Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special And In Conclusion, National Rifle Association -- Bite Me! Edition

[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.]


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?


Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Nice call on the Zevon song.

My contribution? I know it's kind of obvious and, to some, maybe played out, but I never get tired of hearing Powderfinger by good ol' Bernard Shakey. Or by Cowboy Junkies. "Daddy's rifle in my hand felt re-assuring..." Indeed.


Anonymous said...

Gang of Four - Armalite Rifle

Skynyrd - Saturday Night Special

Drive By Truckers - Loaded Gun in the Closet

Hannes A. Jónsson said...

Love Gun probably doesn't count... ;-)

Anonymous said...


oops, I cheated.

As stated in a recent post I'm not sure why the Guess Who don't rate. Randy Bachman was a Canadian rock guitar pioneer (ask Neil Young about him) and took lessons from jazz great Lenny Breau (Randy oversaw his archives, releasing posthumous CD's).

And Randy's replacement, Kurt Winter, came up with some masterful guitar parts/hooks as well.

Mister Pleasant said...

Yep, love that Guess Who track.

The song that immediately came to mind for me is by Paul McCartney - Oh Woman, Oh Why.

"Oh, woman, oh, where, where, where, where, where did you get that gun?"

The gun shot is truly frightening.

MJConroy said...

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers,
"God Gave me a Gun"

Jim H. said...

Shotgun by Bleach
Blues from a Gun by JAMC
Gun by John Cale
Put the Damn Gun Down by Noah's Red Tattoo
Jump the Gun by The Pribata Idaho
Gun Thing by Pure Joy
Young Guns by The Static Jacks
Son of a Gun by The Vaselines
Hey! what about Roland the Headless... by Zevon
Faster Gun by Wrens

Not enough? How 'bout

The Gun Isn't Loaded by Cosmic Rough Riders
Son of a Gun by The La's
I Wanna Be Your Gun by The Mayflies USA
Sons & Guns by My Laundry LIfe
Machine-Gun Head by Saturn V
Gunslingers by You Am I
The Eton Rifles by The Jam
The Rifle's Spiral by The Shins
Bang! by The Raveonettes
Hey Bang Bang by Starky
Shot You Down by True West

Number One with a Bullet:

Straight Shooter by Reigning Sound

Dave said...

Great to see Listomania back!

Not a gun, but my favorite firearm song has to be "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" by Bruce Cockburn.

I've managed to live a long, full life without ever hearing "Guns Guns Guns" -- it's great.

steve simels said...

Dave--trust me, you need to hear that whole Guess Who album it's from. Brilliant and wonderful from stem to stern.

drkrick said...

I would have expected "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" from Zevon, but there are always good choices there. Good call upstream on Skynrd's "Saturday Night Special" - I'm guessing that one hasn't been in their live set for quite a while.

Does "Washington Bullets" by the Clash qualify? Strummer was horrified to find out that was actually the name of the DC-area basketball team at the time, while we locals had assumed it was some kind of intential pun/commentary.

Feral said...

I've got to throw in one of my fav Guess Who tracks - "Rain Dance" "Where'd ya get the gun, John?"

And a few more:
Beatles - "Happiness is a Warm Gun"
Chris Whitley - "Living With the Law", the title cut from his terrific debut
The Clash - "Guns of Brixton"
Johnny Horton - "Sink the Bismark" :o)

Brooklyn Girl said...

What, no love for Junior Walker? :-)

Mrs. Peel said...

"American Skin (41 Shots)" and "Born in the USA" - Bruce

"I Fought the Law and the Law Won" - Bobby Fuller Four

"Janie's Got a Gun" - Aerosmith

"For What It's Worth" - Buffalo Springfield

"Masters of War" - Dylan

"Give the People What They Want" - Kinks (okay, they don't mention guns literally but still --- )_

"Bullet the Blue Sky " - U2 (as with the Kinks)

Is it possible there are no Rolling Stones songs with guns in the lyrics? Because I can't think of any ---

Roadmaster said...

I wore my .44 so long - I made my shoulder sore.

THE Howlin' Wolf.

cthulhu said...

I must say that I much prefer Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner and Lawyers, Guns, and Money to Jeannie in the Zevone oeuvre.

And I guess that the "firearms" rule prevents me from mentioning the James Gang's stunning guitar-fest The Bomber...

Two more from the late and very lamented Chris Whitley: Dust Radio from the debut, and Guns and Dolls from his underrated second disc "Din of Ecstasy".

I've had quite a craving for Hey Joe since I saw Richard Thompson's trio rip it up live in concert earlier this year. And for another Thompson song, how about the stellar Guns are the Tongues from "Sweet Warrior".

FInally, Tonio K.'s H-A-T-R-E-D features a gun attack at the end blowing away the recording studio.

cthulhu said...

And I almost forgot one of my absolute faves: Naked Eye from the Who; "you hold the gun / and I hold the wound..." probably their best track from the gap between "Tommy" and "Who's Next".

Anonymous said...

Western Movies - The Olympics

Ride Your Pony - Lee Dorsey

My Shotgun & Me - The Roues Brothers

Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bobby D.

Allan R.

Anonymous said...

I Shot the Sheriff...

Anonymous said...

Dang, forgot Nuns with Guns by GE Smith.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Stones tune that fits the list:
"Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"--first verse and chorus.

Also, Steely Dan's "With a Gun"

And in the worst song category:
"Run Joey Run" by David Geddes

Anonymous said...

Elvis Costello

Little Triggers

Steve earle or Johnny Cash

Devils Right Hand

Anonymous said...

'James and the Cold Gun' Kate Bush. A great, early track showing a direction she could have gone in, but didn't.

Anonymous said...

Frank Sinatra's version of
Bang Bang My baby shot me down.