It's all well and good putting a couple of quid in the jukebox in your local if you know you're going to be there all night, and hopefully some of you - if not all of you - will have tried out my 90 minutes of music in 9 songs guide. But what if you're in a hurry. You've only got time for a quick pint on your lunchtime, or you're sneaking one in before your train home? The pub's empty, you've two pound coins in your pocket and the jukebox is standing silent. Well, here's your guide for this very scenario. 9 songs in 12 minutes.
From side one of the Fab Four's final album, and more an intro to the title track Let it Be. One of those short songs that you wish was longer and has more than a hint of Dylan about it and manages to mention both Doris Day and Matt Busby, which I'm assuming was a first. And last.
Elizabeth My Dear
The Stone Roses
A reworking of a reworking of a reworking of the traditional English ballad Scarborough Fair, from a time when music was music and a nice nod to the Roses' Byrds / folky influences. I'd like to hear Ian Brown attempt this these days, and who was Elizabeth, any ideas?
All Mod Cons
The title track and first song on the album of the same name. Also the first punk influenced song on this list, that could just be filled with obscure 5 second punk and hardcore thrashed guitar accompanied grunts. This song somehow manages to fit an intro, couple of verses, instrumental bit, chorus and an ending into 1:20 seconds, so it feels longer than it actually is.
Lets not think that the short song was a punk invention to counter the bloated stadium prog rock musical wankathons of the 70s. Certainly not. Rock and roll started off short. This is one of Buddy Holly's best remembered songs and also one of his last. It was actually first recorded by Sonny West in 1958, the chap who wrote it, and rerecorded by Holly the same year, and also lent it's name to the Happy Moday's 1989 'Rave On' EP. Good work Buddy.
I like Black Flag. Henry Rollins before he started doing spoken word tours, starring in TV programmes and presenting bizarre crosses between Scrapheap Challenge and Gladiators on ITV. A song, funnily enough, about being wasted. Exactly what it says on the tin.
A band with more than their share of short songs, and I reckon this is the best. From the Bossanova album, it's a bright and cheery number that I've always thought could be used as the intro music to a sitcom about a lass called Alison. I think it would fit well, I'm picturing it now.
Yes kids, they really did used to sound like this, and I still reckon it's one of the best things they've done. Before Primal Scream discovered Acid House and DJs and wrote 5/6/7 minute instrumentals, they wrote this one-and-a-half minute jangle pop master piece. It was released on the NME C86 cassette compilation in 1986, that also featured The Soup Dragons, Might Lemon Drops, The Wedding Present and Half Man Half Biscuit.
From the genius that was, and presumably still is Lee Mavers despite his lack of output over the last two decades, this is the song that Oasis, ahem, 'borrowed heavily from' for their single The Importance of Being Idle'. The song's one of the bonus tracks on their brilliant, and heartbreakingly only, debut album. One of the best songs from one of my favourite bands, and one of the best UK bands ever.
Love You More
As purveyors of the perfect punk pop song the Buzzcocks can't be bettered, and whilst Oh Shit! comes in around 20 seconds shorter, this is by far the better song. Unmistakable Buzzcocks, and a song that will set you up for the afternoon or journey home, after you've put your empty pint glass back on the bar. Perfect.
Do you have any other suggestions for great short songs? If you do let me know in the comments below.