Same Title, Different Song

If you’re reading this, it means the post I had hoped to publish on Saturday morning remains incomplete, and will probably turn up later today. And no, it isn’t the next edition of The Chain, and yes it is a Rant, which I always have to research and source quotes and which consequently takes up a little more time than the usual guff I post.

Such as this.

In 1964, The Beach Boys released this, which became their first Top Ten hit in the UK, and their first #1 in the US. You can tell it’s still early days for the band from the photo on the sleeve of the single, which is clearly taken before they settled on the Hawaiian shirt look:

On a wet weekend, when many of us are forbidden from venturing outside anyway, this is exactly the cheerful, summery content you want, right?

Whenever I hear The Beach Boys I am immediately taken back to the night I went to see Adam Buxton perform live at a venue in Islington. He was trying out old material, checking to see what still worked in front of a live audience, as he would shortly be recording and releasing a live DVD, subsequently released under the moniker Adam Buxton’s Old Bits. The show was utterly hilarious, but the crowning moment came at the end, when he launched into the introduction of a piece I’d seen him do on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

A murmur of recognition spread across the theatre as he began this bit, closely followed by a sense of excitement. The clip he played seemed longer than the one he used on 8 Out of 10… but in all honesty it was difficult to tell as I was laughing so hard I very nearly fell off my chair.

Sadly, said clip used to be on YouTube, but since it became available for commercial release, it’s been blocked/removed, but I have tracked it down to a post on Twitter. Hopefully this works:

Such a simple joke, but so perfectly, meticulously executed.

If the Rant post doesn’t appear later, it’s because I’ve re-watched that so many times. Not even sorry.

And as for the song with the same title? Well, there’s probably loads, but I’m plumping for a song which celebrates female promiscuity. I recall offending a very dear lady friend of mine (by “dear” I mean much loved, not expensive) by telling her that this song always reminded me of her, for she would often (and with the benefit of hindsight, I meant occasionally) regale me with stories about scrapes she had gotten herself into when hooking up with boys. For legal reasons, I will not be naming her.

This is a total banger, by the way:

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

Some of the subject matter has been a tad on the heavy side round here recently – (alleged) rape, the exam result travesty (now thankfully rectified), the asylum seeker “crisis”, my impending colonoscopy – so I figured today I’d just post something dumb and fun.

Before I do, a big thank you to all that got in touch with good luck messages about the procedure I underwent this week. As always, I was blown away by how many of you took the time to get in touch. You know me, I will be providing you with a post which provides a lot more detail than you probably wish to know at some point. I’ll try to make it obvious so that the more squeamish amongst you don’t read it.

I’m going to be spending much of this weekend writing the next part of The Chain, with a view to posting it next weekend, so if you haven’t submitted your suggestion yet, get a scoot on if you want it to be included. To refresh your memory, the source record is, God help us, Beautiful Day by U2: submit your suggestions via the Comments page here or, if you must, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com

This morning, though, a Chain-lite post: three songs linked by nothing other than their song title and this chap:

As mentioned in a recent post, I first became aware of the first band a few years before many others in the UK did, thanks to my brother returning from America with a copy of their 1983 Pyromania album for me. To the rest of the UK (except, presumably, the residents of Sheffield) they were ‘that band nobody over here has ever heard of, but are massive in America, apparently’.

By the time 1987 rolled around, they were now known as ‘that band nobody over here has ever heard of, but are massive in America, apparently, and have a one-armed drummer.’ For that four-year hiatus was due to drummer Rick Allen losing his left arm in a road traffic accident and, commendably, the rest of the band waited for him not only to complete his rehab, but also to invent a whole new drum system which allowed him to continue to play, minus one limb.

So this was their first single on their return, and whilst none of their previous singles has troubled the UK Top 40, this reached #6:

Def Leppard – Animal

Little did we know they would go to release such preposterously-titled singles as Let’s Get Rocked! and Pour Some Sugar On Me….both of which test my “There’s no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure” philosophy to knicker-elastic twanging point. But love ’em I do. Sue me.

Fast forward a good few years. It is 2003 and I am at my first ever Glastonbury festival. Headlining the Pyramid Stage on the Friday night are my idols, R.E.M.

At this point, we are unaware of what an utter dogturd of a record 2004’s Around The Sun would turn out to be. The band play a blistering set with *gulp* some new songs they want to try out.

Look, I understand the reason that bands do this. The songs are a work in progress, and they want to gauge the audience reaction, and decide which ones need a little more work. The problem is, the audience reaction on hearing these new songs for the first time is generally polite applause, the underlying subtext being: Now play something we know. The band learns nothing from us. I begrudge bands doing this less if it happens at a gig where it is just them that are playing, to hardcore fans who who’ve paid to see them, but when they’re headlining a festival? C’mon, we just wanna hear the hits.

