It’s Chriiiiistmas (Day)!!!

More tradition.

Here’s Frank. He’s right. You know he is, he really is.

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Frank Sidebottom – Christmas Is Really Fantastic

Hoping all of you and yours have a Really Fantastic Christmas Day. 

More soon.

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The Chain #34

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant, come to the Festive edition of The Chain!

I’ve been beset by technical issues this week, not just those which have delayed this by a day, but also the issues with several contributions mysteriously being marked as Spam and disappearing from the Comments section.

But, nevertheless here we are, with another mixed bag of your suggestions, linked to last week’s final record, “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake.

As usual, the suggestions can be split down into various categories – namely songs or artists which include the words or some derivative thereof, of “Nick”, “Drake, “Pink” or “Moon”. Surprisingly, almost none of you suggested anything which contained more than one link, so here’s one to get us started.

From “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd (who have a band member called Nick), here’s:

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Pink Floyd – Time

I set you all an additional challenge last week: since this week’s post would be available in Christmas week, I asked you to see if you could provide suggestions of a festive nature where possible, and some of you  duly obliged.

Surprisingly, though, none of you suggested this, a song by a band so un-Christmassy I’ve always found this to be a slightly odd addition to their canon of work, let alone the fact that they released a whole album worth of this stuff:

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The Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick

So, over to you, but where to start? I suppose really, given that he has made more contributions this week than our most regular of readers have made since we started doing this, we should probably hear something from Rol of My Top Ten, right? Agreed.

So, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music then:

“Another Nick busy at this time of year is St Nicholas better known as Santa Claus. When another Nick shuffles of this mortal coil he will almost certainly be canonized. Can we have The Man That I’ve Become from Dig My Mood an album by St Nick of Lowe please?”

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Nick Lowe – The Man That I’ve Become

Is it just me, or does the picture on that sleeve have more than a passing resemblance to a certain orange President-Elect?

CC wasn’t the only person to suggest this particular Nick this week. Here’s Walter from A few good times in my life:

“Taking his first name it is a short step to Nick Lowe. Probably one of the best songwriters in the early 80’s and blessed with a great voice. So what about the first Stiff single ever ‘So It Goes’?”

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Nick Lowe – So It Goes

Regular visitors will know that generally, each week, after I’ve received several suggestions, I get a comment from Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? bemoaning the fact that all of the songs she was going to suggest had already been made by co-Chain Gangers. It’s a bit like when the person on the third podium on ‘Pointless’ says that the person on the second podium had just taken their answer. Anyway, so imagine my delight when the very first comment I got this week was from Alyson:

“Time for sleep now, then work tomorrow, so will no doubt be late again with my suggestion…but before CC trumps me, it might involve Lily the Pink.”

Several hours passed. Article 50 was activated and nobody noticed. Civilizations rose and fell. And then, finally, this:

“Well, sleep, work and xmas shopping got in the way so 18 hours after my first comment, I have decided against Lily The Pink by The Scaffold…”

Oh no you don’t. You’re having it, whether you like it or not, young lady:

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The Scaffold – Lily The Pink

And since we seem to have stumbled into Pink territory, back to Walter:

“Pink leads me to Pink Flag, Wire’s first record. Three Girl Rhumba was one of these little masterpieces in this era. Groundbreaking and always worth to listen to.”

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Wire – Three Girl Rhumba

A few years ago, when I still shared a flat, I did my usual Friday night routine of doing a playlist to get drunk with my flatmates to; it included that Wire rune, followed by the next record. I had neglected to tell my new flatmates that it was a playlist they were listening to; they thought my iPod was incredible for knowing to play these two records together (along with a whole host of other songs which sounded like/had been ripped off (allegedly) from each other. Hmm…maybe there’s a new topic for me there….). What I mean to say is *ahem* *clears throat* *offers a cheeky wink to the audience*…Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:

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Elastica – Connection

Right. I suppose we’d better make some in-roads into this mountain sized pile of suggestions by Rol. Oh hang on, Alyson’s back:

“I have always thought that the multi-talented American singer Pink, and Sharon Watts from Eastenders, were dopplegangers and who did Sharon date for a while on that show – Yes it was “Nick” Berry who had a big hit with Every Loser Wins. (They don’t, every loser generally loses, but it worked well for him). A tenuous double link.”

Much as I’d love to post that, it has featured here before and the rule is that the only records we can feature twice are a) “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, and b) records which turn out to be the next record in The Official Chain which we’ve already had. Have another go.

“…perhaps Lily The Pink it will have to be, although just remembered that the brother of Mike McGear of The Scaffold was Paul McCartney whom I also seem to remember recorded a theme for the teatime soap “Crossroads” which Nick Drake’s sister, aforementioned Gabrielle, appeared in. Don’t know if theme tunes count as a suggestion but another double link.”

Well, we’ve featured the theme tune to Bergerac and Space:1999 here before, so I don’t see why not, especially when The Great Gog made reference to the same theme tune via a different link in his suggestion:

“There is Nick’s sister, Gabrielle, who starred in Crossroads at one time. The theme tune to Crossroads was written by Tony Hatch…”

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The Tony Hatch Orchestra – Crossroads Theme

I have had that firmly lodged in my brain ever since I listened to it. It should come with some sort of Government health warning. As should have the programme it book-ended.

“Things hatch from eggs,” continues The Great Gog, “which to me at least is as good an excuse as any for “Egg Shaped Fred” from Mansun.”

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Mansun – Egg Shaped Fred

Catchphrase alert! Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, from the magnificent “The Mysterious Production of Eggs” by Andrew Bird:

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Andrew Bird – Fake Palindromes

Right, where were we? Ah yes, Alyson, back to you:

“Final pink suggestion is simply ‘Pink Cadillac’ by Natalie Cole simply because she is yet someone else from that long list of artists who have left us since this time last year.”

