Lost Songs

Next part

Part 1 - The 1980s

Not all of the songs I've written have got as far as being recorded. Some were dropped at an early stage because they weren't good enough, others were simply overlooked, sometimes undeservedly. A few made it into the solo acoustic sessions but are best forgotten. Some were written after the recording sessions ended. These are the ones that have fallen along the way - but they are not necessarily condemned to stay in this list forever. If I can successfully capture a performance of one of them, they will move onto the main list of songs. Thus this list is a kind of "purgatory" - which ones will be left to drop into the burning pit of hell, and which ones will be saved?

Man In 1000 Places (1985)
An up-tempo rocker that I was working on before Dark England. I obviously had high hopes for this one at the time as I have the words, chords and even a score written out nicely. It's not very strong musically, though, and the lyrics about a media mogul buying up everything - based more on Maxwell than Murdoch, I think - are a bit cringey. It didn't survive in the post-Dark England world and was never recorded. Maybe if I get time I'll try to perform it one day in the Billy Bragg style that it was probably intended for!

Getting Nowhere Fast (1985)
Another pre-Dark England piece, I think this was an occasion when I tried to convert a fully-formed imaginary song into a real song, not successfully. It doesn't really stand up musically or lyrically. The words and chords are carefully written out, but it was soon dropped and never recorded. Can't see myself ever reviving this one.

Out Of Reach (October 1985)
Another imaginary song that I tried to make real, but it was never quite as I heard it in my head. The lyrics meant something then but not so much now. It was earmarked as one of the tracks on my first album, and it was even recorded in the first solo acoustic session of 1987. That version isn't really good enough for sharing, and it was never recorded again. I'd rather let this one stay in the past.

The Enchanted Summer Place / Summer Garden (March 1986)
This one should never have been lost. It's a simple, summery pop song with an easy swing, and I really like the verse. The problem was the chorus - it started out as "The Enchanted Summer Place" but that version of the chorus was too long and didn't sit well with the verse. I changed the title to "Summer Garden" and came up with a much shorter and simpler chorus. I still wasn't entirely happy with this version, but I never discarded the song, so I'm surprised that it was never recorded. I have the words and chords written down - one of the chords is E+. I'm going to have to look that one up if this song is to be revived!

Strange Days (August 1986)
A pity about this one, as it has a nice verse and a nice chorus, both of which are good to play on an acoustic - they just don't work well together. I came up with the title early on and tried to write a lyric around it, but I was never sure what it was supposed to be about and it sounds stupid now. I never really considered this finished, although I attempted to record it in the second solo acoustic session. This mistake-ridden version reflects the state of flux that the song was always in, and isn't in a fit state to share.

Trouble At Home (February 1987)
This was an up-tempo song with a guitar part not dissimilar to Dog Hill (It's Just Another Story). The problem was the lyrics - I attempted to write about a suburban family where the teenage daughter is bored and rebelling against her interfering parents. It sounded like a good idea then but makes embarrassing reading now. I recorded this in the second solo acoustic session, but aside from those lyrics the tune is way too high for my voice, and this one is staying strictly on my hard drive only!

The Paperchase (March 1987)
A nice guitar picking song which slipped through the net. It's one of those lyrics that seemed like a good idea at the time but doesn't really work now. I recorded it in the second solo acoustic session of 1987, and it was the only one to be played on the nylon-strung guitar that I briefly had access to. My guitar playing is fine on this version, but the combination of the lyrics and a tune which is way too high for my voice make it unlistenable. I'd like to revive this, but as an instrumental.

I Can't Go On (April 1987)
Don't know why this one got lost - it just never seemed to come up as a candidate for recording - it would have been on my mythical third album. Maybe it was the gloomy lyrics, but it's certainly not the worst I've written. In my head it was a big epic soundscape with a rhythm that would have been very similar to "Gone" by The Comsat Angels. I have the words and chords written down and the soaring tune is still very much in my head, so I Can't Go On has a good chance of being revived.

Painted Smile (June 1987)
Another "third album" song, but I was never really convinced by this one. The music was OK but a bit banal and the lyrics were more like the kind of miserable stuff I would write three years later. It had an "unfinished" feel, although the words and chords are neatly written out as usual for this era. I thought it had never come up for recording, but I was surprised to find it on the Fostex tapes immediately after Falling Out With London - it never got further than the guitar track, and it's not the whole song, but it was still around in my head in mid-1990. This would be a pretty good one to revive with a MIDI backing track.