The Chain #31

Okay, okay, I’m a little later than usual. My apologies. I seem to have developed some kind of Chain Tourette’s Syndrome this week, incapable of resisting posting an additional link or splurging out another suggestion. You’ll see.

Last week we ended with “Live Forever” by Oasis, and it’s fair to say the Mancunian siblings caused quite the difference in opinions between you, with some voicing “By and large and on the whole, all things considered… Oasis can piss off” and others “Can I start by saying that I bloody love Oasis?”

As usual, suggestions came from one of several broad categories, but where to start?

At the beginning, seems as good a place as any. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area to kick things off:

“Johnny Marr springs to mind (shared manager, guitar given by Johnny to Noel on which he wrote that song I think). Johnny Marr’s solo song ‘Upstarts’ from a couple of years ago was splendid, a comeback. And even though I don’t much like ’em, Oasis were upstarts for a while.”

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Johnny Marr – Upstarts

You can add the fact that Noel Gallagher joined Johnny on stage when I saw him at the Brixton Academy last year to that list of connections too, if you like.

Let’s use collaborations as the starting point to kick on with, and a second suggestion from Swiss Adam:

“Oasis recorded a song with another Johnny. Johnny Depp. Who was attached to Vanessa Paradis who had a hit with the strangely alright ‘Joe Le Taxi’.”

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Vanessa Paradis – Joe Le Taxi

Those of you who read the Comments section will know that prompted a big fat “Did they??” from Yours Truly. In fact, it turns out everyone’s favourite begrudgingly apologetic dog smuggler recorded with them twice, on “Fade In-Out” from “Be Here Now”, and on “Fade Away (Warchild Version)” from the 1995 “Help!” compilation album. In fact, anything with the word “Fade” in the title, and Depp was all over it like a tramp on chips.

He also, of course, plays guitar on this:

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Shane MacGowan & the Popes – That Woman’s Got Me Drinking

But I digress; back to Swiss Adam for his hat-trick of collaboration suggestions (even though his first one wasn’t really one):

“John Squire played with the Burnage numpties at Knebworth. And John Squire was in the Stone Roses without whom Oasis would never have existed. They could also never have written anything as trippy and light as Elephant Stone.”

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The Stone Roses – Elephant Stone

Continuing the theme, let’s shift from people who have played with Oasis, to acts that have featured one of the band (okay, let’s face it, Liam or Noel). Over to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Live Forever is considered by many as Liam’s greatest vocal recording. Although that’s harsh on ‘Little James’. Anyway Liam also contributes vocals to Echo and the Bunnymen’s wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. The irony of that was probably lost in him.”

Wonderful is damning this record with faint praise; I often dread a band I love reforming and releasing their new material, but Echo & The Bunnymen proved the exception to the rule with this:

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever

And of course, with “Forever” in the title, we have a double-linker! We’ll come back to more with a similar (okay, identical) link later on.

The mere mention of Liam gives me the opportunity to post this, from the “Live Forever” Britpop documentary, my favourite ever interview clip involving him, where he is asked if he feels he has an androgynous quality about him:

Anyway, another suggestion from me, this time featuring the other one-eyebrowed wonder. Noel Gallagher teamed up with The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando to record – but never officially release (hence the absence of a proper sleeve and the somewhat shonky sound quality) – this:

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Noel Gallagher & Evan Dando – Purple Parallelogram

What? There were people in Oasis other than Liam and Noel you say? Over to Rigid Digit from Stuff and Nonsense:

“Oasis’ bass player Paul McGuigan co-authored (with Paolo Hewitt) a book called ‘The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw’ about ex Reading and Cardiff City player Robin Friday.

A picture of Robin Friday “flicking the V” at the Luton Town goalkeeper was used on the cover of the Super Furry Animals ‘The Man Don’t Give A F**k'”

He certainly was:

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Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give A Fuck

And, since I’m going to see them next Friday at The Roundhouse perform not only their brilliant debut album “Fuzzy Logic” but also their even better follow-up album “Radiator”, here’s a bonus, a tune I’ve posted before, their epic 22:30 minute long live version from the Hammersmith Apollo, complete with Cian Ciaran’s techno wig out section:

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Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give a Fuck (Live Hammersmith Apollo)

Before I start posting nothing but Super Furry Animals records, it’s time for The Beard to perform an intervention:

“Oasis’ touring keyboardist was Jay Darlington from Britpop no-marks Kula Shaker [Don’t worry folks, he’s not going there]. Their lead singer Crispin Mills was the son of actress Hayley Mills. She starred in the film ‘Tiger Bay’ (alongside, I think, Sir John Mills?) [Correct!]. ‘Tiger Bay’ is also the name of Saint Etienne’s third album. ‘Like A Motorway’ from this album, please.”

