Try Not to Let the Door Hit Your Arse on the Way Out

Exit-Sign

Following the attack on Westminster a few weeks ago, you may recall I wrote a little thing about how certain famous people would undoubtedly use it to further their despicable far-right agenda.

So you can imagine how happy I was yesterday to hear that one of those I mentioned in said post, Katie Hopkins, is to leave LBC radio “with immediate effect”.

The reason for this swift exit was a Tweet she posted – and then swiftly deleted – in the wake of the Manchester tragedy. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:

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It wasn’t the baiting of Philip Schofield (of all people) that caused the ruckus, it was the reference to “a final solution”. I would hope that you will understand the reference without my having to explain, and why saying such a thing is vile and offensive, and yet further evidence of what a nasty piece of work she is.

Having deleted the Tweet, she reposted it, with the word “final” replaced by the word “true”, claiming it had been a typing error. Well, it was certainly that, but perhaps not in the way she meant. Personally, whenever I try to type the “true” I accidentally type the word “final”, and vice versa. They’re just so similar, aren’t they?

I wonder who’ll she’ll be supporting in today’s FA Cup True? Oops, there, it’s just happened. It really is so easy to do, isn’t it?

She remains employed by The Mail Online, of course. But then that sort of comment resonates with the majority of The Mail’s readership. She’s probably considered quite the moderate, in fact.

Sadly, whilst she still has thumbs with which to (mis)type, I fear we’ve not heard the last of this trouble-stirring, self-promoting, blethering racist.

It is worth nothing that Hopkins is not a member of a political party; indeed, according to the Spectator she has applied to join UKIP several times but has always been denied. Let that sink in for a moment. Even UKIP consider her too toxic to be associated with.

So, as is the norm round these parts, this seems appropriate:

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Blondie – Just Go Away

More soon.

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).

The Chain #27

Evening all.

Before we get going a disclaimer: if I seem a little distracted tonight, it’s because I’m trying to accomplish that task that so many (men) find difficult – multi-tasking. For tonight, whilst writing this, I am also watching Spurs in the Champions League. So, if my demeanour takes a turn for the worst towards the end, you’ll know why. (As you can see, I’m full of optimism….).

So, to business: last week I left you with “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and asked for your suggestions for songs to link to it, and, as usual, you’ve not let me down with the standard of suggestion or level of link.

As is often the case, the majority of the suggestions fell into the same categories, and this time there were four

  1. Links to the names of members of the bands
  2. Links to the word “Animal(s)”
  3. Links to the word “House”
  4. Links to…erm…the oldest profession in the world.

There are a few others which we’ll sprinkle liberally throughout the post too.

  1. Band Members Names

Now, you’ll remember that the reason we’re looking at “The House of the Rising Sun” was because one of the members of the band was Chas Chandler, who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix, the subject of last week’s post, so it only seems right that we start with a Chas related record.

Also, there wasn’t that much in the way of cheese last week; this redresses that immediately.

Over to you, Charity Chic (who is going to be annoyed that I have already started one sentence with the word “So”):

“Let’s get the cheesy one out the way at the start – Chas ‘n’ Dave with Snooker Loopy”:

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The Matchroom Mob with Chas & Dave – Snooker Loopy

Next up, is George:

“John Steel of The Animals met Alan Price in Byker. Byker Grove was a TV programme that gave us Ant and Dec…but we’ve already had Ant and Dec….I’ll start again…”

And have a word with yourself while you’re at it, George.  It was PJ and Duncan we previously featured, and as we all know, they were completely different to Ant and Dec. One of them had been tragically blinded in a bizarre paintballing accident, for a start. (“Bizarre Paintballing Accident” sounds like a suggestion from a random “New Order/Half Man Half Biscuit/Elvis Costello” title generator, doesn’t it? Actually, thinking about it, that joke works just as well with the words “New Order” and “Elvis Costello” removed from it.)

Over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad for the next name related piece of fun:

“Alan Price was in The Animals, therefore… “£20 To Get In” by Shut Up And Dance.” 

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Shut Up and Dance – £20 to Get In

Time for my first suggestion of the week. Alan Price appeared in, and composed the music for, “O Lucky Man!”, a 1973 film directed by Lindsay Anderson. Five years earlier, Anderson released arguably his most iconic film, “if….” which is also the name of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling, but is also the name of a single culminates in a glorious sing-a-long, probably my favourite song by The Bluetones,  who make their hat-trick appearance here on The Chain.

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The Bluetones – if…

Now, here’s George with his first proper suggestion:

“Chas Chandler: a chandler was the person in charge of candles and wax, and speaking of wax leads to The Three Johns song Teenage Nightingales To Wax.”

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The Three Johns – Teenage Nightingales To Wax

But before George returns with his second suggestion, here’s Dirk from Sexyloser:

“In fact, George, it should lead to Nightmares In Wax’ ‘Black Leather’ instead, bearing in mind that Pete Burns died only a few days ago.”

A fair point. I didn’t comment or mark Burns’ passing here at the time because, well, to be honest, I’m all dead pop-starred out for this year. Still, here he is:

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Nightmares In Wax – Black Leather

Back to George for his third suggestion, not to a band member, but to their manager:

“The manager of The Animals was Mickie Most. Mickie Most set up the RAK label, and Hot Chocolate were signed to that label. And the song is Emma. Which is a fine, fine pop song.”

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Hot Chocolate – Emma

Last one for our linking band members names, and here’s The Beard:

“Alan Price had success after leaving The Animals with Simon Smith and The Amazing Dancing Bear which was also covered by The Muppets on their debut album.”

It was, and I very nearly posted their version (it’s by Scooter, which would have led to a lot of very disappointed fans of the German dance band accidentally stumbling across this place), but the Muppets will be making an appearance later, so we’ll pass on that.

Besides, I don’t think that’s the record our Bearded Buddy was looking to nominate, as he continues:

“Animal was, of course, the drum bashing Muppet. A similar sounding drummer is Philthy Animal Taylor from Motörhead. Their single No Class is in fact pure class.

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Motorhead – No Class

Which leads us rather nicely onto the next category, but before we go there: we’ve all seen over the years boy bands exploit their innocent fan base by releasing a single which featured a different member of the band on the cover? Well, who knew that such acts weren’t just restricted to the teen market….?:

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Time to sprinkle a little uncategorisable magic dust. And some more shameless nicking of ideas.

I’ll let The Great Gog, who suggested it, take over:

“The Animals also recorded We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, which was covered by (lovable?) 90s Scousers, Space. A couple of decades earlier, a French band of the same name came to our attention with the then futuristic-sounding Magic Fly.”

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Space – Magic Fly

Take a look at that sleeve. Remind you of anyone? Seems a little bit daft, a little bit punk to me. And there was me thinking Daft Punk were ground-breaking, and it turns out they’re just rehashing ideas from their fellow countrymen from the 1970s. Luckily, very few of the UK’s current pop stars follow suit, or most of them would be in prison. Maybe that should be unluckily…

By the way, that suggestion continues a trend which I’ve encountered a couple of times since I started hosting The Chain, and which Alyson identified following my Halloween night post, a condition known as “Oh so that’s what that record’s called”. (see also “House of the King” by Focus and another one that I’ve forgotten already.)

Speaking of Focus, that hasn’t been an issue for me so far, it’s 0-0 at half time, in case you’re interested.

Last one before we start looking at the sings in the Animal(s) category, and here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun. Melt-Banana is a Japanese band who have quite a few songs that mention animals. They once released a compilation called 13 Hedgehogs which included tracks called Iguana In Trouble, Turtle vs. Bunny (Who One?) and Pig To Dog. But I’m going for the fabulously-titled Bird-Like Monkey in Cave, Singing in Drops, basically because it’s the only one of the above that breaches the 2-minute mark. (There’s also Bird-Like Monky Part 2 on the same album if you prefer – it’s just seven seconds long and for that reason might be a little more bearable for those with tender ears…)”

Regular readers will know I love Japanese bands like Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then. So when The Robster suggested this lot, who I’d never heard of before, I was positively moist with anticipation:

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Melt-Banana – Bird-Like Monkey In Cave, Singing In Drops

No offence, Rob, but that reminds me of this:

Let’s move on to some Animal based fun. Not that kind of fun. Purely aural fun. Not that kind of aural fun either, you mucky lot.

    2. Animals

You’ll remember that last week I had to disqualify one suggestion because, well, as far as I could establish, it was wrong. I was disappointed, as the link led to one of my favourite cover versions. I’m delighted to report that Swiss Adam from Bagging Area has taken up the challenge:

“The Animals are named after our four legged friends. On the cover of The Rockingbirds’ ‘Gradually Learning’ 12″ single the guitarist (who also plays with Edwyn Collins) is riding a horse (which is of course an animal). The Rockingbirds covered Right Said Fred’s Deeply Dippy….”

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The Rockingbirds – Deeply Dippy

“…which,” Swiss continues, “features several references to Spain in its lyrics. Spain is partly famous for its horses, as Roddy Frame noted.”

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Aztec Camera – Spanish Horses

Next, a very, very warm welcome back to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, now able to type and submit his own suggestions again, and boy does he make up for lost time:

“I have three suggestions, but you don’t need to pick all three.”

Need? No. Gonna? Yes.

“Animal was the drummer in the muppets, and it was also a track from on ‘Paradise Don’t Come Cheap’ by gravel voiced hip hoppers New Kingdom. So we could have that.”

Yes, we could.

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New Kingdom – Animal

“Or, ‘Animal Nitrate’ was a poor attempt at clever wordplay by Suede but a very fine single never the less. So that…”

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Suede – Animal Nitrate

“…or finally, and perhaps best of all, another word for a bunch of animals could be Animal Collective and therefore we probably need to hear ‘Brother Sport’ by them.”

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Animal Collective – Brother Sport

And just as I finish posting my fellow Spurs’ fan Badger’s entries, we go 0-1 down. Ho hum.

Time for the return of The Robster:

“The mentions of Animal the muppet reminds me that the Muppets appeared in the video for Weezer’s ‘Keep Fishin’” in which Miss Piggy kidnaps Pat, Weezer’s drummer, and Animal has to fill in.”

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Weezer – Keep Fishin’

I can’t really let the chance to post a Weezer’s videos slide, especially when it features the Muppets:

Which leads me on to my next choice. There’s plenty of songs called “Animal”. I have deliberately picked one of the worst.

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Def Leppard – Animal

That’s enough Animal based shenanigans. To category 3!

      3. House

Plenty of these, and I am now taking no notice of the television, treating it like you do the nutter on the bus, or any one you don’t know on the Tube: ignore it, maybe it’ll go away.

Here’s SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything to kick things off:

“I’m going to down the house route. Just saying. Not sure in which direction that will take me yet. Probably ‘Rock Da House’ by who ever did that. Or ‘The Jack that House Built’”. Perhaps.”

Since I’m trying to distract myself from the football (I can’t just turn it off, obviously), you can have both whilst you think about it:

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The Beatmasters feat The Cookie Crew – Rok Da House

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Jack ‘N’ Chill – The Jack That House Built

Which must mean it’s my turn again. This, a song I have posted before, a long time ago, is one of the finest, most often-forgotten singles from the early 1980s:

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Big Sound Authority – This House

Seems there weren’t as many of these as I thought, for here’s SWC again, although he does have two for us:

“My suggestion based on…an hour rifling through old copies of ‘Deep Heat’ is ‘Hip House’ by DJ Fast Eddie…”:

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DJ Fast Eddie – Hip House

“…If you can’t find that then probably House of Jealous Lovers by The Rapture.”

More than happy to post that, one of the grooviest indie records to come out in the last…Jesus, was this thirteen years ago????

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The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

So more sprinkles. Here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Eric Burdon always looked grumpy whenever I saw him perform or in photographs. Decided it was maybe because he was also moonlighting as an ironmonger (the jackets in the HOTSR cover are just like those worn in our local shop when I was a youngster). Whenever your dad asked them for anything in the shop it was never on a shelf and they always had to go upstairs to the storeroom for it. Led me to thinking of Upstairs at Eric’s by Yazoo and I think my favourite from that album was Don’t Go.”

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Yazoo – Don’t Go

For our American readers, that’s Yazz to you, which must have been very confusing when the other Yazz and her Plastic Population appeared a few years later.

Hold up, The Robster’s back, and he’s only going to suggest something else by Melt-Banana….:

“I’ve reassessed my choice of Melt-Banana track and thought maybe we should have something that vaguely resembles a song. Which led me to another compilation the band released called Return Of 13 Hedgehogs. It contained their cover of Toots & The Maytals’ ‘Monkey Man’. Certainly a mite more tuneful than ‘Bird-Like Monkey…’”

Remember earlier when I said I liked Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then? Well it turns out that Melt-Banana do too, it’s just they’ve stumbled over one that isn’t one of their own:

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Melt-Banana – Monkey Man

And on to the fourth and final category:

     4. The Oldest Profession in the World

You don’t need me to explain what that means, do you? You do? Erm, can you have a bash Charity Chic?

“The House of the Rising Sun was a place of ill repute. I’m told that such establishments are also known as brothels or bordellos.  So ‘Start Wearing Purple’ by Gogol Bordello please!”

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Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple

It’s funny how the menfolk who make suggestions here tend to feign ignorance when it comes to “being told” what kind of house is being described in The House of the Rising Sun. Take Dirk for example:

“Alright, apparently [see? – Ed] said house in the song really seems to be a brothel, a bagnio, a bordello, or, if you’d rather, a whorehouse. And this reminds me of Wreckless Eric’s ‘Semaphore Signals’. “Why’s this?”, you might be asking yourself – and quite rightly so! The truth of the matter is that for years and years I misheard the lyrics of ‘Semaphore Signals’ a little bit (blame it on my poor English, but hey – could you Englanders sing along to all of Tocotronic’s fantastic debut album? Nah, I bet your German is not good enough, right? I can though!). Either way, it was an embarrassing moment when I finally found out, albeit 15 years or so too late, that Eric says in the chorus “Messages of love down to her house” and not “Messages of love from the whorehouse”.

Still, he should have done. Perhaps. ‘Cos, whenever the tune comes up in the car when I’m on me way to work in the morning these days, I have a picture in my brain of half naked hookers waving little flags … and it always brings a stupid grin to my face!

P.S.: the Peel-Session version is marginally better than the album version.”

Mental note to self: stay off of the autobahn in the morning.

Here’s the Peel Session version, complete with a sleeve where Wreckless Eric’s name has inexplicably been mis-spelt (it’s entirely possible it’s a different Wreckless Erik, but there’s can’t be two, can there?):

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Wreckless Eric – Semaphore Signals (Peel Session)

Guys, guys…just because you know what a brothel is, it doesn’t mean you’ve been to one. Have a bit more pride on your knowledge.

Take kuttowski AKA Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life, for example, back for a second week and he’s not messing about:

“The fact that in this house the oldest profession was practiced it leads me to two songs about prostitution.” There. He’s said it. “First was Blondie’s X-Offender where she first played with her sexual attitude in front of the band.”

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Blondie – X Offender

What’s the other one, kottowski/Walter?

“The other one is ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen. Mercury made no bones about the song’s meaning, explaining, ‘It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation on it’.”

We don’t really need to bother, now you’ve told us, do we Freddie?

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Queen – Killer Queen

Time that we heard from Rol of My Top Ten fame:

“Sticking with the brothel theme, I have two suggestions this week. (Both taken from My Top Ten Prostitute Songs, sorry.)

Elvis Costello – Love For Sale (or the Nina Simone version, if you prefer). Cole Porter rules.”

Now. I have looked everywhere for a copy of Nina Simone performing “Love for Sale”. I can’t find it, or any reference it. But rather than disqualifying a suggestion for the second week running, and in the unlikely event that you may have just got them mixed up somehow, you can have Billie Holliday’s version instead:

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Billie Holiday – Love For Sale

PS – Rol, if you can point me in the direction of Nina’s version, I’d love to hear it!

Luckily, there can be no confusion about who his next suggestion is by:

“Flight of the Conchords – You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute (Sting has a lot to answer for.)”

There’s a further Muppet link here, too of course: Bret McKenzie won an the Best Original Song Oscar for “Man or Muppet” from their (the Muppets, not the Flights) 2011 comeback move.

Anyway, taken from, shall we say, their difficult second album, which in my opinion is patchy at best (the first album is essential listening), this is one of the better tracks:

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Flight of the Conchords – You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute

Which just about wraps it up for the prostitution related songs, except, well just in case you don’t get the Sting reference, I found this when I was trying to track down the Nina Simone version of Love for Sale:

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Idina Menzel – Love For Sale/Roxanne

Now, I have no idea who Idina Menzel is, or rather I didn’t until I decided to add her to this post. She’s an actress, best know for appearing in “Glee” and more recently for being Queen Elsa in “Frozen” which apparently means it is her that sings that “Let it Go” song which seems to get referenced everywhere these days, but which I’ve never heard, nor do I ever want to, thanks very much.

Anyway, the reason I’ve included her version is for the audience reaction, which at the start of “Love for Sale”, a Cole Porter composition, is absolutely nothing, before a smattering of applause and whooping (it’s recorded in America) welcomes the second line of “Roxanne”, like the crowd have been stirred from their slumber by something they kinda recognise.

Oh, wait. I have one more song from this theme. As regular readers know, I love this band, particularly their early stuff, and this is a song which is right up there amongst my favourite ever tunes by them. Wikipedia says the song “concerns a young man’s encounter with a prostitute”, which explains why they called it “Mystery Song”. Although “Song Concerning a Young Man’s Encounter with a Prostitute” would have been a great title too, should Colorblind James Experience ever decide to cover it.

Anyway, put simply, this rocks, it rocks more than anything else on this page. So there.

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Status Quo – Mystery Song

Incidentally, there’s a vaguely amusing story behind that song. That came out in 1976, when the band were at the height of their fame, and also well on the road to the drug addiction which made lead singer Francis Rossi’s septum fall out. When they were in the studio working on their “Blue For You” album, Rossi laced Rick Parfitt’s cup of tea with “an inordinate amount” of speed, not expecting him to drink it. You can work out how the rest of the story goes: he drank the lot, oblivious to the contents, began playing this riff and continued to do so until the rest of them left the studio, leaving him in there all night. On their return the following day, he was still sitting in the same place, playing the same riff, some twelve hours later. “I just couldn’t go wrong,” Parfitt recalls, “everywhere my fingers went on the fretboard it sounded fantastic.” Drugs, see kids. Don’t do them. Especially speed. Anyone who has read my article about what happened at Glastonbury the year I found a bag of the stuff will know I know exactly what I’m talking about.

Okay we’re on the home straight now, just some more sprinkles of magic dust to go, and to start off this final section, can we all give a very warm Chain Gang welcome to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense (and anyone with a picture of Rigsby as their avatar is alright by me):

“Approaching his 50th Birthday, John Otway asked his fans for a second hit single to follow 1977s “Really Free”. The chosen track – Bunsen Burner – nicked the music from Disco Inferno, and Otway fashioned a lyric after helping with his daughters chemistry homework. The link to House Of The Rising Sun? HOTRS was the B-Side (or second track on CD single) – the track featured 900 fans (all credited on the record sleeve) in a glorious ‘call and response'”

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John Otway – Bunsen Burner

And since Rigid mentioned B-Sides, here’s The Swede from Unthough of, though, somehow with something which is as far removed from Otway as one could get:

“The b-side of ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ was a cover of ‘Talkin’ ’bout You’. I’d like to suggest the Ray Charles original.”

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Ray Charles – Talkin’ ‘Bout You

Here’s The Beard, back for a second stab:

“Can I have another go, please? Ta. Be warned, this one is more than a little convoluted…”

Excellent. The Beard’s links are becoming my favourite links here each week, if not for the songs, then the reason he gives. As close to Comment Showboating as anyone has managed this week (apart from my quite brilliant even if I do say so myself link to The Bluetones). Time for the rest of you to up your game, I think.

“The Rising Sun is a pub on Beverley Road in Hull. Grafton Street is a thoroughfare, one end of which comes out on Beverley Road. Down Grafton Street is The Grafton, the pub where the video for Happy Hour by The Housemartins was filmed. Phill Jupitus appears in the video. He was also a captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Howard Devoto left Buzzcocks to form Magazine. A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine is fanruddytastic.”

Ain’t that the truth:

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Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards

And that would be that, had The Beard’s suggestion not prompted a couple of further ideas from Rol, which I’ll allow, as they’re the next step on a couple of references The Beard makes. Plus, Rol is as brief as brief can be (although, just to be contrary, I’m posting them in the different order to suggested, just because his first suggestion sounds more like an end of the show track than his second to me):

“1.”

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The National – The Geese Of Beverly Road

and

“2.”

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The Beautiful South – The Rising Up of Grafton Street

Which means all that’s left is to reveal the next song in the official Chain, and the reason behind it, and see if we all go “Well, mine was better than that….” as we do most weeks:

So: here’s the reason:

“…The House of the Rising Sun was in New Orleans. And Dr John comes from New Orleans, therefore…”

…this is the song:

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27. Dr. John – Such A Night

Well, mine were way…oh, okay fair enough.

So folks, let me have your suggestions of songs which link to Such a Night by Dr John via the Comments page below, along with a description of how you have linked from one t’other.

See you next week, if not before.

More soon.

How To Do a Cover Version

I’ll be brief.

Today’s lesson: pick a little known song (the original is lifted from a 4-track EP which was the only thing released by the original power-pop band), make it the opening track on your era-defining album, release it as a single, and sit back and watch as no-one realises it’s a cover version.

In other words, totally fucking own it.

Like this:

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Blondie – Hanging On The Telephone

And the original:

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The Nerves – Hanging On The Telephone

More soon.

1985 and all that – another Interlude

Hello. So, I took a few days off. Frankly I was all shagged out from posting every day over Christmas and needed to recover. I have no idea how the more successful, popular bloggers manage it, but there you go.

Anyway, I made a New Year’s Resolution. Actually, I made several, most of which relate to me losing weight in an effort to be less repulsive to members of the opposite sex, but some of which relate to this place.

I’m really quite proud of what I’ve written here in my first full year of blogging, and so I’ve decided to up the ante a bit. Old strands will be resurrected, I have a few new ideas for posts, and an overall idea of what I want this blog to be. But all in good time.

The other thing I have resolved to do is to try a bit harder with the main theme of this blog, that is, for those who haven’t read my mission statement, to discuss every record I ever bought in chronological order, a la “High Fidelity”.

I left you in the middle of 1985, and that’s where we are now.

By the mid-80s, I have developed a love of visiting The Cresset in Peterborough. This is basically a large village hall masquerading as a venue, but which every first Saturday of the month held a record fair, 50p entry.

The first time I went, I just found myself wandering round not really knowing where to start. There was so much stuff! Mostly a lot of piss-poor quality bootleg cassettes of gigs, which much as they may have boasted about being of “soundboard quality” I was never taken in by.

