THE GIG TOG

Ten Songs I Wish I'd Written

There are so many songs that fit the bill for me in regard to the title of this article that there may be additional pieces in the same vein that follow over time. For now though here are 10 songs that I wish I’d written. There are many different reasons why the songs chosen are here but they all have one thing in common, in my humble opinion, and that is they are all awesome in one way or another! It’s makes no difference whether you’re into different genres than where these songs come from as a good song is a good song and if you don’t see that then you may as well stop reading now. However, if you “feel” music the way I do then by all means carry on and agree/disagree with my choices as you see fit.

01: Dear God – XTC

XTC, Swindon’s finest and one of the most under-rated bands of all time, originally had this as a B-side to their 1986 Grass 7” but was subsequently released as a single in its own right in the following year. Its general theme is one of a blunt retort to “God” highlighting the human suffering he allows and questioning how this is something that would inspire faith, concluding that, in Andy Partridges case, it doesn’t therefore “I can’t believe in you”. I happen to agree with Mr Partridge on that one.
One of my top 5 songs ever, it always will be and I wish I’d written it.

02: Will You? – Hazel O’Connor

From the first line “You drink your coffee and I sip my tea” through one of the best saxophone performances ever recorded then to the final strains of the track this song is captivating. A little known fact for this song is that when I photographed Hazel live for the first time she played this while I was shooting. So what? I hear you ask. Well, I am prone to shed a tear when I hear certain songs – they don’t have to be lyrically emotional, they just “get me”, y’know? This is one of those songs and I couldn’t take the camera down from the shooting position as tears were streaming down my face and I didn’t want the paying customers seeing that spectacle (for both our sakes!). Beautiful song.

03: Life On Mars – David Bowie

I really don’t think I have any need whatsoever to explain why this song is included, do you?

Seriously, I don't!

04: Fix You – Coldplay

A band that gets a lot of stick from all quarters, Coldplay. Fairly? Unfairly? Well, I don’t know about any of that, each to their own I say. What I do know is the sentiment and delivery of this one does exactly what is says on the tin. This was written for Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin’s wife, when her father died and I have to say it must’ve helped the healing process at least a little bit.

05: Vienna – Ultravox

“This means nothing to me”. Wrong. Over 4 minutes of dramatic, atmospherics with a time switch mid-way through and utilising traditional instruments (Viola, Grand Piano) mixed with electronics. Genius.

06: (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea – Elvis Costello And The Attractions

Riding along on the Punk backlash of attitude this carries a malevolence all of its own and drips with sleaze – what more could you want?

07: Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam

This perfectly sums up the trepidation I felt when I was a youngster in London. On my own, lonely, in the dark, in a strange place, unknown and imagined dangers around every corner. I saw plenty of scenarios like the one this song narrates but fortunately none of them actually happened to me. There was one incident that left me with a small scar on my cheek and ended up with me hiding in the London Tube system until I felt it was safe but that’s another story.

08: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths

A disaffected love song if ever there was one. The title says to me “I’ll love you forever” but the detachment of the lyrics overall play that down to a degree that’s ambiguously confusing. Sometimes you shouldn’t look too hard for things that aren’t going to be there should you?

09: How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths

A hypnotic riff and heart rending slide guitar overdubs propel this song to a completely different level from what The Smiths had achieved before. The poignantly wanting lyrics do nothing to diminish the impact of the song which many believe to be The Smiths finest moment. I’m not going to argue with that.

10: No Time To Be 21 – The Adverts

One of the finest (and for me THE finest) Punk poets/songwriters of all time, TV Smith, really got a handle on the times with this. Early 1978 was not a good time to be 21 for sure, hell, it wasn’t a good time to be any age in the main. Frustration and eloquent anger abound here and is one of those songs that can still apply equally to today as much as it did “back in the day”. A masterpiece.

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