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Saint Etienne – Like A Motorway

As usual, competition has been hot this week to come up with the Worst Record of the Week, and here’s The Great Gog with the first, which not only links to the Gallagher brothers, but also to the football team mentioned in The Official Chain link which led us here:

“…the brothers Gallagher support a certain team who are still in the Champions League (sorry, couldn’t resist!)…[*cough* 2-0, 2nd October 2016]…so, the ditty supposedly sung by the early ’70’s City squad, “The Boys In Blue” – although I can’t imagine that the likes of Franny Lee would have been that good at holding a tune.”

No need to imagine, GG, here they are, and let’s just say Franny was no Ossie Ardiles, either on the pitch or in the studio:

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Manchester City FC – Boys in Blue

I’ll be honest, I only posted that so I could bring your attention to the song-writing credits, which will probably seem familiar to many of you. Yes, Godley, Crème and Gouldman – three fifths of 10cc. The muso-nerds amongst you will know that 10cc get their name from the average male ejaculate. 10cc formed in 1972, the same year as “Boys in Blue” was released. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but you don’t need me to do it, you can fill in the wanks blanks.

Anyway, back to you GG:

“Also, there is of course, “Blue Moon” – of which there have been many versions, but as an early contender for Worst Song Of The Week, I’ll plump for Showaddywaddy’s version.”

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Showaddywaddy – Blue Moon

You have to feel a bit sorry for Showaddywaddy, surely the most unintentional casualty of the whole Operation Yew tree thing, for who amongst us didn’t used  to enjoy saying their name in the voice of a certain, dead, disgraced, BBC DJ, TV presenter and paedophile? And now even that simple joy has been taken away from us. I bet Eric Bristow does that impression still. (See, I’m nothing if not topical!)

Something a little more straight forward and less contentious next: here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Until I come up with something obscure I’ll go for an obvious one: ‘Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Mulduar’.”

As it happens, CC wasn’t the only one to suggest this record; step forward Kuttowski from A few good times in my life:

“The first thing that came on my mind was a song by Maria Muldaur. Midnight At The Oasis is one of these songs that accompanied me during the last decades. I really can’t explain why I can’t get this little folk/jazz tune out of my mind. Probably because it is just a good song.”

And here it is:

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Maria Muldaur – Midnight At The Oasis

Now, the more astute among you will have noticed a couple of references to Liam and Noel Gallagher so far. Here’s George to explain the link between these two fine gentlemen with the same surname:

“Oasis had the Gallagher brothers in them. And there are a plethora of bands that have brothers , so I will suggest Creedence Clearwater Revival (who featured two Fogertys) and ‘Born On The Bayou’.”

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou

Oooh- bands with siblings in them, can I play? Please pwetty please?

It seems to me that Scotland has more than its’ fair share of bloody marvellous musical talent, and quite a few music bloggers too, many of whom visit these pages, so this one’s for you, a much overlooked (until that bloody awful musical came out a few years ago; other than featuring the music of The Proclaimers, it has little to recommend it) and rather lovely tune:

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The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith

And, well, if we’re going to have one Scottish band with a couple of brothers called Reid, we’d better have the other one too (PS. Neil Reid was not one of them):

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The Jesus & Mary Chain – Cherry Came Too

Okay. Brace yourself. Here’s George with the winner of this week’s Worst Record of the Week award.

“Going from the Gallagher Brother to two sisters, those two in the Cheeky Girls (one of them married Lembit Opik) and, having consulted with my partner, their most famous song is called Cheeky Song, which I’ve just played. It’s rubbish.”

I do love the way that George always pretends not to know anything about his suggestions for Worst Record of The Week and tries to shift the blame over to his other half. We all know the truth, George, you’re fooling nobody.

Thank god neither of you have heard of Jedward, s’all I can say.

Oh, and a slight correction; Lembit Opik didn’t marry one of the Cheeky Girls, they were engaged but split up in 2008 after a “difficult period” in the relationship, which I think we can interpret as meaning “when he slept with the wrong sister”.

So, here’s what I’m sure will be the least clicked link of the week. I, on the other hand have had to listen to that more times when writing this blog than I had ever had the misfortune to hear it before (Twice).

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The Cheeky Girls – Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)

Look! There’s a Christmas Remix!! If you’re all very good boys and girls, I’ll see if I can find that and post it nearer the 25th. I bet it has some sleigh bells and probably a joke about pulling a Christmas Cracker.

Let’s get out of here, and have some simple songs which link to the word “Live”, the word “Forever”, or some derivative of either.

Time, then, to give the customary very warm Chain Gang welcome to first time contributor Martin from New Amusements (is that a Gene reference I espy, Martin…?):

“I’m going with living forever… having tinkered with synonyms (eternal and immortal) and come to unsatisfactory dead ends (anything by, er, Eternal, and Immortals by Fall Out Boy), I have instead decided to opt for the words “Electric word, life. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time.”

In other words, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Doubly fitting, as those Gallagher boys have been known to go crazy on the odd occasion…”

A classy suggestion, and just what the Doctor order after George let those pesky cheeky-ettes in:

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Prince & The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy

Whilst we’re on lyrical references, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“Oasis claim they’re gonna live forever. Irene Cara claimed likewise on “Fame”. To be fair to all involved, they’re not wrong *yet*.”

There’s still another month left of 2016, Alex. Plenty of time yet.

On the day or so before I write The Chain, I upload all of the songs onto a playlist on my iPod, and give them a listen as I commute to and from work, the idea being that a) I can check all of the mp3s sound okay, b) can get a rough idea of the running order, and c) hope I can think of something interesting or amusing to write about each tune. As I got to off the bus and walked to the office this morning, this tune came on:

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Irene Cara – Fame

I have to say, it put me in a really good mood for the start of the day. You should try it. The only disappointing thing about it was that when I got to the office, not one person was wearing a leotard or leggings, Doris wasn’t squawking “Hi Fidelity” by the water cooler, nor was Bruno attempting to play the photocopier like a piano. Still, can’t have everything.

Back, now, to The Great Gog, who before he started regaling us with Manchester City related awfulness, did actually suggest this:

“My first thought was to suggest another song with the words ‘live’ and ‘forever’ in the title: OMD – ‘(Forever) Live And Die’.”

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Forever Live and Die

Next, as Mark Morrison almost once said, it’s the Return of the Badger:

“But having gone down the forever route…other things can be forever as well. Like Polymers according to Future of the Left….”

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Future of the Left – Polymers Are Forever

“…and fucking if you listen to Babyshambles.” Which I don’t as a rule, but then I’ve listened to The Cheeky Girls twice, I may as well give Babyshambles a whirl:

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Babyshambles – Fuck Forever

Remember earlier we were talking about Oasis records that Johnny Depp had played on? Well here’s fun: that Warchild version of “Fade Away” also featured one time Pete Doherty muse Kate Moss giving it the full Linda McCartey on tambourine. What are the odds, eh?

Here’s George, who doesn’t seem even remotely apologetic for making me/us listen to The Cheeky Girls:

“…on the forever link, what about ‘Forever Came Today’ by Diana Ross and The Supremes?”

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Diana Ross & The Supremes – Forever Came Today

Time for some input from the fairer sex: here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Ok so The Cheeky Girls song may get the prize for the worst record of the week [there’s no “may” about it, it does] but here is another contender. “Forever and Ever” by that hirsute Greek, Demis Roussos. I always thought Neil Diamond (my choice from last week) was a very hirsute man back in the day with all that exposed chest hair, but nothing on Mr Roussos. Come to think of it the Gallagher Brothers are quite hirsute in the eyebrow department, them having only one an’ all. A double-link and a pattern forming here for me relating to hairy men!”

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Demis Roussos – Forever and Ever

Next to return for a second, and indeed a third, suggestion is kuttowski:

“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a live album by Bob Marley from back in 1980. So I suggest Burnin’ and Lootin’”

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Burnin’ and Lootin’

More from Kuttowski:

“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a documentary about the rise and fall of Brit Pop from the mid 90’s to their end. Pulp’s Common People with it’s wonderful lyrics became a signature to Brit Pop.”

Indeed, to my mind the anthem of Britpop, and a song kept from reaching Number One by Robson and Jerome, who also kept Oasis’s “Wonderwall” from the top slot.

Here’s the full length version from “Different Class”:

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Pulp – Common People

Time to hand over to Rol from My Top Ten for his musings of the week:

“First thought: Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever?

Which, if the question referred to the Oasis song, would lead to a resounding “Not me!” I appreciate that some people might feel the same about Queen, but quite frankly they would be, at best, misguided.”

I told you Oasis divided opinions, didn’t I?

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Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever

I’m not sure if it’s distasteful, ironic or entirely appropriate that this is posted just as we pass the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, but since I know Rol is a big fan of Queen (as opposed to a fan of big queens) I’ll go with the latter.

“‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’ comes from the soundtrack of the movie Highlander, which leads me naturally to a lovely early Billy Joel song called ‘Summer, Highland Falls.’ Hey, if we can show Neil Diamond love, Billy must get his too.”

