'm still reeling from the Billy Joel line.

Libby Spencer said...

I may be doing this wrong. I thought it was lyrics that confound you.

Never understood what Glass Onion was supposed to mean

Looking through the bent backed tulips, to see how the other half lives.
Looking through a glass onion

And Lather by Jefferson Airplane

And I should have told him, "No, you're not old."
And I should have let him go on...smiling...babywide.

I can't post lyrics that move me. Too many to choose only a couple.

cthulhu said...

another WZ (just about my favorite):
"And your face looked like / something Death brought with him in his suitcase" - The French Inhaler

Aimee Mann:
"And all that I need now is someone with the brains and the know-how / to tell me what I want...anyhow" - Ghost World

dave™© said...

And speaking of "Roland," this is my favorite part of all:

"You can still see his headless body stalking through the night/
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun..."

Son of Pookie said...

What -- no Roger Miller?

The "My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died" guy, not the Mission of Burma.

MJConroy said...

"Found Out About You"
Written by Doug Hopkins
Performed by Gin Blossoms

"All last summer in case you don't recall,
I was yours and you were mine forget it all"

John Fowler said...

OK, I know I'm late to this topic, and there are more I'd nominate, but I'll just leave it with some Replacements, both off of Pleased To Meet Me:

from 'Alex Chilton'
"I'm in love - What's that song?/
I'm in love with that song"

Encapsulates everything I look for in popular music, and luckily, it still happens occasionally!

and from 'Can't Hardly Wait'
"Jesus rides beside me/
He never buys any smokes"

The image is priceless...

Feral said...

Was away from computers for the weekend but this is too good of a topic to pass up.

EC is a rich source for this thread, I'm suprised this one wasn't mentioned earlier:
"I said I'm so happy that I could die / She said "Drop dead" and left with another guy.

Ian Hunter:
God said to me "Gonna kick your ass / 'cause all you do is ask, ask, ask"

Steely Dan:
I cried when I wrote this song / sue me if I play it wrong.

Gotta include the classis Tonio K line:
I wish I could be mellow as for instance Jackson Browne / But "Fountain of Sorrow" my ass, motherfucker, I hope you wind up in the ground.

And just for Simels, some Bowie:
It's the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch / Sashay on the boardwalk, swarry in the ditch.