This morning I was doing a marathon run through the discography of “They Might Be Giants”, and I was in stitches most of the time. I hadn’t listened to most of their stuff in a long while, and when I came across “Hey Mr. DJ” on the Miscellaneous T compilation it occurred to me that it would be fun to make a list of songs inspired by dodgy managers.
You know, a compendium of songs with lyrics alluding to individuals who grew wealthy by misrepresenting artists. Or (as good ol’ Roger Daltrey put it once) “people who screw bands down the fuckin’ alley”. Ah, man, gotta love The Who…
So, there we go. But do keep in mind this is by no means a “best of” list. It’s just the first five songs that came to mind when I thought up the concept. I’m aware that more (and better) songs on the subjects exist, so please leave a comment with your personal picks.
Yet, just to underline my allegiance to the Rebel Forces I’m starting with a song a about a DJ, not with one about a manager. Nothing like keeping things topical…
1 “Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal” (They Might Be Giants)
The lyrics said it all, really. When our beloved John and John were getting started they came across and unsavory gentleman who said “I’ll scratch your record if you scratch my back”. The rest, it’s history…
2 “Death On Two Legs” (Queen)
Epic way to open a timeless album. Don’t ever mess with the power of the almighty Farrokh Bulsara.
3 “I Bought Myself a Liarbird” (XTC)
The key factor in the declining fortunes of the world best-loved (ahem) Swindonians was the unscrupulous manager they got. The only good thing to come out of it for XTC? This sparkling gem that brightens the otherwise gloomy “The Big Express”.
4 “Frankly, Mr. Shankly” (The Smiths)
Being the record manager of The Smiths must be something to write home about… but not necessarily in the most caressing of words. Don’t believe it? Listen to this “ode” that the Mozzer included on the band’s defining The Queen is Dead, dedicated to the manager of Rough Trade Records, Mr. Geoff Travis.
5 “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby” (The Smiths)
What? Still not convinced that managing Moz and The Smiths was far from a ride on the Dreamland Express? Well, here’s another one that Morrissey aimed at his record label manager.
So, what songs would you add to this list? Shout off on the comments box below!