This could be the most important list you read today. Because sometimes, you just want a song with clapping in it, and here are 10 of my favourites.
I’m kicking off a new idea here on ImAllOuttaBubblegum, every week we will bring to you a Top 10 list based around some of the most interesting, controversial, and up to the minute issues in music. You will get an in depth look into the music knowledge and preferences of your favourite Bubblegummers. This week… is not one of them. Instead, I’ve put together a list of songs that have clapping in them. Yep, it’s the big one.
I’ve discounted any songs which feature applause, this is a list of songs that feature clapping in a percussive way. And I’ve limited it to one song per band, which made a couple of choices very tricky indeed. The criteria of this list is… well, my own personal preference! I’m sure it would change if I did it again next week. There’s not really any rhyme or reason to it, it’s just 10 songs that I really like that have clapping in them!
But hey, enough of my yakkin’. What do you say? Let’s boogie!
10. “Giddy Stratospheres” by The Long Blondes
This is the song that inspired this list, so I had to include it. A band that sounded like Blondie with Yorkshire accents, singing songs loaded with film references. It’s like they were designed in a lab to appeal to me. I recently rediscovered the original single version on The Long Blondes singles compilation album (imaginatively called Singles) thanks to a free trial of Google music. While the album version has better production values and sounds more polished, there’s a rawness to the Sheffield bands’ original that makes the lead guitar, bass, and (most importantly) hand clapping intro “pop” just that little bit more.
Fun Fact: I was in a band that had a gig moved because The Long Blondes were looking for a venue to play their second album under a pseudonym. So, on 29th February 2008, The Dead Eyed Bitches played to a packed Escobar in Hartlepool. The next night Dead Man’s Shoes played to an empty one.
9. “Angel Child (Demo)” by Oasis
Remember what I said about personal preference? I’ve recently been listening to Be Here Now for the 20th anniversary of its release and “D’You Know What I Mean?” was the first single I ever bought. Its B-sides were “Stay Young”, which was going to that album’s “Digsy’s Dinner” or “She’s Electric” before being taken off at the last minute, a Noel Gallagher sang cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”, and this. A straightforward acoustic song that goes on too long (like everything connected with Oasis in this era), this is a brief moment of quiet simplicity in what was a loud, complicated time, with a nice clapping section.
It also edges out “Half The World Away” as the single Oasis song to make the list.
8. “Space Oddity” by David Bowie
The song that launched one of musics most legendary, innovative, and decorated careers, “Space Oddity” only features 8 hand claps, but what hand claps they are.
Fun Fact: Labour MP Tony Benn’s daughter-in-law Nita Benn is the one clapping along!
7. “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel
As a film fan, it would be a crime not to include this. One of the most memorable scenes from Reservoir Dogs was improvised from a single in line the script (Mr Blonde maniacally dances around). The light, cheery sounding song plays under Michael Madsen dancing… well… maniacally, after Mr Blonde tunes the radio to K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the Seventies to give himself a soundtrack to mutilating a man tied to a chair.
A simple acoustic guitar track backed with some good old fashioned hand clapping percussion and a splash of slide guitar, this was written as a Bob Dylan parody, but was a huge success on its initial release, before Tarantino brought it to a whole new generation.
Fun Fact: Singer Gerry Rafferty had one huge solo hit with “Baker Street” with its famous saxophone riff that definitely wasn’t played by Bob Holness.
6. “Tender” by Blur
I remember recording Steve Lamacq’s Evening Session on tape, BBC Radio 1 when had an exclusive gig with Blur just before the release of the album 13. By then I had broadened my horizons, and had listened to Parklife and especially Blur. This was the first song of the concert, was the lead single, and then the first track on the album, and what a song it is, starting with a rather thin sounding guitar before building to a glorious gospel choir sing-a-long.
The album is at times an uneasy compromise between Damon Albarn wanting to move in a more experimental direction and Graham Coxon’s punky/lo-fi stylings. Albarn had started working on the project that would become Gorillaz, and Coxon had released his first debut album The Sky Is Too High and would make The Golden D soon after (two albums well worth checking out). Tender was a very personal song for Albarn, but it is a fantastic one – and one you can clap along to!
5. “Broken Out In Love” by Mark Crozer and The Rels
This is my list, so this is number 5. With a creepy “click and clap” percussion track, this song is most well known as the entrance music for WWE wrestler Bray Wyatt. It’s an entrance that has enraptured audiences around the world, with arenas now filled with phone camera lights as he makes his way to the ring. But the song itself is brilliant, one that genuinely makes my skin crawl. Just the phrase “broken out in love”… so creepy.
4. “We Will Rock You” by Queen
The previous entry is a wrestlers theme song, but is there any song more anthemic than “We Will Rock You”? Has any song been sampled or covered more than “We Will Rock You”? And is any beat more recognisable than “We Will Rock You”?
3. “Eight Days A Week” by The Beatles
When putting this list together, I originally had “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in this slot, and wrote about how important the iconic hand claps are to The Beatles’ early sound. But then… there’s “Eight Days A Week”, a song I adore. With the brilliant fade-in intro (apparently the first time on a pop song) and the great bass line, it actually features hand clapping even more prominently in the mix than “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, so I’m happy to put it in the Top 3 of this prestigious and very serious list.
“Fun” Fact: There are hardly any Beatles songs on YouTube, so here’s Paul McCartney performing it.
2. “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” by T Rex
Electric Warrior is a fantastic album. If you only know T Rex from a couple of songs, check out this album, which shows Marc Bolan at his very best. And the centre piece, of course, is “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”, a glam rock song which set the template for what was to come through the 1970s. It also… “inspired” the riff from Oasis’ “Cigarettes and Alcohol”. For the purposes of this list, it is the hand clapping which accompanies the percussion throughout the song (apart from the guitar only breakdown) that places it so high.
Fun fact: Rick Wakeman (who went on to become a prog rock legend with Yes and a series of concept solo albums) plays the piano gliss at the beginning. It is the only bit of piano in the entire song.
1. “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone
Is any explanation needed? A beautiful song. A clear number 1.
And so, that’s my list of the Top 10 songs with clapping in them. Agree? Disagree? Why not leave a comment at the bottom of the article telling me just how big of an idiot I am?
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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PS As a little treat for reading all the way to the end, here are 10 more songs that you probably think I’m an idiot for not including in the Top 10. The reason they missed out? Well, I AM an idiot.
And, of course…