The London Nobody Sings is a website that is dedicated to, and collects together, songs about London. It is put together by Yr Heart Out who also produces an “irregular” music publication called Your Heart Out (with an extra “ou”). Yr Heart Out (without the extra “ou”) selects the songs and then writes a context-setting blog entry to introduce the song which is always interesting in itself.
This collection is a project with a limited time frame and is intended to last for a year only. You can read more about the project here. It was started on June 25th 2009, so we are about half way through now. The only rules for song selection are that “the songs must be brilliant and that the blindingly obvious numbers are excluded. The songs may be explicitly about London or obliquely about the city in some way.”
A new song is posted most days and I rarely fail to be surprised by a posting. In fact as somebody who spent 15 years in the music industry I am frequently surprised to have never heard of the musician, let alone the song. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have only knew about a third of these London songs beforehand. To be honest, I can understand why one or two of them never made it to a wider audience but generally the quality of the music is surprisingly high and even when they aren’t quite so good Yr Heart Out does a great curator’s role in explaining why the songs are interesting and how they fit into the London that they describe.
I have to watch myself with this website if I’m trying to get something done. I find it’s addictive like crack. Each day I go to the site to have a look at what today’s London song is and can discover I’m still there an hour or two later, lost in the middle of its archives playing song after song and reading the blog entries. It is a very pleasant and entertaining waste of time, though, like the best blogs are.
The last five posts give you a flavor of the obscurity of many of the songs and the astonishing range of genres and the timeline of the songs chosen. Blak Twang’s Dettwerk South East, Wolfhound’s In Transit, Blossum Dearie’s Sweet Georgie Fame, The Nine Road possibly sung by Norman Beaton and Ian Whitcomb’s 1960’s pub knees up The Star : so you can see that it really is turning over a lot of old stones. All, though, are worth a listen: I particularly like the Blossum Dearie record.
But its not all obscurities. The London Nobody Sings is a broad church. Today’s selection proves that fact. It is the truly wonderful Last Train To London by ELO. And what a mighty record it is. I can’t believe that I had forgotten all about it – and look at those moustaches. I’ve played it five times in a row while I’ve been writing this and its put me in a mood of over-whelming optimism and set fair for a day of high-achieving. A great way to start the day.
As the Yr Heart Out writes “There are plenty of great sites dedicated to photos and images about London. This site is designed to be a musical accompaniment.” And it is. It’s a great website.