Whilst I was off, towards the end of 2022, there was a sudden rush of celebrity/musician deaths. It almost seemed like they knew what 2023 held in store and just preferred to shuffle off this mortal coil rather than face it.
Although I easily could, it seems to me a little odd to write a eulogy to them this late after the event of their sad passing; so instead I’ve done a mix which includes the three I was most upset by, and some other tunes by (at the time of writing) musicians who are very much alive. God, I hope I haven’t jinxed them now..
So, here you go, this week’s mix. I do often have to rein myself in when I have a theme to provide a mix for/about, and I think I’ve managed it this time: a homage (but not exclusively limited) to Terry Hall, Maxi Jazz and Martin Duffy, at least one of whom some may need guidance as to their importance and why they should, and will, be missed:
And here’s your track-listing with explanatory sleeve notes:
Terry, Blair & Anouchka – Missing
I’m probably not alone in being most shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Terry Hall. I first remember encountering his dulcet tones on The Specials’ Too Much Too Young, a record which, when it came out in 1980, I was too young to understand. Similarly, the subject matter of Ghost Town was, at the time, way above my head – but I remember associating Terry with the lively, upbeat sounding bit in the middle (“Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?/We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown.“), so I was always slightly bemused by the popular opinion of him as a bit of miserablist.
Whilst I saw many tributes to Terry online after his very sad passing, very few of them featured anything from his brief Terry, Blair & Anouchka incarnation, so I thought I should redress that. He teamed up with American actress Blair Booth and jeweller (!?) Anouchka Grose and began recording under the aforementioned moniker in 1989. Two singles were criminally ignored, both only scraping into the top 80 of the UK Singles Chart. This, the first single, made it to #75. It deserved better.
2. The Lightning Seeds – Sense
Collaborations with Ian Broudie were plentiful, but for my money Terry’s vocals absolutely make this version (more so than his own version).
3. The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed
Also recorded by Fun Boy Three (sorry, this version is just superior, if only because it allows me to imagine I’m in a sordid, secret relationship with Belinda Carlisle) this was co-written by Terry and Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin. Possibly the greatest pop record ever made. If Terry Hall had done nothing else, his involvement in this alone should earn him our undying respect and love.
4. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down
Although Mr McManus had a C-word (not that one) health scare a couple of years ago, he’s still with us at the time of writing. Originally recorded by legendary soul act Sam & Dave, this appeared on Elvis’ 1980 Get Happy! album, which is worth 35 minutes or so of your time if you’ve not had the pleasure.
5. Dave Edmunds – Girls Talk
Also not dead (although I did have to check). From hereon in, assume the artiste in question is alive and kicking unless I say otherwise, otherwise it will get pretty tedious if I just keep saying they’re not dead. I’ve been wanting to post this tune, which I love, for a while now, and right here it just seemed to fit.
6. Moloko – Pure Pleasure Seeker
This is from the Things to Make and Do, the same album as The Time Is Now and Sing It Back (the latter admittedly tagged on with the smasheroo Boris Musical Mix version), which means this tune is often overlooked, unless you’re making adverts for beds (I think). Reclaiming this one back from the evil clutches of capitalism (right on, brothers and sisters).
7. The Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra
Shush. It’s a tune. And a mighty fine one, at that. Dislike it at your peril.
8. Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix)
Since watching the Fatboy Slim/Brighton beach documentary recently, I’ve been on a bit of a Norm-trip. A Cook-off, if you will. So this is included just as a reminder of how ace it is. (Around the time this came out, I remember seeing an interview with Norm, where he warned Jason Nevins, having success with a Run-DMC remix, not to spread himself too thinly with his remixes, which frankly seemed a bit rich…)
9. Wild Child – Renegade Master
…especially as Norm remixed this.
10. Faithless – Mass Destruction
Back to the death roll-call I’m afraid. Maxi Jazz and Faithless made mostly inspiring, upbeat, trance-based club records, and were an incredible live act that I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of times. I’m sure you’re mostly familiar with their biggest hits: Insomnia, We Come 1 and God is a DJ; they all featured highly in the post-passing articles and tributes I read, but less so this brilliant articulation of, amongst other things, dismay at disinformation that was, released in 2004, way ahead of its time, the term fake news not entering the zeitgeist until several years later. It’s still, sadly, just as relevant today.
