Friday Night Music Club

This was supposed to be the last part of this “Songs With The Same Name As Television Programmes, But Which Are Not The Actual Theme Tune, Or A Cover Version Of The Theme Tune Of The Programme In Question” theme, but I’ve thought of enough additional ones to drag it out for another week after this. I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.

So, we’ll kick things off with what seems to be the obligatory dollop of Britpop:


246. The Boo Radleys – It’s Lulu

…the title of which is of course lifted from the TV show of the same name (obviously, hence it’s inclusion here. Do try and keep up, will you..?) as Scottish elf Lulu’s 1970s Saturday night spectacular (Disclaimer: the request for you to vote for Lulu to win a Brit award is nothing to do with me):

But whenever I hear the name Lulu, it’s not the Bee Gee-banging, Freemans catalogue saleswoman that first springs to my mind. No, it’s the character played by Kathy Burke in “Harry Enfield & Chums”:

Not the funniest clip in the world, I grant you, but you get the giste.

National Treasure-in-waiting Kathy’s had quite an increase in her online presence recently; she’s joined Twitter (if you like a good swear – and a good laugh – give her a follow @KathyBurke ), and has been interviewed by Adam Buxton on his wonderful podcast (which you can listen to here) and on Scroobius Pip’s fascinating Distraction Pieces podcast (which you can listen to here). Both are highly recommended.

Plus, Kathy’s in this, which I’d completely forgotten about until writing this post:

And she also declared her admiration for the lyrics of the bequiffed one when she appeared on Room 101 (go to 25:38 for the relevant bit):

And whilst she’s a highly regarded theatre producer these days, it is for this character and sketch that she is perhaps mostly fondly remembered:

Why am I banging on about Kathy Burke?, I hear you ask. Well, because of the sitcom she starred in which was named after this, that’s why:


247. ABBA – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)

Well, it is Eurovision weekend, after all. Can’t really not mention them somewhere, can I?

Now. Regular readers will know that I have often cited my older brother (hello!) as a major influence on my music tastes. As I’m a couple of years younger than him, and although later life has brought some kind of parity, when we were kids I always seemed to be a lagging behind in terms of records that we bought. Consequently for much of our youth I would have rather died than actually admit to liking anything he did: when he liked rock music, I was still into Bucks Fizz and Shakin’ Stevens; by the time I’d started listening to Deep Purple, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, he had moved onto The Rolling Stones and The Jam, and had come back from America with his brace of albums by The Go-Go’s amongst other things; by the time I’d moved onto them, he was going Goth. You get the idea.

Anyway, the reason I mention this now is that I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a series of posts where I highlight records which he bought but which he probably would rather I didn’t remember him having, and of which he will doubtless deny all knowledge.

Like this one (oh, yes you did!):


248. Eurythmics – Would I Lie To You?

This was the lead single and opening track from their fourth studio album, 1985’s “Be Yourself Tonight”, (which he bought), the second single from it being their only UK Number 1, “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)”, which is possibly one of my least favourite records ever, due to the ridiculous amount of over-signing which characterises it. I’m not going to post it, because I hate it so much.

His purchase of this album, though, does demonstrate another family trait which we both seem to have: not getting into bands until they’re past their best. By the time this came out, Eurythmics had all but ditched the electronic sound which informed their earlier finer moments, such as singles like “Love is a Stranger”, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made This)”, “Who’s That Girl?” and “Here Comes The Rain Again”, all released just a year or so earlier.

As for the TV show it links to, it’s a comedic update of “Call My Bluff”, a parlour game if you will. For those of you outside the UK who’ve never seen it, the premise is this: two teams of three play against each other. One player reads out a card containing a statement about something they must claim to do or have done; members of the opposing team question them and try to work out if they’re telling the truth or not. To make things more interesting, as they say, they have never seen the card before, which means if it’s a lie, their quick-wittedness and ability to lie is closely scrutinised.

Here are some of my favourite moments from the show. First, Glaswegian comedian Kevin Bridges tries to convince his opponents that he once bought a horse by mistake:

Secondly, Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert explains how he once paid for some tapas with a Nissan Micra (this is the complete episode so feel free to skip forward to 24:18 for Rhod’s yarn):

Of course, the game is made even harder when you have the likes of the brilliant Bob Mortimer, who seems to be talking utter nonsense most of the time, on:

There is of course another famous song with the same name, another song that I’m not overly fond of, but in a spirit of both diversity and transparency, here’s the inexplicable  winner of three Ivor Novello Awards in 1992, for Best Contemporary Song, Best Selling Song and International Hit of the Year :


249. Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You?

