Happy Heart

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. Here’s somethings I’ve been doing of an evening instead of writing stuff here:

  1. Listening to podcasts
  2. Watching football
  3. Going to the cinema
  4. Watching DVDs
  5. Catching up on TV shows I recorded whilst doing the above.

On Monday, I finally caught up with the podcast interview with Irvine Welsh on Unfiltered with James O’Brien which came out a couple of weeks ago. You can listen to it here (those with delicate ears should be warned it contains multiple swears):

As with pretty much every edition, it’s a fascinating listen. In it, Welsh tells the story of how, having seen Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, he wanted to sell the rights to Trainspotting to him, and was about to do so, when he accidentally sold it to a competitor who he thought was associated with Boyle, but wasn’t. Fortuitously for him – and for those of us who love Trainspotting the way Boyle made it and the many wonderful films he has done since – the situation was rectified.

On Tuesday, after watching the match on TV, I watched the last part of Come Home, the BBC drama starring Christopher Eccleston, an actor I really admire and who I have waxed lyrical before, here. I’ll come back to this at some point over the weekend.

And so it was on Wednesday that I figured the stars must be aligning and that it was time to revisit Shallow Grave, a film I’ve loved ever since I first saw it when I was really putting my degree to full use, working in a video rental store in Cardiff in the early 1990s.

In case you’ve never seen it, here’s the plot: Three flatmates (played by Eccleston, Ewan McGregor and Kerry Fox) have a spare room in their flat, which they rent out to Hugo (Keith Allen). However, shortly after he moves in, the trio find him dead with a large suitcase full of money. They agree to keep the death a secret and the money for themselves, and to bury the body in the woods.

Needless to say, it does not exactly go to plan…Hugo and the money are being tracked down by a couple of psychopathic killers (one of whom is played by a very young and  almost silent Peter Mullan, he of twinkly-eyed kindly lovelorn Mum fame; here he is, I think it’s fair to say, considerably less twinkly-eyed), the police start sniffing around (cue a glorious cameo from the wonderful Ken Stott as Detective Inspector McCall) and Eccleston’s character starts to behave…let’s say erratically.

There’s some neat twists and surprises at the end which I won’t spoil for those of you who’ve never seen it, but as the final act is played out and the credits start to roll, it does end with this glorious song, which seems just perfect for a Saturday morning to me:


Andy Williams – Happy Heart

More soon.

The Chain #19

Hello, and welcome to The Chain Gang (© Charity Chic)

You’ll forgive me if I crack right on this week, as we have an awful lot to get through.

Ok, so we ended last week asking for suggestions for records to play which had some vague connection to Elvis Presley’s “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”, and I’ll tell you straight off that one of you managed to suggest the song that follows next on the official Chain. So: bonus points will be awarded at some point in today’s post.

Exciting this, isn’t it?

So let’s get cracking shall we?

First out of the traps today is Alex G from We Will Have Salad who writes:

“I’m sure there must be other Maries in popular music (though I can’t think of any off the top of my head), but I do know that Marie’s the (real) name of the fairly popular vocalist and light entertainer, Lulu. So in accordance with your request for some cheese (and because I don’t actually know very much by Lulu), how about “Boom Bang A Bang”?”

I can’t pretend this isn’t a song that I love and have posted before, so I’m not complaining. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the UK’s entry into the 1969 (a good vintage, by the way) Eurovision Song Contest:


Lulu – Boom~Bang~A~Bang

For those of you who don’t know the Euro-tale behind this, it was back in the days when the UK wasn’t hated by the rest of Europe, and we regularly stood a fairly good chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1967, Lulu’s tune was the UK’s entry, and it was involved in a four-way tie for first place, with France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Regrettably, there wasn’t time to go through the process of establishing an out-and-out winner on the night, so Lulu was proclaimed joint-winner.

Moving swiftly on and can we all give a very warm Chain Gang (© Charity Chic) welcome to babylotti. Now, babylotti seems to be one of those rare creatures to contribute to The Chain (although numbers are starting to flourish): someone who doesn’t have a blog of their own. Regular readers will know that this is something I want to encourage: I love having my regular blogging buddies suggesting stuff to play here, but I also want more people who just pop by, read, listen and download (for assessment purposes only, of course, before purchasing their own copy) to join in, so: babylotti, you are very welcome here. Just don’t take the piss by posting loads of suggestions, okay?

“Maria McKee collaborated with Youth on a project called Sweetest Child, their one & only single being of the same name, so my suggestion is that.”


