Musical Spoon River or Tilbury Town
November 7, 2012 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Help me make a mix CD that populates a fictitious town.

I'm interested in developing a mix CD that's populated by fictional characters, ending up as a musical town of sorts. What I need for this are songs that are titled with a person's first and last name (middle is optional)--I'm going for an effect like Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, in which most of the poems's titles are the names of people in his fictional town. I strongly prefer that the people be fictional or apocryphal, or at the very least, not famous for anything other than being in that song (e.g., the Beastie Boys' Johnny Ryall, who may be a real person but no one would know of him otherwise).

Some thoughts I have already:

"Richard Cory," Simon & Garfunkel
"Johnny Ryall," Beastie Boys
"Jimmy Bell," Mike Doughty
"John Wesley Harding," Bob Dylan
"Jacky Don Tucker," Toby Keith
"Sam Hall," Johnny Cash
"Eleanor Rigby," The Beatles

Obviously I got the easy ones already. Looks like I could really use some more women. Thoughts?
posted by dlugoczaj to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Jackie Blue by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Julie Grave by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Sally Cinnamon by the Stone Roses
posted by amyms at 7:03 AM on November 7, 2012

"Doris Daytheearthstoodstill" - Future Bible Heroes
"Johnny B. Goode" - Chuck Berry
"Michael A Grammar - Broadcast
posted by griphus at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2012

Oh, excellent question. I'll be watching this one closely.

I have two marginal contributions (so far; I'll be thinking about this all day now):
Susie Q by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
posted by k8lin at 7:17 AM on November 7, 2012

"Lenny Valentino" - The Auteurs
"Jackie Cane" - Hooverphonic
"Jennifer Juniper" - Donovan
posted by jessypie at 7:34 AM on November 7, 2012

You might find some material in this similar thread.
posted by milk white peacock at 7:34 AM on November 7, 2012

The National - Val Jester
posted by SugarAndSass at 7:41 AM on November 7, 2012

Mack the Knife. Every town needs a serial killer along with his fans and victims, right?
posted by desuetude at 7:57 AM on November 7, 2012

(Oh, "Mack the Knife" isn't a first and last name, duh. But depending on the version you pick, you get a collection of women in the lyrics along with Macheath.)
posted by desuetude at 8:02 AM on November 7, 2012

Since any list needs Tom Waits, here are a few:
"Buzz Fledderjohn"
"Georgia Lee"

Not quite fitting your mold, but since any town needs some ... curiosities:
"Table Top Joe"
"Eyeball Kid"
"Poor Edward"

(And if you need a placename song as well, "Johnsburg, Illinois".)
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:21 AM on November 7, 2012

Buster Cornelius–The Colorblind James Experience
Henry Lee–Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (feat. PJ Harvey)
Billy Radcliffe–Frank Black & The Catholics
Sally MacLenanne–The Pogues
posted by misteraitch at 8:35 AM on November 7, 2012

If you could make an exception to the last name requirement, consider Jolene -- Dolly Parton.
posted by salvia at 8:38 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you do decide to branch out to first name only titles, let me know - I have a playlist full of 'em.
posted by k8lin at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2012

Harold Weathervein by Cursive (might be too angsty for what you're looking for, but looking at the lyrics it looks like it might work if your "town" has an alcoholic slightly-unhinged bum in it.)
posted by wuzandfuzz at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2012

I just looked through my music library for you and found Joseph Porter by the Deadly Syndrome, which I hadn't heard before but actually really like, so thanks!

Also, Rose Robert by Of Montreal
posted by estlin at 9:05 AM on November 7, 2012

Dolly Dagger
posted by Brody's chum at 9:15 AM on November 7, 2012

The Jam will give you three that fit the bill perfectly:
Liza Radley
Billy Hunt
David Watts (though you can go with the Kinks original)

Plus here's a few more that are close:
Mr. Clean

And two about towns themselves:
Man in the Corner Shop
Town Called Malice

(Running late for work, so I don't have time to fill in links, but they should all be on YouTube.)
posted by scody at 9:21 AM on November 7, 2012

Wendell Gee by REM.
posted by jabes at 9:32 AM on November 7, 2012

Many Scottish and Irish tunes written in the past century bear the names of people, but they are mostly instrumental.

"Christie Lee" by Billy Joel
"Tom Sawyer" by Rush

And taking a folk-heavy trawl through my music library:
"Jenny Wren" by Tanglefoot
"Donald MacGillavry" by (e.g.) The Unusual Suspects
"Iain Ghlinn Cuaich" by (here) Karen Matheson
"Mairi Bhan" by The Band from Rockall
"Matty Groves" by (e.g.) Fairport Convention
"May Colven" by (e.g.) Emily Smith
posted by Talkie Toaster at 9:38 AM on November 7, 2012

"Stagger Lee," chose your own musician. (Nick Cave!)
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:43 AM on November 7, 2012

"Barbara Allen."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:45 AM on November 7, 2012

Janie Jones - the Clash. Apparently, she was a real woman, but I don't know that many people know her outside of this song.
C. C. Rider - Ray Charles, and lots of others.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:03 AM on November 7, 2012

Janie Jones reminded me: Jimmy Jones by the Vapors.
posted by scody at 10:22 AM on November 7, 2012

The very first thing I thought of was "John Finn's Wife" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Come to think of it, also "The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane." So really, it should just be a Nick Cave mix CD ;)
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:24 AM on November 7, 2012

'Melody Day' by Caribou (Four tet remix)
posted by freya_lamb at 10:24 AM on November 7, 2012

- also 'Tracy Jacks' by Blur. (ooh ooh ooh ooh!)
posted by freya_lamb at 10:27 AM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: Cool. Some of these will be really good. Can't believe I didn't remember Ana Ng, Wendell Gee and Sally Maclennane. By all means, keep going.

(Sorry, salvia and k8lin, I'm definitely not deviating. From what I'm getting here, I won't need to.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:10 AM on November 7, 2012

Alice Childress by Ben Folds Five
Albert Flasher by The Guess Who (I think it's the guy's name, I've never really been able to make out the lyrics)
Mr. Harris by Aimee Mann, if I can stretch the definition of first name
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2012

David Bowie - Uncle Arthur
posted by The Whelk at 3:46 PM on November 7, 2012

Sam Stone - John Prine
posted by Bron at 5:39 PM on November 7, 2012

Reuben James
Sam Hall
posted by skypieces at 6:17 PM on November 7, 2012

Caleb Meyer by Gillian Welch
Bonita Applebum - A Tribe Called Quest
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown - Rufus Thomas
Sweet Georgia Brown - Anita O'Day
Sarah Jackman - Allan Sherman
Alberto Balsalm - Aphex Twin
Leslie Ann Levine - The Decemberists
Polly Vaughn - The Dillards
Willie & Laura Mae Jones - Dusty Springfield
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:06 PM on November 7, 2012

Jennifer Eccles.
posted by Decani at 3:26 AM on November 8, 2012

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