A debate for another day, I think, but certainly one I’ll be backing you up on (up to a point):

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Billy Joel – Summer, Highland Falls

Now, amongst that, you mentioned Neil Diamond, didn’t you? Over to Charity Chic again:

“The by now obligatory Neil Diamond moment – ‘Forever in Blue Jeans'”:

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Neil Diamond – Forever in Blue Jeans

Phenomenal bit of work there, artist responsible for the design of the single sleeve.

“What’s next on the list?”

“Something called “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. Any ideas?”

“How about we just stick his face on some denim?”

“Perfect. Fancy a pint?”

Now this song reminds me of someone, a former flatmate of mine and Hel’s. This was his favourite record by Diamond. I mean, it’s okay but it’s no “I Am…I Said”, is it? Hell, it’s not even “Cracklin’ Rosie” or “Beautiful Noise”. This is one of the perils of house-sharing these days; you can interview them as much as you like, but you never know what people are really like until they move in. This guy was priceless.

He survived on a diet of pizza and pasta on alternating days, then tried to take the piss out of me for eating liking foreign food because I was eating Mexican one evening. His idea of eating pasta was to boil some water, add pasta, drain then add nothing but tomato ketchup. Once, he realised he had put too much water in the saucepan, so decided to empty some out – into the kitchen bin, rather than into the sink. He would eat packets of crisps and just drop the empty packets on the floor. We once found a half devoured bag of Doritos next to the toilet. A toilet which he refused to lift the seat of when he peed, and which he refused to flush before he left to go to work (after we had) of a morning, leaving a gorgeous odour to greet the first person home. He made several unwelcome passes at Hel, and made up an entirely fictitious girlfriend who he claimed worked on a leading TV soap opera, even though we did know someone who worked on the same show who categorically told us the girl didn’t exist. Oh, and he did a runner from the house in the middle of the day when we were at work, leaving me and Hel to cover his share of the household bills, and I suspect, liberating a large chunk of my vinyl – including all of The Smiths original Rough Trade album releases – as he went.

All of which might just about be forgivable were it not for one thing: he liked Kasabian.

Every possible opportunity he had, he would bang on about how awesome they were, and when one of their albums, I forget which, the one where they try and sound like Oasis meets the Stones meets “Rocks”-era Primal Scream probably, like that narrows it down, was voted Album of the Year by Q magazine, he bought a copy (of the magazine), and kept leaving it around the house, open at the relevant page, like we were going to go “Oh, well if Q says it’s the Album of the Year….”

And if it wasn’t Kasabian, it was bloody Mumford & Sons. I rest my case.

I mention all of this now, because one day he burst into the house, breathless with excitement, gushing “Jez…Jez…have you heard of Longpigs? Best…Britpop band…ever!”

Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Longpigs first album, “The Sun is Often Out”. And they gave us Richard Hawley, so for that we are of course grateful In fact, I can’t believe I’ve never posted anything by him – I’ll rectify that over the weekend.

But best Britpop band ever? C’mon…

Anyway, that leads me, in a very roundabout way indeed, to what I think is their finest moment. For if you do Live Forever, then surely it could be said that you go on and on…

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Longpigs – On and On

Ahem. Where were we?

Ah yes, back to Rol, I think:

“Final thought, on the subject of living forever (unless I have another thought)…

Ryan Adams (no B) – ‘Note To Self: Don’t Die’ …would be good advice for any budding immortals.”

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Ryan Adams – Note to Self Don’t Die

Another inadvertent double-linker there, as Mr B-less Adams also once covered Oasis’s “Wonderwall”, as did this lot:

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The Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

Remember when Worst Record of the Week used to be about posting the Cheesiest Record of the Week? Well, that would win, even if it’s deliberately so.

And, just take a look at that Radio 1 sticker that proudly adorns the front. It reads: “As First Heard on the Kevin Greening Show”. Surely I’m not alone in furrowing my brow and saying, “Sorry, who??” Perhaps his career was cut short precisely because it was his show that first played that.

Hang on, Rol’s thought of something else. Having convinced himself not to suggest something by Gallagher and Lyle, he came back with this:

“Oh, I just had a thought about the Gallagher & Lyle route that would lead to a semi-respectable song.

Gallagher & Lyle reminds me of Tate & Lyle.

Tate & Lyle make sugar.

So… Sugar – ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind'”

“Semi-respectable”?? That’s a fine record, and no mistake:

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Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind

“Please post the video so everyone can laugh at Bob Mould’s cardigan,” Rol concludes.

Okay, but I’m rather a partial to a nice cardy, so no sniggering:

Now, who haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

The B Side to ‘Live Forever’ was ‘Up in the Sky’ which is where according to Sugar you would find the City of Armenia.”

