Top 5 Songs About Waitresses

Seth Sentry, The Waiter Minute EP

Seth Sentry, The Waiter Minute EP

Driver has a thing about waitresses. When I proposed that he’d do a top 5 waitresses list I did not anticipate the lobbying and flagrant offers of sexual favours from the waitresses of Melbourne that the mere mention of such a list would stimulate. Yes, stimulate.

To avoid a nasty scene I have no choice but to change the top 5 from a list of actual waitresses to one listing waitresses dedicated to song. Whether the songwriters experienced the same close treatment from their subjects I don’t know. What I do know is that if you believe a word of this introduction you are easily led astray. Just the kind of reader I fancy.

So, without further ado, here is Driver’s top 5 songs about waitresses (not in order).

The Waitress Song, by Seth Sentry, 2008

If I had to give Driver a favourite, this’d be it, because it sums up the kind of relationship that Driver most prizes with a waitress. She is a reason for going to the café, beyond the food, atmosphere and coffee. Unlike Seth Sentry, he wouldn’t go if the coffee was rubbish but, exactly like Seth Sentry, he also wouldn’t want to know her name or have her say ‘yes’ to a request for a date. Why risk such a good thing?

I wonder if she’s my ideal girl
and what would happen if we date in the real world
na, I don’t want to risk what we have
and have to tip cause of that
besides this relationship is built on breakfast
I’m waiting on her just to wait on me

Brass in Pocket, by The Pretenders, 1979

Not about a waitress, I hear you say? Have a look at the video. It starts with Chrissie Hynde opening a tap from a great keg of coffee and pouring forth some awful swill. It’s very difficult for Driver to forgive that, but the song is about waitresses, after all, not coffee. (There’s a repeating theme developing here already.)

Nevertheless, Chrissie Hynde has a little of what Beatrice Dahl has, the saucy vixen! And the tables are turned compared with Seth Sentry’s song. Here, it’s Chrissie who has the lust, God bless her. Driver loves a bit of that attitude.

‘Cause I gonna make you see 
There’s nobody else here
No one like me
I’m special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention
Give it to me 

Ramona was a Waitress, by Paul Dempsey, 2009

So Mr Dempsey is in the same boat as Seth Sentry. He has it bad for the waitress.

There´s a way you´ve always known her
Telephone between her cheek and her shoulder
And eyes like crystal balls
That just won´t shut up
About the future of the future

And that’s the thing about waitresses. They’re there to bring you food and drink. They’re there to answer to your call. And if they happen to be attractive, or a little mysterious, or distant and aloof … if they happen to be any or all of those things while still delivering a good service, what can you do but appreciate them? You know they have you when you only go to the café on the days they work. But what’s wrong with that? That’s what Driver wants to know.

9th and Hennepin, by Tom Waits, 1985

With Tom Waits, everything is in a different place. There aren’t so many innocents in Tom Waits’ lyrics. People are world-weary, down at heel, cynical, but beautiful nevertheless.

And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear
“One for every year he’s away”, she said
“One for every year he’s away”, she said
“One for every year he’s away”, she said
Such a crumbling beauty, ah
There’s nothing wrong with her that a hundred dollars won’t fix
She has that razor sadness that only gets worse.

What’s the matter with that guy? He’s broken the heart of a girl who loves him and has remained true and year after year he stays away. She’s working behind the counter of some grimy café – which has a Minneapolis Minnesota address but a New York imagery – while she waits for him to come back to her. Stupid. Sad and stupid. Both of them

It’s a poem accompanied by music, more than a song. It’s from the Rain Dogs album which, depending on your tastes, is up there with the best albums of the 1980s. 9th and Hennepin, it’s a little gem.

Don’t You Want Me? The Human League, 1981

You might know it as, Don’t you want me baby? but the last word is not actually in the title.

There’s an urban myth that the song that it is autobiographical, describing how two of the band’s singers were plucked from obscurity to join the band.But at only 17 years old when the song was recorded, one of them al least was legally too young by UK law to have been a cocktail waitress and was, in fact, still in secondary school.

The songwriter, Phillip Oakey, says it’s ‘a nasty song about sexual power politics’ that was inspired partly by The 100 Club, a restaurant/bar in Sheffield where he probably had his advances turned away by a waitress that took his eye.

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
That much is true
But even then I knew I’d find a much better place
Either with or without you
The five years we have had have been such good times
I still love you
But now I think it’s time I live my life on my own
I guess it’s just what I must do

No mistake there. You’re dumped fella!

And that’s it. Driver loves music as well as movies, and cycling, and coffee, and the Carlton Football Club, and Punter, and his mum and dad, and Minnie. He’s no big fan of The Urologist though.

There’s some more Top 5 lists to come from him too, so you’ll get to hear more about what Driver loves.

© Mick McCoy, 2013

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Songs About Waitresses

  1. I used to love the Pretenders so I stopped thinking for a bit. Never noticed the quality of the coffee either. Never had a crush on a waitress. Perhaps I need to live a little more

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