Lists

The 10 Best Musical Rejections

We've all been there. You've just finished pouring your heart out to the object of your affections, and instead of reciprocating, s/he says "thanks, but no thanks." If you're lucky.

Monday, CNN interviewed life.com editor Bill Shapiro, whose recent book Other People's Rejection Letters compiles dozens of business and personal It's-not-you-it's-me missives, including Andy Warhol's rejection from New York's Museum of Modern Art, a request for Jimi Hendrix's discharge from the U.S. army, and lots of get-to-steppin' text messages and Facebook updates.

"There are a lot of amazingly talented people who have been rejected over the years," Shapiro said. Many of them have set down their bruised (or bruising) egos in song, so Rocks Off flagged down some of our Facebook friends and came up with ten musical rejections from both sides of the mirror.

Yes, Wilco is on here. Shut up.

• Violent Femmes, "Kiss Off": On the punk-minded Milwaukee folkies' 1983 self-titled debut, front man Gordon Gano grows this sea monkey of resentment into a middle finger directed at the whole wide world: "One, one, one 'cause you left me/ Two, two, two for my family..." Add it up.

• Steven Fromholz, "I Gave Her a Ring, She Gave Me the Finger": The only man to ever be official Texas State Musician and poet laureate (also father of one of Rocks Off's good friends) didn't need to say much more than the title with this one. But he's on a roll: "I said that's the wrong one/ When she held out the long one."

• Hank Williams Sr., "I'm a Long Gone Daddy": Luke the Drifter has a list of honky-tonk grievances longer than a Southern Pacific freight train on this No. 6 hit from 1948: "I'll go find a gal that wants to treat me right/ You go get yourself a man that wants to fight"

• Motley Crue, "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)": Somehow, Vince, Mick, Nikki and Tommy managed to pull themselves away from various powders and rolling fat, unconscious groupies to pay for said powders long enough to write this tender but firm power-ballad goodbye - sometimes referred to as "Home Sweet Home Pt. 2" - for 1989's Dr. Feelgood. Rocks Off has a hunch that none of the four's multitude of romantic entanglements has ever ended this cleanly.

• Lush feat. Jarvis Cocker, "Ciao!": Not just anyone can take on acid-tongued former Pulp front man Cocker in a verbal joust and live to tell the tale, but Lush's Miki Berenyi is more than up to the task on this delightfully snide back-and-forth from the Britpop underachievers' last (and best) album, 1996's Lovelife: "It's been a non-stop party since I flew the coop/ I can't believe I fell for such a loser like you." Sadly, the song's title proved prophetic when drummer Chris Acland hung himself a few months after Lovelife came out.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray