It was 49 years ago today that this was #1 in the UK.
Regular readers will know why I know that.
Just one more year to go until I can get me that free pen from a life insurance company that I’ve always dreamed of.
It was 49 years ago today that this was #1 in the UK.
Regular readers will know why I know that.
Just one more year to go until I can get me that free pen from a life insurance company that I’ve always dreamed of.
Another week started. Another Monday over and done with.
Another year gone. Another anniversary. Another Birthday. Mine.
On the 26th September 19*cough*, little me came into the world. And, as revealed this time last year, this was number one in the UK at the time:
The song, much as I love it, has had no real effect on me. For example, here’s a picture of me as a perfectly normal, fully rounded youngster:
Not really. Far too much hair.
Friends will note that the belly-to-rest-of-body ratio has remained pretty much constant over the past 48 years. Fully rounded, sure enough.
Yeh go on, laugh it up.
Okay, okay, I’m a little later than usual. My apologies. I seem to have developed some kind of Chain Tourette’s Syndrome this week, incapable of resisting posting an additional link or splurging out another suggestion. You’ll see.
Last week we ended with “Live Forever” by Oasis, and it’s fair to say the Mancunian siblings caused quite the difference in opinions between you, with some voicing “By and large and on the whole, all things considered… Oasis can piss off” and others “Can I start by saying that I bloody love Oasis?”
As usual, suggestions came from one of several broad categories, but where to start?
At the beginning, seems as good a place as any. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area to kick things off:
“Johnny Marr springs to mind (shared manager, guitar given by Johnny to Noel on which he wrote that song I think). Johnny Marr’s solo song ‘Upstarts’ from a couple of years ago was splendid, a comeback. And even though I don’t much like ’em, Oasis were upstarts for a while.”
You can add the fact that Noel Gallagher joined Johnny on stage when I saw him at the Brixton Academy last year to that list of connections too, if you like.
Let’s use collaborations as the starting point to kick on with, and a second suggestion from Swiss Adam:
“Oasis recorded a song with another Johnny. Johnny Depp. Who was attached to Vanessa Paradis who had a hit with the strangely alright ‘Joe Le Taxi’.”
Those of you who read the Comments section will know that prompted a big fat “Did they??” from Yours Truly. In fact, it turns out everyone’s favourite begrudgingly apologetic dog smuggler recorded with them twice, on “Fade In-Out” from “Be Here Now”, and on “Fade Away (Warchild Version)” from the 1995 “Help!” compilation album. In fact, anything with the word “Fade” in the title, and Depp was all over it like a tramp on chips.
He also, of course, plays guitar on this:
But I digress; back to Swiss Adam for his hat-trick of collaboration suggestions (even though his first one wasn’t really one):
“John Squire played with the Burnage numpties at Knebworth. And John Squire was in the Stone Roses without whom Oasis would never have existed. They could also never have written anything as trippy and light as Elephant Stone.”
Continuing the theme, let’s shift from people who have played with Oasis, to acts that have featured one of the band (okay, let’s face it, Liam or Noel). Over to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“Live Forever is considered by many as Liam’s greatest vocal recording. Although that’s harsh on ‘Little James’. Anyway Liam also contributes vocals to Echo and the Bunnymen’s wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. The irony of that was probably lost in him.”
Wonderful is damning this record with faint praise; I often dread a band I love reforming and releasing their new material, but Echo & The Bunnymen proved the exception to the rule with this:
And of course, with “Forever” in the title, we have a double-linker! We’ll come back to more with a similar (okay, identical) link later on.
The mere mention of Liam gives me the opportunity to post this, from the “Live Forever” Britpop documentary, my favourite ever interview clip involving him, where he is asked if he feels he has an androgynous quality about him:
Anyway, another suggestion from me, this time featuring the other one-eyebrowed wonder. Noel Gallagher teamed up with The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando to record – but never officially release (hence the absence of a proper sleeve and the somewhat shonky sound quality) – this:
What? There were people in Oasis other than Liam and Noel you say? Over to Rigid Digit from Stuff and Nonsense:
“Oasis’ bass player Paul McGuigan co-authored (with Paolo Hewitt) a book called ‘The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw’ about ex Reading and Cardiff City player Robin Friday.
