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Askew Review 15

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Girls Gone Mild
 By Ben Hunter 

(Editor's notes by denis sheehan)

Hi Eyesores,
    It’s been far too long since we (well, let’s be honest here- I) talked about things related to music.  And while this may seem a little too “High Fidelity”-ish, I’ve decided to burden you with my top 17 all-time favorite songs that have a chick’s name in the title.  As an added bonus, I’ll also discuss any personal interactions I’ve had with young ladies of the same name.  I’m sure that as soon as I hit the Send button and jettison this hogwash to Denis I’ll think of something I’d like to add or subtract from this offering, but here’s how I see it now:

17)       “Cindy is a Man”- The Medveds- Okay, I really don’t think this is actually the 17th best song of all time that features a girl’s name in the title, but I do like to shamelessly plug my own band, so here you go.  Lyrically it’s kind of a poor man’s “Lola.”  Musically we liked to describe this style of music as Medieval Ska.  Don’t know any damn Cindys, so I can’t wax poetic about anything yet.  ‘Nuff said. (Editor’s note; I knew a girl named Cindy from kindergarten thru the second grade. I had a crush on her, often called being “girl crazy” back then. During the summer after second grade, Cindy moved away. I was saddened. When I was a freshman in high school, I ran into Cindy at a party. She was suffering from anorexia.) 

16)        “Cecelia”- Simon & Garfunkel- This is probably the first time these 2
mofos have ever been mentioned in the pages/web space of Askew Reviews, and I’m guessing it will also most likely be the last time. The main reason I include this weirdly compelling percussive gem here is because my mom tells me it was my very first favorite song.  Apparently I used to bop around insanely to this number as an idiotic 3 year old, badly mangling the words in the process.  I’ve never actually known a Cecelia, so it looks like this little experiment is failing miserably so far. (Editor’s note; although I do not know her, a guy I work with is married to a woman named Cecelia and by judging the picture on his desk, she’s a hot one.) 

15)      “Karen”- The Go-Betweens- One of the first songs written by this uppity Aussie combo, it’s a great simple garage rocker about a cute young vixen who works at the local library.  It’s got a solid mid-tempo start that builds to a frenetic end, and it’s really worth hearing.  In the mid-1970s my mom almost married this guy named Dave- twice.  Both times fell through.  Dave had a daughter named Karen who was exactly one month older than me.  After the second marriage attempt fell through, we went our separate ways.  7 or 8 years later I met up with her by chance towards the tail end of my high school days and, to my mom’s dismay, starting seeing her a bit.  I ended up being a complete prick and totally dicked her over.  Makes me feel bad to think of it now.  Maybe this personal twist on things wasn’t such a good idea. (Editor’s note; a girl named Karen loved me all through elementary school, but when we entered high school, she became very popular and refused to even give me the time of day.) 

14)        “Georgy Girl”- The Seekers- This gayish, upbeat ‘60s classic always has made me smile.  I saw part of the movie the song is from a few years ago and was inspired to cover it myself.  First attempt in front of an audience was a disaster.  I was too drunk to remember the second try, but we wisely decided never to play it again.  Once more, I can’t remember ever meeting any young ladies named Georgy, but I do think it’s kinda sexy for girls to have masculine names sometimes.  Kinda sexy, that is, if the girl in question is actually a cutie pie herself.  Otherwise, I guess it’s probably more disconcerting than anything else. (Editor’s note; like Mighty Ben, I have never known a girl named Georgy. However, I did know a male name Georgy who may as well been female because he was [still is] a big pussy. Georgy once yelled at his Grandmother, “Fuck you Mammie!” after he mistakenly thought he hit the lottery.) 

13)        “Darling Nikki”- Prince- When I first heard this masterful grinder in 1984, I couldn’t get over how cool a song it was.  And to top it off, it had a blatant line about masturbation.  How can you beat that?  I knew a Nikki in high school.  She had a huge party at a house she was babysitting at and the cops ended up coming, which I think ended her tenure as that particular family’s babysitter.  I think my friend Ted had sex with her in the shower during that same party. (Editor’s note; I once dated a girl whose older sister was named Nikki. Nikki liked to go to the bathroom with the door open.) 

