I love lyrics. They are, for me, the make or break of a song. There are many many lyrics I wish I’d penned. Some for their simple perfection (Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ for example) and some because I’m just jealous that the lyricist had the bottle to leave the line in, as I would have deemed it ‘not good enough’ – example, the first tune in this list!
I could submit about a hundred playlists on this theme, so making only 10 choices is reeeally hard…!
10. Hello Lampost, what you knowing? I’ve come to watch your flowers growing. Ain’t you got no rhymes for me? Doot doot do do, feeling groovy.
Paul Simon has some fantastic lyrics. This one makes the list purely because it’s so bad it’s good.
9. Told me love was too ‘Plebeian’ Told me you were through with me, and..
I love that this song has the word ‘plebeian’ in it – you wouldn’t get lyrics like this from N-dubz (insert other crap modern ‘band’ here).. Pure class from Arthur Hamilton.
8. If I could sing I would sing you a song in Sam Cookes’ voice, Let me rephrase that, I think there’s a better line..
I heard this only recently, on Radio 2. The Proclaimers have written some lovely lyrical gems in this tune!
7. That cat took my watch, my ring, my money, And I didn’t make a sound, But when he reached and got my bottle,
You could hear me for blocks around: Give me that wine (Un-hand that bottle) .. x3 Beat my head out of shape, but leave my grape.
Jon Hendricks is one of the most prolific lyricists in Jazz. He perfected ‘vocalese’ – the art of adding lyrics to a pre-existing solo. He writes funny, clever, moving, beautiful verses and I have found if ever you don’t know who wrote the words to a previously instrumental Jazz tune, it’s likely him!
6. Dispenser man, if you please, Serve my chick a mess of calories. Banana Split for my baby, Glass of plain water for me.
Louis Prima is such a fun performer! I love these lyrics – what a great thing to write a song about, and they are so funny. Don’t think I could get away with it, but he can!
5. Like sometimes I’ll go for run, there’s nothing I expect to run to, When all of a sudden the thought begins, The feeling like in my brain there is an alien, And it gets funky then..
Kurt Elling is a fantastic lyricist, who is a master of the vocalese style that Hendricks perfected. This is an example of vocalese, and a funny one at that. I first heard it live and thought it was ace. I could have picked any number of Elling-penned lyrics.
4. I like pie, I like cake, I like anything you bake..
There are many songs that we like to Lindy to that are about food (and drink) and if anything mentions cake, I’m probably going to like it. My pianist pointed out to me that this might not actually be about food. I’m not sure I can agree.. *blinks innocently*
3. “You laugh”, he said, “you think you’re immune, “Go look at your eyes; they’re full of moon, “You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you all those pretty lies..”
Another person who is such a talented writer, I could have picked any number of examples. Joni Mitchel writes in such a beautiful way, I am quite jealous really…
2. What’s the use of getting sober, When you’re gonna get drunk again.
Indeed, Louis Jordon, indeed..
1. Someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it, Cos it took so long to bake it, And I’ll never have that recipe again.
I heard this first when I was about 5, I think. It remains the best lyric there ever has been. Fact.
- Simon & Garfunkel – The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) – Live Version
- Ella Fitzgerald – Cry Me A River
- The Proclaimers – Spinning Around in the Air
- Lambert, Hendricks & Ross – Gimme That Wine
- Keely Smith – Banana Split For My Baby
- Kurt Elling – Samurai Cowboy
- Four Chefs – I Like Pie, I Like Cake
- Joni Mitchell – The Last Time I Saw Richard
- Louis Jordan – What’s The Use Of Getting Sober
- Donna Summer – MacArthur Park