Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 30th 2022
Celebrating Charles in music
I was unsure of how to approach this topic. The fact of the matter was, I was not going to write about the fact we in the Commonwealth have a new monarch at all. I had done a column about queen songs and king songs, but the feedback I have recently received indicated that was not enough for some readers.
So, based on some recent columns that people seem to have liked, I have decided to a column of songs about the name Charles in all that name's various forms.
Why? Because the man I have known all my life as Prince Charles is now King Charles III. Now, I do have an issue with the monarchy as a concept, that some people can be considered superior to others by accident of birth, but as a person Charles seems like a decent enough guy. Not perfect, but I don't have objections.
As such, this list is not going to be a sycophantic link of songs. This is a series of songs with Charles, Charlie, Chuck, etc. in the title. Not mentioned in song lyrics, but in the title. Apart from that, normal rules apply – one song per artist, one version of each song, I need to like the song. Standard song list, really.
And, with that in mind, here we are: songs about Charles in all his various forms!
'Charlie's Wig' by Miles Davis & Charlie Parker (1947)
So, let's start this list in the Wayback Machine and hit it with some jazz by two of the greatest jazz musicians to ever grace vinyl. This instrumental is just a wonderful example of both of their playing, and it's because of tracks like this that jazz will never die. I have this on a Miles Davis greatest hits album, but it sounds the same as the version on the Charlie Parker album a friend of mine lent me. I stand to be corrected on the actual performer/s.
'Charlie Brown' by The Coasters (1959)
One of those odd Coasters songs giving little slices of life, this song about a perennial slacker and kid who always mucks up, and his constant refrain, "Why is everybody always pickin' on me?" apparently has nothing to do with the character in the Peanuts comic strip. It's just a strange little bit of pop that is also a lot of fun. Why can't songs be this fun nowadays?
'Chuckwalk' by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley (1964)
The song is named for Chuck Berry, and this album by two of rock's most influential guitarists is amazing. This is actually not my favourite 'Chuck' song in the collection, but 'Chuck's Beat' is over 10 minutes long. I still like this one, and this is an album – Two Great Guitars – lovers of classic rock should hunt down.
'Charlie' by Split Enz (1977)
This is a rather… grim song. The singer is trying to wake up Charlie, someone close to him, despite having killed Charlie the night before. The experimental pop sound that was the hallmark of Split Enz at this time does take away some of the darkness, but those lyrics… wow.
'Chuck E's In Love' by Rickie Lee Jones (1979)
I was not a fan of this song when I was younger, but as I got older, I came to appreciate Jones' voice more and more and now I find it a rather soothing song to listen to. No idea who Chuck E is, but this song sells the point he is clearly in love.
'Charly' by The Prodigy (1991)
This was The Prodigy's first release, when they were a pure dance music/rave group. It got me from the word go because it sounded so different to most of what I was hearing at the time. It apparently samples something from British television, but I just think it sounds amazing.
'Charlie No.1' by The Whitlams (1997)
A sad, depressing song about the past drifting away and people not losing their way in the present, an ode to those friends who have fallen by the wayside (apparently). The Whitlams were always good at these slower tracks. This was the first of 3 Charlie songs on the Eternal Nightcap album, and my favourite of them.
'Check Out Charlie' by Pearl (2010)
Not the first time I've mentioned a song by Meatloaf's daughter. One of the harder rocking tracks on Little Immaculate White Fox, this song shows she has the musical chops of her father. Great album cut.
'For Charles Bronson' by The Mountain Goats (2011)
Yes, a song about movie actor Charles Bronson because why not? The Mountain Goats have a large number of songs about strange topics, but they are always so interesting, and this is no exception.
'Lucky Charlie' by Dropkick Murphys (2013)
Up-tempo, fun and loud – this is Dropkick Murphys in all their glory. A great, straight-ahead rock song, this is a great way to close out a list dedicated to the new King of England.
And there we are, ten songs to celebrate King Charles III. A few different styles of music are covered here, and even with no songs from the 1980s (! I know!), I hope you found something you like. And I'd like to wish King Charles III all the best… though him seeing this is approximately 0%.
I hope you, at least, enjoyed this little collection.