Name That Tune

Had I posted this a few weeks ago, I could have appeared fairly organised. Topical, even. Vaguely current. Relevant. Lots of other phrases that don’t exactly spring to mind when describing your truly.

I could have linked today’s post to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth or death, whichever it was. I can’t remember. I just know he was born and died on the same day. With some years in between, obviously.

Or, after his body was found buried under a car park in Leicester, I could have linked it to bloody Leicester winning the Premiership (see, I’m still not bitter. Totally over it.)

But I’m not organised, not topical, neither current nor relevant, so hear I am, better late than never.

Released in March 1997, and the second single to be lifted from the second album “In It For The Money” (the first, “Going Out” had been released over a year earlier), this is Supergrass at their loudest:


Supergrass – Richard III

The eagle-eared amongst you will have noticed that neither the king nor the Shakespeare play is mentioned in the song – so what the hecking heck is that title about?

As with many other musicians, when writing a song, Supergrass would give it a working title. The most famous example of this is the one that Paul McCartney gave to “Yesterday”: “Scrambled Eggs”. Anyway, Supergrass used to give their songs people’s names as working titles, and this was the third one they had provisionally christened Richard.

That is all.

Oh, no wait a minute, come back. I’ve got some more.

Here’s another song called “Richard” (although to the best of my knowledge, not a famous one); in 2013 it was the 30th Anniversary of the original release of Billy Bragg’s “Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy”, and to celebrate it got the whole remastered and re-released she-bang, including a bonus disc recorded live on 5 June 2013 at the Union Chapel, Islington, “That” London – the same venue I’ll be seeing Billy play later at this year.

The bonus disc starts with this introduction from Billy:

“I’m gonna tell you why we came on a little bit early tonight. There is an early curfew here…at this venue…but with the cameras here and everything, it was suggested that with the 30th anniversary of ‘Life’s a Riot’ coming up, I might do something a bit special for you at the end. Now: other bands, when they want to celebrate a seminal album, hire the Albert Hall and an orchestra and spend an evening playing the album. Fortunately for you and me, especially those of you with expensive babysitters, ‘Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy” is only seventeen minutes long. It fits neatly into a second encore.”

He then does just that – plays the whole album in 17 minutes (or so).

Which of course, includes this:


Billy Bragg – Richard (30th Anniversary Live Version)

Or you can watch the whole thing here; seems to have been filmed by someone in the audience, but it’s surprisingly good quality, not your standard shaky hand-held footage with sound quality akin to being recorded underwater affair:

I love that he still dedicates the last verse of “A New England”, which wasn’t on his original version, but was on hers, to Kirsty MacColl.

And, just to make this post all nice and circular and tidy, here’s a clip from the glorious “Cunk on Shakespeare”, where Diane Morgan/Charlie Brooker’s genius documentary making character, Philomena Cunk, explores the works of Shakespeare:

If you didn’t see it, try and track the full programme down. I was laughing like a drain (which has always struck me as being an odd simile) for the whole half hour it was on.

More soon.