The first thing that struck me going through the song suggestions on this topic was that listening to spider songs and reading spider lyrics makes you think there’s one crawling through your hair. Two: a lot of spider songs are either very short or very long, easily passing the six-minute mark. Three: there are a lot of instrumentals, as if musicians don’t want to get too close to these eight-legged creatures with their mouth or words. And four: a lot of musicians never paid much attention in biology class and attribute female characteristics to male spiders (yes Alice C. we mean you, and yes you too, Ozzy).
There are a lot of funny spider songs. Horror comedy is a popular genre, as we all know.
Slim Newton just got bitten by an Australian black widow whilst being at his most vulnerable. Flanders and Swann are like two Tarzans, standing on a chair in paralysing fear.
Boris The Spider is another funny tune, probably because John Entwistle wrote it. This song by the way is perhaps the cradle of all metal death rattles. Entwistle makes sure the poor spider is extra dead by smashing it, but Toy Dolls are more gentlemanlike, they catch and release it outside. Little do they know that it’s a yoyo-spider. Captain Beefheart has similar problems – he keeps on sweeping but there’s still too many feet. This Buggy Woogie Woogie is another proof that a lot of spider songs are (too) short. And it blends particularly well with one of the countless black widows, sung by the – alas – late Dr. John.
The Handsome Family is like The Beautiful South doing country and their circular spider story is death and horror covered in sugar and fiddles. It’s a delicacy just like the who-done-kill-the-spider story from 1947, brought to you by Hoagy Carmichael. But what to think about Tidal Wave’s arachnid view: man is connected to the spider web, even if he’s not caught in it. Se non è vero, è ben trovato. Yes, let’s have more Italian and why not Italian spiders too? Ludovico Einaudi’s Taranta is like a runaway train and like the supposedly venom-invoked dance: it seems unstoppable. Make sure you watch this one too. It’s also handy if you want to skip the five minutes of interviews after the music.
As I said, some spider songs are really long, like the final two. It’s unclear if Wilco’s number is actually about spiders, let alone real spiders. But the song is as perfect as a web with a spider in the middle and if ever it was on topic, it was now. And then there’s Joanna Newsom. I lost count of the spiders in her song, I lost count of the songs in her song too. I don’t know if I’ll turn out to be a fan of hers, but it’s growing on me.
The Arachnid A-List Playlist:
Slim Newton – Red Back on the Toilet Seat
Flanders and Swann – The Spider
The Who – Boris the Spider
Toy Dolls – Spiders in the Dressing Room
Captain Beefheart – The Buggy Woogie Woogie
Dr. John – Black Widow Spider
The Handsome Family – Spider
Hoagy Carmichael – Who Killed’Er ( Who Killed The Black Widder)
Tidal Wave – Spider Spider
Ludovico Einaudi – Taranta
Wilco – Spiders (Kidsmoke)
Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me
The Black Widow and Beyond B-List Playlist:
Black Box Recorder – England Made Me Do It
TISM – Everyone Has Had More Sex Than Me
Herbie Hancock – Spider
Barenaked Ladies – Spider In My Room
Memphis Jug Band – Spider’s Nest Blues
Jean Luc Ponty – Tarantula
Ten Years After – Spider in My Web
Buckshot Lefonque – Black Widow Blues
Fats Waller – The Spider and The Fly
Ike and Tina Turner – Sexy Ida
Jim Stafford – Spiders and Snakes
Robyn Hitchcock – Ole! Tarantula
Guru’s Belgian/Luxembourgish Wild Spider Wildcard:
Jef Neve and Pascal Schumacher – Little Spider
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Search the web: spin your songs about spiders. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
New to comment? It is quick and easy. You just need to login to Disqus once. All is explained i in About/FAQs ...
Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address. Also please follow us social media: Song Bar Twitter, Song Bar Facebook. Song Bar YouTube. Subscribe, follow and share.