For those that are interested – and once again, I thank you all for your kind messages of support – I thought it about time I gave you a health update.
But first, a little background for the non-regular, non-long-term readers.
Back in 2018, I had a psoriasis flare-up which resulted in me being admitted to hospital, after it was found I had a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot) in my left lung, and pneumonia in my right (amongst other things). Should you wish to, you can read (or remind yourself) of my time in the Royal Free Hospital in London starting here.
If this ever happens again, I was told upon discharge, don’t bother with your GP, just go straight to A&E.
And so, when my psoriasis ‘went nuclear’ again at the end of last year, that’s exactly what I did. Twice.
I’ll (probably) go into this in waaaay too much detail another time, but suffice it say that I wasn’t admitted to hospital, I was given some anti-biotics and sent home, where, unable to look after, I eventually went to stay with my parents.
Now. Other than visiting at Christmas/Easter/birthdays, I’ve not lived with my parents for longer than a couple of days since I left home at the sweet and tender age of 18. Can you imagine having to do it now, at your age? Thought not.
I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that whilst it was lovely – and needed – to have that family touchstone, at times we all found my stay there rather trying, especially my mother who already cares for my father, and who suddenly found herself saddled with another invalid (no offence, Dad) to clean up after.
I’m here to tell you that she was amazing, and I could not have asked for more, infuriating as I probably was. And yes, I have told her so.
But come January, I had decided that it was about time that I struck out on my own to continue my recovery. And that meant going home and seeing how I coped fending for myself.
I’m happy to report that there is progress – of which I’ll update you some other time – but I don’t think that would have happened – not yet, anyway – without me coming home and, crucially, without the care and assistance my folks gave me when I was staying with them.
This morning’s tune has been in my head as a restart for this series for a while, even though I’ve been home for a few weeks now. I hope it doesn’t come across as disrespectful: it’s meant with love, thanks and gratitude to my parents for the help they gave me, even though it may sound like a relief to be away from them (which it kinda is, but I’m pretty sure they feel the same way):
Imagine it’s January 10th and you’re about to send an email. Do you still include that bit where you wish the recipient all the best for the coming year?
Similarly, I long for the days when I don’t have to start every email I send with the phrase Hope you and yours are keeping safe and well (or some varient thereof).
I mean, I do hope they are. Mostly. Okay, occasionally. (Never.)
I’m trying to keep things round here as upbeat as possible. You’ve probably noticed.
So whilst the album title that today’s tune is lifted from could be considered ironic in these days of lockdown, or at the very least read with a world-weary sigh, here’s a song which doesn’t try to pretend to be anything other than a dumb, fun trip down Yee-Haw lane:
I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that there’s nothing which can’t be improved by the addition of The Muppets.
Doctors and nurses may not have sufficient, or even the right kind of, PPE to be able to protect themselves from the virus while they work, but give them a furry puppet with ping pong balls for eyes, and maybe they’ll be ok?
The more keen-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this series, when I can be bothered to write it, features not records that I used to own and have lost for various reasons (read: skint and sold it); rather it tends to feature records that I wished I’d bought years ago, or records which remind me of being a kid, by which I mean records owned by either my Dad or my brother.
Such is today’s choice, a record that loomed large over my childhood, and of which I have no complaints about (either the records looming or my childhood, this isn’t Angela’s Ashes).
Mention John Denver to most people and they will say something along the lines of one or all of the following things:
The Annie’s Song guy?
The Grandma’s Feather Bed guy?
Didn’t he do a record with The Muppets?
The crashing his airplane into a mountain guy?
The Milky Bar Kid guy?
The thing is, when you’re growing up, or more specifically, as I grew up, I’d rather have eaten my own testicles than admit to liking any records that either my Dad or my brother liked. Their music tastes were my mortal enemy, to be defeated at every opportunity (generally by playing Quo really loudly).
But as I got older, and both me and my music tastes mellowed, I came to see they both had a point. As a kid, my brother liked the Stones, so I liked The Beatles, just to be contrary and different from him. That changed. And my Dad liked Kris Kristofferson, then okay I’ll sing along to appease him, but what I really wanted to hear at the time was some thumbs-in-belt-hoops, double-denim, three-chord boogie.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point the barriers came down. With my brother and I it was when we were in our teens; there’s only a couple of years between us so this was probably inevitable, I guess. But with my Dad’s record collection, I’d say maybe I was in my mid-twenties when I realised he had a point about some of the acts he loved.
