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Saboteur Johnny Lake: 50 Songs I Love

by Johnny Lake
22 July 2013 3 Comments

From Dylan to The Clash via The Pogues, Sparks and Camper van Beethoven...

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50. Camper Van Beethoven: Take The Skinheads Bowling. I don’t have a clue what it’s about but it’s catchy as hell.

49. 808 State: Pacific State. Not a fan of all that House stuff but this is so crisp and so clean sounding.

48. Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed. In contrast this is just so sleazy.

47. Lotus Eaters: First Picture Of You. The sound of summer, one summer.

46. Bob Dylan: Desolation Row. Sprawling, poetic and Mike Bloomfield’s guitar playing is a thing of beauty.

45. Issac Hayes: Theme From Shaft (Instrumental). Every magician that ever appeared on Opportunity Knocks used this tune. Every last one of ‘em.

44. The Ronettes: Baby I Love You. No list would be complete without at least one tune featuring The Wall Of Sound.

43. Sparks: This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us. Insane tune. My kids love it. Ron Mael scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.

42. Freda Payne: Band Of Gold. Have you seen Freda? You’d have been kicking the door down.

41. Super Furry Animals: Ice Hockey Hair. Could have been one of a dozen SFA tunes.

40. U2: One. Not hip, not trendy just a damn fine song.

39. The White Stripes: Hotel Yobra. My kids used to pogo round the room whenever this came on.

38. Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Forest Fire. Builds and builds.

37. Lyndesfarne: Winter Song. Love it. A recent discovery. I’m almost scared to investigate this band further in case they turn out to be crap.

36. Daniel Johnson: True Love Will Find You In The End. Discovered Johnson by way of Spiritualized. Beautiful/sad song.

35. Al Green: Belle. To me, Al’s the greatest soul singer of them all. Found God. I didn’t know he was missing.

34.Stexx: Into The Rain. Johnny Marr channels his inner Nile Rodgers.

33. The Waterboys: This Is The Sea. Mike Scott could do no wrong in my eyes.

32. John Prine: Angel From Montgomery. The big man sings from a female point of view. Song writing doesn’t get much better than this.

31. Madness: Bed And Breakfast Man. I still don’t think people realize what great song writers Madness were.

30. Hank Williams: Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do. Discovered Hank while watching The Last Picture Show.

29. Echo And The Bunnymen: The Killing Moon. One of those rare instances where a bands best work reaches it’s widest audience. They were, for a time, the best band in the world.

28. Dexy’s Midnight Runners: I Love You. I’m not sure Rowland’s the genius some say but this one hits all the right notes and then some.

27. Johnny Cash: Cocaine Blues. Everybody loves Cash, it’s just that some people don’t know it yet.

26. The Beatles: Don’t Let Me Down. On top of the world but pleading and vulnerable.

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25. Ennio Morricone: Theme From The Good The Bad And The Ugly. Play it very, very loud and often.

24. Donovan: Atlantis. Billy Batts, Goodfellas. He won’t send Tommy for his shine box anymore.

23. The Teardrop Explodes: Treason. If I could have been in a band it would have to be The Teardrop Explodes. Off their boxes doesn’t even begin to describe it. Pure pop music.

22. Aztec Camera: Set The Killing Free. A b-side sees Roddy Frame rocking out, wild and youthful.

21. The Velvet Underground: Sunday Morning. Ditching the feedback the Velvets produce a song of staggering beauty.

20. Elvis: You Gave Me A Mountain. Piling on the misery like nobody’s business. By God, he could sing.

19. Orange Juice: A Sad Lament. The world’s a better place for having Edwyn Collins in it.

18. Run DMC/Aerosmith: Walk This Way. I really don’t know how to describe the greatness of this song.

17. Primal Scream: Loaded. I’m not much of a fan of remixes but, blimey, eh?

16. The Smiths: How Soon Is Now? There’s nothing you could add and nothing you could take away that would improve this song.

15. The Pogues: Thousands Are Sailing. A poignant tale describing the reality versus the expectations of the immigrant experience. Not written by Shane by the way.

14. The Specials: Do Nothing. Haunting. Didn’t exactly fill the school boy me with much hope about my immediate prospects.

13. House Of Pain: Jump Around. I used to work with in New York with 11 Irish guys doing demo. We’d down tools and jump the fuck around to this every time it came on the radio.

12. The Ramones: The KKK Took My Baby Away. I used to tell people I moved to Forest Hills to be closer to The Spirit of The Ramones. Some people believed me.

11. Big Audio Dynamite: Medicine Show. Three Coffins Ready. Duck You Suckers. As fresh today as the first time I heard it.

10. The The: This Is The Day. Wore my first copy of Soul Mining out. My old man loved this too.

9. The Undertones: Get Over You. By God they could write a pop song.

8. T-Rex: Metal Guru. The voice of the early 70s.

7. The Supremes: You Keep Me Hanging On. I love the guitar on this, sounds so urgent.

6. The Fall: Container Drivers. Mark E Smith Is Was and Ever Shall Be a genius. RORO. Communists are just part time workers.

5. The Clash: Garageland. I could have picked 49 others for this list easily.

4. Ronnie Lane: Slim Chance The Poacher. This is about as English as a song gets.

3. The Pogues: Body Of An American. Shane is simply the greatest poet of my generation. What an eye for detail.

2. The Jesus And Mary Chain: Just Like Honey. Behind all their feedback Jim and William always had great pop songs. The stole from the best and made it their own.

1. Shack: Time Machine. I don’t know where the hell Mick Head pulls all of these great tunes from, I’m just glad that he does. Beautiful.

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The Ghost of Pernod Harry's jockstrap 4:07 pm, 22-Jul-2013

Johnny nails it again. Never affected, just tells it as it is. Great deal of tunes on there would be on mine. Some I've never heard. More writing please Mr Lake (longer than 20 minutes).

Rocco 1872 9:49 pm, 23-Jul-2013

Superb choices, B.A.D., Bunnymen, Specials, Clash, Waterboys and the mighty Shack at no 1, love it! Plus special mention for Bed & Breakfast Man, thought I was the only person who loved this neglected classic, brilliant

Marc 10:52 pm, 2-Aug-2013

Shack, is right lad.

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