Peter Coyne of The Godfathers: Top Ten Songwriting Influences
This year saw the quintessential London rock & roll outfit The Godfathers return with a blistering new album A Big Bad Beautiful Noise, reviewed here by Louder Than War’s Ian Canty.
Peter Coyne, frontman of The Godfathers since the group’s inception in 1985, has kindly selected this barn-storming list of his top ten song-writing influences for Louder The War.
Roxy Music – Virginia Plain
An incredible John Peel radio session version of Roxy’s ’72 debut single, the first 45 I ever bought! This magnificent song has NO CHORUS! The first rule I learned about writing songs? There are no rules…
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash since I was five-years-old – initially fascinated by his big hair on the album covers, the boom chicka boom of the music & his deep voice. But, man, what a song-writer! All this lead directly to The Godfathers writing our Man In Black homage Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues.
MC5 – Kick Out The Jams
The Motor City Five set the standard & the bar high for any subsequent rock & roll bands to TRY & follow & aspire to – here’s an extended version of their immortal classic Kick Out The Jams.
Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash
The Stones return to their rocking, EVIL best with this ’68 smash! Keith Richards is one of my all-time heroes & no list of song-writing greats is complete without him or them represented.
The Sonics – Be A Woman
I’ve chosen this stellar track from their most recent album This Is The Sonics rather than any of their ’60’s classics like Strychnine or Psycho because these guys prove that age should be no obstacle to writing & performing classic rock & roll. I saw them play Glasgow a few years ago & they were one of the most amazing live bands I’d ever seen – rocking like fuck & in their ’70’s!!
David Bowie – Queen Bitch
Bowie is the greatest solo singer/song-writer the UK has ever produced & Hunky Dory is my favourite album of his. Another song-writing lesson learned here – pretend that you’re someone else! And here’s Bowie ‘pretending’ to be Lou Reed & The Velvet Underground – RIP Bowie & Mick Ronson XX
The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
Lennon had McCartney & Jagger had Richards but Ray Davies wrote by himself, which makes his many achievements possibly even greater in my book. A master song-writer with a staggering output – I was born & grew up in South London & this timeless, magical song will always hold a special meaning for me.
Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK
This song LITERALLY changed my life! I most definitely would not be in a band & writing songs & performing if it weren’t for Cook/Jones/Matlock/Rotten/Vicious, so it’s all their fault – haha!! ‘Anarchy’ is over 40 years old now, but still white-hot rage & fresh as a daisy!!!
The Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
I idolised Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee & Tommy as a teenager & count myself blessed that The Godfathers got the opportunity to play live alongside them many, many times. If life was fair (which it’s most certainly not…) then Da Bruddas would have had at least 20 number one singles. ‘Sheena’ is just one of them!
The Beatles – A Day In The Life
I end with The Fab 4 because it all started for me really with them. A Day In The Life exists in its own universe – if you’re in a band & you’ve not been influenced in some way by The Beatles then you are either deaf or an idiot or a deaf idiot.
Of course I could have chosen another 100 numbers by these four lads from Liverpool. OR hundreds of other songs by a range of different artists for this piece (no Hank Williams, no Phil Spector, no Lou Reed, no Bob Marley, no Small Faces, no Curtis Mayfield, no Holland-Dozier-Holland, no Iggy Pop etc, etc….) but that, my friends, is another story & these 10 will do for today!!
All words by Gus Ironside, whose Louder Than War archive is here.