INSPIRED by Gareth Roberts’ fantastic piece on this site about his love for all things Scouse when it comes to his listening pleasures – dodgy Pop Will Eat single aside – I’ve compiled my own personal top 10 favourite songs from this city.
Where a band originally hails from is of little concern to me because as that speech that Primal Scream once so famously sampled says, music is music. I’ve never been able to get my head around Liverpool fans that claim to not like music just because it was created in Manchester or, even worse, by a Manchester United supporting group – how can anyone not rate ‘Waterfall’ or ‘Wrote For Luck’? That doesn’t make you a better Red, it makes you a football supporter who doesn’t really like music.
So here they are – 10 personal choices – from a city that never tires of throwing up new bands who have at least one killer tune within them. To keep things slightly more original, I’ve tried to avoid some of the more obvious choices – Beatles, Lennon, Echo & The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and, er, A Flock of Seagulls – all of whom I love.
10. The Open: Close My Eyes
My mate Tony – the second biggest music fan I know – turned me on to these as he was friends with the singer. Bought the debut album, loved this – the opening track – but could take or leave the rest. Great lyrics though – ‘When will plastic people understand…’
9. The Stands: Here She Comes Again
Band name starting with ‘The’? Tick. Lark Lane student look? Tick. Influenced by the Byrds, Dylan and all the usual suspects? Tick. What’s not to like?
8. Boo Radleys: Lazy Day
Any pop tune that lasts 1 minute 35 seconds has got to be good. Before they discovered Top of the Pops and Britpop, they sounded like a Scouse version of Dinosaur Jr – which is no bad thing.
7. Shack: Miles Apart
The long overdue NME cover proclaiming Mick Head the greatest songwriter in Britain wasn’t really necessary. Those who know, know.
6. The Mighty Wah: Story of the Blues / Talkin Blues
The sound of 1982. The former reached No.3 in the charts, the later is a pretentious yet righteous socialist manifesto set to music. Both are brilliant.
5. The Farm: Altogether Now
Obvious choice it may be but whether thrown onto a balearic mixtape or played at the end of the night at a party it just works. Still sounds amazing 20 years on as anyone who was at The Farm’s reunion gig last Christmas could testify.
4. The Coral: Jacqueline
My dad, former schoolmate of Richard Starkey, knows good music when he hears it. He loves The Coral. That’s good enough for me.
3. Pale Fountains: Jean’s Not Happening
‘What was that you said to me? Well, not that it matters And do you know, sometimes, well, sometimes I think That we’re like a big game of snakes and ladders…’
Unbelievable tune, amazing voice.
2. The 25th of May: Things Are Getting Better
If this was released in 2011, as a bitterly ironic reaction to the recent riots and general state of the country, it wouldn’t sound out of place. As it was, it came out almost 20 years ago when John Major was the most important man in the country. The closing track of ‘Lenin and McCarthy’ – genius title for a debut album from Liverpool – it’s homegrown, political hip-pop as it should be. The last line says it all: ‘Things are getting better… well, they couldn’t get much worse’.
1. The La’s: Timeless Melody
The title tells you everything. Nothing more needs be said.