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Sugar – Armenia City in the Sky

…which is a cover of The Who track from “The Who Sell Out” of course. And Oasis covered The Who’s “My Generation” on their live album “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”. This week, more than any, we seem to be going round in circles and finding additional links.

“Alternatively,” SWC continues, “the complete opposite of live forever would be dying young so we could have ‘All Die Young’ by much missed Smith Westerns.”

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Smith Westerns – All Die Young

Or, for that matter, this, from the second Blondie album I ever bought as a kid (after I got “Best of Blondie”, but before “Parallel Lines”):

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Blondie – Die Young Stay Pretty

And one more from SWC:

“Live Forever was apparently inspired by ‘Shine a Light’ by The Rolling Stones so we could have that.”

Sure could:

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The Rolling Stones – Shine a Light

Next up, its The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“I’ll make a simple jump from Oasis to fellow Creation recording artists Swervedriver – ‘Rave Down’ please!”

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Swervedriver – Rave Down

I had totally forgotten how good that is, like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Doves.

Last suggestion of the week, and I’ve deliberately kept this one back til last. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of The Robster from Is This the Life? to wrap things up:

“Pre-Oasis, Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Post-Oasis, he formed the High Flying Birds. Therefore I offer ‘Flying Like A Bird’ from Inspiral Carpets’ self-titled comeback album from 2014. I’d also like to dedicate it to their drummer Craig Gill who passed away last week.”

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Inspiral Carpets – Flying Like a Bird

On which poignant note, all that is left for me to do is the admin bit. Here’s the link to the next record in The Official Chain, an underwhelming link as is so often the case, but a great record:

“Oasis used a leisure centre in Swindon as inspiration for their band name. Also from Swindon were…”

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31. XTC – The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

You know the drill by now; your suggestions for records that link to “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by XTC, along with a brief description as to how you got from one to the other, via the Comments section below.

See you next week, Chain Gang!

(More soon).

1985 And All That (May – July)

Let me make something perfectly clear: whilst 1985 was definitely a transitional year for me in terms of the sort of records I was buying, I certainly hadn’t yet cracked this thing called “cool” yet. This will become self-evident when you consider the next batch of 45s and 33s that found their way into my life and onto my turntable.

That said, given the idea behind this blog stems from the book and film “High Fidelity” it seems apt to start this section off with a single I bought which later popped up on the soundtrack to the latter.

220px-Walkingonsunshine Katrina & The Waves – Walking on Sunshine

How I wish I could say that I bought this identically-titled and much cooler tune from a couple of years earlier. But I didn’t. Ho hum. Forget I ever mentioned it.

In one of my earlier posts here, I talked about Andy’s Records, a semi-independent record store (there was a chain of about four shops dotted around East Anglia/East Midlands) which had a basement dedicated to second hand vinyl, and I find myself being drawn downstairs more and more often, sometimes spending hours flicking through the racks in the desperate search for some hidden nugget that some other poor fool had castaway.

Putting aside the term “hidden nugget” and its connotation of being linked to an unearthed gem for a moment, it was here that I picked up the next (non-Quo) album to be added to my growing collection, an album my brother had owned (yeh, that’s right: I know you’re reading this and if I’m going down I’m taking you with me!) and which I inexplicably decided I wanted a copy of too. And who can blame me? Oh yes, anyone else who ever heard “An Innocent Man” by Billy Joel could. For that’s what it was. In 1983, “An Innocent Man” was huge, spawning hit after hit after hit. Buying it at the time might be just about excusable, but two years later? I’m not so sure.

Anyway, rules is rules, so here’s a single from “An Innocent Man” which I have to admit I do still have a bit of a soft spot for:

51ozwZ1Ke-L Billy Joel – Tell Her About It

Actually, I’m being a bit disingenuous here: there are plenty of songs by Joel which I have a soft spot for, not least this, a song I hated at the time, but which became a firm favourite of the Friday Night Music Club, Hel and I often collapsing in fits of giggles after drunkenly squawking the line “children of thalidomide” into each other’s face (if we missed it, we would start the song again) – not that kids born with disabilities is in any way funny just…y’know, props to the guy for weaving that lyric into a hit record.

Andy’s Records also provided me with another album which I bought purely to fill in some gaps in my “classic rock” compendium, a compilation album called “Formula 30”. Check out the track listing here. If anyone can explain to me the concept behind the title of this album, I’d be delighted. The “30” clearly refers to the number of tracks, but the “Formula”? And the band names scrawled on a classroom blackboard? Are we equating classic rock with scientific theories…?