A drunken night with my brother probably sealed it.
Me: Shall I stick some tunes on?
Him: Have you got Me and Bobby McGee?
Ah, bugger, he’s right again.
See, I feel rather blessed that music was such a big part of our family life as I was growing up, and much as I pretended to hate all those old records my Dad played, their effect was just as inescapable: they kind of soaked in, I absorbed them and stored them up for future use.
It just took me a little longer with some of his records than others, and John Denver falls into that category.
In fact, it wasn’t until in my mid- thirties – in a moment that I now realise resonates greatly with a moment in my teens I wrote about here when I could only bring myself to admitting to liking a record by Suzanne Vega because a mate said they liked it first – that I got into a conversation with a work colleague who was learning to play the guitar, and was ecstatic as he had mastered the aforementioned Annie’s Song.
“That’s such a great record,” I surprised myself by assenting.
“It is a great record,” he confirmed, a tiny bit of saliva threatening to escape his bulging jowls.
And there it was. I had admitted to liking John Denver to another human being. I was outed as a Denverite. And not to just anyone, someone who could play guitar and wasn’t a nerd at all.
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, he played chess, and went on to tell me in rib-nudging fashion about some female professional Russian chess players he really fancied. But apart from that, definitely not a nerd.
And so, to today’s record: Windsong by John Denver.
Some things you need to know:
It contains nothing as drop-dead wonderful as Annie’ Song (and if you don’t think that’s a drop-dead wonderful song a) you’re wrong, and b) you need to befriend a chess player
It contains nothing as yee-haw hill-billy-esque as Grandma’s Feather Bed
It does contain some pretty ruddy marvellous songs.
Like these (and by the way, this guy was such a massive star in the 70s, he didn’t even have to bother putting his name on record sleeves):
When I was a kid, before I moved on to “Big School”, I would return home at lunchtimes, sit at the kitchen table and eat my lunch (always sandwiches, often cheese and Sandwich Spread (which I was extremely surprised to find recently is still a thing), occasionally cheese and tomato, or if I was very lucky, peanut butter and blackcurrant jam) and I would watch the lunchtime kids TV shows.
The BBC didn’t really show anything at the time I was home, so it would be over to ITV, for either Rainbow, or maybe Pipkins.
I mention this for two reasons: firstly, it was probably the last time that I didn’t curse, tut or sigh when the adverts came on, and secondly, because, even though I had no idea about things like Big Brother (the Orwellian “1984” concept, rather than the TV show), I was convinced that we were being watched by people, only these people were trying to sell us stuff.
My logic was this: during my home lunch breaks, I never saw an advert for something we already owned. Everything that was advertised was something for something that we didn’t have, or, more to the point, something that I wanted.
I became obsessed with the idea that our kitchen cupboards had cameras hidden in them, monitoring what we had and what we did not have. Often, I would perform a quick inventory of the cupboards before I sat down, and as the adverts sped by, I’d think to myself: “Ha! I’m right! We don’t have those things, and I want some of them. They must be watching!”
Of course, the things that we didn’t have, which were being advertised in the break in the middle of a children’s lunchtime show, were generally sweets or toys, which had no place in our kitchen cupboard in any event.
I’m reminded of an advert for Refreshers, which must have come out in the wake of Star Wars, so we’re talking around 1977 here.
This advert, in fact:
NB: “Put one in your mouth and hold this tube in your hand” is a phrase which got me into a lot of trouble when I was older.
I digress, for the sake of a smutty gag.
Having seen that, and already knowing the answer, I checked our kitchen cupboards to see if there happened to be a tube of Refreshers lurking in there anywhere. Partly to prove my point (to myself), partly because I quite liked Refreshers, but mostly because I’d like them even more if they really did turn into a light sabre.
There were no Refreshers in the cupboard, of course, but this only confirmed my suspicions. ‘They’ were watching.
I was convinced: ‘They’ knew what we did not have, and tailored the adverts to show us things we could have if we just tried a bit harder.
Years later, I was working at Boots the Chemist when they introduced the Advantage Card. The purpose of this – and of any other store loyalty card, be it a Tesco Clubcard, a Sainsbury’s Nectar Card, or whatever – is not, as they would have us believe, to reward us for being a lovely, faithful, returning customer, and to present us with redeemable points which allow us to get more products for “free”, but so they can monitor what we buy and then target us with suggestions of similar or related products we might also want to purchase, preferably from their store.
There’s an incentive, of course. Hey! It’s a two-way deal! You let us monitor exactly what you buy, how often, and when, and we’ll give you free things, say the companies.
I’d be very surprised if most of you don’t realise this already, of course. What’s interesting is the ease with which these cards have become common-place, and the trade-off terms which we’re prepared to accept in the hope of freebies.
For example: I still have my company-issue Advantage Card, and, unless I attend a special event or spend an absolute shedload at once, I get 1 point for every 25 pence that I spend. So that’s 4 points for every £1.00.
1 point, when redeemed, is worth 1 penny.
And that, apparently, is where I value my privacy. At 4% of my spend at that particular store. Which seems a pretty cheap surrender, to me.
As I did when I sat in the meeting about the introduction of the Card, way back in the late 1990s, where I remember thinking that I was right all along, just a few (well, okay, about twenty) years ahead. They are now, actually, watching us via the things that we buy, but now they do it not via hidden cameras, as I had thought as a child, but through our own complicit willingness to allow them.
(I also rued that I hadn’t actually thought of the fully formed idea myself and trademarked it, of course.)
I mention all of this now because it’s January, and the sales are on, so we’re being overwhelmed by adverts, predominantly for furniture that we do not want to own, or holidays that we do not want to go on, or quit smoking aids that we do not need, or weight loss programs that we could probably do with but can’t be arsed to engage with.
But this year, I’ve noticed loads of adverts for different companies selling mattresses, which already seems to be the must-have item of 2018.
As well as setting me off on paranoid, nostalgic ramblings, it does make me long for more simplistic times.
Billy Jo Spears knows what I mean, even if the utilisation of her choice of al fresco bedding is for somewhat saucier purposes than can legally be featured in adverts:
All of which is quite some heavy, paranoid stuff for a Sunday Morning (you can tell I’ve gone a little stir crazy with the flu and no internet), so to lighten the mood a little more, here’s an extra mattress-related tune for you:
I’ve been struggling all week to come up with anything to play this week. And then, tonight, Friday, a day later than I usually start writing these posts, on my way home from work I found myself thinking about how the way that I get to hear about new music has changed so much.
Nowadays, I’m pretty much reliant on my blogging chums to flag new stuff to me; bar Jools Holland’s “Later…” there’s next to no music television programmes on in the UK these days (Friday night BBC4 documentaries excepted); or occasionally a friend will text, tweet or email me to ask if I’ve heard of someone or other, or to see if I want to go see someone I’ve never heard of live (the answer’s generally yes, as long as a) I’m not skint; b) I can track down at least one song that I like by the suggested act, and c) whether or not I value the opinion of the person asking or not).
When I was a kid, new music did not appear on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop. Songs that were already hits appeared on Top of the Pops. And I had no idea what the Old Grey Whistle Test was, and would probably would have avoided it even if I did.
No, when I was growing up the only way I heard anything new was via the radio.
And that gave me an idea for tonight’s post. Four words to strike fear into the heart of any of you who endured my recent run of TV show titled posts. To misquote Martin Luther King: “I have a theme..”
So I got home, cranked the laptop up, opened iTunes and typed “Radio” into the search window.
427 songs were suggested.
Jesus, this thread is going to finish me off, I thought.
But fear not: by the time I’d eliminated all the songs I have by TV on the Radio, or by Radiohead, or were on a rather fine Radio Soulwax mix I downloaded recently, or any that were on the list because they were the Radio Edit of a single, I was down to a much more palatable amount.
So, let’s crack on, shall we?
And what better place to start than with this stone cold classic:
I’ve had a life-long love affair with R.E.M. Well, not quite life-long. I wish I could say I bought this when it first came out, but no. I first heard it on the third R.E.M. album I ever bought, a Best of (regular readers will perhaps be surprised to learn it wasn’t the first record I ever bought by the band) called “Eponymous”.
Radio Free Europe first came out in 1981, the band’s first single, later resurfacing as the opening track on their debut album “Murmur” two years later. I didn’t buy anything by the band until 1987’s “Document”, four years and five albums later, but I’d still like to think I was a little ahead of the majority of the pack here in the UK, where most were unaware of them until 1988’s “Green” album, interest growing somewhat by the time 1991’s “Out of Time” came out, and hitting absolute peak with 1992’s flawless “Automatic For The People”.
