Top Ten

The Indie Top Ten Songs about Dads

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally supplies the narrative.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs about Dads

Fathers, eh? Where would we be without ‘em? Same place we’d be without mothers, to be fair. The Indie Top Ten Songs About Dads was launched on Fathers’ Day. For the grammar pedants amongst you, I’ve put that apostrophe there on purpose, to represent the day belonging to all fathers, even though I wished my own particular dad a happy father’s day, as the day I was expressing my hopes for referred to him.

I didn’t get my grammar specificity from him; much more likely it was from my English graduate mum. I did suggest to EIO40HQ that we do a Mothers’ Day Top Ten but of course being a man, by the time I got round to suggesting it the moment had gone. Maybe next year. A significant proportion of the EIO40 community appear to be men, but in case you’re reading this and you’re not a man then I promise to try to be less tardy next year.

Anyhow, with all of the above in mind it is only natural that proceedings should commence with Weddings Parties Anything’s song ‘Father’s Day’, as suggested by @chumpski

What makes a father? As anyone who has watched a soap opera for a few weeks will be able to testify, there will always be a difference between the biological and the sociological aspects of fatherhood. Sometimes both roles are carried out by the same person; sometimes they are not. Whichever, this Top Ten is dedicated to the male person in your life who has filled the role you have most desired them to fill. It may indeed also be dedicated to you; as Welsh indie heroes Gorkys Zygotic Mynci noted, ‘Sometimes The Father Is The Son’, which was @tfdefence nomination. This title in itself could quite easily be the seedy storyline to a soap opera. However, I’d like to think it refers to those members of our community who are, like me, both father and son.

My own father was born in Ince, near Wigan, and started his career as a tailor’s cutter. When he retired a few years ago his employment was as an embalmer. There was a quiet satisfaction that he had managed to maintain his sewing skills throughout his working life, even if the things he was sewing together changed a little in between times. This year was the first time in over twenty years I got to wish him a Happy Father’s Day in person. His own dad (and therefore my grandad of course) died climbing down a mountain in the Lake District at the ripe old age of 79 in the early 1990s. It seemed quite old then, less so nowadays.

Anyway, in tribute to my dad’s dad, and all the other dads my own dad helped to look their best once they’d passed into wherever it is they have passed to, here’s the suggestion made by @rs1334 ‘Daddy’s Gone To Heaven Now’ by The Mission.

In a tale I have often bored readers of my writings with, it was down to my dad that I ended up indie. I suppose I may well have ended up there anyway eventually, given my mum’s propensity for the alternative, but it was a chance encounter with The Mighty Lemon Drops on the radio in the car as I travelled home from a Bolton Wanderers match that drew me into the circle of friends and their musical tastes that was to shape my record-buying future.

At the time my dad’s car was a blue Vauxhall Cavalier. I was fifteen, and it was the first car we’d had since I was six when, to help afford the new house my parents had bought, he decided it would be more cost effective to get the train to work and sold our dark turquoise Hillman Avenger.

Luckily for me I didn’t grow up with The Divine Comedy. If I had, then their excellent song ‘Your Daddy’s Car’ – the one put forward for inclusion by @call_me_cynical – might have been about my daddy’s car which would mean it coming to a rather unsavoury end decorating a local Oak or Sycamore.

My own children can also rest assured that it wasn’t written about their father’s car either. I don’t own one; indeed, somewhat controversially, I have not only never owned one but have never even driven one anywhere ever. The closest I have come is revving the engine in the garage to keep the battery ticking over when my dad was laid low with an abscess once.

I have often been asked why this state of affairs has come to be. It is only recently that I realised perhaps the lyrics of Half Man Half Biscuit have been a subliminal influence: “Dad can I have another pear drop/Dad can I have another drink/Dad how deep d’you reckon that is/Dad are we nearly there yet?” is the breathless questioning of a child in the back of a motorway-travelling car in the song ‘M6ster’.

I cannot begin to imagine how distracting that must be for a father who is trying to avoid being squeezed between a horn-blaring petrol tanker on one side and a caravan of caravans on the other. Although ‘M6ster’ does not qualify for this Top Ten, HMHB’s later single ‘Look Dad No Tunes’ most certainly does, so thank you to @bringitonskippy for suggesting it.

Next up in our Top Ten is Pavement, with ‘Father To A Sister Of Thought’, which was the choice of @cjl_73. By way of an aside, this song will forever be the song that made me realise that the pedal steel guitar was not exclusively the remit of those willing to bring the musical world into disrepute. It also made me wonder how it could remotely be relevant to a narrative about my dad. I love my sister dearly, but I am sure she would be the first to agree that she is not one of life’s great thinkers.

She and I are very different; despite sharing the same parents, same family home and same small northern hometown for 20 years we have very different tastes in food, music, humour… we don’t even have the same accent, bizarrely. Then I realised maybe it is I who is the father to a sister of thought.

Nocashette Jr, about to head off into the world of Higher Education to study sociology, is the very same three year old who looked out of the train window as we approached a dank and drizzly Manchester and said unrehearsed “Dad, what does ‘grim’ mean?” (This philosophical outlook wasn’t a one-off. Later in her life, and still before teenage years, she handed me a slip of scrap paper as I worked on school reports amidst the general chaos a houseful of young children brings. “What does ‘exasperated’ mean?” it read. I’ve still got that scrap of paper, lest I ever forget…)

Those of us who have chosen to become fathers will of course be familiar with the trials and tribulations which accompany being a responsible adult. These are often counterbalanced by the simple pleasures that can be brought about by our offspring. Their first word (‘mama’), the emergence of their first tooth (detected upon the edge of an index finger) and of course the first steps. “Come To Daddy” will be the pleading request of the father trying desperately to impress the relatives who have dropped in to say hello.

The reality of course is that the child will make a beeline for mummy. It’s just one of those crosses we men must bear. Conveniently enough, ‘Come To Daddy’ is also the title of a song by Aphex Twin, brought to our attention by @preservation76.


The role of father is often attributed to the presence of authority. The ‘father’ in the Christian church is the ultimate authority for those who believe: there is to be no messing with him, although he is supposed to be quite big on forgiveness if you do transgress.

There is similarly no mucking about with Old Father Time, unless of course you are Marty McFly but even that doesn’t necessarily end well. ‘Time waits for no man’, is the rather gender-specific old saying, and those 1970s working men’s club comedians amongst the readership of this site can insert their own punchline. There is plenty of muck in London’s famous river though, colloquially known as ‘Old Father Thames’. I’m not sure why fathers are always old, but there you go.

Anyway, with the role of authority figure comes the necessity to command attention and respect, usually through a deep, booming vocal presence. ‘Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice’, suggests Morrissey in the song offered by @daznixon1989.

My children don’t make fun of my voice, I’m pleased to say. They do however mock my flat northern vowels. “Dad, say rarft” they implore in their southern accents. “RAFT”, I reply to smirks; the fatherly freakshow never fails to amuse.

I referred earlier to my dad’s dad, my grandad, who everyone knew as Billy. We did too, but not to his face. I remember his look of incredulity on seeing I had had my ear pierced whilst in my first year at University. It was still fashionable then, although I had to reassure him that just because I had a bit of metal in my lobe didn’t mean I was going to start throwing bricks through windows.

I did not confess, however, to an earlier life of crime which I am sure would have been an affront to his Methodist sensibilities (not that they ever stopped him enjoying a pint, mind). And whilst my answer to the question – posed in song by Dear Mr. President and nominated by @Clive_Stringer – “Hey Daddy Have You Ever Been Arrested?” would be an honest ‘No’, I still occasionally feel pangs of guilt for my part in the heist of a bag of plastic 5p pieces from the school maths cupboard, the entirety of which was used to fleece the village shop of the contents of its bubble gum machine. The owners sold up not long afterwards; I hope they didn’t go bankrupt.

