If you haven't, read Part 1 first..
Part II- Guys
By Ben Hunter
(Editor's notes by denis sheehan)
Welcome to Part 2 of my pointless gender-specific song-ranking list.
You’ve already seen my top 17 chick name songs of all time, so
now here’s my top 17 fellas list. I’ll
say from the outset that much in the way that female nudes are a lot more
attractive than male nudes, the chick list is a lot stronger than this
one. Despite this sad truth,
I’m going to bravely soldier on. Rules
are the same here. You get my
top 17 songs of all time that feature a guy’s name in the title, and you
get to hear about any personal anecdotes I may have that relate to
somebody of the same name. Don’t
you feel privileged? Without
further ado, here you go:
“Alex Chilton”- The Replacements- Solid tribute to
an under-appreciated Indie Pop guru. This
was on 1987’s “Pleased to Meet Me,” arguably the Replacements second
best album (I think “Let it Be” is their best for many reasons,
including that it has category honorable mentions “Gary’s Got A
Boner” and “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out”).
Without a doubt, these guys produced some of the best music to come
out of the ‘80s, and even if you think Paul Westerberg got boring in his
old age, if you’ve never listened to albums 4, 5 and 6 by the
Replacements, your life isn’t worth living yet.
Only Alex I’ve ever known was a middle school chum.
He had a hot older sister named Fran who managed my softball team
in 6th grade. She
was one of my first masturbation fantasies.
Sorry, Alex. (Editor’s note; I knew a kid named Alex all through elementary school.
Alex didn’t know that one should look both ways before crossing the
street. Hence, Alex was hit by cars on at least four different occasions,
and that’s only counting up to the eighth grade.)
“Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”- The Adverts- Talk about a
powerful fuckin’ statement. This
is an early punk classic that explores the fate of a visually-impaired
so-and-so who was given famed executed killer Gary Gilmore’s eyes after
ol’ Gilmore faced the firing squad.
It’s got a sinuous, devilish chorus that sinks immediate roots
into your brain, and it’s a perverse bit of fun.
One of my all-time great friends from way back is named Gary.
I’ve written many stories about him, but one I haven’t shared
yet is The Sandwich Incident. It
was the first month of my first year of college and we were in our dining
hall. I’d been incessantly
tossing grapes at Gary, and after he could no longer ignore it, he angrily
cursed, “Ben, STOP THROWING GRAPES!”
Well, I did stop. And
when he averted his eyes from me and resumed his conversation with whoever
the fuck he was talking to, I hurled a sandwich at him.
It bounced off his chest and fell apart all over the table.
Hey- I DID stop throwing grapes. (Editor’s
note; Two things about this Mighty Ben tale. 1] I grew up with a friend
named Gary who had a firecracker blow up right next to his ear. How did
the firecracker get next to his ear? My little brother threw it and Gary
walked into the flying firecracker’s path. BANG! 2] A buddy of mine was
working in a supermarket warehouse and threw a grape at a coworker who was
approx 100 feet from him. The grape sailed threw the air and lodged itself
between the target’s face and eyeglasses. Funniest thing in the world.)
99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd- Half Man Half
Biscuit- This band is really too English for us dumb Americans to fully
understand and appreciate, but this song rules nonetheless.
Bob Todd is the little bald sumbitch who used to run around at high
speed on the Benny Hill Show, and this mid-‘80s tribute to the old
bastard is a helluva lotta fun. Really
clever, funny lyrics were Half Man Half Biscuit’s trademark, and this
warped little number is a perfect example of how cool they were.
I’ve known many Bobs in my life (my step-dad for one [a great
guy] and also the name of one of my best friends from high school and
current life) and while I could relate A MILLION little stories, I
won’t. Suffice to say that
if I ever have a kid, Bob would be a strong candidate for the little
mofo’s name. (Editor’s note; When my friend Yi Gong moved to America from China ten
years ago, the woman in charge of his immigration told him that changing
his name to an American name may help him assimilate into society a little
easier. For no particular reason, Yi Gong chose the name Robert. After
landing his first job in the States, he quickly became known as a snob.
You see, his coworkers called him Bob but being Chinese, Yi Gong had no
idea that Bob is short for Robert.)
“Danny Partridge”- Mr. T Experience- What a great
song. You get to hear all
about the demise of a childhood icon set to a solid punk rock beat.
This is the first song I ever heard by “MTX” and it’s still
my favorite by them. My
surrogate father of sorts growing up was named Danny, and a finer man I
don’t think I’ve ever met. (Editor’s
note; One night during the summer of 2002, I was at a bar enjoying a few,
ok-many, beers with my cousin. As the night wore on, I noticed a friend of
mine named Danny standing next to the juke box with his eyes partially
closed and holding a beer bottle in each hand. As he stood there, his eyes
closed and he began to slightly weave back and forth and from side to
side. Just as he was about to drunkenly tumble over, the two beer bottles
clinked together and startled Danny, waking him from his near slumber.
Using his brain, Danny placed both bottles on the bar and walked out.)
Holly”- Weezer- When this album came out, I absolutely couldn’t get
enough of it, and this catchy ode to nerd-dom was one of my favorite songs
on it. The guitar sounds on
this cut and on most of their first album also rule- it’s that thick,
fuzzy distortion that makes you feel both giddy and slightly dirty.
I used to landscape with a fat blowhard named Buddy who made fun of
me a lot. Who’s laughing
now, cuntchy? (Editor’s note’s;
Odd, Ben could have used this song in his female song list too. I don’t
know anyone named Buddy, but I remember falling in love with a girl named
Holly who sold me a pair of shoes at an old, now defunct, store in the
Hanover Mall when I was seventeen or so. So if any chickies named Holly
who use to sell shoes at Almy’s in Hanover Massachusetts……)
12)“Hurry Up Harry”- Sham
69- Sham 69 is quite possibly the best Oi band ever, and this song is a
fine representation of their salt of the earth talents.
It tells the tale of a futile attempt at getting their laggard pal
Harry off his ass and down the pub, and the chorus is classic Sham.
On a side note, the first time my wife heard this song she thought
they were saying, “Hurry up Harry Hamlin” (Harry Hamlin was the hunky
lawyer on “L.A. Law,” and picturing these characters singing about him
really cracked me up). My
middle name is a more formal version of Harry (Harrison- I was named, four
times removed, after unremarkable president Benjamin Harrison) and
that’s all I have to say about that.
Honorable Sham 69 mention goes to their feisty anthem “George
Davis is Innocent.” What’s
funny about this one is that it proclaims the innocence of East End thug
George Davis. Shortly after
Davis, who had been the focus of a successful campaign to free him, got
out of jail he went out and robbed a bank.
Sham quickly reworked the title and lyrics to “The Cockney Kids
Are Innocent,” but the song lost a bit of it’s oomph at that point. (Editor’s note; I have known two guys named Harry in my life and both
of them had a problem with hitting women.)
“I’m Henry VIII, I Am”- Herman’s Hermits- What more can I
say about this song, other than it’s irresistible?
I first heard this British Invasion staple as a little kid and,
probably because it’s got that little kid sing-a-long quality to it, I
loved it. Sure, teenage Peter
Noone doesn’t come across as the manliest version of ol’ Henry VIII,
but I think it just adds to the charm of the whole thing.
Don’t know no damn Henrys. (Editor’s
note; One of the nicest men I know is named Courtney Henry. Courtney is
good sized, dark skinned guy from the Caribbean. Courts and I worked
together for almost two years, up until he got laid off in July 2002.
About a year before he got axed, our office secretary went around affixing
name tags to all the offices and cubicles. Knowing that the person who
occupied “Courtney Henry’s” office was a male, the secretary made
the quick witted decision that the person’s name must be Henry Courtney.
Therefore, she affixed Henry Courtney to Courtney Henry’s office. If
that wasn’t bad enough, when Courtney informed the secretary that
his first name was indeed Courtney, the secretary said
“Really?” Namism at its finest)
Pistola- I’d be surprised if any of youse kids have ever heard this song
or this band, but for a brief, shining moment in the late ‘90s, these
guys were the Boston music scene’s cream of the crop.
“Pavel” is their crowning jewel.
It’s simply a perfect Indie Rock song.
Just thinking about the opening lines, “Hate myself, hate myself,
so does everyone else, uh uh oh, is it all for nothing…” embeds this
song into my brain. I’m
brought back to great, fun times sharing bills with them at O’Brien’s
and The Kirkland (before The Kirkland turned into the lame-o, yuppy-ish
joint it now is). Starting to
follow a very visible trend from the Chicks portion of this fiasco, I’ve
never met anybody named Pavel.
(Editor’s note; I do not know anyone named Pavel. However,
Professional hockey player Pavel Bure supposedly use to nail my sweet
sweet Anna Kournikova. Bastard)
Scotty Die”- Dead Milkmen- While I definitely liked the songs Rodney
Anonymous sang, my real favorites all seemed to be the ones Joe did in his
whining, twisted little boy voice. “Watching
Scotty Die” relates the sad story of a diseased kid named Scotty, and it
somehow makes you forget that a kid going down the tubes isn’t supposed
to be funny. I met ol’ Joe
back in 1987 when the Dead Milkmen played TT The Bear’s and I ended up
introducing him to my pal Ollie. Turns
out Joe preferred fellas to young ladies and developed a bit of a crush on
Ollie. As the tour progressed
Joe called and wrote him some, and when they came back into town a month
or two later we all got in free to see them as a result.
In the end, though, I don’t think things progressed any further
than Joe putting his hand on Ollie’s knee.
Ah, young love. In
middle school I had a friend named Scott who was shaving daily and who was
strong as an ox. (Editor’s
note; Scott was a childhood friend of mine who I’ve only seen twice
since high school. The first time, we played baseball against each other.
He was at bat and I was pitching. I threw him a nasty knuckleball that
knuckled right into his scrotum. He wasn’t wearing a cup. He went down.
Hard. The second time was only a few months ago. I was driving my car and
came upon a two car accident and saw a man walking from one car to the
other carrying a tire iron. Even though it had been a million years since
I last saw him, I recognized the tire iron man as Scott. By the look and
demeanor of Scott, I thought he was off to crack someone’s skull open.
Alas, he only used the tire iron to pry a dented fender
off the tire.)
Army”- Elvis Costello- This is one of the songs that got me into Mr.
Costello. It’s him really
coming into his own, combining sharp wordplay and sterling song craft.
It even contains the phrase “one less white nigger,” and while
I can’t even remember the context of that statement, it always jumped
out at me with a vengeance. Only
Oliver I’ve ever known is the above-mentioned Ollie, fleeting love
interest of the guitarist from the Dead Milkmen.
(Editor’s note; No Olivers
have ever entered my life. However, the word “Army” has rekindled a
long lost memory. Back in the 1970s, I wanted to join The Kiss Army
[Kiss’s fan club], but my Mother wouldn’t let me because some
religious friend told her that Kiss stood for Knights in Service of Satan)
Hackman”- Hoodoo Gurus- The Hoodoo Gurus, one of the most underrated
bands of the ‘80s, say this is a tribute not only to the great Gene
Hackman, but also to the Ramones. Whatever
the fuck this is, it’s an energetic, fun song that has you singing Mr.
Hackman’s praises and bopping your head triple time.
I love it. Current
pseudo-boss is named Gene, so I won’t comment here, leaving Denis to
pick up the slack. (Editor’s note;
Although he wasn’t a friend, a guy named Gene once worked in a cube
across from mine. Gene was going through a nasty divorce and as time went
on, he got skinnier and skinnier. Near the end of the ordeal, he basically
looked like a skeleton suffering from AIDS. What made Gene’s weight loss
a bit more odd was the fact that a woman who sat next to his cube,
Cynthia, got fatter and fatter as Gene got skinnier and skinnier. It was
like Cynthia was sucking the life force out of Gene and using it to expand
“Danny Says”- Ramones- Yeah, we already have a Danny song in
this, ah, countdown, but so what, ya damn gonads?
This is arguably the best song off of “End of the Century.”
It’s a tuneful lament about how showbiz ain’t as fun as it’s
cracked up to be (they have to do whatever the hell manager Danny says),
and it starts off slow and then morphs into a perfect Ramones ditty.
I once prank phone-called a guy named Dan who worked at a boat
dealership called Zucker Marine. I
had him briefly convinced that he drunkenly approached me one night in
Downtown Cleveland and asked me to get him drugs.
Poor guy was certainly bewildered.
(Editor’s note; Danny, a friend of mine, once asked me while reading a
restaurant menu, “What’s kweechee?” Perplexed, I had him point out
the item in question to me on the menu. “Danny,” I answered. “That
word is quiche.”)
the Spider”- The Who- Has there ever been a finer song that features the
bass as the lead instrument? (This
is a rhetorical question). “Boris
the Spider” is the delightful, edgy tale of a paranoid cuss who is
afraid of a little spider and who ends up smashing the shit out of said
spider. It’s Who bassist’s
John Entwhistle’s masterpiece, and it’s worthy of high praise.
Would you be surprised if I knew a Goddamn Boris?
So would I. (Editor’s
note; I don’t know anyone named Boris and that’s fine with me. When I
think of the name Boris, three things come to mind: Russia, mad
scientists, and huge face moles.)
Watts”- The Kinks- Because of the sheer volume of excellent songs the
Kinks produced in the mid-to-late ‘60s, some of the truly great ones
don’t seem to have received the praise and longevity they deserve.
“David Watts,” an instantly likeable, very catchy slice of a
young man’s inferiority complex, is one such song.
The Jam did a worthy, punchy cover of this classic number years
later, but the Kinks’ version is the best.
I’ve known lots of great mofos named Dave over the years (Dave
V., Dave B., and Dave S., to name a few).
