Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published August 15th 2021
But it's good to hear them
A couple of regular readers have contacted me about my lack of posting as regularly as normal just recently. First, thanks for your concern – it is rather nice to feel wanted. Second – the reason. Well, things were going quite nicely for a change then came Friday the 13th and it all came crashing down. I don't put much stock into superstition (I'm a horror writer; we generally know how to create these things), but it was such a blatant thing in that the positives keeping me away from column writing came crashing down on that day, that I was inspired to write this column.
So, bad luck. Whereas my last column showed how many songs I had on that topic making it difficult to get the list down to something manageable, this topic was not as readily coming forth. I thought that the bad luck was going to continue and I wasn't going to be able to find enough songs. But I did, so here is the list. And in the end, I did have to cut it down so I could get the requisite number for this particular column.
Normal rules – one song per artist, I need to like the songs, the general tone of the song is about bad luck. Hope it isn't too depressing for everyone. But it was nice and cathartic for me.
'Bad Luck And Troubles' by Memphis Slim (1961)
Let's start with the blues, with Memphis Slim and his piano-playing depressing song that set the template for so many songs that followed on afterwards. More to the point, as he sings, "What can I do?", you wonder just what indeed.
'Right, Said Fred' by Bernard Cribbins (1962)
Yes, okay, a comedy song, but it is about bad luck happening to the titular Fred and his lackadaisical attitude to said luck. Modern audiences might know Cribbins as an actor from Dr Who (the David Tennant iteration), but his career spans decades.
'Born Under A Bad Sign' by Cream (1968)
Originally by Albert King, I just love the Eric Clapton guitar solo and overdone angst in Jack Bruce's voice. This song includes that all-time classic line: "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all…" But that guitar playing… wow.
'Bad Moon Rising' by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)
One of the most popular CCR songs, this track about trouble on the way because there is a "bad moon on the rise" sounds like such a fun song but it is really quite depressing. This is about bad luck for anyone caught in the power of said bad moon and is a brilliant track.
'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder (1972)
A song about bad luck (including a baby breaking a mirror for seven years bad luck!) in all its myriad forms and how even not believing in superstitions won't save you from them. One of Wonder's best ever tracks.
'Bad Luck' by Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes (1975)
This proto-disco track sounds like a dance track, with lyrics about some-one who loses everything and there seems no hope for things getting better. Strange juxtaposition, but that's music for you.
'Hard Luck Woman' by Kiss (1976)
One of Kiss' early acoustic songs, this track is about the singer trying to convince the woman in question she is not as prone to bad luck as she thinks, and yet he is going to leave her anyway. Yeah, that's… nice. Still, an under-known Kiss track, and one I really like.
'Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)' by Thin Lizzy (1981)
Comparing the life of a regular person to the life portrayed in Hollywood creations, with the line: "Nobody gives a break when you're down on your luck…" While the musicianship is what you'd expect from this great band, the lyrics are just really depressing.
'Some Guys Have All The Luck' by Rod Stewart (1984)
No, the singer is not the lucky one – everyone else is while he is doomed to a life of loneliness and the memories of the girl he lost. He just feels like luck has deserted him for everyone else.
'Hard Luck Story' by Men At Work (1985)
Yes, Men At Work had more than the two (maybe 3) songs you knew, and a lot of them are really good. Like this one. A man is trying to ignore all the bad tidings around him, with the anger in Colin Hay's voice adding to the song so well.
'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?' by Travis (1999)
Yep, the epitome of 1990s angst, about a guy who thinks that no matter what he does, it never goes the way he hopes. He puts it down to him telling a lie as a teenager, but that does seem a stretch. Still, a song that was everywhere at the time. Are Travis a one-hit wonder? I'm not sure; I just own the one album and never heard of them again.
'Bad Day' by Daniel Powter (2005)
Daniel is singing to tell someone they're having a bad day and he is spelling it out. To be honest, if I was the person being sung to, I'd be annoyed and would probably deck him for being a jerk. Still, this is a modern pop song that I really don't mind.
'Paraskavedekatriaphobia' by Fozzy (2010)
I have been looking for an excuse to put a Fozzy song in a list! One of my favourite modern heavy metal bands, fronted by one of my favourite professional wrestlers in Chris Jericho, Fozzy are awesome. The song title? That is the term for the perfectly rational and understandable fear of Friday the 13th. The drumming in this song just powers along like a train at full speed and Jericho's voice is in fine form.
And there you are, a baker's dozen, an even 13 tracks about bad luck. Yes, the lyrics tend towards the depressing, but the music is surprisingly uplifting and, at times, even fun. I hope if anyone is having a run of luck that could be considered bad, things improve, and at the very list, this is a fine soundtrack to such a state of mind.
Hope you all enjoyed it. And good luck going forth!