Song Lyric Sunday: Ghost Town

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Songs that feature wind or brass instruments
.
The song must contain a reference to the prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


Today’s song contains a flugelhorn, flute, and a trombone. And is a haunting masterpiece dealing with urban decay, unemployment and violence in the inner cities. Ghost Town is by the British two-tone and ska revival band The Specials. Released in 1981, it spent three weeks at number one in the UK. And helped me get through the horror of school sports day that year.

The morning was devoted to field events and only the competitors, school prefects and games staff were allowed out. I guess they didn’t want the rest of us milling about with javelins being hurled in all directions.

The track event participants spent the morning hanging about in the gym, drinking Lucozade and posing in their house colours. The rest of us no-hopers trawled from class to class, with bugger all to do. Bored teachers would mumble things like “read the next chapter” before disappearing into their staffrooms.

My chemistry class that day should have held twenty-nine kids. There were ten of us. We whiled away the time shrinking empty crisp (potato chip) packets over the Bunsen burners. Messy, but fun! Until Gary Atkins whipped out a cassette player the size of a breeze block, and insisted we listen to a song he’d taped off the radio the night before.

From the age before Spotify

Right from the Hammer Horror opening, I was hooked. Especially sitting in a nearly deserted classroom excluded from the dubious joys of sports day: I was too short for the high jump and too uncoordinated to let fly with a discus. (Think that’s funny, you should have seen my attempts at hurdling!).

But Ghost Town is an odd and eerie song that perfectly fitted the unusual quietness of school that day. And the general mood in society that year. England was deep in recession, with riots breaking out across its urban areas as the unemployed, and the disaffected fought running battles with the police.

Happy Halloween!

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
Bands won’t play no more
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry

This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town

Songwriter(s): Jerry Dammers
© BMG Rights Management

Song Lyric Sunday: I Like Driving in My Car

The prompt for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
automobile, car, jalopy, vehicle.
The song must contain a reference to the prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


Time for a little Madness, an English two-tone ska band. They formed in 1977, broke up in 1986, and reformed in 1992. And they are still gigging and performing today.

Their music is laced with humour and bounces along like a Space-Hopper on speed. But don’t be fooled: they tackled some deep subjects such as teenage pregnancy (Embarrassment), death (Cardiac Arrest), animal testing (Tomorrows Dream) and Depression (Grey Day).

But today’s pick is a straightforward piece of fluff about a guy’s love of driving. This isn’t my favourite Madness song, but it is so infectious and fun, you’ll want to crank up the old jalopy and take your better half out for a spin.

The video is typical Madness mayhem, but the best bit for me is the car – a white 1959 Morris Minor. My dream car, but only if I can have it in British racing green.

First fun fact of the day: The lads hitching to Coventry in the video are members of fellow ska group, Fun Boy Three.

Second fun fact of the day: They used to be in another fellow ska band, The Specials.

I’ve been driving in my car, it’s not quite a Jaguar
I bought it in Primrose Hill from a bloke from Brazil
It was made in fifty-nine in a factory by the Tyne
It says Morris on the door, the GPO owned it before
I drive in it for my job, the governor calls me a slob
But I don’t really care, give me some gas and the open air

It’s a bit old but it’s mine, I mend it in my spare time
Just last week I changed the oil, the rocker valves and the coil
Just last week I changed the oil
Last week it went round the clock, I also had a little knock
I dented somebody’s fender, he learnt not to park on a bender, ha ha ha

I’ve been driving in my car, it don’t look much but I’ve been far
I drive up to Muswell Hill, I’ve even been to Selsey Bill
I drove along the A45, I had her up to 58
This copper stopped me the other day, you’re mistaken what could I say
The tires were a little worn, they were OK, I could have sworn
I like driving in my car, I’m satisfied I’ve got this far

I like driving in my car, it don’t look much but I’ve been far
I like driving in my car, even with a flat tyre
I like driving in my car, it’s not quite a Jaguar
I like driving in my car, I’m satisfied I’ve got this far

Songwriters: Cathal Joseph Smyth / Christopher John Foreman / Daniel Mark Woodgate / Graham Mcpherson / Lee Jay Thompson / Mark William Bedford / Michael Barson
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC