In the past, when a momentous occasion took place, a standard question as to where you were when you heard the news would circulate.
“Where were you when you heard that Kennedy had been assassinated?” they would ask of Vox-Poppers, or “Where were you when the moon landings happened?”. Folks would trip over themselves to try and outdo each other as to what flamboyant act they were engaged in when they heard the news, a bit like the competing Yorkshiremen in that old Monty Python sketch:
(And yes, before any of you get in touch, I’m perfectly aware that the sketch actually pre-dates Monty Python, having first been performed on At Last The 1948 Show.)
This is a question which I think we will see being asked less and less as time goes on, for the answer will almost always be: I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last XX years.
For the record, I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last 12 months, when I heard the news. I’d been in what we still feel obliged to refer to as a “virtual meeting” all morning which had, as is the norm, over-ran by an hour or so, and so I was already in a bit of a bad mood as this meant I had missed the TV show which has become my lunchtime staple viewing – Bargain Hunt – and I was pretty sure that meant that it would have inevitably been hosted on this occasion by my favourite presenter (and I suspect also the favourite of many other housebound gentlemen), the lovely posh-but-twinkly Christina Trevillian (*sighs*), as it almost always is when I manage to miss most/all of it (as opposed to the occasions when I catch it from the start and it’s hosted – always – by Anita bloody Manning, who, as with Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland, I simply cannot stand to watch. She reminds me of a particularly annoying Little Britain character:)
Anyway. My lunch break was at such a late hour that I realised it would actually correlate with my favourite afternoon TV quiz show, Impossible, which – and you read it here first – I’m pretty sure will one day replace Pointless in the prime, just before the news slot.
But no. There it was: all channels showing what appeared to be the longest news broadcast since Wills and Kate (but not Harry and Meghan, oh no) last dropped a sprog, with everything else for the rest of the day cancelled, unless you wanted to venture onto some of the more unpleasant reality/fly-on-the-wall TV shows, like Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!, which you can tell just from the name is a Channel 5 show. It follows bailiffs High Court Enforcement Officers as they go about their jolly day, catching up with people who haven’t been able to pay a debt, or evicting people from rented properties because the landlord has decided to put the rent up and they can no longer afford to live there.
I was stopped once by a shop assistant in my local supermarket and asked if I was one of said Court Enforcement Officers from the show; I said I wasn’t and had never seen the programme, but caught a bit of it one Sunday afternoon when there was nothing else on. Let’s just say I was not flattered.
But anyway, I digress. Prince Phillip, the Duke Of Edinburgh died yesterday, and we’re all supposed to be in mourning.
Although, the Prince’s favourite show, Babestation, aired as usual, only with the models wearing black armbands as a tribute, I noted when I checked for…er…research purposes.
And of course, whilst it’s very sad that a family has lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, it’s news which I think many of us had been expecting for a goodly while now. He was 99 years old, he’d just had an extended stay in hospital after some kind of heart surgery, and, let’s face it, he didn’t look well when he was taken home. This was not exactly a surprise.
Not that I think that knowing someone is likely to pass makes it any easier to deal with their actual passing. I know from my own recent, brutal, experience that no matter how prepared, how steeled you might think you are, when the news comes through it still hits you like a juggernaut and you’re still shattered. There is no escape from grief.
Now, I’m no Royalist, but were we to get a day off work for the funeral then I will happily dress in black and weep into a hanky for as long as it takes. But I imagine they’ll do what they did when Diana was murdered died: pop the funeral on a weekend so the national economy isn’t affected, but the Union Jack and florist industries flourish.
I was living in Cardiff back in 1997, when Diana died, still working in Boots The Chemist selling tights, tampons and panty-liners to the capital’s finest. The funeral was on a Saturday, and we were given the morning off to watch the ceremony and pay our respects. I didn’t watch it, I enjoyed a couple of extra hours in bed.
I actually had the opportunity to meet Diana several years earlier. At the time I was at college, and serving on the Student Union Executive, in my utterly non-political role as Social Secretary. Because my role was non-political, I gained a reputation for fence-sitting or abstaining when it came to votes of a political nature. As far as I saw it, I had not been elected on the basis of any political views I may or may not have held, I was elected on the basis of my ability to organise a good night out for the students. So, I didn’t think it right that my political views should have any bearing on matters.
And then one day the news came in: Diana was going to be visiting the college, to open the recently completed Princess of Wales Sports Centre. Truly the famous quote from Field of Dreams applies here: If you build it, they will come. The Executive were all invited and expected to attend and meet the Princess. And, much to my mother’s horror when I told her many years later, I declined. And I was the only one from the entire, predominantly left-wing, anti-monarchy Student Union Executive to do so. I gained more political traction from that act, as a man who stood by his principles, than I ever wanted, expected, or indeed anything else I did again. Suddenly, I was a hero. For the rest of their time in position, my Executive colleagues had to answer awkward questions about why they went when I didn’t, were they really in their jobs to work for the students, or to promote themselves and further their own careers? It was quite delicious for a while.
Anyway: on the day of Diana’s funeral, my route to work took me through the Roath and Cathays areas of Cardiff where I lived, traditionally quite a studenty area, and as this was late August/early September, there weren’t too many of those youngsters around. In fact, I remember thinking how quiet it was as I walked to work, and I assumed this was because everyone was at home, watching the TV coverage.
My route took me across the usually busy City Road, and then down an alleyway adjacent to a working men’s club. And I swear, no word of a lie, as I walked down that alleyway, I heard this record booming from an open window of the club:
There will, of course, be a funeral. It will, of course, be paid for by you and I, the British taxpayer. It’s not a two-way deal, of course. Don’t expect Her Maj to break open the massive whiskey bottle containing one and two pence shrapnel so she can chip in for your funeral, because that simply won’t happen.
But who should organise it? Well, I think the Royal Family should take a leaf out of the British Government’s Covid-19 Handbook, and see if there are any posh toffs who could do it for them. A cursory look over Dido Harding’s CV shows she has absolutely no experience whatsoever of arranging funerals, so she seems ideally placed to do it, for just several billion pounds over the amount one could realistically expect to be spent on such a showcase event.
Needless to say, there is never a good time for any family to go through the pain and suffering that a bereavement inevitably brings. But it occurred to me that this one could have come at a worse time for the Windsors. For a start, Prince Andrew must be feeling strangely conflicted right now, sad that his father has died, but at the same time relieved there will be an extended period now where nobody accuses him of being a paedophile. I wonder if, since he was withdrawn from public appearances after his disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis, he’ll be allowed to attend the funeral?
But also, you’ll recall the recent Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan, where there was an allegation that a member of the royal family made racist comments about the likely skin colour of the couple’s offspring. From a PR point of view, Philip’s death presents an opportunity to the very least put some more distance between those allegations and any response – today’s newspapers are, after all, tomorrow’s fish’n’chips wrapping. But it also affords the Royals the chance to, for want of a better term, throw somebody under the bus, for many people felt the racist comment could probably be attributed to Philip, solely on the basis that, well, he had form for saying things which could be described as inappropriate at best.
As I mentioned when I wrote about the interview in a previous post, I don’t buy that it was Philip; sure he has a history of gaffes but – and I say this not to condone any of his comments, but to offer an explanation of them – generally when he said something wrong it was intended in jest, or as an “ice-breaker” intended to put a member of the public at rest. That doesn’t make it right, that makes it an old man getting it wrong and saying something inappropriate, and I think we all know someone like that.
The comment mentioned in the Oprah interview came from a much more savage, hurtful place, and my money remains where it did when I wrote that last piece.
*Pops tongue back in cheek*
But there is something racist, something with a whiff of cancel culture about the timing of Prince Philip’s death which will inevitably lead some of the more gullible to seek some kind of conspiracy. And it is this: forever more, when you type “Prince died April” into Google (other search engines are available), you will be faced with a screen or three full of references to Philip. You will need to scroll down quite some way to find any mention of The Greatest Prince, who also died in April – April 21st 2016, to be precise.
Since I drew a comparison with the death of Diana earlier, I can’t resist posting this bit of comedy genius from Stewart Lee:
To sum up: of course I feel empathy for the Royal Family as they mourn the loss of a beloved family member. But do you know who I empathise with more? The South Pacific tribe on the tiny island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago, who saw Prince Philip as a living god. Who should they follow now?
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post with this title after I had discovered an old C90 cassette I had made during my student days, featuring pop songs with political messages. The plan was that I would post all of the songs from the tape, and see whether, thirty years later, they held any current relevance.
That was in July, and here we are, three months later, and not a single additional post has appeared in the series.
Until today, and even this post isn’t going to include anything from said outdated mode of musical storage. (It will return again, but you’ll just have to remain on the edge of your seats a little longer, I’m afraid.)
The subject crossed my radar again a couple of times recently, watching coverage of the US Election trail, and I was reminded that American politicians – make that American Republican politicians – have a proud history in using songs without the artistes’ permission, and, more often than not, using the song quite wrongly.
King of the unendorsed usage has to be Bruce Springsteen, and specifically Born in the USA. Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan all used it at election rallies, and all received “cease and desist” notifications from Bruce.
To the untrained eye and ear, Born in the USA does sound like the sort of song a right wing politician should use to brighten up their campaign: it has a gloriously patriotic title, which is also the whole of the chorus; the iconic album cover depicts what appears to be a jean-wearing blue-collar worker, baseball cap stuffed in back pocket, standing in front of the good ol’ stars and stripes.
But when I say “to the untrained eye and ear” I actually mean anyone who has only ever seen that picture, had only ever heard what appears to be a triumphant fanfare at the start of the record which develops into the musical motif running throughout the song, and had never listened to any of the lyrics other than the title/the chorus. A pro-American record it most definitely is not:
It’s not just Springsteen who has a whole line of Republicans mistakenly using his tunes. John Mellencamp has had run-ins with as many of them as he has had own name changes. Just like glamour model and *ahem* best selling author Katie Price now insists on not being called Jordan anymore, and footballer Andy Cole asked everyone to start calling him Andrew, both because they had ‘matured’, so Mellencamp has been variously known as John Cougar, John ‘Cougar’ Mellencamp, and now just plain John Mellencamp.
On this side of the pond, he’s simply known as ‘the bloke who sang that song which introduced us to a foodstuff we have not embraced with quite the same vigour as our trans-Atlantic friends’ (by which I mean our friends from across the Atlantic, not our friends from across the Atlantic who are also trans – and that’s one open can I’m not going anywhere near): the ‘chilli dog’.
Sorry, I seem to have digressed: that’s not one of the songs appropriated by politicians, I’ve just included it because it’s ruddy great.
No, Mellencamp has locked horns with Reagan for using Pink Houses in 1984, John McCain for using the same song as well as Our Country in 2008, and with George W Bush in 2000 over the use of R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.
I’m not familiar with Pink Houses or Our Country, but I am very familiar with R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. as I bought it on 7″ single when I was a kid. And I’m here to tell you, it’s a little cracker:
Quite what lead the Bush campaign to land on that song is a bit of a mystery to me; I can see how it works in terms of The American Dream, for it’s a song about the early days of rock’n’roll, of Tamla Motown and Stax, a song which describes people from all walks of life – but usually ones from poor backgrounds – setting off to make music, doing what they want to do, in the self-proclaimed Land of the Free.
But it includes a list of successful black artists (“…there was…Frankie Lymon…Jackie Wilson, Shangri-La’s, Young Rascals…Martha Reeve….James Brown”) and let’s be honest, ensuring young black Americans achieve success in whatever field they choose (unless it’s in an actual field) has been shown (again) to be not exactly high on the list of Republican priorities over the past few months.
The song seems to have been picked solely for including the phrase “U.S.A.”, which can be shouted loudly along to it. Although I don’t think we can exclude the possibility that it’s usage also helped Dubya with his spelling lessons.
“Today’s letter, Georgie, is R. Ruh. R. And what does R stand for?”
“That’s good, Georgie,but it’s not quite what I was looking for. Rock. Ruh stands for Rock. Now what does O stands for….?”
“Very good, Georgie, well done. Have a pretzel, you clever thing. Careful, don’t eat it all at once!”
Another American rocker not shy of issuing “cease and desist” notices was Tom Petty, who clashed with George W Bush when he used this song:
And this, which was appropriated by Republican/Tea Party/Lunatic candidate Michele Bachmann in 2011, and there’s no real mystery why she would select this absolute pearler:
Ahhh, 2011. It’s weird getting nostalgic for a time such a short while ago, but wasn’t it wonderful when all we had to worry about was the Tea Party nut-jobs on the fringes of the Republican party, as opposed to the actual nut-job occupying the White House now?
Actually, to digress for a moment, that song takes me back to the early 1990s, when I was, far too briefly for my liking, working in the Virgin Megastore in Cardiff. Lowlight of my time there: serving one of my college lecturers, who didn’t recognise me at all, and when I explained who I was and how he knew me, just looked at me as if to say: “Yes, I thought this might be where you’d end up working”.
Highlights of my time there: selling the entire Echo & The Bunnymen back catalogue to Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers and, one evening, after the doors were closed and we were cashing up and tidying up, somebody put American Girl on the in-store sound system, and you could palpably feel the mood lift: everyone was singing along and dancing and twirling and hand-clapping as they completed their chores, like some choreographed moment from a high school musical. Happy times.
Also in 2008, John McCain used Foo Fighters’ My Hero:
Anyway. I could go on about all these improper uses of songs all day as there’s a whole list of them, but it’s a list that includes Nickelback and if you think I’m posting a song by them you are very mistaken, my friend.
So here’s why the subject cropped up on my radar the other week: because I read that Trump had been using this song at his rallies:
Now that, you have to concede, is a bold choice for Trump to use, for so many reasons.
Firstly: it’s called Fortunate Son, which can only serve to remind us that Trump didn’t make all of the money he has amassed (apart from the stuff that the Russians have given him, I mean), as that was all inherited from his father, Fred, who, lest we forget was a German immigrant – but a white one, so not one DJT would have an issue with now, natch – who made his own fortune (American Dream: tick!) in the thoroughly reputable world of real estate. In 1997, when his worth exceeded a billion dollars, he transferred the majority of his buildings to his surviving children, who sold them in 2004 for over 16 times their previously declared worth, effectively dodging hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Fortunate, indeed.
Speaking of tax, the song even mentions the taxman (“…But when the taxman comes to the door, Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale…”) which given the recent revelation that in 2017 Trump paid just $750.00 in Federal Income Taxes, seems remarkably apt.
