All your greatest cardboard and paper-themed songs in a mixtape format
All your favourite cardboard themed songs and pop groups on a value-for-money LP (if only).
Some of you may be old enough to remember taping the charts onto a C90 each Sunday. Whether you chose Bruno Brookes on Radio One or Doctor Fox on The Pepsi Network Chart show, half of the battle was cutting out the DJ’s warblings between Right Said Fred and Bryan Adams. Or Bananarama and Kylie Minogue. It is this throwback theme which has inspired our latest blog post. We at Romiley Board Mill have tried their best to find cardboard and paper-themed songs.
What we have before you is an eclectic range of tunes. Some of which are by groups or vocalists with cardboard connotations. All of the songs chosen should fit within a 90-minute cassette or a decent sized playlist on Spotify or Deezer.
Give Me Just a Little More Time, Chairmen of the Board;
Paper Sun, Traffic;
Living in a Box, Living in a Box;
Common People, Pulp;
Open Up The Red Box, Simply Red;
Prime Time, The Tubes;
Wooden Heart, Elvis Presley;
Billy Don’t Be a Hero, Paper Lace;
Paper Bag, Fiona Apple;
Paper Planes, M.I.A.
How else do we kick off our cardboard compilation album? With a tune by Chairmen of the Board of course. The founding member of the Detroit-based soul group was General Johnson who was in the group until his death in 2010. Give Me Just a Little More Time was their first UK single, peaking at number three in 1970. We follow this with a nice chunk of psychedelia, thanks to Messrs Winwood, Capaldi, Wood and Mason. Paper Sun was Traffic’s 7” début, peaking at number five in 1967.
Any cardboard compilation album needs to have a tune by Living In A Box. Their eponymous 1987 début single was achingly 1980s, yet the second part of the chorus (“…I’m living in a cardboard box”) warrants its inclusion on our countdown alone. Equally obvious, and instrumental to our manufacturing processes, is Jarvis Cocker’s group, with their breakthrough hit, Common People. Pulp had had been troubling their native Sheffield and surrounding area since 1978, though didn’t make the Top 40 till 1994 with (Do You Remember) The First Time?
Our first red box themed tune follows with Simply Red’s Open Up The Red Box, one of their lesser known tracks from the 1985 début album, Picture Book. We follow this with Prime Time, a song by The Tubes (the group, alas, wasn’t inspired by one of our product lines). How can we forget Elvis Presley in this mixtape? There could only be one tune: Wooden Heart, which was inspired by a German folk song. It topped the UK singles chart for six weeks in 1961.
Also a UK number one single, was Paper Lace’s Billy Don’t Be A Hero, from March 1974. The anti-war song is set in the American Civil War and stayed at the top for three weeks. Changing the tone a bit is Fiona Apple’s tune, Paper Bag. From 1999, this was inspired by an incident when she mistook a paper bag for a dove. To close the first side is M.I.A.’s Paper Planes. This was the female rapper’s biggest UK chart single, peaking at 19.
Paper Plane, Status Quo;
The Letter, The Box Tops;
Something Here in My Heart (Keeps A Tellin’ Me No), The Paper Dolls;
Roll With It, Oasis;
Lean On Me (Ah-li-ayo), Red Box;
When You Ask About Love, Matchbox;
Disco 2000, Pulp;
(You’ve Got Me) Dangling on a String, Chairmen of the Board;
Room In Your Heart, Living in a Box;
Timperley Blues, Frank Sidebottom.
Get your double denim on for our first track of Side B, on our cardboard compendium. Yes, it’s The Mighty Quo (alright, great mate… my word, we are getting all Smashy and Nicey here!). Status Quo’s 1972 rocker, Paper Plane. Peaking at number eight, it featured on the album, Piledriver. Offering a nice contrast is The Letter by The Box Tops. This tune did well on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (UK #5, US #1) and was used in Minions, the 2015 prequel to Despicable Me.
The next two tracks have a Mancunian connection. The Supremes-esque Something Here in My Heart (Keeps A Tellin’ Me No) by The Paper Dolls was the trio’s only chart hit. The group predated the Spice Girls by using nicknames for each member. Tiger was Susie Mathis. She would gain wider fame as a presenter on BBC Radio Manchester and Piccadilly Radio. She is also known for her charity work, particularly the Kirsty Howard appeal.
Of eternal debate in these parts is the muffin/barm/roll/barmcake/nudger argument. The Gallaghers said ‘roll’ in their 1995 anthem [Roll With It], though the group could well have been talking about our cardboard and paper products. Unless they were looking for a red box (which inspires our next choice). Red Box was a mid-1980s duo, and Lean On Me (Ah-li-ayo) was their greatest hit (A UK number three single). Since 2010, they have resumed touring.
In 1980, Matchbox broke through with a cover version of Buzz Buzz a Diddle It. This was topped by another cover version later in ‘80, with a song by The Crickets. When You Ask About Love peaked at number four, being the rockabilly group’s biggest smash.
For the next three, we return to familiar territory with Pulp, Chairmen of the Board and Living in a Box. Disco 2000 is probably Pulp’s second most famous tune, thanks to its 1970s themed video and catchy lyrics. (You’ve Got Me) Dangling on a String followed Give Me Just a Little More Time in 1970, and peaked at number five in the UK singles chart. Room In Your Heart is quite a contrast from Living in a Box’s eponymous début, with a more soulful style. It was co-written by the group and Albert Hammond (of his Free Electric Band and legendary songwriter fame).
To close our cardboard compendium, we take a 370 bus from Stockport to Timperley for our last track, by the late great Chris Sievey. Whom in papier mache form was Frank Sidebottom. As his alter ego, he reworked Eddie Cochrane’s Summertime Blues as Timperley Blues. We hear Frank try to buzz off to the US, and his cardboard ventriloquist puppet, Little Frank, failing to get a visa. (The “stupid, stupid puppet…” – in Frank’s words – gets a pepperoni pizza). It is a daft, well-written reworking of the rock ‘n’ roll classic, as you would have expected from Chris Sievey’s alter ego. We knew you did, we really did… (Thank You)!
If you can think of any more paeans to cardboard packaging, prose on postal tubes, or corrugated concept albums even, feel free to comment.