The Chain #24

Ordinarily, I start every post on The Chain by recapping what we do here, what record we’re linking to this week, and then say I’d better crack on as we’ve got loads to get through.

Now whilst it is true that we have got an awful lot of tunes this week, there’s not as many as perhaps there could be, and that’s because one of our regular Chain Gang contributors is conspicuous by his absence for a second week running and is, I hear, rather unwell. I mean, I haven’t actually been presented with a sick note excusing him from participating, but that’s what I hear.

So, Badger: get well soon mate, and this week’s post is dedicated to you.

Last week’s record was “Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, a song which cropped up a couple of months ago on my Radio-themed “Friday Night Music Club” post, and so I was anticipating a few that I had chosen back then would resurface again here. Not a bit of it, which is either indicative of either the wide range of musical tastes you guys and girls cover, or of how many bad records I chose. Or both.

So to kick things off, one of my suggestions which didn’t quite make the cut when I was writing that “Friday Night…” post, mostly because it doesn’t have the word “Radio” in it’s title. But it seems an appropriate place for us to start:

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Charlie Dore – Pilot of the Airwaves

Onwards, then, to some of your suggestions, and one final piece of housework. George: sorry about this, but there at least five records you’re not going to enjoy this week.

Here’s Dirk from sexyloser:

“Great start to link not one, but four different Clash tunes to, much to the dismay of George, I would suspect (I l.o.v.e. this!): ‘Capital Radio One’….”

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The Clash – Capital Radio One

…and we’ll check back with Dirk throughout today’s post to go through the rest of them.

But first, more Clash-related shenanigans from Unthought of, Though, Somehow‘s The Swede:

“‘Radio Radio’ is taken from the LP ‘This Year’s Model’. If your car happens to be this year’s model (at least if it was registered in the UK between March & August), the age identifier portion of the number plate would be 16. In 1980 The Clash promoted the ‘London Calling’ LP with the 16 Tons Tour, every night of which would see the band walk on stage to ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford.”

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Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons

Next up, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area with one of those suggestions where we get three for the price of one:

“Clearly you need to go to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner’, with his radio on…”

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Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

“…And Joy Division who danced to the radio in Transmission….”

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Joy Division – Transmission

“…And Half Man Half Biscuit who had Joy Division Oven Gloves.”

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves

Actually, there’s a double link for that one, as it was the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to Number 6 in the UK Singles charts in an effort to save the BBC’s radio station 6 Music. It actually managed to scale to the giddy heights of Number 56, but the station survived, thankfully.

Time to check back in with Dirk, whose next Clash/Radio song is, perhaps unsurprisingly:

“…‘Capital Radio Two’…”

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The Clash – Capital Radio Two

Whenever someone mentions Capital Radio, I’m always reminded of one of their DJs, who also worked the decks on Radio 1 for a while: David ‘Kid’ Jensen. I am still allowed to mention him, aren’t I? He’s not one of the bad ones, right? Good. Then I can legitimately play this:

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The Pretenders – Kid

But enough of my suggestions (by which I mean, I’ll have some more later): time for Alex G, who this week writes his suggestion like this:

“The recent Edinburgh Fringe revival of 80s comedy show “Radio Active” has got me listening to the old shows again. One of the episodes is called “The Radio Radio Programme” and as usual it includes one of Phil Pope’s musical parodies, his target in that particular episode being “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Not one of PP’s best efforts, but reason enough to suggest linking to the original “Sledgehammer” by the actual Peter Gabriel.”

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Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

I could, at this point, post that ground-breaking video, but we’ve all seen that, so instead I thought I’d take a step back and post a couple of Phil Pope’s better parodies. I think you’ll recognise his targets on both of these:

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The HeeBeeGeeBees – Meaningless Songs

Oh, and this, which I don’t find in the slightest bit amusing:

How dare they.

Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? leaps to my their defence, by proving that sounds nothing like them:

“Elvis Costello’s next release after ‘Radio Radio’ was ‘Oliver’s Army’ which led me to think of the Status Quo song ‘In The Army Now’.”

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Status Quo – In The Army Now

Alyson – and indeed her other half Jamie – will be back in a bit. When you see what one of them suggests, you’ll be wishing they had stopped at Quo.

In the meantime, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, who you may recall was very close to suggesting the official next record in the chain last week, and therefore almost bagged himself some invaluable (by which I mean of no value whatsoever) bonus points:

“From ‘Radio Radio’ to the excellent ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall of Voodoo…”

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Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

CC’s not done yet though:

“…whose lead singer was Stan Ridgway who gave us the less excellent Camouflage”

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Stan Ridgway – Camouflage

“Suspect I won’t be troubling the scorers this week…” he sadly concludes.

You’re right, CC, you won’t. But you haven’t nominated the worst record of the week. Has he, Alyson?

Nor has The Beard, although he gave me a bit of a fright with the direction of this week’s suggestion:

“The lyrics to ‘Radio Radio’ make reference to late night listening. Circa 1992 I heard Annie Lennox played back to back in the small hours on Radio One, something that haunts me to this day. One of the songs played was Why. Why by Carly Simon is infinitely better.”

Deep breaths, everyone. We’re okay. He didn’t go there. The Annie Alarm remains untroubled.

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Carly Simon – Why

“…as is Nobody Does It Better by the same artist”, continues our (presumably) Bearded Buddy:

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Carly Simon – Nobody Does it Better

Ordinarily, I might only allow one song by the same artist to be nominated by the one person, but I’m going to let it slide here for two reasons. Firstly, “Nobody Does It Better” is my favourite Bond theme ever (most of the time; sometimes it’s “Live and Let Die”). Secondly…well…have you ever seen the episode in the second series of “I’m Alan Partridge” where our late night radio host describes the opening sequence of “The Spy Who Loved Me”, to which “Nobody…” is the theme, as the VHS copy he intended to watch in his static home has been inadvertently taped over with “America’s Strongest Man”? And have you ever wondered how accurate his commentary is? Wonder no longer:

Speaking of songs that I wouldn’t normally allow, here’s The Great Gog:

“‘Radio Radio’ features the same word repeated in its title as does another ECATA ditty, ‘Party Party’ from the film of the same name. There are obviously lots of other examples of this type of song-titling, but that one seemed the most appropriate.”

