Lyrics · Music · Trivia

“Up the Junction” and “Virginia Plain” revisited

Back in 2018, in this piece, I posed the following question:

What do the songs “Virginia Plain” and “Up the Junction” have in common with each other, and with no other singles that have reached the UK Top 10?

It’s one of my favourite pop trivia challenges. The answer was revealed in that earlier piece, and it also appears two paragraphs down from here, so if you want to try and work it out for yourself don’t read too far ahead.

It looks like this trivia challenge also appealed to at least one of the question-setters on “University Challenge”. In two different shows broadcast in the last six months there have been music rounds that had “Virginia Plain” as the starter question, and bonus questions based on “Up the Junction” and two other songs. In both shows the required answer to the starter question was the name of the band (Roxy Music).

The requirements for the bonus questions were slightly different in the two shows. In an episode back in March, the contestants had to name the titles of the songs as well as the artists. In an episode broadcast in July, the contestants only had to name the artists.

The explanation given by Jeremy Paxman before the bonus questions reveals what the songs have in common: “That was ‘Virginia Plain’ although you don’t hear that until the end of the song. Your music bonuses are three more well-known songs whose titles appear in the lyrics only once and as the final words”.

In the show broadcast on 30 March 2020 (a quarter-final between Trinity College Cambridge and Jesus College Oxford) the answers were: “Up the Junction” (Squeeze) / “Enjoy the Silence” [Album version] (Depeche Mode) / “Made of Stone” (Stone Roses).

In the show broadcast on 13 July 2020 (a first round match between Glasgow and Exeter) two of the bonus questions were the same: “Up the Junction” (Squeeze) / “Made of Stone” (Stone Roses). Instead of a Depeche Mode album track they had “Just Like Heaven” (The Cure).

Back in 2018 I wrote that “Virginia Plain” and “Up the Junction” are the only two songs to reach the UK Top 10 in which the title appears only once, as the final words of the song. It looks like that is still true. “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure peaked at #29 and “Made of Stone” by Stone Roses made it to #20. The version of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” released as a single made it to #6, but it doesn’t include the title anywhere in the lyrics. For now, there are still just two songs that meet the criteria for this pop trivia challenge.

UPDATE: 30 December 2021, 8.30pm

This subject has just been the basis of a question in tonight’s “Champion of Champions” edition of “Only Connect”. The four clips played for the contestants in a Music Round (in Round 1, where they have to find the connections) were: “Just Like Heaven” (The Cure), “Made of Stone” (Stone Roses), “Up the Junction” (Squeeze) and “Virginia Plain” (Roxy Music), in that order. 




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