The song, itself is, broadly, about how the sons of wealthy, powerful politicians and businessmen managed to avoid the draft to the Vietnam War because of daddy’s status. Trump, famously, didn’t have to go fight because of his “bone spurs” which are bony lumps that grow on the bones of the spine or around the joints, or, in Trump’s case, his feet. In 2019, his former lawyer Michael Cohen testified that Trump had invented the condition so that he didn’t have to do his national duty.
You have to conclude that whoever picked Fortunate Son to soundtrack his rallies knew exactly what they were doing, for it perfectly highlights all of the reasons you shouldn’t vote for Trump.
And this was a theory which Armando Iannucci floated on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order this week: that there is a Democrat working within the Trump campaign who has been given the responsibility of choosing appropriate records to play at the rallies. And given this remit, boy have they run with it, selecting not just Fortunate Son but also the music used in this clip, which I promise you has not been added after the rally, this actually happened:
Some excellent “working-the-crowd” gestures there from the Wotsit-coloured Wonder. Be afraid, Bono. He’s a pair of leather trousers, one foot-on-a-monitor, and a pair of redundant sunglasses behind you.
In case you’re not familiar with the record that soundtracks that clip, it’s YMCA by Village People, a song which, pretty much, promotes the idea of gay sex in Christian hostels. Here’s a picture of Village People from their hey-day:
Exactly the sort of fine, upstanding young men one would expect to find amongst Trump’s core voters.
Village People, you will not be even slightly surprised to learn, have asked Trump to stop playing the song at his rallies. I’m hoping instead they have permitted him to use their follow up hit:
There’s a joke about that submarine being full of seamen somewhere in there, but I’ll leave you to make it at your own leisure.
Right, you can all stop checking the time, here it is, three weeks late, but that’s better than another super-long hiatus, surely?
More mega than a fleet of MegaBuses, yes! It’s time to check the buffering capabilities of your hardware and internet provider as we launch into the latest instalment of The Chain.
And what a selection we have for you this week!
But before we get started, some admin. The more observant of you will have spotted a new page link over there on the left entitled “The Chain – The Rules”. You’ll never guess what you see if you click that!
I mention this because there would have been a couple of disqualifications this week for (unintentional) breaches of the rules; luckily one of the transgressors realised and suggested an alternative link.
The easiest rule to break is suggesting a song which has already featured, and I appreciate with around 1000 songs having featured so far this can be somewhat tricky to keep up with. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of writing up a definitive list of every song which has featured so far, but until I’ve got round to finishing that (and writing The actual Chain takes up a fair bit of time when I could be doing that), if you want to check your options are:
1) Read every previous edition of The Chain (bit time consuming that one)
2) Check the Tags down the left-hand side; if the act you wish to suggest is not listed there, then you’re fine (assuming I remembered to add them, of course). If it is listed, click their name and you’ll be taken to every page that a song by them has featured on and you can check that way.
3) Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check and get back to you.
OK, admin over, let’s remind ourselves of the source record for this week:
The biggest source of linkage this week was the “Echo” part of the song title, so let’s get cracking with one of mine. Since an echo is something happening again, this seems to be an appropriate place to start:
So, who else provided echo-based suggestions? Well, here’s Alex G of the temporarily (I hope) dormant We Will Have Salad to provide not just a suggestion, but also a definition of “echo”, which saves me the bother of having to copy and paste something from an online dictionary to justify some of the other suggestions I’ve come up with:
“… an echo is an acoustic phenomenon caused by sound bouncing off walls. And ceilings. And other things. But it’s the first one which concerns us here, because it leads me to suggest….”
Unsurprisingly, several of you (well, five actually) proposed records by Echo & The Bunnymen, so we may as well get one of those out of the way next, and it’s over to Swiss Adam of Bagging Area fame, with his second suggestion. (No, you haven’t blinked and missed his first, that’s coming in a while. It’s called editing.)
“Echo and the Bunnymen…sang ‘Silver (Tidal Wave)’, a beach connection there too.”
Yes indeed, that’s your first – of many, it has to be said – double linkers of the week right there. Points!
Next to one of several songs this week that I had never heard of before the suggestions came flooding in, this one courtesy of The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow who proposed this by Cavern of Anti-Matter who, for the uninitiated (i.e. me), are Joe Dilworth and Tim Gane, formerly of Stereolab, possibly one of the most missed and most under-rated (if that’s not a contradiction, and if it is, I’m sure it’s one which would please them immensely) bands of the last twenty years or so:
I like that. A lot. Thanks for nudging it under my nose, Swede.
Which leads us quite nicely onto another suggestion by Alex G:
“When they recorded ‘Echo Beach’, Martha And The Muffins’ drummer was one Tim Gane. Another Tim Gane was more famously (not *much* more famously, I admit) the lead guitarist of McCarthy and Stereolab. [I just told them that – Ed] So I’ll go for….”
“…double link there if I’m not mistaken…” pleads Alyson. Hmmm…Echo, yes…Seas -> Beach…what do you reckon, Chain Gangers? Oh go on then: Points!
I first posted that song way back in August 2015, accompanied by a retelling of one of the many faux pas I’ve committed over the years. Since some of you may not have frequented these pages that long ago, indulge me for a moment whilst I relate this one, which took place circa 1984, as I waited for the school bus and found myself chatting to one of the “cool kids” at school. He liked cool music (i.e. not Quo) and during this conversation he extolled the virtues of ‘Seven Seas’. My response, a rather pathetic and, as it transpired, ill-judged, attempt to ingratiate myself, was to talk at length about the lead singer fire-eating on Top of the Pops and how impressive he was. I realised mid-flow that my conversation piece was attracting some quizzical looks. And that was because I had completely mis-heard him. When he had said ‘Seven Seas’, I had thought he had said this song title:
Not cool, just…not.
Anyway, moving swiftly on, here’s Walter from A Few Good Times in My Life with the scecond song this week that I’ve never heard before. Over to you Walter:
“They might be forgotten but this song is still worth to listen to sometimes…”
Actually, that was Walter’s second suggestion. His first was for an Echo & The Bunnymen track, and I think enough time has passed since the last one to allow me to post his, which needs no introduction:
Which leads us on to a very brief sub-category, those of song titles which repeat, or, you might say, echo themselves. This is by far my favourite category of the week. You’ll see why. Julian from Music from Magazines suggested this, which probably doesn’t need any further explanation:
The Quo, there, demonstrating on the record sleeve their renowned empathy for the Black Power movement.
And that brings to an end that sub-category of song titles which repeat, or, you might say, echo themselves.
You know what I haven’t said for a while? I haven’t said the words: “And here’s the next suggestion of an Echo & the Bunnymen song, this time by *insert name of Chain Gang member here*“. I feel an overwhelming need to say it again. But not just yet. I’ll wait til I’m asked.
And here’s the next suggestion of an Echo & the Bunnymen song, this time by Dirk from sexyloser with the closest we’ve had to a Showboating Suggestion so far:
“Nominated to be one of the world’s most beautiful beaches back in 2012, 2014 and 2015 was Burundi’s coast fronting Lake Tanganyika: if you’ve never been there, you really have missed a treat, I can tell you!
So obviously the correct link can only be Echo & The Burundimen (yes, it’s the Bunnymen in disguise, but still I haven’t made that [name] up, just listen to McCulloch’s intro!) and ‘Zimbo’, the 1982 Shepton Mallet live version though!”
