Karla News

Songs with Mr. In Their Titles


My daughter was listening to a CD by Jason Mraz. She told me to listen to a song called “Mr. Curiosity.” She then remarked about how funny it was that the first two letters in the song’s title were also the first two letters of the artist’s last name. She tried to get me to think of another case where the song’s title started with the same letters as the artist. I immediately thought of the Beatles, trying to recall a title beginning with the word be. I could think of nothing.

I did, however, come up with a list of song titles containing the word Mister. Here they are.

10. “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra: This is one of the many gems from the double disc Out of the Blue. It never reached as high on the charts as “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Turn to Stone,” but Jeff Lynne and company really cheer you up with this greeting.

9. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers: This is by far the best song from the excellent Hott Fuss album. The vocals scream with frustration of the guy picturing his girl being undressed by his adversary. If you purchased it because the title sounds like an uplifting tune,

8.”Mr. Unreliable” by The Inmates: This band made a couple of good new wave albums in the late 70s and early 80s. They were compared to the Rolling Stones, and on this song that comparison is very legitimate. The jilted guy is warning his ex about the character flaws in her new beau.

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7. “Reverend Mr. Black” by The Kingston Trio: I miss preachers like the one described in this song. He was poor and turned the other cheek, even when a lumberjack burst in and beat the tar out of him. Mr. Black is a stark contrast to the televangelists and war-mongering men of God we see nowadays. Missing too in many modern churches are the traditional hymns, replaced by generic contemporary songs. The chorus here is simply the hymn, “You’ve got to walk that lonesome valley.” The fact that Mr. Black ends up being the speaker’s dad adds a poignant touch to the song.

6. “Mr. Bojangles” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: This tale of an impoverished man who danced in worn out shoes for a few cents has always depressed me. I tear up each time his dog dies in the second verse. I am nearly heartbroken when Bojangles himself passes away in the last verse.

5. “Mr. Businessman” by BJ Thomas: This underrated song comes from the album

On My Way. It takes a jab at greedy, inhumane businessmen, and is the best song Thomas ever recorded. It is unfortunate that the song was overshadowed on the album by the two hits, “Eyes of a New York Woman” and “Hooked on a Feeling.”

4. “Mr. Bad Example” by Warren Zevon: The title track from one of Zevon’s finest post-

Excitable Boy albums, its narrator boasts of stealing from the church, laying women, studying law, and all sorts of other sins.

3. “Mr. Guilty” by Loudon Wainwright: In typical Wainwright fashion, the song makes light of a broken relationship. He (with sarcasm) admits that he is totally, one hundred percent to blame for making her entire life unhappy.

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2. “Frankly Mr. Shankly” by The Smiths: This song is one of the standouts from the last great Smiths album, The Queen Is Dead. Morrissey addresses it to a smug teacher who writes “bloody awful poetry.”

1. “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” by The Beatles: It is last song on side one of Sergeant Pepper, but it is the best. John Lennon’s imagery of the fair and the carnival music supporting the lyrics could not be a more perfect combination. Critics always extol the great song “A Day in the Life” ending side two of the disc, but “Mr. Kite” dances circles around it, literally and figuratively.