On that bombshell, it is perhaps time to bring this Top Ten to a close. If I carry on writing who knows what other controversies and outrages might reveal themselves? I’m well aware that we all have skeletons in our closet but rest assured, at least I have never run through fields of wheat. Not knowingly, anyway. So, whether biological or emotional, living or dead, good or bad, there is no escaping we all owe our existence to a father, and what better way to bring proceedings to a close than this titular tribute suggested by @Axels96 and @clanofginger: here’s Stump with ‘Our Fathers’.

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Songs With Famous People In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally supplies the narrative.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Famous People In The Title

“Fame, fame, fatal fame,” sang some bloke in a band once. “It can play hideous tricks on the brain”. I once met this self-same bloke. I say met, what I mean is that I stood next to him in the long-since defunct Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. He was looking at CDs in the Bobby Vee section, and I was nosing at what he was looking at. As he said, fame plays hideous tricks on the brain.

Anyway, I became slightly concerned during 2016 that this particular bloke might be the biggest name to croak and I have to say that I am relieved that my prediction of mid-February last year did not come to fruition. That said, it was still alarming to say goodbye to so many of our heroes – musical or otherwise – during the last year, which prompted the suggestion at the back end of the year that the theme for this next Everything Indie Over 40 Top Ten be songs that recognise in name if nothing else those people we see as famous.

Such fleeting brushes with fame as the one described above seem to have peppered my life. I saw Brian May of Queen in the very same branch of Tower Records with his wife Anita Dobson (Angie from ‘EastEnders’, for those who may otherwise not know.) They both looked identical: shoulder length permed hair, long overcoat, matching red clogs: very bizarre. It would also be very bizarre to not include a Half Man Half Biscuit song in this Top 10, given that they have made a career out of their perfectly-chosen name drops.

There were several nominations for HMHB, but let’s start this Top 10 with the one song that celebrates the best way to spot a minor celebrity: in the supermarket. Here’s ‘Fuckin’ ‘Ell, It’s Fred Titmus’ – the famous cricketer in case you don’t know already – as suggested by @GLPNE73.

It became clear that I was destined for a life of mingling with the stars from an early age. One of my earliest memories of school was attending the summer fayre as a junior, one typically grey, humid Saturday afternoon in the North. I was especially excited to learn that the school fayre was being opened by an actor, one from ‘Dad’s Army’, no less. I still possess (somewhere, though Lord knows I can’t put my hand on it right now to prove it) a signed photograph – my very first autograph! – from Colin Bean. You know, Private Sponge; one of the supplementary cast who sometimes got the odd line to utter. Incredible, isn’t it.

Unfortunately, nobody has seen fit to write a song about Colin Bean, but @Wimon has identified Hefner as having written a song called ‘Alan Bean’, so that’ll have to do. Alan may well have been the fourth man to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, but I bet he never stood in the same room as Arthur Lowe whilst the latter hissed “Stupid boy!”

From that point on my status as celebrity’s ‘plus one’ was cemented. Hardly a childhood trip to Manchester would go by without my mum pointing out Victoria Wood sat in the Royal Exchange café (just over there, behind you, a few seats away, looking down…) as we had a snack. I had no idea who Victoria Wood was at the age of 8, never mind what she looked like. And of course, Jean Alexander – or ‘IldarOgden’ as she was better known – sometimes caught the same train from Wigan as my dad.

And then there were The Houghton Weavers, local boys come good with their own TV show and all, just sat there at the cricket club on a Saturday. I know, I know: ‘Just Like Johnny Marr’, if you close your eyes, replace Westhoughton with Wythenshawe, and listen to Alpaca Sports as @Inalvsmat suggests.

And then of course there were the sports stars. This line of fame-by-association began at secondary school in the athletic form of British Olympic bronze medallist and namesake-by-marriage Donna Hartley, with whom participants in some sponsored event or other were invited to have their photograph taken.

Before too long footballers were also queuing up to make my acquaintance. First, former Bolton Wanderers and England player Peter Reid kicked off the staff v pupils football game in our open day, although the occasion got too much for him and he left before I scored my hat-trick.

And then, future Manchester City and England U-21 manager Peter Reid answered the door as I struggled to deliver his mum’s Saturday copy of the Bolton Evening News. It was summer, so he wasn’t playing. Like Colin Bean, Peter Reid hasn’t had a nominated song written about him either, but he did play in the same Everton team as incognito indiekid Pat Nevin, who stars in The Tractors’ effort ‘Pat Nevin’s Eyes’, as put forward by @PozNoz.

 Actors, sports stars… before too long I was inevitably to be found mixing with pop stars of the modern age too. Not content with seeing Happy Mondays dancer Bez coming out of a pub on the Salford/Manchester border one Wednesday lunchtime (he was wearing a suit, so I guessed he may have been up in court for some misdemeanour or other. I might have been wrong…) I was soon to be found assisting Manchester’s rock royalty in their hour of need. Making a quick getaway from Inspiral Carpets’ support slot with James at Manchester Free Trade Hall, Clint Boon found himself caught in a crossroads as his girlfriend’s Cortina broke down at the most inopportune moment. Lucky for him that my mates and I were in the vicinity to give him a push in the right direction.

This of course pales into significance with the time I turned up far too early for a BOB gig in Bolton and was invited to share a pizza with them. BOB’s debut single was called ‘Brian Wilson’s Bed’; unfortunately none of you suggested this, so you’ll have to make do with @SoxanPance’s nominated ‘Brian Wilson’ by Barenaked Ladies.

 By now, word of my emerging status of ‘person-the-celebs-must-be-seen-with’ was spreading quicker than a rumoured sighting of Lord Lucan, and it did not take long for the stars of the small screen to try and weave their way into my little world. Saturday mornings as an A-level student were spent working in a petrol station; Saturday afternoons were spent reading history books and preparing essays in a petrol station as the morning downpour of customers petered out into the occasional light shower.

One of these light showers sometimes manifested itself in the human form of Crackerjack’s very own Stu Francis, getting his petrol on account while it was quiet and nobody would hassle him for autographs. I had to hassle him for an autograph, but only because he had to sign for the petrol he had just taken. He rarely spoke, other than to say ‘thanks’ or occasionally utter some bizarre coded message, like ‘The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey’s Grave’. Perhaps he was a fan of Butthole Surfers like @gigticket.

 I might have made the end of the last paragraph up. Anyway, my afternoons in the petrol station were clearly well spent as I was sufficiently studied to get a ‘B’ in my History (Social and Economic, if you’re wondering) and off I toddled to University in Newcastle. My daily walk into the city from the outskirts took me down back streets in the vicinity of St. James’ Park, and it was along one of these very streets that I would often see the players of struggling Newcastle United drive past on their way to training.

One day, a small, kindly driver stopped to let me cross the road, sacrificing thirty seconds of his team’s training to make sure I could get to my lecture on time. It was Ossie Ardiles, the club’s then manager, with a few players in the back of his car for good measure. Ossie is also famous for being the subject of a Tottingham Hotspur FA Cup Final song, as well as being an Argentinian World Cup winner. @WillieMcAlpine suggested a song by Kinski about one of Ossie’s compatriots, private dancer ‘Argentina Turner’. Ok, so it’s a play on words and not really a proper name, but it’s a good one so I’ve bent the rules slightly this time (only).

 Newcastle was not the most ideal place for sharing my life with the rich and famous, which is just as well as I was able to focus on the job of getting a degree without too much distraction. No thanks to Ant and Dec mind, who filmed ‘Byker Grove’ just up the road from my temporary home in Fenham, and came and gatecrashed my table in the Fox and Hounds for a spot of underage drinking. They were very civilised, though, and kept the noise down to a minimum.