Youth feat. Maria McKee – Sweetest Child

Now. Strictly speaking, I should be declining that suggestion on the grounds that the song we’re linking to has the name “Marie”, not “Maria” in it. But, before there are complaints from the locals: I’m going to let it slide this time, for three reasons: firstly, it’s your first time here so I’ll cut you some slack; secondly, for a time in the late 1980s I loved Miss McKee’s band Lone Justice, and they will feature again here soon, so I’m more than happy to hear some of her solo-ish work; thirdly, I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I, diligent and warm host that I am, have posted both. So, shush. Maria McKee suggestion stands.

Take the pressure off me, someone, please?

Ah, here’s Charity Chic, creator of the Chain Gang name with which you are all now blessed (I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t think of that.)

“I suspect I would lose points for the fairly obvious Marie Marie by Shaking Stevens. So what about the original by The Blasters?”

No, but you might lose points for placing an erroneous g where a ‘ should be in his name. Very long term readers will know, I was pretty much obsessed with the Shaky one when I was a kid, so sorry, you’re getting both versions:


Shakin’ Stevens – Marie Marie


The Blasters – Marie Marie

Speaking of points, here’s….no, not yet, calm down, I’m just messing with you…

Oh wait, it’s Charity Chic again!

“I see a Maria has already sneaked in. Maria was a song in the musical West Side Story (don’t panic I’m not stopping there) Squeeze had an album called East Side Story which included the wonderful Tempted.”

CC, you have redeemed yourself:


Squeeze – Tempted

If I had to say anyone had mastered the art of getting multiple songs played here, it’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who sent this:

“I was going to start with suggesting eternal flame by The Bangles. In the hope that the latest flame lasted for ever…”

Hmmm. At least you didn’t go for the Atomic Kitten version, I suppose…


The Bangles – Eternal Flame

“Then I wondered what would happen if Elvis in the throws of passion called out ‘oh brenda’ to be met by Marie saying ‘that’s not my name’. Which just so happens to be a song by the ting tings.”


The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

“….but then after scrolling through the iPod for a vague chain link I came across ‘Her Name was Audre’ by Maximo Park. Which seems perfect.”


Maxïmo Park – Her Name Was Audre

I have to admit I kinda lost interest in Maximo Park after their second album, so it’s rather nice to hear something from later on in their career. Time for to me to revisit them, I think.

Hold up. babylotti’s back:

“I shall suggest another one, Sister Marie Says by OMD, from their 2010 History of Modern LP, though written in 1981 it sounds like it could have appeared next to Enola Gay and not been out of place. And he sings this as Sister Mary, not Marie to add to my earlier Maria faux pas”


OMD – Sister Marie Says

I can’t say that anything by OMD had crossed my radar since they stopped writing records for Atomic Kitten (there’s a separate theme starting right there…) and reformed, but I take your point about that sounding like something circa Enola Gay.

babylotti’s not finished there though:

“Ok last one, I suggest His Latest Flame – “Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt” for hopefully obvious reasons…..”

Now, there’s a name I’ve not heard for a long time.


His Latest Flame – Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt

It seems our new friend has an interesting definition of the phrase “last one” though (I’m teasing by the way):

“To add to this chain, I’m going to make the leap from Somebody’s gonna get hurt, to Somebody’s going to get their heads kicked in tonight…. the original or The Rezillo’s one, your choice….”

Since I’ve posted two versions of Marie, Marie I can’t really not do the same here, now can I, Chain Gangers?:


Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite

Rezillos - Can't Stand The Rezillos The (Almost) Complete Rezillos front

The Rezillos –  Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight

And now, as they say, for something completely different. Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“‘(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame’ was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, as was the Andy Williams classic, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’.”


 Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

I figured using the album sleeve, with it’s “And Other Requests” was more appropriate than the single sleeve for that one.

Here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? with something else of a certain vintage:

“As we all know, at one point Elvis’ latest flame was Priscilla Beaulieu but Priscilla was also the real name of that other ’60s singer/light entertainer Cilla Black. (Don’t worry it’s not going to be Alfie) – Going to choose her very first release, the Lennon & McCartney penned song Love of the Loved please.”


Cilla Black – Love of the Loved

Back over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog, and to S-WC:

“Two suggestions from me. Elvis famously resurrected his career in Vegas. Vegas was a song by Sleeper. So we could have that. I forget which album it was on – the first one I think.”

Indeed it was. As I purchased this on cassingle (remember them?) back in the day, I’ve plumped for the single version though:


Sleeper – Vegas

The very thought of Louise Wener still makes me go a little weak at the knee….

Here’s S-WC’s second choice:

“The second one is that Elvis as well as singing about Flames called Marie also wrote about being ‘In The Ghetto’ which is probably his finest moment. That was memorably covered by Leatherface on their 1989 classic ‘Fill Your Boots’”


Leatherface – In the Ghetto

Remember how earlier I said ‘I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I diligent host that I am, have posted both.’? Well, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? back for a second bite:

“I’m back as now having listened to my last suggestion it sounds truly awful so to redeem myself I’m going to suggest that other Elvis – Costello. He also sang about a girl’s name, the lovely Alison.”

Even if I wanted to complain about multiple submissions (which I don’t), that is not a song I could resist posting (so I won’t):


Elvis Costello – Alison

Hold up, here’s George with what I think we can all agree is this week’s clear winner of the Comments Showboating award:

“Here goes. The song (Marie’s the name) His latest Flame was originally sung by Del Shannon. Unfortunately Del Shannon killed himself with a gun (in 1980). And two years earlier Terry Kath had killed himself with a gun, although this was accidental [this from Wikipedia: “Don’t worry about it … look, the clip is not even in it.” …….Kath showed the empty magazine………….then replaced the magazine in the gun, put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. However, there was a round in the chamber, and Kath died instantly.] Terry Kath was in the band Chicago, whose song 25 and 6 to 4 is pretty good.”

If, like me, you’re more familiar with Chicago for their slushy ballads (“If You Leave Me Now”, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” etc.) then I’d heartily recommend you give this one a listen to see what they used to sound like:


Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4

But George isn’t done just there. No-siree-bob:

“I was going to link to The Smurfs but they’re Belgian….so instead. Elvis Presley’s manager was Tom Parker (who was Dutch, and I thought the Smurfs were Dutch but they’re not). And Parker was a character in Thunderbirds, he was Lady Penelope’s chauffeur/manservant. And Felt did a song called Penelope Tree.”

As I mentioned in the Comments to last week’s post, I cannot believe I’ve not posted anything by Felt before, lead singer Lawrence being one of the great unsung heroes of the UK independent music scene:

felt-penelope-tree-cherry-redFelt – Penelope Tree

Ordinarily, I’d save my own contribution until the end, but as George has kindly taken me halfway to both of my suggestions this week, I may as well go now.

Parker was indeed a character from Thunderbirds, and back in 1989 the renamed, rebranded, repackaged Fuzzbox released a single as a homage to those superheroes on  puppet strings:


Fuzzbox – International Rescue

Of course, they weren’t the only band who released a Thunderbirds-related single, for in 2004 those naughty Busted boys had a hit with the theme to the movie. But I’m not going to play that. A Thunderbirds related Busted song? On these pages? Don’t be so ridiculous.


Busted – What I Go To School For

Back over to you guys, and here’s Swiss Adam from bagging area with – drum roll please – the correct suggestion, by which I mean, the next official record in The Chain:

“Marie’s the Name was the inspiration for the riff to Rusholme Ruffians and on Rank and at live shows Marr jammed the two songs together.”


19. The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)

Bonus points (again) to Swiss it is then!

Over to The Great Gog now:

“Some good tunes already suggested: Smiths, Felt & OMD. Hit by the perils of just returning from hols with all the good suggestions gone, and I feel like I’m being forced into a bit of fromage. I’ve been on a cruise ship on the Baltic for the last fortnight, and I believe Tony Christie was doing such venues at one point. He of course had a girl called Marie who was apparently hanging around for him in Amarillo, presumably as there was nothing else to do there.”

I really wouldn’t worry about the fromage, GG. You’ve seen what I posted,right?


Tony Christie – (Is This The Way to) Amarillo

Those of you who read the Comments on this section as they come in will know that Charity Chic posted a very intriguing comment, which I invited CC to expand on:

“You’re wrong there about Amarillo GG – I once spent an hour in a turkey compound there hiding from an armed and unstable man in a El Camino truck intent on causing us harm.”

For those of you were as fascinated as I was for more details, he has indeed spilt the beans, here. (Oh and cheers for the plug!)

Whilst we’re on Charity Chic, here’s a first: a (kinda) dual suggestion by two of our Chain Gang regulars. Firstly Swiss Adam of bagging area, flush with his bonus points, returns with three simple words:

“Absolutely Sweet Marie”

Since no artiste was given, I can only assume Swiss meant this version, as opposed to, say,the George Harrison or Jason & The Scorchers versions:


Bob Dylan – Absolutely Sweet Marie

…at which point, CC chipped in with:

“The Jason and the Scorchers version please”

Fair enough!


Jason & The Scorchers – Absolutely Sweet Marie

And so we come to the last suggestion of the week, and it’s a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Rol from My Top Ten:

“The Smiths was my first, most obvious, choice… but for something a bit more obscure, how about Flame On! by Captain America? “

Happy to oblige. I seem to remember this lot getting into a spot of bother with a certain high street retailer back in the day. Can’t think why:


Captain America – Flame On

Ok, so before I wrap things up, two things. Firstly: CW, thanks for your comment and I – no, we all – look forward to your suggestions in the future. And secondly, many many thanks for all of the  messages about my cousin, it really meant a lot to me that some of you took the time to pass on your kind words of support.

Before I get all teary-eyed, I’ll end for the night. Your suggestions please for any record that you can link to The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” which is lifted from their 1988 live album (and Rough Trade contract fulfilling) “Rank” – via the Comments section at the bottom of the page please!

See you same time, next week.

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Oh ok, I admit it then. I’m not Father Christmas. I’m a very naughty boy.

So back to the tuneage, and I figured that after yesterday’s feast of festive forlornness, I’d liven things up with a couple of songs by your actual crooners.

For me, Christmas is a perfect time to revisit some of these easy-listening idols, so here’s a couple to get us in the mood. First up is walking talking Grecian 2000 advert (on this album sleeve anyway), Andy Williams:


Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And then there’s Dean “King of Cool” Martin, member of The Rat Pack and provider of the next song; so iconic was he that you can just picture him, tuxedo on, bow tie undone, his trademark glass of scotch in his hand:


Dean Martin – Let it Snow

I think he must have drawn those baubles himself, using his tumbler holding hand with the tumbler still in place.

Next on my list of easy-listening, velvet on the ear crooners, is…er….Billy Idol.

What do you mean you never knew Billy Idol had recorded a Christmas song? Course he did. He only went and recorded a whole album of the ruddy things back in 2006. Don’t believe me? Well, with a sleeve straight out of a family round robin card, here you go:


Billy Idol – Here Comes Santa Claus

Actually, that leads me rather nicely on (slightly disingenuous of me that, I totally planned it) to a couple of rock legends for some songs about that old fella who’ll be breaking into your house later, necking your sherry, scoffing your mince pies, and treading reindeer crap right the way through your house:


Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

I have to admit that I had no idea until I was writing this that that hadn’t been a single in its own right, but rather was tucked away on the B-side of his My Hometown single. See, it’s an education for us all this, isn’t it?

And it seems that at some time or another, every grizzled old walnut faced warbling misery guts has got in on the Christmas record act:


Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan in bouncy Christmas record shocker? What next – Morrissey covering “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”? Leonard Cohen doing “While Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night?” (Actually, I’d happily buy both of those.) Van Morrison teaming up with Cliff Richard? Oh wait…that one actually happened….:

How was that allowed to happen?

But it’s not just weird Christmas collaborations that have me scratching my head though:


Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa

Er…doesn’t Santa come down the chimney. He can’t mean…no…he doesn’t….can he??? Dirty boy.

Moving swiftly on, a song from a Christmas Peel Session which, as far as I’m aware, never got commercially released, although as always I’m open to correction about that. For example, for some reason I had it in my head that this was recorded at Peel Acres, but a little digging on that there internet tells me that it was just done at the normal Maida Vale studios, and transmitted to an expectant nation back on 18th December 2002. Two years later, Peel was dead. I’m not saying the two things are linked, but I don’t think we should rule it out just yet:


Belle & Sebastian – Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me

(I’ve no idea who photo-shopped that, but whoever you are, I salute you.)

By 1978, The Kinks were no longer the force they were back in the 60s, and that’s fairly evident from this single which, to be honest, could just have easily featured in yesterday’s post, telling as it does the story of a department store Father Christmas who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids demanding that he gives them money instead of toys, which he should give to “to the little rich boys” instead:


The Kinks – Father Christmas

To round up things on this Christmas Eve, a song which I think has to go down as one of the weirdest Christmas records I own. Years ago, whilst trawling through the second hand section of Andy’s Records in Peterborough, I stumbled across a compilation album of alternative versions of Christmas songs. It includes a prototype version of “Step Into Christmas” by The Wedding Present, “The First Noel” by Test Crash Dummies, “Silent Night” by The Primitives, a load of other (possibly Australian, since the album came out on Aussie label Dead Line Records) acts, but which culminated in the definitely not Australian but definitely not to be fucked with Henry Rollins:


Henry Rollins – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.