The set is mercifully free of much new stuff; there’s just Final Straw – which appears in the encore – and which makes the cut for the aforementioned Around The Sun album, and Animal, performed fourth on the night, and which is conspicuous by its absence from the forthcoming, not very good, album.

It does, however, get released as a single in 2004, in advance of the album it will not appear on. The British record-buying public is indifferent, shrugs, and it reaches #33.

I’m not saying it’s bad record, but it is, to these ears, the sound of a band floundering, trying to recapture past glories, and not quite managing it:

R.E.M. – Animal (New Mix)

Thank Goodness for that “New Mix” (of a record which has never been released before)!

It is here that I expect The Robster to pop up and correct me by pointing out a different version appears on the 2003 compilation In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003

Anyway, moving on….

Thirdly, finally, this, a record I first heard on a 2012 mix album by Annie Mac called, wittily, Annie Mac Presents…

Yes, this is what I’ve been building up to, and yes, this is such a great record, all boinging basslines and sing-a-long chorus. Plus, it’s nice to hear from an act with a double I in their name. I can’t think of another. Except Piink Floyd and Iiron Maiden and they don’t count for obvious reasons (I’m convinced there’s a better joke in there somewhere, but I’m buggered if I can find it).

Anyway: this is great. Listen and enjoy:

Miike Snow – Animal (Crookers Remix)

More soon. Probably something unpleasant.

Same Title, Different Song

And blimey, are they different.

First up, from 1987, a pioneering example of sampling:

M/A/R/R/S – Pump Up The Volume

And by way of utter contrast, from twenty years later, a song about having to break away from getting it on to make sure your partner is fully appreciating the effort you have put into the soundtrack to your getting jigginess:

Art Brut – Pump Up The Volume

Both brilliant in their own sweet way.

More soon.

How To Do A Cover Version

In my book, if an act can so over-whelmingly own a tune that you have no idea it’s a cover version until you check the writing credits, that’s job done.

For example (and I’ve mentioned this before), a lot of people don’t know that Status Quo’s Rockin’ All Over The World is a John Fogerty (of Creedeence Clearwater Revival) tune.

Similarly, until I had a good look at the liner notes on Life’s Rich Pageant – which I’d owned for quite some time – I had no idea that this wasn’t an R.E.M. original.

So, the original:

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The Clique – Superman

…and the cover, which is probably my go-to cheer-me-up record of the moment:

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R.E.M. – Superman

And, as a special treat because you’re all so nice, a completely different song with the same title which I really like, from the really rather excellent A Glasgow Band album:

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Ewan Cruickshanks – Superman

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

The more astute amongst you will have noticed that usually by this time of year, the last weekend in July, I’ve posted a whole load of summery songs over what turned out to be a brief summer.

This year, it seems the weather has managed perfectly well without my help, thank you very much, so I’ve stayed out of the way.

Until now.

Two songs, one which isn’t really about summer, but has the word in summer in the title, and evokes that whole Young Rascals/Isley Brothers summer groove, the other which is unashamedly about summer, unabashedly pop, and, as those of us who refuse to look down our noses at them know, unapologetically brilliant:

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The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (’89 Mix)

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Girls Aloud – Long Hot Summer

Now, let the rainclouds roll in and unleash. We need to grow food to stockpile.

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

Did you ever have one of those conversations where you suddenly felt very old?

Let me give you an example.

Shortly after I started working for an insurance company in Cardiff, about 20 years ago now, I found myself as an Acting Team Leader on the Teleclaims section; “Acting” because the actual Team Leader had gone on long term sick, and they didn’t want to actually promote me in her absence because that would have meant paying me more.

The Teleclaims section was the first point of contact should you ever need to make a claim. Or, if you wanted to find out what was going on with your claim. In the latter case, it was an unwritten rule that you should never bother the person actually dealing with the claim. I was rather good at this; I’d have a quick read of the file whilst the caller was on hold, then call the handler, ask them if I was right about where I thought the claim was at, then reassure them I wasn’t going to put the caller through, I’d get rid of them myself. 9 times out of 10  I’d be successful, and I quickly got myself a reputation as “the bloke who never makes handlers talk to customers.” My popularity burgeoned.

It was for this reason, I think, that I found the title of Acting Team Leader foisted upon me. But now my job had changed; now I spent most of my time shouting at people to answer the phones rather than actually answering them myself, or, quite often, taking complaint calls and politely explaining to the caller why they were wrong.