And that does bring us to the end of the Echo section. Except…
Except, you’ll recall that I mentioned five of you had suggested songs by Echo & The Bunnymen, and so far we’ve only had four. Well, GMFree suggested their rather wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ but then ploughed through the entire history of suggestions in The Chain and retracted that on the grounds that it had featured back in #31 so I wouldn’t have been able to allow it. (Oh, and whilst I’m on songs I couldn’t allow – Lynchiefromab, if you check the Comments in the last Chain, you’ll see that I wasn’t sure if yours were suggestions or just recommendations; if the latter then, thank you, and you’re right, but if the former than I couldn’t allow either of them as they contravene rule No. 6: “Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist. You’re cleverer than that.” And I know that you are. Sorry!) However, GMFree did propose a different Echo & The Bunnymen track, a cover version, but suggested that I might post the original instead, since the performers have never featured in The Chain before.
In case you’ve no idea what Jules is blethering on about, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is the best known stage name of Will Oldham, but he has also recorded under variations of the Palace name, including the Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, and Palace Music. As you know, I prefer it if there’s only one suggestion per person for the same band, but since these two versions are so different, and since they were recorded under different monikers, and since I allowed GMFree to suggest more than one tune by Steven Jones last week for the same reason, I guess I’ll have to let it slide this time.
Speaking of GMFree and Steven Jones:
“Mentioning Mr Jones is too easy on this occasion as Babybird was signed to the Echo label, instead I’ll just suggest one track from his 27th (!) album as Black Reindeer…available through Bandcamp.”
Now, I wouldn’t normally buy a track specifically for The Chain, preferring the suggester to provide me with a copy, but I was intrigued by that title so I downloaded that song from the band’s Bandcamp page, as recommended. And shortly afterwards, I got an email from Steven Jones which read: “Ooh a bit topical that purchase Sx”. Which was nice. So I’ll not complain about being out of pocket. This time.
You’d have to have had your head buried in the (beach) sand to not understand what he was referring to, and as it happens, this was not the only track which referenced the forthcoming apocalypse.
“‘Echo Beach’ puts me in mind of the 1959 film ‘On the Beach’, which depicts the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war. (Not a surprising image, considering the current state of affairs, I suppose.) The film stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins and is based on Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel. Anyway, as I’ll use any excuse to post some black gospel quartet music, my selection is the 1950 ‘a capella’ version of…”
Well, bar that last little excursion, we appear to not only be in nuclear war related territory – cheerful! – but also Beach related, so let’s have some more of those. And since that last song contains the lyric “Hello New Order!”, it seems appropriate for us to go back and find out what Swiss Adam’s other suggestion was:
“‘Echo Beach’ takes me to the remixed version of Blue Monday from its b-side in ’83…”
So, having exhausted all of the suggestions about echoes, beaches and, of course, Nazis and impending nuclear doom, we’ll move onto something a lot nicer. Back to Martin who suggests this as a double linker:
Which leads me onto this, a track lifted from one of those typically patchy tribute albums that were all the rage once upon a time one of those tribute albums, which were all the rage once upon a time, and which could (typically) be a little on the patchy side (and this one really is patchy).
In case you’re wondering what that’s doing there, give it a listen partly as there’s an extra verse, not in the original, which links to Martin’s last choice, but mostly because it’s an utterly wigged-out mental cover version.
And whilst we’re still on chocolate cake, it’s about time I posted another clip:
Right, that’s Muffins pretty much covered, right?
Well, actually, not quite. Here’s Rol from My Top Ten:
“Muffin was a Mule and a Mule is sort of like an Ass… though very slightly different.” Which brings us to, rather rudely:
Let’s have some Echo Beach/Martha and the Muffins facts to raise the tone a little.
Fact One: Martha and the Muffins are Canadian.
“Plenty of Canadian bands/artist to choose from,” chips in Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense, “including: Rush (but who has time to listen to the whole of Side 1 of ‘2112’?), Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. All too obvious, but this bunch of Canadian one-hit wonders…:”
“Did you know,” pipes up George, inadvertently providing Fact Two, “that Echo Beach has been voted the 35th greatest Canadian song of all time? The greatest song is the execrable song ‘Four Strong Winds’ by Ian and Sylvia, which must surely get the Worst Song vote.”
Well, I’ll happily do that George, although you realise that would mean you’d have to agree the Chas & Dave record is better…? Along with two other songs yet to feature that we all know you’ll hate….?
Four strong winds, you say? Here’s four in varying levels of strength.
The ease and squeeze:
2. The Pant Ripper (a classic):
3. The Preposterously Executed:
and 4. The Accidental Decongestant:
Right, that’s…erm…got that out of my system. More factoids please!
Fact Three, courtesy of babylotti:
“‘Echo Beach’ was released in 1980 on DinDisc records, another record that was released in 1980 on Dindisc records, and one that I still have (okay, it was a re-release in 1980, but that’s the one I have) is…:
Before we get on to the final category, time for those two songs which George won’t like, the first of which is suggested by Alyson, and I think this one wins the award for Comment Showboat of the week (or have I already awarded that? I don’t know, I’m tired…). George, sorry, I was going to leave these two till last to make it easier for you to ignore them, but thematically they kind of need to be posted earlier.
Anyway, here’s Alyson’s suggestion:
“Martha’s Vineyard is actually a small island off the State of Massachusetts. It faces out onto the Atlantic and it’s where they filmed ‘Jaws’. The fake shark they used for the movie was given the name Bruce.” Which leads us to:
And so on to the final category, songs which link to Martha. And we’ll start off with my own double-linker for the week.
There’s a well known phrase in certain communities: “Is he Arthur or Martha?”. Well, here’s an Arthur, Arthur Lee to be precise, and he and his band are going to sing a Love-Lee song which has an Echo/Repeat/Again link too. Points please!
“First thought – got Martha on my mind now so I’d like to offer one of those songs that surely everybody knows and surely everybody likes? What better time for an office clerk with a very boring job to go down to Echo Beach than during a heatwave, too?”
Next up on the oche is The Robster from Is This The Life? Now, a few weeks ago, Rob announced that he was thinking about stopping writing his blog as he was feeling devoid of inspiration and was just going through the motions. I’ve often felt the same about this place, and I know others in our little blogging community have too. You may not know that Rob lives not a million miles away from where I used to in South Wales, and I love his blog for it keeps me in touch with what’s going on down in and around my old stomping ground so I’m delighted that he’s decided – for now – to keep going, albeit with less frequent posts.
I mention all this not to put any unintentional pressure on him to carry on, but because having cut back on his posts he seems to have gone a bit stir crazy, suggesting “I’m a Man” by The Spencer Davis Group on the basis that Martha & The Muffins were an all-male band. Getting confused by that whole “Arthur or Martha” issue there, I think.
To be fair, Rob did correct himself almost immediately (with a little help from Alex G, who I can confirm is not a qualified doctor, but is a very keen enthusiast), and redeemed himself by suggesting this, another of the records I’d never heard before, and which I’m really quite pleased that I have now. And it’s a double pointer, featuring as it does a Martha and “two items you might see at a beach”:
Time for Abramson60 next, who…erm…echoes some of the sentiments raised earlier:
“Looks like things are getting worse and worse US of A side, can it really get any worse? My suggestion this week could well be aimed at that excuse for a human being, Trump. No need to explain the link?”
Nope, but this young lady certainly needs to wash her potty-mouth out with soap and water:
Another from Alex G now, who suggests “…a lovely song which is never played on the radio because if it was, everybody would stop what they were doing to listen, at a cost to the UK economy of several squillion pounds.”
I agree, it is a lovely song, although I suspect were it played more often, people would stop what they were doing to remember when – and I’m sorry to bring it up again (I’m not in the least bit sorry, as it goes) – this happened:
More from Rol next, who suggests this next song on the grounds that a) it has the word “Martha” in the title, b) it doesn’t have any other words in the title, and c) he “…can’t believe nobody’s suggested it yet…”
And the presidential links don’t end there, for there was also of course Martha Jefferson, wife to Thomas, who became 3rd President of The United States in 1801. Martha would have been the third First Lady, had she not rather inconveniently died in 1782. Anyway, this Martha leads me to this ground-breaking house record from 1986:
And the other is…well, Mrs GMFree was not alone in suggesting it, for it was also proposed by Rigid Digit (and I thought one other person too, but I’m buggered if I can spot who it was now. If you suggested it and I have omitted to credit you, make yourself known and I’ll amend this bit).
Which means that for the first time ever, we have two people correctly guessing the next record in The Official Chain, which, with the simple explanation of “From one Martha to another…” is this:
So to wrap things up, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “Martha My Dear” by The Beatles, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Whenever that might be.
It’s weird how things pan out. We have various categories here, where I award points for (nobody’s counting, the points mean nothing, apart from giving a warm glow for the recipient) the following:
Worst/Cheesiest Record of the Week
Showboat Comment of the Week
The Next Record in The Official Chain
Well, this week, we have a suggestion for each of the above. All of them will receive points. Yes: one person correctly guessed the next song in The Official Chain. If I could afford Ray Winstone’s head to pop up to ask you to lay your bets “nahhhhh”, this is where he’d be.
To recap: last week, we ended up with “Bonny” by Prefab Sprout, from their “Steve McQueen” album. Plenty of food for thought there, you’d think? Well, we have the most tunes ever to get through this week, although that’s mostly because I kept thinking of new ones.
Oh and by the way, it was rather pleasing to note that absolutely nobody complained about my deliberate mistake last week, which was to omit the link for the Crazy Frog tune. My faith in humanity is almost restored.
But before we go any further, many of you will know that regular Chain Ganger Badger’s better half was Lorna was involved in a car crash last week. Needless to say, our thoughts and best wishes go out to them. Get well soon.
“Beans often come from sprouts so how about something by Sunflower Bean? Tame Impala perhaps…”
Yes, that’s Tame Impala by Sunflower Bean, rather that Sunflower Bean by Tame Impala. As it says on their Bandcamp page: “Tame Impala wrote a song called Led Zeppelin and now they have a song named after them.” You can’t fault their logic.
“I feel that this is as good a time as any to mention Jasper Carrott and Funky Moped, although I think that a fair proportion of its sales were down to the inclusion of the non-musical Magic Roundabout on the flip side.”
You’re probably right, GG, so let’s stick with the A-Side which is, by the way, the Worst Record of the Week:
And since we’re in Belgium, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“Plastic Bertrand is the only Belgian singer I’m aware of….”
What, you haven’t heard of Arno before, CC…..? Care to nominate a song by the most famous Belgian (after Hercule Poirot and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom would have done better than our actual defence did yesterday).
In a normal week, the next suggestion, from George, would win the Comment Showboat of the Week. Not this week though, oh no:
“Using the song title, Bonny, to the name Bonnie, which leads to child star of the 70s Bonnie Langford, who appeared on a TV show with Lena Zavaroni, one of Rothesay’s famous exports, and there is no way I’m suggesting ‘Mama He’s Making Eyes At Me’, NO WAY, because I am linking from Bonnie Langford to Jon Langford, founder member of The Mekons, and to the song ‘Prince Of Darkness’, who seems to be having a rare old time at the moment in the UK and the USA. (The Prince of Darkness, that is, not Jon Langford)”
See that? Biting satire as well a great suggestion:
Time for The Robster from Is This The Life? with a bit of a history lesson:
“The only thing I’m coming back to is ‘My Bonnie’, the 1961 debut single by Tony Sheridan. He was backed on this by some young upstarts called The Beat Brothers (as the label credited them). Apparently they went on to become quite famous under a slightly different name…”
Many of you weren’t content at simply linking to Bonnie, plumping for songs which reference, or are just plain about, famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Here’s another one of mine to kick this batch off:
Okay, are you all sitting comfortably? Good, because I’m about to go off on a bit of a tangent, and hog the limelight for….oooh…the next five songs.
In the movie about the outlaws Bonnie & Clyde, pithily titled “Bonne and Clyde” Bonnie was played by Faye Dunaway, and Clyde was played by Warren Beatty. Beatty may, or may not have been the subject of this record:
And, of course, her co-star in The Thomas Crown affair was one Steve McQueen, which is, of the course, the name of the album that this week’s source record comes from.
(If I could award myself the Comment Showboat of the Week for that little lot, I would. Guess I’d better give it to one of you lot instead. Harumph.)
Go on then George, do your stuff:
“From Steve McQueen to Alexander McQueen, the designer, whose partner was George Forsyth, which is also the name of a long dead American General, and also of a Peruvian footballer. And also from Peru was Daniel Alomia Robles, who wrote the song El Condor Pasa, which was made famous by Simon And Garfunkel as ‘El Condor Pasa (If I Could)’.”
“Shaun Ryder cribbed the opening to the Happy Mondays’ ‘Step On’ (“You’re twistin’ my melon, man…”) from a documentary about Steve McQueen. ‘Step On’ is, of course, a cover of a John Kongos number that I believe has featured on these pages before [it hasn’t, so we could have it…] Happy Mondays also covered Kongos’ Tokoloshe Man. So that instead, please.”
Fair enough. This featured on “Rubáiyát”, which was released to mark record label Elektra’s 40th Anniversary:
Okay, where shall we go next? I know, let’s have some suggestions relating to Prefab Sprout themselves, and to kick things off, here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?
“I always thought that their ’88 hit ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was called ‘Albuquerque’ as the word comes up so often in the lyrics – Whenever watching the TV show Breaking Bad which was set in Albuquerque I thought of the song ‘A Horse With No Name’ by America (from Ruislip) and sure enough it popped up in the third season (and is my suggestion for this week). A tenuous double link is that the America band members back in the early ’70s would have worn the fashionable trouser of the day – loon pants – and Prefab Sprout’s main man was of course Paddy McAloon!”
“I should go from something by Prefab Sprout to the *original* Prefab Four, i.e. The Rutles, but I’m not actually familiar with their output. ‘Cheese and Onions’ is a mildly infamous song of theirs, though, so I’ll go with that.”
Now, we’ve had numerous links to Steve McQueen, the album that the source record features on, but what about other albums by Prefab Sprout?
“Prefab Sprout’s next album was ‘From Langley Park to Memphis’ and one of the singles from it was aforementioned ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Elvis of course was the KORNR and he lived in Memphis so an alternative suggestion is ‘Walking in Memphis’ by Cher (as she dressed up as Elvis on ‘Top of the Pops’ back in the day).”
No extra points, I’m afraid Martin, but I will take this opportunity to nudge you in the direction of Swiss Adam’s Bagging Area, where he has just finished posting a week of protest songs. Worth a visit, in my opinion.
Anyway, that’s your lot for this week. Except, a little while ago, Rigid Digit mentioned the Steve McQueen film and Blur album “The Great Escape”, but didn’t actually nominate a song from said album. Magnanimous host that I am, I asked him if he had one particular song in mind:
“My choice would be the peerless ‘The Universal’ (despite it’s continuing usage on the British Gas advert)”
It’s Chain Gang time, and for any newcomers to these shores, hello, and here’s an explanation as to what we do here: each week we move along the records which have featured on the BBC’s The Chain segment of Radcliffe and Maconie’s show, originally on Radio 2, currently on 6 Music; we play the next in the chain, ask for your suggestions for tunes we can play which link to that record, but instead of picking just one, we endeavour to post links to them all. Then, at the end of the post, we reveal what the official next record is, and off we go again.
I mention this as at the weekend I met up with some friends for Sunday lunch; a few of them read this regularly (hello!), some sporadically (hello!), some never (there’s not much point in saying hello to them) and one who falls into the middle category asked me what the hell is going on here. Got it now?
Perhaps it would be better if we just crack on? Last week, we ended with the song that was the 24th record played in the official chain on the aforementioned show, Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” and these are the suggestions you came up with.
Oh and by the way, this is slightly later than usual as I’ve had some issues with the layout of this post, which I don’t seem to be able to rectify. I suspect it’s because of the size of the post; I’ll keep trying to make it look pwetty for you all after I’ve posted it.
Anyway, this week, all of the suggestions (including my own) can be put into one of six, broad categories.
Category 1 – JoniMitchell:
Regular readers will know that the record that brought us to Joni Mitchell was Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Radio Radio”. Even more regular readers will know that a few weeks ago, in a Comment Conversation about acts which everyone else seems to adore and revere, but which leave some of us utterly flaccid and distinctly unaroused, regular contributor to this page, George, told us how he is left cold by The Clash and Bruce Springsteen. So imagine our surprise when he mentioned last week that he had a link which resulted in a song by The Boss. However, he declined to let us know what it was.
Until, that is, after last week’s Chain post had been posted, at which point he sent this:
“Now that you’ve published this week’s Chain I can give you my Springsteen link. Elvis Costello’s real name was Declan McManus. Mick MacManus was a wrestler, and Bruce Springsteen wrote a song called The Wrestler. Now, I have been in touch with the chairman of FOMAMB (Federation of Middle Aged Male Bloggers ) who tells me you are not allowed to edit your post and re-upload it with my suggestion.”
This is fictional federation-ness gone mad! Curse the federation! Where’s Blake’s 7 when you need them?
So why am I mentioning this in a section a category which I have quite clearly just announced contains links to Joni Mitchell? Well, because Alex G from We Will Have Salad kindly stepped in to assist, that’s why:
“That’seasy” writes our hero, “Nick Mitchell is a wrestler. Or Ryan Mitchell is a wrestler. And so on.”
Thanks Alex! And here you go George. No, no need to thank us:
“One of Joni’s most famous songs is Woodstock, about the legendary festival in 1969. Although initially scheduled to perform there, Joni was prevented from doing so by her record label as they had booked a TV appearance for her the next day and they were concerned she wouldn’t make it back in time.
Her then-boyfriend was Graham Nash, who did perform at Woodstock as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He relayed the weekend’s events to Joni who subsequently wrote the song about it.
The link then… Woodstock was opened by Richie Havens who played one of the event’s most fondly remembered sets. On his 1974 album ‘Mixed Bag II’, Havens covered The Loner, a song originally written and performed by Neil Young, who also played Woodstock as a member of CSN&Y.”
And that, BBC, is how you “educate, inform and entertain”.
Sometimes, the suggestions can go off at a bit of a tangent, mind. One person’s suggestion may lead another contributor in a different direction. So long as the link is sound, though, we’ll dust off the tune in question and give it a spin. Take Swiss Adam from Bagging Area‘s first suggestion of the week, for example (and yes, I did just say first suggestion, for often folks will make offer more than one. I’ve got four this week, but then it’s my blog, so there):
“Neil Young is the obvious route but Robster’s got it covered. Teenage Fanclub’s Neil Jung perhaps?”
Lifted from their should-have-been-huge “Grand Prix” album, it’s often overlooked that when it was released as a single, “Neil Jung” came in two different versions: your actual bona fide album version and this, the lesser known but still bloody excellent, version:
One of the great things, even if I do say myself, is there sheer diversity of the suggestions we get here, and here’s an example. From Teenage Fanclub, to Fluke, to The Fall, all linking back to the same source. Here’s George again:
“Joni Mitchell sang about a Big Yellow Taxi. Taxi was an American sitcom from the late 70s, starring, amongst others, Danny De Vito. And there’s a Fall single Rolling Danny (originally by Gene Vincent).”
Yeh, I thought that was how Danny was spelt too, until I checked out the single sleeve, that is:
Now, The Chain is not just about picking the coolest record with the cleverest link. Here at A History of Dubious Taste (generally) and The Chain (specifically) we like to feature the occasional record which some might describe as cheesy, some just as downright crap. Previously, we’ve had songs by Chesney Hawkes, Busted, and last week, Russ Abbot. Truly we know no shame.
First to take a tilt at claiming this week’s “Worst Record of the Week” crown goes to babylotti. This is actually the third suggestion he gave this week (the others will feature in a bit, in different categories):
“Paul Evans with the ‘Hello, This is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)’, purely because I thought he was referring to Joni Mitchell as a kid (I originally thought that was how it was on the record….)
Ordinarily, I would now write something terribly scathing and/or witty, but this is a record which I posted a few weeks ago on my currently on hiatus “Friday Night Music Club”, thread, where I once posted a load of songs about telephone calls. You can read it here: self-referential tosser.
Anyway, nice try, babylotti, but I’m afraid that’s not the Worst Record of the Week. Stick around folks, you’ll see soon enough.
“Joni collaborated with Charles Mingus on her LP ‘Mingus’. This was Mingus’s final musical project and the album was dedicated to him after his death. On the 1959 LP ‘Mingus Ah Um’, Charles Mingus paid his own tribute to the recently deceased saxophonist Lester Young, with the gorgeous ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’.”
That leads me rather nicely on to my own first suggestion of the week. “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” is lifted from Joni’s “For the Roses” album, and, just like Joni and Jon Langford, John Squire of The Stone Roses, when he wasn’t chucking paint over his former record company’s offices, or taking several years to make an album that falls into “alright but not as good as their first album and certainly not worth the wait” bracket, or releasing underwhelming come back singles (did anyone like The Stone Roses come back material? In fact, can anyone name any of the singles? Without checking? Nope, thought not.)
So here’s a double linker, courtesy of Yours Truly:
Is it just me, or has Harry Belafonte got massive hands?
Now, newcomers I now need to introduce you to the concept of Comment Showboating. This is where a contributor provides a long, detailed, spectacular explanation of how they have got from Record A to Record B, and is a phrase I originally used to describe one of George’s early suggestions. It is meant as a compliment, by the way. More recently, Dirk from sexyloser has been providing the entertainment in this regard, but not this week:
“No Comment Showboating attempt this week, because the fact that this song seems to derive from an album called ‘For The Roses’ immediately made me think of a version of ‘Good Year For The Roses’ that I simply LOVED ever since I first heard it (on Peel, where else?), and in my estimation it’s better than any other version I know, and this – excuse me – includes E. Costello. So my choice for this week links to Dino Lee (The King Of White Trash) and his version of ‘Good Year For The Roses’ from 1985.”
“If you can’t find it anywhere, I’d be happy to send you an mp3-file …” Dirk adds. Oh ye of little faith! But that does flag up one of the rules here at The Chain: if you’re going to suggest a record, particularly an obscure one, then you must have a copy yourself in case I don’t have it already or am unable to source it. And then be nice when I come begging.
Now, before I become all bogged down with “The Rule”, we’ll move onto the third category of the night.
Category 3 – Turns/Turn-Ons:
Often the simplest links are the best, and more often then not the simplest way to link from the source song to your choice of tune is to pick a word from the title and find one that has the same word, preferably, but not necessarily in the title.
He’s right, that is wonderful. I’d never heard of Gravenhurst before, but if you like that track, I can heartily recommend getting hold of a copy (legally, of course) of the “Flashlight Seasons” album for more of the same. Cheers SWC!
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wheelbarrow being delivered.”
Erm, fair enough. You’re excused.
What seemed an age ago, babylotti gave us the third of his three suggestions, and it’s about time we went back to check out his other two. Well, one of them for now:
“Robert Palmer’s cover of Jam & Lewis’s ‘I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On’ (the original was by Cherrelle)”
Now, had you not stipulated you were nominating the Robert Palmer version, I would have happily plumped for the Cherelle version. There’s just something about the Robert Palmer version that makes me feel a little…uneasy. Listen to the lyrics: this a man apologising to a woman for being so utterly irresistible (simply irresistible, you could say) that she cannot help but get turned on by him. This came out in 1985, when Palmer was 36. I know that’s not quite old enough for this to qualify as locker room talk, the optimum age for which we all now know is 59, but still…. The “Don’t blame me, you shouldn’t have gone out with me because you should have known you wouldn’t be able to resist me” defence makes my skin crawl, and Palmer’s version of this song is a Ched Evans of a record.
Trump should use this version as his walk-on music for tonight’s final live debate. At least Palmer is dead and so won’t be able to protest about it’s appropriated use.
Ahem. Anyway. Remember Alex G from right at the top of this post, kindly providing me with a reason to post some Bruce Springsteen? Well, here he is again:
“I would say this is kind of obvious, but since nobody else has suggested it (and I still like it)…”
And since we’re now on to songs which contain the lyrics “You turn me on”, here’s The Beard:
“You turn me on are the opening words of a well known song by Simple Minds. Said song (almost) shares it’s title with one time Saturday morning kids show Live & Kicking. The predecessor of this show was Going Live!, helmed by Phillip Schofield. The greyer than grey presenter was famously accosted by Fruitbat from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party in 1991. The song they, erm, played at that shindig was After The Watershed.”
For those of you who don’t know what The Beard is blethering on about, here’s the footage:
For reasons which are probably already pretty clear if you watched that all the way through, The Rolling Stones took out an injunction against the band to prevent it being played on the radio, and then took further legal action to make sure the song was thereafter credited to “Morrison, Carter, Richards and Jagger”. You’d have thought, given that “After the Watershed” came out in 1991, Richard Ashcroft might have learned something, wouldn’t you?. But no: six years later The Verve released “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which, predictably, befell exactly the same fate for sampling The Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral version of “The Last Time”.
Time to pop back to babylotti again, for his third choice which was actually his second (I really don’t make this easy for myself, do I?)
“Because I meant to post it when ‘Radio, Radio’ was the chain, but it still is relevant with this thread, Latin Quarter’s ‘Radio Africa’. Wasn’t really a fan, but saw them at the Sheffield Leadmill years ago & have remembered that song ever since……”
Over now to The Great Gog, who was first to post a suggestion this week, which used to mean he got top billing, but hey-ho, times change, and now he finds himself the second of two songs in the fourth category. Nothing personal, mind, I thought this was one of the cleverest links this week:
“Well, Joni clearly believes herself to be an item of electrical equipment, and this is not a unique state for a recording artist to find themselves in. Remember Buggles? The “Video Killed The Radio Star” duo (there’s a Radio link I hadn’t thought of!)? Some people may be surprised to know that they recorded an album. Still more may be surprised to learn that they even made it as far as a second album. It is on this second album where Trevor Horn rather robotically advises the listener that “I Am A Camera”. It was released as a single but didn’t trouble the Charts at all.”
The Bluetones were a fine singles band in my book, but were regarded as a poor man’s Stone Roses, which I’ve never seen myself. It’s like when Gene were proclaimed as a Happy Shopper Smiths, simply because they had an articulate, literate lead singer and their music was guitar-lead. I’ll feature some more of their records on here sometime soon.
In the meantime, over to Alyson from What’s It All About Alfie? Now, I have to be honest, her reason for suggesting the song she has done does not having anything to do with “Blue”, but I was feeling a little lonely in this category, all on my Jack Jones, and by putting Alyson’s suggestion in here too (it does fit) it bestows double-linker status on it:
“Elvis Costello did a version of ‘Good Year for the Roses’ but that means we double back to him. Thinking of flowers however, it did remind me that when I went to see him in the early ’80s he was supported by a band called The Bluebells (led by Bobby Bluebell !). They had a hit (twice) with the song ‘Young at Heart’ so I’ll go with that one as well.”
Dirk’s back with his actual second suggestion of the week:
“I know that the above [his first suggestion] is not the correct link as chosen by the BBC lads, in fact it’s (because, as CC correctly points out, good ole’ Joni seems to like wearing a nice beret) Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler’s ‘The Ballad Of The Green Berets’. Of course it is….“
Which just leaves my final one for this week. Mention a beret to pretty much anyone who was brought up in the UK in the 1970s, and the first person who will spring to mind isn’t Joni Mitchell, or Billy McKenzie, or Prince, or Rickie Lee Jones, or, astonishing as it may seem, to Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. No. They will think of Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer in BBC sitcom “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em”.
Frank Spencer was not the brightest chap in the world, talking in an almost infantile way despite quite clearly being an adult. He was also very accident prone, and the main events of each episode was building up to the grand finale, a impeccably orchestrated stunt which Crawford, apparently, did mostly himself.
Here’s perhaps the most famous one (and yes, I know he’s not wearing a beret in this clip):
In the 1970s and early 1980s there was a band who I have mentioned before on these pages, who did “comedy” versions of pop songs. But their repertoire was not restricted to such cheesiness. Sometimes they wrote their own, original songs, and sometimes the subject matter of those songs was popular television comedy characters.
In case you’re wondering about the slightly dubious sleeve, that’s the original cover of “Electric Ladyland” from which “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]” is lifted.
So – your suggestions please, via the Comments Section down below, for records which you can link to Voodoo Chile [Slight Return] by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, along with an as brief or as complicated as you like explanation as to how you have got from one record t’other.
And I’m willing to bet I know which artist Charity Chic will suggest. And if he doesn’t, I will.
Ordinarily, I start every post on The Chain by recapping what we do here, what record we’re linking to this week, and then say I’d better crack on as we’ve got loads to get through.
Now whilst it is true that we have got an awful lot of tunes this week, there’s not as many as perhaps there could be, and that’s because one of our regular Chain Gang contributors is conspicuous by his absence for a second week running and is, I hear, rather unwell. I mean, I haven’t actually been presented with a sick note excusing him from participating, but that’s what I hear.
So, Badger: get well soon mate, and this week’s post is dedicated to you.
