1. The Smiths – Suffer Little Children
Now we realise this isn’t the most cheerful note to start on, but The Smiths are such an iconic band that we thought they’d make a good first entry. The song details the Moors murders, as the graves where bodies were found used to lie within Yorkshire’s county boundaries. It was written by Smith’s frontman Morrissey with his guitarist Jonny Mar, based on Saddleworth Moor specifically. Suffer Little Children was a b-side to the Smiths classic Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now and that record really does make for some gloomy, doomy listening.
2. Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot
One of the band’s most classic songs, this track describes all the comings and goings of a night out on the town in Leeds city centre. The band are of course a product of the city, and I Predict a Riot was one of the band’s first big hits. Even Yorkshire figures like John Smeaton, an eighteenth century engineer from the city, are woven into the lyrics. Listen out also for the Old Leodensians, the colliquial name given to students from Leeds Grammar School.
3. Iron Maiden – Sherriff of Huddersfield
This 1986 song from the album The Waster Years is all about the band’s manager and is the only Maiden album to feature a rap, sung by the manager, Rod Smallwood, himself. Smallwood had moved from Huddersfield to LA back in the 80’s and whilst he was having teething issues in his new mansion, the band decided to pen it as a bit of an in-joke. They kept it quiet until the single was released and its become well known for its reference to humble Yorkshire – “Life in a city living in LA, is a long way from Huddersfield town”. Yes indeed.
4. The Cribs – Mirror Kisses
Indie angst band The Cribs released Mirror Kisses all the way back in 2005. It’s about Yorkshire hipsters from back in the day and the challenging and indulgent personalities they met along the way whilst growing up. The band is comprised of two twin brothers, Gary and Ryan Jarman, plus their younger sibling Jack. The trio are from Wakefield and so you hear Yorkshire in their accents as well as their lyrics. Even legendary Smiths guitarist Jonny Marr joined the band for a brief stint between 2008 to 2011 which added to their cult status.
5. Pulp – Sheffield Sex City
Jarvis Cocker works wonders to transform humble Sheffield into quite the desirable destination in this single released in 1992. Those were the days, eh. The tune became a core staple in the bands touring sets, and is an odd combination of sexual sounds, singing and some spoken word. But somehow it works and we’d go so far as to say its oddly romantic. Even Jarvis himself, bless him, had this to say in a 2005 Mojo magazine interview : “Sometimes you write a song and you can’t think of a tune but you like the music. So that’s a cue for me to write a long stream of whatever, a few grunts and a little bit of singing at some point. It’s OK, but it could have been done better.”
6. Kid Acne – South Yorks
From his 2007 album Romance Is not Dead, Kid Acne manages to rap all about our dear county in his single South Yorks. He also produced a video to accompany the track, showcasing the area’s delights. Kid Acne references Sunday walks, coast lines and nights out. You gotta give it to him for basing a whole song around South Yorks and totally seeing it through.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the run down (or line up!) of our favourite songs about Yorkshire. Get those decks spinning and lend them an ear. Want to learn more about us? Click here.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.