12)        “Jeanne”- The Smiths- Yeah, I realize the Smiths probably make most Askew readers feel sick by the mere mention of their name, but I really dug ‘em in the mid-‘80s.  This basic, upbeat guitar-driven number with downbeat Morrissey lyrics instantly pops into my head whenever I hear this name.  Because my wife can’t stand the Smiths, I have to listen to this song secretly whenever the mood hits me.  I once saw a disheveled old guy on a bus who I came to think of as The Old Souse, and he had two hearts and the word Jeanne tattooed on his forearm.  Somehow I don’t think this song was the inspiration for the tattoo.  (Editor’s note; Jeanne was a slutty chick I knew in high school who was always mean to me. Called me “Dingles.” Therefore, I made up a poem for her- Greenie Jeanie sitting on a weenie.) 

11)        “Delia’s Gone”- Johnny Cash- This is one of the Man in Black’s most underrated songs, and I absolutely love it.  He recorded it during his prime in the ‘60s, and it tells the sorry tale of a man who ends up in jail for killing his significant other.  It has all-time great lyrics such as “The first time I shot her, I shot her in the side.  Hard to watch her suffer, but with the second shot she died.”  If someone named Delia would be the kind of person you’d want to shoot, then I’m glad I’ve never met one.  Another J.R. Cash song that deserves honorable mention in this category is the wonderful “A Boy Named Sue,” which he recorded the first time he actually played it during a show for the inmates of San Quentin. (Editor’s note; Like Mighty Ben, I do not know of a Delia. However, Molly Ringwald played CorDELIA in King Lear .) 

10)        “Planet Claire”- The B-52’s- The first song on their first album, this spacey, retro-modern cool as fuck little ditty made the B-52’s a force to be reckoned with in 1979.  Just writing about it has got the guitar line spinning a welcome path around my brain. I briefly knew a drunk Claire (well, she was drunk both times I talked to her) whose boyfriend tried to pick a fight with me in a bar.  Sorry, gorehounds- I didn’t rise to the bait so none of my precious blood ended up being spilled.  (Editor’s note; I don’t know a Claire, but whenever I hear or read the name, I hear Judd Nelson’s voice from The Breakfast Club after Claire [Molly Ringwald] tells him her name, “Claire?!”) 

9)        “Molly’s Lips”- Nirvana- Yes, this was originally done- and done well- by the late, great Scottish duo The Vaselines.  I have to say, however, that Nirvana’s version absolutely blows the fuck outta shit.  Every time I hear this song I involuntarily rain punches out in front of me (perhaps at the specter of Drunk Claire’s boyfriend?  I think not).  I knew a Molly in high school who had sort of a hooked nose, and one of the first songs the Medveds ever wrote was about her.  We called it “Hawknose” and it had really intelligent lyrics like, “Molly is a goddamn hawk, she’s a motherfuckin’ hawk, a goddamn hawk…” In retrospect, I hope she never heard that song.  On the honorable mention list for Nirvana is “Polly,” both the searing acoustic version and the pumped up “New Wave” version.   (Editor’s note; Molly Ringwald played a Claire (read above)…coincidence, or an underhanded government conspiracy?) 

8)       “Roxanne”- The Police- Simply a classic.  Sting sure could write some great songs when he first started out.  Makes you wonder how he turned into such a self-important, boring SOB.  And how in THE fuck did he hit those damn high notes?  My old boss is named Roxanne, and a fine woman she is. (Editor’s note; I knew a nice girl named Roxanne who got pregnant at a very young age. The last words the father of the baby said to her were, “Is the baby black?” Both Roxanne and the “father” are white and the prick new the baby was his.) 

7)       “Ursula Finally Has Tits”- The Queers- What’s not to love about this catchy number with a great lead that gets into the intimate details of a 13 year old’s pubescent experiences?  Honorable mention in this category for the Queers also goes to “Tamara is a Punk” off of their excellent Punk Rock Confidential album.  Sadly, I don’t know any Ursulas, either with or without tits. (Editor’s note; an elderly woman named Ursula lived next door to my cousin. Very nice lady, paid handsomely for mowing her lawn. I was too young to know what “tits” where.) 

6)       “Janie Jones”- The Clash- One of the best cuts off the Clash’s legendary first album, “Janie Jones” finds Joe Strummer at his best.  Man, that guy had one of the coolest voices of all time.  I’d venture that this song is the best ever to have the name Jane in the title and is a fair bit better than Jane’s Addiction’s better known “Jane Says,” which I do like but not enough to give it a place on this hallowed list.  I once sort of had a thing for a big-nosed girl named Jane for a short time.  Not enough of a thing, however, to write an insulting song about her prominent beak after I no longer fancied her.  (Editor’s note; hate the name, hate even more the only Janie I know. Mean woman, she is.) 