Last week’s record was “Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, a song which cropped up a couple of months ago on my Radio-themed “Friday Night Music Club” post, and so I was anticipating a few that I had chosen back then would resurface again here. Not a bit of it, which is either indicative of either the wide range of musical tastes you guys and girls cover, or of how many bad records I chose. Or both.
So to kick things off, one of my suggestions which didn’t quite make the cut when I was writing that “Friday Night…” post, mostly because it doesn’t have the word “Radio” in it’s title. But it seems an appropriate place for us to start:
“‘Radio Radio’ is taken from the LP ‘This Year’s Model’. If your car happens to be this year’s model (at least if it was registered in the UK between March & August), the age identifier portion of the number plate would be 16. In 1980 The Clash promoted the ‘London Calling’ LP with the 16 Tons Tour, every night of which would see the band walk on stage to ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford.”
Actually, there’s a double link for that one, as it was the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to Number 6 in the UK Singles charts in an effort to save the BBC’s radio station 6 Music. It actually managed to scale to the giddy heights of Number 56, but the station survived, thankfully.
Time to check back in with Dirk, whose next Clash/Radio song is, perhaps unsurprisingly:
Whenever someone mentions Capital Radio, I’m always reminded of one of their DJs, who also worked the decks on Radio 1 for a while: David ‘Kid’ Jensen. I am still allowed to mention him, aren’t I? He’s not one of the bad ones, right? Good. Then I can legitimately play this:
But enough of my suggestions (by which I mean, I’ll have some more later): time for Alex G, who this week writes his suggestion like this:
“The recent Edinburgh Fringe revival of 80s comedy show “Radio Active” has got me listening to the old shows again. One of the episodes is called “The Radio Radio Programme” and as usual it includes one of Phil Pope’s musical parodies, his target in that particular episode being “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Not one of PP’s best efforts, but reason enough to suggest linking to the original “Sledgehammer” by the actual Peter Gabriel.”
I could, at this point, post that ground-breaking video, but we’ve all seen that, so instead I thought I’d take a step back and post a couple of Phil Pope’s better parodies. I think you’ll recognise his targets on both of these:
Alyson – and indeed her other half Jamie – will be back in a bit. When you see what one of them suggests, you’ll be wishing they had stopped at Quo.
In the meantime, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, who you may recall was very close to suggesting the official next record in the chain last week, and therefore almost bagged himself some invaluable (by which I mean of no value whatsoever) bonus points:
“From ‘Radio Radio’ to the excellent ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall of Voodoo…”
“Suspect I won’t be troubling the scorers this week…” he sadly concludes.
You’re right, CC, you won’t. But you haven’t nominated the worst record of the week. Has he, Alyson?
Nor has The Beard, although he gave me a bit of a fright with the direction of this week’s suggestion:
“The lyrics to ‘Radio Radio’ make reference to late night listening. Circa 1992 I heard Annie Lennox played back to back in the small hours on Radio One, something that haunts me to this day. One of the songs played was Why. Why by Carly Simon is infinitely better.”
Deep breaths, everyone. We’re okay. He didn’t go there. The Annie Alarm remains untroubled.
Ordinarily, I might only allow one song by the same artist to be nominated by the one person, but I’m going to let it slide here for two reasons. Firstly, “Nobody Does It Better” is my favourite Bond theme ever (most of the time; sometimes it’s “Live and Let Die”). Secondly…well…have you ever seen the episode in the second series of “I’m Alan Partridge” where our late night radio host describes the opening sequence of “The Spy Who Loved Me”, to which “Nobody…” is the theme, as the VHS copy he intended to watch in his static home has been inadvertently taped over with “America’s Strongest Man”? And have you ever wondered how accurate his commentary is? Wonder no longer:
Speaking of songs that I wouldn’t normally allow, here’s The Great Gog:
“‘Radio Radio’ features the same word repeated in its title as does another ECATA ditty, ‘Party Party’ from the film of the same name. There are obviously lots of other examples of this type of song-titling, but that one seemed the most appropriate.”
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow a song by the same artist as the record we are linking to (not that it’s ever happened before, mind). On this occasion, you just get away with it on the grounds of the repetition of words theme.
In fact, you could also have this one, which I pointed out to Kay I was surprised she hadn’t suggested, given that’s it’s by her favourite group, that it has a title with the same word repeated in it, and even has the word ‘repetition’…erm…repeated quite a lot in it:
Right. Let me take a step back, survey the carnage, and see who I haven’t mentioned yet.
George. Of course, George.
“Older people than myself, such as Charity Chic and The Swede, might prefer to use the word wireless instead of radio. In the tv programme Not The Nine O’Clock News, they once did a song with the lyrics “On the road you must be brave and tireless, on the road you can listen to the wireless”. I think that song is called I Like Trucking.”
Close, George. My recollection is that on the show it was referred to as “I Like Trucking”, but when the cash-in accompanying album “Hedgehog Sandwich” was released, the title had been shortened to just “Trucking”:
“I have an entry first from the other half Jamie, who decided that if there are two radios the sound will be in stereo which led him to think of the Stereophonics who released a track called Vegas Two Times from their ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ album. Bit of a double link with the “stereo” and the “two times” both relating to Radio Radio.”
What with me having lived in Wales for 20 years, at the time that the Stereophonics came to prominence, you could be forgiven for thinking I love them.
You’d be wrong though.
Did you ever have that thing happen to you, when you’re in the middle of a conversation and someone suddenly sticks their head round the corner, and says something which completely makes you lose your thread? Here’s Swiss Adam again, who’s located another unexpected item in his Bagging Area:
“I worked in the radio industry for 23 years of my life. Radio Radio is one of my all-time favourite songs because of the lines…
‘And the radio is in the hands Of such a lot of fools Trying to anaesthetize The way that you feel’
When I started working in radio, back in the late 80s, my ambition was to be a jock because then I’d get to pick my own music. A couple of years later, presenter choice was gone from local radio and my ambitions of being a DJ were over. I stayed in the industry for a further 20 years in other roles because it was an easy job and I got lots of freebies from the record library: basically, all the good stuff they wouldn’t ever play because it didn’t “test well” with the great unwashed.
All of which would usually lead me to suggest the same track I selected last week: Rex Bob Lowenstein by Mark Germino & The Sluggers. But as I already had that one, can I instead go with a very similar tale…”
“I have a chain that results in a Bruce Springsteen song…” he says, slightly curiously, given that on these very pages he has named Broooce as the other act, along with The Clash, that he dislikes.
Despite much encouragement, he declined to provide us with the link, declaring he would “rather stick pins in my eyes”, which seems a bit extreme. I’d recommend ear plugs as a far more effective way to avoid hearing something, George. You’re welcome.
Instead, he comes up with this:
“From Elvis Costello to Elvis Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins the actor) and from his album Ash Wednesday the song Ash Wednesday.”
A couple more folks returning from earlier now. Here’s The Robster:
“We got here by way of the name of Elvis Costello’s record label. There’a a reggae label called Easy Star Records that has a house band, The Easy Star All-Stars. Along with an astounding selection of guest vocalists, they’ve released a series of excellent tribute albums over the years, one of which was ‘Radiodread’, a reggae tribute to ‘OK Computer’ by Radiohead. I could suggest any number of songs from it (‘Lucky’ featuring the legendary Frankie Paul; ‘Let Down’ featuring the uber-legendary Toots & The Maytals), but I’m going to plump for ‘No Surprises’ featuring The Meditations.”