In the summer of 1989, I somehow found myself at quite a posh garden party, full of young darlings, public school types, who had been quite astonished that I didn’t know I was supposed to kiss the proffered hand of a young lady I was introduced to. Yes, THAT posh. (I shook it, an act which was greeted by quite the round of disbelieving guffaws.)
Anyway, feeling ever so-slightly out of place, I proceeded to get phenomenally pissed, and wandered into a barn where a DJ was trying had to tempt the fops onto the dancefloor. He played R.E.M.’s “Orange Crush” from their Green album, which pleased me (not enough to dance, mind), that was until the DJ took to the microphone and said: “That was R.E.M. a new, up and coming band from the U.S.of A.”
I couldn’t take it, marched over and started to berate him about how they were neither new nor up and coming, how they’d been around for years, how that track was from their sixth album and how that was the sort of thing he really should know if he was going to make it in the cut-throat world of DJ’ing, quietly omitting to mention that I’d only been a fan since the album before.
Musical snobbery, eh? Never gets you anywhere. Oh, what do you philistines know, anyway?
Moving on to 1993, and another of my favourite bands:
I don’t have much to say about this, apart from it being the lead single from their “Thirteen” album, that it’s a quite magnificent single from a quite magnificent album, which, for reasons that I don’t think I’ll ever really understand, saw the band completely fail to capitalise on their break-through album “Bandwagonesque”. If you don’t own them, kids, go get ’em. Or, if you hang around here long enough, I’ll probably end up posting every song from them both sooner or later.
Moving on to another artist whose work I’ve admired for a great many years:
This is from 1978, when Mr McManus was at his snarling best, so much so that following an appearance on US show Saturday Night Live in 1977, he found himself banned from appearing again.
Here’s the story: The Sex Pistols were booked to appear on the show, but for one reason or another – reportedly, a lack of visas – they couldn’t make it and Elvis and his band The Attractions were roped in. His record company wanted them to perform their current UK single “Less Than Zero” – which was about Oswald Moseley, leader of the fascist movement in the UK – but Costello was less keen, thinking the song wasn’t exactly going to resonate with an American audience.
So Costello took the stage, started to play “Less Than Zero” before calling proceedings to a halt a few bars in, announcing “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but there’s no reason to do this song here” before launching into “Radio Radio” instead.
Going so far off message was not appreciated by the powers that be; he wasn’t invited back until 1989. He did, later, however reference it on the 25th Anniversary Show, when, as Beastie Boys were just getting going on “Sabotage”, this happened:
Where do you go to top that? Well, you can’t, but I know someone who’ll give it a bloody good go:
Ironically, this track, written by popular rhyming slang Miles Hunt, was only ever released as a single in the US, and not here in the UK, where it remained just another track from their second, not-quite-as-good-as-their-first album “Hup!”. Quite how they got away with lines like “Bugger the plugger” is beyond me. But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: many years ago I saw Phil Collins being interviewed after he had appeared in US hit TV show “Miami Vice”. Collins related how when he attended the script run through, he’d found that his character repeatedly used the phrase “wanker”, and Collins asked the producers if they knew what it meant.
“Sure,” came the response, “it’s English slang for ‘idiot’, right?”
Fortuitously, there was nobody better qualified than Collins to enlighten them as to the true meaning.
One of the other acts who were approached to appear on Saturday Night Live on that night Costello so infuriated the TV bosses, were this next lot. They declined the invitation, giving this as their explanation: “We don’t substitute for anybody.” Bonus cool points.
Denver is probably best known over here for a) Annie’s Song, b) looking like the Milky Bar Kid, c) his love of the Rocky Mountains, and d) his love of flying. Sadly, he failed to survive the occasion when he inadvertently combined those last two by crashing his plane into one of them.
Time for a musical interlude. Not that I’m saying what you’ve had so far wasn’t musical, just…this sounds like a musical interlude. And that’s a good thing. Particularly when it’s provided by a band who most people only know for one song, and that a remixed version of it, and even more so when to the best of my knowledge, this sounds like nothing else they’ve ever done:
Next up, a song which first came to my attention via a compilation album called “The Trip: Created by Saint Etienne”. It’s crammed full of Northern Soul, down-tempo numbers, lost and obscure nuggets from the 60s and 70s; if you’ve never heard it then I urge you to track down a copy.
