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How to pick your Top 3 songs of all time – more that missed the cut: The Clash, The Jam & The Hold Steady

March 15, 2013

AS I gear up for my Top 3 songs of all time on Dave Monks’ brilliant Introducing programme on BBC Radio Merseyside, let’s turn our attention to punk, new wave and indie.

All white, middle class boys and girls, if they are music enthusiasts, and ain’t rawk or pure pop, can find it difficult not to be punk or indie kids. Punk or indie, whatever the feck that means now (or since the mid 1990s), can take in everything with a brash exterior, on an independent label or anything made by skinny indie boys playing guitars.

Sometimes these guitars may be played beautifully (Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler, John Squire – insert your own hero here).

Sometimes they may be played adequately (Noel Gallagher, the lad from Coldplay, U2’s Edge)

Sometimes they may be played poorly, yet sounding great (Kurt Cobain, Jack White, Pete Doherty).

Sometimes it might just be a pure thrash howl (The Pixies).

Sometimes it might be pure indie, individualist guitar-based lunacy like Half Man Half Biscuit or The Fall.

Sometimes, the guitar means little at all, like New Order.

Then sometimes it might be great music, great songs and epoch grabbing brilliance. Like these three, that still didn’t make it into the Top 3.

(The Clash – Lost in the Supermarket)

My favourite Clash song of the them all. A sensational lyric by Strummage and a really sweet vocal by Mick Jones. I mean, it’s a really beautiful lyric about a Britain & Ireland rarely written about, yet we all recognise.

(The Jam – Town Called Malice)

“Playground kids and creaking swings. Lost laughter in the breeze.” Jesus, how good is that as a lyric?

(The Hold Steady – Stuck Between Stations)

Oh man, the first crisis of confidence. I may have made a mistake with the final selection. A song by indie boys about alcoholism and the poet John Berryman that really rocks.



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