5)       “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”- The Ramones- Punk rock classic about a girl who eschews the horrible disco scene for something much better.  This was the Ramones’ first “hit,” appearing on both of their 1977 releases (“Rocket to Russia” and “Leave Home”).  Most bands never put out records that even come close to either of these, which makes it all the more amazing that both came out in the SAME YEAR.  Never met anybody named Sheena either, but as a teenager I did sort of lust after the lovely Sheena Easton.  A big Ramones honorable mention also goes to the most excellent “Judy is a Punk.”  (Editor’s note; don’t know anyone named Sheena, but I loved Tanya Roberts as Sheena in the movie of the same name. Hot, hot, hot.) 

4)       “Sally MacLennane”- The Pogues- This roaringly energetic Celtic romp is the song that got me into the Pogues in the first place.  Listening to it instantly quickens the pulse and makes you feel slightly drunk.  Shane MacGowan’s voice is really at its best here.  I knew a cute little Sally in high school but she had no interest in me.  (Editor’s note; I used to know a girl named Sally who collected rubber stamps. She would always personalize letters with a stamp. Approx 150 stamps made up her collection. The last time I talked with her, about five years ago, she was in search of a Spam [food product, not the unwanted email] stamp.) 

3)       “Lola”- The Kinks- Ray Davies is one of the best songwriters of the pop music era, and this is one of the finest things he’s ever written.  This song has a great story line, neatly summing up the complexities of an intimate encounter with a transvestite in a glorious 4 minutes and 6 seconds.  I’ve never met any Lolas myself, but if they’re anything like the one in this song I can’t say I’m too upset about it.  High on the Kinks’ honorable mention list is “Victoria,” their incredibly catchy ode to English Imperialism. (Editor’s note; don’t know a Lola, but more importantly, Molly Ringwald starred in ”Betsy’s Wedding” with Madeline Kahn, who played a character named Lola. This is the fourth Molly Ringwald connection to Mighty Ben’s list. I think ol’ Ben may have some repressed admiration for Ms. Ringworm, I mean Ringwald.) 

2)       “Veronica”- Elvis Costello- I’m pretty sure this song is about the wild youth and subsequent old age of Costello’s grandmother, though I could be wrong.  If a song has a more perfect set of verses (the chorus is good, but the verses rule) I’d be hard pressed to think of it.  When I first heard “Veronica” on his 1989 release “Spike,” I absolutely could not get enough of it.  I remember rewinding it (I had it on cassette, of course) over and over again, endlessly getting that wonderful feeling in my veins that truly great music gives me.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I don’t know anybody named Veronica.  Obvious honorable mention goes to possibly his best-known song, “Alison.”  (Editor’s note; knew a girl named Veronica who was a lesbian, severely buck toothed stripper who liked to have sex with men) 

1)       “Gloria”- Them- While many people have recorded this song, Them’s incredible version is clearly the best of the lot.  For you youngstas out there, Them was Van Morrison’s first band and the stuff they did was a lot more badass than his later material.  And if you don’t know who Van Morrison is, just rifle through your parents’ record collection- there’s bound to be something in there by him.  When I’m listening to music the morning after a drunken evening, songs tend to touch me a bit more than they normally do.  I find myself even tearing up sometimes while listening to something I’ve heard hundreds of times before.  One such morning I listened to Them playing “Gloria” and it just struck me as an absolutely PERFECT song.  Great lead vocals, an evil, grooving guitar riff, inspirational backup vocals and a killer chorus that just explodes in your face.   And it helps you practice your spelling too!  To continue a disappointing trend, I don’t know anybody named Gloria, either. (Editor’s note; I have failed in knowing a female named Gloria as well, but I still have something to offer;  A 1960’s girl garage band from Florida called The Belles did a cover of “Gloria,” only they renamed it “Melvin” and turned the tables a bit) 

It sure feels good to get this off my chest.  Next up will be the top 17 songs ever to feature a guy’s name in the title.  I think I should seriously reconsider this idea of trying to give a personal touch to each entry by relating it to someone I know, though.  Makes me realize I’m a lot less popular (and interesting!) than I thought.   

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Part II be here....




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