Sometimes a line in a song stays with you. It can encapsulate a moment of time, it can take you back to a point in your life, or make you laugh out loud. We asked a load of musicians what their favourite line from a song was – and here are some of their answers. Please share your own best-loved lyrics in the comments below.
Tom Barman, dEUS
‘Story Of Isaac’ by Leonard Cohen. “And If you call me brother now. forgive me if I inquire/ Just according to whose plan/ If It all comes down to dust/ I will kill you if I must/ I will help you if I can.”
Why? “Many beautiful things have been made and written for the love of God. Leonard Cohen proves that God can also be inspiring even if you don’t believe.”
Elliott Williams, Airship
‘Life On Mars’ by David Bowie. “Sailors fighting in the dancehall, Oh man look at those cavemen go, it’s the freakiest show“.
Why? “That line has such wit and imagery, it makes me pine for an England I’ve only seen in old films and musicals. It also feels totally relevant to today as well. All you have to do is go out on a Saturday night and there are some apes trying to bash each others skulls in.”
Andy Spence, New Young Pony Club
‘Kinky Afro’ by The Happy Mondays. “Son I’m thirty I only went with your mother cos she’s dirty.”
Why? “When he sings it you can actually imagine him saying it to some poor kid. Hilarious and pure genius.”
Juanita Stein, Howling Bells
‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ by Edith Piaf. “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.”
Why? “The strength behind this lyric lies in her delivery, plus the triumph of the melody and chords holding her up. A beautiful sentiment, which I try to live by.”
Stephanie Min, The History of Apple Pie
‘Loser’ by Beck.”… My time is a piece of wax fallin’ on a termite, who’s chokin’ on the splinters.”
Why? “I admire Beck’s ability to conjure up really vivid imagery out of seemingly nonsense. He apparently wrote this line after he saw a termite on a roof once, choking, and he couldn’t save it. It makes me want to write about the time there was a slug on my washing machine…”
Lou Hayter, New Young Pony Club and The New Sins
‘Everything You Did’ Steely Dan.”Turn up The Eagles, the neighbours are listening.”
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Why? “It’s a funny song about two lovers who are having a fight and turn up their record player so they can shout louder at each other. Apparently Walter Becker’s girlfriend was a big Eagles fan so that’s where it came from.
“To return the favour, The Eagles referenced Steely Dan on ‘Hotel California’ with the line, “They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast.” Every Steely Dan song tells a different funny story which takes you somewhere else and like The Smiths, they write from the perspective of the underdog which makes you feel like you’re never alone. They always make me feel happy.”
Jean-Benoit Dunckel, Air
‘Boys Keep Swinging’ David Bowie. “When you’re a boy other boys check you out.”
Why? “It’s so true. Boys always check out other boys in the street to see how they’re dressed and what they’re about.”
‘Hairdresser On Fire’ Morrissey. “Oh here in London home of the brash outrageous and free/You are repressed but remarkably dressed.”
Why? “I fucking love London but it’s as beautiful as it is bleak. We think we are more open minded than we actually are. This lyric always reminds me of that.”
What’s your favourite line from a song? Tell us below. To make the thread more interesting, don’t just quote – please tell us the reason you love that particular lyric so much.