Jonathan Schofield and a crazy Gallic ballad plus Take That wins worst lyrics about Manchester

Manchester by the band Beautiful South came on the radio this morning and a random thought was: "I wonder how many songs reference Manchester?"

Most of the songs could have been predicted, some not. One of the latter attracted my attention. 

The lines stray into oddness with, as translated, ‘Manchester has sad walls. And Liverpool can’t be found’

This was from 1967 by a dishy French chanteuse, Marie Laforet (looking dishy in the top picture above). It's called Manchester et Liverpool.

Why it was written for her by Eddy Marnay and the aptly named Andre Popp is anybody’s guess? I’ve searched and failed to find a reason. Of course, both cities, as well as the Beatles, had loads of globally popular bands so maybe that’s why. 

If so, the same impulse informed the excellent  USA band Manchester Orchestra from 2004. They are so named because their band leader, Andy Hull, from Atlanta saw and listened to Manchester's phenomenal musical tradition and deemed the place must be bohemian and inspirational. 

Screenshot 2023 06 19 083838
Marie Laforet singing through a rain washed window about Manchester Image: Youtube screenshot

Maintenant, Manchester et Liverpool is an entertaining (un petit peu) little ditty about amour en French, naturalmente. Obviously avec le section de Manchester it has to citer le phenomenon natural de pluie. Troppe boring. Mais I like how elle aime ‘flanant le long rues’ of both villes.

Er…enough Franglais.

The lines stray into oddness with, as translated, ‘Manchester has sad walls. And Liverpool can’t be found’. Then again songs don't have to be logical, anybody ever read the libretto of an opera?

The conclusion of the song is that poor old Marie can’t find her lost love. Maybe she should look in Warrington. Perhaps her lover got off the train there when he just couldn’t find Liverpool and couldn’t bear going back to gaze at an unhappy wall or two in Manchester.

Here's the Youtube clip of the song.

Who that geezer is at the beginning of video is unclear. If it was Marie's lost love he was punching above his weight. Or maybe he was good with dogs and baked nice cakes.

Manchester Et Liverpool
Who is this man - the intro fella for Marie? Image: Youtube screenshot

There's a list of songs featuring Manchester and Greater Manchester on Wikipedia here. While Marie Laforet's number has the strangest lyrics, Take That's Mancunian Way from 2006 wins the crown for worst lyrics. 

Look at this peach.

'We used to walk Mancunian Way
We used to swagger we used to sway
Up until the lights took us away
Do you know what you meant to me?
We used to think we were the bomb
Then someone left, the real one.'

There really is nothing like a sweet little rhyming couplet about the 1996 IRA bomb that devastated the retail heart of the city centre and injured more than 200 people. 

We're not sure if the second verse is any better. 

'We stayed indoors as the rain came
Back then it made no sense to me
I'm missing your face, your beautiful face
It's funny that I recall they gave us the keys to the city,
But they don't fit anything.’

More rain, yawn, of course, but also what's that about the keys of the city not fitting anything? The line that makes most sense in the whole song is line two of the second verse. Boys, it's still making no sense. 

Best to stick with the French surrealism of Marie we think.  

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