For various obscure reasons, I started thinking about 3-word song titles that start with a verb, have “the” in the middle, and end in a noun (not that there’s much choice at that point). What you get is fierce little imperatives, songs that demand something, like Fight the Power, or Do the Du.
So I invited some of my Facebook mob to join in the fun. Here are the tunes!
First off in the protest tradition: John Hanlon wrote this number for an insulate-your-house campaign in the 70s. Then it got picked up by the people trying to save the Manapouri from the hydro-electric schemes. John Hanlon, I read, is the only artist to have won two Silver Scroll awards, and he won them in consecutive years.
Pearl Jam definitely win the cheesy lyrics awards. “Evolution, baby!”
This version of Fight the Power from the Spike Lee joint Do the Right Thing us not just one cultural artefact with a 3-word title in the imperative tone, but two (almost)!
Nobody mentioned this. But while we’re here:
At one point in my life, I could play just about every bass line on the entire album.
Only the English know how to really take the fun out of funk, and still keep it funky. It’s A Certain Ratio.
It’s surprising there aren’t more songs with this title. If it sounds like another song you’re more familiar with: same dude.
Imperative, definite irony.
Even though it’s trite as hell, I kind of like him without the band.
Neither a floor filler nor a call to arms. Sounds like music.
I feel genuinely uncomfortable posting this.
Nabeel tracked down two candidates using the same subject, vis, the Muss! First up, Cabaret Voltaire.
Next up: DAF (which expands and translates to German American Friendship). Cool!
Three word titles deserve three chord thrash. I often wonder if someone somewhere takes this one literally.
And, while you’re at it:
It turns out there are no fewer than 5 songs called Ring the Alarm. Here’s the best one.
Here’s a less than the best one.
Here’s a nasti one.
And here’s one that’s at least got a sense of humour (the fifth one? You don’t want the fifth one).
And there it is folks. All the songs worth listening to which have 3-word titles in the imperative tone, and definite article “the” in the middle! 20 so far, plus one dud.
There were some tough calls. Be Mine Tonight, Love My Way, You Spin Me Round … all tantalisingly close. Do the Alligator turns out not to be the title of Alligator Song , but just the chorus, and the same applies to Do the Humpty-Hump, which is just plain old The Humpty Dance. And while it’s true that Puff the Magic Dragon presents an interesting alternative to the imperative tone which dominates the form, a) it’s got too many words, and b) it’s shit.
All in all, I’m well pleased with this collection. Still, if you think I’ve missed anything, let me know and I’ll chuck it in. I see no reason for this post not to be the authority on this important subject.