Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published January 12th 2021
Is eight ever enough?
I sort of struggled with my number songs lists. The feedback has been positive for the previous entries (one, two, three, four, five, six and seven) but now we hit an issue. This will be the second to last one because from here, when it comes to numbers, there just are not the same amount of songs as earlier.
Fortunately, I came across the idea last number column to help me with an issue of a lack of songs I like with the number 8 – 8 songs about 8 seems fine! But, truth be told, I found very few featuring nine or ten, so the next (and at this stage last) number column will be out of order.
However, eight. Eight does not really have any greater meaning. It is just a number that feels like it is large (hence a TV series like Eight Is Enough). It's two cubed as well, so there is that…
Coming from what the band referred to as a Ringo-ism, this song about loving a girl beyond what was normal is one of the better ones in the Beatles' canon, and that is saying something. Especially from their earlier albums, this track stands out (it is the best song on the album Beatles For Sale) and is a fine example of the vocal harmonies of the band, as well as showing Harrison's growing talent on the guitar.
'I'm Henery VIII I Am' by Herman's Hermits (1965)
A traditional song given a 1960s UK beat makeover, and damn if it isn't fun! It's about a guy who marries a widow, and all of her previous husbands had been named Henry, like him. So… here's the story of the song (as far as I can make out). The band were mucking about in the studio when they decided to sing this old music hall favourite (from the early 1900s). But the singer only knew the first verse, so he repeated it (hence his infamous cry of, "Second verse, same as the first!" mid-song)… and they kept it and released it!
'Eight Miles High' by The Byrds (1966)
Despite what some government authorities at the time believed, this song is actually about flying from the UK to the USA, though at least one member of the band said it had a second meaning about space travel or satellites or something. Maybe it was about the drugs that saw the song banned from radios upon release… Still, a great song with a dreamy, ethereal sound that has rarely been bettered.
'Pieces Of Eight' by Styx (1978)
Title track of one of the many albums they released since forgotten by audiences, this ballad builds nicely, a precursor to the power ballads that would come to the fore in the following decade. But I do like this song, even if the lyrics are a little… obscure, shall we say.
'8 Mile' by Eminem (2002) Edited version, but still NSFW
From the film of the same name (surprisingly good… honestly), Eminem is one of the very few rappers whose works I have liked more often than not. Lyrically, he is rather interesting, and with this coming from what is essentially a version of his own life, they feel very confrontational. I like his flow and the anger in this track is palpable.
'Eight Second Ride' by Jake Owen (2009)
Little bit of bro' country here from Owen's second album. It's a standard "picking up girls" song that bro country is based on (that and songs about drinking). I'm not sure what the meaning of a ride being 8 seconds is about (unless it's about his inadequacies) but "any eight second ride" could be referring to drag racing or bull-riding… I'm confused, but it is still a fun little song about a monster truck (I think).
'8 Good Reasons' by Sinead O'Connor (2014)
Known almost exclusively for a song written by Prince and tearing a photo on TV, Sinead O'Connor has released so many great tracks. I've mentioned a few before, and this is another you should check out because it is a really strong track. I do love her voice and just wish she had had more mainstream success. A lot of modern singers could learn something about delivery from Ms O'Connor.
'8 Gods Of Harlem' by Roseanne Cash featuring Elvis Costello and Kris Kristofferson (2018)
And we finish some more country music, from one of the finest female country music voices. This song of seeking hope in the midst of desolation is a really good one, with great lyrics and her delivery enhancing everything. And the guest verses are seamless. I really enjoy Roseanne Cash's works, and listening to songs like this makes me realise why.
So, there we are – 8 songs about 8! Eagle-eyed readers will notice that there is a huge gap between the 1970s and the twenty-first century. It's just the way these lists go sometimes, but maybe as the years go on, we will see more and more songs with 8 in the title! However, I will say that the styles of music here are quite eclectic, even across a short series of songs, so I hope there will be something for everyone.
Anyway, thanks for the support of these columns and I hope you enjoy this one.