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Any Major London Vol. 1

January 24th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

A couple of years ago I posted a series of CD-R mixes comprising songs set in or about New York. This is the first in a series of mixes of songs set in or about London. I think there are four or five mixes in it — your reaction will guide me. I’ll try not to pick the most obvious songs, and no artist should feature more than once (sorry, The Kinks!).


Here and there, songs will come from surprising sources. Hall & Oates, for example, are not immediate candidates for London songs, nor is Glen Campbell. For Jane Birkin, who made her name as an artist and actress in the French scene, her London song is a sort of homecoming, with lyrics by Rufus Wainwright (whose dad turns up eight songs layer) and guitar by Johnny Marr.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and home-stewed covers are included. PW in comments.

1. Thames TV – Start-Up Sound (1968)
2. Glen Campbell – London (I’m Coming To See You) (1974)
3. Elvis Costello – London’s Brilliant Parade (1994)
4. Everything But The Girl – Oxford Street (1988)
5. Aztec Camera – Get Outta London (1990)
6. Josh Rouse – London Bridges (2007)
7. Michelle Featherstone – Camden Town (2009)
8. Jane Birkin – Waterloo Station (2006)
9. The Boo Radleys – Blue Room In Archway (1998)
10. Saint Etienne – London Belongs To Me (1991)
11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Brompton Oratory (1997)
12. Hall & Oates – London Luck And Love (1976)
13. Linda Lewis – Hampstead Way (1971)
14. Ralph McTell – Kew Gardens (1969)
15. Nick Drake – Mayfair (1968)
16. Loudon Wainwright III – Primrose Hill (1997)
17. Jimmy MacCarthy – Missing You (1991)
18. The Pogues – Lullaby Of London (1988)
19. The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight (1978)
20. XTC – Towers Of London (1980)
21. Nick Heyward – Traffic In Fleet Street (1988)
22. Nouvelle Vague – Guns Of Brixton (2004)
23. David Arnold & Michael Price – Theme of Sherlock (2010)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    January 24th, 2013 at 07:59 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Bo
    January 24th, 2013 at 08:55 | #2

    not what I expected, a big surprise, well done

  3. simon
    January 24th, 2013 at 10:40 | #3

    nice mix dude

  4. dogbreath
    January 24th, 2013 at 14:46 | #4

    Great job, looking forward to the other volumes – if only to see which Kinks track is picked!

  5. January 25th, 2013 at 17:09 | #5

    The not obvious picks is the secret of this successful mix. Cheers mate!

  6. DW
    January 25th, 2013 at 21:22 | #6

    Great, great stuff. I love the mixes. Definitely keep this one going as long as you can. Thanks.

  7. Sky
    January 27th, 2013 at 11:16 | #7

    Excellent. I only miss Blossom Dearie’s brill I Like London in the Rain. Cheers.

  8. halfhearteddude
    January 27th, 2013 at 13:36 | #8

    Sky, that is very much on the list.

  9. Richard O
    January 27th, 2013 at 22:44 | #9

    Nice. My home town, looking forward to this series even more than the other great stuff you put together. If you think the Kinks pick will be hard, I can’t imagine how you’re going to manage the Kilburns/Ian Dury/Blockheads one. Having one for each is probably the best bet – or is that cheating – and please consider the bus driver/cab driver prayer. I hope Squeeze and Up The Junction is also very much on the list.

  10. halfhearteddude
    January 28th, 2013 at 12:33 | #10

    I’ll have to stick to my one-artist-in-the-series rule, though I could (will) bend it a little here and there to allow overlap between band memberships and solo projects. I’m still undecided on which Squeeze song to choose; I tend to return to Up The Junction though. Dury’s contribution was fairly quickly settled (hint: “Number 18 down to Euston”).

  11. Richard O
    January 28th, 2013 at 16:42 | #11

    Cor Blimey! All the best, mate.