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Natalie Cole – Pink Cadillac

It’s probably about time put a dent into Rol’s suggestions. No, really this time.

“I’m resisting the obvious Springsteen link from Alyson’s last suggestion as it’s Christmas and I don’t want to upset George” This would be most admirable, were it not for the fact that Springsteen wrote Pink Cadillac, but I’m sure George appreciates the sentiment.

“However, since no one else will dare suggest a song by the best damned pop star of the last 20 years, can I suggest ‘So What’ by Pink?”

The Chain would like to make it very clear that the views of Rol re: the best pop star of the last 20 years are not necessarily shared by the publishers of The Chain.

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Pink – So What

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, by one of the greatest pop stars of the last 60 years:

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Dame Shirley Bassey – Get the Party Started

There’s something rather wonderful about hearing a seventy-year old Welsh woman proclaiming: “I’m comin’ up so you better you better get this party started”, isn’t there? Bear that in mind when your grannies farting herself to sleep in front of the television on Christmas Day.

Which reminds me: Christmas records, anyone?

Ah, here’s Julian from Music From Magazines, he seems the sort of cheery fellow bound to supply us with something festive. Which he will, but first, he’ll expand a little on the whole Gabrielle Drake thing. She rather seems to have set racing the hearts of several of the men of a certain age who contribute here:

“Nick Drake’s sister was Gabrielle Drake who was in the TV show UFO (any picture would be a Christmas gift for any man of a certain age [See? I told you so]), the heavy metal band UFO is not a gift.”

It’s okay, we’re not having anything by UFO. Although, had you actually suggested something by them, I would have been honour bound to post it. Oh and by the way, I am not posting a picture of Gabrielle Drake. If you’re reading this, you’re already connected to the internet, so you can find one yourself, you mucky sod. (c6e302534f132c440893dd44980da6ce)

Before you all go cranking open a spare browser to do exactly that, stick around folks, because if you piece together this little bit of connected thinking out loud, you get a rather fine example of Comment Showboating.

“On the other hand ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” by The Carpenters is a fine song written by the Canadian group Klaatu, a bunch of session musicians, who some folk thought were The Beatles.”

klaatu_-_3_47_est_coverKlaatu – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft

I’ve always thought that was a pretty odd, uncharacteristic record for The Carpenters to have recorded, had assumed it was a cover version, but had never actually thought about finding out for sure. Consequently, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it.

By the way, many years ago, I was drafted into what turned out to be the winning team in a pub quiz. (There was a music round, and without wishing to sound immodest, I was often asked to join teams for pub quizzes which featured a music round). The prize was “A Tribute to The Carpenters”, which I had assumed was going to be a night of people performing cover versions of their many hits, but which actually turned out to be a selection of middle aged men displaying a rather fine range of bureaus and occasional tables they had made.

I digress. Back to Julian:

“A slight detour to the movies for the classic sci fi ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ starring Michel Rennie as the alien called ….Klaatu. A still from the film was used (with some editing) for the cover of Ringo Starr’s LP ‘Goodnight Vienna’.”

It’s okay, he’s going somewhere with this. Trust me.

And he’s not wrong you know. The original:

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and the “Peace and Love! Peace and Love! No autographs! Peace and Love” rip off:

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“Which of course leads on to Dora Bryan and ‘All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle'”

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Dora Bryan – All I Want For Christmas is a Beatle

At last, a Christmas record! And am I alone in being reminded of a certain other iconic performer from the North West of England when I hear that? No? You know who I mean, surely?

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Frank Sidebottom – Oh Blimey It’s Christmas

Take that back a step, before I interrupted and brightened your lives up with Frank, and Rol has another link:

“…this leads me to think of ‘Doris Daytheearthstoodstill’ by Future Bible Heroes.”

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Future Bible Heroes – Doris Daytheearthstoodstill

Julian’s not quite done yet, and we’re most definitely not done with the Gabrielle Drake links just yet. Here’s Julian, ruining all that excellent Comment Showboating by suggesting the Worst Record of the Week:

“Back to Gabrielle Drake. The organisation that [Spoiler alert!! – Considerate Ed] will save the world in UFO is the Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organization or SHADO which is only a short step, (or a W) to a truly crap Christmas song”:

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Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine

“All this talk of Gabrielle Drake being in Crossroads but am I the only one who mainly remembers her from that 1970s Sunday Night drama set in the exciting world of haulage – ‘The Brothers’?” chips in Alyson. “So many links to bands/duos with Brothers in their name so won’t overload you and was really just looking for one that might have done a seasonal ditty but all I could find in my library was Count Basie & The Mills Brothers with ‘December’! (Goodness knows where that came from as can’t remember ever noticing it before.)”

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Count Basie & The Mills Brothers – December

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Okay, let’s wrap up the rest of the Drake related suggestions, and we’ll go back to The Great Gog:

“A contender for worst record of the week [Too late, even though you did suggest this first. It is nowhere near as bad as Sir Cliff – Cut’n’Paste Ed]”:

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Charlie Drake – My Boomerang Wont Come Back

More Drake-related shenanigans from The Beard now:

“Drake is a popular Canadian rapper. Another, much better, Canadian rapper is Abdominal. He is best known for his collaborations with DJ Format. When not hip-hopping Format makes spaced out funk as part of The Simonsound. ‘Tour De Mars’, their cover of Kraftwerk’s Tour De France, is almost as good as the original.”