I say it’s created by Saint Etienne, it’s more likely to just be Etienne stalwart and fountain of all pop knowledge Bob Stanley that compiled it. Bob once was kind enough to retweet a link to these pages once, so I reckon I owe him a name-check.
In the real world, knowing that a member of Saint Etienne had read one of my posts would earn me extra bonus points; alas it was predominantly about Bucks Fizz with a healthy portion of Shakin’ Stevens, so I reckon I’m probably in cool point deficit now. Ho hum.
But I digress. This is Douglas Dillard, banjo player (banjoist? banjoer?) and founder member of bluegrass outfit The Dillards, and Harold Eugene “Gene” Clark, singer, songwriter, guitarist and founder member of The Byrds.
Together, they came together under the inspired name of:
Two to go now, and it’s time for some 2 Tone ska. I don’t feature nearly enough of this kind of stuff on these pages, which some of you poor misguided fools may consider a blessing, so here’s an absolute belter to rectify that:
And so to the last one for tonight, and any post about songs with the word Radio in the title, inspired by my musings on how I rarely listen to the radio these days (6music at the weekends aside, and particularly former Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan’s show of a Saturday morning, which is simply unmissable), would not be complete without this polished gem (it features and was produced by Trevor Horn, so it was never going to be anything but polished, now was it?):
What’s extraordinary about that record is that although it’s written from a future perspective, it was actually first released in 1977 (by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club), before music videos were anywhere near the peak they would become. MTV wouldn’t even be launched for another four years, yet all that the song prophesizes – how polish, image, self-promotion, glamour and glitz would become the prevalent (X) factor, as opposed to, y’know, how good you are and what you sound like – has pretty much come true.
Which is a fairly bleak way to wrap things up, but there you go.
One day, after I finally finished college, I bumped into the Entertainments Manager that I worked with when I was Social Secretary. He was having a bit of a problem finding a DJ to play on one of the nights that I used to do: a retro-80s night that me and my mate Darran used to do every other Thursday night, which we’d started as far back as 1990 (we knew that nostalgia was going to be a winner).
For one reason or another, one of the usual DJs wasn’t able to do the night one week, and nobody seemed willing to step up to the plate. The Ents Manager thought that bumping into me was a sign, and so he asked me if I’d be willing to step in for the night.
We’d had quite a fractious relationship when we worked together, me and this chap, (more of that another time) and so I was really quite tempted to tell him to do one. But then, after consulting my “Big Book of Cliches”, I figured that a lot of water had passed under the bridge, that time was a great healer, and that I’d be the bigger man if I accepted his outstretched hand and helped him out. So I agreed.
Before we go any further, and although it’s of absolutely no relevance here, let me explain why I refer to it as “college” whereas most people would call it “going to Uni”.
It’s because I didn’t go to a University.
But the type of educational establishment that I attended to get my degree in “Bugger All Use” Studies no longer exists, so it’s easier to refer to it by a generic “college” than to explain every time I want to mention it.
See, I finished my ‘A’ Levels in 1988, when Polytechnics still existed. For the uninitiated, these were basically scummier versions of Universities; they swept up the likes of me who had kind of done okay in their A Levels, but nothing spectacular, and who weren’t ready to go and get a job yet, but who weren’t considered bright enough to be bothering Universities.
In 1992, the year I graduated, educational system reforms kicked in, which led to all of the Polytechnics being permitted to attain University status, which of course they all did, changing their name and rebranding like nobody’s business. My Degree Certificate, if I had the faintest idea where it was, was issued by “The Polytechnic of Wales”, which these days is “University of Glamorgan”, which seems to be part of, or maybe even the same thing as the “University of South Wales”. The fact I can’t work that out explains why I ended up at a Polytechnic. (When writing this, I’ve just visited their website, where there’s an aerial tour of the place – fuck me, they’ve spent some cash on it since I left!!)
Anyway, this Thursday night I rocked up at the Student’s Union club (which was named “Shafts” in some sort of deference to the mining community that surrounded it) and took my place in the DJ booth, where I met my co-DJ for the night, whose name, I think, was Pete. For the purposes of narrative, that was definitely his name.
Pete was a mad Manchester United fan. I don’t mean he was clinically insane, I mean mad as in avid, keen, staunch. It transpired that he wasn’t particularly happy to be DJing that night either, as it was the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster which had taken the lives of so many of the Busby Babes back in 1958.