I couldn’t quite work out what they were talking about, on account of me not listening. Perhaps at that precise moment in time they were plotting world domination under the guise of humorous and likeable TV hosts, via a brief pop career. On the subject of brief pop careers, thank you to @niamunna1: here’s Weezer with ‘Buddy Holly’.

 Degree out of the way with, and after a further couple of unemployed years spent convincing myself that a life of pop fame and fortune surely beckoned (given that someone at Rough Trade had quite liked a demo tape before they moved on to writing for Radio Times), I moved to the outskirts of London. Maybe the streets weren’t paved with gold, but they were littered with stars.

For eight years I largely resided in Stanmore. Madonna lived just up the road; so too did Tom Cruise, who was not averse to popping in to the local Blockbusters to rent a video. However, my first flat was in Hatch End, just around the corner from comedian Barry Cryer. His large house had a ‘granny flat’ attached and I used to fantasise that he kept Willie Rushton in there.

Bazza drank in our local, The Railway (although maybe it was us in his local) and one day I was sat next to him on the station platform when an oblivious passenger asked which train went to Willesden Junction. It was with great disappointment that I heard Barry not reply with “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue”. Mind, if he had I would then have been disappointed that I wasn’t at that point carrying ‘Spike Milligan’s Tape Recorder’, which also happens to be the title of an @BullAntics-proffered song by The Membranes.

These days I am much choosier about which famous people I allow to mix in my company. I would count as both friend and work colleague an actor who played a character in ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ and was recently the face of the Virgin Broadband advertising campaign, for example. And she went to a party once with one-time Celebrity King of the Jungle Foggy. She is equally aware of my spectral past as the artist known as Johny Nocash (the man in blue).

To preserve anonymity I lived under this pseudonym for over 20 years before being ‘outed’ by this self-same website. But that’s ok; I learned to deal with this inadvertent unmasking quickly, a task made much easier by the discovery of a Johny Nocash tribute act. I was, therefore, very pleased that this tribute act had himself been recognised, both by @NorwoodTrash, and by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine who wrote a song about him. Ladies and gentlemen, your final song in this Top 10 Songs With Famous People In Their Title: ‘Johnny Cash’.

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Songs With Numbers In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Numbers In The Title

It’s never a good sign when the morning music-to-work ritual becomes stale. Sometimes spoilt for choice, sometimes finding nothing fits the mood of the day, I decided to shake things up a little bit by taking inspiration from EIO40 Community member @maffrj. Nothing too drastic, you understand: I wasn’t about to start listening to Acid Jazz, tempting though that might be sometimes.

No; I decided I’d listen to the entirety of my iPod collection in alphabetical order, by song title. By the time I was at Y this mammoth trek was almost at an end, I thought, completely forgetting about ‘Zeus’ by British Sea Power. And ‘Zombie’ by The Band of Holy Joy. Oh, and ‘Zorbing’ by Stornoway. But at least I could return to listening to whole albums at a time.

It was then that I remembered about songs beginning with numbers… There were loads. I was surprised at just how many were on my iPod. My brain began to creak into action: this would make a good Top Ten for the EIO40 site. So, with a doffed cap to Matt, here is the EIO40 Top Ten Indie Songs With Numbers In Their Titles.

1. Joy Zipper “1”

This seems as good a place as any to start, so thanks to @infolib_robin & @Archieboyo for suggesting the Joy Zipper’s track. 1 was the house number of my childhood home. It was the number I had on the back of my shirt when I played in goal for the school team as a teenager. It was also the minimum number of goals I conceded in my four matches before being dropped.

2. Thousand Yard Stare – “0-0 a.e.t (no score after extra time)”

‘0-0 AET’. Now here was a score of which I could only dream as a player. Having said that, I have been witness to sufficient matches ending in that score as a spectator to realise the immense pain such tedium can bring.

My favourite recollection is of watching my adopted hometown Watford playing against Accrington Stanley in a cup game. No shots on target for either side in normal time. No goals in extra time, but one lengthy stoppage due to injury. As the stadium announcer informed us that ‘The Assistant Referee has indicated there will be a minimum of five minutes additional time’ at the end of the second half of extra time, the bloke next to me stood up and bellowed pleadingly “Oh come on, referee: we want to go home!”.

Luckily, this Thousand Yard Stare track nominated by @martarse is more entertaining.

3. Sonic Youth – “100%”

Perhaps the problem lay in the fact that this was only the 2nd Round of the English League Cup – not even the FA Cup – and without wishing to disrespect Accrington Stanley they were hardly likely to be the biggest draw for the townsfolk of Watford on an unseasonally chilly Tuesday evening. Things might have been altogether different if those selected to play in their team’s colours gave the 110% oft-quoted by managers. As it was, they seemed barely able to muster the ‘100 per cent’ that Sonic Youth sing about in the track suggested by @tmulraney

 4. Jamie T – “368”

The attendance that night, according to the SkySports website (I do try and do a bit of research as well as just padding out these lists with waffle) was 8368. It is at this point in the story that @LanceDrysdale starts to get excited, as the attendance provides possible my most tenuous ever link to a song, a song that he nominated. Take away the 8,000 who regretted going to the match and you’ll be left with ‘368’, the exact same number as the title of this from Jamie T.

5. The Frank & Walters – “20 Years”

That particular evening was over two hours of my life I will never be able to recover, although it felt more like ’20 Years’. Much can happen in two decades; football teams can get promoted, relegated, then promoted again, players can become managers and then TV pundits, the England team can fail to win 10 international competitions, pop bands will form, split up and reform. The Frank And Walters however have managed to keep going for even longer than that, and thanks are due to @chumpski for their inclusion in this Top Ten.

6. Factory Floor – “16-16-9-20-1-14-9-7”

In collating all your submissions for this Top Ten I was quite surprised at the variety and context of numbers on offer, from the lazy swapping of a word for a number (2 and 4 being the worst culprits, naturally) on one hand, to almost impenetrable rationale on the other. Maybe @pillshark73 might be able to reveal more behind of the thinking behind Factory Floor’s ‘16-16-9-20-1-14-9-7’. Maybe it’s their bank account number?

7. Six By Seven – “88-92-96”

If it is indeed the band’s bank account number, they could at least have provided us with the Sort Code. You know, the six digit number that tells one bank exactly which other bank to ask for money from when you write a cheque. I write this secure in the knowledge that everyone in the EIO40 age range will know what I mean by the word ‘cheque’.

I did for a minute consider that Six by Seven were presenting us with a Sort Code via their @MUSESFAN2-nominated track ‘88-92-96’, but maybe it’s just a list of European Championships that England failed to win.

8. Poppy Factory – “7×7”

The above nomination serves to highlight some of the confusion heaped upon the poor, ageing indie-loving community to which we belong. Sorry? What’s that? Less of the ‘poor’? As you wish. You see, we asked for numbers in songs as digits rather than words. So a song titled ‘Six by Seven’ would not have been allowed, whilst a song titled ‘7×7’ is allowed. Consequently, Poppy Factory are included in this top 10, thanks to @sharkastic

9. Red House Painters – “24”

As anybody with at least half the mathematical skills that I possess will be able to testify instantly, the answer to the sum 7×7 is, of course 24. Fortunate for me then that @GeeBeeMan suggested including this Red House Painters song, entitled ‘24’. I would have been stuffed if the real answer was something as random as, say, 49 because nobody suggested any songs with that in the title. Where would I be without a bit of luck, eh?

10. Film School – “11:11”

Actually, I know exactly where I’d be without a bit of luck. I would be stood pulling what’s left of my hair out watching an interminable penalty shoot-out between a club who once finished 2nd in the English league and one who went bust and dropped out decades earlier.

I would be cursing the inability of the players to kick the ball into the net rather than at the goalkeeper, the metal post and crossbar or the wider environs of Vicarage Road. I would be wondering if I would make the last bus, with the paranoid sensation that both Film School and @fatspider0 are laughing at me. I would be looking down at my watch to check the time: ‘7am’.

