Top 10 Songs by The Mekons

The Mekons

By Simon Robinson

The Mekons are a British punk rock band that formed in Leeds in the late 1970s. Over the course of their more than four-decade-long career, they have become known for their eclectic and experimental sound, as well as their politically charged and socially conscious lyrics. With a discography spanning over 20 albums, it can be hard to choose just a few standout tracks, but here are our picks for the top 10 best The Mekons songs of all time.

Our list includes classics like “Where Were You?”, a scathing critique of political apathy and complacency, and “Memphis, Egypt”, a unique fusion of punk, country, and African rhythms. We also included more introspective tracks like “Waltz”, a slow, mournful ballad about the difficulties of life, and “The Curse”, a haunting meditation on the loss of innocence and the passage of time.

Other highlights on the list include “Empire Of The Senseless”, a surrealistic and poetic critique of modern society, and “Hard To Be Human Again”, a powerful and emotionally raw track about the struggle to maintain one’s humanity in the face of adversity. These songs and more showcase the range and depth of The Mekons’ music, and why they remain one of the most influential and innovative punk rock bands of all time.

1. “Memphis, Egypt”

“Memphis, Egypt” is a song by the British punk rock band, The Mekons. It was released as a single in 1983 and later appeared on their album “The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll”. The song is a unique fusion of punk, country, and African rhythms, showcasing the band’s eclectic musical style.

The lyrics of “Memphis, Egypt” are a playful and surrealistic mix of references to ancient Egyptian history and contemporary American culture. The song opens with the lines “I met her in Memphis, but she was from outer space. / She said, ‘I’ve come to warn you of the human race.’” The song then proceeds to weave together images of Egyptian pyramids, Elvis Presley, and the American South.

Musically, “Memphis, Egypt” features a driving beat, catchy guitar riffs, and a catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head for days. The song’s use of African rhythms is particularly notable, with the percussion and bassline adding a distinctive groove to the track.

Overall, “Memphis, Egypt” is a standout song in The Mekons’ catalog, showcasing their ability to blend different genres and styles into a unique and catchy sound. It’s a fun and quirky track that will leave you tapping your toes and singing along to its infectious chorus.

2. Ghosts Of American Astronauts

“Ghosts Of American Astronauts” is a song by The Mekons, an English post-punk band that formed in the late 1970s. The song was released in 1988 on their album “So Good It Hurts” and stands out for its poetic and political lyrics, as well as its haunting melody.

The song reflects on the aftermath of the Space Race, with its focus on the astronauts who were hailed as heroes but whose experiences left them feeling disillusioned and disconnected from society upon their return. The lyrics convey a sense of isolation and sadness, with lines such as “We came back alone, our hands full of moon dust, but our minds as empty as a lunar crater.”
Musically, the song is stripped down and atmospheric, with a mournful guitar melody and sparse percussion that create a sense of unease and uncertainty. The vocals are delivered with a sense of detachment that echoes the feelings of the astronauts described in the lyrics.

Overall, “Ghosts Of American Astronauts” is a poignant and thought-provoking song that captures the emotional toll of the Space Race and the disillusionment felt by those who participated in it. The Mekons’ ability to convey complex emotions through their music is evident in this haunting and evocative track, which remains a standout in their discography.

3. Thee Olde Trip To Jerusalem

“Thee Olde Trip To Jerusalem” is a song by The Mekons, a British punk rock band formed in the late 1970s. It was released in 1985 on their album “Fear and Whiskey” and is one of their most popular and enduring tracks.

The song takes its name from a historic pub in Nottingham, England, which claims to be the oldest inn in the UK. The lyrics describe a night out at the pub, with its colorful cast of characters and raucous atmosphere. The song captures the sense of community and camaraderie that can be found in a good pub, as well as the sense of escape and release that comes with a night of drinking and revelry.

Musically, “Thee Olde Trip To Jerusalem” features a driving rhythm section, twangy guitar riffs, and a sing-along chorus that is sure to get crowds moving. The song’s catchy melody and energetic performance make it a staple of The Mekons’ live shows and a fan favorite.

Overall, “Thee Olde Trip To Jerusalem” is a fun and rowdy track that captures the spirit of a night out at the pub. Its memorable chorus and infectious energy have made it a classic of the punk rock canon and a standout in The Mekons’ discography.

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The Mekons’ Jon Langford and Sally Timms recount discovering Country Music in this 2016 interview

This [below] Factory session series features Jon Langford & Sally Timms of the legendary band The Mekons performing live at CHIRP Studios. The songs they performed are Mekons classics, a Skull Orchard tune, and a rare song from their upcoming collaboration with singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks.
1. Geeshie (0:21​) 2. Land Ahoy! (3:23​) 3. Dickie Chalkie & Nobby (6:10​) 4. Sentimental Marching Song (9:12​)

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 Thanks for your time & Happy Monday

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Bravo on the small and lovely community you have … I’ve been enjoying using the music recommendations and review posts to soundtrack the evenings as I create a new portfolio and redo my CV, it’s been helpful in keeping my blood pressure down. I hope working on this site provides you with some of the happiness it has given me to read it, it certainly seems to be maintained with care. If it’s not too poky I’d also like to ask, how do you curate posts for the site? 

Hey K. Cam!
Thanks and ‘cheers’ on keeping that blood pressure down. My BP also requires diligent watching. THE HOBBLEDEHOY curates content from multiple sources – fine newspapers such as The Guardian and The Scotsman; media companies such as BBC and NPR; and video platforms such as YouTube, of course. Because we feature British Folk music, we often curate music from the wonderful Folk Music UK website. We are careful to list our sources on each post.

Litte Sparta writes:

Hi Mike, We thought you might be interested in this: MEKONS singer Sally Timms joins alternative folk three-piece LITTLE SPARTA (featuring Mekons’ violinist Susie Honeyman) for new EP LOST BOAT PARTY out 29 July 2020 on Grey Gallery Records Listen to Lost Boat Party on SoundCloud

We LOVE Sally Timms and will check-out the new EP as soon as our breakfast dishes are washed and dried. We have featured Sally, Susie Honeyman, Jon Langford and Mekons music and news often. Cheers, and best of luck with Little Sparta!

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Hello Sirs
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Thank you, Bulla.
THE HOBBLEDEHOY hopes to post Season 6 of Annika Stranded soon. Nicola Walker is marvelous, isn’t she? Take care of those migraines and glad you are exploring birding as a new hobby.

The Mekons to release ‘Exquisite,’ surprise new album recorded in isolation

Group’s latest, a Bandcamp exclusive, “recorded in splendid physical isolation on mobile phones, broken cassette recorders, clay tablets and other ancient technologies”

The Mekons’ latest

In Paris, in 1925, Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp invented a game they called ‘cadavre exquis,’ derived from a phrase that came up when they first played: ‘le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau’ (‘the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine’).

Basically each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed. In the current plague year 2020, after a planned rendezvous in Valencia was necessarily cancelled, mekons adopted this method as a means of collectively assembling lyrics and tunes and recording their new album.

Locked down in various locations, scattered from the West Coast of California to the East End of London, they sang and played into their mobile phones and emailed, uploaded and Whatsapped their wailings, beatings, scratchings and strummings around the globe through the billions of interconnected nodes of our networked panopticon.