Friday Night Music Club

As you may recall from a recent post, I’m off to see Status Quo do an acoustic set tonight, so I thought, as a special treat, I’d do a special Quo-tastic Friday Night Music Club for you tonight.

No, wait, come back!!

When I say a special Quo-tastic post, I mean one which features absolutely no songs by Status Quo whatsoever. And yet, (cue the Twilight Zone music), all of them are.

You all know I have a pathological, some might say inexplicable, love of The Quo. You all also know I love cover versions too. So what we have here are ten songs which the double-denimed, perennially unfashionable, septum-less wonders (Only one of them has lost their septum through cocaine abuse – Legal Ed) have covered in their really rather long career.

If you were so inclined, you can split the Quo’s history into five stages:

  1. The Pre-Fame Years (up to 1967)
  2. The Psychedelic Pop Years (1968 – 1969)
  3. The Just Discovered How to Play their Signature Hard Rock/Boogie Years (1970 – 1971)
  4. The Very Succesful Years (or “The Seventies” as they’re more commonly known)
  5. Everything Else After That

If I’m honest, I could easily have compiled this list exclusively from the first two stages, but where would be the fun in that? I’ll be flitting between them, so please don’t expect me to be so organised as to have posted the songs in the order they covered them; instead I’ve gone for what I hope is an aesthetically pleasing running order instead.

So, belt yourself in, here we go:

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387. The Bee Gees – Spicks and Specks

Throughout their career, Quo have tried to cover records which weren’t hits in the UK, and this is a prime example: a hit for The Brothers Gibb in Australia in 1966, and in New Zealand, Japan, Germany and Netherlands a year later. Quo covered it on their first album, when they were still called The Status Quo, “Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from The Status Quo” which came out in 1968. No prizes for guessing which single they were cashing in on with that album title, eh?

From the same album, which featured the band perched atop a mountain of Swan Vestas matchboxes (See what they did there? Matchsticks!), comes this little ditty:

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388. The Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine

Also released in 1967, this peaked at No 7 in the UK charts but made No 1 in the USA and Canada.

Time for me to ‘fess up now, this next one is a bit of a cheat by me, as it was written for the Quo when they were still wearing slightly awkward Carnaby Street gear on Top of The Pops, but the writer also recorded a version of it himself. Anyway, this is my list and let’s be honest, none of you are actually reading this anyway so I can make the rules up as I go along if I like:

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389. Marty Wilde – Ice In The Sun

Yes, that Marty Wilde. Father of 80s pop vixen Kim (who I once served in a motorway ‘restaurant’ when she was on tour supporting some chap called Michael Jackson. Dunno what happened to him).

(Quo’s version reached No 8 in the UK charts in 1968, by the way. Like you care.)

Now, by the end of the 1960s, the boys had shrewdly worked out that the brand of psychedelic bubble-gum pop they had been peddling thus far, and become famous for, was not going to remain popular for much longer (by which I mean, their hits had already dried up). They started searching for a new sound which would supply them with the commercial longevity they desired, and stumbled across it one night in a bar somewhere in Europe (Germany or Netherlands, I think), where they found themselves entranced watching two people dance to a chugging epic featuring a harmonica and a singer with a propensity for getting his knob out on stage (is that why he was called The Lizard King, do you think…?) who was arguably past the peak of his powers by the time this came out in 1970. This lot, and this song, in fact:

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390. The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

If any of you already have a healthy dislike for The Doors, well, you can add them being responsible for pretty much all of Quo’s recording career post-1970 to your list of reasons for hating them. You’re welcome.

Quo covered “Roadhouse Blues” on their 1972 break-through album “Piledriver”, but by then they had already released two other albums where they had honed their new sound: 1971’s “Dog of Two Head” and 1970’s “Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon”, from which this next one is lifted:

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391. Steamhammer – Junior’s Wailing

We all remember Steamhammer, right? Nope, me neither.

Okay, so let’s move on to some other songs they covered later in their career by people you have heard of. Here’s Tom Jones:

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392. Tom Jones – Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like

…and here’s Elvis Presley:

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393. Elvis Presley – A Mess of Blues

Those were covered by Quo in 1981 and 1983 respectively, both becoming UK Top 20 hits (reaching No 9 and No 15).

And, I don’t know if you know this, but Tom Jones knew Elvis Presley. You’d think he might mention that every now and again, wouldn’t you?

In the last few years (twenty years is “a few years”, right…?) they’ve released a couple of albums (1996’s “Don’t Stop” and 2003’s “Riffs”) which almost exclusively feature cover versions. I featured one of the covers in my How Not To Do a Cover Version thread here (be warned, both versions lurk there) and here’s another which just defies belief:

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394. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

Finally, here’s two songs which have been amongst their biggest UK chart hits (No 2 in 1986 and No 3 in 1977 respectively) and, to return to a point I made earlier, I don’t think it’s a coincidence to learn that many people have no idea that either are cover versions:

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395. Bolland – You’re In The Army Now

And finally, the song that opened Live Aid in 1985, and the song which is practically their signature tune:

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396. John Fogerty – Rocking All Over the World

Footnote: on the night I first moved to London, and into a flat with Hel, we had quite a lot to drink. We ended up playing records and talking about music. The topic of which artiste would be our specialist subject were we ever to go onto Mastermind came up. Without pausing, I said: “The UK Chart Hits of Status Quo between 1968 and 1986”.

