Music and lyrics are poetry. Lyrics tell a story and the score behind the words are emotion; a freight train going off the tracks or a gentle rain lulling one to sleep. Unless, of course, we speak of modern day recording artists. They are cookie cutter studio puppets. They are nothing more than pasteurized cheese. But that is a diatribe for another day. I have already forgotten my original intent of this piece so, to get to the point, here are a handful of songs about and pertaining to Cleveland, with my own sarcastic review of said songs which some people find endearing. Those who don't find my dry wit and sarcasm endearing are probably either dead or listen to the radio.
1) Cleveland Rocks - Ian Hunter. The ex Mott The Hoople singer wrote and recorded this song in 1979, probably never having visited Cleveland. If he did, he may not have remembered or just moved on to the next city and show. The greatest Cleveland radio station ever, WMMS, used this as it's theme song back when radio played real rock and roll. Covered by The Presidents Of The United States (of 'Lump ' fame) for Cleveland's own 'Drew Carey Show'.
2) My City Was Gone - The Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde is from Akron, not Cleveland. Akron is close enough to Cleveland to be included on this list. Akron sucks. I'm also not a big fan of Chrissie Hynde but The Pretenders have a couple good songs. Her vegan restaurant in Akron also failed.
3) My Town - Michael Stanley. Of course this song has to be mentioned just because Stanley is from Cleveland and this song is about Cleveland. I hate this song. Every article ever written about him calls him the 'hometown rocker. He doesn't rock. I remember Cleveland used this in all it's tourist ads way back when, as did local car dealerships. How'd that work out?
4) Ohio - Neil Young/CSN - Written about the shootings at Kent State in 1970. Neil is Canadian and probably couldn't find Kent, Ohio on a map as we all know Canadians are awful at reading maps. Neil once thought he was going to Calgary for a show but ended up in Iowa because he couldn't do the math and figure out the differences between miles and kilometers and that whole metric system thing. A friend once dedicated this song to me at a party (I went to Kent State and I'm Canadian) but I didn't care. Plus, I hate hippies.
5) Skinny Little Kid - Alex Bevan. A 1976 ode to running around Cleveland and drinking beer. I can relate. Maybe not in '76 as I was only 5 years old and living in Canada. But come on, 'I'm a skinny little boy from Cleveland, Ohio, gonna chase your women and drink your beer'. Classic.
6) Amphetamine - Rocket From The Tombs. RFTT was the band before Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys. This song mentions the Harbor Inn and a bridge. I've been to the Harbor Inn and a bridge. I like these previously mentioned groups. They had style. But then again, I'm nothing but a cranky old punk.
7) The Heart Of Rock And Roll - Huey Lewis And The News. Really? I admit I saw this band at Blossom Music Center back in '84 but, come on, they only mention Cleveland near the end of the song. This song really has nothing to do with Cleveland.
8) Look Out Cleveland - The Band/Robbie Robertson. I've never heard this song but it probably sucks.
9) Burn On - Randy Newman. A song about the Cuyahoga River being on fire. Hilarious. Randy Newman doesn't write songs, he just observes things and talks over music and prattles on. He's like the Jerry Seinfeld of piano bars.
10) The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot. Another damn Canadian. This song hit #1 in Canada and #2 here in the U.S. Lake Erie is half Canadian and half American, so no wonder this song was an international hit. Sorry for the loss of life Gordy but your song bites.
11) Cuyahoga - R.E.M. Another tune about a burning river. How original.
12) Youngstown - Bruce Springsteen. I hate the Boss and I hate Youngstown almost as much as I hate Akron. This song is 4 minutes long. How can a song about Youngstown be so long?
There is also a song by someone about surfing at Euclid Beach. But I am bored and tired now, so to heck with it. Google it.
Oh yeah, Cleveland Rocks!