*Shrugs* I dunno…

Anyway, “Formula 30” gave me my first taste of a band that I would soon become moderately obsessed with, further proof (if proof were needed) that I definitely had not got the hang of this thing called “cool” yet:

R-903957-1176299751_jpeg Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing

I’m putting my love (there, I said it) of this record down to my burgeoning desire to better my guitar playing. By this point, I had become relatively competent (even if I do say so myself), and would spend hours upstairs trying to master every little lick, with varying degrees of success. My parents tell me that the moment I got home from school every day, I would race upstairs to get my fix, plug my guitar in, put a record on and play along at maximum volume. The record was my backing band, and I was the lead singer and guitarist, practicing my rock star foot-on-monitor poses for all I was worth. My apologies to the neighbours.

(Of course, any mention of “Sultans of Swing” starts the synapses in my brain sparking, and leads me inevitably to mention this lot. Glorious.)

But for every song on “Formula 30” by Dire Straits, Free or The Moody Blues that decreased my cool rating, there was one which added a gold star, and if you’ve taken the time to check out the album’s track-listing, you will have spotted which band who feature twice on it I can attribute two stars to:

R-903957-1176299751_jpeg Roxy Music – Virginia Plain

Seriously, in the canon of great debut singles, that must rate pretty highly.

And of course, noting the 11th track on the album (or Side Two, Track Three as vinyl-heads may prefer) I can’t let the chance to post this slide.

And the horror of some of the records I picked up in Andy’s Records doesn’t end with “Formula 30”. Oh no. Around this time, my mother commented that money seemed to burn a hole in my pocket: no sooner did I have some, than I was pleading for a lift into town so I could go browsing in Andy’s Records second hand emporium.  What other explanation, apart from a rush of blood to the head, or temporary insanity, can there be for the purchase of this album:

Genesis83 Genesis – That’s All

Yes, not content with having bought Phil Collins & Philip Bailey’s “Easy Lover” a year earlier, I found myself parting with my hard-earned for this abomination. The only solace I can glean from this purchase is that at least I picked it up second-hand and so I wasn’t further lining the pocket of Mr Collins. (In 1992, Phil Collins was attributed with a quote that he would leave the country if Labour won the election. Questioned on this later, whilst neither confirming or denying he said it, Collins admitted that he certainly did not want most of his income taken. He said this from his home in the tax haven country of Switzerland. This album contains a song called “Illegal Alien”. Go figure. And let’s not forget him faxing his soon to be ex-wife over their impending divorce. What a guy.)

Think anything I’ve posted so far qualifies as the most embarrassing record I bought in this chunk of 1985? You’re wrong. Much worse was still to come.

But not just yet.

On to slightly more contemporary (for the time) records. Next up, less controversially titled than “Black Man Ray”, but no less baffling lyrically:

China-Crisis-King-In-A-Catholi-116069 China Crisis – King in a Catholic Style

When writing this post, I did some research into what this record is actually about. All I managed to find was this post on one of those song lyric websites:

“The song has such strong political overtones, although not as well executed as some bands for making political statements.
Still, fairly insightful lyrics, a catchy beat, what more can you ask?”

Yeh, thanks for that.

And just what is going on in that record sleeve? *Shrugs* I dunno…. (Have I got a new catchphrase here…?)

Next up, an album which came out in early 1985 but which I held off buying until now: “Songs From The Big Chair” by Tears for Fears. A couple of years earlier, they had been one of the bands that the cool kids were into. Of course, me being me, I arrived to the party late. Better known for huge singles “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, “Shout” and the frankly rather wonderful “Head Over Heels”, the next song was released at the arse-end of 1984, the first single to be lifted from the album, and is somewhat overlooked when compared with that list of smasheroos from the album:

Tears_for_Fears_Songs_from_the_Big_Chair Tears for Fears – Mother’s Talk

All funky bass and synth-stabs, I’m not sure it’s possible for a song to sound any more 80s than that.

Next this:

billy_idol__white_wedding Billy Idol -White Wedding

Seriously, you don’t need me to tell you about this record do you? Thought not.

The next one takes some explaining. Drum roll…for it is time for the award for the “Undisputed Worst Record of This Post”, which hands down goes to:

jimmy-nail-love-dont-live-here-anymore-virgin-2 Jimmy Nail – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

I know. What the fuck was I thinking? Well, I’m afraid I have no justification for this whatsoever. At the time I did, and it’s time for the obligatory Quo mention. At the time, I was under the impression that Rick Parfitt played guitar on the record. Now, as I am forced to admit I actually paid money for this soulless slaying of the Rose Royce classic, I can find no evidence to support this. Roger Taylor from Queen? He’s certainly there. But Parfitt? Well he’s in the video …soo…

Anyway, this is indicative of just how all-consuming my obsession with the Quo had become. If only there had been such things as Quo-patches (and not the sort I had sewn into my denim jacket) to help wean me off all things heads-down-no-nonsense-boogie-esque. Don’t worry, I snap out of it soon enough.

