The ten greatest songs about pest control… ever!

Most people prefer not to think about Pest Control until they actually need it. But pests have been on the minds of plenty of pop’s greatest songwriters through the years – as our pest control top 10 shows…

  1. UB40 ‘Rat In Mi Kitchen’ (1987) This loping reggae tune reached number 12 in the UK charts. It’s a safe bet the Birmingham band, famous for their political lyrics, weren’t really talking about Rats.
  2. Aimee Mann ‘The Moth’ (2002) This is a typically melancholy acoustic pop number from the LA singer-songwriter. In the lyric, the eponymous Moth makes for a flame rather than devouring Aimee’s stage outfit.
  3. U2 ‘The Fly’ (1991) Having exhausted the expansive stadium rock that was their signature in the late 1980s, U2 took an abrupt left turn into abrasive, industrial and urban sounds with Achtung Baby. During recording, Bono took to wearing 1970s wraparound shades, in character as ‘The Fly’ – a leather-bound egomaniac. The song reached #1 in the UK, but only managed #61 in the US.
  4. Herb Alpert ‘Spanish Flea’ (1965) As an instrumental, this jaunty, instantly recognisable Latin number was used on the long-running American TV show The Dating Game. The lyrics concern a Spanish Flea who makes it as a singing star.
  5. Queen ‘Great King Rat’ (1973) A fast-paced rocker from supergroup Queen in their prog years, before Bohemian Rhapsody turned them into superstars. Features a barnstorming vocal from Freddie Mercury (who wrote the song), and evocative lyrics that are very much ‘of their time’.
  6. Elton John ‘Skyline Pigeon’ (1969) This piano ballad appeared on Elton’s very first album, several years before he found international stardom. Bernie Taupin’s yearning lyric decribes the Pigeon flying away to reach his dreams, rather than scavenging for pizza crusts or damaging buildings with his droppings.
  7. Echo & The Bunnymen ‘Bedbugs and Ballyhoo’ (1987) The third single from the Bunnymen’s debut album, this is a moody affair that mixes soundtrack strings, shuffling drums, Duane Eddy guitar and Ian McCulloch’s trademark soaring vocals. The psychedelic lyric, unsurprisingly, glosses over the difficulty of eradicating bedbugs from hotel rooms.
  8. Monty Python ‘Eric the Half a Bee’ (1972) A surreal love song to a bisected insect from the Pythons. One of John Cleese’s favourites, apparently.
  9. The Doors ‘The WASP’ (1971) The Doors’ swansong, L.A. Woman, included this bluesy spoken-word number – Jim Morrison’s tribute to Mexican pirate radio stations of the 1950s.
  10. Adam & The Ants ‘Antmusic’ (1980) Adam explored one of the strangest avenues of post-punk with his swashbuckling band of pirate highwaymen, driven by two drummers. The lyrics offer an important warning if you’re thinking of calling pest control: ‘Don’t tread on an ant/He’s done nothing to you/Might come a time/When he’s treading on you!’

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