See, I’m not really management material. But on the occasions when I’ve found myself in vaguely managerial positions throughout my working life, I’ve been a firm believer in leading by example. Don’t ask others to do things you aren’t prepared to do yourself, is my motto. In fact, one job I did ended rather abruptly, shortly after I confronted a manager who had told me to “Do as I say, not as I do,” and I told him he was a twat.

So when I was an Assistant Supervisor at Boots (check me out with all my not-quite-boss credentials), I felt awkward telling other people slightly further down the food chain than I to jump on the tills when it was busy, so I’d often do it myself. Then there could be no arguments when I did tell someone to do it. Plus, I got to have a nice sit down.

Anyway, back to the insurance company. It’s busy, and I decide to answer a few calls, one of which involves a policyholder whose name is Paul Newman.

Call completed, I, of course, cannot resist making a comment about having just spoken to Paul Newman to the folks around me. Not a particularly funny comment, I’ll grant you (although that was definitely the intent) but one which I thought would gain a reaction from somebody.

Instead, I was met with blank looks.

“Y’know. Paul Newman.”

More blank looks.

“The actor. The very famous actor,” I semi-pleaded.

A bale of hay blows through.

“Makes salad dressing…..?” I offered.

A wave of recognition.

And that’s how you know when you’re getting old. When somebody you know for doing the main thing they’re famous for is known by young people for doing something less significant. I now refer to it as “having a Paul Newman moment.”

To apply this to a musical setting: a few years later, I’m still working for the same company, but I’ve progressed. I now deal with potentially expensive claims, where people (say that) they’ve been injured in an accident with someone we insure. I find myself sitting next to a lad who has been transferred from a different office. Usual in-between work banter occurs, and it transpires we have a lot in common in terms of musical taste. (Later nights out would reveal that he also rather liked taking pills; needless to say, we got on very well. Also needless to say, for the very same reason, I’m not going to mention his real name.)

Steve. Let’s call him Steve.

In one of our we-really-should-be-working-but-nobody’s-checking-what-we’re-doing chats, Steve revealed that he really liked The Automatic, a somewhat perfunctory Welsh indie band, best remembered for their single Monster. Credit where credit’s due, though: our conversation took place before they’d had any hits (if indeed their hit count extends into plurals). But he had one gripe with the band: he hated the additional vocals which Alex Pennie often provided, finding them obtrusive and annoying.

“A bit like Einar from The Sugarcubes, then?” I offered.

Cue the blank looks from “Steve”.

“You know. Einar. From the Sugarcubes.”

More blank looks.

“Used to pop up in the middle of every Sugarcubes song, and just start shouting pseudo-avant garde nonsense?”

Is it me, or is it getting warm in here?

Turns out, in musical terms, you know you’re old when you know the name of somebody in The Sugarcubes who wasn’t Bjork. And some of their records.

Like this one:

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The Sugarcubes – Hit

And, making a second appearance in as many posts, here’s a different song with the same title:

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The Wannadies – Hit

And just to tie things up neatly, here’s a song by The Automatic which isn’t Monster and which isn’t the best example of a song which features Pennie’s irritating backing vocals. It is, however, a song about a sandwich shop in Cardiff, and I rather like it for that at least: R-1056600-1188654629_jpeg

The Automatic – Raoul

More soon (football permitting).

Same Title, Different Song

I’ve not done one of these for a while, but since my recent post about the music featured in the BBC dram series The A Word got such a good reaction, I thought I’d post one of the songs which featured in Episode 2:

ORANGE_JUICE_I+CANT+HELP+MYSELF-98557

Orange Juice – I Can’t Help Myself

…which, of course, name checks this:

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The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself

And there’s another one, by a band I love, which features twice on B-sides and early singles compilation by the group in question. This is the second of those, a gorgeous reworked version, far superior to the original, recorded as part of a Radio 1 session (for Mark Goodier’s show I think, but doubtless Martin over at New Amusements – who gets a cheeky plug in the album’s art work too – will be able to confirm):

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Gene – I Can’t Help Myself (Radio 1 Session 18/05/94)

I’m going somewhere with this, you’ll see where soon enough.

In other words: more soon.

Same Title, Different Song

In 1982, Dave Robertson of Stiff Records made a suggestion to a new label signing: record three cover versions to attract everybody’s attention, then release an original composition and it will be a massive hit.

The band dutifully obliged, releasing covers of The Dixie Cups “Iko Iko”, Shirley Ellis’ “The Clapping Song”, and Inez & Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird”.

And then, the killer song what they wrote themselves (to quote Ernie Wise), which in 1983 gave them their biggest hit, their only UK Top 10 (See? Dave knows best), and an absolute stone-cold classic to these ears. I speak, of course, of this:

the-belle-stars-sign-of-the-times-stiff-3

The Belle Stars – Sign of the Times

Of course, The Belle Stars weren’t the first act to record a hit single by that name, nor would they be the last.

Take Bryan Ferry, for example. In 1978, on hiatus from Roxy Music, he released his fifth solo album, “The Bride Stripped Bare”; this was the second single of four lifted from it, and the only one to grace the UK Top 40, and even then only reaching No. 37:

Sign_of_the_Times_(Bryan_Ferry_song)

Bryan Ferry – Sign of the Times

An honourable mention at this point to Prince, who would get a bit more written now had he not abbreviated the word of to o’, which saves me precisely no time to either write or type:

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Prince – Sign O’ The Times

You’ve probably guessed where I’m going next. Yup, in one direction only. (See what I did there?)

I’m surprised to find that I really like this next song. For a start, I don’t think I’ve liked any songs released by his former band, but then again, I don’t think I’ve ever really listened to anything by them, so don’t be too flabbergasted if at some point one of theirs crops up in the This Is Pop thread elsewhere on these pages at some point.

I’m also surprised because at just over five and a half-minutes long it seems just a teensy bit too long given that, well, nothing really happens in it, it doesn’t go anywhere, it just flits between falsetto and what appears to be an impression of Kelly Jones of Stereophonics fame.

But sometimes you find yourself liking a record not because it fits the remit and sound of the type of thing you like, but despite it. And such is the case with this (which I’ve deliberately misspelled in the hope that I’ll avoid a take-down notice):

harry-styles-sign-of-the-times-single-2017-instagram

Hairy Stiles – Sign of the Thymes

There. I’ve said it. And I feel so much better for it.

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

May I start this post by taking the unprecedented step of asking that you go away and visit fellow bloggers and much valued Chain Gangers SWC and Badger’s place, When You Can’t Remember Anything

The boys have just finished their mammoth 2016 postings, a song (and often more) a day listing of their top 200 songs, compulsory reading in my book. Two things I learned from their blog last year: firstly, that there are many, many tunes which had never crossed my radar which are bloody ace, and secondly that both SWC and Badger are bloody good writers: every post is entertaining, usually funny, occasionally incredibly moving, so y’know, don’t go just to download the tunes, read what they’ve written too. You won’t regret it.

The boys have just started a new project, the does-what-it-says-on-tin “Three Songs With The Same Title”, where each week they will post three songs with the same title, then reveal which song will feature the following week, and invite readers to contribute their suggestions, just on the off-chance that they’ve missed one.

As they say “This is another series in which we are sort of ripping off someone else (read blatantly), basically all the good ideas for music blogs have gone…so we are taking existing ideas and erm, twisting them.”

S’ok, they mention the similarities between this and my weekly Chain post, so I’m not saying anything they haven’t mentioned themselves; I’m not stealing their thunder or trying to take credit for their idea. Besides, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

But what that does mean is that I’m going to retire this thread to give the boys a clear run. What can I say? It’s tough being a trail-blazing pioneer…. (my tongue is placed firmly in my cheek as I type that, by the way).

But let’s be honest: I rarely post anything on this thread and they’ll do a way better job, more regularly, on their blog than I have done here anyway .

So I’ll sign off with one last post on this thread, and chaps: my apologies if this was a song title you planned on using later on.

The other night – bizarrely, the night before the WYCRA boys announced their new theme –  I dreamt of three songs with the same name title (or as I thought, two with the same name and one slightly different one) but on closer examination, I find that all three are ever so slightly different.

So let’s start with this one and build from there:

charlie-rich-the-most-beautiful-girl-epic-6

Charlie Rich – The Most Beautiful Girl

I genuinely have always thought that was called “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” which means you can probably guess where I’m going next:

princethemostbeautifulgirlintheworld

Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

Incredibly, that remains Prince’s only UK Number One to date. I mean, what does a guy have to do to get his second? He died last year and still we didn’t manage to make anything from his back catalogue top the charts. Shame on us, it’s the very least he deserved.

That said, for me “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” is not one of his better records, it’s certainly not one of my favourites; actually, and I appreciate this may be sacrilige to many of you, I’d rather listen to this duo than that tune:

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Flight of the Conchords – The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)

“You’re so beautiful…like a high class prostitute

You’re so beautiful, you could be a part-time model

(But you’d probably have to still keep your normal job)”

Genius.

And that’s Same Title, Different Song done for the time being, idiosyncraticly signing off with three songs with different titles. I’m a maverick, and no mistake.

Over to you chaps.

More soon.