John Hartley


After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Songs With 10 Or More Words In The Title

Comments (0) Latest, Slider1, Top Ten

In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In The Title

When I was a young child I came across a book of poetry on the bookcase in the kitchen. Three poets, all from Liverpool, contributed to the anthology which was entitled ‘The Mersey Sound’. Amongst the wit and rhyme contained within was a poem whose title was almost as long as the poem itself, written by Adrian Henri:

Song For A Beautiful Girl Petrol-Pump Attendant On The Motorway

I wanted your soft verges
But you gave me the hard shoulder

The art of naming a song is perhaps a bit more challenging than that of a naming a poem; after all, most poetry anthologies contain both a list of titles and an index of first lines. To be remembered effectively a song should have a catchy hook, usually a line of the song that is also the title, and consequently the shorter the better. However, taking the song as an art-form, sometimes a longer title is much more appropriate and representative of the song’s intent.

To that end, here is the Everything Indie Over 40 Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In Their Title (that’s fifteen words in our own title, if you’re counting…)

For the statisticians amongst you, there were 75 different suggestions for songs to fit this category, with an average length of 12.72 words per title. That’s a total of 954 words. The shortest was, of course, only 10 words in length. The longest (by a mile?) was a nomination which clocked in at a mere 53 words, presuming of course that I didn’t lose count along the way.

I am not quite sure how impressed either the record shop counter assistant or those queuing behind @charlie_clown would have been when he asked for a copy of that Sufjan Stevens track ‘The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You’re Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, “I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!”’. I love this title for two reasons: firstly the indecision as to exactly which extremely long title best suits the song and secondly the generosity shown by the contraction of the words ‘You’ and ‘Are’ into ‘You’re’, just in case the title was getting too long for us to remember.

One of the many joys in a long song title is the opportunity for the writer to demonstrate the surrealism of their train of thought. Sufjan Stevens has taken many an opportunity to do this. Los Campesinos! is another act to get carried away with the length of their song titles. Both @Perlalaloca and @MerrieCityMan suggested ‘A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State; Or Letters From Me To Charlotte’.

Quite what this heat rash looks like (apart from the Show Me State, obviously) is both unclear and intriguing. It also provides more fuel for the imagination than the alternative half of the title.

 Indeed it is probably cheating by having a very long title that is basically just a collection of alternative titles for the same thing. The same would apply to songs containing brackets, especially when the brackets contain an alternative title for that song. Take, for example, The BluetonesAutophilia (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My Car)’, as nominated by @moztheboston, @bringitonskippy and @MarkMarkRoss.

Neither suggested title is in the lyric, the single word is not exactly one that is in every day use and the bracketed alternative doesn’t give the whole picture either, for as far as I can see the song doesn’t give any indication of worry in the first place. Judge for yourselves, anyway.

No, I reckon The Bluetones would have been far better off being a bit blunter, a bit more honest. Rather than hiding behind a metaphorical approach to their subject matter they could have come straight out and laid any potential anxiety on the line.

That’s what The Brilliant Corners did. Straight to the point, no messing, no need for any alternative title, no need to decipher exactly what the context might be: ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me’, as nominated by @Dalliance68 and @Salient Braves leaves the listener in no doubt.

 That song might well have provided a post-dated musical prequel to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetic suggestion that “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. This of course would be of no consolation to Another Sunny Day who did nothing to dispel the Sarah Records stereotype with the title of their track ‘I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist’.

Maybe @MaScrieven could have a word with the girl in question for them? Or maybe ten or more words – when there are so many at our disposal it seems churlish to be selective.

 Latter-day indie bands clearly learned from the dismissive approach of their predecessors – fey, twee, navel-gazing, shambling – were all terms used derogatively to label bands writing songs about personal love and emotion as opposed to the mass-market generic ‘love’ songs churned out by many major label artists. And I mean artists in the loosest sense.

The joy of indie was (is) that of independence and as such individuality. These terms certainly became associated with the next act in our Top Ten. Arctic Monkeys took a more self-deprecating approach to a similar subject matter than Another Sunny Day; “And I’m so tense, never tenser/Could all go a bit Frank Spencer?’ is a great line in the wryly-titled ‘You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me’. Thanks to @RiverboatCaptain, @BullAntics and @Eveshambaggy for this suggestion.

 If it is better to have loved and lost, that does not mean that doing so removes any degree of pain or unhappiness. Indeed, the depth of such agony can rarely be measured, especially when concerning affairs of the heart. On their (ultimately) breakthrough album ‘Gold Mother’ James included a track entitled ‘You Can’t Tell How Much Suffering (On A Face That’s Always Smiling)’. An old adage, and one which doesn’t need the brackets if we’re being perfectly honest. Let’s not hold that against @sharkastic though, if only because it’s a very good song.

 And of course, suffering is not just restricted to love and loss. Sometimes it is a direct consequence of things unrequited, or the so near-yet-so-far: Dean Holdsworth’s open goal miss in extra time of the FA Cup semi-final against Aston Villa in 2000 still brings shivers to my spine.

And there are traumas far worse than that to contend with too. Take for example the long-suffering narrator in the Half Man Half Biscuit track ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit’, nominated by both @GLPNE73 and @Carter_69, as he is handed his unemployment benefit from an old school friend; life could have turned out so, so differently.

 In fact, for some people life does indeed turn out very differently. A few years ago the chippy down the road from where I lived was owned by a family, one of whom was the spitting image of Dudley Moore. Politeness meant that I never had the courage to ask her if she was actually the famous actor, but gender aside it wasn’t inconceivable.

Lots of one-time famous people return to a life of normality. Boy George was seen sweeping the streets (ok, community service was the real reason, but hey…), which makes me wonder whether the character in Kirsty MacColl ‘There’s A Guy Down The Chip Shop Who Swears He’s Elvis’, nominated by @CTootell and @trustthewizards, might just be who he thought he was.

 By the time you get to the end of this final paragraph you will have read 1,381words. I haven’t been counting of course; the computer does it for me. I trust you have enjoyed this snapshot of the many suggestions for inclusion in The Indie Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In Their Title. If you haven’t, well, that’s just tough and my retort to you is this song, appropriately by Johnny Boy and suggested by @maffrj: ‘You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve’. So there!

 John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Songs For The Festive Season

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs For The Festive Season

The lot of a music journalist is not an easy one (as most will all too willingly tell you in their memoirs), so imagine how bad it is for me pretending to be one. Everything that should be so easy becomes all so complicated. Our esteemed Editor issues a simple instruction from EIO40HQ: ‘furnish us with your top festive songs’, or words to that effect. And yet not a single one of the readership is able to come up with a song suitable for the annual celebration of the Winter Solstice that is the twelve day festival of Yule. Not a single one. So, I’m afraid ‘yule’ just have to make do with a whole load of Christmas songs instead.

1. The Fall -“Xmas With Simon”

In the real world, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without millions of folk across the United Kingdom digging deep into their pockets and helping the poor and needy. By purchasing the X Factor’s winning song in their droves, poor Simon Cowell is able to feast on the milk of human kindness. It might be the only decent meal he gets, you know. Mark E Smith has quite possibly spent more than one festive season at the Cowell household; why else would The Fall be driven to write ‘Xmas With Simon’, as nominated by @daznixon1989 and @knoxy15?

 2. Tom Waits – A Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis

I can almost picture the scene: Smith and Cowell sat at the table, Louis Walsh – his nose pressed firmly against the artificially frosted window – gazing longingly at the turkey rump and trimmings. Mistletoe dangles from the candelabra, tinsel decorates that signed photo of Sinitta from 1988 and… wait: what is that tucked away on the mantelpiece? Oh, it’s ‘A Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis’ sent via Tom Waits. Well spotted @caroline_binnie.

