The Number 13 - 13 in music

2006-03-30 15:32
 
Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash: Thirteen - We've mentioned this one before, but the man in black deserves a return to our lists, if only to spark some interest in his biopic Walk The Line, now out. Also famously covered by metal band Danzig, which by itself stands as a rather unflattering indictment of good fortune.

"Bad luck wind been blowin' on my back I was born to bring trouble
wherever I'm at With the number '13' tattooed on my neck"

Wednesday 13 : House By the Cemetery - Shock-rocker W13 (he of the Murderdolls) may seem a bit self-indulgent - or a least unnervingly pre-occupied with the digit, but at least he can swear while guitars play loudly in the foreground.

"This house of horrors has thirteen doors
Behind each one is thirteen more
Murder by numbers, count 'em one, two, three
Nail up the coffin and f**king bury me"

On Hot Hot Heat's album Scenes One Through Thirteen, the offending chapter is ominously titled "You're Ruining It For Everyone".

Garbage: 13 X Forever - Shirley Manson and co add this little screamer to the mix with an angry grunt you're not sure you should be listening to... like when a couple you know is having a fight at the restaurant table you're sitting at. That said, we're not sure what exactly what Manson's talking about, either:

"And thirteen times I sucked on your dogma
You taught me to hate
You taught me to crawl
You raised your hand as you raised the bottle
You knock me down, but it made me stronger
The harder you hit, the harder you fall."

But it's not ALL bad...

JJ Cale wrote about the gritty glam of a thirteen day tour on his most famous album, 5 in the song "Thirteen Days":

"Thirteen days on a gig down south
We've got enough dope to keep us all high
We've got two girls dancing to pick up the crowd
Sound man to mix us, make us sound loud
Sometimes we make money, sometimes we don't know
Thirteen days with five to go"

Blur's 13
came about as a result of bad luck. Damon Albarn's very cool album was inspired largely by his breakup with longtime girlfriend and Elastica lead Justine Frischmann. While the most famous song is probably "Tender", the real gems on the album are the classic, weirdly reflective Blur ballads.

Now (That's What I Call Music) 13 puts "Rock Your Body" sung by Justin Timberlake and Coldplay's "Clocks" on one CD? No ways! Yes ways. Every year, fearing they're not able to decide for themselves what's good music, millions of people buy go this rubbish, thereby proving conclusively that you do make your own bad luck. Sometimes.

Dandy Warhols' Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia is an album that's cool to know - kind of like the Dandy Warhols themselves.

Six Feet Under's "Thirteen" is possibly the mother of all thirteen-mentioning songs. And it's written by an otherwise obviously unlucky band.

"Thirteen pieces of your fate
thirteen dead that will awake
dying slowly, closer, closer
thirteen pieces of my mind

thirteen pieces of my mind
thirteen bullets in your side
dying slowly,closer,closer
thirteen stab wounds to your head

thirteen dead and thirteen rotten
and now that old wounds have clotted
the terror that you felt,
will be the last thing that you feel
thirteen rot over ten years decayed
thirteen bodies will be left unburied
the terror that you felt,
will be the last thing that you feel

thirteen broken scabbed and torn
thirteen victims not yet born
dying slowly, closer, closer
thirteen pieces of my mind

thirteen rot over ten years decayed
thirteen bodies will be left unburied
thirteen dead that will awake
thirteen pieces of your fate
thirteen bullets in your side
thirteen stab wounds to your head
thirteen broken scabbed and torn
thirteen victims not yet born"

And that, as they said, is all she wrote... unless, of course, you can think of any others off the bat. Pass the salt!

- Anton Marshall


Another Friday the 13th is upon us, and in our ongoing series of scary tales related, we present some more songs with black and ugly undertones. This time, the number "Thirteen" in music.

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