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow a song by the same artist as the record we are linking to (not that it’s ever happened before, mind). On this occasion, you just get away with it on the grounds of the repetition of words theme.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Party Party

The film is bloody awful, mind.

GG has a point: there are lots of records which employ repetition in their title, and to prove it, here’s Kay:

“Using the theme of repetition – Radio Radio – I thought of Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins.”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

In fact, you could also have this one, which I pointed out to Kay I was surprised she hadn’t suggested, given that’s it’s by her favourite group, that it has a title with the same word repeated in it, and even has the word ‘repetition’…erm…repeated quite a lot in it:

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Hot Chip – Over and Over

I don’t think Kay has stopped kicking herself for missing that yet.

Time to check back on Dirk and see where he is with his Clash-a-thon:

“…‘This is Radio Clash’…”

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The Clash – This Is Radio Clash

Thanks Dirk, see you in a bit!

Time for The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Seeing as there’s a lack of cheese so far
 How about – playing on the Attractions – ‘Opposites Attract’ by Paula Abdul. Appalling, I know, but this isn’t about taste, is it?”

It certainly isn’t, but you, too, need not be concerned about the quality levels not having dipped enough just yet. Eh, Alyson?

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Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract

Regardless, “I feel the need to right that wrong,” The Robster continues, “so my other offering is Kirsty MacColl’s ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’.”

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Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Right. Let me take a step back, survey the carnage, and see who I haven’t mentioned yet.

George. Of course, George.

“Older people than myself, such as Charity Chic and The Swede, might prefer to use the word wireless instead of radio. In the tv programme Not The Nine O’Clock News, they once did a song with the lyrics “On the road you must be brave and tireless, on the road you can listen to the wireless”. I think that song is called I Like Trucking.”

Close, George. My recollection is that on the show it was referred to as “I Like Trucking”, but when the cash-in accompanying album “Hedgehog Sandwich” was released, the title had been shortened to just “Trucking”:

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Not The Nine O’Clock News – Trucking

Alyson’s back, with her hubby in tow this time:

“I have an entry first from the other half Jamie, who decided that if there are two radios the sound will be in stereo which led him to think of the Stereophonics who released a track called Vegas Two Times from their ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ album. Bit of a double link with the “stereo” and the “two times” both relating to Radio Radio.”

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Stereophonics – Vegas Two Times

What with me having lived in Wales for 20 years, at the time that the Stereophonics came to prominence, you could be forgiven for thinking I love them.

You’d be wrong though.

Did you ever have that thing happen to you, when you’re in the middle of a conversation and someone suddenly sticks their head round the corner, and says something which completely makes you lose your thread? Here’s Swiss Adam again, who’s located another unexpected item in his Bagging Area:

“R.E.M.’s Radio Song too”

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R.E.M. – Radio Song

Now where was I…? Oh, never mind. Can’t have been important.

Back over to Dirk’s Clash Corner for the final time now. What are you listening to now, Dirk?

“… ‘Radio Clash’!!!”

Of course you are. And now, so are we (minus George).

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The Clash – Radio Clash

Here comes Rol from My Top Ten:

I worked in the radio industry for 23 years of my life. Radio Radio is one of my all-time favourite songs because of the lines


‘And the radio is in the hands
Of such a lot of fools
Trying to anaesthetize
The way that you feel’

When I started working in radio, back in the late 80s, my ambition was to be a jock because then I’d get to pick my own music. A couple of years later, presenter choice was gone from local radio and my ambitions of being a DJ were over. I stayed in the industry for a further 20 years in other roles because it was an easy job and I got lots of freebies from the record library: basically, all the good stuff they wouldn’t ever play because it didn’t “test well” with the great unwashed.

All of which would usually lead me to suggest the same track I selected last week: Rex Bob Lowenstein by Mark Germino & The Sluggers. But as I already had that one, can I instead go with a very similar tale
”

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – The Last DJ

George is back!

“I have a chain that results in a Bruce Springsteen song
” he says, slightly curiously, given that on these very pages he has named Broooce as the other act, along with The Clash, that he dislikes.

Despite much encouragement, he declined to provide us with the link, declaring he would “rather stick pins in my eyes”, which seems a bit extreme. I’d recommend ear plugs as a far more effective way to avoid hearing something, George. You’re welcome.

Instead, he comes up with this:

“From Elvis Costello to Elvis Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins the actor) and from his album Ash Wednesday the song Ash Wednesday.”

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Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday

A couple more folks returning from earlier now. Here’s The Robster:

“We got here by way of the name of Elvis Costello’s record label. There’a a reggae label called Easy Star Records that has a house band, The Easy Star All-Stars. Along with an astounding selection of guest vocalists, they’ve released a series of excellent tribute albums over the years, one of which was ‘Radiodread’, a reggae tribute to ‘OK Computer’ by Radiohead. I could suggest any number of songs from it (‘Lucky’ featuring the legendary Frankie Paul; ‘Let Down’ featuring the uber-legendary Toots & The Maytals), but I’m going to plump for ‘No Surprises’ featuring The Meditations.”

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Easy Star All-Stars – No Surprises (Feat. The Meditations)

And here’s Charity Chic:

“I was going to offer Radio Gaga by Queen but even I would not stoop that low.  The Frank Sidebottom version on the other hand 
”

This one?

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Frank Sidebottom – Radio Ga Ga

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s the worst record we’re featuring this week, right? No. No it isn’t. For Frank Sidebottom was a genius. You know he was, he really, really was.

I suppose we should let Dirk have a non Clash request, right?

“What I really would like to hear is The Members – ‘Phone-In Show’ from their debut album, simply because I haven’t heard it for ages and can’t be arsed to search for the LP.”

Well Dirk, I could be arsed to search for it, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. So instead, here’s their version of ‘Phone-In Show’ taken from one of their Peel Sessions instead:

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The Members – Phone-In Show (Peel Session)

You may have noticed that it’s not just Badger who is conspicuous by his absence this week. Where has his When You Can’t Remember Anything… partner in crime S-WC got to? Well, he’s in the middle of moving house, but he did take time out from packing up boxes to suggest this:

“I don’t really have a lot of time to explain but my suggestion is ‘Radio Ladio’ by Metronomy.”

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Metronomy – Radio Ladio

Doesn’t really need much explanation, to be honest, that one SWC. Anyway, hope you have your broadband sorted in time to get a suggestion in for next week!

Rol’s back, with a suggestion to protect George’s eyes from becoming pin cushions:

“…my second choice would be State Trooper by Bruce


Radio’s jammed up with talk show stations
Just talk talk talk talk talk
Till you lose your patience
”

I think maybe George has suffered enough this week.

Only joking. Course he hasn’t. Here’s the Trentemoller remix of it, which might make it a tad more palatable:

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Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper (Trentemoller Mix)

Okay, where next. Ah yes. Can’t really put this off any longer. Welcome back Alyson:

“I think I have probably come up with something that would win cheesiest song EVER in a poll of polls. Yes, from Elvis Costello to Abbott and Costello (the more mature chain-ganger will remember them) to Russ Abbot who had a mid ’80s hit with Atmosphere (as in he liked a party with one).”

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Russ Abbot – Atmosphere

Let’s be honest, it was only a matter of time before I got round to posting this. There’s so much to make you cringe here: the reference to being “at the dancing party”  – was that ever a thing?; the desperate attempt to be hip by referencing Frankie Goes to Hollywood; the frankly rather seedy looking video where Russ saunters through a nightclub full of dressed-for-the-80s bright young things, looking like the sort of person your mother used to warn you about.

You’ve never seen the video, you say? Then get your laughing gear round this:

See what they did there? It’s so disappointing that it doesn’t quite work.

Maybe it does if you do it the other way round?

Better. Much better.

Okay, to round things off this week, one last suggestion from me.

In 2006, Basement Jaxx released their fourth album “Crazy Itch Radio”, from which I’ve chosen this little beauty:

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Basement Jaxx – Take Me Back To Your House

Which just leaves us with the small matter of what the official song in the link was. And normally I’m a little bit disparaging about the tune they select, not so much for the song, but for the reason it was suggested/selected.

But credit where credit’s due, this week’s is a double-linker:

“Elvis Costello sings on the Joni Mitchell covers album [A Tribute to Joni Mitchell]…”

..and although he doesn’t sing this one, the choice of Joni tune doubles up here:

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24. Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio

And that, as they say, whoever they may be, is that.

Your suggestions please, via the Comments section down below, for records that can be linked to “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” by Joni Mitchell, along with a brief description of your linking logic.

Same time next week?

(More soon.)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I was feeling a little run down towards the end of last week, so on Friday I decided to have an early night and went to bed with Graham Norton.

Wait. Let me rephrase that. I went to bed and watched the Graham Norton show.

The guests included actors Ewan McGregor and Sam Neill, long time buddies it turns out; they related that they had spent many any evening in each other’s company, drinking until the wee small hours, before invariably indulging in a sing-song.

They took little persuasion to recreate this, both seemingly having arrived with ukuleles in anticipation of the event, and they broke into a fairly decent version of a song that, as I lay in bed, I knew I’d heard before, thought I owned a copy of somewhere, but couldn’t quite put my finger on who the version I owned was by.

A half-hearted flick through my vinyl and CD racks failed to offer up any clues, so, now unable to sleep, I surfed the net to try and answer that question and also find a good version of it to post for your delictation.

And this is what I found. Not the original, but of the God-knows-how-many versions I listened to, the one that stood out the most for me:

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Tia Blake & Her Folk Group – Plastic Jesus

I’ve never heard of Tia Blake before, but there’s something Mo Tucker from Velvet Underground-ish about her vocals that I really like.

Anyway, a much longer search of that there internet failed to garner me with the details of where I knew the tune from, and it bugged me for most of the day.

Then, mid-way through the second half of the England game, as my mind understandably wandered, it came to me. The reason I hadn’t found it was because I owned the song with a different, Kanye-esque spelling of Jesus. By this lot of crusty dog-on-a-string types:

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The Levellers – Plastic Jeezus

I’ll leave you to decide which version you prefer.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Moving away, but not too far away, from last week’s kinda dark drum’n’bass track, to a tune I first came across thanks to its inclusion on the soundtrack to one of my favourite films ever, “Human Traffic”.

Now, I’ve just said that “Human Traffic” is one of my favourite films, and I should point out straight away that I am perfectly aware it is not a cinematic masterpiece. I’ve written about it here before, but I’m not going to direct you to it, because I don’t think I did a particularly good job.

“Human Traffic” tells the story of a group of friends as they prepare for a night out clubbing in Cardiff, as they go to the club, as they go to a house party afterwards, then as they cope with the inevitable post-ecstasy come down.  And right there is why I love it, those six words: a night out clubbing in Cardiff. That phrase and that film hold so many memories, having been filmed on location at several clubs, pubs and bars that I knew very well, and part of the genius of the film is that along with the stars of the film (John Simm, a very young (and brilliant in the role of Moff) Danny Dyer, with Andrew Lincoln (now of “The Walking Dead”) making a couple of appearances, as well as cameos from Jo Brand(‘s voice), and Howard Marks), ordinary members of the public, predominantly selected from the city’s clubbing scene, were extras. So when I watch it, there’s a whole additional level for me, not just recognising some of the locations, but also some of the faces. Great days.