 3. The Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)

Is Tom Waits indie? Does it matter? It is Christmas after all; the season of cheer and goodwill to all men and women. That means no arguments. Not even when Simon Cowell turns down the chance to sign up The Fall to his money-making empire. Just when it looks like old Smithy (or should that be Smith E? I don’t know the exact protocol here) is about to slay his host with a plethora of flat vowels, a sudden realisation hits. His mood changes: ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’, he says. Cowell raises his eyebrow. ‘Sounds like a Ramones song to me’, he says. ‘I’ll stick that in the next series’ Punk Week and thereby guarantee viewing from at least @todclaret and @Miss_D_xx.’

 4. The Polyphonic Spree – “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)

But hang on a minute… punk? Is that indie too? Of course it is; as anyone who watched the excellent BBC4 documentary (and that’s why we pay the licence fee folks, remember!) on the story of indie, we wouldn’t have what we commonly term ‘indie’ without the staunch independence of the punk movement. It’s just horses for courses, genres for whatever-rhymes-with-genres. We want a Christmas without any of the usual round-the-table family bickering this year. Let’s get on with unwrapping the presents. Here’s a gift from @GLPNE73: it’s ‘The Christmas Song’ by The Polyphonic Spree.

 5. The Wedding Present – “No Christmas”

Just as Mark and Simon look as though they are about to start squabbling over who gets the first listen to the song, fate intervenes and Cowell notices a small, thin square-shaped gift leaning humbly against the base of the Christmas Tree. Being from @BullAntics and @thirtysixholes it is clearly musical, and so the host offers an olive branch to his guest. ‘Go on,’ he says, ‘open it.’ Of course, Smith’s face is a picture when he realises its ‘No Christmas’ with a gruff voice singing songs of heartbreak. And we don’t mean Chris Rea…

 6. The Bitter Springs – “A Christmas No 1”

‘This is great’, says old Mark E-boy. ‘It reminds me of when music used to be good, instead of all that commercial Christmas guff-uh’. Simon Cowell looks sheepishly at his paunch, now fairly bursting through his white satin roll neck top. Smith is getting well into this song. ‘I’m getting well into this-uh’ he tells Cowell. ‘If I had my way, this would be a Christmas number one’. Cowell responds; ‘Unfortunately for you, it would appear that only I get my way at Christmas. Unless some fiend organises a Rage Against The Machine campaign. And anyway,’ he says pointing at the YouTube video he has now found on his smartphone, ‘This is ‘A Christmas No. 1’. It’s by Bitter Springs, and was nominated by @Clive_Stringer.’

 7. The Cannanes – “Christmas Tree”

The festivities pause for a few minutes whilst Simon Cowell watches the Queen’s Speech and Mark E Smith fires another member of his band. However all is not lost; in the nick of time Smith spots the perfect replacement almost straight away. Standing tall at six feet, barely moving and certainly not answering back, Mark offers the post of bass guitarist without hesitation. Unfortunately, the candidate doesn’t leap at the opportunity. In fact the candidate doesn’t do anything. ‘Mark,’ offers Simon after an uncomfortably long silence, ‘That’s the ‘Christmas Tree’ I was given by The Cannanes’. Oh dear. I don’t know what Ma Smith would make of this scenario, let alone @MaScrievin.

 8. The Research – “For Christmas I Got Pityriasis Rosea”

‘Bloody hell you’re right!’ exclaims E Smith without pausing for punctuation. ‘It must be great being so popular. Have you been given anything else?’ Cowell scans the vast living room for gifts he has decided not to save for a rainy day. Should he mention the Girls Aloud reunion tour programme Cheryl has given him? Would Mark be jealous? It is signed, after all. ‘No, not really’ says our Simon humbly. ‘Just a platinum disc from the BPI for Ben Haenow’s single last year’. ‘Oh FFS (that’s text speak, Simon)’ says The Fall frontman. ‘According to The Research, ‘For Christmas I Got Pityriasis Rosea’ from @tfdefence, and that’s it.’


9. Fountains Of Wayne – “I Want An Alien For Christmas”

Surprisingly, Mr. Cowell has sympathy for his guest. It would appear that even the rich and famous don’t always get what they want for Christmas. ‘It’s true,’ says Simon, wiping a tear from his eye. ‘In fact, 2014 was the first time in eight years that one of my acts won the X Factor. And that was Leona Lewis’. Whisky in hand, Mark drapes a consoling arm over the multimillionaire’s shoulder. ‘It’s ok. I don’t think Father Christmas even reads my letters. ‘I Want An Alien For Christmas’, but the closest I ever get is a song by Fountains of Wayne thanks to @KevSkibbers.’

 10. Low – “Just Like Christmas”

Our two stalwarts of the music industry slump onto the sofa (by the way, that’s the plush red leather one opposite the real wood-burning fireplace, not the Winchester at right angles to it. Or the velvet-covered four-seater in front of the aquarium.) ‘Just look at us,’ sighs Mr. Cowell. ‘I’d rather not’, slurs Mr. Smith. ‘Can we just watch some telly? Are Little and Large on?’ ‘No,’ says our Simon, ‘but Top Of The Pops is.’ Our Mark exhales contentedly. ‘Oh good,’ he says. ‘Do you know, Simon; life isn’t too bad after all. If only @durutti74 and @Chops_Top_Fives were here, then it’d be ‘Just Like Christmas’.

And it was.

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Single Girls’ Names In A Song Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Single Girls Name In A Song Title

This should be easy, I thought: there will be two options open to me. At first I thought I could wax lyrical about the songs the EIO40 community nominate that can be found in my own collection of records, tapes and CDs. You know, like the classic Babybird lo-fi track ‘Valerie’, with its unforgettable lyric “Oh Valerie, you’re like a gallery, my little cart of modern art”. Or ‘Anabelle’, off the fourth album by Wolverhampton’s finest The Mighty Lemon Drops; wait, what do you mean you didn’t know they’d had a fourth album? Anyway, it turns out there are loads of songs with girls names in their title, and many of them were new to me.

But not to worry, I consoled myself: I’ll just pick out the songs with names that also appear in my little black book and tell hilarious and slightly lugubrious tales of old flames. I counted the number of different songs nominated – only seventy eight. And then I remembered I have never required the use of a little black book. At which point the EIO40 legal team put away their libel case law folders and breathed a sigh of relief.

1. The House Of Love – “Christine”

One of the advantages of such a wide field is that the opportunity is provided for some lesser-mentioned bands to take their turn in the spotlight, so all is not lost. However, it seems only fair that the most-nominated track gets a mention. The House of Love had a couple of songs put forward, with ‘Christine’, the blistering opener from their debut album, being suggested by @RiverboatCapt, @Rich_W27, @mkip_68, @muzzyjez and @caroline_binnie.

It is also a song that appears in my collection too, so hoorah for that eh! It was apparently the very first song Guy Chadwick wrote for The House of Love, and very good it is too.

 2. Pond – “Agatha”

‘Christine’ is also one letter longer than the surname of arguably one of the world’s greatest ever crime novellists, Agatha Christie. My English teachers always used to tell me that if I said ‘arguably’ I should then proceed to argue the case. None of them are reading this, though, so I’m not going to. ‘Agatha’ is also the title of a track by US grungesters Pond. If my English teachers were reading this they would have kittens over my use of the term ‘grungesters’ too; I grew up reading the NME though so what can they expect? The track can be found on side one of Pond’s self-titled debut album, as @womlaw will testify.

 3. Allo Darlin’ – “Angela”

Two names in, both songs that can be found on the respective bands’ eponymous debut album. If I’d thought this through carefully I could have had a theme developing here. Never mind. Agatha Christie’s theme generally was crime, particularly murder. One of her novels was entitled ‘The Third Girl’ and thereby provides a fortunate link to the third track in this girls’ name top 10. One of Christie’s most famous creations was the old woman with a knack for spotting whodunit a mile off, Miss Marple.

