Sunday, October 3, 2010

Songs About London

British Invasion band The Kinks has a lovely song about London called Waterloo Sunset.

In addition to it being both a lyrically sad and melodically happy, there's a great cover by David Bowie.  He makes it into much more of a rock song.

The only thing I don't like about this song isn't so much the song itself as it is its status as a song.  This seems to ignore a lot of other important songs.  
For example, everyone of a certain age has heard the song by a Ms. Fergie.

No one in the U.K. has ever failed to hear "London is the Place for Me."  Although a lovely song in itself, and song has taken on a particular tone to it, especially given the Windrush generation's memories of the song, and how it turned out to be the rose-colored view of coming to the mother-country.

So even though "Waterloo Sunset" has been voted the best song about London, but for my money, the best song about London has to be something by The Clash.
I'm sure most of you expected that to be followed by a clip from "London Calling," with a discussion of how excellent the song is.  And it is a perfect composition.  It imagines London in a nuclear apocalypse.  But for a song that is actually about London rising up and demanding justice, the Clash song that you should look to is none other than "The Guns of Brixton."

Although only about a neighborhood of London, the song is ultimately about fighting the injustice of police brutality.  Which, considering how strong the police state in London is, with the police's DNA database one hot mess and the entire city under surveillance with CCTV, this song seems more important than ever. 

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