Well, a much lower uptake than usual for my first line quiz, with Phil (who normally guesses about half of them all by himself) absent and Persephone flummoxed. At least Joe and Fried Mahooga have had a shot at it.
OK then. Here are the unguessed lyrics with some hints for guidance. Those correctly guessed noted here
and fully updated in original post.
1. You worked hard in school, did all the right things
So there was this sort of "glam metal" band whose lead singer was into catsuits in a big way. They broke up, then reformed, but in between times Mr Catsuit indulged in some side projects, one of which was this CD. The lyrics are guaranteed to annoy the religious right: that's exactly what they're designed to do.
3. Said Red Molly to James, “That’s a fine motorbike”
One of England's great singer-songwriters here, with a trad-style ballad celebrating an outlaw, though in this case a British one on a motorbike which features in the title. This was the guy's most requested song at live performances until he wrote an even sadder one about lost love.
7. I don’t drink coffee, I take tea my dear
Fried Mahooga was so irritated by being close to this that she Googled it in the end. For the rest of you, it's from the second solo album (which went double platinum) by a very famous singer who used to play with an equally famous group. For his last album with them he wrote one of the ten highest grossing songs of all time. This song is supposedly about Quentin Crisp. Guessed by Persephone.
8. Time goes by so slowly
A very very famous lady made this single, which features a sample from a very very famous group. The group (famously) never let people sample their material, but the clever lady went ahead and made the record, sending a pretty-much-finished version to the group's writers along with her request to use the material. They were so impressed they agreed.
9. I’m in the phone booth, it’s the one across the hall
A band from the New York punk scene, though they crossed into the mainstream pretty early on. This song is from when they'd just about made the transition and still had rough edges. Guessed by Lisa.
10.Wouldn’t it be nice to get on with me neighbours?
Lazy Sunday Afternoon
, guessed by Fried Mahooga, who however got the band wrong. No, not the Kinks, but another very influential Mod band of the 1960s. When their lead singer/guitarist left, they dropped half the name of the band, and got a new singer and a new lead guitarist, both of whom went on to global fame (and both of whom are still performing to massive crowds, in Vegas or in football stadiums). Band guessed by Lisa.
11. High vibration go on to the sun
A British prog-rock band, famous for their rather impenetrable lyrics. This track is from their first album for many years not to have a cover designed by the same artist. The album contained their only chart hit, and a reformed version of the band is currently on tour performing the whole of it. Which must be odd with neither the singer nor the keyboardist, both very distinctive and both major contributors to this song.
12. I like beer, and I like cheese
I actually set this for a previous first lines quiz, when it was guessed. By a famous bass player and guitarist, best known for albums. This song (on which he - unusually - sings) was a filler on his third album as well as the B side of a single. The A-side remains a popular Christmas number to this day, and we're talking thirty-eight years on.
13. I thought about the feeling of without you
One of the few obscure numbers in the set this time. From the first album by a man who was better known as a record producer, most famously as the producer of the first two albums by the singer of #12. (Who, in turn, provides guitar on this track.)
14. You’ve got to be crazy, you’ve got to have a real need
The other huge English prog-rock band (along with the guys from #11). Just as famous for their (rather more iconic) album covers, their lyrics were perfectly comprehensible. Gotta Be Crazy
was the working title of this song, but was eventually changed to fit in with the album's overall concept.
15. I should have gone to Cambridge with Lionel
From the (nowadays almost forgotten) first album by a British singer-songwriter (Scots born, English raised). This track features uncredited backing from a folk-rock band who were then up and coming but would go on to great fame, not least because of the guitar work of the singer of #3. The singer of #15, though, would achieve fame writing songs about historical events (as well as a whole album about wine). Singer guessed by Persephone.
17. Straight from the shoulder, I think like a soldier
Funnily enough, the gentlemen heard here are name-checked in the lyrics to #16. Discovered by the same record producer who discovered the backing band on #16, they were the darlings of the vaguely hippyish fringe of the folk scene for years. Their girlfriends had joined the band by the time they made this album: one was a pretty decent bass player who went on to become Lady Mayoress of Aberystwth. This song is a music-hall-style romp based on Greek mythology.
18. I’ve seen you riding on the Wall of Death
You're allowed not to know this one. By a renowned English SF author (Nebula prizewinner, indeed) who had sometimes appeared on stage with Hawkwind before recording this one-off oddity. I remember listening to side one of this album in a listening booth in a record shop as a student. I didn't buy it then, but it continued to bug me until I got the CD issue many years later. A strange album.
19. Well I’ve been talking to the weather man, it’s gonna rain on me today
Now this is interesting. This song was on the first album by an American country rock band best known for their all-star collaborations (three albums' worth, and all amazing). Except that if you look at their Wikipedia discography, the first album has changed its title (it's now just the name of the band) and this track is on a later one. I can't even blame it on vinyl/CD inconsistency as my own CD has the original title. Oh well. The title leads into a glorious pun.
20. The victim was a woman, a woman in her prime
From a year 2000 collaboration between a singer best known for her interpretations of Kurt Weill songs and a Northern Irish indie band whose leader wrote this song. he also wrote music for The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy film, and the theme music for Father Ted. The singer here, in whose name the album was released, also appeared in a Robert Altman film while heavily pregnant. In the film's final scene she wears only a bridal veil and a bouquet of flowers clutched to her bosom.
21. Always alone, never with a herd
Very surprised nobody got this, a chart hit (I think it was their last) by probably the most famous American folk-rock band of all time. The lyrics were inspired by Peer's dream in Ibsen's Peer Gynt
, not that you need to know that to enjoy the song.
22. Gonna take that medicine, cold cold medicine
Southport's most famous sons here, with a song about drug addiction from their debut album.
23. As the dust settles see our dreams all coming true
Another British prog-rock band, less famous than those in #11 and #14 but whose music was famed for its complexity. Their line-up contained two brothers. Oh, and this song is from a concept album all about power and corruption.
24. Winter’s coming, we live a shorter day
The first track on the first album by an English singer-songwriter who never made it as big as #3 or #15 despite being described by Karl Dallas in Melody Maker
as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain, if not the entire English-speaking world”. The best of his songs are full of a wistful nostalgia for a vanishing or vanished England. The most famous song on this album is a performance (with a very starry line-up of backing musicians, including the rhythm guitarist from #15) of a quite extraordinary traditional ballad (which contains my favourite line from any such ballad, describing the protagonist's haste to get down to his castle gate: "He quickly ran all down the stair/Of fifteen steps he has made but three"). The present song is one of his own, a celebration of winter.
25. Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got
This band had a few biggish hits back in the last seventies: I used one of the others in a previous quiz. This one is the title track from their best-selling album (it reached #3 in the UK and #1 in the USA and Canada). The cover shows a waitress from an American diner posing as the Statue of Liberty. Guessed by Lisa.