Miss Marple has appeared on screen many times, portrayed by various different actresses, the most celebrated of which I reckon to be Joan Hickson. Unfortunately, no-one nominated a song called Joan, but @BillyChief suggested ‘Angela’ by Allo Darlin’ and seeing as Angela Lansbury also played Miss Marple I’m off the hook.

 4. A Certain Ratio – “Lucinda”

Miss Marple isn’t the only famous fictional female detective, either. There’s loads of them, and fortunately for @JohnnyDee_UK one of them is called Lucinda. Lucinda Pierce, to be precise, and she appears in a series of novels by Diane Fanning. Before she’s even got started on detection our Lucinda has lost an eye in the course of duty, and as you can imagine things don’t get much rosier for her thereafter. ‘Lucinda’ is also the title of the track Johnny suggested, as performed by A Certain Ratio.

 5. The Fall – “Hilary”

A Certain Ratio hailed from Manchester, the same city as that loveable old charmer Mark E Smith. Mark E Smith has presided over 16, 327 different line-ups of The Fall, a band who have a discography containing even more spelling mistakes than the average Nocash English Literature essay (although to be fair the song titles do make a little more sense than the essays ever did). One of their tracks is entitled ‘Rose’, but that was disqualified because it is probably pronounced ‘Rose-ah’. So bad luck @pillshark73, but the points here go to @richardcuddy and @0151Omski who both suggested ‘Hilary’ instead.

 6. The Orchids – “Carrole-Anne”

Hilary is the name of an actress; Hilary Duff, to be precise. She nearly shares the same surname as the poet Carol Ann Duffy, who is a Professor at Manchester’s Metropolitan University and is the current Poet Laureat. In turn, she nearly shares the same forename as ‘Carrole-Anne’, the song written by The Orchids and nominated by @bodlingboy.

The Orchids hailed from Glasgow and spent their formative years releasing records on Sarah Records; ‘Carrole-Anne’ can be found on their debut album ‘Lyceum’.

 7. St Christopher – “Antionette”

Sarah Records was also the home – along with many other labels – of St. Christopher. The York-based band are built around Glenn Melia, the only constant member throughout a twenty-five year recording existence. One of these such recordings was the 1990 Sarah Records single ‘Antoinette’, as identified by @fi-fry. According to Wikipedia the song is “a sophisticated keyboard-driven song drenched in reverb”.

 8. The Bodines – “Therese”

St. Christopher is the patron saint of travellers, athletes, archers and bachelors amongst other things; toothache also. St. Therese meanwhile is the patron saint of aviators, florists and illnesses. ‘Therese’ is the title of a song by Glossop’s The Bodines. Their second single, ‘Therese’ reached the heady heights of number four in the UK indie chart in 1986, and appeared on the NME’s ‘C86’ compilation cassette. It also found a home amongst the numerous nominated songs with girls’ names in their titles thanks to @myrtleleaf.

 9. Clinic – Linda

Although St. Therese might well be the patron saint of illnesses, she is arguably not the best source of hope and help for those suffering from illness. Again, I’m not going to argue the case. I studied government, not theology. No, if I were suffering from an illness I’d be more inclined to visit a medical establishment, like a surgery or even – hey! – a clinic. And luckily for the rather random thread of this entire Top 10, Clinic also happens to be the name of a band, a band who released a song with a girl’s name in the title to boot. So hats off to @DrJonesPNE for providing me with another tenuous link via their track ‘Linda’.

 10. Silver Sun – “Julia”

You see, Linda happens to be the name of one of the teaching assistants in the class next door to mine in the school in which I road-test my poor attempts at humour before inflicting them on you. Everyone calls the teacher in that class Julie, although her name is actually Julia. Perhaps she was christened by Mark E Smith. ‘Julia’ also happens to be the title of the last entry in our Top Ten, thanks to @neilc79 who suggested the Silver Sun track.

And there you have it: the EIO40 Top Ten Songs With Girls Names In The Title, written with perhaps the most intricately fragile connections since the railways were privatised. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’m going for a lie down now.

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Hidden Album Tracks

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Hidden Album Tracks

For a brief, short-lived period sometime back in the mid 1990s probably, it seemed that an album wasn’t a proper album if it didn’t have a secret track hidden away. As a concept, the hidden track doesn’t work too well on vinyl, because generally it is possible to count the number of tracks or see if there is a disproportionate amount of time still left for the record to play during the last song. Not that that stopped The Beatles sticking ‘Her Majesty’ on the end of ‘Abbey Road’. Cassettes made it easier, but really nobody could be bothered.

But with the CD, oh what mirth, what merriment could be had by hiding a track. Leave ten minutes of silence at the end of the final track then add a song: most people will have left the room by then. Or use technology to hide a track at the start of the album; in fact, before it has even begun! Nobody will ever know! Which sort of renders the whole thing pointless anyway, if you ask me.

The cleverest, most hilarious, most knowingly-ironic use of the hidden track however has to lie with little-known London-based indie band Echolalia, whose ‘Secret Hidden Bonus Track’ was never recorded, just played live – mid-set- with the line “I bet it doesn’t even sound rehearsed”. It wasn’t. It was my band, and my, how we loved to watch the tumbleweed blow across the no-man’s land between stage and audience when we performed the track.

Anyway, enough rambling. Somewhere, amongst this jumble of letters, numbers and punctuation marks that masquerades as music writing, you might find hidden the answer to all of your musical prayers ever. It’s probably on Disc Three of a Four Disc set, accessed by pressing pause twice at 3:21 of track 4, then holding down the FF button for ten seconds straight. So in no particular order…

1. The Stone Roses – “Foz” 

If you’re going to hide a track for your fans, you might as well make it worthwhile finding. Some fans of The Stone Roses were less than impressed with the six and a half minutes of ‘Foz’ secreted at the end of The Second Coming; others will view it as the sound of a band taking time out to actually enjoy themselves mucking about during the protracted sessions that eventually produced the much awaited follow up to their eponymous debut. Ok, ‘She Bangs The Drums’ it is not, but one for the diehards? Apparently it is Track 90 on the CD, and has been recommended by @JohnnyDee_UK.

 2. Catatonia – “Gyda Gwen”

I think Catatonia sort of had the right idea, providing the lilting vocals and gentle melody of ‘Gyda Gwen’ at the end of their debut album ‘Way Beyond Blue’. Nominated by @tfdefence, the track fades into its beautiful existence after about eight minutes of silence at the end of the final listed track on the album.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon which side of the line you stand) the track is sung in Welsh, which is fair enough given that the band are Welsh, but at the same time it is a language that only 19% of the Welsh population speak. Consequently most listeners have to make do with enjoying the beautiful sounds emanating from Cerys’ vocal chords and hope they’re not in any way offensive to ourselves or others.

 3. Babybird – The Xmas God Of New York” 

Another band to sort of have the right idea was Babybird. By the time they released their third album ‘Bugged’ the band were carrying the much-misunderstood hit ‘You’re Gorgeous’ around their necks like a millstone. Their popularity in the media was beginning to wane as quickly as the realisation that they were not a novelty band but one with proper songs about proper things. The perfect time then, to release ‘The Xmas God Of New York’; so why then would you choose to put not only one of the best songs on an album but one of the best songs in your entire catalogue, as a hidden track? Also the best Christmas song in the world ever (narrowly beating St. Etienne and Tim Burgess’ effort) this track was discovered by @unclejel, whom I urge you to thank.

 4. Mansun – “An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter” 

And staying with the theme of bands sort of having the right idea, let’s head straight over to Mansun. It’s often said that if you’ve got something to say then it’s best to say it, and that is exactly what they do by writing an ‘Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter’. Unfortunately, by hiding the track on their album ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ it is unclear as to how many lyrical trainspotters they expected to find and then duly digest the content of this open letter. Perhaps either @soxanpance or @Charlie_Clown could tell them.