The challenge was on, as Hel then produced a copy of the Guinness Book of Hit Singles and proceeded to test me.

My display was dazzling; I would say I got around 98% of the questions right, correctly stating the year and chart number each single got to, but also adding who wrote each one, the album it was taken from and what track number it was on the album in question (facts which weren’t actually included in the reference book, but I was definitely right).

How she didn’t ask me to move out again immediately is beyond me.

I mention this because when writing this, I haven’t had to look up any of those years/chart positions (apart from the non-Quo ones). Still got it.

Class dismisssed.

More soon (I’ll be here, even if you never darken my doorstep again after that).

The Chain #18

Evening Chainies! Welcome aboard the latest instalment of interactive blogging, where I welcome your suggestions for songs to play next week.

For newcomers, here’s the deal: there’s a feature on 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie week-day afternoon show where they play a record, ask their listeners to suggest a record connected to it, they pick the best one, play that, and ask for suggestions for the next song to play.

Where we differ is this: we play the same record as they do, invite your suggestions, play all of them, awarding completely arbitrary bonus points here and there (usually for correctly guessing the next song in the official Chain, occasionally for the cleverest/most impressive explanation as to how the suggested record was reached (or “Comment Showboating”, as it’s become known round these parts), but most often for suggesting something by a band I bloody love), then play the next record in the 6Music list, point out it’s nowhere near as clever/good/witty as any that you have come up with, and ask that you repeat the trick, provide a suggestion that links to the official record, which we play the following week, and so on, and so forth, repeat ad infinitum.

Of course, we’ve only been doing this for three weeks, and they’ve been doing theirs, playing three tracks a day, five times a week, so we’re quite some way behind them, so when I say we play the same record as they do, we do, just about six years later.

Here’s the only three things I ask:

  1. When making your suggestion, provide an explanation as to how you got there. And try to be a little bit more creative than just saying “So and so did a cover of that, please play their version”;
  2. Whilst it’s great to have obscure, cool records suggested, try and mix it up a little. Don’t be embarrassed to suggest a cheesy or downright awful record. Lord knows I’ve suggested enough myself;
  3. If I don’t own, or am unable to track down a copy of the song in question, please make sure that you’re able to supply me with it if need be. (NB – this happens rarely. This may only be week 18, but we’re 130 suggestions in, and only three times have I been stumped so far.)

Before we get started, one more bit of admin to get through.

I have not yet introduced the “Two Suggestions per person” rule that I mentioned last week. Well, not yet, anyway. To be honest, I felt a bit like a stroppy kid, losing at a game of football in the park who threatens to take his ball home unless he wins. So, uncapped numbers of suggestions remain, for now. But please bear in mind that I don’t have an infinite amount of time go trawling for the oh-so-many tunes that I don’t already own.

Okay, so that’s the tedious stuff out of the way. Let’s get cracking.

Last week, I left you with Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and asked you to come up with any ideas as to what we could play this week. And true to form, you’ve come up with some absolute stonkers, and some utterly weird things too.

So, first up this week is Swiss Adam from bagging area who wrote:

“Hounds of Love? Does your pussy do the dog? (asked The Cramps)”

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:

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The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

Actually, I take that back. For before we can draw breath, Swiss is back with a second suggestion. Which is fine. We can still have a kick-a-round:

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The House of Love – Never

Yup, totally with you on that one Swiss. It’s a single which is often overlooked because of the majesty of the singles that had preceded it, but it’s still a corking little indie-pop record which deserves an airing.

Now for those of you who don’t peruse the Comments section, where the suggestions are left, these next two take a little extra explanation.

See, last week I was asked to post Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”, which I duly did, but added that they’re not a band I’m fond off, and that they generally just rub me up the wrong way. Regular contributor George left a message, in an effort to show some solidarity, letting me know that he feels much the same way about The Clash and Bruce Springsteen.

Cue Charity Chic, stepping effortlessly into shit-stirring mode:

“Kate Bush on her return to live performances sold out the Hammersmith Apollo for a 22 night residency between 26th August and 1st October 2014. There used to be another venue in Hammersmith called the Palais. So ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash, please…and dedicate it to George!”

Sorry George, but this is for you:

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The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

“Kate Bush had an album called The Dreaming. Bruce Springsteen had an album called Working on the Dream. The title track please…and dedicate it to George!”

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Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

I have visions of Charity Chic posting the second of those two, saying “Boom!”, dropping his microphone and strutting off stage.

Next up, here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Well there is a track by Death Grips called ‘World of Dogs’ but I wouldn’t put up a picture of the album cover.”

Not sure I see what the fuss is about, Badger:

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Death Grips – World of Dogs

I should, of course, point out that isn’t the actual cover Badger refers to. If you want to Google it, I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do it at work.

“As a serious suggestion ‘Hounds of Love’ was covered memorably by The Futureheads which takes us nicely to ‘Decent Days and Nights’ by that lot.”

Badger almost became the first person to have points deducted for providing too obvious a link there, just dodging the bullet by suggesting a record by The Futureheads other than their cover of Madam Bush:

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The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

Here’s George, who clearly is not going to rise to Charity Chic’s bait:

“From Hounds to Dogs and Tropical Hot Dog Night by Captain Beefheart (from the Shiny Beast Bat Chain Puller album)”

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

I have to confess, Beefheart are one of those bands I know I’m supposed to like, but I’ve given Trout Mask Replica many opportunities to win me over, and every time I’ve just come away scratching my head (in befuddlement, I don’t have nits).

That said, though, I really like the track George has suggested, so maybe it’s about time I gave it another go.

Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow with another suggestion I didn’t know, or rather didn’t know this version of it. I’ll let him explain:

“On the b-side of the ‘Hounds of Love’ 7″ single, Kate Bush covered a traditional seafaring ballad, ‘The Handsome Cabin Boy’. The great Martin Carthy sang an acapella version of the same song on his self-titled debut LP in 1965.”

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Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

Here’s When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s co-writer, S-WC:

“Kate Bush allowed ITV to use her surname for a section of the show I’m a Celebrity… called The Bushtucker Trial [not sure that’s entirely true, but I’ll let it slide – Ed]. Johnny Rotten appeared in one of those and ate a kangaroos anus. So we’d best have Anarchy in the UK.”

And that’s why I’ll let it slide. Still sounding as fresh and as angry today as it did back in 1976 (I imagine, I was a little too young got punk), here’s them Grundy-baiting Sex Pistols:

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Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

And there’s a good reason why I’ll let that slide, for if I didn’t, I’d have to disqualify a third suggestion from Swiss Adam at bagging area:

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:

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Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Sadly, as long as I waited, not one of you suggested we continue that particular theme by playing something by Peter Andre. Not even “Insania” which he wrote on the show. An opportunity missed, I’m sure you’ll agree. Or, hopefully not.

Coincidentally, those last two suggestions feature bands who are commonly referred to incorrectly as “The Sex Pistols” or “The Happy Mondays”. There is no prefix on either. The next suggestion – by Swiss again with his fourth – yes, fourth – go, features a band with nothing but the word The in their name:

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The The – Dogs Of Lust

Now, right at the top of this post, I mentioned that so far I’ve only needed to be bailed out three times when hosting this thread, and two of them were suggestions made by George. So when he popped up again with this, I felt myself break out into a cold sweat:

“From Kate Bush to The Very Things’ song The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes.”

The other time I couldn’t find a postable copy of a song, it had been suggested by Dirk over at Sexyloser, so when he chipped in by saying: “George, the recommendation of that particular Very Things – tune almost makes me forgive you disliking The Clash so much: excellent choice!”, well, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, we’ve just had a Bank Holiday Weekend here, so I had a little extra time to track it down. It’s not the finest quality, and there is a moment or two’ silence at the start that I haven’t had time to trim off, but here in all their glory, are The Very Things:

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The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

Have to say the jury’s still out on that one here at Dubious Taste Towers. I’d fully expected to award the Oddest Record of the Week gong to the Captain Beefheart track, but I think The Very Things takes that honour. It certainly wins Best Title of the Week. (I need some jingles for these, don’t I?)

Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad with an idea for a bit of pre-fame (they were not famous for a lot longer than they were famous, after all) Pulp:

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Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

Finally this week, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Another female singer with similarly “bushy” dark hair had their biggest chart hit in 1978 and it was Patti Smith with Because The Night so going for that one please.” Which, as Charity Chic gleefully pointed out, was written by one Bruce Springsteen:

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Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

And so we come to the end of your suggestions, and we come onto mine.

Ahem.

There are many types of Hound, other than the ones of Love. There are Basset Hounds, which I couldn’t think of anything for. There’s the Greyhound, but The Swede suggested the only song I know by them back in The Chain #7. There’s the Whippet, a sighthound breed descended from greyhounds, but there’s nothing there…

…wait a minute. Whippet. Whippit. Whip It.

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Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

Now, if any one you had suggested that, I would have been awarding bonus points. But I can’t really award them to myself, so I won’t. (*looks pleadingly at you all*)

And so, to the official song in The Chain, where this was the reasoning:

“Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial featured the track ‘King of the Mountain’, which referred to Elvis Presley”

..and this was the song:

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18. Elvis Presley – (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame

As usual, not a patch on any of your suggestions, but there you have it.

And so that’s my bit done for another week. Please send me your suggestions of records we can play next week, that link to “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” by Elvis Presley – there should be plenty for you to work with there – along with a brief description as to how you got there, via the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

See you next time!

(More soon).