A picture of Robin Friday “flicking the V” at the Luton Town goalkeeper was used on the cover of the Super Furry Animals ‘The Man Don’t Give A F**k'”
He certainly was:
And, since I’m going to see them next Friday at The Roundhouse perform not only their brilliant debut album “Fuzzy Logic” but also their even better follow-up album “Radiator”, here’s a bonus, a tune I’ve posted before, their epic 22:30 minute long live version from the Hammersmith Apollo, complete with Cian Ciaran’s techno wig out section:
Before I start posting nothing but Super Furry Animals records, it’s time for The Beard to perform an intervention:
“Oasis’ touring keyboardist was Jay Darlington from Britpop no-marks Kula Shaker [Don’t worry folks, he’s not going there]. Their lead singer Crispin Mills was the son of actress Hayley Mills. She starred in the film ‘Tiger Bay’ (alongside, I think, Sir John Mills?) [Correct!]. ‘Tiger Bay’ is also the name of Saint Etienne’s third album. ‘Like A Motorway’ from this album, please.”
As usual, competition has been hot this week to come up with the Worst Record of the Week, and here’s The Great Gog with the first, which not only links to the Gallagher brothers, but also to the football team mentioned in The Official Chain link which led us here:
“…the brothers Gallagher support a certain team who are still in the Champions League (sorry, couldn’t resist!)…[*cough* 2-0, 2nd October 2016]…so, the ditty supposedly sung by the early ’70’s City squad, “The Boys In Blue” – although I can’t imagine that the likes of Franny Lee would have been that good at holding a tune.”
No need to imagine, GG, here they are, and let’s just say Franny was no Ossie Ardiles, either on the pitch or in the studio:
I’ll be honest, I only posted that so I could bring your attention to the song-writing credits, which will probably seem familiar to many of you. Yes, Godley, Crème and Gouldman – three fifths of 10cc. The muso-nerds amongst you will know that 10cc get their name from the average male ejaculate. 10cc formed in 1972, the same year as “Boys in Blue” was released. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but you don’t need me to do it, you can fill in the
Anyway, back to you GG:
“Also, there is of course, “Blue Moon” – of which there have been many versions, but as an early contender for Worst Song Of The Week, I’ll plump for Showaddywaddy’s version.”
You have to feel a bit sorry for Showaddywaddy, surely the most unintentional casualty of the whole Operation Yew tree thing, for who amongst us didn’t used to enjoy saying their name in the voice of a certain, dead, disgraced, BBC DJ, TV presenter and paedophile? And now even that simple joy has been taken away from us. I bet Eric Bristow does that impression still. (See, I’m nothing if not topical!)
Something a little more straight forward and less contentious next: here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“Until I come up with something obscure I’ll go for an obvious one: ‘Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Mulduar’.”
As it happens, CC wasn’t the only one to suggest this record; step forward Kuttowski from A few good times in my life:
“The first thing that came on my mind was a song by Maria Muldaur. Midnight At The Oasis is one of these songs that accompanied me during the last decades. I really can’t explain why I can’t get this little folk/jazz tune out of my mind. Probably because it is just a good song.”
And here it is:
Now, the more astute among you will have noticed a couple of references to Liam and Noel Gallagher so far. Here’s George to explain the link between these two fine gentlemen with the same surname:
“Oasis had the Gallagher brothers in them. And there are a plethora of bands that have brothers , so I will suggest Creedence Clearwater Revival (who featured two Fogertys) and ‘Born On The Bayou’.”
Oooh- bands with siblings in them, can I play? Please pwetty please?
It seems to me that Scotland has more than its’ fair share of bloody marvellous musical talent, and quite a few music bloggers too, many of whom visit these pages, so this one’s for you, a much overlooked (until that bloody awful musical came out a few years ago; other than featuring the music of The Proclaimers, it has little to recommend it) and rather lovely tune:
And, well, if we’re going to have one Scottish band with a couple of brothers called Reid, we’d better have the other one too (PS. Neil Reid was not one of them):
Okay. Brace yourself. Here’s George with the winner of this week’s Worst Record of the Week award.
“Going from the Gallagher Brother to two sisters, those two in the Cheeky Girls (one of them married Lembit Opik) and, having consulted with my partner, their most famous song is called Cheeky Song, which I’ve just played. It’s rubbish.”
I do love the way that George always pretends not to know anything about his suggestions for Worst Record of The Week and tries to shift the blame over to his other half. We all know the truth, George, you’re fooling nobody.
Thank god neither of you have heard of Jedward, s’all I can say.
Oh, and a slight correction; Lembit Opik didn’t marry one of the Cheeky Girls, they were engaged but split up in 2008 after a “difficult period” in the relationship, which I think we can interpret as meaning “when he slept with the wrong sister”.
So, here’s what I’m sure will be the least clicked link of the week. I, on the other hand have had to listen to that more times when writing this blog than I had ever had the misfortune to hear it before (Twice).
Look! There’s a Christmas Remix!! If you’re all very good boys and girls, I’ll see if I can find that and post it nearer the 25th. I bet it has some sleigh bells and probably a joke about pulling a Christmas Cracker.
Let’s get out of here, and have some simple songs which link to the word “Live”, the word “Forever”, or some derivative of either.
Time, then, to give the customary very warm Chain Gang welcome to first time contributor Martin from New Amusements (is that a Gene reference I espy, Martin…?):
“I’m going with living forever… having tinkered with synonyms (eternal and immortal) and come to unsatisfactory dead ends (anything by, er, Eternal, and Immortals by Fall Out Boy), I have instead decided to opt for the words “Electric word, life. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time.”
In other words, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Doubly fitting, as those Gallagher boys have been known to go crazy on the odd occasion…”
A classy suggestion, and just what the Doctor order after George let those pesky cheeky-ettes in:
Whilst we’re on lyrical references, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:
“Oasis claim they’re gonna live forever. Irene Cara claimed likewise on “Fame”. To be fair to all involved, they’re not wrong *yet*.”
There’s still another month left of 2016, Alex. Plenty of time yet.
On the day or so before I write The Chain, I upload all of the songs onto a playlist on my iPod, and give them a listen as I commute to and from work, the idea being that a) I can check all of the mp3s sound okay, b) can get a rough idea of the running order, and c) hope I can think of something interesting or amusing to write about each tune. As I got to off the bus and walked to the office this morning, this tune came on:
I have to say, it put me in a really good mood for the start of the day. You should try it. The only disappointing thing about it was that when I got to the office, not one person was wearing a leotard or leggings, Doris wasn’t squawking “Hi Fidelity” by the water cooler, nor was Bruno attempting to play the photocopier like a piano. Still, can’t have everything.
Back, now, to The Great Gog, who before he started regaling us with Manchester City related awfulness, did actually suggest this:
“My first thought was to suggest another song with the words ‘live’ and ‘forever’ in the title: OMD – ‘(Forever) Live And Die’.”
Next, as Mark Morrison almost once said, it’s the Return of the Badger:
“But having gone down the forever route…other things can be forever as well. Like Polymers according to Future of the Left….”
“…and fucking if you listen to Babyshambles.” Which I don’t as a rule, but then I’ve listened to The Cheeky Girls twice, I may as well give Babyshambles a whirl:
Remember earlier we were talking about Oasis records that Johnny Depp had played on? Well here’s fun: that Warchild version of “Fade Away” also featured one time Pete Doherty muse Kate Moss giving it the full Linda McCartey on tambourine. What are the odds, eh?
Here’s George, who doesn’t seem even remotely apologetic for making me/us listen to The Cheeky Girls:
“…on the forever link, what about ‘Forever Came Today’ by Diana Ross and The Supremes?”
Time for some input from the fairer sex: here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:
“Ok so The Cheeky Girls song may get the prize for the worst record of the week [there’s no “may” about it, it does] but here is another contender. “Forever and Ever” by that hirsute Greek, Demis Roussos. I always thought Neil Diamond (my choice from last week) was a very hirsute man back in the day with all that exposed chest hair, but nothing on Mr Roussos. Come to think of it the Gallagher Brothers are quite hirsute in the eyebrow department, them having only one an’ all. A double-link and a pattern forming here for me relating to hairy men!”
Next to return for a second, and indeed a third, suggestion is kuttowski:
“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a live album by Bob Marley from back in 1980. So I suggest Burnin’ and Lootin’”
More from Kuttowski:
“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a documentary about the rise and fall of Brit Pop from the mid 90’s to their end. Pulp’s Common People with it’s wonderful lyrics became a signature to Brit Pop.”
Indeed, to my mind the anthem of Britpop, and a song kept from reaching Number One by Robson and Jerome, who also kept Oasis’s “Wonderwall” from the top slot.
Here’s the full length version from “Different Class”:
Time to hand over to Rol from My Top Ten for his musings of the week:
“First thought: Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever?
Which, if the question referred to the Oasis song, would lead to a resounding “Not me!” I appreciate that some people might feel the same about Queen, but quite frankly they would be, at best, misguided.”
I told you Oasis divided opinions, didn’t I?
I’m not sure if it’s distasteful, ironic or entirely appropriate that this is posted just as we pass the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, but since I know Rol is a big fan of Queen (as opposed to a fan of big queens) I’ll go with the latter.
“‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’ comes from the soundtrack of the movie Highlander, which leads me naturally to a lovely early Billy Joel song called ‘Summer, Highland Falls.’ Hey, if we can show Neil Diamond love, Billy must get his too.”
A debate for another day, I think, but certainly one I’ll be backing you up on (up to a point):
Now, amongst that, you mentioned Neil Diamond, didn’t you? Over to Charity Chic again:
“The by now obligatory Neil Diamond moment – ‘Forever in Blue Jeans'”:
Phenomenal bit of work there, artist responsible for the design of the single sleeve.
“What’s next on the list?”
“Something called “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. Any ideas?”
“How about we just stick his face on some denim?”
“Perfect. Fancy a pint?”
Now this song reminds me of someone, a former flatmate of mine and Hel’s. This was his favourite record by Diamond. I mean, it’s okay but it’s no “I Am…I Said”, is it? Hell, it’s not even “Cracklin’ Rosie” or “Beautiful Noise”. This is one of the perils of house-sharing these days; you can interview them as much as you like, but you never know what people are really like until they move in. This guy was priceless.
He survived on a diet of pizza and pasta on alternating days, then tried to take the piss out of me for eating liking foreign food because I was eating Mexican one evening. His idea of eating pasta was to boil some water, add pasta, drain then add nothing but tomato ketchup. Once, he realised he had put too much water in the saucepan, so decided to empty some out – into the kitchen bin, rather than into the sink. He would eat packets of crisps and just drop the empty packets on the floor. We once found a half devoured bag of Doritos next to the toilet. A toilet which he refused to lift the seat of when he peed, and which he refused to flush before he left to go to work (after we had) of a morning, leaving a gorgeous odour to greet the first person home. He made several unwelcome passes at Hel, and made up an entirely fictitious girlfriend who he claimed worked on a leading TV soap opera, even though we did know someone who worked on the same show who categorically told us the girl didn’t exist. Oh, and he did a runner from the house in the middle of the day when we were at work, leaving me and Hel to cover his share of the household bills, and I suspect, liberating a large chunk of my vinyl – including all of The Smiths original Rough Trade album releases – as he went.
All of which might just about be forgivable were it not for one thing: he liked Kasabian.
Every possible opportunity he had, he would bang on about how awesome they were, and when one of their albums, I forget which, the one where they try and sound like Oasis meets the Stones meets “Rocks”-era Primal Scream probably, like that narrows it down, was voted Album of the Year by Q magazine, he bought a copy (of the magazine), and kept leaving it around the house, open at the relevant page, like we were going to go “Oh, well if Q says it’s the Album of the Year….”
And if it wasn’t Kasabian, it was bloody Mumford & Sons. I rest my case.
I mention all of this now, because one day he burst into the house, breathless with excitement, gushing “Jez…Jez…have you heard of Longpigs? Best…Britpop band…ever!”
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Longpigs first album, “The Sun is Often Out”. And they gave us Richard Hawley, so for that we are of course grateful In fact, I can’t believe I’ve never posted anything by him – I’ll rectify that over the weekend.
But best Britpop band ever? C’mon…
Anyway, that leads me, in a very roundabout way indeed, to what I think is their finest moment. For if you do Live Forever, then surely it could be said that you go on and on…
Ahem. Where were we?
Ah yes, back to Rol, I think:
“Final thought, on the subject of living forever (unless I have another thought)…
Ryan Adams (no B) – ‘Note To Self: Don’t Die’ …would be good advice for any budding immortals.”
Another inadvertent double-linker there, as Mr B-less Adams also once covered Oasis’s “Wonderwall”, as did this lot:
Remember when Worst Record of the Week used to be about posting the Cheesiest Record of the Week? Well, that would win, even if it’s deliberately so.