 5. Belle & Sebastian – “Songs For Children”

The more we delve into this shady, mysterious ‘hidden track’ malarkey, the more it becomes apparent that indeed many indie artists sort of got the right idea without properly getting it. Take Belle & Sebastian as yet another example. By my reckoning they got pretty much everything right when they hid a bonus track on their album until they realised that, actually, it wasn’t an album but their ‘3…6…9…Seconds of Light’ EP. ‘Songs For Children’ might instead have been titled ‘Song for @BeardedSteven given that he is possibly the only person in the world ever to have looked for a hidden track on an EP.

6. Ash – “Jack Names The Planets/Don’t Know

Perhaps we could blame Ash’s misunderstanding of the principle of the hidden bonus track on youthful naivety or an exuberant way, given that the perennial youngsters were probably still in short trousers when they released their full length debut album 1977. For here is a band for whom one bonus track hidden in the pre-gap at the start of the CD was not enough. Oh no: they provided both ‘Jack Names The Planets’ and its b-side ‘Don’t Know’ on the first 50,000 pressings of the CD, as noted by @dustyinhere, @bringitonskippy and @simon_shell. And if that wasn’t enough the band added ‘Sick Party’, apparently a recording of them vomiting, at the end of their album. Kids, eh?

 7. Super Furry Animals – “Citizen Band/Chewing Chewing Gum”

Those japesters Super Furry Animals can have no such excuse as youth for committing the same act of secrecy; they’d been going for donkey’s years (although a donkey is admittedly more of a super, hairy animal) by the time they’d released ‘Guerrilla’ into the world. One track, ‘Citizen Band’, was hidden in the pre-gap and found by @Clive_Stringer, whilst at the back end of the album a reprise of ‘Chewing Chewing Gum’ was to be found, as noted by @country_mile. Maybe the Welshman had home advantage.

 8. The Wondermints – Various from “Bali” 

But not even these two bands can compete with The Wondermints when it comes to getting such a simple concept so wrong. Or right, depending upon how you look at it. @WallyTBM reckons there are ‘about a hundred’ secret hidden bonus tracks at the end of their ‘Bali’ album. The ‘Comes With A Smile’ blog suggests a figure closer to eighty six, many of which are instrumental but still a phenomenal amount. Maybe they just couldn’t be bothered typing out the full tracklisting.

9. The Afghan Whigs – “Miles Iz Ded” 

Sometimes however the hidden track at the end of an album has every right to be there: a postscript, an addendum, perhaps a moment of inspiration that came too late for the actual album recordings. Take the tale behind ‘Miles Iz Ded’, to be found at the end of Congregation by The Afghan Whigs and nominated by @_SandyWishart. For here is a track inspired by an answerphone message left on Greg Dulli’s phone just as the recording sessions ended, informing him that Miles Davies was dead, and to not forget the alcohol.

 10. Courtney Barnett – “Stair Androids & Valley Um…?”

And let’s not think that the hidden track is a relic from the past. Oh no. Well, not unless Australian artist Courtney Barnett wants her 2015 debut ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’ to be tagged retro. Unlikely, I am sure. In addition to including my favourite song title of the year so far in ‘Pedestrian At Best’, the album also includes the hidden track and similarly well-titled ‘Stair Androids & Valley Um…?’ Thanks to @mjgelder for pointing us all in the way of this track.

Secret, hidden bonus tracks then: seems like nearly everyone has been at it judging by the number of nominations. It appears that those hidden in the pre-gap can be found by starting your CD, then holding down ‘Rewind’ to rewind into the darkness before light or something. Only on selected CD players too. Alternatively, you can try to import the album onto your computer and it might appear as part of the first track. And apparently, secretly hidden amongst the text above, is the title of another hidden track nominated by one of you. If you find it, there might be a prize…

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at


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The Indie Top Ten Songs With Profanities In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Profanities In The Title

“Truth is, I used to think it mattered. I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks. Not compared to how people matter”.

So speaks the legendary British actor Pete Postlethwaite in the film ‘Brassed Off’. And he is right, of course. But sometimes we need the music to help us make the people matter, or to take our minds off the fact that sometimes it would appear that people do not matter. More importantly, however, the above quote demonstrates possibly the finest use of my favourite swear word ever. It’s even better than that album title by The Sex Pistols.

You, dear contributors, of course have different preferences; for swear words, for song titles, for bands. A quite impressive 51 different suggestions, no less, which makes compiling this Top 10 even trickier. You buggers.

1. Flux Of Pink Indians – “Mind Fuckers Fucking Minds”

The prize for the most profanities included in the title is awarded to the @mixless – nominated Flux of Pink Indians. If you were that way inclined you could even afford yourself a childish snigger at the fact that the band name itself includes a word that sounds like it might be rude. However, ‘The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks’ is a remarkable title that surely everybody can relate to in some shape or form. Unfortunately, the title is not a song in itself so cannot count. Fortunately, ‘Mind Fuckers Fucking Minds’ is a song, and it can be found on that album, here:

2. Julian Cope “All The Blowing Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die They Were Suckers)”

In the current climate of religion-induced violence (and yes, I know it’s been going on for centuries, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s about to vanish) it seems appropriate that Julian Cope’s ‘All The Blowing Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die They Were Suckers)’ should be included. Nominated by @051Omski this particular track wins the award for longest title amongst the contenders.

3. Future Of The Left “Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop”

The most-nominated song in the list is a seven-way tie, so I am going to take the casting votes and go with the suggestion made by both @lucyandamysdad and @charlie_clown. Future of the Left released a track entitled ‘Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop’; quite a brave title, as personally I would have named it Robocop 2, so credit for making it through three films before being reduced to swearing, folks.

4. The Sugarcubes “Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow”

It often appears to be the case that the use of profanity within a song is for shock purposes. Many of our modern day profanities derive from old English terminology for functional activities. Only two of the suggestions actually used the language within this context. Only one of these makes it into the Top 10, however: step forward @Billychief for the nomination of The Sugarcubes. True enough, many of Einaar’s vocal contributions were sufficient to reduce many a listener to swearing but Bjork’s voice generally wins over. Such is the case with ‘Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow’ from their debut album.

5. Belle and Sebastian  ‘Fuck This Shit’

However, sometimes the joy of the profanity is the simplicity and ease with which it shocks. When the chosen word is used by a band normally viewed as soft, gentle, twee even, that shock can only be magnified. Take Belle and Sebastian, for example: a band often associated with daydreaming, picking flowers in the park, going for a nice walk in the countryside and so on. I was quite shocked when hearing them complain about the referee giving them “fuck all” in ‘Another Sunny Day’, so you can imagine how far my jaw dropped when they named a song ‘Fuck This Shit’. Thanks @Wimon for reminding us:

6. Stereolab “You Little Shits”

The swear word can be used to create offence, to insult, to provoke. However, I reckon it works best when there simply are no other words left in the dictionary to express the unfolding situation. Just picture the scene, as I am sure that – like myself – @BeardedSteven has pictured it: it’s bin night, a grimy, grey London towerblock estate, and the air is heavy with drizzle. Stereolab’s Tim Gane has just sent his singer down four flights of stairs (the lift is broken) to put the last few lettuce leaves into the organic waste bin. As she approaches, Laeitita Sadier sees a gaggle of youths scarper from the bins, and on arriving finds that one of them has only gone and put a plastic bottle into the organic waste bin. Exasperation is an understatement, and ‘You Little Shits’ are the only words she can muster…

7. Nirvana “Territorial Pissings”

The joy of the EIO40 community is that everyone has very different tastes which sometimes overlap, like a massive Venn Diagram. However, those of you with gentler dispositions might choose to approach @mkip_68 with caution, given the number of suggestions offered by this particular member of our community (ie more than anyone else). The best-titled of these nominations is ‘Territorial Pissings’ by little known Seattle band Nirvana. They were tipped for big things at one stage, you know. Maybe their mums took offence at their song titling?