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The Simonsound – Tour de Mars

Even more Drake related nonsense from Rigid Digit of, appropriately enough, Stuff & Nonsense fame:

“Drake = a male duck
 A wild duck = mallard
Mallard = Steam Train

Next up:
The only* Heavy Metal song about a Steam Train

* probably not the only, but the only one I can think of right now”

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Saxon – Princess Of The Night

And the Drake links just keep on coming. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“Nick Drake was related to  Elizabethan sailor, privateer and adventurer, Francis Drake.[Has anyone checked this? – Ed] Francis Drake was a thorn in the side of the ‘King of Spain’, which is a song by Galaxie 500.”

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Galaxie 500 – King of Spain

Over to The Robster from Is This The Life? now:

“A drake is a male duck. Chuck Berry was famous for his ‘duck walk’ and he had a song called Havana Moon, first released in 1957, later re-recorded for the 1979 album Rock It. Interestingly, that was the last studio album Chuck released, but he has a new one lined up for 2017, the year he turns 91. Yes – 91. I wonder if he can still do the duck walk?”

I imagine if he can, it would be The Duck Walk sponsored by Stannah Stairlifts and Sanatogen Vital 50+.

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Chuck Berry – Havana Moon

Props for the Duck/Drake/Moon double-linker by the way, Rob.

A quick additional duck-link from Walter:

“I don’t think he can’t do the duck walk any more but I’m surprised that he will us give a new record at the age of 91 and I ask myself if Keith Richards will still be on the stage at this age. So Ducks Deluxe came to my mind with Who’s put the bump”

By which I think you mean this (and apologies, I could only find a live version, but it doesn’t sound like there’s many people in the audience, so it’s practically a live studio version):

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Ducks Deluxe – Daddy Put the Bomp

Whilst we’re on ducks, a song which I remember from my childhood, which I haven’t been able to find a decent copy of, but did find this clip from TOTP2, which means it is top-and-tailed by Steve Wright, which makes it even worse than it already is:

It was around this point that the Comments went all wonky and some got deleted. As far as I can tell, this affected Charity Chic, who compensated by reposting his links over and over again until they worked, and SWC and Badger’s. If anyone else’s got lost, my apologies.

One that didn’t get lost, was this from Kay. In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you all know that Kay is not just a friend of mine, but also my boss, so you’ll forgive me for allowing her suggestions, irrespective of how terrible the record or tenuous the link she suggests. I can say this without fear of retribution because by the time she reads this, she’ll be at least halfway through the bottle of Chocolate Orange liqueur we bought her today. Delicious on Coco Pops, I’m…er…told.

“Nick Drake links to Drake, same name but then realised I didn’t really know any of Drake’s stuff. [I have just Googled him,and I’m none the wiser] So went the same way as The Robster and linked drake to male ducks, then realised I knew no songs that are linked to ducks [It’s going well this, isn’t it?] …. but [I sense a Eureka! moment is imminent] ducks live in ponds and frogs do too…so my choice is Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus’ ‘We All Stand Together’, which was the first record my sister brought.”

Or, as he is forever known Chez Jez:  Fab Macca Wacky Thumbs Aloft. Some of you will understand the reference.

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Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus – We All Stand Together

I’m going to avoid the lazy joke about that being Nigel Farage’s least favourite record since it contains a bunch of frogs suggesting unity. Although I appear to have just made it anyway.

By George, it’s George!

“Worst song of the week contender [Nuh-huh]. From Nick Drake to Ted Drake (the footballer) who played for Southampton (and Arsenal)., and was manager of Chelsea when they won their first league title in 1954/55. And born in Southampton, in 1955 (double chain link there!) was Howard Jones. Now, I could it leave it to Charity Chic to pick a Howard Jones track from his record shelves But I’m going for…”

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Howard Jones – New Song

“…which had that bloke in chains prancing around on Top of the Pops. Who was he, anyone know?”

As I said in the Comments, I do. His name was Jed, a name I have been mistakenly called many times, and as such one which is indelibly edged into my brain.

And in case you don’t know who George is on about, here’s Howard and Jed, singing and prancing around on Top of the Pops:

 

I’m having a flashback, I swear…

Let’s move on to wrapping up the Pink links, and I’ll hand you over to George again:

“Pink Moon to Pink Industry and their single ‘What I Wouldn’t Give’. (The cover of the single featured a picture of Morrissey).”

It does indeed, which is precisely the reason I have a copy of it, poor obsessed fool that I was:

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Pink Industry – What I Wouldn’t Give

By the way, as I’ve uploaded that I’ve realised that there’s about three minutes of silence at the end of it. Time constraints prevent me from editing it, but I may come back and do it later on, if anyone’s that fussed. What I mean is, when the song sounds like it has ended at around the 3:30 mark, it has: don’t sit around in silence on the off-chance something interesting might be about to happen, as it isn’t.

As I mentioned earlier, the glitches that meant some comments went AWOL seem to have affected Charity Chic, SWC and Badger’s. I think we got there in the end though, although what with SWC and Badger both posting from their excellent When You Can’t Remember Anything blog I’m not 100% sure that I’ve attributed the right song to the right chap this week. So, more apologies if I’ve messed it up.

So, I think this is SWC taking us, as he puts it, “down the pink route” now he’s “finished watching Gabrielle Drake’s finest moment ‘Commuter Husbands’ “

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“The obvious link from here is to ‘Snooker Loopy’ by Chas ‘n’ Dave and The Matchroom Mob” which has featured before, so I can’t allow, I’m afraid, “But another song that features pink would be ‘Pink Glove’ by Pulp.”

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Pulp – Pink Glove

Plus,  “Aerial Pink who was in a band called Holy Shit with Christopher Owen from Girls. So you could have the very Christmassy:”

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Girls – Vomit

It’s Rol time again, with more pinkness:

“‘Hey Eugene’ by Pink Martini would be good too.”

