Today's play list: L.A. Songs

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I had such a good time playing with iMeem yesterday; I decided to do it again today. Today's subject: a play list of songs about Los Angeles. Obviously, there are A LOT of songs about L.A., and I kept it down to 15, so if I missed your favorite L.A. song, my apologies (I missed a couple of my own as well, due to them not being available on iMeem). If you want to hear the ones I did choose, go here. And if you just want to read about them...

1. "L.A. Song" by Christian Kane
I started off with this one because it's the song that got me started thinking about L.A. It's from Angel.
Pretty girl on every corner
Sunshine turns the sky to gold
Warm, warm it's always warm here
And I can’t take the cold

2. "Screenwriter's Blues" by Soul Coughing
Probably my favorite L.A. song ever. Puts my in a semi-hypnotic state.
It is 5 am
and you are listening
to Los Angeles

3. "Los Angeles is Burning" by Bad Religion
A classic.
A placard reads "the end of days"
Jacaranda boughs are bending in the haze
More a question than a curse
How could hell be any worse
The flames are stunning
The cameras running
So take warning!

4. "A Long December" by The Counting Crows
I can't help it, I have a soft spot for the Counting Crows. Plus this song is just so damn sad and lonely, I am using it as a stand-in for Dan Bern's "Wasteland," which isn't available on iMeem.
And its one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should

5. All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow
Not the most original choice, I know, but I had to include something that implies L.A. might be fun...
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

6. "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and the Papas
Another classic.
All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I’ve been for a walk
On a winters day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin
On such a winters day

7. "California" by Joni Mitchell
For a Canadian, Joni Mitchell really makes you believe she's homesick for California. Regardless of the Sunset reference, though, this song always makes me think more of Northern California than L.A. Regardless, it's another classic that had to make the list.
California I'm coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I'm coming home

8. "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
I'm not going to bother commenting on what currently passes for Guns N' Roses, but the original GNR line-up was, to my mind, the ultimate in L.A. bands, and this is their ultimate L.A. song.
Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You'll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me

9. "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins
Since it's both a great L.A. song (again with the loneliness theme) and one of my favorite songs ever, this one had to make the list. Plus I just love this line:
I told her I ain't so sure
about this place
it's hard to play a gig in this town
and keep a straight face
seems like everyone here's got a plan
it's kind of like Nashville with a tan

10. "Why You'd Want to Live Here" by Death Cab for Cutie
I'm not a huge fan of DCFC, or their whole genre, but this is a good song, and I'm a sucker for outside criticism of L.A.
And I can't see why you'd want to live here.
Billboards reach past the tallest buildings,
"We are not perfect - but we sure try."
As UV rays degrade our youth with time.

11. "Celluloid Heroes" by The Kinks
I unabashedly love this song.
And those who are successful,
Be always on your guard,
Success walks hand in hand with failure
Along Hollywood Boulevard.

12. "California" by Rufus Wainwright
The really fabulous thing about this song is the feeling of exhaustion and fed-up boredom. Nobody does boredom like Rufus Wainwright.
California, California
You're such a wonder that I think Ill stay in bed
Big time rollers, part time models
So much to plunder
That I think I'll sleep instead

13. "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" by The Decemberists
Nothing like a little L.A. love from a Portland band...
There is a city by the sea
A gentle company
I don't suppose you want to
And as it tells its sorry tale
In harrowing detail
Its hollowness will haunt you
Its streets and boulevards
Orphans and oligarchs it hears
A plaintive melody
Truncated symphony
An ocean's garbled vomit on the shore,
Los Angeles, I'm yours

14. "City of Angels" by The Distillers
The Distillers add a much-needed dose of California punk to the list. Plus, extra points for bitterness.
It’s a ghost town rabid underworld
Dionysian night vitriolic twilight
A mirage comes up it never ends
Once you get burnt you’re never the same
Left behind erased from time
Ain’t no decency in being boxed up alive
Look around ain't no R.I.P. signs here
We don’t rest in peace
We just disappear

15. "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gotta end on a sad note, with a song that brings my adolescence to mind in the first three chords. This is a band that has a lot of L.A. songs, and this is the only one that does a damn thing for me. I'm such a sucker.
It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there
It's hard to believe that I'm all alone
At least I have her love, the city she loves me
Lonely as I am, together we cry

So hit me--what L.A. song should I have included that I missed?

4 Comments

Beth Hart, "L.A. Song"

California Love by 2Pac!
Beverly Hills by Weezer
Hotel California by the Eagles

Nij used to live on Santa Monica and when I was in LA I could not get that Sheryl Crow song out of my head.

I am sure there's something Motley Crue I am not thinking of right at the moment.

"Come A Long Way" by Michelle Shocked:

Through the sweet green icing of MacArthur Park
And then I crossed the river into East L.A.
Pescado mojado me encontre
And I've given up on rock 'n roll
And I'm saving up for norteno
The river she runs by the railroad tracks
I swear I'll never take it back
A train, she cries on the midnight hour
All along the Watts Tower
Ohhhhhhhhhhh

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

I gunned it down to San Pedro Bay
Watched my ship sail in, watched her sail away
The sun was sinking into the sea
But a ball of fire inside of me
Was burning my motor and driving me hard
Past the big hair on the Boulevard
And up Mulholland where I made the scene
Like the one that took little Jimmy Dean
And then I shimmied up Wilshire like a little silk worm
Past the rodeo and the pachyderm
And then I stopped for coffee at an art cafe
I saw the repo man and made my getaway
Doing the Eagle Rock
Heading for the hills
Oh try to let my engines cool
And it is not my fault that this town shakes
I saw the falling rock and I hit my brakes

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

"Under the Bridge" and "Lullaby" are perfect...and I'm also a not so closeted Counting Crows fan, so you have mine covered. : )

The Beatles' "Get Back" is very LA to me although it never references the city, just the state...The Doors, "LA Woman", for sure...As for Motley Crue, anything off of "Dr. Feelgood" probably qualifies as an LA song. ; ) "Wild Side", "Dr. Feelgood", "Girls Girls Girls" (was a metalhead long ago and far away.)

Nice list. Fun, isn't it?

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