People are singing, singing about people

Volume Nine of the Play Playlist Lists will be the Opening Night mix for Lady Windermere’s Fan. The possibilities are limitless.

I have decided, though, to make a list of songs about gossip. It’s a play about gossip and scandal, more than anything, and the ways people protect themselves against it, or fall victim to it. And there are lots of good songs about gossip, so the problem is less the difficulty of coming up with songs and more choosing which songs (and versions of songs) to put on the mix. Still, this is my semi-traditional plea for recommendations: songs about gossip, please, in any style or genre.

Here’s a large double-handful of things I have come across already. I’ll note that the links are to YouTube, which often starts the video on loading the page, so restrict your workclickage accordingly. Also, I have started amusing myself, in making these mixes, by choosing less well-known recordings of the songs, which I am linking to; if y’all know of wonderful covers you should let me know.

There being so many songs that fit the category, I am uncertain about including the borderline ones, and even more uncertain about songs (such as Lovable or Baby, It’s You) in which there is a memorable line or two about gossip and reputation and so on and so forth, but in which it ain’t the real subject of the song.

So—What do you think about the ones I’ve started with? What am I missing? How should I put together the mix? I have a month, but (as usual) once I get to tech week, my time for messing about with mp3s is limited.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

4 thoughts on “People are singing, singing about people

  1. Jed

    Maybe Jerry Lewis’s “I’m a Little Busybody”?

    Maybe The Blacksmith?

    But that makes clear that I’m not quite sure where to draw the line between gossip and news. I was thinking for a minute about Dinah (“News is spreadin’ / ’bout our weddin'”), but I guess that doesn’t really count as gossip, and that’s the only even quasi-relevant bit of the song anyway.

    Maybe Pick a Little, Talk a Little?

  2. Chris Cobb

    I’d second “Pick a Little, Talk a Little.”

    If you want some 80s pop, “Take It on the Run” by REO Speedwagon fits the bill: “Heard it from a friend who / Heard it from a friend who / Heard it from another you’ve been messin’ a-rou-ound.”

    In the folk song genre, “Waly Waly,” of which there is a haunting rendition by June Tabor, might fit, though it goes beyond gossip into active trickery and deception.


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