I had a coach many years ago who told me that second is first loser, but that is unfair. Songs about the number two tend to be about two things – a couple, either breaking up or getting together, or a comparison of things. Sometimes there are other metaphors used, but the number two is generally used that way. (All right, get it out the way – laugh at the other scatological use of "number twos" now and we'll leave it right here…)
Unlike the number one, there do not seem to be as many songs about the number two. Still, it was very easy for me to compile a decent list of twelve songs, and this time the John Farnham song is one I like. I actually had eleven, but added a Bill Haley song that I like as well to get it up to a decent twelve, as there are certain numbers that are better for this sort of thing.
Simple, really! Here's twelve songs featuring the number two in the title! Let's double down on this!
'Two Hound Dogs' by Bill Haley & His Comets (1955)
Bill Haley is known for three, maybe four, tracks, but he is so much more than that. Fun fact: the very first album I ever bought was a Bill Haley greatest hits cassette. This was, I remind you, 1977. Anyway, this was one of my favourite tracks from that album. A song I had never before, with some great sax playing, about two dogs… who, I worked out some ten years later, were metaphors for the start of rock and roll. This is just a little faster than a lot of their other tracks with more powerful drumming and it appealed to me.
'Two Kinds Of Teardrops' by Del Shannon (1963)
Del Shannon was an artist I grew up with, thanks to my dad. He had this on 45 (which I now own) and I played it often. This is one of those comparison songs, where one teardrop is bad and one is good, and the singer wants his girl to cry the good sort. Easy. Although, I would have thought even the good sort of crying was not a great thing. Still, good song, show-casing Shannon's fine singing voice.
'Two Faces Have I' by Lou Christie (1963)
I was introduced to this song by a wonderful cover by Ol'55, and introduced to Lou Christie through a song called 'Lightning Strikes Again'. This song is just as good. Showing the world a happy face while being sad underneath is something too many of us can relate to, but it is his amazing falsetto that just elevates this song beyond normal. No-one remembers him today; that is wrong.
'Two Of Us' by The Beatles (1970)
This is a Beatles song I have four cover versions of in my collection, including an awesome version by the father and son duo of Liam and Neil Finn on the I Am Sam soundtrack album. It is not a song of love, but of friendship, which makes it stand out as very different to most "two" songs. It is a decent song; not one of their very best, but certainly quite good.
'Two Hearts' by Bruce Springsteen (1980)
Off the amazing double The River album, this is a glorious track of finding someone special and discovering a soul-mate because it's better than being alone. The E-Street Band is in full flight here, and Springsteen is in fine voice. The live version is also very cool. Just a great, uplifting track.
'Goody Two Shoes' by Adam Ant (1982)
I recently finished Adam Ant's autobiography and it is quite an incredible tale of coping (badly) with mental illness and trying desperately to find love. Compelling reading (and next is John Lydon). Anyway, he is proud of this song, and rightfully so – his lifestyle choices of being as straight as he could be had people questioning everything about him, and so this is actually very autobiographical in itself. But I just love the drums in this and the lyrics are really good.
'Breaking Us In Two' by Joe Jackson (1982)
Joe Jackson was all over the place in adult-orientated rock in the 1980s. My friends and I really liked it; he was like my generation's Billy Joel, although we still had Billy Joel. He had so many great tracks, and this one is one of the great ones. He feels like he and his girl are always fighting and arguing, and it is put forth in such a desperate manner. While he has not really troubled the charts since the 1980s, he is still releasing some great albums.
'Two Hearts Beat As One by U2 (1983)
No, not a remake of the Bruce Springsteen track of three years earlier, though everything else about it lyrically is the same. I don't mean the lyrics are stolen (far from it), but the idea of the song, and what it is about – identical. What makes this different? The minimalistic lyrics, the music and Bono's incredible voice. Look, I am an unabashed Springsteen fan, but Bono can sing circles around him. And this song is evidence of that.
'Two Tribes' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)
A 1980s protest song about the Cold War, delivered by that most 1980s of bands, FGTH (as the cool kids knew them). The synth beats, the powerful lyrics, the angry tone of the whole thing – this feels like a song that could maybe only have been recorded in the 80s. But that does not diminish how wonderful it is. This is great, off one of the best albums of the decade. Yep – I said it.
'Two Strong Hearts' by John Farnham (1988)
I have a confession – I really like 1980s John Farnham. Even the stuff he did with LRB. So many great songs, a few great albums, and live he was astounding. And this track, one of those songs where two is about a couple being happy together, is one right up there with the best of them. The thing about Farnham is that he actually sounds like he's having fun singing this track. One of Australia's best pop singers, and it's a shame he was not bigger around the world.
'Two Hearts' by Phil Collins (1988)
Soppy Phil Collins can still be quite wonderful Phil Collins. Trying to define Phil Collins by musical style was pointless because the next album he released was always different. This song, a song about love, about the fact two hearts coming together creates some sort of internal synchronisation (I think). Don't care. It's a great song. And it came from a film soundtrack… (Buster for those playing at home.)
'Two Princes' by Spin Doctors (1993)
Who should the girl choose – the rich guy who just wants her as arm candy or the poor guy (and singer) who really loves her? Who should she choose? And that is what the song is about. But it has a hook that stays in your head for days. It seems a shame that they only had two charting hits over the course of their ongoing career.
So, there we are – songs with "two" in the title. And over half from the 80s… the latest being from 1993. Yeah, my personal music tastes coming to the fore again. Sorry. Anyway, two is not a bad thing. Being one of a two is a glorious thing. And I hope these songs help you appreciate what you have. Or think about the Cold War. Or tears… okay, the whole thing collapses about then, but I hope you enjoyed these 12 songs.