Songs With a Story

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Songs With a Story was a feature from the Xfm days in which Karl got to pick a song to be played. He only likes songs that tell stories, and thus only chose tracks that had a clearly defined narrative. He says he likes those kinds of songs because "you can't fade them out"; you have to listen to the end. "There's a reason to listen to it if there's a story goin' on."

The feature, which ran in Xfm Series 2 and 4, involved Ricky, Steve and Karl playing a track and then analyzing its lyrics. Often times Karl didn't fully comprehend the stories in the songs.

Karl introduced comedian Russell Brand to the feature during their time together on BBC 6Music. After Karl left the 6Music show because of commitments to The Ricky Gervais Show, Russell continued to use the feature for a few weeks.


Below is a complete list of the songs featured:

12 October 2002

Song: "Living For The City (single edit)" by Stevie Wonder
Story: A poor boy from Mississippi moves to New York to start a new life. He is tricked into transporting drugs and gets sentenced to ten years in prison. (The single edit is half the length of the album version and thus leaves out a significant chunk of the story.)

19 October 2002

Song: "Living For The City (album version)" by Stevie Wonder
Story: (see above) After Karl heard the full story, he still missed some important points. He assumed the song's protagonist got ten years for neglecting to pay his bus fare.

26 October 2002

Song: "24 Hours From Tulsa" by Gene Pitney
Story: While driving home to his wife after a long trip, a man falls in love with another woman while staying the night in a motel. Karl was very annoyed at the narrator for leaving his wife so easily. Plus, "he can't see his old mates" anymore, he said.

02 November 2002

Song: "Lola" by The Kinks
Story: At a bar one night, a man meets what he thinks is an attractive woman, only to discover that it's actually a transvestite. "If you think you might be talking to a bloke in drag, look at the Adam's apple," Karl said.

11 June 2005

Song: "Babooshka" by Kate Bush
Story: A woman dons a disguise and seduces her untrustworthy husband. Karl speculates that the adulterous man in the song may just be playing along with his wife's rouse to spice things up in the bedroom.

18 June 2005

Song: "Pinball Wizard" by The Who
Story: A deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a pinball champion. "Why did he bother putting money in the machine?", Karl asks.

25 June 2005

Song: "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton
Story: A straightforward love song, Karl somehow thinks it's about a disabled man being cared for. He cites the line "Everyone turns to see / This beautiful lady who's walking around with me" as evidence that the narrator is being pushed around in a wheelchair.

02 July 2005

Song: "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" by Kenny Rogers
Story: A disabled Vietnam veteran knows that his wife is cheating on him and fantasizes about killing her. Karl did not like the narrator's homicidal wishes.

See also

Karl's Favourite Music