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Pink Martini – Hey Eugene

From vomit to Martini. I don’t just throw this together you know.

Here’s babylotti with a hat-trick, starting with a pink connection, and ending with something festive:

“First of all, I can think of Fuzzbox (had they dropped the ‘We’ve Got a …& We Know How to Use It’ by then?) [Yes and no, is the answer: officially they were now just Fuzzbox, but as this was the first single they released under that moniker, the “We’ve Got…” part was snuck onto the record sleeve just in case there was any doubt as to who was responsible for it. There’d been quite a make over in between the ‘Bostin’ Steve Austin’ album and this, so you can’t really blame them – Ed]) and Pink Sunshine. Bostin’”

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Fuzzbox – Pink Sunshine

“From there that leads me to another one introduced to me by Peel, Fuzzbox’ label mate Ted Chippington. I’d love to go for his version of ‘D.I.S.C.O.’, but I will settle for ‘Rockin with Rita’…”

That’s fortuitous, I haven’t been able to find ‘D.I.S.C.O.’, but ‘Rockin’ with Rita’, no problem:

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Ted Chippington – Rockin’ with Rita

“Finally from ‘Rockin’ with Rita’, I’m going for a festive link to Mel & Kim’s [no, not those ones, but it’s only a matter of time before they turn up here] ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’.”

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Mel & Kim – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Next, a stone cold classic, courtesy of Charity Chic:

“No repetition here and something that is neither obscure nor obtuse, just a song that is demanding to be played:”

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The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink

What we need now is something that neatly takes us from Pink to Moon. Preferably by way of one of the greatest records ever recorded. Any takers?

The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow confidently steps up to the oche:

“‘Pink Moon’ was produced by John Wood and among his many other credits are several of Squeeze’s early hits, including ‘Up the Junction’.”

That will do nicely.

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Squeeze – Up The Junction

So, moons. Over to Martin now (forgive me if I’m rattling through these a bit now…time is ticking away….) who offers a song and a critique:

“I’ll go with an obvious moon connection instead and throw Morrissey’s ‘Moon River’ hat into the ring, even if it does go on a bit.”

You can say that again. Somehow he manages to drag this out for 9:40. I’d put the kettle on if I were you:

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Morrissey – Moonriver (extended)

Rol’s back:

“Moon River is from the excellent 1961 movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Ten years earlier, one of Audrey’s first ever screen roles was as a “Cigarette Girl” in the movie Laughter In Paradise in which she appeared alongside another famous George… George Cole. That George would go on to become immortalised as Arfur Daley in the TV show Minder, and in 1983, he would release a Christmas single with his co-star Dennis (“write the theme tune, sing the theme tune”) Waterman.”

I wish I could say I didn’t actually already own this. I think this may over-take Sir Cliff in the Worst Record of the Week stakes:

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Dennis Waterman & George Cole – What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors?

“Their Top of the Pops performance is worth a watch.” It is, just so you can see the dictionary definition of the words “excrutiating” and “embarrassing” acted out:

It is at this point in the Comments section, that Julian and Rol had a bit of a chat, coming up with more suggestions. Nice to see you boys getting along!

Julian: “Back to the movies, in the film ‘New York New York’ Blue Moon is destroyed by Robert De Niro who costarred in ‘What Happened Next’ (2008) with Bruce Willis……..”

Which leads us to what has been argued to be the greatest Christmas movie ever: Die Hard. (It’s not. It’s pretty much Home Alone for grown-ups.)

The end credits have this festive number playing over them:

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Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Rol: “Blue Moon was also the detective agency where David Addison (Bruce Willis) worked in the aforementioned [last week] ‘Moonlighting'”

Julian: “Nice. Al Jarreau “The Christmas Song” anyone?”

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Al Jarreau – The Christmas Song

And since we’ve landed on some Christmas songs again, here’s another suggestion from Rol:

“Can I add ‘Run With The Fox’ by Chris Squire & Alan White (roughly a quarter of Yes) because it contains a Christmas Moon, which isn’t pink but probably has fairy lights hanging from it. It might keep old proggies like The Swede happy… or not. “

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Alan White & Chris Squire – Run with the Fox

Respect to the guys in the Art Team for the many hours they must have put in coming up with the concept for that sleeve. Money well earned, chaps.

I haven’t used my catch-phrase for ages. It’ll never catch on at this rate. Let’s do it.

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, since it’s actually called “Christmas Moon” and because it’s ace:

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Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Christmas Moon

Which I think just leaves us with Badger. Since his comment was one that was lost, I received a summary of both his and SWC’s suggestions. We’ve had SWC’s, here’s Badger’s:

“Nick Drake also recorded ‘Road’ which was covered by scouse punk band Drive on their ‘Out Freakage’ album…”

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Drive – Road

“…Roads lead to nowhere as Talking Heads told us…”

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Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere

“…Or if you want to go festive you drive home on them like Chris fucking Rea….”

Or like Saint Etienne, for that matter (bullet dodged, there, I think):

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Saint Etienne – Driving Home for Christmas

And this is where it gets complicated. For at the end of their summary of the lost comments, posted by which of our fine friends I know not, was this:

“He also said something about Malcolm McLaren but I true to form can’t remember what.”

Later, this, again, author unconfirmed: “It was to do with ‘Duck Rock’.”

I sought clarification: “Was there a song from ‘Duck Rock’ you had in mind? If not, it’s going to be ‘Double Dutch’…”

The response, again author unconfirmed: “Well most of it is rubbish to be honest [Fair point]. I only thought of it because I saw a copy in a charity shop. Double Dutch is fine.”