Now. An apology. The original intention of this blog was to a) chronicle every record I bought in the order that I bought them, and b) provide an anecdote related to the purchase of said record, where possible. Regular, patient readers (patients…?) will have noticed that this latter point has rather fallen by the wayside somewhat recently. Truth be told, much as I’d like to believe that everything I do will be of endless fascination to everyone else (I’m hoping you sense the tongue-firmly-in-cheek tone of that last statement), as I’ve worked my way through all of the records, I’ve realised that there simply aren’t as many funny things to tell you about as I had hoped. So, sorry that this has become a bit “and then I bought this…” recently.

1985, however, gives me plenty to tell you about. Or So Much Thing To Say, as Lenny Henry would quip. Not necessarily linked directly to record purchases, but still snapshots of where I was at at the time. Sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

See, 1985 sees the start and equally swift end to my career as a petty criminal. (I say end, but in fact I had two further run-ins with “the law”, once for riding pillion on a motorbike without a helmet, the other for singing as I walked down the fast lane of the A470 at 3am in the morning singing.)

First, some back info. In 1984, some of my mates from school had gone on a fortnight’s trip to Sweden with the school’s Canoe Club. (Every school had a Canoe Club, right…?). They had returned with tales of high jinx and hot girls, so when the Canoe Club announced they were going to do a similar trip to Norway in 1985, I signed up.

Shortly before the trip, a friend (who had best stay anonymous for legal reasons – let’s call him Pete) and I went into town to pick up a few provisions for our holiday. At this point, we had every intention of paying for them, but once in Boots the Chemist looking to purchase a battery for my pocket torch, Pete whispered in my ear “Nick it! Nick it!“. The next thing I knew, the battery was safely deposited in my pocket and we were skedaddling from the scene of the crime sharpish.

I know. Crime of the century, right? Eat your heart out Ronnie Biggs!

Flush from our successful pilfering debut, next on the shopping list was socks. Not just any socks, for this was the 1980s. Oh no. White socks were the order of the day. In fact, they were probably already unfashionable by 1985, but that was me, late again. And so to Littlewoods, an online vendor these days, but back then a reputable high street chain-store. Littlewoods was situated over two floors in Peterborough’s Queensgate arcade, the first floor of which offered several vantage points from which you could look down (and throw things) onto the shoppers below. One such spot was immediately outside Littlewoods.

Pete and I entered on the ground floor, collected the bounty that was a four-pack of gleaming white socks, before making our way upstairs, me via the escalator, Pete by way of the adjacent staircase. It was here, where I thought I could not be spotted, that the socks got dropped into my bag.

On exiting the shop, we stopped to lean nonchalantly against the railing, and it was then that over Pete’s shoulder I spotted a bloke who seemed to be trying to draw my attention to something without making it obvious he was doing so. Turning, I was confronted with two security guards, who launched into the “we have reason to believe you have items in your bag which you have not paid for” speech, and I was invited to accompany them to their office. They turned to Pete and told him that as he wasn’t actually with me at the point of theft, he was free to go, unless he wanted to come too, an offer which he politely declined before fucking right off. Cheers, mate.

Pete and I were actually supposed to meet his parents for lunch that day, about half an hour after I was nicked. He went, and had to spend the entire time pretending that we had got separated in the sprawling metropolis that is Peterborough, and he had no idea where I was. Had it happened now, of course, they would have just called my mobile (which would have been confiscated, and the police would assume that all the calls were from disappointed punters trying to work out where the stolen goods they’d ordered were).

Back in the store, meanwhile, I found myself standing like a naughty school boy (which of course was exactly what I was) in front of the manager. After a brief interrogation, wherein I apologised profusely for my moment of madness (copyright Richard Madeley, Winona Ryder et al) and offered to pay for the contraband (he declined), he instructed the security guards to call the police. He then left, leaving me sitting with my head in my hands, pretending to cry whilst peeking through my fingers to see if the security guard’s heart would melt at my histrionics. It didn’t of course: he remained with his hand on the door handle, as if I was likely to try and make a run for it.

The police duly arrived, about six of them – clearly they considered me to be a major catch – and proceeded to escort me through Queensgate, me surrounded by coppers, like a celebrity with his entourage and security. I was then bundled into the back of a police van and driven off to the local police station. Clearly they were making an example of me, and at the same time, scaring enough shit out of me to make sure I never went shop-lifting again. (It worked).