No, I was more interested in unearthing a gem, a lost b-side that the vendor had no idea of the value of. Unfortunately, Record Fairs are not like your average car boot sale or flea market as featured on “Flog It! or “Bargain Hunt”. These stalls are presided over by predominantly middle-aged men who know exactly how much everything the purvey is worth.

The first time I went, I came away empty-handed. But the second time, having changed my philosophy to “buy anything you like that you don’t already own, or anything you like in a different format to what you already have”. I picked up a couple of corkers.

First up, a 7″ which for my money has the best sax solo since Baker Street and makes Steve Norman out of Spandau Ballet sound like a high street busker:

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Hazel O’Connor – Will You?

This a song which always reminds me of Top of The Pops, at a time where they must have made some upper management decision to make the performances more theatrical. With “Will You?” I have a distinct memory of Hazel performing this on a stage made up to look like a café, with just her on stage, sitting on a chair, next to a table with two cups on it, as per the song.

Of course, I’ve not been able to find this, but here’s a clip of one of her Top of the Pops performances of the song, not quite as theatrical, but the green shoots are there (beware: this clip contains an introduction by Simon Bates):

What I’m getting at is that at the time Top of the Pops seemed to be going through something of a renaissance. Not quite gone were the “something for the Dads” routines of Pan’s People or Legs & Co or whatever they were called at the time. No. What tended to happen instead was that dancers were now incorporated into the artiste’s performance rather being used as visuals for an act that couldn’t be there, or were just a bit too big to grace the studio with their presence. These were the days before MTV and before the music video had really caught on, remember.

Perhaps the greatest example of what I’m chuffing on about is this, Adam Ant’s rather brilliant “Goody Two Shoes”, where he seems to have the run of the whole TOTP studio, dancers and all, and four – count ’em! – stages to gyrate on.

He was cool as, wasn’t he? There’s even a bit of that where he decides he can’t even be bothered to mouth the words, and he still looks fantastic.

Anyway, the second 7″ I bought that day was this, a song by a band I have already waxed lyrical about on these pages, and which I already owned on vinyl via The Best of Blondie compilation album. But the inner nerd in me had been awakened, the completist woken from its slumber, and as soon as I saw the little pink sleeve I knew I had to own it:

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Blondie – Call Me

And just to round things off nicely, an extra special Welcome to 2016 treat: a mix by New York DJ legend and Ali G lookie-likie Armand Van Helden which features the 12″ version of Call Me as its opening track. Since he explains the idea behind it at the start of the mix, I’ll shut up:

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Armand Van Helden – New York: A Mix Odyssey

More soon.

 

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Ok, so it might be more than a couple of tunes a day….

Moving swiftly on to the other side of the pond, some New Yawkers Christmas tuneage:

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Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Hearing that, I can’t help but think that the lead singer of New York band The Strokes was in some way trying to emulate the lead singer of New York band The Ramones:

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Joey Ramone – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Whilst it was released a good few years after The Ramones worked with loaded gun-toting Leo Sayer tribute act Phil Spector, you can’t help but think there’s more than a nod here to this:

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Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

I could literally post about a dozen versions of that, but I’ll spare you. For now.

Next, just to get us back on the New York tip,  a free download which I don’t have to feel guilty about posting:

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Blondie – We Three Kings

And to round things up, a track from the 1987 charidee album “A Very Special Christmas”:

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Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis

More soon.

 

1983 Polished Off

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Back to 1983 it is then, which is where I left off talking about the records I bought as I was growing up.

I turned 14 in September 1983, and earlier that year, spurred on by my Quo obsession, and sick of either playing air-guitar or pretending to play a tennis racquet, I’d got my first two guitars; one an acoustic I’d persuaded my parents to buy me, the other a red electric Gibson Flying V copy (by which I mean cheap, £55.00 if memory serves me right) not unlike the one above. Mine, of course, did not bear the Gibson insignia, it was called something like Ribson or Gibton. Shortly afterwards, my great grandmother passed away (not from the shock of me buying such a ludicrously shaped electric guitar, I hasten to add), and she left me a modest amount of money in her will: enough to buy a Fender amp, which I considered was decent compensation for the sudden loss of the Crunchie bar she gave me every Saturday when we went to visit her.

And so I proceeded to attempt to learn to play the damned things. Soon I had those three chords learned (the Quo-umverate, as I believe they’re known), and started to look around for some new things to try and learn.

Around the same time, I had started going to the Dance, actually just a disco, which was held once a month in the hall of the secondary school I attended. These were open to the public, although it was predominantly attended by school kids, had a licensed bar which was manned by one teacher and a couple of civilians. The teacher was there solely to make sure none of the school kids got served.

