Late Night Stargazing

In this, the longest running series that I post here, I feature songs which are suitable to be listened to late at night.

Of course, the type of tune one wants to hear in the wee small hours very much depends on what you’re doing at the time.

So whilst the main focus may be on quieter, more reflective, often acoustic songs, it does allow me the flexibility to play something a little more lively every now and again.

See, when I am ‘with drink’, I don’t get argumentative, agitated or violent. Instead, I tend to knock the volume dial up a couple of notches, and have a good sing-a-long, often to the likely annoyance of whoever I’m with at the time, and almost definitely to the annoyance of my neighbours.

Still, the house next to me is currently unoccupied, and whilst I haven’t touched a drop tonight, it would be rude not to take advantage of the opportunity.

Which leads me to Tina Turner.

I’ve never been her biggest fan, but I was genuinely saddened to learn of her passing this week. That said, I’m not going to write a long piece about her, as many others will have done so already, probably far better than I can manage. Also, I doubt I’d be able to avoid mentioning that The Best is one of those records that makes me change channels to escape it whenever it comes on the TV or radio. (See? Couldn’t stop myself.) Since it was one of her biggest, most-recognisable hits, practically her theme tune, it featured in pretty much every tribute to her passing that was aired. My TV remote batteries will need changing imminently.

Needless to say, I won’t be posting that song here tonight.

Of course, I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead. There are some records of hers that I really like. I actually bought her Private Dancer album back in the 80s; I love the title song (written, surprisingly, given the lyrical content, by Mark Knopfler), and I’m a bit partial to her version of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together too. Not forgetting earlier belters like Nutbush City Limits and her version of Proud Mary. Tina could really belt them out.

But I’m not going to post any of them either.

Instead, perhaps predictably, a stone cold classic. It’s just a shame that she had to share performing credits with her wife-beating (then) husband (I’m not entirely clear what exactly he contributes here, much less why he gets top billing), and that it’s produced by a man who died in prison whilst serving time for murder. Strictly speaking, both of these facts should have lead to it being cancelled (you’ll note, for example, that I’m not posting anything by Rolf Harris, who’s death was also announced this week, and I love Two Little Boys. Wait…let me rephrase that…I have a soft spot for the song Two Little Boys, as, I would venture, most people do after seeing Spud’s heart-breaking rendition at Tommy’s wake in Trainspotting.)

But I digress. Tina saves this record. She makes it okay to like it and listen to it, because the world would be a sadder place if we were forbidden from hearing her frankly barn-storming, show-stopping vocals.

Turn the volume up and sing with her:

Ike & Tina Turner: River Deep – Mountain High

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

Following on from the Lionesses glorious, wonderful and uplifting victory in the Women’s Euro 22 final, there’s only one tune to play here this morning.

No, not Sweet Caroline, despite a highlight of the post-match celebrations being winning goal scorer Chloe Kelly breaking off an interview to race across, microphone still in hand, to join her team-mates when it got played in the stadium.

Not Rockin’ All Over the World either, despite it also being played over Wembley’s PA system before and after the match (the first time, host Gaby Logan threw to a video piece with the words “Status Quo are on, time to go”, which didn’t exactly endear her to me; had she said “Status Quo are on, time to go-whoa!” I probably wouldn’t have minded).

No, in the very video piece in question, there was footage of the England Team in the changing room, singing this morning’ selection, and my mind was made up as to what to post today:

Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High

NB: I know I’ve definitely posted this tune in this series before, but it was over two years ago, so what the heck: it’s a great record as long, as you can over-look that it’s co-performed by a wife beater and produced and co-written by a convicted murderer.


More soon.

I'm Not Too Keen on Mondays

Truth be told, I was going to sack this series off.

But then it occured to me that working from home is an even harder discipline than actually getting up and going to work. It seems odd to say, but that journey from bed to sofa, or dining room table, or wherever presents more mental challenges than is the norm.

“’s only over there…I’ll stay in bed for a bit longer and then work later to make the hours up” is a definite mantra for those who hate getting out of bed, doubly so on Mondays.

So we’re back, and for the time being we’ll be shying away from the loud mentality which has crept into this series of late.

Instead, we’ll be turning back to some out and out classics, starting here, back in the days when Phil Spector preferred his hits to be in the charts rather than to the head of Lana Clarkson.

Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High

More soon.

The Chain #10

I need to think of a new way to open these posts other than saying “So I left you last week with *insert name here* record and asked you to suggest songs that linked to it”.

But until I do, you’ll have to make do with this:

So, I  left you last week with “The River” by Bruce Springsteen and asked you to suggest songs that linked to it. This week, I’m simply going to post them in the order that I received them.

So, as with most weeks, first out of the traps was George who said:

“The Springsteen album The River has a track called Fade Away. And Buddy Holly wrote and sang Not Fade Away.”


Buddy Holly – Not Fade Away

Next up, The Swede, with a typically classy link:

“I was born (and spent the first 15 years of my life) in Walthamstow. When I was a young lad, Dad would often take me for a Sunday afternoon stroll along the nearby River Lea. In my memory it was always a glorious adventure, but a few recently rediscovered photos taken at the time tell a different story – the river and the old buildings along the bank were in a pretty sorry state back then, though I believe there has been a massive regeneration of the area in recent years.

But I digress. I’d like to go from ‘The River’ to the River Lea to Jim Lea and ‘When the Lights Are Out’ from ‘Old New Borrowed and Blue’, which was his first ever lead vocal on a Slade track.”


Slade – When The Lights Are Out

I don’t know about you, but I can no longer hear a Slade tune without thinking of this:

Slade in Flame, indeed.

Next up, Charity Chic:

“Not sure I can top the Swede but The River to River Deep Mountain High to the Mountain by Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band to Duke of Earl by Darts to Darts of Pleasure by Franz Ferdinand.”


Franz Ferdinand – Darts of Pleasure

I can’t really ignore the mention of “River Deep Mountain High”, now can I? But since I very much enjoyed watching Ronnie Spector’s set at Glastonbury over the weekend (if you have access to the BBC iPlayer, seek it out), I’m going to plump for the Phil Spector produced version by Ike & Tina Turner:


Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High

Which leads me rather nicely on to a suggestion I received that wasn’t via the Comments at the bottom of last week’s post. My boss, Kay, was talking to me at the start of the week, and suggested something called “Rolling on the River”, by which it transpires she meant this (although I think she wanted the Tina Turner version):


Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary

Which, it turns out is a double link, referencing not just the river, but also Mary.

Final suggestion time, and this week, it’s from The Great Gog, who also goes with name of the heroine in Springsteen’s track as the link:

“‘The River’ was released in 1980 and mentions a girl called Mary. Another song released in 1980, mentioning someone of that name is Robert Palmer’s ‘Johnny And Mary’.”


Robert Palmer – Johnny & Mary

Which just leaves my choice, and, since you know I have no shame, I’m going to post a song which references both a river, and Mary, who, it would seem comes to a somewhat stickier end than any of the other Marys mentioned so far. Oh, and there’s also the fact that the story told takes place in Nebraska, which was of course the name of a Springsteen album.

You might ask: What’s so shameless about that?

Well, my suggestion this week is by Richard Marx:


Richard Marx – Hazard

(Go on, admit it. That’s alright really, isn’t it?)

Oh, and great though all of the other suggestions were this week, I win, with an unprecedented triple link choice.

And so to the admin task of posting the song that BBC Radio 2 listeners suggested to link to Springsteen’s song, and I imagine many of you will know what the link between the two songs was:


The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You

(And if you don’t know the link between Springsteen and The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You”, there’s a bit of a clue in that picture).

So, as usual, your suggestions please for what we can play next week that links to The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You”; you can either leave them in the Comments below, or just shout across the desk at work.

More soon.


It’s not often (okay, it’s the first time) I get a late submission, but this just came through from Marie who said:

“I probably have this game all wrong, but “The River” led me to “One More River To Cross” by The Soul Stirrers (featuring Sam Cooke.)”

Well, you have the game pretty much right, just a week late. But since it’s a ladies prerogative to be late (and since it would be churlish of me to decline the chance to post some sweet, sweet Sam Cooke) I’ll let it slide:


Sam Cooke with The Soul Stirrers – One More River to Cross

More soon.