Once at the station, you have to be interviewed, booked in and read your rights by the Duty Sergeant. However, on arrival I found there was a queue of similarly arrested teenage (or younger) shoplifters, and I was instructed to take my place against the wall at the back of the line.

As we all stood there in shameful silence, a policeman walked by, and asked each of us why we were here.

“Nicking” said the first lad.

“What?” asked PC Plod.

“A personal stereo” came the budding Oliver Twist’s response.

The same question was asked of the other two in the queue; I can’t remember what their answers were, but they were definitely cooler and harder things to steal than my meagre haul.

And then it was my turn.

“What about you, sonny?”

“Four pairs of socks” I replied, eliciting smirks from my new found fellow thieves.

“Socks???”

“Yes sir. White ones.”

There was a pause for dramatic effect. I’ll give him something, this guy’s comic timing was impeccable.

“Bet you feel a bit of a twat now, don’t you?” said the copper, looking back down the line and proffering a “Hark at him!” gesture at my fellow convicts. I couldn’t disagree.

Finally I got to the desk, where my particulars were taken down, and my pockets emptied, at which point the shocking presence of the battery was exposed.

“What’s this?” my interrogator asked.

“A battery” I replied, matter-of-factly.

“Nick this as well did you?”

“No, I bought that”.

“Oh? Where’s the receipt then? And the bag?”

“I didn’t keep the receipt and I didn’t ask for a bag.”

“Where did you buy it?”

“Boots.”

“Which counter?”

“The photography department” I answered, the first thing to come into my head.

“Well, we’ve got you there Sonny Jim. My wife works on the photography counter in Boots on a Saturday. I can give her a ring and see if she remembers you.”

I may only have been a kid, but even I could spot such an obvious bluff.

“Okay. Feel free to ask her” I replied, looking him straight in the eye. I wanted to add “Though I don’t think they’re allowed to take personal calls during opening hours”, but thought better of it.

I was then led to a cell, where I was to be held until my parents had arrived. Before entering the cell, they make you remove your shoes and belt, and anything else you might potentially use to top yourself whilst in custody. (The shoes have a dual suicide purpose: firstly, the laces could be used to hang myself, secondly, as a teenage boy, one whiff of the insoles would have induced a catatonic state at the very least).

I handed these over, and went into the cell, to find I was sharing with the youngest of the three other kids I had been lined up with. He was displaying considerably less bravado than he had when in the queue, sitting on the bench, knees up against his chest, arms clasped round them, sniffing in an effort to stop himself from crying.

The door slammed behind me, and I decided that as my cellmate was about to blub, I needed to show I was top dog, that I wasn’t bothered, that I was the Norman Stanley Fletcher and he was the Lenny Godber of this cell. I lay down on what was left of the bench, and proceeded to have a kip.

I was woken some time later by the sound of the flap in the door clanging open, and the words “Oi! You! Get up, your parents are here” being barked through. I assumed, as did my cellmate, that as he had been here longer than me, it was his parents, and he got up to leave. However, it turned out his folks gave less of a fuck about him than mine did about me.

“Not you” shouted the kindly policeman, “you!” It was directed at me.

I mentioned earlier that they had taken my shoes and my belt; the reason I was wearing a belt that day was because I was wearing a pair of grey canvas trousers with a popper button (I know, cool, right?) which had a nasty habit of unpopping at inopportune moments. This, of course, transpired to be one such moment.

As I stood up, I failed to notice the popper had performed its usual trick, leading me to literally fall over my trousers which had, in true slap-stick style, plummeted to around my ankles. Lord only knows what the police must have thought I was doing with my cellmate….

Into the interview room, where I was met with understandably frosty glares from my parents. I was released with a caution, the only thing my mother saying on the drive home was “Well, you’ll never get a job now”. The subject was never mentioned again, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be the first time my brother has ever found about this (although I might have told him during a drinking session sometime).

It was not until several years later that I ever discussed the events of that day with my parents. Luckily we can laugh about it now, although I am always disappointed that, bearing in mind the identity of store from which I had stolen, this old, slightly adapted, joke didn’t happen on that day:

I had a phone call yesterday.

“Hello?” I said.

“Hello. This is Dominic from Littlewoods”

“Littlewoods? Oh God thank you thank you thank you! I’ve won the football pools!! I’m rich! Rich! Rich!!!!”

“Er…no….we’ve just caught your son shoplifting.”

We’ll save the trip to Norway for next time. To finish off with, a song which perhaps goes some way to explaining the reason I stole that day, a jealousy of those who seemed to get everything they wanted with minimum effort, and the last of the singles I bought (yes, bought) in this chunk of 1985:

522b5c8dd844503c7dfa41b149d2c053 Dire Straits -Money For Nothing

Or I could just blame Pete.

More soon.