Musical Geographies: London

Downton Abbey and Fry and Laurie aside, I’m not a big Anglophile. And the one time I went there, London didn’t impress me much (it’s like more expensive, farther away New York city, with cuter accents). But in terms of musical influence, you can’t really skip it over. Plus two lovely friends of mine just moved there, so now I have to start planning my return visit. In honor of them, please enjoy these London songs.

“London” – the Smiths

Had to be included for the straightforward title alone. Also, it’s a great song by a great band.

“Guns of Brixton” – the Clash

“London Calling” would have been a bit obvious, no?

“(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” – Elvis Costello

I just saw Elvis Costello perform at Riotfest last month, and the dude is still badass. I dare you not to strut to this song.

“Don’t Mug Yourself” – the Streets

The first of two “pub-aftermath” songs to round out this list. (I don’t think there are any explicit London references here, but it’s close enough. I make the rules, anyway.) I once heard someone describe Mike Skinner’s flow as something like, “someone once told him what rap was but he’s never heard anyone else do it.” It’s odd when you first hear it, but I find it pretty entertaining.

“Bar Italia” – Pulp

Second “pub-aftermath” song. I went to Bar Italia when I was in London. Decent espresso. Sort of unfriendly guy behind the bar, though.

Bonus track: “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon

Thematically and seasonally appropriate!