11. Belinda Carlisle – (We Want) The Same Thing
I don’t really need to justify the inclusion of this, do I? Good. Thought not. It’s ace, and that will suffice.
12. Violent Femmes – Prove My Love
“Third verse, same as the first!”
13. Pixies – Head On
Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, given it’s title, a double-header with…
14. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Far Gone and Out
…this, who originally wrote and performed Head On, so it didn’t seem right to omit them from this mix.
15. Felt – I Will Die With My Head In Flames
Martin Duffy’s sudden death in December, as a result of a brain injury following a fall at his home, was both saddening and shocking. He had first come to prominence as keyboard player in the always under-rated indie band Felt. This, short but sweet, little beauty never appeared on an actual Felt album (compilations aside) and was the B-side (or possibly the 2nd track on an AA side, I’m not entirely sure) to 1986’s Rain of Crystal Spires, which, needless to say of all Felt records, and pretty much every record that Felt mainman Lawrence has been involved in, was unjustly ignored by Joe Public, the idiot.
16. The Colourfield – Thinking of You
As I believe I mentioned recently, it’s always nice to have your musical taste supported, and such was the case when I tweeted about how sad I was about Terry’s passing: my old mucker Heledd replied: “Thinking of You always reminds me of you – you were the first person I met who loved it as much as me.”
I can think of worse records to be associated with.
17. Primal Scream – Shoot Speed/Kill Light
After Felt disbanded/fell apart, Martin Duffy became a full-time member of Primal Scream. His passing inspired the band to release this statement: “We’re all so sad…Martin was the most musically talented of all of us. (He) could play piano to the level where he was feted not just by his peers in British music, but old school master American musicians such as James Luther Dickinson, Roger Hawkins, David Hood (and) producer Tom Dowd”.
18. The Charlatans – Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over
It wasn’t just the Primals who mourned him; following the death of founding member Rob Collins, Martin learned all of The Charlatan’s songs in three weeks so that he could appear with them supporting Oasis at their legendary and record-breaking gigs at Knebworth in 1996. He also contributed keyboard parts to the band’s fifth album Tellin’ Stories. Here’s Charlatans front man and National Treasure in waiting, Tim Burgess: “(Martin) stepped in to save the Charlatans when we lost Rob – he played with us at Knebworth and was a true friend. He toured with me in my solo band too – he was a pleasure to spend time with”.
This isn’t on Tellin’ Stories, but was the single The Charlatans had out at around the time of those Knebworth gigs, so undoubtedly Martin would have learned it.
19. The Specials – Enjoy Yourself
“Hello. My name’s Terry and I’m going to enjoy myself first.”
In the past, when a momentous occasion took place, a standard question as to where you were when you heard the news would circulate.
“Where were you when you heard that Kennedy had been assassinated?” they would ask of Vox-Poppers, or “Where were you when the moon landings happened?”. Folks would trip over themselves to try and outdo each other as to what flamboyant act they were engaged in when they heard the news, a bit like the competing Yorkshiremen in that old Monty Python sketch:
(And yes, before any of you get in touch, I’m perfectly aware that the sketch actually pre-dates Monty Python, having first been performed on At Last The 1948 Show.)
This is a question which I think we will see being asked less and less as time goes on, for the answer will almost always be: I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last XX years.
For the record, I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last 12 months, when I heard the news. I’d been in what we still feel obliged to refer to as a “virtual meeting” all morning which had, as is the norm, over-ran by an hour or so, and so I was already in a bit of a bad mood as this meant I had missed the TV show which has become my lunchtime staple viewing – Bargain Hunt – and I was pretty sure that meant that it would have inevitably been hosted on this occasion by my favourite presenter (and I suspect also the favourite of many other housebound gentlemen), the lovely posh-but-twinkly Christina Trevillian (*sighs*), as it almost always is when I manage to miss most/all of it (as opposed to the occasions when I catch it from the start and it’s hosted – always – by Anita bloody Manning, who, as with Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland, I simply cannot stand to watch. She reminds me of a particularly annoying Little Britain character:)
Anyway. My lunch break was at such a late hour that I realised it would actually correlate with my favourite afternoon TV quiz show, Impossible, which – and you read it here first – I’m pretty sure will one day replace Pointless in the prime, just before the news slot.