And, just take a look at that Radio 1 sticker that proudly adorns the front. It reads: “As First Heard on the Kevin Greening Show”. Surely I’m not alone in furrowing my brow and saying, “Sorry, who??” Perhaps his career was cut short precisely because it was his show that first played that.
Hang on, Rol’s thought of something else. Having convinced himself not to suggest something by Gallagher and Lyle, he came back with this:
“Oh, I just had a thought about the Gallagher & Lyle route that would lead to a semi-respectable song.
Gallagher & Lyle reminds me of Tate & Lyle.
Tate & Lyle make sugar.
So… Sugar – ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind'”
“Semi-respectable”?? That’s a fine record, and no mistake:
“Please post the video so everyone can laugh at Bob Mould’s cardigan,” Rol concludes.
Okay, but I’m rather a partial to a nice cardy, so no sniggering:
Now, who haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“The B Side to ‘Live Forever’ was ‘Up in the Sky’ which is where according to Sugar you would find the City of Armenia.”
…which is a cover of The Who track from “The Who Sell Out” of course. And Oasis covered The Who’s “My Generation” on their live album “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”. This week, more than any, we seem to be going round in circles and finding additional links.
“Alternatively,” SWC continues, “the complete opposite of live forever would be dying young so we could have ‘All Die Young’ by much missed Smith Westerns.”
Or, for that matter, this, from the second Blondie album I ever bought as a kid (after I got “Best of Blondie”, but before “Parallel Lines”):
And one more from SWC:
“Live Forever was apparently inspired by ‘Shine a Light’ by The Rolling Stones so we could have that.”
Next up, its The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:
“I’ll make a simple jump from Oasis to fellow Creation recording artists Swervedriver – ‘Rave Down’ please!”
I had totally forgotten how good that is, like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Doves.
Last suggestion of the week, and I’ve deliberately kept this one back til last. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of The Robster from Is This the Life? to wrap things up:
“Pre-Oasis, Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Post-Oasis, he formed the High Flying Birds. Therefore I offer ‘Flying Like A Bird’ from Inspiral Carpets’ self-titled comeback album from 2014. I’d also like to dedicate it to their drummer Craig Gill who passed away last week.”
On which poignant note, all that is left for me to do is the admin bit. Here’s the link to the next record in The Official Chain, an underwhelming link as is so often the case, but a great record:
“Oasis used a leisure centre in Swindon as inspiration for their band name. Also from Swindon were…”
You know the drill by now; your suggestions for records that link to “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by XTC, along with a brief description as to how you got from one to the other, via the Comments section below.
See you next week, Chain Gang!
It’s my birthday today.
When you’re birthday is a) on a Monday, and b) two days before pay-day, it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm.
And, let’s not go into the whole “how old I am” shebang, please.
If you really want to know, then I’ll let you do the donkey work, by just saying that this was the No. 1 single in the UK when I was born:
Read into that what you will.
I need to think of a new way to open these posts other than saying “So I left you last week with *insert name here* record and asked you to suggest songs that linked to it”.
But until I do, you’ll have to make do with this:
So, I left you last week with “The River” by Bruce Springsteen and asked you to suggest songs that linked to it. This week, I’m simply going to post them in the order that I received them.
So, as with most weeks, first out of the traps was George who said:
“The Springsteen album The River has a track called Fade Away. And Buddy Holly wrote and sang Not Fade Away.”
Next up, The Swede, with a typically classy link:
“I was born (and spent the first 15 years of my life) in Walthamstow. When I was a young lad, Dad would often take me for a Sunday afternoon stroll along the nearby River Lea. In my memory it was always a glorious adventure, but a few recently rediscovered photos taken at the time tell a different story – the river and the old buildings along the bank were in a pretty sorry state back then, though I believe there has been a massive regeneration of the area in recent years.
But I digress. I’d like to go from ‘The River’ to the River Lea to Jim Lea and ‘When the Lights Are Out’ from ‘Old New Borrowed and Blue’, which was his first ever lead vocal on a Slade track.”
I don’t know about you, but I can no longer hear a Slade tune without thinking of this:
Slade in Flame, indeed.
Next up, Charity Chic:
“Not sure I can top the Swede but The River to River Deep Mountain High to the Mountain by Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band to Duke of Earl by Darts to Darts of Pleasure by Franz Ferdinand.”
I can’t really ignore the mention of “River Deep Mountain High”, now can I? But since I very much enjoyed watching Ronnie Spector’s set at Glastonbury over the weekend (if you have access to the BBC iPlayer, seek it out), I’m going to plump for the Phil Spector produced version by Ike & Tina Turner:
Which leads me rather nicely on to a suggestion I received that wasn’t via the Comments at the bottom of last week’s post. My boss, Kay, was talking to me at the start of the week, and suggested something called “Rolling on the River”, by which it transpires she meant this (although I think she wanted the Tina Turner version):
Which, it turns out is a double link, referencing not just the river, but also Mary.
Final suggestion time, and this week, it’s from The Great Gog, who also goes with name of the heroine in Springsteen’s track as the link:
“‘The River’ was released in 1980 and mentions a girl called Mary. Another song released in 1980, mentioning someone of that name is Robert Palmer’s ‘Johnny And Mary’.”
Which just leaves my choice, and, since you know I have no shame, I’m going to post a song which references both a river, and Mary, who, it would seem comes to a somewhat stickier end than any of the other Marys mentioned so far. Oh, and there’s also the fact that the story told takes place in Nebraska, which was of course the name of a Springsteen album.
You might ask: What’s so shameless about that?
Well, my suggestion this week is by Richard Marx:
(Go on, admit it. That’s alright really, isn’t it?)
Oh, and great though all of the other suggestions were this week, I win, with an unprecedented triple link choice.
And so to the admin task of posting the song that BBC Radio 2 listeners suggested to link to Springsteen’s song, and I imagine many of you will know what the link between the two songs was:
(And if you don’t know the link between Springsteen and The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You”, there’s a bit of a clue in that picture).
So, as usual, your suggestions please for what we can play next week that links to The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You”; you can either leave them in the Comments below, or just shout across the desk at work.
**NEWS JUST IN**
It’s not often (okay, it’s the first time) I get a late submission, but this just came through from Marie who said:
“I probably have this game all wrong, but “The River” led me to “One More River To Cross” by The Soul Stirrers (featuring Sam Cooke.)”
Well, you have the game pretty much right, just a week late. But since it’s a ladies prerogative to be late (and since it would be churlish of me to decline the chance to post some sweet, sweet Sam Cooke) I’ll let it slide:
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.
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?
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:
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:
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:
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?
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Scooting along now:
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”):
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:
And if my recollection is correct, then chapeau to legendary pork-swordsman Jamie Theakston…
Finally, we go out where we came in:
…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.
Back to 1983 it is then, which is where I left off talking about the records I bought as I was growing up.
I turned 14 in September 1983, and earlier that year, spurred on by my Quo obsession, and sick of either playing air-guitar or pretending to play a tennis racquet, I’d got my first two guitars; one an acoustic I’d persuaded my parents to buy me, the other a red electric Gibson Flying V copy (by which I mean cheap, £55.00 if memory serves me right) not unlike the one above. Mine, of course, did not bear the Gibson insignia, it was called something like Ribson or Gibton. Shortly afterwards, my great grandmother passed away (not from the shock of me buying such a ludicrously shaped electric guitar, I hasten to add), and she left me a modest amount of money in her will: enough to buy a Fender amp, which I considered was decent compensation for the sudden loss of the Crunchie bar she gave me every Saturday when we went to visit her.
And so I proceeded to attempt to learn to play the damned things. Soon I had those three chords learned (the Quo-umverate, as I believe they’re known), and started to look around for some new things to try and learn.
Around the same time, I had started going to the Dance, actually just a disco, which was held once a month in the hall of the secondary school I attended. These were open to the public, although it was predominantly attended by school kids, had a licensed bar which was manned by one teacher and a couple of civilians. The teacher was there solely to make sure none of the school kids got served.
Our task each month time was to try and get served at the bar, which meant queuing at the opposite end of the bar to the one the teacher was serving at. I got lucky here, for I didn’t have any lessons with the teacher in question (he taught Maths to the brainy kids, which counted me…er..right out), so he had no idea who I was and regularly served me, despite the fact I looked nowhere near 18. (I say I got lucky; what this invariably meant was that it was I who was sent to the bar by my mates who did have him as their teacher).
