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The Friday 5 – The Best Pronunciations In Rock History

Yabba-dabba-doo good people of ELMville! Yes, we’ve made it. It’s been rough, it’s been ready. It’s been painful, but finally the promised land is here. And you know me, my dear readers, it’s time to kick back with a cold one and admire the sea-change in attitudes now that the weekend has arrived. Ah, the weekend. So cool, so debonair, so vital. And that got me on to the topic for today’s 5. There is nothing better than a wonderful lyric, as we all know…but when that lyric is beautifully executed, with a uniquely pronounced word in it, well, it’s simply transcendental. We salute those who wrapped their tongue into a shape that history will remember forever;

David Bowie – Starman. Word In Question; Boogie

It’s already a slightly off-kilter song about an extra terrestrial, which is cool enough on it’s own in my opinion. But then the Thin White duke throws in this gem. I mean, it’s cool enough anyway to exhort the man to ‘let all the children boogie’ rather than dance, but when you have elongated the word into something sounding like ‘boo-ah-gay’ then you are hipper than a pair of hip cats hips at a hip festival. God, early-70’s Bowie was special.

The Smiths – The Headmaster Ritual. Word in Question; Bastards

It’s tough to get swearing right in songs. When you are a fey, wan anti-pop star singing about how much you hated school, then it is very easy to leave the listener creeped out at how appallingly badly you have failed. But Morrissey’s voice manages to contain anger, sadness, regret, guilt and venom all at the same time as he lambasts the ‘spineless bastards’ who caused him so much misery in his formative years. As English as mid-order batting collapses and repressed homosexuality.

Kirsty McColl – They Don’t Know. Word in Question; Baby

I once wondered if she was once a blues singer, as she seemed to have a nickname. Every time you heard about her, it was ‘Featuring’ Kirsty McColl. But this masked an underrated songwriter and this was one of her best. The lacerating cry halfway through the middle eight was a glorious highlight of her career, stretching the word into four syllables that defined teenage romance as well as the Undertones ever did. Tracey Ullman later had a hit with this on Stiff, but they left McColl’s vocals on this word as Ullman couldn’t hit it. Class. Sadly missed.

Oasis – Cigarettes & Alcohol. Word in Question; Sunshine

Ah, it’s hard to remember just how cool the boys from Burnage were back then, pre-cocaine, pre-Patsy and, most seriously, pre-Be Here Now. Stretching an ordinary word into an example of iambic pentameter, Liam made ‘soonshhheyyinne’ sound as lugubrious, lazy and great as it can be. When you are unemployed, pissed and fundamentally unable to give a fuck about anything. more slacker than anything Richard Linklater ever did. Tony Blair liked it. Aye, in the same way Gordon Brown likes the Arctic Monkeys, ie not at all.

Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay. Word in Question; Bed

Bed. it’s great. it offers so many possibilities. At my age, to be honest, mainly sleep. But Bob, in full Nashville Skyline Kermit phase, made it sound exciting and cool and, most probably, a place to sleep. Oh, there was a frisson, but hey; you get into Bob’s bed, you take your chance. And if he wants to sleep, you let him.

So, once more into the weekend my friends. You know we love you here at ELM, so we just say this; be safe. Be careful, folks. And let’s get pissed!

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5 Responses

  1. U donnt ned to gewt drukn to hifve a gud itme.

  2. What?! I’m Scottish, you are Irish – we both know that you do!

  3. For Kermit Bob I would have laid across his big brass bed, and thrown my ticket and my suitcase out the window. I don’t know why, but I know its not normal.

  4. Jim Morrison of The Doors in “The End”……

    “…mother, …I want to faaaaarrrrrgggh you…”

    Too creepy.

    Though kudos for getting away with it ( singing the line I mean ,not actually….. )

  5. Still a line which no sensible man likes….;-)

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