  12. January 29th, 2013 at 16:03 | #12

    I wonder if Joe Jackson`s “Down To London” will make it through to a future mix of the London`s series…

  13. Sjef
    January 29th, 2013 at 21:04 | #13

    Wow, what a great idea. Thank you so much.
    Went straight on & downloaded you pick of New York songs. Unfortunately the first one is not available. Any chance for a reup?
    aTdHvAaNnKcSe

  14. November 16th, 2013 at 22:17 | #14

    oh man, I was sooooooooo disappointed by these three mixes. You usually have such a fantastic angle on things, but this London vibe was LAME… very few of the artists are from London and even less of their producers had any clue about London…. which meant you ended up with a non-London ‘London’ theme… If it did anything, it showcased the reason why so many wish to link themselves to London, it’s innate ‘hipness’, its ability to consistently prove that it is the coolest of all Global cities, yet your selection revealed why all actual Londoners (born and bred) laugh in the face at these attempts to prove themselves worthy. The artists try to claim a ‘cool’ vibe yet only ever offer a ‘wannabe’ flavour… I expected SO much more from you, hoped for so much more from you… but you didn’t deliver. Over three CD’s you didn’t deliver, and such a shame it turned out to be

  15. November 16th, 2013 at 22:41 | #15

    Jack Hylton’s “Life Begins At Oxford Circus”? Non of the oh-so-many various versions of “Limehouse Blues”? No mention of ‘The Action’? Edwards Hand’s ‘Friday Hill’? I could go on, but as an East Londoner, traced back to 1750, I dont have to ;) Keep up the great work, none the less. I love everything else you have done

  16. November 17th, 2013 at 00:32 | #16

    and what the hell has happened to your download redirects?

  17. halfhearteddude
    November 17th, 2013 at 08:23 | #17

    Thanks for the kind words amid the criticism, E. The intro says that the songs are set in or are about London; the latter qualification doesn’t require the singers to be from London, or even to be British. Some of the songs are clearly about wishing to be in London or remembering London in a particular way.

    But even if non-Londoners sing about London, I don’t see a problem. Surely the identity of the artist doesn’t diminish the content of the song, unless it’s Dick van Dyke putting on a Cockernee accent. To stretch an analogy, as a West Ham United fan you don’t demand your team’s players to come from the area of your club (or from Stratford), even if you support the club on basis of your locational attraction to it.

    As for the songs you complain I’ve not used, I’m still planning a “London in Black and White” mix, which includes “Limehouse Blues” and “Life Begins At Oxford Circus”, and I still have “Friday Hill” among 45 other London-related songs, which will provide to at least one more general mix.

  18. November 24th, 2013 at 01:43 | #18

    You’re a good man with a kind heart. I have (since a long-time, always felt that about you) and it’s only due to the many varied and musically expanding selections you have made prior in your selections which has kept me returning. It’s why I bothered to follow you from the old site to the new. Yet, your comment about ‘cokerneee’ vibes is precisely why I hated the inclusion of, for example, the ‘England Swings’ track – now that’s a proper Dick van Dyke lyrics! We dont need a black and white version (which would no doubt be interesting) – what about Cat Stevens – Portobello Road/ Bert Jansch – Soho/ Donovan – Sunny Goodge Street/ Ralph McTell – Kew gardens/ I-Roy – (70s Lee perry) Hailstones Inna london Town (rare! I cant find it on the internet anywhere, so maybe not a track available, although I have my personal rip, if you want it). Yes, you’re totally correct: I wish my team still had local lads as the backbone in claret and blue but alas money says otherwise – this is the not so brilliant effect of globalisation (yet it dont seem to be doing us much good, as a team, lol!). But I just hoped to find something which would encapsulate London for us Londoners. Not the kinda Pogues Lullaby of London pro IRA shite. I had hoped for more of sumkinda memory for us Londoners, we’re a rare breed now, y’know! Perhaps ala Vera Lynn’s version of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles ;) she was a local girl, made good, and still made good music. You’re a champion of good music, Mr HHD. I will forever salute you, not only for what you’ve reminded me of the music I have forgotten, but for the music I have over looked, and most importantly of all for the music I had no idea about. You’re a Top man and I wish you continued success :)

  19. November 24th, 2013 at 01:57 | #19

    Itchycoo Park…. that’s a West Ham crew mention ;) and I mean the list is endless, so you can see why I was disappointed by such a musical expert as yourself ;) Anyway, I’ll leave you with Harry Champion: “I’m Proud I’m A Cockney – Proud Of The Finest City In The World, London Town” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ86zdgpgKo

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