The Chain #27

Evening all.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Band Members Names

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

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

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

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

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The Matchroom Mob with Chas & Dave – Snooker Loopy

Next up, is George:

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

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

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

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

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Shut Up and Dance – £20 to Get In

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

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The Bluetones – if…

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

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

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The Three Johns – Teenage Nightingales To Wax

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

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

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

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Nightmares In Wax – Black Leather

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

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

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Hot Chocolate – Emma

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

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

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

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

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

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Motorhead – No Class

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

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

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

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

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Space – Magic Fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Animals

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

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

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The Rockingbirds – Deeply Dippy

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

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Aztec Camera – Spanish Horses

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

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

Need? No. Gonna? Yes.

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

Yes, we could.

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New Kingdom – Animal

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

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Suede – Animal Nitrate

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

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Animal Collective – Brother Sport

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

Time for the return of The Robster:

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

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Weezer – Keep Fishin’

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

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

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Def Leppard – Animal

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

      3. House

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

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

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

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

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The Beatmasters feat The Cookie Crew – Rok Da House

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Jack ‘N’ Chill – The Jack That House Built

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

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Big Sound Authority – This House

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

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

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DJ Fast Eddie – Hip House

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

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

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The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

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

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

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Yazoo – Don’t Go

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

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

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

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

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Melt-Banana – Monkey Man

And on to the fourth and final category:

     4. The Oldest Profession in the World

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

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

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Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wreckless Eric – Semaphore Signals (Peel Session)

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

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

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

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Blondie – X Offender

What’s the other one, kottowski/Walter?

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

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

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Queen – Killer Queen

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

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

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

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

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Billie Holiday – Love For Sale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Idina Menzel – Love For Sale/Roxanne

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

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

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

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

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Status Quo – Mystery Song

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

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

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

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John Otway – Bunsen Burner

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

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

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Ray Charles – Talkin’ ‘Bout You

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

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

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

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

Ain’t that the truth:

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Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards

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

“1.”

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The National – The Geese Of Beverly Road

and

“2.”

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The Beautiful South – The Rising Up of Grafton Street

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

So: here’s the reason:

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

…this is the song:

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27. Dr. John – Such A Night

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

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

See you next week, if not before.

More soon.

1985 and All That

So whilst I was busy buying godawful records by members of The Quo, at the same time I was racking up some unintentional points with Britannia Music.

Long-term readers may remember that I mentioned this particular company once before. In the mid-1980s, anytime you opened a weekend newspaper, a leaflet would invariably fall out, advertising Britannia’s 3 for £20 introductory offer, which I have to admit this teenage brain fell for.

Having succumbed, they would send you a booklet every month, detailing all of their wares (of which you had to buy a certain amount within a certain amount of time or…well, actually, as these were the days where you paid for any postal purchases by cheque, I’m not sure what the “or..” was. They’d tell my parents??) and bigging up their Album of The Month.

And here’s where the real money-spinner was for them: they just assumed that you would want to buy the Album of the Month. If you didn’t, you had to tick a box on a form and post it back to them by a certain date. Miss that cut off point, and suddenly you were the proud owner of…well, you’ll see.

You know me by now. I ended up with some stuff that I would not have ordinarily bought. Like this:

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Go West – Don’t Look Down

and this…

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Spandau Ballet – Highly Strung

…which contains one of the most cringe-worthy lyrics ever:

“She used to be a diplomat, but now she’s down the laundromat”

Although I can’t really complain, as it did mean I owned this, which is an absolutely belting New Romantic classic:

Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

Both of these inadvertent purchases would, in the fullness of time, actually prove their worth. I’ll explain that later.

So that’s my excuse for owning those. I have no such excuse, nor do I think I need one, for owning this:

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…which I intentionally bought, not so that I owned any of their guitars-as-bagpipes records (if you don’t know what I mean by that, then go YouTube “In a Big Country”), but so that I owned this, which I still adore to this day (and I don’t care what you think):

Big Country – Chance

I also bought this:

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…a collection of tracks by bands who had played at Live Aid, mostly because, if memory serves, it was only £1.99, but also because it contained this (and again, I don’t care what you think about me liking this either):

The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays

Has there been a greater record written about a shooting spree at a school? I think not, and let’s face it, there’s been plenty of opportunities for somebody to have a go at writing one.

But wait. Here comes the good bit.

Yet again, I can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by giving you this brilliant piece of Japanese pop, which samples the piano bit at the start of “…Mondays” (and, whilst we’re at it, the German bit from the start of  “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” by The Offspring, which in turn was sampling Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” which…heck, we could be here all day if I carry on). (By the way, you should watch the Def Leppard video, it is unintentionally, bum-wigglingly, hilarious. Spinal Tap was spot on.)

Anyway, if you only click one link on this blog, I urge you to make it this one. You won’t regret it:

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Puffy AmiYumi – Call Me What You Like

See? Told you.

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.