But I felt a bit bad about…erm…badgering them into letting me play the track I like the most, so I persevered:

“Yeh, it’s that or ‘Buffalo Girls’ really isn’t? Your call, I have them both lined up ready to go. Which did you suggest in your original lost comment? We should go with that one, really.. “

No response, but to be fair, the boys have probably been swamped with comments and nice things being said about their frankly phenomenal final post (for now…?) over at When You Can’t Remember Anything. If you haven’t read it yet, do your self a favour: click that link and read something incredible. Advanced warning: you will undoubtedly shed a tear.

The reason I was trying to check whether or not one of them had suggested ‘Buffalo Gals’ (as I have subsequenty realised it’s actually called) was this. I never look at what the next record in the Official Chain is until I’ve finished sourcing all the tunes you suggested and thought of a few myself. Seems only fair that we have an even playing field, where I don’t know what the next record in The Chain is any more than you do. Besides, it’d just look plain fishy if I “guessed” right every week.

But when I did look to see what the next record in The Official Chain was, this is what I found:

“From Nick Drake to the following (which is on the ‘Duck Rock’ album)..”:


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34. Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals

So, SWC, Badger, jointly as I have no idea which of you suggested Malcolm McLaren, and in honour of your bloody marvellous (please keep going, you’re too good at this to stop) blog, have some bonus points. Merry Christmas.

Okay. So. This is the last edition of The Chain for 2016. I’ll be taking next week off, bar a couple of pre-planned posts I have lined up. Due to the nature of it, I can’t really write The Chain in advance, obviously.

So, you have two weeks to get your suggestions to me, via the Comments section below, for songs which link to “Buffalo Gals” by Malcom McLaren, along with the usual explanation about how you got from record A to record B.

Oh and one more thing. I love doing this, and I’ve said it before and I really mean it – I just host it, the majority of the work is down to you lot and your quite brilliant suggestions. I’ve followed blogs for over ten years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a blog that does what we do here at The Chain. Not me, we.

I  cannot think of a single other blog where requests are invited and all are posted; where all is good-natured, pleasant and friendly and everyone accepts they may get a bit of a ribbing every now and then, and nobody objects, nobody trolls, nobody flounces off in a strop because I’ve said their record choice was terrible; where I’ve been introduced to God knows how many songs and artists that I would probably never have heard were we not doing this (and where I hope I’ve returned the favour a few times); and where we get the most incredibly diverse range of artists – just look at that Tag list underneath this!! 46 songs!! Where else would you get that?

What I’m trying to say is this: if you’ve ever made a suggestion here, thank you. You have helped make this place what it is.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

More power to your elbows.

Oh. And More soon, obviously.

The Chain #24

Ordinarily, I start every post on The Chain by recapping what we do here, what record we’re linking to this week, and then say I’d better crack on as we’ve got loads to get through.

Now whilst it is true that we have got an awful lot of tunes this week, there’s not as many as perhaps there could be, and that’s because one of our regular Chain Gang contributors is conspicuous by his absence for a second week running and is, I hear, rather unwell. I mean, I haven’t actually been presented with a sick note excusing him from participating, but that’s what I hear.

So, Badger: get well soon mate, and this week’s post is dedicated to you.

Last week’s record was “Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, a song which cropped up a couple of months ago on my Radio-themed “Friday Night Music Club” post, and so I was anticipating a few that I had chosen back then would resurface again here. Not a bit of it, which is either indicative of either the wide range of musical tastes you guys and girls cover, or of how many bad records I chose. Or both.

So to kick things off, one of my suggestions which didn’t quite make the cut when I was writing that “Friday Night…” post, mostly because it doesn’t have the word “Radio” in it’s title. But it seems an appropriate place for us to start:

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Charlie Dore – Pilot of the Airwaves

Onwards, then, to some of your suggestions, and one final piece of housework. George: sorry about this, but there at least five records you’re not going to enjoy this week.

Here’s Dirk from sexyloser:

“Great start to link not one, but four different Clash tunes to, much to the dismay of George, I would suspect (I l.o.v.e. this!): ‘Capital Radio One’….”

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The Clash – Capital Radio One

…and we’ll check back with Dirk throughout today’s post to go through the rest of them.

But first, more Clash-related shenanigans from Unthought of, Though, Somehow‘s The Swede:

“‘Radio Radio’ is taken from the LP ‘This Year’s Model’. If your car happens to be this year’s model (at least if it was registered in the UK between March & August), the age identifier portion of the number plate would be 16. In 1980 The Clash promoted the ‘London Calling’ LP with the 16 Tons Tour, every night of which would see the band walk on stage to ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford.”

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Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons

Next up, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area with one of those suggestions where we get three for the price of one:

“Clearly you need to go to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner’, with his radio on…”

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Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

“…And Joy Division who danced to the radio in Transmission….”

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Joy Division – Transmission

“…And Half Man Half Biscuit who had Joy Division Oven Gloves.”

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves

Actually, there’s a double link for that one, as it was the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to Number 6 in the UK Singles charts in an effort to save the BBC’s radio station 6 Music. It actually managed to scale to the giddy heights of Number 56, but the station survived, thankfully.

Time to check back in with Dirk, whose next Clash/Radio song is, perhaps unsurprisingly:

“…‘Capital Radio Two’…”

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The Clash – Capital Radio Two

Whenever someone mentions Capital Radio, I’m always reminded of one of their DJs, who also worked the decks on Radio 1 for a while: David ‘Kid’ Jensen. I am still allowed to mention him, aren’t I? He’s not one of the bad ones, right? Good. Then I can legitimately play this:

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The Pretenders – Kid

But enough of my suggestions (by which I mean, I’ll have some more later): time for Alex G, who this week writes his suggestion like this:

“The recent Edinburgh Fringe revival of 80s comedy show “Radio Active” has got me listening to the old shows again. One of the episodes is called “The Radio Radio Programme” and as usual it includes one of Phil Pope’s musical parodies, his target in that particular episode being “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Not one of PP’s best efforts, but reason enough to suggest linking to the original “Sledgehammer” by the actual Peter Gabriel.”

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Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

I could, at this point, post that ground-breaking video, but we’ve all seen that, so instead I thought I’d take a step back and post a couple of Phil Pope’s better parodies. I think you’ll recognise his targets on both of these:

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The HeeBeeGeeBees – Meaningless Songs

Oh, and this, which I don’t find in the slightest bit amusing:

How dare they.

Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? leaps to my their defence, by proving that sounds nothing like them:

“Elvis Costello’s next release after ‘Radio Radio’ was ‘Oliver’s Army’ which led me to think of the Status Quo song ‘In The Army Now’.”

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Status Quo – In The Army Now

Alyson – and indeed her other half Jamie – will be back in a bit. When you see what one of them suggests, you’ll be wishing they had stopped at Quo.

In the meantime, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, who you may recall was very close to suggesting the official next record in the chain last week, and therefore almost bagged himself some invaluable (by which I mean of no value whatsoever) bonus points:

“From ‘Radio Radio’ to the excellent ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall of Voodoo…”

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Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

CC’s not done yet though:

“…whose lead singer was Stan Ridgway who gave us the less excellent Camouflage”

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Stan Ridgway – Camouflage

“Suspect I won’t be troubling the scorers this week…” he sadly concludes.

You’re right, CC, you won’t. But you haven’t nominated the worst record of the week. Has he, Alyson?

Nor has The Beard, although he gave me a bit of a fright with the direction of this week’s suggestion:

“The lyrics to ‘Radio Radio’ make reference to late night listening. Circa 1992 I heard Annie Lennox played back to back in the small hours on Radio One, something that haunts me to this day. One of the songs played was Why. Why by Carly Simon is infinitely better.”

Deep breaths, everyone. We’re okay. He didn’t go there. The Annie Alarm remains untroubled.

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Carly Simon – Why

“…as is Nobody Does It Better by the same artist”, continues our (presumably) Bearded Buddy:

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Carly Simon – Nobody Does it Better

Ordinarily, I might only allow one song by the same artist to be nominated by the one person, but I’m going to let it slide here for two reasons. Firstly, “Nobody Does It Better” is my favourite Bond theme ever (most of the time; sometimes it’s “Live and Let Die”). Secondly…well…have you ever seen the episode in the second series of “I’m Alan Partridge” where our late night radio host describes the opening sequence of “The Spy Who Loved Me”, to which “Nobody…” is the theme, as the VHS copy he intended to watch in his static home has been inadvertently taped over with “America’s Strongest Man”? And have you ever wondered how accurate his commentary is? Wonder no longer:

Speaking of songs that I wouldn’t normally allow, here’s The Great Gog:

“‘Radio Radio’ features the same word repeated in its title as does another ECATA ditty, ‘Party Party’ from the film of the same name. There are obviously lots of other examples of this type of song-titling, but that one seemed the most appropriate.”

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow a song by the same artist as the record we are linking to (not that it’s ever happened before, mind). On this occasion, you just get away with it on the grounds of the repetition of words theme.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Party Party

The film is bloody awful, mind.

GG has a point: there are lots of records which employ repetition in their title, and to prove it, here’s Kay:

“Using the theme of repetition – Radio Radio – I thought of Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins.”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

In fact, you could also have this one, which I pointed out to Kay I was surprised she hadn’t suggested, given that’s it’s by her favourite group, that it has a title with the same word repeated in it, and even has the word ‘repetition’…erm…repeated quite a lot in it:

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Hot Chip – Over and Over

I don’t think Kay has stopped kicking herself for missing that yet.

Time to check back on Dirk and see where he is with his Clash-a-thon:

“…‘This is Radio Clash’…”

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The Clash – This Is Radio Clash

Thanks Dirk, see you in a bit!

Time for The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Seeing as there’s a lack of cheese so far… How about – playing on the Attractions – ‘Opposites Attract’ by Paula Abdul. Appalling, I know, but this isn’t about taste, is it?”

It certainly isn’t, but you, too, need not be concerned about the quality levels not having dipped enough just yet. Eh, Alyson?

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Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract

Regardless, “I feel the need to right that wrong,” The Robster continues, “so my other offering is Kirsty MacColl’s ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’.”

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Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Right. Let me take a step back, survey the carnage, and see who I haven’t mentioned yet.

George. Of course, George.

“Older people than myself, such as Charity Chic and The Swede, might prefer to use the word wireless instead of radio. In the tv programme Not The Nine O’Clock News, they once did a song with the lyrics “On the road you must be brave and tireless, on the road you can listen to the wireless”. I think that song is called I Like Trucking.”

Close, George. My recollection is that on the show it was referred to as “I Like Trucking”, but when the cash-in accompanying album “Hedgehog Sandwich” was released, the title had been shortened to just “Trucking”:

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Not The Nine O’Clock News – Trucking

Alyson’s back, with her hubby in tow this time:

“I have an entry first from the other half Jamie, who decided that if there are two radios the sound will be in stereo which led him to think of the Stereophonics who released a track called Vegas Two Times from their ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ album. Bit of a double link with the “stereo” and the “two times” both relating to Radio Radio.”

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Stereophonics – Vegas Two Times

What with me having lived in Wales for 20 years, at the time that the Stereophonics came to prominence, you could be forgiven for thinking I love them.

You’d be wrong though.

Did you ever have that thing happen to you, when you’re in the middle of a conversation and someone suddenly sticks their head round the corner, and says something which completely makes you lose your thread? Here’s Swiss Adam again, who’s located another unexpected item in his Bagging Area:

“R.E.M.’s Radio Song too”

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R.E.M. – Radio Song

Now where was I…? Oh, never mind. Can’t have been important.

Back over to Dirk’s Clash Corner for the final time now. What are you listening to now, Dirk?

“… ‘Radio Clash’!!!”

Of course you are. And now, so are we (minus George).

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The Clash – Radio Clash

Here comes Rol from My Top Ten:

I worked in the radio industry for 23 years of my life. Radio Radio is one of my all-time favourite songs because of the lines…

‘And the radio is in the hands
Of such a lot of fools
Trying to anaesthetize
The way that you feel’

When I started working in radio, back in the late 80s, my ambition was to be a jock because then I’d get to pick my own music. A couple of years later, presenter choice was gone from local radio and my ambitions of being a DJ were over. I stayed in the industry for a further 20 years in other roles because it was an easy job and I got lots of freebies from the record library: basically, all the good stuff they wouldn’t ever play because it didn’t “test well” with the great unwashed.

All of which would usually lead me to suggest the same track I selected last week: Rex Bob Lowenstein by Mark Germino & The Sluggers. But as I already had that one, can I instead go with a very similar tale…”

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – The Last DJ

George is back!

“I have a chain that results in a Bruce Springsteen song…” he says, slightly curiously, given that on these very pages he has named Broooce as the other act, along with The Clash, that he dislikes.

Despite much encouragement, he declined to provide us with the link, declaring he would “rather stick pins in my eyes”, which seems a bit extreme. I’d recommend ear plugs as a far more effective way to avoid hearing something, George. You’re welcome.

Instead, he comes up with this:

“From Elvis Costello to Elvis Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins the actor) and from his album Ash Wednesday the song Ash Wednesday.”

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Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday

A couple more folks returning from earlier now. Here’s The Robster:

“We got here by way of the name of Elvis Costello’s record label. There’a a reggae label called Easy Star Records that has a house band, The Easy Star All-Stars. Along with an astounding selection of guest vocalists, they’ve released a series of excellent tribute albums over the years, one of which was ‘Radiodread’, a reggae tribute to ‘OK Computer’ by Radiohead. I could suggest any number of songs from it (‘Lucky’ featuring the legendary Frankie Paul; ‘Let Down’ featuring the uber-legendary Toots & The Maytals), but I’m going to plump for ‘No Surprises’ featuring The Meditations.”

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Easy Star All-Stars – No Surprises (Feat. The Meditations)

And here’s Charity Chic:

“I was going to offer Radio Gaga by Queen but even I would not stoop that low.  The Frank Sidebottom version on the other hand …”

This one?

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Frank Sidebottom – Radio Ga Ga

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s the worst record we’re featuring this week, right? No. No it isn’t. For Frank Sidebottom was a genius. You know he was, he really, really was.

I suppose we should let Dirk have a non Clash request, right?

“What I really would like to hear is The Members – ‘Phone-In Show’ from their debut album, simply because I haven’t heard it for ages and can’t be arsed to search for the LP.”

Well Dirk, I could be arsed to search for it, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. So instead, here’s their version of ‘Phone-In Show’ taken from one of their Peel Sessions instead:

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The Members – Phone-In Show (Peel Session)

You may have noticed that it’s not just Badger who is conspicuous by his absence this week. Where has his When You Can’t Remember Anything… partner in crime S-WC got to? Well, he’s in the middle of moving house, but he did take time out from packing up boxes to suggest this:

“I don’t really have a lot of time to explain but my suggestion is ‘Radio Ladio’ by Metronomy.”

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Metronomy – Radio Ladio

Doesn’t really need much explanation, to be honest, that one SWC. Anyway, hope you have your broadband sorted in time to get a suggestion in for next week!

Rol’s back, with a suggestion to protect George’s eyes from becoming pin cushions:

“…my second choice would be State Trooper by Bruce…

Radio’s jammed up with talk show stations
Just talk talk talk talk talk
Till you lose your patience…”

I think maybe George has suffered enough this week.

Only joking. Course he hasn’t. Here’s the Trentemoller remix of it, which might make it a tad more palatable:

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Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper (Trentemoller Mix)

Okay, where next. Ah yes. Can’t really put this off any longer. Welcome back Alyson:

“I think I have probably come up with something that would win cheesiest song EVER in a poll of polls. Yes, from Elvis Costello to Abbott and Costello (the more mature chain-ganger will remember them) to Russ Abbot who had a mid ’80s hit with Atmosphere (as in he liked a party with one).”

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Russ Abbot – Atmosphere

Let’s be honest, it was only a matter of time before I got round to posting this. There’s so much to make you cringe here: the reference to being “at the dancing party”  – was that ever a thing?; the desperate attempt to be hip by referencing Frankie Goes to Hollywood; the frankly rather seedy looking video where Russ saunters through a nightclub full of dressed-for-the-80s bright young things, looking like the sort of person your mother used to warn you about.

You’ve never seen the video, you say? Then get your laughing gear round this:

See what they did there? It’s so disappointing that it doesn’t quite work.

Maybe it does if you do it the other way round?

Better. Much better.

Okay, to round things off this week, one last suggestion from me.

In 2006, Basement Jaxx released their fourth album “Crazy Itch Radio”, from which I’ve chosen this little beauty:

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Basement Jaxx – Take Me Back To Your House

Which just leaves us with the small matter of what the official song in the link was. And normally I’m a little bit disparaging about the tune they select, not so much for the song, but for the reason it was suggested/selected.

But credit where credit’s due, this week’s is a double-linker:

“Elvis Costello sings on the Joni Mitchell covers album [A Tribute to Joni Mitchell]…”

..and although he doesn’t sing this one, the choice of Joni tune doubles up here:

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24. Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio

And that, as they say, whoever they may be, is that.

Your suggestions please, via the Comments section down below, for records that can be linked to “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” by Joni Mitchell, along with a brief description of your linking logic.

Same time next week?

(More soon.)

The One And Only

Once upon a time, Virgin was known for being both a record label and chain of record stores, and not for owning trains which don’t run on time (apparently; I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding a Virgin…train), or providers of Murdoch-baiting TV packages and sporadic broadband. (I hate Murdoch with a passion, but my dislike deepened still further a couple of weeks ago when he suddenly decided to stop BT (who I’m with) from airing the Fox Channel, just as the current season of “The Walking Dead” started up again. Twat.)

Anyway, in 1980, The Freshies released this slice of rather ruddy wonderful DIY pop:

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The Freshies – I’m in Love with the Girl on the Manchester Virgin Megastore Check-Out Desk

Never slow to miss an opportunity to self-promote, Virgin guru Richard Branson wasted no time in waiting 26 years until 2006 when he launched a search for the Girl in question, to mark the opening of a new Virgin Megastore in Manchester. The quest was unsuccessful; had he found her then he would doubtless have been pictured lifting the poor girl up, for this seems to be his default setting for publicity shots. Type the words “Richard Branson lifting” into Google images search, and you’ll see what I mean.

The more astute of you will know that The Freshies were formed and led by the much missed Chris Sievey, who later found fortune, of sorts, as Timperley’s finest son Frank Sidebottom.

I love the fact that after Sievey’s (and by extension, Frank’s) death in 2010, fans got together to raise £60,000 to commission a statue of Frank which now stands in Timperley in his memory. I knew nothing about it at the time; had I, then I would have happily contributed. You know I would. I really really would.

Here it is:

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This, of course, gives me a little needed excuse to post some more Frank. In a week where we lost yet another from the ranks of popular music, it seems appropriate to share Frank’s contribution to the NME’s 1988 charity release to support Childline, “Sgt Pepper Knew My Father”, an album where acts of the day covered the whole of the George Martin produced “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

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Frank Sidebottom – Being For Benefit Of Mr. Kite

More soon.

How The Flipping Heck Did That Happen?

Or, as I believe you youngsters say, “Like WTF?”.

BBC4 are currently re-airing some of the few remaining editions of Top of The Pops from 1981 which weren’t hosted by convicted or dead paedophiles, and earlier today I was catching up with a couple of the programmes I’d recently recorded. (I don’t Sky+. I object to Sky. I don’t see why I should give any of my money to Jerry Hall unless I can absolutely help it).

Anyway, a song came on which I quite liked, had never heard before, and so I made a note to track it down sometime.

This evening, as I prepared my evening meal (Chippy chips!) with my mp3 player on shuffle, the very same song came on. Turns out I already owned it and had no idea. Which bodes well for me writing about every record I ever bought, in the order I bought them.

This is the song in question:

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Susan Fassbender – Twilight Café

And while I’m in a Fassbender kinda mood (I’m always up for a little bending of fass), here’s a similarly monikered chap from the soundtrack to the 2015 movie “Frank”, which as I’m sure you know is based on the lovely and brilliant Jon Ronson’s brief stint as keyboard player with the legend that was Frank Sidebottom:

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The Soronprfbs & Michael Fassbender – I Love You All (Radio Mix)

Which I can categorically tell you sounds fuck all like Frank Sidebottom. You know it doesn’t, it really, really doesn’t.

By way of contrast, since it’s Saturday and therefore a football day, here, from the anti-ID card compilation album “Bananas!” released in 1989 is some of your actual Frank (and a very much uncredited but prominent Little Frank):

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Frank Sidebottom – Football Medley

I bought this album back in the day, not because I particularly objected to the introduction of ID cards (though I did) but mostly because it has a few absolute corkers on it, including one which will forever feature in any Top 10 favourite records ever(!) list I’m ever asked to create.

Anyway, if you’d like to read up on the circumstances that prompted this compilation album coming into being, then I’d suggest going here: Bananas!

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Finally, the big day is here.

You know it is. It really is.

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Frank Sidebottom – Christmas is Really Fantastic

So, as a special treat for all of you folks old enough to remember back as far as 1982:

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Smash Hits Happy Xmas From The Stars 1982 FlexiDisc

Now last night, you should have had a visit from a jolly old sod dressed in red and white. I do hope you kept your head under the covers and didn’t peek. The lead singer on the next track was clearly emotionally scarred by what he witnessed one Christmas Eve; what other excuse can there be for some of the things he (allegedly, make sure you say allegedly – Legal Editor) allegedly got up to in later life?

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The Jackson 5 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

And if that vision wasn’t enough to screw the little fellow up, then having his brothers illustrate the indecent act by harmonising the words “Tickle! Tickle!” around him as he recounted what he witnessed certainly would.

Let’s move on, shall we?

One of my favourite Christmas Records featuring two of my favourite indie pop acts. A real Christmas bargain, a Buy One Get One Free deal if you will:

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Saint Etienne feat. Tim Burgess – I Was Born On Christmas Day

Well, Sarah, Tim, I hate to break the news to you, but so was this chap:

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Big Star – Jesus Christ

(See, I don’t just throw this shit together, you know)

And since I’ve just about managed to drag this back to the true meaning of Christmas, a song which isn’t particularly Christmassy, but the title is. There’s plenty of versions of this knocking about to choose from: Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Alexandra Burke to name but a few. Me, I’ve plumped for this one:

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Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

Enjoy your day, folks. You deserve it for sticking with me and my inane ramblings, if nothing else.

Cheers!

More soon.