Friday Night Music Club

For the past seven days, I have been picking out songs for this week’s Friday Night shenanigans, popping them into an order that felt right, and trying to think of something vaguely amusing to say about them.

But then on Thursday, I got some news which made me change this week’s theme entirely.

So, here are this week’s tunes; the tunes I intended to post this week would be next week, but I have next week’s planned already, so the original ones from this week won’t feature next week, but the week after that, unless anything happens in the next couple of weeks that makes this week’s get postponed for another week.

Everybody clear about that?

Ok, so this week’s theme is…well, let’s see if you can work it out. And please don’t write in, it’s just for fun. Nor is it particularly tricky.

steppenwolf-magic-carpet-ride-stateside-3

177. Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride

In case you were wondering, this is not the version used on the “Reservoir Dogs” soundtrack; that’s a cover version recorded by Nashville  group “Bedlam” who certainly sound scary, don’t they readers? I bet they have a “You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Helps!” sign on their studio wall.

By the way, have you ever noticed – and I do not claim to be the first person to have ever pointed this out – that the traditional depiction of a magic carpet, is not a carpet, but a rug?

Look:

Aladdin-and-Magic-Carpet

That’s a rug, that is. It’s got tassles on the corners!

Mind you, apart from the historical precedent that had been set,  I can see why Disney continued to refer to it as a carpet in their 1992 film Aladdin: too many references to rugs might have put Elton John off writing the songs for The Lion King.

Now who are these shifty looking chaps peeking out from behind some trees? It’s only blimming 60s rock pioneers and runners-up in the 1968 “World’s Worst Hide ‘n’ Seekers” Creedence Clearwater Revival, that’s who:

creedence_clearwater_revival-i_put_a_spell_on_you_s_2

178. Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Put a Spell on You

Have you got it yet? Okay, well let’s have another tune then. You’ll like this one. Not a lot, but you’ll like it. Here’s another load of hunks:

focus-hocus-pocus

179. Focus – Hocus Pocus

Yes, that was some proper yodelling you just heard there.

When I used to go clubbing, a mate of mine was into his progressive house music big time. At some point or another he heard the term “progressive rock” and was curious, so he asked me if I knew any bands he should check out. I mentioned “Yes” and “E.L.P.” which drew a blank look. Well, Dum Dum, if you’re reading this, that was prog 1970s style. I do hope you didn’t waste any money.

Moving on to 1982 now, and a song which I seem to remember used to get this 12 year old boy a little bit hot and bothered when the video came on Top of The Pops:

the_steve_miller_band-abracadabra(1)

180. The Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Looking at it now, I have no idea why:

I think it’s the line about “silk and satin, leather and lace, black panties with an angel’s face” that made me blush so. And if you think that’s rather lame, you should have seen the state I was in a year earlier when this was a hit:

Girls did not look like that in my class, that’s for sure. I might have turned up a bit more often if they had.

Anyway, I digress. The more astute of you will have noticed a magical theme through the songs so far, and that’s because here in the UK, 2016 claimed another celebrity from my childhood with the death of TV magician Paul Daniels.

When I was a kid in the late 1970s and early 1980s Daniels was everywhere: he had his own magic show on BBC1; hosted several game shows, and even had a children’s show called “Wizbit”.

It struck me recently, in a particularly dark moment, that one of the reasons so many popular entertainers from my youth have died recently is because I’m no spring chicken anymore either, and since they were generally about 30 years older than me back then…well, it’s hardly surprising. Yeh, I know, bleak, right?

Anyway, in his later, post-regular-TV-appearance years, Daniels became a bit of a figure of fun, a relic of those light entertainment shows from the period which had been banished from the TV listings by alternative comedy, by satellite and cable, by the mass media’s lustful craving for something a little saucier than he and the lovely Debbie Magee could ever produce. I always found that a little sad and distasteful, especially as he always seemed to take it all on the chin, and even play up to it to a degree. He’d made his fortune and got out while the going was good, what did he care?

But I come here not to bury him but to praise him. He always seemed a good egg to me (although it was pretty funny when he was hospitalised after Sooty hit him in the face with a pizza. True story. Shouldn’t laugh but…could an anecdote be any more 70s children’s entertainment?) and he was a genuine influence on my life, albeit briefly; I tried to take up magic in my youth, buying a pack of Paul Daniels Playing Cards and a book of card tricks, which I think I gave up on after a couple of weeks of realising I couldn’t even shuffle the bloody things properly.

So when the news of his death broke on Thursday, I was genuinely saddened and decided to dedicate tonight’s Music Club to him, and dig out a few tunes with a somewhat magical quality.

And here we are. Shall we continue?

218

181. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic

Surely, somewhere, there must be a 60s-themed bistro called “The Lovin’ Spoonful”, right?

I’m absolutely gutted that I posted Super Furry Animals “God Show Me Magic” on here a couple of weeks ago, or that would be in this list. As it is, here’s a couple that I can’t really avoid posting:

akindofmagic

182. Queen – A Kind Of Magic

From one of their most commercially successful albums, which, coincidentally, was released the year after their iconic performance at Live Aid (I’m sure those two facts are in no way linked) this to my mind marked the end of Queen’s final purple patch. The next album, although yielding a Number One single in “Innuendo”, also saw them writing songs about being an Invisible Man (something it’s very hard to imagine Freddie Mercury ever being – and yes I know Roger Taylor penned that one, no need to tell me) and twatting about on top of steam trains at the Nene Valley Railway (near my childhood home) in the “Breakthru” video. Mind you, they probably had more pressing matters on their minds at the time…

Ok, here’s another one I can’t really avoid:

take-that-could-it-be-magic-1992

183. Take That – Could It Be Magic

Count yourself lucky I didn’t post the Barry Manilow version.

Time for a factoid: did you know Manilow nicked the chord progression for this from Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20? Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Maybe he didn’t write the songs that make the whole world sing after all.

One more blindingly obvious one:

Magic_by_Pilot

184. Pilot – Magic

What finer recommendation do you need for a song than that it was included on the soundtrack of “Happy Gilmore”? So I’m told, anyway. I wouldn’t know. Never seen it. Might be a very funny film, though I somewhat doubt it.

“Happy Gilmore” stars Adam Sandler, so I will never watch it. My default setting when it comes to Sandler is “Avoid”.

Though I have seen “The Wedding Singer”, but that had Billy Idol in it, which just about saved it.

Something a tad more contemporary now. From their third album “Bruiser”, and the main track  on their 2010 “Kusama EP”, the much under-rated:

the-duke-spirit-everybodys-under-your-spell-shangrila-music-cs

185. The Duke Spirit – Everybody’s Under Your Spell

That’s pretty bloody great, isn’t it? The greatest thing to come out of Cheltenham, easily surpassing “The Races” and the recent lower league footballers pissing into a pint glass and pouring it over a balcony controversy. Worst apology ever, by the way.

The Duke Spirit’s fourth album “Kin” is out in April, and I cannot wait. But I’ll have to. Stay with me til then, won’t you?

In 2007, frustrated by their record label’s decision to basically ignore their “Twilight of the Innocents” album, Ash started describing it as their “final album” and made it known that henceforth they would be eschewing the album format. This sparked many a rumour that the band was about to split; instead they began releasing a series of singles, a new one every fortnight between October 2009 until September 2010 on 7″ vinyl and digital download only. That’s 26 singles in total (take that, The Wedding Present, with your feeble 12 singles in one year!), one for each letter of the alphabet, hence the whole lot being released on two…erm…albums, pithily called “A- Z Series Volumes 1 & 2”.

This was the first, and watch out, it has one fuck of a bassline:

Ash+Return+Of+White+Rabbit+475036

186. Ash – Return of White Rabbit

Scooting along now:

51C925RDQ4L__SY355_

187. The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

I was hoping to track down a clip of when they walked off Top of the Pops after host Richard Bacon introduced them as a band that had been put in a “fat melting pot of talent”, but apparently it was in the rehearsals so there is no footage. Ho hum.  Bacon is said to have tried to apologise and claimed he was referring to their status, not their appearance. Course you were, Richard. Course you were. And you only did the one line of coke too, right?

Next, a band who’ve never really made it big over here in the UK, which is a shame, for they made some really great power pop records in their time. This is from their 1977 album “In Color” (that’s not a typo, they’re American, that’s how they spell “colour”):

cheap-trick-i-want-you-to-want-me-5712

188. Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me

As usual, I seem to have gone on a bit longer than I intended again, so just two more to go.

