Story songs for Story Whores

Story WhoresThis week the Southwark Playhouse is being turned into a brothel. Not, thankfully, because of the governments cuts to the arts (not yet, anyway), but for Story Whores, a theatrical event which will see tales doled from behind the bar, in dark corners and in private rooms in exchange for cold, hard cash.

The show will run for two nights, this Friday and Saturday, at 10pm. Entry is free, but if you want to see any performances you’ll need to purchase some special Story Whores currency.

You can find more info on all of this at

I’m not just telling you about this because I think it’s a brilliant idea (that’s mainly why), but also because I’m involved in my own small way. The show’s organisers, the very fine paper/scissors/stone theatre company, asked me to select some music to play in the bar while all this is going on. The only rule I was given is that all each song must tell a story.

So, below is the complete list of songs I selected. It’s by no means a definitive list of narrative songs, but is hopefully a good mix of styles and stories, across famous and lesser known songs. Some follow a simple narrative, some are a little more abstract, but hopefully they will all paint pictures on your mind.

I’ve put nearly all the songs into a Spotify playlist, which you can listen to here. It’s a bit flippin long. I suggest putting it on random play and seeing what comes up. I just got Deck Of Cards by Wink Martindale followed by Eminem’s Kim. It was jarring to say the least. Mostly it’s more fun than that.

Johnny Cash – 25 Minutes To Go
Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone
Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
MC 900 Ft Jesus – Adventures In Failure
Arab Strap – Love Detective
Weezer – Across The Sea
Blur – Parklife
Blur – Country House
Pulp – Common People
Pulp – Disco 2000
Dresden Dolls – Backstabber
Dresden Dolls – First Orgasm
Amanda Palmer – Oasis
Bongwater – David Bowie Wants Ideas
Counting Crows – Mr Jones
Bright Eyes – Lover I Don’t Have To Love
Eminem – Stan
Eminem – Kim
The Dismemberment Plan – You Are Invited
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Slint – Good Morning, Captain
Slint – Breadcrumbs Trail
Tricky – Black Steel
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – John Finn’s Wife
Eels – Susan’s House
Dengue Fever – Sober Driver
The Shangri-las – Leader Of The Pack
Ricky Valance – Tell Laura I Love Her
The Undertones – My Perfect Cousin
Richard Marx – Hazard
Chris De Burgh – Spanish Train
Dead Kennedys – The Prey
King Missile – Cheesecake Truck
Warren G – Regulate
Deftones – Fietcera
Sufjan Stevens – The Mistress Witch From McClure
Squeeze – Up The Junction
M. Ward – Chinese Translation
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
Kate Bush – Army Dreamers
Her Space Holiday – Sleepy California
David Bowie – The Drowned Girl
The Louvin Brothers – Knoxville Girl
Tom T Hall – Harper Valley PTA
Tom T Hall – Turn it On, Turn it On, Turn it On
Bobby Gentry – Ode to Billie Joe
Marty Robbins – El Paso
Tom Waits – Big Joe & Phantom 309
Tom Waits – Burma Shave
The Raconteurs – Carolina Drama
Blackalicious – Deception
Blackalicious – Cliff Hanger
Slick Rick – Children’s Story
The Smiths – Paint A Vulgar Picture
The Smiths – Frankly, Mr Shankly
Lou Reed – Andy’s Chest
The Kingston Trio – Tic Tic Tic
Wink Martindale – Deck of Cards
Robert Johnson – Love in Vain
Tenacious D – Tribute
The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
Don Maclean – American Pie
Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills
Tim Ten Yen – Girl Number One
Bat For Lashes – Daniel
Bjork – Hyperballad
Buck 65 – Roses & Blue Jays
Comanechi – My Pussy
Snoop Dogg – Murder Was The Case
Sloan – Underwhelmed
Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower
Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
Mississippi John Hurt – Stagger Lee
Leadbelly – Boll Weevil
Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat
Joan Baez – The Ballad Of Mary Hamilton
Bob Dylan – Hurricane
Scott Walker – Jackie
Latyrx – Latyrx
Cappo – The Looniest
MGMT – Time To Pretend
The Pipettes – Magician Man
Pearl Jam – Alive
Pearl Jam – Jeremy
Recoil – Luscious Apparatus
Thomas Truax – My Wife Had A Dream
Thomas Truax – The Butterfly And The Entomologist
Regina Spektor – Prisoners
Mr Billy Williams – John, John, Put Your Trousers On
DJ Shadow – Backstage Girl

2 thoughts on “Story songs for Story Whores

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