8. Blammo! “Wanky Wayne”

So many vulgarities, so many songs, yet some words are clearly more popular than others. Credit must go to @rojoyblancowizs for finding a song with a profanity in the title that nobody else used. (Or at least chose; what you do in your spare time is none of my business… ). This particular term must have been the bane of folk named similarly to the song’s subject; it has certainly been the bane of supporters of my football team (a Wanderers) and my county (Lancashire). Credit must be also due to finding the most obscure song within those suggested. So obscure in fact that intensive research on the internet failed to locate any record of it.

Notwithstanding that I’m taking @rojoyblancowizs word for it’s existence, because that’s the sort of trusting person I am. However, if anyone out there can enlighten us to Blammo!’s ‘Wanky Wayne’ please point us in the right direction so we can share this with you all.

9. Half Man Half Biscuit “The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman”

I had the pleasure of attending a Babybird gig in the early part of this decade. Not averse to the odd rant or two, Stephen Jones on this occasion decided to rail against radio networks. Taking umbrage at their complete ignorance of his featuring-Johnny-Depp single ‘Unloveable’, Jones bemoaned the lack of radio play his music was getting because “without radio, you’re fucked”. He then proceeded to announce the next song of the evening, the band’s next single: ‘Bastard’. Nobody suggested that particular song, but another of my favourite bands Half Man Half Biscuit were nominated twice, including ‘The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman’ as offered by @timh0bbs

10. Pixies “Oh My Golly!”

Sometimes, however, not even the most vulgar of words suffice to capture the very essence of anger, frustration, exasperation, rage, rebellion and so on. It is at times like these we must scour deep into our souls, flick the pages of our Oxford English Dictionary and pull out the only words left to capture the rawest of emotion. Step forward @Dalliance68, a community member who must have done this several times before, for that surely can be the only reason behind his Pixies nomination ‘Oh My Golly’

So there ends the Everything Indie Over 40 Top 10 songs with profanities in their titles. Thanks to the many, many other community members who offered suggestions for which there was insufficient space. Now go and wash your collective mouths out with soap and water.


After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free, at

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The Indie Top Ten Performances On “The Word”

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In this regular feature we ask the IndieOver40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-


I miss The Word. Moreso than I probably should, especially given that I can only remember watching a handful of the 106 episodes that were broadcast. I am not entirely sure exactly what I was doing late on a Friday evening in the first half of the 1990s, having turned 18 at the very start of that decade. It certainly wasn’t watching telly, though. Which is a bit of a shame, because subsequent research has revealed a number of my favourite bands were introduced through the nasal charm of Terry Christian and that I remained completely oblivious. Lucky for you then that I’m not relaying my own favourite Top Ten Appearances on The Word, because this wouldn’t be a particularly long Top 10. Instead, here are your suggestions, in no particular order.

1. Mega City Four play ‘Stop’

Introduced by the nation’s then-favourite American Katie Puckrit, Mega City Four managed to take time out of their scheduled 9,218 gigs per year for a rare live appearance on television. If I had been in to watch this I might have been persuaded to invest a couple of quid in their music. Instead that cash was probably invested in a couple of pints of Joseph Holt’s best bitter. @Dalliance68 saw it though, and now you can too:

2. Rage Against The Machine play ‘Killing In The Name’

This blew @NiceMarker mind when he saw it, and the clip you are about to see is introduced by another nice Mark – Mark Lamarr. Only don’t let your ma see this clip, cos he gestures with a solitary finger which goes against his otherwise nice persona. By the end of the clip it would appear guest Chris Eubank is wondering whether his skills as a diplomat may be needed in the stage-front affray. Disappointedly, he realises not

3. Thrum play ‘So Glad’

I’d never even heard of Thrum before compiling this Top Ten, so thanks to @darrenmjones for suggesting this jaunty guitar pop song from the penultimate year of episodes (that’s 1994, if you’re counting). It was always enjoyable watching the gathered audience try to look enthused and invigorated by a band they clearly had never heard of, and Thrum opened the show having come ‘all the way down from Scotland’, according to Terry Christian. It must have seemed like another country to him.

4. The Charlatans play ‘Crashin’ In’

The Word was always about more than just the music. It was a reflection on the popular youth culture, style and fashion of the era. The Charlatans made a few appearances on The Word during its six year run (that’s 1990-1995 if you weren’t counting before but are now) and it is indeed the fashion that has lodged this particular performance firmly in the memory of @pillshark73. “I was very jealous of that coat”, he says. It is a nice coat, mind you… Good old Terry has to remind us who the band is, still around a whole four years after their debut album was at No. 1 in the charts. Who would have thought such longevity be possible?

5. Dinosaur Jr. play ‘Start Choppin’

Normally the podiums around the stage were filled with over-enthusiastic under-paid dancers seeking maximum attention for their minimally relevant dance moves. When Dinosaur Jr. made this appearance the dancers were seemingly substituted for head-nodding teenagers pretending to be one of the background dancers in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The band are oblivious, lost in their own creativity, and fail to notice the audience’s polite cues to be bring their @ocallingham and @_sandywishart nominated performance to an end.

6. Stereolab play ‘French Disko’

I must have been ill, or maybe had been tipped the nod by the NME or something, but here is a band I did manage to see on The Word. @sharpster70 also saw Stereolab, and wanted to draw your attention to what is a very fine version of their classic ‘French Disko’. Laetitia Sadier looks suitably dubious about the throng collected in front of the stage whilst Tim Gane does a fine impersonation of Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout. And is that really a gladiator on one of those podiums?

7. Ride play ‘Leave Them All Behind’

Hailing from Oxford and being polite British indie boys RIDE were never going to do a Dinosaur Jr. and outstay their welcome, not even when bringing their eight minute long epic ‘Leave Them All Behind’ to the show. @Archieboyo recalled this performance amongst a few other bands’. It’s probably not the best live performance RIDE ever did, the harmonies causing the odd wince here or there, but it’s worth a watch just for Mark Gardener’s fringe.

 8. Oasis play ‘Supersonic’

At the time The Word was one of very few opportunities for up and coming bands to get some televisual exposure. I wonder if Noel and Liam were sat watching RIDE thinking ‘one day we’ll have their guitarist in our band’? Or even ‘one day we’ll be on this show’? Angela Browne nominated the Mancunians’ debut TV appearance. Did these City-supporting Mancunians specifically ask not to be introduced by the United-supporting Christian? It is one of the rock’n’roll mysteries that maybe will never be solved.

9. The House Of Love play ‘Marble’

Not a single, not even a track from a proper album but a mid-price release (presumably allowing Fontana Records to recoup their losses after Guy Chadwick’s writer’s block hindered the band’s progress) yet ‘Marble’ on The Word was one of The House Of Love’s finest moments. Never mind the cod-psychadelic super-imposed graphics behind the band, just marvel at the sheer fury of those guitars and the bitterness of Chadwick’s vocals. Nominated by me, because no-one else did.

10. L7 play ‘Pretend We’re Dead’

This was easily the most-suggested clip, attracting nominations from @jones_jamie, @bringitonskippy, @Hipster6 and @RiverboatCapt in addition to others already name-checked. Interestingly, none of the nominators appeared to remember the name of the track. Maybe the performance was more memorable for something else?

So there you have it. The EIO40 Top 10 Appearances on The Word. If you want to further relive your youth, why not down a couple of cans of Kestrel, make a fried egg sandwich and head over to Terry Christian’s own YouTube Channel which has loads more clips of your favourite bands playing live, if nowt else.

John Hartley

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