Apart from my missions to the bar, I was your typical adolescent wall-flower, spending the entire night sitting to the side of the dance-floor, only venturing on to head-bang (that’s right ladies, form an orderly queue!) when they played the same three rock songs they played every month: “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC (by the way, isn’t that the least AC/DC audience you’ve ever seen…?), “Down Down” by Status Quo. That was generally enough, and I was ready to stop by the end of the third song, often believing I had felt my brain move inside my head and bash against the side of my skull. Which would explain a lot.
Occasionally, they would play a fourth one, usually “Layla” by Derek & The Dominoes, although not the long version. (A year or so earlier, we had been on a school holiday for a fortnight to the Butlins holiday camp in sunny Barry Island, South Wales. At a disco there, this was the only song my mates and I ventured onto the dance floor for, only to be told off by a redcoat for head-banging to it. Apparently such activity was banned. We sloped off in a strop to the cinema to watch Pete’s Dragon instead.)
Then one night, the DJ played a record I’d never heard before, and which, these days, is viewed as a cheesy party record. I was blissfully unaware of its reputation, loved it so much I went into town the next day and found myself a copy on 7″. I don’t think I’ve heard this for about 25 years or so, and gave it a spin for the first time in all those years when I was writing this. It’s nowhere near as bad as it’s commonly perceived to be, or as I remembered, for that matter. Judge for yourself:
Soon this was added to my guitar repertoire. I decided that maybe learning some other older songs would serve me well – all the Teach Yourself to Play Guitar books I’d bought (anyone who has heard me play, will not be in the slightest bit surprised to learn I’m entirely self taught) were crammed with songs by The Beatles and The Stones and many, many more (as the adverts used to say) – and so I scouted around for some more.
Quite how I ended up buying the next single, is, therefore totally beyond me.
10cc – I’m Not In Love is not exactly a record known for being choc-a-bloc full of chunky guitar riffs for me to get my teeth into. But this was the next record to find it’s way onto my turntable, nonetheless. What it is known for is being is a wonderful study of a broken heart and of denial, which may well be why it struck a chord with this thirteen/fourteen year old who found himself utterly ignored by members of the opposite sex.
The other clue as to how it ended up in my possession is the label the copy I bought it on: Old Gold. Sadly, I can’t find any pictures of the actual copy on said label, but here’s one of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s “Fire” which might jog a few memories:
In the late 70s/early 80s, branches of Woolworths and W H Smiths had rack upon rack of these, and thinking about it, I suppose it was our version of finding songs on the internet. Need to find a certain record, but don’t want to shell out for a whole album? Then the song could be yours on Old Gold, for the price of a bus fare into town, followed by a good hour or so’s solid rummaging through the racks, and then the cost of the single itself (£1.99, I think).
Flicking through those racks of re-issued songs on the Old Gold label was my practice ground, where I learned the correct stance for vinyl perusal (legs apart, back bent, fingers working the top of each record, eyes focused on the disc label, for the sleeves themselves were uniform, and the exposed label was the only way to identity the song contained on the grooves within.)
The next record I bought was also on the Old Gold label, and I found out some years later that it was actually the UK’s Number One single on the day I was born. It was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising”
The reason I bought this was down to one film, a film I still love to this day, and which as I write this I find myself suddenly filled with the urge to dig out my DVD copy of and give it another watch.
Yes, I’m talking ’bout “An American Werewolf in London”.
Now I could’ve sworn that “Bad Moon Rising” accompanied the first transformation scene in it, but I guess not: that honour goes to some song adopted by a football team whose supporters turn their back on the pitch when their team scores, just as I turned my back on them two years earlier.
You don’t need me to tell you that John Landis, who directed the movie, subsequently, and as a direct result, was hired to make possibly the most famous pop video in history: Thriller. (PS – assuming you get the same advert at the start, Now 91 looks shit, doesn’t it?)
You also don’t need me to tell you the other reason why “American Werewolf…” had such a profound effect on this virginal thirteen year old. I give you two words: Jenny. Agutter.
When I was a younger man, the presence of Ms Agutter in the credits meant two things: firstly, it would probably (but not always) be a sign of quality; secondly, it would definitely have at least one scene I would get embarrassed watching in the presence of my parents. (see also: “Walkabout” and “Logan’s Run”, which I rather Freudianly mis-spelled as “Logan’s Rub” when I first wrote this part).
By the way, American Werewolf’s scene to make me blush in front of my parents but engage in a very different activity when alone with just me, the video recorder and the pause button, was accompanied by this.
Nowadays, of course, spotting Ms Agutter’s names in the credits means you’ve fallen asleep on the settee, dribbled all over the cushions but managed to dodge having to sit through “Call The Midwife” when visiting your parents. Oh, how the times have changed.
So: chords for two new songs learned. Next up was a single which was actually in the charts at the time. Featuring Maggie Reilly, who I had always assumed was famous for being in Steeleye Span or the like, but who it seems is most famous for appearing on
Oldfield was famous for a few things: for his Tubular Bells album which, I’m sure you know, was the first ever release on the Virgin label and which set Richard Branson up for a life-time of twatting around in hot-air balloons, running rubbish railway services and paying Usain Bolt and David Tennant to pretend to be his friends in TV adverts; for his Christmas hit “In Dulce Jubilo”, and for “Portsmouth” – not one that might tickle your memory glands, that, but one which has been burned onto my psyche ever since we did Country Dancing at Junior School and I made a complete arse of myself attempting to do-si-do with Vanessa Simpson, who I had a massive crush on, crush turning out to be quite literally the appropriate phrase, as I trod on her feet countless times until she asked to be allowed to change partner.
Ahem. But I’m over that now.
Oldfield had also re-recorded the Blue Peter theme tune (it’s not a great quality that link, but it’s worth a watch, if only to see the masterful interview techniques on display from Simon Groom, who is probably more famous for a possibly unintentional live innuendo and for corpsing live on-air, which I can’t find a link for). (NB – Any mention of Blue Peter reminds me of this, and no, it’s not an elephant having a shit in the studio.)
So that’s a few riffers and one fiddly guitar solo learned, what next?
Amongst the singles I still have, are two by the same band, with very battered sleeves. They are:
Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top.
Ha ha! There’s three of them, and two have really long beards, and the one who doesn’t is called Frank Beard!! Brilliant!!! Hands up who’s utterly tired of that factoid being wheeled out whenever ZZ Top are mentioned?
And hands up, who likes me? You utter, utter bastards.
I’d like to say that my purchase of the these two ZZ Top records was because I thought they were fine examples of Texan-boogie rock (I did, and still do really like them; no Guilty Pleasures, remember?), but in reality, it was because their videos contained what I believe the red-tops refer to as “bikini-clad lovelies”. I was 13, shallow and untouched downstairs, gimme a break. To show how I’ve grown up, I’m not going to post a link to them here. Plus I did resist the urge to buy the other single from the album, “Legs” which threw any pretension of not being about a bunch of middle-aged men ogling younger women out of the window.
Which kind of neatly leads me on to my first female popstar crush, albeit with ages reversed, who I think I mentioned in passing quite a while ago: Debbie Harry.
For it was in 1983 that I bought “The Best of Blondie”, an album that I still own on vinyl to this day (and on CD for that matter. And MP3.) I’ve mentioned before how I used to buy Best of albums as a way into a band (I realise I am not unique in this, I don’t think I’ve done anything particularly smart there) and such was the case with this purchase.
My vinyl copy came with the above as a poster; I had no idea who Andy Warhol was at this point, or why he was BAD, but I still dutifully stuck the poster to my wall (no, with blu-tac, don’t be disgusting). The album remained on my turntable almost non-stop for several months, even after I’d learned to play as many as I could on my guitar.
Here’s one song which I wasn’t all that fussed on originally, but which I think now is probably my favourite Blondie song, and which probably explains my love of a good bracket (as you’ve probably noticed):
I suppose I should do one of those Like It? But It here things, right? Okay then.
In the words of Columbo: “Just one more thing before I go.” I recently bought myself a new turntable, and I’m going through the laborious process of a) trying to track down copies of all the vinyl I used to own and buying them again, and b) buying some other stuff on vinyl too. As well as this, I’ve decided to buy a few of the albums my one-year-older-than-he-was-a-week-ago-brother owned and which I used to borrow whenever I had chance. My vinyl purchases may yet develop into a new series here (once I’ve stopped buying all the old Quo albums. Again.), but in the meantime, here’s one from an album he bought (a Best Of album, you’ll note. Must be a family trait) and which, as far as I know, has never been released on CD, so I feel less bad about posting this:
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