So this is what Thursday looks like, is it? I’m not sure I care for it much. It’s no Wednesday, is it?
We ended last week with the 32nd record in The Official Chain, “Valley Girl” by Frank Zappa, and my usual open invitation for suggestions for songs which can be linked to that.
And, as usual, the usual diverse range of songs came in, linking a numerous amount of clever, corny, obscure, obvious, tenuous or terrific ways. This week, for a change (and because it’s a lot easier) we’re going to look at them in the order they came in.
Also this week, as I was struggling for ideas for my own suggestions, I seem to have developed a new catch-phrase.
First out of the traps this week was Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, with a suggestion which truly fulfils the remit of the name of this here blog:
“‘Frank Zappa and the Mamas were at the best place around’ according to Deep Purple on Smoke on the Water”
Altogether now: Der-der-der, der-der-de-der, der-der-der-der-der…..
That’s taken from their 1972 album “Machine Head”, an album which my brother owned when we were kids, on gatefold vinyl. When opened, this was the collage which greeted you:
As you may be able to see, each of the band member has their photo with their name on the right hand side – there’s Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord, Paice, and then on the left, just one photo bears a name, a name which my brother and I found hilarious when we were kids: Claude Nobs.
This sounded to us like one of those comedy innuendo names, like Ivor Biggun or Hugh G. Rection. But actually, Nobs is there for a reason. He does not appear on the record. He is not one of the sound technicians. During Zappa’s concert, when the fire that the song tells the story of broke out in the Montreux Casino, started by a fan firing a flare into the ceiling, Nobs was a hero, saving several young people who had hidden in the casino, thinking they would be sheltered from the flames.
He still has a funny name, mind.
Anyway, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this version, just in case you think that what that song needs is less guitar riffs, and more salsa brass:
If that version isn’t on Strictly Come Dancing some day, then…well, I won’t have the faintest idea, as I never watch it.
Over to the Great Gog now:
“Frank Zappa’s band were the Mothers Of Invention which set me thinking about anything referring to invention / inventiveness or whatever, and inevitably our old friends, Manic Street Preachers cropped up with ‘Another Invented Disease’.”
I think sooner or later I’m going to have to draw up a league table of the acts who have featured the most in The Chain. The Manics have to be right up there, along with Kirsty MacColl and maybe The Bluetones.
“Also springing to mind on a separate train of thought,” continues the Great Gog, “was a band who I’m guessing didn’t name themselves purely to be next to Zappa in the record store racks, but achieved that anyway. That will be Zapp and the only song I can recall of theirs is ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’ – and it didn’t to the Great British record-buying public at least, because it wasn’t much of a hit.”
And here’s why I think that was: because we just weren’t ready for someone trying to sound like Prince after he’d had a vocoder forcibly inserted:
Here’s Rol from My Top Ten, with the first of many “Frank” links:
“Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years. I won’t come up with a better song than that this week.
Although I might come up with a few worse ones.”
Time will tell, eh, readers?
And since we’re on Frank’s, well if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:
Time to welcome back Dirk from Sexyloser, conspicuous by his absence the past week or so, and, from the length of his suggestion, keen to make up for lost time:
“That’s an easy one and one that links to one of my favourite tunes in the history of the whole wide world ever: how cool is that? Now, Zappa had this song on the album “Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch”, which was released in 1982. Now, if you have a closer look at the lyrics of “Valley Girl”, you start wondering who stole from whom when you take into consideration that The Valley Girls’ “Marina Men” (a m.i.g.h.t.y. tune, friends!) was ALSO released in 1982: if some expert now told me that the Valley Girls’ 12″ came out first, my life would be complete, believe me!”
“Plus,” Dirk continues, “in order to show you that I’m a friend of the stars: one of the first comments I received when I started sexyloser years and years ago came from Pamy out of The Valley Girls: she thought it was cool to see the record being brought up again some 25 years after its release. Had I already known about the Zappa – tune then, I would have asked her for the exact release date straightaway! So Pamy, if you’re reading this, who was first: you or Zappa? Also, as a kind reminder: I’m still waiting for this lyric sheet, alright?!”
I don’t think she reads this, Dirk. Not unless one of you is about to suddenly rip a mask away from your face to reveal your true identity, like the owner of the run-down, reputedly haunted, circus in every episode of Scooby Doo ever.
Charity Chic is back, with two more suggestions now, one absolute belter, and one…er…less so. I wonder if you can guess which one is which?
“The Skids who recorded the mighty ‘Into the Valley’ were from Dumfermline…..”
“So too is Barbara Dickson who recorded the not so mighty ‘Answer Me’.”
Don’t you go bad-mouthing Dickson on my watch, CC! For me, Dixon epitomises Saturday night TV in the 1970s, since she seemed to be the guest singer on every episode of “The Two Ronnies” ever:
Over now to The Robster from Is This the Life?:
“What immediately sprang to mind was Our Frank by Morrissey, but you had a Moz tune on the previous episode, so…”
Yes, so? That’s not a reason not to have another one by him this week:
“…Fresh from seeing Pixies in Cardiff last night, and with my body still recovering from a full TWO HOUR onslaught in the mosh-pit, my mind turns to lead singer Black Francis. Now he has released records under the alternative name Frank Black. In 2000, with his backing band The Catholics, he recorded an album called ‘Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day’, the title track of which was a cover of the Sir Douglas Quintet track. The album was never officially released, although Frank did distribute some copies at gigs. He re-recorded the track for his 2005 album ‘Honeycomb’ while other tracks ended up as b-sides or on compilations. It also provides a double-link for The Chain!”
Frank + Valley = double- linker!
Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, my own double-linker, one of the greatest Northern Soul tunes ever, and frankly (see what I did there), I can’t believe nobody else suggested it this week:
Now if anyone was ever going to rip their mask off and reveal themselves to be Pamy from the Valley Girls, then surely it’s George:
“Frank Zappa’s middle name was Vincent. Which leads to Vincent Eugene Craddock, who was better known as Gene Vincent. So the song is Baby Blue.”
Here’s Rol, back again, with a suggestion which may, or may not, be worse than his earlier one. You decide:
“That would lead me on to Vincent Furnier, aka Alice Cooper. ‘School’s Out’ is too obvious, so how about ‘Teenage Lament ’74’?”
Time for something circular from Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense now:
“Alice Cooper released two albums on Frank Zappa’s Record Label Straight. Ian Dury and The Blockheads sang ‘I Want To Be Straight’, and to complete the circle (back to Frank’s middle name) [and back to George’s suggestion, for that matter] he also recorded ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’.”
Back now for his third suggestion, it’s Rol time again:
“…it just occurred to me that a Zappa is a good way of killing flies… as is Flyswatter by Eels.”
I do not recommend you using the song Flyswatter by Eels to kill flies, it’ll take you ages. You’d be much better off trying an actual flyswatter.
Before we’re completely over-run with Rol’s interjections, here’s a few suggestions by Martin from New Amusements:
“So many roads to take from this one, doubtless many cul-de-sacs…
The ‘valley’ connection: Generation X, Valley of the Dolls’…”
“A ‘moon’ connection (since Frank co-wrote Valley Girl with his daughter, Moon Unit) – Moon Unit implies moon base, hence the ‘Space 1999 Theme’…”
(You did mean the Series One Theme Tune, right Martin? Pah, of course you did. Nobody would pick the Series Two Theme Tune. The Series One Theme Tune is the best Space:1999 Theme Tune ever, everybody knows that).
“A better ‘moon’ connection – Keith wrote, sang and drummed on the excellent ‘I Need You’ from ‘A Quick One’ by The Who…”
“…Another ‘valley’ connection: The Monkees, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’…But ultimately, I will revert to type. Yes, I want to pitch Pleasant Valley Sunday to you, because it’s utterly brilliant, Gerry Goffin and Carole King at their 60’s song-writing zenith. But, to maintain my indie boy credentials, can I hesitantly suggest The Wedding Present’s 1992 cover of same….?”
Oh, Martin. Never be hesitant round these parts when suggesting The Wedding Present. Besides, when they released a limited edition 7″ single at the start of the month, every month, throughout all of 1992, with an original song as the ‘A’ side and a cover version on the ‘B’ side, I bought the lot, and still have them all. And their version of Pleasant Valley Sunday was on the flip-side of May’s “Come Play With Me”:
Time to welcome back Julian Badenoch for a second week on the trot, and after I’d spent a few days scratching my head and trying to work out where I knew his name from after he kindly dropped by last week, I was reminded – admittedly by him – that he writes, as he calls it the “unreliable music blog”: Music from Magazines (“unreliable” seems a little overly self-deprecating, Julian. I think “sporadic” is more appropriate):
“This may be wrong for the girls but …Valley sounds like valet which leads to valet parking, and Grace Jones’ instruction to ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’…”
Now I’m not the biggest fan of Ms Jones generally – we got off to a bad start when she battered Russell Harty about the head – but that’s an absolute stone cold classic (I’ve not said that for ages, I don’t think…)
Anyway, Julian proceeds: “…which could be paired with ‘Relax’ [I’m skipping that one, as I’m not quite sure I follow what the link is; doubtless I’ll get it the second I press Publish] or even ‘If It Don’t Fit Don’t Force It’…”
Next! Over to Alyson from What’s It All About Alfie?, permanently scuppered in her efforts to get her suggestions by a combination of a) being in work and b) those fast-fingered blogging boys:
“…as I have absolutely no indie boy credentials whatsoever to maintain, I can go in a totally different direction. One of the first songs I can think of that links to the word Moon, is by Al Jarreau and it’s his theme from the TV Show ‘Moonlighting’. I mention this only because a certain Chain Ganger, who shall not be named, recently revealed a first album purchase which did kind of link to that show!”
I’m not going to mock. I bought a single from the same album. It most definitely wasn’t my first single, so I cannot even afford myself the luxury of that excuse.
Here’s a little know factoid for you: Al’s surname is actually spelt Jarrow. His parents adopted this as their family name after they took part in the 1936 Jarrow March. However, when he started earning his corn as a soul singer, young Al decided to change the spelling from ‘Jarrow’ to ‘Jarreau’ because he didn’t think being associated with the Tyneside town with the same name made him sound “suave” enough.
100% true, that. Except for the bits that aren’t. Which is all of it, obviously.
“Other than that all my Moon suggestions come from way back, Moon River, Blue Moon, Moonlight Serenade etc. or are by Showaddywaddy (and we won’t go there). Slightly more recently there is ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ by Toploader (this millennium anyway, just) [DON’T YOU BLOODY DARE SUGGEST THAT!!]. The one I’ll go with as my actual suggestion [Phew! Crisis averted]however is going to be ‘Moonlight Shadow’ by Mike Oldfield (featuring the vocals of Maggie Reilly). As ever I don’t know if its cool or uncool to like Mike Oldfield around these parts but not averse to hearing a bit of ‘In Dulce Jubilo’ at this time of year.”
Also a single I bought when I was a kid, so it’s a thumbs-up from me:
Hands up who needs a bit of Badger in their life?
Thought so. Off you snuffle, Badge:
“Now valleys. They are found in the country as are girls which leads us to ‘Country Girl’ by Primal Scream…”
(Is it just me, or is that sleeve strangely reminiscent of The Wannadies’ “Bagsy Me” album, released in 1997, almost 10 years earlier…..?
I’m not playing anything from it, jus’ sayin’ like.)
Sorry, Badger. Floor’s all yours again.
“Or if we want to go a bit seventies doll is another word for girl which takes us to ‘Valley of the Dolls’ by strangely absent Scottish dance guru Mylo.”
That’s a fair point, what has happened to Mylo?
“SWC will be along later with his suggestions,” wraps up Badger, in what looks suspiciously like an audition for hosting duties on some interactive music blog, like that’s an idea that would ever take off, “I think he was going down the Frank route. Or something to do with Lithuanians.”
And here is he, right on cue. Badger and SWC both write When You Can’t Remember Anything, so it’s quite nice that their suggestions have come in next to each other, not least because I only have to type their blog name once.
Anyway, SWC, what’s all this about Lithuanians?
“So…in the city of Vilnius in Lithuania there is a statue of Frank Vincent Zappa. There is a reason it is there, but I can’t remember what it is. [You can read it here, if you so wish to do – Helpful Ed] As I’ve stated Vilnius is in Lithuania which gives us a lovely link to ‘Lithuania’ by Jaga Jazzist.”
“In addition there is a street in Berlin named Frank Zappa Strasse (its in Marzahn, check it out…) which gives us two options – the brilliant ‘Berlin Got Blurry’ by Parquet Courts …”
“…or the godawful ‘Take My Breath Away’ from homoerotic classic ‘Top Gun’. Your choice….”
In case any of you are unsure as to why SWC refers to Top Gun as being homoerotic, then watch this, written and performed by Quentin Tarantino from early 90s indie-flick “Sleep With Me” (which, by the way, is definitely Not Safe for Work, containing, as you would probably expect from anything written and performed by Tarantino, a fair degree of effing and jeffing)
Now, I’ve noticed a scarcity of records vying for the title of “Worst Record of the Week” this week, so, time for me to wheel out my new catchphrase.
If you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:
Europop at it’s most….erm…most distinguished there.
As an aside, do you remember when in 2006 they re-recorded that for the football World Cup, which was being held in Germany? No? Have a listen to this (not the official video, needless to say – all traces of that seem to have been wiped from all corners of the internet):
England got to the last eight that year, going out on penalties to Portugal. I think they deliberately lost so that we didn’t have to hear that rubbish ever again. Until today.
Here’s Rigid Digit, back to inject some class back into proceedings:
“Frank: Frank Bough presented BBCs Grandstand – all the big sporting events, mainly Football, Rugby League, Horse Racing and Snooker were covered every Saturday Afternoon. ITV offered an alternative with World Of Sport fronted by Dickie Davies which focused on Wrestling, Darts and Stock Car Racing.
Which leads to:”
There’s another band who must feature in the “Most Suggested” list. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve written before how that contains one of my favourite rhyming couplets ever.
Hold up, old Goalhanger Rol’s back, hovering ready to pounce should another suggestion leave a gaping goal, which as we all know by now, is what I do.
“Frank Bough would lead me either to ‘Make It Right’ by Tim Buckley …”
“…or ‘Spank’ by Jimmy “Bo” Horne. Both, for the same reason.”
Well, if you’re suggesting that….altogether now……then I’m suggesting this (see, catchy, innit?):
And just in case you don’t know what Rol and I are referring to, it’s to the broadcasting career ending expose of Bough, when it was revealed he enjoyed attending S&M dens, dressed in stockings and suspenders, and indulging in a little light flagellation.
Over to George again now, and you may recall that last week George suggested a tune by Emerson Lake & Palmer, and the next day Greg Lake dropped dead. Let’s see who he has in the cross-hairs this week:
“I can get a link to the Clash, but I’m not going to [regulars will know why – Semi-Helpful Ed]. Frank Zappa was made a special ambassador for Czechoslovakia by then President Vaclav Havel. Vaclav Havel was a founder of Charter 77 (formed in 1977, and isn’t that the title of Clash song…?) so I am of course suggesting a track from Talking Heads’ first album, 77, namely ‘Don’t Worry About The Government'”
So tune in tomorrow for tributes to one of the late founding members of Talking Heads:
Here’s The Beard with his usual clutch of contributions:
“Valley Parade is the home of Bradford City FC. The dreadful nineties outfit Terrorvision hailed from Bradford. I stood next to their lead singer at a Supergrass gig at Leeds Town & County Club in 1996. He was wearing, if memory serves me right, awful trainers. I can’t remember what made them so particularly awful but since I always associate Terrorvision with bad footwear. As awful as his trainers were they were nowhere near their single Tequila in the scale of awfulness. Bile inducingly bad. Tequila is of course a type of alcoholic drink. Better songs loosely linked to alcohol, to name just a few, are:”
(I have genuinely never heard that record as being described as “better” than any other, so fair play for buying in to the ethos of this place, trying to justify those records traditionally considered “guilty pleasures”, which we all know don’t exist. Well, not in the land of music, anyway)
He’s not done yet though:
“‘Velocity Girl’ by Primal Scream (“here she comes again, with vodka in her veins”)”
If I hadn’t posted it yesterday, this would undoubtedly have featured today. We’ll call it an honorary mention this time, and we’ll try to think of a reason to post it some other time. Sorry!
Well, if you’re suggesting louche cover versions of alcohol based beverages, then I’m going to suggest this louche cover version of an alcohol based beverage (Wasn’t quite as catchy that time, was it? Mental note to self: new catch-phrase needs some polishing):
No, I didn’t quite believe it existed until I heard it either.
Oh, wait. The Beard’s thought of another one:
“And ‘I Got Loaded’ by Peppermint Harris. I think that’s his name anyway.”
It was indeed, so-called because of his world-renowned minty fresh…erm…”Aris” (look it up):
To round things off this week, I’ll hand you over to babylotti:
“Going to go all Antipodean on you here: Valley makes me think of ‘In the Valley’ by Midnight Oil…”
“…The Oil’s Rob Hirst filled in for Crowded House live when Hessie was ill, so my favourite from them, ‘Fall at Your Feet’…”
I’d forgotten how many songs I know by them.
“…and Nick Seymour from Crowded House [if Midnight Oil are ‘The Oil’, are Crowded House not ‘The House…? – Facetious Ed] is the brother of Mark Seymour from Hunters & Collectors, so I’ll go for the oft covered ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ by them…”
Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest…no, enough already.
Here’s the next song in The Official Chain, and there’s a few “close, but no cigars” being handed out this week, goes like this:
“…Frank Zappa’s daughter, Moon Unit sang on ‘Valley Girl’. So from Moon Unit to…”
So, your suggestions please, via the Comments section below, for records that you can link, and explain the link in your suggestion, to Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon”.
We’ll be back to Wednesday next week again, so you have one day less than usual. Also, as it’ll be Christmas week, any festive suggestions would go down a treat.
See you next week!