Our task each month time was to try and get served at the bar, which meant queuing at the opposite end of the bar to the one the teacher was serving at. I got lucky here, for I didn’t have any lessons with the teacher in question (he taught Maths to the brainy kids, which counted me…er..right out), so he had no idea who I was and regularly served me, despite the fact I looked nowhere near 18. (I say I got lucky; what this invariably meant was that it was I who was sent to the bar by my mates who did have him as their teacher).

Apart from my missions to the bar, I was your typical adolescent wall-flower, spending the entire night sitting to the side of the dance-floor, only venturing on to head-bang (that’s right ladies, form an orderly queue!) when they played the same three rock songs they played every month: “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC (by the way, isn’t that the least AC/DC audience you’ve ever seen…?), “Down Down” by Status Quo. That was generally enough, and I was ready to stop by the end of the third song, often believing I had felt my brain move inside my head and bash against the side of my skull. Which would explain a lot.

Occasionally, they would play a fourth one, usually “Layla” by Derek & The Dominoes, although not the long version. (A year or so earlier, we had been on a school holiday for a fortnight to the Butlins holiday camp in sunny Barry Island, South Wales. At a disco there, this was the only song my mates and I ventured onto the dance floor for, only to be told off by a redcoat for head-banging to it. Apparently such activity was banned. We sloped off in a strop to the cinema to watch Pete’s Dragon instead.)

Then one night, the DJ played a record I’d never heard before, and which, these days, is viewed as a cheesy party record. I was blissfully unaware of its reputation, loved it so much I went into town the next day and found myself a copy on 7″. I don’t think I’ve heard this for about 25 years or so, and gave it a spin for the first time in all those years when I was writing this. It’s nowhere near as bad as it’s commonly perceived to be, or as I remembered, for that matter. Judge for yourself:

jeff-beck-hi-ho-silver-lining-emielectrola-columbia Jeff Beck – Hi Ho Silver Lining

Soon this was added to my guitar repertoire. I decided that maybe learning some other older songs would serve me well – all the Teach Yourself to Play Guitar books I’d bought (anyone who has heard me play, will not be in the slightest bit surprised to learn I’m entirely self taught) were crammed with songs by The Beatles and The Stones and many, many more (as the adverts used to say) – and so I scouted around for some more.

Quite how I ended up buying the next single, is, therefore totally beyond me.

10cc – I’m Not In Love is not exactly a record known for being choc-a-bloc full of chunky guitar riffs for me to get my teeth into. But this was the next record to find it’s way onto my turntable, nonetheless. What it is known for is being is a wonderful study of a broken heart and of denial, which may well be why it struck a chord with this thirteen/fourteen year old who found himself utterly ignored by members of the opposite sex.

The other clue as to how it ended up in my possession is the label the copy I bought it on: Old Gold. Sadly, I can’t find any pictures of the actual copy on said label, but here’s one of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s “Fire” which might jog a few memories:

fire532_edited

Look familiar?

In the late 70s/early 80s, branches of Woolworths and W H Smiths had rack upon rack of these, and thinking about it, I suppose it was our version of finding songs on the internet. Need to find a certain record, but don’t want to shell out for a whole album? Then the song could be yours on Old Gold, for the price of a bus fare into town, followed by a good hour or so’s solid rummaging through the racks, and then the cost of the single itself (£1.99, I think).

Flicking through those racks of re-issued songs on the Old Gold label was my practice ground, where I learned the correct stance for vinyl perusal (legs apart, back bent, fingers working the top of each record, eyes focused on the disc label, for the sleeves themselves were uniform, and the exposed label was the only way to identity the song contained on the grooves within.)

The next record I bought was also on the Old Gold label, and I found out some years later that it was actually the UK’s Number One single on the day I was born. It was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising”

The reason I bought this was down to one film, a film I still love to this day, and which as I write this I find myself suddenly filled with the urge to dig out my DVD copy of and give it another watch.

Yes, I’m talking ’bout “An American Werewolf in London”.

Now I could’ve sworn that “Bad Moon Rising” accompanied the first transformation scene in it, but I guess not: that honour goes to some song adopted by a football team whose supporters turn their back on the pitch when their team scores, just as I turned my back on them two years earlier.

You don’t need me to tell you that John Landis, who directed the movie, subsequently, and as a direct result, was hired to make possibly the most famous pop video in history: Thriller. (PS – assuming you get the same advert at the start, Now 91 looks shit, doesn’t it?)

You also don’t need me to tell you the other reason why “American Werewolf…”  had such a profound effect on this virginal thirteen year old. I give you two words: Jenny. Agutter.

When I was a younger man, the presence of Ms Agutter in the credits meant two things: firstly, it would probably (but not always) be a sign of quality; secondly, it would definitely have at least one scene I would get embarrassed watching in the presence of my parents. (see also: “Walkabout” and “Logan’s Run”, which I rather Freudianly mis-spelled as “Logan’s Rub” when I first wrote this part).