Anyway, to tonight’s tune. Liquid Child were a  German dance music production duo, and this was their biggest hit here in the UK, reaching the giddy heights of No 25 in 1999. Although I don’t recall it actually being played, it reminds me a lot of “Cool House”, the club night in Cardiff that me and my buddies would go to every month, without fail; it’s the sort of tune that would get played towards the end of the night, when everyone was kinda buzzy and smiley (if you catch my drift…), but not quite ready to go home just yet.

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Liquid Child – Diving Faces (Original Mix)

More soon.

Classical Corner

Some culture for you all this morning, even if the inspiration for me posting it comes from a less than cultural place.

On Thursday night here in the UK, the latest series of The Apprentice started. There is a USA version too (it came first, naturally) which is hosted by some chap called Donald Trump. The UK show, however, doesn’t feature an idiotic, racist, sexist, homophobic, lying orange baboon. Were it to follow the absolute template of the US show, then it would be fronted by someone from UKIP, if they weren’t battering the heck out of each other at the European parliament. (By the way, if UKIP hates Europe so much, why do they have so may Euro MPs?)

But instead of either of those options, we have British businessman and former Chiarman of my beloved Tottenham Hotspur, Lord Alan Sugar, who a group of aspiring businesswomen and men compete to impress, for the chance to win a £250,000 investment into whatever their loathsome business idea is.

(Say what you like about the British political system, but at least the only button that Sugar’s finger will be hovering over in six month’s time is on an Amstrad Em@iler Plus)

Each week, the group are split into two teams and set a task; from the losing team at least one person is “fired” from the show (obliquely referred to as “The Process” by Lord Sugar and all others involved in it).

The challenge this week was to sift through a warehouse full of mostly old tut, but with some genuinely high value items and antiques in there too, sort what may be of value, then go and flog it for as much as possible.

I love The Apprentice, and always look forward to seeing this year’s candidates, who, I was delighted to find this week, are the usual mix of greedy, egotistical idiots. There are already several that wind me up, and I can’t wait to see them unravel and fail over the coming weeks.

Anyway, I said there was going to be some culture today, and here it is. The music played every week over the opening titles of The Apprentice is this, taken from Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The movement in question is often referred to as “Montagues and Capulets” but is actually titled “Dance of the Knights”. It deserves to be played loudly:

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London Symphony Orchestra – Dance of the Knights

Indie pop kids of a certain age will know that The Smiths often used that as their walk on music, as can be heard here (just about) from the opening of their contract-fulfilling live album “Rank”:

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The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (live)

Of course, this is not the only time that Romeo and Juliet have been referenced in pop music (don’t worry, I’m not going to post Dire Straits’ “Romeo & Juliet” again). I’m thinking here of the mention of Montagues and Capulets in the Arctic Monkeys break-through hit from 2005 (really?? That was eleven years ago????), “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor”. Here’s the video, which I’m posting instead of the song because a) I imagine you all know and own it already, and b) I love the moment drummer Matt Helders performs the backing vocals before delivering a pleased-as-punch wink to the camera:

Such a great record, that.

More soon.

The Chain #23

Welcome, welcome Chain Gangers new and old, welcome all.

Last week’s record was “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, and the gauntlet was thrown down for you to come up with records which linked to that five minute rock classic. Some of you chose to link to word “Radar”, some to the word “Golden”, one of you to the word “Ear”, but, and bless you all for this, not one of you went down the very simple route of suggesting songs which linked to the word “Love” or “Ring”.

Actually, that’s not quite true. For one from amongst our ranks linked to both. At the same time. We’ll deal with them later.

So, to your suggestions, and first up this week is Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Let’s get the cheese out the fridge early doors,” begins CC. Music to my ears, that. Regular readers will know that whilst we encourage, smart, clever, odd, witty, records here, we also enjoy a bit of cheese to off-set it all. So what does CC have in store for us?

“Golden Earring puts one in mind (or me at any rate) of Golden Brown by the Stranglers. There was a Boston Strangler leading to the poodle band Boston with More than a Feeling.”

If I could just clarify, Boston were a band from Boston who named their band Boston, that’s how full of innovative ideas they were. So clearly, Boston were not a band made up exclusively of Poodles. That would be ridiculous. There was a Yorkshire Terrier on keyboards too, and an American Hairless Terrier called Brian provided occasional backing vocals.

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Boston – More Than a Feeling

“I may well be back,” CC adds, somewhat ominously.

Now, once in a while a suggestion contains a bit of info that I didn’t know, and this week that dubious distinction goes to The Great Gog:

“Oh well, I’d better get it over with. For those that know about these things, there’s a bit of an elephant in the room with Golden Earring, or should I say Eggermont in the room. Japp Eggermont to be precise. Not content with providing a track for the Euro-version of Smashie & Nicey to play, Mr. Eggermont post-Golden Earring was responsible for the medley mania that blighted the UK Charts in 1981 with his Starsound project.”

In case you have no idea what GG is talking about here, the Starsound project was kind of like a prototype Jive Bunny, who simply mixed old pop hits together into a medley with an irritating drum beat syncing them all together. You can read about them here or if you’d like to actually hear one of them, this is the one that got to No. 2 in the UK charts in 1981:

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 Stars On 45 – Stars On 45

No need to thank me.

Anyway, sorry GG, I seem to have interrupted, do carry on.

“This launched many copyists, but perhaps the most interesting lurked on the b-side of Squeeze’s “Labelled With Love” single – “Squabs On Forty Fab”. Clearly, Glenn, Chris and the guys weren’t taking it terribly seriously, but it’s a better listen than any other the others that were around.”

See? I had no idea that a bloke from Golden Earring was responsible for all those records, nor did I know that Squeeze had done a parody, of sorts:

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Squeeze – Squabs On Forty Fab

Time to get settled now folks, as our nice Uncle Dirk from sexyloser is about to demonstrate the art of Comment Showboating:

“…in ‘Radar Love’, Golden Earring have a line which goes “And the radio played that forgotten song / Brenda Lee’s “Coming On Strong””.

Not only is this tune shamelessly forgotten indeed (although I have a feeling that someone might easily suggest it here in due course in order to rectify this situation)…”

Stop right there. We can do that right now:

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Brenda Lee – Coming On Strong

Do continue, Dirk.

“…it’s also a little known fact that this song’s title refers to Barrett Strong, American singer and songwriter, born February 5, 1941 in West Point, Mississippi.

Brenda Lee, although married to Ronnie Shacklett since 1963, apparently had a soft spot for lucky Barret as well, or is there any other explanation why she wrote a song about having sex with him and even describes her favourite position in the title?” [Erm…are you sure about this bit…? I’ve read this several times and can’t make out if you’re making a very rude joke or not – Ed.]

“And, friends, it must have been g.r.e.a.t. sex, because it was Barrett Strong who gave Brenda the nickname under which she was widely known until the end of her career: “Little Miss Dynamite”!

Also commonly not all too well known is that Barrett wanted more than just this short liaison, but it took him until 1973 until he responded with a song for Brenda: ‘Stand Up And Cheer For The Preacher’.

History shows us that his wish was never fulfilled by Brenda, nevertheless it’s my suggestion for this week’s link, so there you are!”

I have no idea whether any of this is true or not, so just in case, a disclaimer: the views of Dirk are not necessarily shared by the broadcaster.

Anyway, here’s the tune Dirk nominates, and rather fine it is too:

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Barrett Strong – Stand Up and Cheer for the Preacher

Time to welcome The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow who proposes a song and a band I had no previous knowledge of, and who, on the strength of this song – which musically reminds me of Cowboy Junkies take on “Sweet Jane” from their The Trinity Sessions album – I’ve gone out and got me the album.

“There’s no way I can pass up such a (ahem) golden opportunity to suggest my favourite song of 2015. From Golden to Silver – ‘Silver John’ by This is the Kit.”

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This Is The Kit – Silver John

Onwards now to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything who submits:

“Radar makes me firstly think of MASH so that immediately gives us the opportunity to have a listen to the Manics version of theme tune to that.”

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Manic Street Preachers – Theme From M.A.S.H (Suicide Is Painless)

“But secondly” SWC continues, “Radar also makes me think of the wonderful Dawn of The Replicants’ single ‘Radars’.”

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Dawn Of The Replicants – Radars

Which seems an appropriate moment for me to slip one of my suggestions in, for the first record that sprang to my mind when I saw the source material was this, one of those “let’s stick this previously unreleased track on the Greatest Hits album in the hope it helps flog a few more copies” affairs:

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Blur – Music Is My Radar

And now, the return of Is This The Life‘s The Robster for his second (or should that be fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth..?) suggestions:

“A couple [ahem! – Ed] of suggestions from me: Radar Love was from an album called Moontan. Moon Safari was an album by Air featuring the excellent song Kelly Watch The Stars”

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Air – Kelly, Watch the Stars

“Another track from Moontan – Vanilla Queen – samples Marilyn Monroe who sang a song called I Wanna Be Loved By You…”

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Marilyn Monroe – I Wanna Be Loved By You

“A more obvious route – and a blatant excuse to get some David Gedge in here – takes us straight to Ears by Cinerama…”

0001459016_500Cinerama – Ears

“Alternatively, using the Golden tack – Gold Lion by Yeah Yeah Yeahs…”

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion

“…or better still, Golden by Stephenhero (aka Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens Of Distinction) which features vocals by the delectable Tanya Donelly.”

stephenherogoldenepStephen Hero – Golden

“Better leave it at that – I’m getting greedy
” he (finally) signs off.

Y’think??

Now, I’ve never heard that Stephen Hero record before, so forgive me as I’m not entirely confident in the place I got it from: is it supposed to do that thing where it seems to go into a completely different song for no reason whatsoever? (Not saying I don’t like it, by the way, just wondered if I’ve picked me up some duffer of a tampered with version).

Ok, so The Robster emailed me to tell me it sounded like I had indeed been sold a pup and that what I seemed to have was a sampler for the whole EP, which just goes to show what an idiot I am. Link now updated to feature the correct song. Many thanks to the Robster for pointing me in the right direction with this one, which I like even more now that I’ve heard it properly!

Moving on to Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? who writes:

“I am (sadly) old enough to remember Golden Earring from when they first released Radar Love back in ’73 and I hated it! Not my thing at all and they stole valuable TOTP from my favourite teen idols of the day. Bit of a one-hit wonder though so they soon went away, but then what happens, they release the same bl**dy song again four years later! My musical tastes had evolved by this time but they still (to use a phrase last employed by my favourite person to stalk/spy on/copy, George) “rubbed me up the wrong way” – Again they were taking valuable air time away from the acts I did want to watch on television!

So, to pull a lyric from a song I really do like, they not only stole time:

One time, one time (but)
Two times, two times
..

Yes, a very tenuous link to the Fugees version of Killing Me Softly from me this week.”

I think I understand that connection, just about:

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The Fugees – Killing Me Softly

Remember how Charity Chic said they may be back later? Turns out, they weren’t ruddy well joking:

“In 1978 Radar Records released their first single (I Love The Sound of) Breaking Glass by Nick Lowe – hopefully got those brackets in the correct order Alyson!”

This prompted a mini-discussion (can two comments be classed as a discussion? Discuss.) as to whether there were any brackets in the song title in question, Alyson stating: “Not seeing brackets in any of my reference material for that one CC, although I’m not actually looking at the single so they might have snuck those pesky brackets in there.”

I was with CC on this one, right up until the point that, after uploading and naming the MP3, I checked the single sleeve. Oopsies.

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Nick Lowe – (I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass

Luckily, it turns out that we’re all right. For it seems that in some countries, it was released with, and in some countries without, the brackets. For example, when it was released on Columbia Records in the USA, the brackets were included. As evidence:

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Glad to clear that up. And by the way, who said us bloggers were nerds?

Now does anyone know what time it is? That’s right: it’s George Time!

“Golden Earring were Dutch (I suppose they still are). So were Focus, but I chose them last week, but The Vengaboys were Dutch. I recognised We Like To Party (and did a little dance a la The Inbetweeners film which brought a smile to my partner’s face. Or was it a grimace
. ).”

Definitely the latter.

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Vengaboys – We Like to Party! (The Vengabus)

For those of you new round these parts, can I stress that this is not the sort of record that George usually suggests. He’s been under a lot of pressure recently…

To try and balance things out a little, I’ve spent much of my spare time since George suggested this trying to find a clip of the Wenger Boys from Sky One’s Soccer AM, but to no avail. In my quest, however, I did find an article about Vengaboys which read: “Vengaboys are a Dutch Eurodance group…[who were] never critically acclaimed”.

Hands up who knows can think of a really good reason why that might be?

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Nuff said.

Here’s Rol from My Top Ten; surely he’ll have some blinding suggestions for us?

“My first thought this time was that Golden Earring also had a song called The Twilight Zone and recently I put together a Top Ten Twilight Zone Songs (songs which could have been episodes of the amazing Rod Serling TV show). Number One on that list was Angie Baby by Helen Reddy because it freaks me out every time I listen to it.

However, I’ve disqualified the above as it’s way too self-referential.”

Oh shush. Such modesty. Read it here.

“So instead, I offer Mark Germino & The Sluggers’ classic DJ song Rex Bob Lowenstein, taken from the album Radartown. Rex Bob is a hero to music bloggers everywhere – he refuses to “play the song list they send in the mail” and when The Man tries to make him, he barricades himself in his studio and “plays smash and trash till they cuff him on the floor”.”

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Mark Germino and The Sluggers – Rex Bob Lowenstein

Over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad now:

“OK, sticking with Dutchness for a moment, one Dutch musician who passed through Golden Earring’s ranks was Robert-Jan Stips, later of art popsters Nits, from whom I nominate “Radio Shoes”. And since the first “R” of “RADAR” stands for Radio, that’s a connection by two different routes.”

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The Nits – Radio Shoes

“Also,” Alex continues, “I imagine most or all of Golden Earring wore shoes.”

Not according to The Great Gog, they don’t:

“Picking up from Alex G, a bit of lazy stereotyping would have the Dutch band’s footwear being clogs. This of course opens up the opportunity for a quick blast of Violinski’s “Clog Dance”.

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Violinski – Clog Dance

70s-tastic, Great Mate!

What time is it? It’s a quarter past George Time! And here he is with another contender for Comment Showboat of the week:

“Taking Gold as a starting point, directly under gold in the Periodic Table is Roentgenium, symbol Rg, named after Wilhelm Rontgen, the discoverer of X-rays. And The Butthole Surfers have a song with lines I Saw An X-Ray Of A Girl Passing Gas, from the Hairway To Steven album. (Apologies to German readers and Germano-philes for not using an umlaut in Rontgen.)”

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Butthole Surfers – I Saw an X-Ray Of a Girl Passing Gas

Last, but by no means least, of your suggestions this week, it’s welcome back to The Beard:

“Golden Earring are famously Dutch. The sport of darts has produced many famous Dutchmen, none more so than current world number one Michael Van Gerwen. In the glamour world of professional arrows, walk-on music is standard. His walk-on music is Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Frontman Jack White appears to have a low boredom threshold/strong work ethic and was also in, among others, The Raconteurs with a couple of gadges from The Greenhornes. My choice is The End Of The Night by The Greenhornes.”

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The Greenhornes – The End of the Night

I was going to post The White Stripes tune for you too, but CC only posted it over at his place a couple of days ago, so here’s the Glitch Mob Remix of it instead:

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The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (The Glitch Mob Remix)

Now, you’ll recall that right at the top of this week’s post, I wrote this: “…not one of you went down the very simple route of suggesting songs which linked to the word “Love” or “Ring”.

Actually, that’s not quite true. For one from amongst our ranks linked to both. At the same time. We’ll deal with them later.”

Well the time to deal with them is now, and that person was yours truly. And surprisingly, I’m not going for the easy joke here. And this is the record:

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Pixies – I’ve Been Tired

Whilst Black Francis/Frank Black/whatever he’s calling himself this week and Kim Deal may be (or have been in the latter’s case) the famous ones in the Pixies, this overlooks their drummer, the fantastically named Dave Lovering. Which is probably why he plays an instrument that is played sitting down, to protect his Lovering. (You know when I said I wasn’t going for the easy joke? I lied.)

And one more from me. Some people claim to be able to use their Radar to establish what sexual preference a person is. Often this is referred to as a Gay-dar. Which sounds too much like this for me to be able to resist:

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Electric Six – Gay Bar

It also gives me the opportunity to post the quite brilliant video for it:

That’s enough Abraham Lincoln’s in posing pouches for this week, I think. Time to reveal what the BBC Radio 2 listening public nominated as their choice to follow on from Radar Love by Golden Earring:

“From ‘Radar Love’ to Elvis Costello’s record label, Radar, hence…”

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23. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Radio Radio

CC – you were so close to gaining some bonus points. So near, and yet so far…

Ok, so you all know what to do next. Send me, via the Comments section below, you’re suggestions for records which can be linked to “Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, along with your explanation of the link between the two (or in The Robster’s case, five).

See you back here in a week’s time!

(More soon)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

In The Chain last week, we had a record by Kenny Rogers suggested by Jamie, the husband of regular Chain Ganger Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? and it occurred to me that I hadn’t posted anything by Kenny in this section.

Time to rectify that.

Well, actually, this is Kenny before he went solo, and long before he got into owning a chain of fast food outlets, which he chose to give the rather unfortunate name “Kenny Rogers Roasters”, which sounds like a newspaper scandal waiting to happen if you ask me. See, it could’ve been a lot worse, eh, Big Sam?

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” is an anti-war song, telling the story of a war-wounded Vietnam vet whose partner, frustrated with his apparent inability to…erm…perform as a result of the injuries he sustained in battle, is heading out to take a new lover.

Which is a thoroughly Country way to address the issues of a war, particularly one as unpopular as the Vietnam war was.

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Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Tonight’s late night tune is one that I always associate with the Nightmares on Wax tune I posted here last week, mostly because I first encountered it when it featured on the same double compilation CD, but also because it sounds bloody great when played directly after it.

I’m not really a fan of drum’n’bass, if indeed that’s what this is (I’ve always been lousy at distinguishing between the many sub-genres of dance music; in my clubbing days I used to try to avoid getting into conversations with people about whether a DJ’s set had been techno enough, for example, since I had absolutely no idea what that meant), but this I love in all it’s dark, unsettling, glory:

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Origin Unknown – Valley Of The Shadows

More soon.

Aww, Shucks, You Guys…

So, I just wanted to say thank you for the incredible messages you left for me in the last week, not just about my post on Monday, but also the ongoing attention you give to my weekly post called The Chain.

I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: I don’t write The Chain post, I just host it. You guys and girls write it, all I do is find the songs (if I can – bloody hell this week’s lot look tricky), piece it all together/copy and past what you’ve written, and stick a couple of lame jokes in there.

A phrase which has been mentioned in a couple of the comments is “labour of love”, a phrase which makes me think of two things: firstly UB40, a thought which I of course ignore, and secondly one of the greatest singles from the 1980s, which I have written about before, and which I love as much today as when I first heard it, sitting outside a trendy bar (the name of which escapes me) in the centre of Peterborough (The Blue Nile and Robbie Robertson were also on the tape they played on repeat), swigging on bottles of Perronni and feeling ever so sophisticated for doing so.

Looking back, this song was the mark of a political awakening for me, landing as it did just as I was discovering The Smiths and Billy Bragg. It’s a record which to this day still fires up folks of roughly the same age as me, give or take the odd fifteen years or so: at a very good friend of mine’s 40th birthday a few years ago (they will remain nameless for they would bloody murder me were I to broadcast their age on these pages), this record got played and the place went appropriately nuts:

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Hue and Cry – Labour of Love

Stone cold classic.

More soon.

Calling Your Name

Over at JC’s ever-glorious place today, the latest in his Saturday’s Scottish Song is a tune by Bronski Beat, and JC of course describes their “The Age of Consent” album as “incredibly brave and groundbreaking”  (and I mean ‘of course’ in the sense that he is 100% correct, rather than in the sense of “predictably”, followed by a weary sigh and a rolling of the eyes).

In the early 1980s, there suddenly seemed to be a lot more openly gay pop stars, and Bronski Beat were arguably the most important; not only did they write songs about being gay in a community that wasn’t exactly “gay-friendly” (I’m thinking of “Smalltown Boy” here, as potent, powerful and emotional a record all these years later as it was the first time I heard it), but they also portrayed an image which, as far as I’m aware, had not been done before: that there wasn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary about gay men.

Out and proud musicians were not a new thing in the early 1980s – we’d had Disco for several years – but up until then gay men in pop music, and probably in popular culture more generally, had always been portrayed as camp, incredibly flamboyant, or both. (see: Divine, Sylvester, or Boy George).

But here, with Bronski Beat, were three blokes who just happened to be gay, who looked like any other blokes you might see on the street, and who, although Smalltown Boy and The Age of Consent are undoubtedly very political records, just wanted to make great pop songs. What Bronski Beat taught us was that one’s sexual preference makes no difference, other than providing a different perspective from which to comment on things.

I mention this, and Boy George in passing, because I read a fascinating article by Alexis Petridis in The Grauniad the other day (apologies, I always refer to it as such due to its fabled propensity for failing to spot basic spelling mistakes and grammatical errors pre-publication). Petridis is one of my favourite music journalists, a view probably somewhat coloured by the fact he was the first famous person (if being a Grauniad journo counts as being famous…), before I started writing this blog, to ever reply to one of my Tweets (a joke about Withnail and I, in case you’re interested). Along with JC’s kind advice on the practical points of how to do this blogging lark (of which I have written, and embarrased him, previously), Petridis’ acknowledgement that something I had sent him was funny was just as an important part in my starting to write here. This wasn’t my mates laughing at something I said down the pub, this was someone I didn’t know, who could very easily have just ignored my Tweet, responding in a positive, probably unintentionally, encouraging way.

But, as usual, I digress. The article in question was an interview with early 80s pop-pioneer and friend of Boy George (and I don’t mean that in a “Friend of Dorothy” kind of way), Marilyn.

Back in the early 1980s, both George and Marilyn were branded as “gender-benders”, which always struck me as lazy, homophobic journalism. What you’ve done there, Mr Daily Mail journo, is find a word which rhymes with gender, and hope that its use as a derogatory term, a playground cat-call, will stick. Which, annoyingly, it did.

That was part of the problem for Marilyn back in the day; his friendship with Boy George was generally construed/portayed as him hanging onto the coat-tails of his famous friend, and as George’s star descended into an unseemly mess of drug addiction and not very good records, so Marilyn’s career spiralled down the spout too.

Make no bones about it, Boy George is an integral part in the story of how gay men came to be accepted as equals in modern society, in the same way as, dated as they may seem now, people like John Inman and Larry Grayson had done in the 1970s. And when people saw Boy George and wondered out loud if “it” was a boy or a girl (there’s a clue in the name, folks), they were positively aplopeptic when they saw Marilyn. And his story is amazing, 2 parts inspirational to 1 part sad. Or maybe that should be the other way round. I’m not sure.

To say any more would be to trample all over the interview itself, which you can read here: When Alexis Met Marilyn

Given the content of my last post, there’s a certain theme (failed pop star turns into drug-addled loser) bubbling up here, and that’s not intentional. Donovan has had his moment of redemption, where the public have gone “Oh, you’re alright really, aren’t you?”. Marilyn is not as big a star as Donovan, nor has he been afforded such a luxury.

What I’m really trying to do is nudge you in the direction of this, one of the greatest, often over-looked, pop songs of the 1980s:

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Marilyn – Calling Your Name

And if you ever need convincing of just how important gay rights were in the 1980s, I urge you to watch “Pride”, an incredible film that I’ve waxed lyrical about before, and which I’m off to watch again now.

Here’s the trailer:

More soon.

All Part of the Service

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t done a Friday Night Music Club post for a few weeks now. There’s a few reasons for that.

Firstly, I felt that I’d kind of painted myself into a corner with that thread in its present format. It had started off as just being a post with a playlist for those of us who, for whatever reason – be it through lack of funds, or having reached a certain age where going out dancing isn’t really a viable option, or simply have nobody to go with – are unable to go out on a Friday night, to enjoy in the comfort of their own living room.

But somewhere along the line, it changed into me posting ten songs on a particular theme. Some of these became tedious for me to write (I’m thinking of the series of three posts about songs that shared a name with a television programme in particular), and judging by the marked drop-off in comments, I guess many of you felt the same way about reading it!

Secondly, I was running out of ideas for themes, although typically I’ve thought of a couple of potentially good ones recently, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it returning again at some point. Ultimately, though, if it does return, it’ll just be some tunes to brighten up your Friday night, something to dance to, sing along to, maybe even shed a tear to.

Thirdly, it was becoming  bit of a drag to do. By about Wednesday every week, my mind would start to frantically scramble for a theme, the panic rising throughout Thursday, reaching a climax around Friday lunchtime. Sometimes I managed to pull a good one out the bag (I’m still quite proud of the post about Radio songs which I cobbled together at the last minute), but more often than not I felt I was boxed in a bit. And, as I’m sure my fellow bloggers will agree, if writing a particular post becomes a bit of a chore to do, then maybe it’s time to move onto something new. As they say on those adverts encouraging us to gamble, “When The Fun Stops, Stop” (like that’s an excuse for the previous thirty seconds of telling us how cool it is to gamble, how much money you could win…don’t get me started…)

Fourthly, I discovered regular Chain contributor Rol’s excellent My Top Ten blog, where he posts ten songs on a certain theme. Here, it seemed, was my excuse to put Friday Night Music Club on a hiatus, for Rol seemed to be doing a much better job of it than I, writing with warmth, wit and charm about a selection of subjects, whilst highlighting a broad range of records.

I mention this, because having been out for a few beers last night, I woke early this morning, still thirsty, and began my usual trawl of the blogs I follow, at which point I alighted upon My Top Ten and found what I think we can safely describe as “a cry for help”.

As part of his “Top Ten Maths Songs (Volume 5: Division) Rol had posted a song by a former Australian soap star (he’s still Australian, just no longer a soap star) that he was a tad embarrassed about. His writings ended with the following words:

“Perhaps I should consult Jez over at A History of Dubious Taste? If anyone will stick up for me here, it’s got to be him…”

Happy to help. All part of the service, no extra charge.

Now, I should start off by saying that back in 1989, I would have rather chewed off one of my own testicles than admit to liking anything by Jason Donovan (for it is he), or indeed anything from the Stock, Aitken & Waterman camp, but I’ve kind of mellowed. Besides, it’s physically impossible, so I’m told.

Now, Donovan (and when I refer to Donovan from hereon in, I’m referring to Jason, not Leitch) has certainly had his troubles: post-Neighbours, and post-pop career, he developed a serious drug problem, taking around two grams of cocaine a day. In early 1995, at Kate Moss’ 21st birthday party, held in The Viper Room, Johnny Depp’s notorious bar on (not Paul) Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, where actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose a couple of years earlier, Donovan suffered a drug-induced seizure which very nearly finished him off too. Lightweight.

Putting aside the whole episode where he sued The Face magazine in the early 1990s for alleging he was a homosexual – which he has later confessed was the biggest mistake of his life – I’ve always found Donovan to come across as quite a likeable chap, as this clip from now defunct-and-should-have-been-out-of-its-misery-years-before-it-actually-was comedy pop quiz “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” illustrates:

So, a drug habit and a bunch of A-List celebrity friends certainly would seem to provide him with an air of credibility that one could argue his recording career didn’t really deserve.

Sure, we may not consider many, if any, of his records to be in any way profound or artistically worthy, but that’s because they’re not supposed to be. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Donovan made pop records, and pop, by its very nature is “here today and gone tomorrow”, transient bubble-gum. But forever tucked away in our CD racks, our cupboards of vinyl, our MP3 folders, there they lurk: pop songs. And some of them are cheesy. And some of them people will stumble over, raise an eyebrow in your direction and say “Really? You like Cleopatra??”

There’s nothing wrong with liking pop records.

So, as part of the newly founded Bloggers’ Solidarity Movement (so newly founded, that’s the first ever mention of it), here’s a song by Jason Donovan that I like.

There, I’ve said it.

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Jason Donovan – Too Many Broken Hearts

I’m perfectly aware that Too Many Broken Hearts is not a great record, but that doesn’t preclude me from liking it. I don’t think this is too difficult a concept to grasp: I’m not wrong for liking it, and you’re not wrong for disagreeing with me.

Oh, and he had a nice hat.

More soon.