Music playlist for letterpress shop / studio

I’m developing a playlist of songs for our iPod that we can use for Lead Graffiti, especially when we are doing workshops. Might be interesting for people to figure out the relationship of the song to letterpress.

Anyone got any good suggestions for songs? We are pretty much a rock ‘n roll crowd, but would consider other options.

A few we’ve come up with to get you started.

Under Pressure - David Bowie
Color My World - Chicago
Keep on Pushing - The Impressions
Pushing Too Hard - The Seeds
A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum
Baby’s In Black - The Beatles
Blackbird - The Beatles
Blue Paper - Yeasayer
Pressure - Billy Joel
Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton
Deep Purple - Nino Tempo & April Stevens
Cut! Print It - The Starting Line
Purple Rain - Prince
Purple Stain - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Ink - Lady Gaga
Study In Blue - Paul Weller
Papers - Usher
Ink My Whole Body - Wiz Khalifa
True Blue - Madonna
Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
The Taste of Ink - The Used
Not Fade Away - Rolling Stones
White Room - Cream
Layers - Kidneythieves

image: Rush_Grace_Under_Pressure.jpg


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Touch of Gray - Grateful Dead
Stir it up - Bob Marley
Tangled up in Blue - Bob Dylan
Rag Mama Rag - The Band

@Lead Graffiti,
You should make this a playlist on spotify so others can subscribe to it or contribute!

Kiss – Prince
Local Color – Quicksilver Messenger Service
Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
Cleanup Time – John Lennon

Break On Through (To the Other Side) – Doors

Printer and his devil – G. Johanson

Too Much Pressure - The Selecter.
Roll with it - Oasis.
Front Page Story - Neil Diamond.
Front Page - The Redwalls.
Black Ink Revenge - Automatic Loveletter.
Black and White (lyrics include the line “The ink is black! The page is white!”) - The Spinners.
Blood in the Ink - The Black Dahlia Murder.
Blood Red Ink - Firekills.
Stop the Press - Brother Ali.
Sinful Love (contains repeated line “Dare-devil, she-devil, printer’s-devil, evil” - seems a bit hard on printers’ lads!) - Blue Oyster Cult.
How I Roll - Britney Spears.

I have to admit that I only actually knew the first song on the list; the rest were the result of googling words/phrases coupled with “lyrics”.

Hold on, Free Presse! “Black and White” was recorded by Three Dog Night, not The Spinners! Otherwise, nice additions to the playlist!

Or the more transparent “If I Possessed a Printing Press”, recorded by George Hamilton IV in 1957.

Or this good one sung by Pete Seeger:

Those are some great suggestions. Exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. It is amazing how something will suggest some quality about printing via letterpress. Now to get about 50 more.

In addition to music related by theme (or chance of title), there is also music related by association. Ever since I saw the wonderful documentary film “Making Faces” on the work of the late Jim Rimmer, the music of Bix Biederbecke has, for me, been typecasting music - especially “Singing the Blues,” which is used in the background of the trailer:

I hope that link survives transit. If not, search youtube for:

“Making Faces” Rimmer

Rimmer, in addition to everything else he did, was a jazz musician as well.

David M.

Music promo video for The Spades and 7th Fire music based in Peterborough. My Heidelberg printing 45rpm covers

Where’s your passion? I think the top of the list “about letterpress” might be:

Simply Irresistible- Robert Palmer

“She’s so fine there’s no other way to go”


Krau wrote “Black and White” was recorded by Three Dog Night, not The Spinners!

For ‘not’, substitute ‘and’ - here’s The Spinners’ recording of this song on vinyl:

And the list goes on and on:

Pretty Paper- Roy Orbison
The Letter- The Box Tops
Run Baby Run- Sheryl Crow
Abracadabra - Steve Miller Band
Pig Iron- Pat Donahue
Rollin on- Emmylou Harris
Words- The Bee Gees
Paper Sun- Traffic
Come & Go Blues- The Allman Bros.
Subtle Invitation- Mariah Carey
Universal Child- Annie Lennox
I Walk the Line- Johnny Cash
Crash into Me- the Dave Mathews Band
Shades of Gray- Cry, Cry, Cry
My Back Pages- The Byrds
Watching the River Run- Loggins & Messina (subtle)
Pait it Black- The Stones
Empty Pages- Traffic
Fountain of Sorrow- Jackson Browne
Ghost- the Indigo Girls (cuts both ways)
Let it Bleed- The Stones
Centerfold- J. Geils

How about Mellow Yellow by Donovan from1966.

I am getting old—not one single piece of classical music in any of these lists. When I first visited George Mill’s shop in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, he had a 12” turntable set up with a hi-fi system for playing only classical music when he was by himself. Bach, Vivaldi, Teleman, and others are the names on the CDs in my shop—head banging lyrics and music just don’t cut it for me.


When I’m alone and not teaching I have my 4 speed record player whirling through thousands of disks. I’ve got an accoustic set-up playing Edison Cylinders through piping into 2 massive horns. Not to forget tapes! So far I’ve replayed Peter Dawson, Al Jolson, Joan Sutherland, Gigli, Maurice Chevalier, et al.
Biggest problem with disks is, if the needle/stylus “repeats” I may not detect it due to being absorbed with printing. Of course any reaction to “repeating” always requires a safe response. My father, a real printer, used to spin around during hand feeding a platen while listening to Alan Jones singing The Donkey Serenade!!!

A/d/s system with high end A/d/s speakers, set up by a Buddy who is a sound tec. Tapes, Vinyl, CD’s and piped in from Itunes, depending on the mood I’m in.
Classical to accoustic, Folk and World, but Marylin Manson is a client, so I play him and also Björk.:)

With all deference to Fritz, how about
Roll over Beethoven (Chuck Berry’s original or the Beatles version)?

Fritz this was the best I could do

The Blue Danube
Green Sleeves
and for everyone who treddles or cranks there way through long runs Dance of the Hours
Howard H

I do extend the classics to the Beatles, some of the surfer music, and the like. I’m firmly rooted in the 50s and 60s, very little beyond that except maybe James Taylor, and since Joan Baez was a high school classmate, I can even listen to her. But the current and recent past popular music is just so much incoherent noise to me, especially when I’m in the print shop. As I said, I’m getting old, maybe even cranky.

Fritz brings up an interesting point. Beyond the word games, how does music effect your mood, while printing or even driving? I personally find certain kind of music does and can be detrimental.


Gerald yes, absolute, than I print on my handpress and I have the right music and mindset, everything flows, a day can produce 50 + large broadsides, just perfect.

The wrong sound, the wrong mindset and the the whole day goes to to hell.

I’ll add one to the list:

“The Reinvention of the Printing Press” by Mischief Brew

I have to admit I have incredibly broad and weird musical tastes. Were I doing a demonstration on a hand press, I’d probably pull out my collection of medieval and renaissance music, and maybe add in my baroque collection as well. Or just throw on Orff’s Carmina Burana if I want more musical punch. But when I’m on my C&P in the shed just trying to get work done, I usually play house and dubstep. No real lyrics to distract me, just rhythm to keep me moving. There’s also nothing specifically “letterpress” or “printing” related about any of it. But I’m weird and I know it.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

no no no
nothing post 1949

if must listen to pop
make mine Hogy Carmichel

French romantics
20th century Russians


Blood (occasionally), Sweat (just don’t drip on the paper) & Tears (of joy)

image: P1050535.JPG


Cant remember the artist but “spirit in the sky ” comes to mind ,clean the press with it at the end of a good day ,driven to drink it at the end of a bad one !!

Norman Greenbaum

Already Gone - Eagles