Sex Pistols graffiti causes excitement
Top 10 angry songs about record companies


Sex Pistols graffiti causes excitement
Top 10 angry songs about record companies
Kerry McCarthy MP started a debate about bands who have done angry songs about their record companies, throwing the debate onto Twitter she has put together a top 10  
1. Stiff Little Fingers – Rough Trade. In a catalogue of angry songs, this has got to be SLF’s angriest. Yes, “the Troubles” were bad, but it takes an indie record label to really get Jake Burns ranting. “We were betrayed, betrayed, betrayed, betrayed, betrayed by Rough Trade lies! Betrayed by lies!” 
2. Sex Pistols – EMI. And at the end… “A and M…”


3. The Clash – Complete Control. Perhaps the perfect summation of the punk ethos, but they still ended up releasing triple albums… I remember the debate when London Calling was released about whether releasing a double album was a grand betrayal of everything punk rock stood for. I still think it would have been better whittled down to ten songs.
4. Generation X – Gimme Some Truth. Well, there’s a bit of a rant about Bernie Rhodes at the end, so I assume the song is aimed at him.
5. Blur – Country House. This could now be seen a a bit of a dig on floppy-fringed Tory-schmoozing cheese-making bassist Alex James, but apparently it’s about record company execs.
6. Pink Floyd – Have A Cigar. Suggested by John Rentoul, the Indy political journalist. I’ve never heard it. It includes the line “and by the way, which one’s Pink?”
7. The Smiths – Paint a Vulgar Picture. Much-nominated. I can’t remember how it goes. People think I like the Smiths more than I do.
8. Robbie Williams – Freedom. A cover of George Michael’s song, given a new twist when Robbie escaped from the hell that is being in a hugely successful boy band and got to hang out with Oasis and get fat and become a global megastar and move to LA and then rejoin said boyband for a mega-selling tour.
9. Mel C – The New Superstar. According to Aaron who nominated this she’s done “loads of songs about hating record companies”. I will take his word for it. The first thing Aaron ever said to me when I met him at a party round a Labour activist’s house in Manchester during the Oldham by-election was “so what’s your favourite Spice Girls” song. You’ve got to give him credit for trying. (My answer was “Spice up your Life”.)
10. Julian Cope – Bill Drummond Said. Not quite sure what he’s on about in this song. Anyone would think he was on drugs. Drummond’s response was “Julian Cope is Dead” so we can assume Cope wasn’t being nice about him.
Other tweeted suggestions include Punka by Kenickie, Dinosaurs will Die by NOFX, Wave Goodbye to EMI by Beans on Toast, Fools by Motörhead, Working for MCA by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Song for Whoever by the Beautiful South (not sure that counts, it’s not about record companies or management is it? and not angry, more just a bit sarky), Rosa Parks by Outcast, Don’t Let the Record Comoany Take you our for Lunch by Jeffrey Lewis, and someone who said “Public Enemy, KRS One, Tribe Called Quest, Genius/GZA” but didn’t specify which tracks. There’s also, I suppose, So You Wanna be a Rock and Roll Star by the Byrds, a dig at the music business which was inspired by seeing the rise of manufactured band, the Monkees – but it’s generally accepted that the Monkees were a great pop band.

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  1. The song Rough Trade isn’t actually about Rough Trade the label.

    It’s actually about Island Records, who offered them a deal and asked them to travel over from Ireland.
    And then dropped them.

    This lead to Rough Trade picking them up.

  2. I’d like to add a late entry – ‘Train To Doomsville’ by Lee Perry. In which he names and shames his previous record labels, among other typically Perry-esque gnomic utterances. A killer slice of punk rock reggae too, if you ask me.

    Dunno if I can embed YouTube videos in a comment: try this link. No video, just the noise!


  3. I hardly think the song “Gimme Some Truth” was written with Bernie Rhodes in mind, irrespective of the ad-lib playout vocals on a Generation X b-side that was culled from a John Peel session.
    In fact, I’d go as far as saying that when John Lennon wrote and recorded the song for his 1971 album “Imagine” he’d probably never heard of Bernie Rhodes…

  4. I have no suggestions for the list but did have a smile about “People think I like the Smiths more than I do.” Try being am 80s-bred music fan from Manchester and telling people you don’t own a single one of their records because you were never that arsed, they look at you like you’re talking Finnish.

  5. Vanz Kant Danz – John Fogherty (1985) about Saul Zaentz, Fogerty’s former boss at Fantasy Records, who famously tried to sue Fogerty for plagiarizing himself (specifically his Creedence Clearwater Revival material, to which Zaentz held the rights). “Can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money – watch him or he’ll rob you blind.”

  6. I’m going to add the following from what I know off the top of my head… mind you these are alleged. Some might even shock you:

    1. Maroon 5 – This Love (it’s not about a girl, it’s about their label)
    2. Sara Bareilles – Love Song (listening to the lyrics makes you wonder)
    3. Rihanna – Consideration (Considering that this is her last album and she has yet to drop a new one in the past now-five years… maybe her label has something to do with why she has abandoned her music to become a makeup / Fashion / Beauty Guru)
    4. Sara Bareilles – King Of Anything (Bot she really must know how to strike gold when dealing with record labels… allegedly)
    5. Daryl Hall & John Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (another possible shocker… this is not about a relationship despite what the lyrics might suggest. They apparently revealed its about their label and the industry via Genius which is an extraordinary publication)


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