But no. There it was: all channels showing what appeared to be the longest news broadcast since Wills and Kate (but not Harry and Meghan, oh no) last dropped a sprog, with everything else for the rest of the day cancelled, unless you wanted to venture onto some of the more unpleasant reality/fly-on-the-wall TV shows, like Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!, which you can tell just from the name is a Channel 5 show. It follows bailiffs High Court Enforcement Officers as they go about their jolly day, catching up with people who haven’t been able to pay a debt, or evicting people from rented properties because the landlord has decided to put the rent up and they can no longer afford to live there.
I was stopped once by a shop assistant in my local supermarket and asked if I was one of said Court Enforcement Officers from the show; I said I wasn’t and had never seen the programme, but caught a bit of it one Sunday afternoon when there was nothing else on. Let’s just say I was not flattered.
But anyway, I digress. Prince Phillip, the Duke Of Edinburgh died yesterday, and we’re all supposed to be in mourning.
Although, the Prince’s favourite show, Babestation, aired as usual, only with the models wearing black armbands as a tribute, I noted when I checked for…er…research purposes.
And of course, whilst it’s very sad that a family has lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, it’s news which I think many of us had been expecting for a goodly while now. He was 99 years old, he’d just had an extended stay in hospital after some kind of heart surgery, and, let’s face it, he didn’t look well when he was taken home. This was not exactly a surprise.
Not that I think that knowing someone is likely to pass makes it any easier to deal with their actual passing. I know from my own recent, brutal, experience that no matter how prepared, how steeled you might think you are, when the news comes through it still hits you like a juggernaut and you’re still shattered. There is no escape from grief.
Now, I’m no Royalist, but were we to get a day off work for the funeral then I will happily dress in black and weep into a hanky for as long as it takes. But I imagine they’ll do what they did when Diana was murdered died: pop the funeral on a weekend so the national economy isn’t affected, but the Union Jack and florist industries flourish.
I was living in Cardiff back in 1997, when Diana died, still working in Boots The Chemist selling tights, tampons and panty-liners to the capital’s finest. The funeral was on a Saturday, and we were given the morning off to watch the ceremony and pay our respects. I didn’t watch it, I enjoyed a couple of extra hours in bed.
I actually had the opportunity to meet Diana several years earlier. At the time I was at college, and serving on the Student Union Executive, in my utterly non-political role as Social Secretary. Because my role was non-political, I gained a reputation for fence-sitting or abstaining when it came to votes of a political nature. As far as I saw it, I had not been elected on the basis of any political views I may or may not have held, I was elected on the basis of my ability to organise a good night out for the students. So, I didn’t think it right that my political views should have any bearing on matters.
And then one day the news came in: Diana was going to be visiting the college, to open the recently completed Princess of Wales Sports Centre. Truly the famous quote from Field of Dreams applies here: If you build it, they will come. The Executive were all invited and expected to attend and meet the Princess. And, much to my mother’s horror when I told her many years later, I declined. And I was the only one from the entire, predominantly left-wing, anti-monarchy Student Union Executive to do so. I gained more political traction from that act, as a man who stood by his principles, than I ever wanted, expected, or indeed anything else I did again. Suddenly, I was a hero. For the rest of their time in position, my Executive colleagues had to answer awkward questions about why they went when I didn’t, were they really in their jobs to work for the students, or to promote themselves and further their own careers? It was quite delicious for a while.
Anyway: on the day of Diana’s funeral, my route to work took me through the Roath and Cathays areas of Cardiff where I lived, traditionally quite a studenty area, and as this was late August/early September, there weren’t too many of those youngsters around. In fact, I remember thinking how quiet it was as I walked to work, and I assumed this was because everyone was at home, watching the TV coverage.
My route took me across the usually busy City Road, and then down an alleyway adjacent to a working men’s club. And I swear, no word of a lie, as I walked down that alleyway, I heard this record booming from an open window of the club:
There will, of course, be a funeral. It will, of course, be paid for by you and I, the British taxpayer. It’s not a two-way deal, of course. Don’t expect Her Maj to break open the massive whiskey bottle containing one and two pence shrapnel so she can chip in for your funeral, because that simply won’t happen.
But who should organise it? Well, I think the Royal Family should take a leaf out of the British Government’s Covid-19 Handbook, and see if there are any posh toffs who could do it for them. A cursory look over Dido Harding’s CV shows she has absolutely no experience whatsoever of arranging funerals, so she seems ideally placed to do it, for just several billion pounds over the amount one could realistically expect to be spent on such a showcase event.
Needless to say, there is never a good time for any family to go through the pain and suffering that a bereavement inevitably brings. But it occurred to me that this one could have come at a worse time for the Windsors. For a start, Prince Andrew must be feeling strangely conflicted right now, sad that his father has died, but at the same time relieved there will be an extended period now where nobody accuses him of being a paedophile. I wonder if, since he was withdrawn from public appearances after his disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis, he’ll be allowed to attend the funeral?
But also, you’ll recall the recent Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan, where there was an allegation that a member of the royal family made racist comments about the likely skin colour of the couple’s offspring. From a PR point of view, Philip’s death presents an opportunity to the very least put some more distance between those allegations and any response – today’s newspapers are, after all, tomorrow’s fish’n’chips wrapping. But it also affords the Royals the chance to, for want of a better term, throw somebody under the bus, for many people felt the racist comment could probably be attributed to Philip, solely on the basis that, well, he had form for saying things which could be described as inappropriate at best.
As I mentioned when I wrote about the interview in a previous post, I don’t buy that it was Philip; sure he has a history of gaffes but – and I say this not to condone any of his comments, but to offer an explanation of them – generally when he said something wrong it was intended in jest, or as an “ice-breaker” intended to put a member of the public at rest. That doesn’t make it right, that makes it an old man getting it wrong and saying something inappropriate, and I think we all know someone like that.
The comment mentioned in the Oprah interview came from a much more savage, hurtful place, and my money remains where it did when I wrote that last piece.
*Pops tongue back in cheek*
But there is something racist, something with a whiff of cancel culture about the timing of Prince Philip’s death which will inevitably lead some of the more gullible to seek some kind of conspiracy. And it is this: forever more, when you type “Prince died April” into Google (other search engines are available), you will be faced with a screen or three full of references to Philip. You will need to scroll down quite some way to find any mention of The Greatest Prince, who also died in April – April 21st 2016, to be precise.
Since I drew a comparison with the death of Diana earlier, I can’t resist posting this bit of comedy genius from Stewart Lee:
To sum up: of course I feel empathy for the Royal Family as they mourn the loss of a beloved family member. But do you know who I empathise with more? The South Pacific tribe on the tiny island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago, who saw Prince Philip as a living god. Who should they follow now?
For here we are, a week later, and The Chain is back! Back!! Back!!! (again) for another instalment.
Truth be told, I was totally blown away by the response I received to last week’s edition, so blown away that I almost went full on Sally Field. So y’know, cheers.
I’m also delighted that not only have a couple of old Chain Gang friends chipped in this week, but we also have three new members to welcome aboard.
Before we go any further though, some admin, and I need to add a new rule to the ten I posted last week, namely this:
11. The same artist can feature twice in the same week, but only if suggested by different people. In other words, if you suggest two songs by the same act, I’ll ask you to just pick one of them; if you don’t reply, I’ll pick for one for you.
Actually, this is an old rule that I forgot to include last week. One of you nearly came a cropper with this one, but just about managed to dodge the bullet. You’ll see what I mean.
Ok, so we have 49 new songs (count ’em!) and over three and a half hours worth of tunes to get through this week, and there’s some real treats, including a couple of acts I was surprised to find featuring in The Chain for the first time, some commercially unreleased live stuff, a couple of songs which have featured here before under different guises, a couple of real rarities (I think), a contender for Worst Record In The History of Everything Ever, and – and I mention this now to introduce some totally unneccessary tension and excitement into proceedings – one of you correctly guessed the next record in the Official Chain.
