Saturday 9 October 2010

The Ultimate Curmudgeonly Jukebox

There have been a number of posts recently in the beer blogosphere about people’s ultimate pub jukebox. Now it has to be said that beer snobbery has nothing on music snobbery, and there is a whole range of acts whose music might be utterly unlistenable and devoid of commercial success but still merits a high place in the “critical canon”. Whereas I make no apology for liking Magnum, and for liking Sam Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter.

I am an unabashed fan of classic rock and AOR. So here are ten tracks, not necessarily my ten favourite tracks, but ones that, if I walked into a pub and heard them playing, I’d say “yeah, alright...”
  • AC/DC – Hell’s Bells
  • Belinda Carlisle – Lay Down Your Arms
  • Big Country – Wonderland
  • Boston – More than a Feeling
  • Dire Straits – Single Handed Sailor
  • Don Henley – Boys of Summer
  • Heart – Crazy on You
  • Mountain – Nantucket Sleighride
  • Pearl Jam – Alive
  • Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
And I haven't even mentioned Roxette!

If you go in any rock pub, you’ll find a band cranking out covers of Bad Company, AC/DC and Van Halen, and the critically preferred wank will be nowhere to be heard.

Edit: Thanks to Mark Wadsworth for the cartoon.


  1. Don Henley - Boys of Summer. Now you're talking!

  2. Haha, genius post. I'd have to sit down and think about this. Are we restricted to ten songs?

    AC/DC is always good, but I find that the music that sounds crap sober but makes perfect sense when you are drunk is Velvet Underground.

    Another song that is always good (drunk or sober) is "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock.

    PS I have just blown any sort of musical credibility and will now slink away quietly.

  3. "All Summer Long" of course references "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon and "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Both of which I would be happy to hear on a pub jukebox :-)

  4. Would prefer Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner myself but Werewolves is a god call too!

  5. There's something to be said for the early rock & roll, such as, Three Steps To Heaven, Bye Bye Love, It's Only Make Believe and Johnny Remember Me.

  6. "Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps" by Splodgeness Abounds springs to mind.

    C, call me a philistine, but somehow I prefer "All summer long" to both of those (very marginally).

  7. "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba is another good pub song - and they can't be all bad, as they once poured a bucket of ice over John Prescott :-)

  8. C, I'm disappointed that my link hasn't driven more people this way.

    I think that thrashing out the perfect pub juke box once and for all and having done with it is just as important as deciding e.g. the all time greatest England football or cricket squads (which has been done a million times).

    I second "Tubthumping" BTW.

  9. Tubthumping ought to be the National Anthem.

    I like to hear summery music regardless of the time of year; Kaoma "Lambada" is surely a classic, but you can't have a pub juke box without "La Bamba", you just can't.

  10. Can I copy your cartoon, please? Will set a link.

  11. No problem, feel free – it's Mark Wadsworth's drawing originally anyway.

  12. Many thanks - will link and credit.
    I'm putting my case for La Bamba.

  13. Another classic pub jukebox song must be "Black Betty" by Ram Jam.

  14. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird
    Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
    Steppenwolf - Born to be Wild
    Bad Company - Feel Like Makin'
    Free - Alright Now
    Tom Petty - American Girl
    Hawkwind - Silver Machine
    Deep Purple - Lazy
    Santana - Black Magic Woman
    Black Sabbath - Paranoid

    Am I showing my age?

  15. Yes :p

    Two more:

    The Clash – Rock the Casbah
    Free – Wishing Well

  16. Clash - good call but I would probably have London Calling and while we're in that period how about;
    Joy Division - Love will tear us apart
    Buzzcoks - Ever fallen in love
    Stranglers - No more heros
    Sex Pistols - Pretty Vaccant

  17. You can't really have a pub jukebox that doesn't have House of the Rising Sun

    Tubthumping gets my vote.

    Don't you want me, Human League should probably be on there too, and something by Blondie.

  18. I’d go for Maria by Blondie, although a lot of the original stuff is good too.

    A few more:

    The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet (keeping up the New Wave theme)
    The Strawbs – Part of the Union
    Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
    Marillion - Kayleigh

  19. Contemporary Chick Con Song by Steamhammer.

  20. Satisfaction - Stones

    Dock Of The Bay - Otis

    Don't Know What To Do With Myself - Dusty

    Paperback Writer - The Beatles

    Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

    Itchycoo Park - Small Faces

    Midnight Hour - Wilson Picket

    Concrete & Clay - Unit Four Plus Two

    Suspicious Minds - Elvis

    I Put A Spell On You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins

    Do now, however, do what I once did in a pub in a rough part of Sheffield, which was to put on Congratulations by Cliff ten times in a row.

    We had to leave...

  21. WOAR, the National Anthem is going to be 'Vindaloo', did I forget to mention that?

  22. Off topic.

    A Stockport man, Mr. Curmudgeon. I was brought up in Bramhall & Woodford. Worked as a student in my holidays at Robbies brewery down Hillgate, and drank Robbies - kept superbly - at our local, the Thieves' Neck (Davenport Arms) in Woodford.

    Fine tipple Robbies.

  23. @Elby - yes, I know the Thief's Neck very well. I deliver the monthly CAMRA magazine "Opening Times" (which contains my words of wisdom) there. Still an excellent pub with well-kept Robbies - probably one of my five favourite pubs in the whole world.

  24. Hmmmm....Lets go "Indie-ish", as I've been listening to a fair bit of that lately.

    Eddie and the hot rods Do anything you want to do

    New Order Temptation

    Joan Armatrading Love and affection

    And I certainly second the vote for Another girl another planet

    Brilliant song.

  25. Yes - I had my first pint there at the age of 14, and my parents drank their before the war. Still run by the Hallworth family, who are also staunch City fans, another reason for drinking there.

    Haven't been up North since my Mum's funeral in 2005 - but we held her wake there, and very fine it was indeed. Glorious beer.

    I imagine you recall Gerry Turner's Wine Vault in Hillgate, just down the road from Robbies. I have some fine memories of working there, especially falling off my bike on the way home after a particularly riotous Xmas eve session there - Old Tom in pins, topped up with rum (by the foreman, Harry Moxon, bless him).

  26. I assume you mean what is now the Queen's Head, or Turners Vaults. I don't remember it in the old days - I originally hail from Runcorn and moved to Stockport in 1984. But it is somewhere I am happy to call home.

  27. The Snug Committee17 October 2010 at 05:34

    All very interesting, but sometimes - just sometimes - it is nice to be able to sit in a pub and actually be able to hear what your mates are trying to say over the blare of the infernal noise box in the corner. So just to make the place more "inclusive" we need a few tunes which are of the "easy listening" genre - gentle, possibly foot-tapping stuff by eg:

    Nat King Cole
    Mommas and Poppas
    The Platters
    Johnny Cash
    Stevie Wonder
    Marty Robbins
    Glenn Miller
    Acker Bilk (or Chris Barber)
    Everley Brothers
    Dolly Parton

    Just a thought, as the selection of music will depend to a large extent on the main age group the landlord is trying to court. Follow the money, as usual.

  28. OK here's my ten, I've tried not to repeat anyone elses, although a lot of my first round picks are already there

    True Faith - New Order
    A Good Heart - Feargal Sharkey
    Young At Heart - The Bluebells
    American Pie - Don McLean
    Swords of a Thousand Men - Tenpole Tudor
    Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
    All Of My Heart - ABC
    A Town Called Malice - The Jam
    La Bamba - Los Lobos
    Baby I Don't Care - Transvision Vamp

  29. Mr. Curmudgeon.

    Yes, gather it has changed. Reminded me of an Irish bar, as there was next to no room in it. They used to sell Yorkshire Spruce Beer there, and a fine Guinness.

    I'm a long time exile, sent away to school, and in reality never came back. Mum died in 2005, and she was the last of the family up there. I have very fond memories of Stockport, my Gran used to take me in when I was little, we'd go on the trams and go see the Parrot that was hung in a cage outside the covered market. Where you could buy Stafforshire Oatcakes.

    And you could still see the Mersey running through Mersey square and Stockport had a total of 14 cinemas.

    Aye, those were there days! Sink a pint of Robbies' mixed for me nect time you are in the Thief's (thanks for correction!) and send them regards from the Poynton family!

  30. Last night, in the Full Shilling in Stockport, we heard a guy do a very impressive karaoke rendition of "Bed of Roses" by Bon Jovi, which is quite a challenging song to sing.


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