Songs that shamelessly namechecked someone famous to sell more copies

GOT a tune that’s okay but not amazing? Bolt on a famous person, sorry, ‘iconic reference’, and watch the money come rolling in, like these…

Robert De Niro’s Waiting… – Bananarama

This namedropping number three hit isn’t the most cogent song ever put to vinyl. It suggests Robert is waiting for the girls to turn up but they’re late, but then he doesn’t appear in the video and it’s unclear why he’s in the lyrics. It then ends with a gangster delivering pizzas in a violin case and failing to speak any Italian. The Hollywood star said he liked the song, but maybe he was just being polite.

Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes

This 1981 song by Kim Carnes about a woman possessing an elderly actress’ eyeballs was written after the songwriters saw the movie Now Voyager. Referencing a famous person’s iconic look definitely shifted more units, so budding songwriters might want to try King Charles’ Ears or Matt Hancock’s Shifty Weaselyness. It got a ludicrous amount of airplay until Gwyneth Paltrow covered it for the film Duets, by which time we were all sick of it, so thanks for that, Gwynnie.

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5

Featuring Christina Aguilera, this 2011 song’s lyrics are a thinly-veiled metaphor for activities in the bedroom. It topped the charts in 18 countries but British couples found the idea of a partner flailing around between the sheets like Mick proving how youthful he is a bit of a turn-off. When it comes to the sex lives of the nation, Moves Like Kraftwerk would have been more accurate.

I Have Forgiven Jesus – Morrissey

In this tale of woe about his religious upbringing, Morrissey laments being a kid and having to attend church, and we can all empathise because it’s really boring. Okay, the song is about being made to feel guilty for having forbidden desires, but whatever. Morrissey makes clear he’s forgiven Jesus, which was clearly an attempt to generate controversy that never materialised. Moz unwisely ends the song with the repeated refrain ‘Do you hate me?’. Well, since you ask, Steven…

There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis – Kirsty MacColl

This early-80s country-pop classic draws on rumours circulating at the time that the King had not died on his throne. Kirsty discerns that the bloke serving her a battered cod isn’t Elvis and thus questions her partner’s denial of infidelity. It’s lucky the chippy guy didn’t swear he was in a long-forgotten band like Northside, as that’s quite plausible and Kirsty would never have had that insight into her love life.

Vogue – Madonna

Perhaps the song with most blatant namechecking is Madonna’s 1989 worldwide hit Vogue, brown-nosing the fashion magazine of the same name. The song incorporates a pseudo-rap list of decades-worth of the magazine’s cover glitterati. Simple, effective, and unashamedly contrived, Madonna could now replicate its enormous success with a song called The People’s Friend.

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Seven pre-woke films and TV shows explained for young people

TODAY’S entertainment is often laboriously woke, which must be confusing for young people watching things made before 2015. Here’s how to explain baffling old films and TV.

The Great Escape, 1963 

A classic war film very loosely based on a true story. You’ll notice there are no people of colour in it. That’s because there weren’t any. In 1942 the captured airmen would all have been white, and the Nazis weren’t keen on diversity. Don’t worry, if it’s remade they’ll just plonk a load of black guys – and possibly Rihanna – in Stalag Luft even though the US air force was incredibly racist.

Doctor Who, 1963-2017

It’s hard to believe now, but the Doctor was originally a man. Luckily the character was altered so fundamentally he may as well have regenerated into a satsuma, and only most of the viewers abandoned the show. The BBC did genuinely have a problem with companions, who remained extremely white until ‘Nu-Who’. Although now even the most committed woke activist would prefer three Adrics to the diverse shower of useless twats that is Jodie’s ‘fam’.

Goldfinger, 1964

The film kicks off with a woman being sent on her way with a merry slap on the arse, and gets a whole lot worse, depending on how you interpret the barn scene. Unfortunately the 60s were just very sexist, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that now unless you’ve got a time machine. And if you did you’d probably have more important things to do than changing dozens of Bond girls’ names to something less demeaning, eg. Kitty Innabundance.

Love Thy Neighbour, 1972-76

F**king hell, this takes some explaining. Ostensibly mocking prejudiced attitudes, this incredibly uncomfortable sitcom about a black couple moving in next door features countless ‘He’ll come after me his spear!’-type gags. You’ll just have to tell younger viewers that attitudes were very different then, as if 1976 was hundreds of years ago and people still travelled by horse and cart and feared witches. Although they probably think that anyway.

White Wilderness, 1958

Every film nowadays is at pains to point out ‘No animal was harmed…’ but in 1958 Disney considered a bit of animal cruelty educational. To make the lemmings fit their suicidal stereotype they were shoved off a cliff to die in their hundreds. You see, people back then regarded animals as just objects to be exploited, which is admittedly pretty hypocritical for a company that made its fortune from a mouse wearing trousers.

Withnail and I, 1987

Shockingly unwoke. There are almost no women in the film, and Withnail makes inappropriate comments to underage girls. Woke viewers may find the following concept difficult to grasp, but this is because: it fits the setting, events and characterisation of the film. The sooner it’s remade the better, ideally with Rachel Zegler as a strong, independent female Withnail who can succeed on her own without help from men, ie. Uncle Monty.

Casablanca, 1942

Irresponsible filmmaking at its worst. From the moment Humphrey Bogart appears he’s puffing away on a fag. This is going to be deeply shocking to young people. Although everyone breathing clouds of blueberry vape would arguably be worse. You’ll just have to explain it’s a product of a time when smoking was normal. Although to be fair, in Casablanca you do wonder why anyone cares about the outcome of the war, because they’ll surely all be dead from lung cancer before then.