So let’s kick things off with a reminder of the last source song, that is the song that you were all providing suggestions to this week:
And where better to start than with a new member of The Chain Gang? Ladies and Gentleman, please rattle your manacles and give a warm welcome to GMFree:
“The most obvious songs that I thought of first were ‘God Only Knows’ by James…”
Now, in the same way that I think if you’re going to cover a song you should try and do something interesting with it, by the same token I think that if you’re going to write a song and give it the same name as universally loved classic, then it is undoubtedly going to be compared to said song, so you’d better make sure yours is good….
“‘God Only Knows’? So what does he know? Well, he knows it’s true, obviously … so I’ll go for Teenage Fanclub”
Now, strictly speaking, I should be disallowing this suggestion, because this song has featured on The Chain before, back in edition #32, to be precise. However, I’m going to allow it this week for three reasons: firstly, it ws me who suggested it last time; secondly, I posted a Peel Sessions version last time and this time I’m posting the original, and thirdly, because last time it featured I had changed one word in the title from “God” to “Gourd” so that it linked to the source record (XTC’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”, in case you’re interested).
We’re into not commercially released stuff with that one, as far as I know. Any chance to feature Beck, and moreover Union Chapel, my favourite venue in London, will be gratefully seized.
Next up, it’s over to The Beard, who provides one of his usual interesting links:
“God Only Knows is featured in the film Boogie Nights. The film centres around the supremely endowed Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg. He also starred in ‘Four Brothers’ which is pretty much a remake of the John Wayne driven western ‘The Sons Of Katie Elder’. John Wayne? Motherfuck him as said Public Enemy on Fight The Power.”
Speaking of John Wayne, he also starred in the original release of ‘True Grit’ along with the next artist. Over to you, Alyson (of What’s It All About?):
“In light of [last] Tuesday’s sad news of the death of Glen Campbell, and the fact he stood in for Brian Wilson in 1964 as a Beach Boy, I am reminded of his song ‘Galveston’ which always makes me think of a beach because of the following lines:
‘I still hear your sea waves crashing While I watch the cannons flashing I clean my gun And dream of Galveston.’
I know we’ll all have heard it a lot over the last couple of days but I never tire of these songs of his.”
To be fair, Galveston is one of a clutch of Campbell’s records that I don’t think many of us will get tired of hearing:
And so we seem to have made the seamless move from songs which reference ‘God Only Knows’, to songs which link to members, full or part time, of The Beach Boys. So what next?
George has the answer:
“Can I propose a third song that is really, really shit?” he asks.
Yes, I know you haven’t heard his first two suggestions yet. I choose the order the songs feature in, and I want to post his third (really, really shit) suggestion first.
As I pointed out to George in the Comments to last week’s edition, he doesn’t normally ask permission.
“It’s by Wilson Phillips…….one of whom is a relation of a Beach Boy…….and the song is ‘Hold On’. But feel free to disqualify it because it is simply too dreadful.”
George is fully aware that a record being dreadful, or shit, or shittily dreadful, is not enough to preclude it from The Chain. For here, we embrace the dreadfully shit (by which I categorically do not mean Donald J Trump, who we try to keep at arms length at the very least).
And besides, I’ve listened to this – and all of the suggestions – a lot over the last week, and I’ve grown to quite like this:
“God Only Knows”, of course, features on The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”, so how about a couple of suggestions which link to that? Step forwards The Great Gog, who I see has now got as far as starting his own blog, but hasn’t yet got round to writing anything on it just yet. He’s probably got far more important things to be getting on with, like suggesting this kind of thing:
“I’ll go with the fact that ‘God Only Knows’ features on the album Pet Sounds. This album also features a track called ‘Caroline, No’. Whenever I spot this on the album, I always think of the similarly titled Talk Talk track, ‘Does Caroline Know?’ – not surprising really as I owned the ‘It’s My Life’ album some time before I acquired Pet Sounds.”
‘Pet Sounds’ is one of those albums, I think – or at least it is to me – that I knew what a great album it is long before I actually got round to listening to it, let alone owning a copy. I don’t think I actually heard ‘Pet Sounds’ until I was in my late twenties, but I remember in my early twenties having a very long discussion in the pub one night with one of my friend’s younger brother’s friends about how amazing it is, without him realising I’d never heard it. Hold the front page: Jez is a complete bullshitter shocker!
“So many gods to choose from… luckily I don’t own anything by Hermes House Band, so you’re spared that. Instead, let’s go for the god to whom I am most frequently compared (admittedly in the form “you’re no…”) and some proper old-school house: ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis.”
Shame about the Hermes House Band; I’ve got loads of gags about the Hermes parcel delivery service all lined up and ready to go.
Who else haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, The Robster from Is This The Life?, I wonder what he’s got to offer?
“If we’re going down the God route though, and with God supposedly living in Heaven or some such mythical place, I offer Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the title track of their seminal second album ‘Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven…’.”
I’ll tell you who else hasn’t chipped in yet: Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, that’s who:
“Sorry to disappoint you but there is noGod,” he blasphemes, “so…”
Hold up, what did you just say?
“Sorry to disappoint you but there is noGod…”
Pray, do continue.
‘No Gods (and Precious Few Heroes)’ by Dick Gaughan, please. JC recently posted a goose-bump inducing live version which is the one to feature”
And it’s JC’s legendary place that I visited to find the specific version CC was after, so it would be rude of me not to attribute credit where credit’s due and provide a link to his site The (New) Vinyl Villain (although if you visit me here, then I’d be really surprised if you didn’t already visit JC).
Although, admittedly, it’s not the best quality recording, and you kind of didn’t really suggest that one anyway, so for one time only I’m going to allow you to suggest a different song by the same artist:
And we’ll stay with GMFree for a moment longer, if we may:
“I had a habit on the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything series to mention the great Stephen Jones almost every time, here are two from him…”
Wait a minute, what did I just say about ‘for one time only’…?
But this is the bullet-dodging suggestion I mentioned earlier, for the first of these two suggestions is by Stephen Jones recording under the name TrUcKeR and the other one…erm…isn’t (that one will be along in a bit, if you care to hang around long enough):
Is it okay if I like the sleeve of that more than I like the actual track….?
Now when I posted the Public Enemy track earlier, I deliberately avoided commenting on how sad it is that a record released in 1989 about black oppression felt as relevant today as it did back then. And that’s because I knew that one of you was going to make precisely that point about a record released a lot earlier than that. So, abramson60, the stage is yours:
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone of late so taking the God road ‘Mississippi Goddam’, a song that is sadly still relevant today when we see what happened in Charlottesville [at the weekend] and it was only last week the UK police released the appalling hate crime figures.”
“…the original version…actually prefer the Kiss version, but they don’t sing the verse about Cliff. Dunno why.”
I would imagine it’s because most of Kiss’ fanbase would have no idea who Cliff is, the heathens.
Anyway, I agree with you about preferring the Kiss version, but I do really like the Argent version too, although every time I’ve heard it my little ears have pricked up as I thought something by Focus had come up on shuffle for me.
We’ll come back to Rol’s second suggestion in a bit.
That’s all the God suggestions done. Next we have a song about Jesus, but I think we need some sort of bridging song, just to reinforce the link here. This’ll do the trick:
For the uninitiated, Mr Rossiter was the lead singer of Gene (who I adore) and I cannot recommend the album that track comes from (‘The Defenestration of Saint Martin’, in case you can’t make it out from the image above) highly enough. An over-looked gem, in my opinion. Seek, and ye shall find.
Which leads us on to God’s greatest adversary, and we’re heading back to GMFree’s seemingly never-ending list of suggestions, which is for this:
Now GMFree mentioned the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything blog a little earlier, and regular visitors to these shores will know that the writers of that now deceased blog, SWC and Badger, often contributed here. So I was delighted when SWC got in touch to make some suggestions again this week, although the first one he doesn’t really suggest, more wonders out loud about it, which he knows full well is too much for me to resist:
“I need to decide whether to go down the beach route the boy route or the God route. I thinking if ‘God Only Knows’ then perhaps ‘Better the Devil You Know’ but I may change my mind.”
Too late! And count yourself lucky I picked this one and not the song of the same name by professional Scouser Sonia:
Now many of you will recognise KC from her posts on SWC and Badger’s site; she was, if I recall correctly, a relative newcomer to writing and her posts were really rather excellent, so it’s a shame she no longer has a platform to show off her talents. So KC: if you want to continue to write, and haven’t had any other offers to do so elsewhere, drop me an email, you’d be more than welcome to contribute here. Just until the boys get bored and resurrect WYCRA, of course.
God…Lord…Jesus…Lucifer…all suggestions of Biblical proportions. Which leads me back to Rol for his second suggestion, which is this “…because it’s ace.” Have you and Martin been copying each other’s superlatives? You have, haven’t you? You’ve both let me down, you’ve let the class down, but most all you’ve let yourselves down.
Good job both of your ace suggestions really are ace:
And as you can see, that features on an album called ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ which makes that a Double-Linker. Points!
So, having exhausted those suggestions too, let’s have a look at some Boys. And one of you got very excited at the prospect. Hello Kay, who shortly after posting her suggestions, sent me a text to say she was worried it made her sound like, and I quote “a right creepy perv”.
See what you think, readers:
“I’m going for the theme boys – so many to choose from. Maybe….”
Nothing pervy about a woman of a certain age liking her boys wild and bad. And from the 1980s.
“…but I suppose I should go with the first song I thought of which linked to the Beach Boys and that’s…”
Brace yourself everybody. It’s Worst Record of the Week time, and if this isn’t one of the Worst Records in the History of Everything Ever, then I’d like to know what is. No scrub that, I really wouldn’t.
In case you’re interested, that’s the other song which has featured on The Chain before, but then it was performed by Ronnie Spector and came from the very same EP as the one BabyLotti suggested earlier.
Let’s have GMFree’s last suggestion, the other one by Stephen Jones, which you’ll recall I’m allowing because he released it under his Baby Bird moniker, as opposed to the TrUcKeR of the earlier suggestion:
Which, cheese or not, is also ace. And it gives me the chance to post this, my final suggestion of the week. And it may seem an odd one to go to, but some of you will have spotted the reason for the link when listening to that last tune:
Seriously, think of how many albums the Ramones have released, and how many songs of about two minutes that means they’ve recorded. This is the 41st edition of The Chain. How did we get this far without them cropping up?
Which leads me to the final suggestion of the week. Which just so happens to be next song in the Official Chain.
Here’s their link:
“From the Boys on the Beach to…”
And here’s ours, as penned by KC in this Sunshine Strand:
“If Badger was here he would agree that the greatest song to feature beaches either in the band title or the song title is…”
And then, I go online and find out that Muhammad Ali has died.
And apart from thinking, “Jesus, not another one” and shaking my fist in the general direction of 2016, I find myself looking back and realising the effect Ali had on me as a kid.
I grew up in the 1970s, so a lot of my childhood icons are ripe for passing away now. But surely there was no greater, more iconic, more important man than Cassius Clay.
I’m not a big fan of boxing. But Ali transcended not just boxing, but sport itself. Yes, he was a great boxer, but more importantly, he was a great man.
Here’s his boxing record:
Wins by KO
Not too shoddy, right?
I grew up in quite an insular, secular part of Middle England, where there were very few people of colour. I can remember maybe two from my school.
But the one black man who was regularly on my TV was Muhammad Ali.
If he wasn’t fighting, he was on the Parkinson show.
And, aside from the fact he was a bloody amazing and entertaining boxer, he was witty, articulate, erudite, smart, and despite his profession, a pacifist, refusing to enter the armed forces stating: “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape or kill my mother and father…. How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”
In short, he was quite the polar opposite of how black people were generally portrayed – on the rare occasion they were portrayed at all – in the media at the time.
Muhammad Ali taught me, and I can never thank him enough.
Donald Trump, take note. He changed his name to Muhammad. You would have it that this man never set foot in your country, let alone became one of the most loved and respected sportsmen of my, or any, generation.
Here’s something I have shamefully stolen from Wikipedia, 11 quotes (I thought 11 was an odd number, but I can’t pick one to trim to make it a more tangible 10) from the great man himself:
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe”
“Go to college, stay in school. If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
“Hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating”
“Rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.”
“I may not talk perfect white talk-type English but I give you wisdom”
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky, my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
“Allah is the Greatest. I’m just the greatest boxer.”
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”
“The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth”
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see”
Which leads me on to a couple of utterly predictable tunes: