The Premise

OK, team, it’s just around the corner now.  If you do the math, I think you’ll find we’ve got about one hundred days to go until the London program begins.

The premise for this blog is that I’m going to try to post links to 100 songs that are either about London or from London (and in most cases, both), one song per day in roughly chronological order as a way of reflecting on the past fifty years of culture in London.

Along the way I’ll include some factoids and observations and reflections about London itself to help give you some context for the culture, history, and geography of city before you arrive here yourself in January.

I should admit that I’m no expert on London, not by any means — I’ve visited the city a few times, but never lived there — and so what I know comes from reading British fiction and drama, watching British film and television, and (especially) listening to British music.  And so to help me out, I’ve invited some good friends who know a lot more about London than I do to follow the blog as well, and my hope is that they can supplement (and when I’m off-base, correct) what I have to say about the city. And you, I very much hope, should also take the opportunity to chime in with comments or questions or anything else you like as we go.

Enjoy!  And start your countdown!


One thought on “The Premise

  1. The Greatest Cockney Rip Off should make this list. It’s a simple song that was a Top 30 hit that illustrates the class consciousness of 2nd wave punk in London and England as a whole. or some ‘Arry Champion music hall tunes:

    Words by Harry Clifton, between 1864 and 1867
    Music by George Frederick Root, 1864
    from “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp (the Boys Are Marching),” or “The Prisoner’s Hope”

    I’m not a wealthy man, But I’ve hit upon a plan,
    That will render me as happy as a king;
    And if you will allow me I’ll tell it to you now,
    For time you know is always on the wing.

    Work, boys, work and be contented,
    As long as you’ve enough to buy a meal.
    The man you may rely, will be wealthy by-and-bye,
    If he’ll only put his shoulder to the wheel.

    Will fretting make you fat? No there’s nothing gain’d by that,
    assist yourselves and fortune will help you;
    tears are only vain, If defeated try again,
    You’ll find it all the better if you do.

    Discontented people say, All work and little play,
    Will make a boy a blockhead as a rule:
    You can answer them and say, “Never work” and “always play”,
    Will make him both a blockhead and a fool.

    You’ll enjoy a “quiet crust,” more by “rubbing off the rust,”
    It’s a maxim that should never be forgot,
    Whilst labour leads to wealth, And will keep you in good health,
    So it’s best to be contented with your lot.

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