By the way, American Werewolf’s scene to make me blush in front of my parents but engage in a very different activity when alone with just me, the video recorder and the pause button, was accompanied by this.

Nowadays, of course, spotting Ms Agutter’s names in the credits means you’ve fallen asleep on the settee, dribbled all over the cushions but managed to dodge having to sit through “Call The Midwife” when visiting your parents. Oh, how the times have changed.

So: chords for two new songs learned. Next up was a single which was actually in the charts at the time. Featuring Maggie Reilly, who I had always assumed was famous for being in Steeleye Span or the like, but who it seems is most famous for appearing on

Moonlight_Shadow_(Mike_Oldfield) Mike Oldfield’s Moonlight Shadow.

Oldfield was famous for a few things: for his Tubular Bells album which, I’m sure you know, was the first ever release on the Virgin label and which set Richard Branson up for a life-time of twatting around in hot-air balloons, running rubbish railway services and paying Usain Bolt and David Tennant to pretend to be his friends in TV adverts; for his Christmas hit “In Dulce Jubilo”, and for “Portsmouth” – not one that might tickle your memory glands, that, but one which has been burned onto my psyche ever since we did Country Dancing at Junior School and I made a complete arse of myself attempting to do-si-do with Vanessa Simpson, who I had a massive crush on, crush turning out to be quite literally the appropriate phrase, as I trod on her feet countless times until she asked to be allowed to change partner.

Ahem. But I’m over that now.

Oldfield had also re-recorded the Blue Peter theme tune (it’s not a great quality that link, but it’s worth a watch, if only to see the masterful interview techniques on display from Simon Groom, who is probably more famous for a possibly unintentional live innuendo and for corpsing live on-air, which I can’t find a link for). (NB – Any mention of Blue Peter reminds me of this, and no, it’s not an elephant having a shit in the studio.)

So that’s a few riffers and one fiddly guitar solo learned, what next?

Amongst the singles I still have, are two by the same band, with very battered sleeves. They are:

Gimme_All_Your_Lovin Gimme All Your Lovin’

and

ZZ-Top-Sharp-Dressed-Man-546769 Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top.

Ha ha! There’s three of them, and two have really long beards, and the one who doesn’t is called Frank Beard!! Brilliant!!! Hands up who’s utterly tired of that factoid being wheeled out whenever ZZ Top are mentioned?

image

Thought so.

And hands up, who likes me? You utter, utter bastards.

I’d like to say that my purchase of the these two ZZ Top records was because I thought they were fine examples of Texan-boogie rock (I did, and still do really like them; no Guilty Pleasures, remember?), but in reality, it was because their videos contained what I believe the red-tops refer to as “bikini-clad lovelies”. I was 13, shallow and untouched downstairs, gimme a break. To show how I’ve grown up, I’m not going to post a link to them here. Plus I did resist the urge to buy the other single from the album, “Legs” which threw any pretension of not being about a bunch of middle-aged men ogling younger women out of the window.

Which kind of neatly leads me on to my first female popstar crush, albeit with ages reversed, who I think I mentioned in passing quite a while ago: Debbie Harry.

For it was in 1983 that I bought “The Best of Blondie”, an album that I still own on vinyl to this day (and on CD for that matter. And MP3.) I’ve mentioned before how I used to buy Best of albums as a way into a band (I realise I am not unique in this, I don’t think I’ve done anything particularly smart there) and such was the case with this purchase.

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My vinyl copy came with the above as a poster; I had no idea who Andy Warhol was at this point, or why he was BAD, but I still dutifully stuck the poster to my wall (no, with blu-tac, don’t be disgusting). The album remained on my turntable almost non-stop for several months, even after I’d learned to play as many as I could on my guitar.

Here’s one song which I wasn’t all that fussed on originally, but which I think now is probably my favourite Blondie song, and which probably explains my love of a good bracket (as you’ve probably noticed):

Blondie_-_The_Best_Of_Blondie  “(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear”

I suppose I should do one of those Like It? But It here things, right? Okay then.

In the words of Columbo: “Just one more thing before I go.” I recently bought myself a new turntable, and I’m going through the laborious process of a) trying to track down copies of all the vinyl I used to own and buying them again, and b) buying some other stuff on vinyl too. As well as this, I’ve decided to buy a few of the albums my one-year-older-than-he-was-a-week-ago-brother owned and which I used to borrow whenever I had chance. My vinyl purchases may yet develop into a new series here (once I’ve stopped buying all the old Quo albums. Again.), but in the meantime, here’s one from an album he bought (a Best Of album, you’ll note. Must be a family trait) and which, as far as I know, has never been released on CD, so I feel less bad about posting this:

910rcMvWnrL__SX425_ “19th Nervous Breakdown”

More soon.