Every show I’ve mentioned so far this week has been broadcast on the BBC, so let’s change channels.

Between 1999 and 2006, ITV showed a drama series which I never watched, partly because it seemed to be a rip-off, albeit one with considerably higher production values, of Australian soap and late-night student/stoner favourite “Prisoner: Cell Block H”, and without a character with as great a name as “Vinegar Tits Vera”, but mostly because…well, it was on ITV, which is usually enough to put me right off.

Set in Larkhall, a fictional South London women’s prison, by which I mean a women’s prison in South London, not a prison for South London women (although now I think about it….), I speak of course of:


250. Donna Summer – Bad Girls

And whilst we’re on prisoners, here’s The Clash with the B-Side of their single “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”:

The Clash - (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais - 1978

251. The Clash – The Prisoner

…which of course shares it’s name with the iconic, if mind-bending (read: weird), 1960s show starring Patrick McGoohan. Here’s the original opening sequence, which doesn’t half seem to go on:

One TV detective who was responsible for making a lot of people prisoners over the 69 episodes he starred (see what I did there? I really don’t just throw this together, you know), was Columbo.

In 2008, The Verve released their fourth album, the much anticipated follow-up to 1997’s critically acclaimed, multi-million selling “Urban Hymns”. However, “Forth”, for that was the witty moniker it received, was under-whelming at best, but did contain this:


252. The Verve – Columbo

A few years ago, I was working for a motor insurance company, and was asked if I could come up with any incentive schemes to get the best out of the staff. Some of the claims we dealt with were theft-related, and which required a telephone interview of the policyholder. I, along with pretty much all of my colleagues, hated doing these, so I suggested that my employers should try to find a way to make these a less arduous task for us. To do this, I suggested a monthly cash prize for whoever used the phrase “Oh, there’s just one more thing …” at the end of the interview most often in the month,  just as the interviewee thought their ordeal was over,  presenting them with a killer question, catching them off guard.

The didn’t go for it. The fools. Perhaps I should have suggested a hand lion.

Ok, last one for this week.

I’ve always loved songs which tell a story, which explains why I like those old Country stars like Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Tom T. Hall so much, as well as folks like Ray Davies, Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richards, Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, and it’s to the latter that we turn to round things off.

The title track from his 1980 double-album of the same name, this is just wonderful:


253. Bruce Springsteen – The River

And the link? In 1988, and running for just one series (it was THAT good) was a romantic comedy starring twinkly-eyed 70s heart-throb David Essex as lovable, Cockney, ex-convict (aren’t they all…?) Davey Jackson.

Nope, me neither.

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

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

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

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


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

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


Dean Martin – Let it Snow

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

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

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


Billy Idol – Here Comes Santa Claus

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


Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

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

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


Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

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

How was that allowed to happen?

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


Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa

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

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


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

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

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


The Kinks – Father Christmas

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


Henry Rollins – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.

How to Do a Cover Version

And whilst we’re at resurrecting threads I previously dropped, how about this one?

Anyone who has caught Hot Chip live in the last couple of years (an elite group amongst which I am unable to count myself, but I saw the Glastonbury footage when I got home…from Glastonbury. There was a clash, ok?? Super Furries or Hot Chip – you know which way I’m gonna swing) will have borne witness to the genius that is their version of Broooce’s “Dancing in the Dark”. And now, here it is:

hzAhCn Hot Chip – Dancing in the Dark

and here’s the original:

A_-Front Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark

I believe it is obligatory in blogland, having mentioned “Dancing in the Dark” to post the video, which features a pre-Friends Courtney Cox being dragged on stage to dance (badly) with Broooce (also dancing badly). What are the odds of that happening, huh? Here it is: obligation filled.

But wait! What’s that at the end of the Hot Chip version? Isn’t that the sound of one James Murphy and his LCD Soundsystem collective’s finest moments? Why yes, it is, and here’s all 7:37 of the glorious original:

LCD_Soundsystem_-_All_My_Friends_cover_art LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

And while we’re at it, here’s Franz Ferdinand’s version of the same glorious song:

LCD_Soundsystem_-_All_My_Friends Franz Ferdinand – All My Friends

More soon. Possibly.