I was going to post Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “Magician’s Assistant” but then I listened to it and remembered just how depressing it is, being about self-harm and suicide and all, so I decided against it. But the mere allusion (or should that be “illusion”? Ha, see what I did there?) to the lovely Debbie McGee allows me to post this classic TV moment:

And yes, that’s Peter Hook playing the walk-on music.

Hands up who want to hear Kelis? Very well. This is from her third album “Tasty”, the follow-up single to 2003’s “Milkshake”, when she was in full-on saucepot mode:

Kelis+Trick+Me+286551b

189. Kelis – Trick Me

And if my recollection is correct, then chapeau to legendary pork-swordsman Jamie Theakston…

Finally, we go out where we came in:

41Y0912CAFL

190. Mighty Dub Katz – Magic Carpet Ride

…who as I’m sure you know is actually Norman Cook in one of his many chart-busting guises.

And that’s yer lot, as they say.

Next Friday night I’ll be watching Underworld at The Roundhouse; it’ll be the first time I’ve ever managed to see them (quite how I’ve avoided them all these years is beyond me), so next week expect to see me trying to pretend I know something about dance music, other than tunes which I got out of my tree to back in my clubbing days.

Or to put it another way: More soon.

Rue Britannia

Ok. So. Here we go. 1984. The year I have to try and wax lyrical about. And as you will have guessed from my intro to the last post, a year I’ve been struggling with.

Let me add some context.

1984. The year that Thatcher won her second General Election, I think it’s fair to say (though it sticks in my throat) trouncing Labour’s Michael Foot. Foot did not look like your common-or-garden politician, and was a true left-winger (and I don’t mean in the Ryan Giggs kind of way. And when. I make a reference to Ryan Giggs, I don’t mean in that kind of way, either. Well not on this occasion, anyway). Foot is as relevant today as he ever was, for he is the current yard-stick for those who want to keep the Labour Party in the centre ground – which they so shamefully currently occupy – rather than on the left, where they should be, by making comparisons between his annihalation in this General Election and that which, they say, awaits the Labour Party if Jeremy Corbyn wins (they’re wrong). And whilst I’m at it: Tony Blair, keep your fecking nose out. You led us into an illegal war and now milk the after-dinner speech circuit for all its worth. You are a Tory in everything but name. Your opinion means nothing.

Ahem. Off my chest now. Where were we? Oh yes..:

1984. The year the Miners Strike started. I’m going to assume you know at least something about this. If you don’t, well a) you’re annoyingly young, and b) may I suggest a bloody tidy jumping on point is to watch the excellent “Pride” (It has Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy and Dominic West in it, the latter with a fabulous 80s haircut. What more can you want from a film??) Just watching those two clips makes me want to watch it again. Hope it does you too.

1984. The year of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I wish I could put my hand on my heart and say I bought any of their records at the time – particularly “Relax” and “Two Tribes“, but I didn’t. However, I did stand back, watch and admire the way they capitalised on the whole Mike Read situation (he was playing “Relax” one morning, and took it off, mid-record, branding it “obscene”). And if there’s one thing we now know, it’s that Mike Read is the very epitome of rational thought. (I give you two words: UKIP Calypso) (For Gawd’s sake, sense my tone…)

1984. The year of Band Aid, when a group of “current” (has Jody Watley ever been current???) pop stars (has Jody Watley ever been a pop star?????) were pulled together by ex-Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof and current-if-knackered (see, this is where I start to doubt my own sanity. In the video for “Love’s Great Adventure”, there was definitely a bit where Midge asks the film crew to stop while he has a breather. Right? Right????) Ultravox frontman Midge Ure to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in an effort to help starving millions in Ethiopia, after seeing Michael Buerk‘s report on the news, a record which everybody in the UK seemed to buy, and which you know, so I won’t bother posting a link to it here.

Which seems a convenient jumping off point for not the first record I bought in 1984, but the record which somehow got attached to the whole Band Aid campaign, seemingly solely because of the lines “You can’t go on, thinking nothing’s wrong”.

The_Cars_-_Drive The Cars – “Drive”

I’m sure they were delighted, or at least pretended to be, when “Drive” got re-released with “all proceeds” going to the Band Aid charity. And was a bigger hit than it was the first time around (I think…)

Me? I cannot hear this song without thinking of one thing, and sadly that one thing I can find no reference to anywhere on t’internet, other than one other person insisting it happened: Kevin Webster, drunk, singing an a capella version of it on Coronation Street. Seriously, you have no idea how much I wish I could post a link to it right here. Feel free to tell me you remember it too.

Ok, here’s a confessional Guilty Pleasure (No, there is no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure!!) record. Please bear in mind that in 1984 I was just 15 and didn’t know any better, and if I did, I thought it involved Status Quo, so you can choose which is worse:

philip-bailey-easy-lover-duet-with-phil-collins-1985 Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – “Easy Lover”

In my defence, in 1984 we knew very little about Phil Collins. All we had to go on was that he used to be/still was in Genesis, popped up with alarming regularity on Swap Shop or Saturday Superstore or whatever incarnation of Saturday morning TV on the BBC was on (regularly enough to make you think he was the new BA Robertson) and had a fairly succesful solo career doing Diana Ross covers. We did not know that “Sussudio” – the song with the most 80s bassline in the world. Ever…! – would earn extra brownie points for being mentioned (ironically, I think/hope) in American Psycho. We had no idea he was such a douchebag he would fax his wife to thrash out details of their divorce. But props for the use of a very 80s mode of communication. Nor did we know that that gorilla would boff the heck out of some drums on that Cadbury’s advert. It was just Phil Collins. He seemed harmless enough.

I cannot hear this song without thinking of the (slightly amended) “He’s a greasy lover…” introduction Mark Lamarr used to get on Shooting Stars, and which again, I can find no evidence of. So to make up for that, here’s him – at the end of the clip, and sadly cut short – doing “Mr Boombastic” on said kind-of-game show.

The other thing I remember most about owning this single is that shortly after purchase, a blob of what appeared to be raspberry jam appeared on the front cover, which I have never been able to explain (I’m more of a blackcurrant man, myself), and which frankly made storing my 7″ singles a bit of a nightmare from hereon in. Unable to remove the saccahrine splodge, I had to proceed to select which single I liked least and place that next to this in my ever growing singles box.

This is what you come here for, right? Anecdotes about singles I’ve absent-mindedly spilled preservatives on….? No….?

OK, well how about I give you the top two candidates to be the bread around the Phil Collins jam sandwich? Yeh, see? Now you’re interested, right? (Although the idea of a “Phil Collins sandwich” is kind of ewwwwwwwwwwww-y….)

Well, it must have been in 1984 that I abandoned any pretence of just buying records that I liked, and, in a fairly obvious attempt to ingratiate myself to members of the opposite sex, I started buying records that they liked, and which I hoped they would like me for also buying. What a dasterdly master-plan. That is the only explanation I have for the inclusion of the next two records:

Nik_Kershaw_The_Riddle_12__Cover Nik Kershaw – The Riddle

I Know, I know. There’s no excuse is there? It’s not as if this is a single from his famous, but still not actually very good, “Human Racing” album. I have always found this to be an utterly ludicrous record, with clunky 6th form, Tolkien-esque nerdo lyrics like this (trust me, I’m doing this so you don’t have to click that last link) :

“Near a tree by a river
There’s a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There’s a wrong and a right
But he’ll never, never fight over you”

What a load of old horseshit.

And speaking of old horseshit, there was this:

123_the_wild_boys_song_spain_006_20_0381_7_duranduran_com_duran_duran_discography_discogs_wikipedia Duran Duran – The Wild Boys

Yes. I bought this. Actually, I think I stole it from a reputable vendor of 7″ singles no longer with us. but either way, I possessed a copy, and the only justification I can think of, other than trying to impress girls (it didn’t work, by the way; they all just assumed I was gay, I was later told) was that I hoped that with enough plays on Top of the Pops, Simon Le Bon might actually fucking drown whilst tied to a windmill in that video.

Which leads me on to the other two significant episodes in my pop history which just so happened to occur in 1984.

Firstly, Britannia Music.

Anyone of a certain age will remember Britannia Music: firstly, because The Brits are named after them (like that’s a recommendation….) and secondly because in the 1980s you could not open a magazine without a “3 for £10” introductory offer falling out into your lap. And I fell for it.

Here was the deal: you could pick 3 albums and have them for £10; then you stayed as a member for as long as you liked, but had to purchase at least one album a month. And to help you keep your end of the contractual bargain, they would send you a little brochure each month, telling of their wares, and featuring an “Album of the Month”. If you didn’t want the “Album of the Month”, you had to tick a box on a form and send it back to them, pronto. Otherwise you got lumbered with whatever their Album of the Month was and had to pay for the privilege. I was often a little tardy, and consequently ended up with a lot of records I really didn’t want, more of which later. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, what this did do was allow me to indulge in my love of Greatest Hits albums, which led me to buy the next three:

Dusty-Springfield-Greatest-Hits-229304 Dusty Springfield – “I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten”

I can’t pretend this song is the reason why I bought this album – that distinction has to go to either “I Only Want To Be With You” or “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” But if I absolutely had to name my favourite 10 songs ever, “I Close My Eyes…” would be right in there, an absolute gem, all slow building breathiness followed by more glorious camp strings than a cub scout jamboree.

Speaking of camp…..

little_richard-greatest_hits_recorded_live Little Richard – “Tutti Frutti”

(Suddenly realises why the girls may have thought I was gay at school………)

buddy-lives Buddy Holly – “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

A song I was aware of through my father’s record collection, for he owned the Linda Rondstadt version. (That Don Kirschner chap is just the dictionary definition of charisma, isn’t he?)

Anyway, that’s the records I intentionally bought via Britannia, and here’s another, an actual record from your actual 1984:

Alison_Moyet_-_Alf Alison Moyet – “Invisible”

See, “electronic” music had at least crossed my radar, not that I would describe this as falling in that genre. But, as I’m sure you know, chicken-rearing Alison (a remembered Smash Hits fact, that) had been one half of Yazoo with Vince Clarke, ex-of Depeche Mode, soon-to-be of Erasure, and in-between jointly responsible for this. So, y’know, it wasn’t all about the guitars with me, even back then. Just mostly.

Invisible was the third single from the album, and I could have just as easily posted “All Cried Out”, but Invisible deftly sums up my appeal to the opposite sex at this point in my life. And for much of it afterwards, if I’m being honest. Which I am, of course.

As I write this now, I’m suddenly struck with how I much I love songs about either failed or unrequited love. It’s an empathy thing, I think. It would also explain why, two years earlier, in an example of what can only be described as the most optimistic thinking ever, I had told my best friend that when the situation arose that I had to finish with a girlfriend, I would simply quote the lyrics to this song to her: Chas. Dave.

Anyway, the second significant episode was my brother going to stay with relatives in America, and coming back tooled up with loads of records popular in The States but which had no impact on this side of the pond. Records which I listened to with growing interest:

One-On-One521X Cheap Trick – “If You Want My Love”

Rick-Springfield-Working-Class-Dog-446049 Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl”

MI0003737936 The Call – The Walls Came Down

51zBNqv3MRL The Fixx – One Thing Needs to Another

He also bought me this, a band I assumed were American, but turned out to be from Sheffield. A band who had a drummer with one arm. (Actually, he still had two arms when this album was recorded; it was when their next album, “Hysteria”, post arm-loss, came out in 1987 that they went truly stratospheric). But I was there first, UK rock fans. Although I’m not so sure this is something to be proud of..

d57644845a691f8807578e551b473654ae4281f9 Def Leppard – Photograph

But of all the records my brother brought back from the U S of A with him, there was one band that I totally fell for: The Go-Go’s. Featuring Belinda Carlisle and Jan Wiedlin, they became my pop star crushes to supercede Debbie Harry, five girls who so Google tells me, were the recipents of the 2,444th star on the LA Walk of Fame. Should have got there earlier, ladies. If only you didn’t take so long getting ready, eh lads?

vacationcover2 The Go-Go’s – Vacation

And then there’s this, another contender for my Top Ten of Greatest Records Ever……!

go_gos The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed

And if I’m going to post that link, then, since it was co-written by Terry Hall, ex-Special and (at the time) current one of the Fun Boy Three, I have to post this too:

the-fun-boy-three-our-lips-are-sealed-chrysalis Fun Boy Three – Our Lips Are Sealed

And finally on a Go-Go’s theme, allow me to nudge you in the direction of “Freedom of Choice”, an album of punk and new wave covers including Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth and this, by Redd Kross, a band whose own output I’m not a fan of, but by God they know how to knock out a cover version:

R-839350-1273804434_jpeg Redd Kross – How Much More

Considering I could think of nothing to say, I don’t half go on, don’t I…..?

Like anything I’ve posted today? Then go buy it here: the internet.