Dave S. is now playing drums for up-and-coming country music
sensation Blake Shelton. He
brought me on the tour bus after a recent gig and showed me a bullet hole
somebody in a passing car had put through the side of the bus while they
were on the road one night. It
blasted through the wall right where one of the band members bunked, but
happily the bunk was unoccupied at the time of the shooting. (Editor’s
note; My supermarket warehouse worker buddy written about in song 16 is
Weasel”- The Queers- I think this is probably the song that got me into
the Queers and it remains one of my all-time favorites by them.
What a GREAT lead by Joe Queer!
I also love the fact that the chorus ends by saying, “I’ll bet
you five bucks that he don’t like this song.”
I wonder if ol’ Mr. Weasel, who I’m sure most of you know is
the singer from Screeching Weasel, has ever admitted to liking or not
liking this fun little gem. Honorable
Queers mention goes to another corker about someone from Screeching
Weasel, “Danny Vapid Ain’t A Faggot.”
Hmmm… Do I know anybody named Ben?
(Editor’s note; Well, I
don’t know any Bens other than Mighty Ben [the author of this column
that I am destroying with my pathetic editor’s notes] and since it would
be too easy and fashionable to tell a Ben Hunter story, I won’t.
However, I will pass along my only non Mighty Ben Ben story. One summer
morning a few years ago, I opened the front door of
my house and found a big ol’ dog camped out on my steps. Not
knowing whose dog it was, I told him to scram and closed the door. Two
days later, the dog was still hanging around. By this time, dog and I
became pals. He was a great, friendly dog and I wanted to keep him, but I
knew some family somewhere was worried about this dog. On the second day,
I decided to talk a walk to a nearby neighborhood with my new pal. As we
walked down the street and past a house, a
young girl came charging out of the house with the most beautiful
look of joy on her face. As she ran towards the dog and I, she screamed
John”- Jilted John- This is the hilarious tale of a snotty English
teenager who gets dumped by his girlfriend in favor of a moron named
Gordon. I can’t express
properly how much I love this song. Released
as a novelty punk number in 1978, it should’ve been an international
success. No such luck for poor
John, though. If you pick this
up, make sure you get the single version.
He re-recorded it for a sort of teen angst concept album (the album
itself has some real bright spots but also drags in places) and removed
all the rough edges from the song, including the abrasively simple guitar
part, and it’s just not nearly as good.
When I was four my mom got me a puppy.
He was basically a cute little Benjy-ish mutt and it looked like he
had a bit of a beard going. Since
my mom’s biker friend Farmer John had a big beard, and her brother, my
Uncle John, also had some extreme facial hair, I thought it would be a
good idea to name this puppy John, so that’s what I did.
(Editor’s note; Knew a kid
in high school named John who honestly thought you got more pizza if the
pie was cut into sixteen slices as opposed to eight slices.)
Message To You Rudy”- The Specials- It’s a tough call, but I have to
take the Specials’ version over Dandy Livingstone’s original.
I first heard this song/saw this video when I was around 13 years
old and I instantly fell in love with it.
“Stop your messin’ around.
Better think of your future. Time
you straightened right out. Creatin’
problems in town.” It
sounded just like what my parents were telling me, yet these ska mofos
made it sound so much cooler! I’d
have to put the album this is off of, the Specials’ eponymous debut, in
my top 20 of all-time, and this song is one of the main reasons why.
Yes, I realize the way Rudy is used here is short for Rude Boy, not
Rudolph (for you youthful cusses, Rude Boy is what young Jamaican street
toughs were called in the ‘60s).
But Rudy is technically still a goddamn name so I can include it in
this list without a hint of shame. It’s
sort of ironic (maybe not, though- like the semicolon, the word
“ironic” is something I often use incorrectly) that the only Rudy
I’ve actually ever met was a girl. Her
real name was Ruth but her friends, who I longed to be one of, called her
Rudy. Sadly, Rudy had no time
for me, but I think the only reason I still remember who she was is that I
started liking this song around the same time I started liking her.
Boo fuckin’ hoo. (Editor’s
note; I use to work with a man named Rudy, who was an extremely nice and
hard working guy. However, Rudy was also a fall down drunk who let booze
ruin his health and life. When drunk, Rudy also failed to realize that one
shouldn’t drive while drunk, something he did all too often. Of course,
Rudy has been arrested more than once for this violation. Rudy was married
to Theresa, who was a very simple minded person.
After getting arrested for drunk driving, Rudy stood in front of
the judge for sentencing while Theresa watched from elsewhere in the
courtroom. “Rudy, I am revoking your driving privileges for one year’s
time.” Behaving like Rudy had just been sentenced to death, Theresa
yelled, “ohhhhhhh!” and fell to the floor like she had fainted. )
there you have it, Part 2 of my top 17 songs with names fiasco.
Any ideas for the next painful list/countdown I do?
Send me an e-mail at email@example.com.