Despite this, Pete was fairly buoyant. He told me that he had just got a deal to release an album of Man Utd related songs and chants which he claimed to have had a part in creating.
He was particularly proud of one of these , his chest puffing out with pride as he explained it to me. I had to disguise my horror. To my mind, he had butchered a song of which I was not overly fond, but still….
And here the “Pete” version. It is so awful, I am not prepared to post an mp3 of it (also, having trawled the internet for ages, I can find nobody who officially wants to take responsibility for either the creating or the recording of this horror):
Just like the line “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” from The Killers’ “All These Things That I Have Done” really doesn’t work (it’s spelt “soldier”, not “souldier”, numb-nuts!), this just grates.
There isn’t an area called “United” to correspond with the “Country” from the original. There are no United Roads. Frankly, if you can’t be arsed to think of a lyric that includes the M6 then you really shouldn’t be bothering.
Actually, since most Man Utd fans live in Surrey, they would need to include the A317, the A320, the M25 and the M1 too. And then the scanning would just be all over the shop.
And even worse, whenever I hear the original, as I did earlier today, prompting this post, what little pleasure I may gain from it is taken away from me by the memory of this aberration.
Pete, wherever and whoever you are, I hate you.
And before anyone has a pop, this has nothing to do with me not being a United fan. I’ve always found Man Utd to be a hugely entertaining football team, especially over the last couple season or three, when they’ve been highly amusing.
No normal post this week; I’ve been staring at the list of records I bought in 1984 trying to seek inspiration, but have not, as yet, been able to come up with anything of interest to say about any of them. Also, I didn’t have a drink last night. I’m sure these two things aren’t related.
So, it’s Sunday morning, and all is well with the world: the weather was glorious yesterday, the Football season has started here in the UK (with a loss for Spurs, but you can’t have everything), and England have just absolutely tonked the Aussies for the second match in succession to regain the Ashes – and if there is a better sight in sport than the look of shock and delight on Stuart Broad’s face when Ben Stokes takes that amazing catch then I’m yet to see it. I could watch that clip on a loop for a very long time before I started to get bored of it.
So anyway, I thought since the weather is threatening to be rather fine again today, I’d make this week’s Sunday Morning selection have a summery feel to them:
Betty Boo – Let Me Take You There To say Alison Clarkson (for it is she) has had a mixed career in pop music is an understatement: originally a member of hip-hop group She Rockers, she toured The States supporting Public Enemy, and had an all-too brief solo career under the alter-ego of Betty Boo, releasing the rather wonderful “Hey DJ (I Can’t Dance)” The Beatmasters, the second video for which launched her uber-foxy Betty Boop meets Barbarella image, followed by the killer tracks “Doin’ The Do” and best of all “Where Are You Baby?“, which if you don’t like, you are officially dead inside. Betty Boo’s short lived time on pop’s shelf of wanted goods ended as suddenly as it began around the time “Let Me Take You There” came out, when she was accused of miming at a gig in, if memory serves me right, Australia. Later cited as the influence behind the Spice Girls, she wrote “Pure and Simple”, which was recorded by Hear’Say, winners of the reality show Popstars, the fore-runner to the X-Factor, and the video for which appears to show the band lighting their own farts. She’s also written for Girls Aloud (“Love Bomb” apparently. Nope, me neither), Louise, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and…er…The Tweenies, as well as making the frankly rather odd “WigWam” with Blur’s Alex James, a song which has not improved with age. She’s also provided guest vocals on a record by The Feeling so…y’know…a career with as many highs as lows, I think it’s a fair to say.
In the mid-1980s, it seemed there were former members of The Eagles everywhere; Glenn Frey’s “The Heat Is On” was featured on the sound track to Beverley Hills Cop, Don Henley released this corker and…erm….does anyone even know who the other members of The Eagles were…?
A typically schmaltzy offering on which the Milky Bar Kid lookalike and country music’s most famous pilot (well, now ex-pilot, actually….) advises us that “Sunshine on my shoulders always gets me high”. On one of his more famous records, which bizarrely got embroiled in the whole Tipper Gore/Judas Priest/DMCA court case back in the 90s, he describes getting a “Rocky Mountain High“. One suspects Denver thinks “getting high” is the same as “being happy”. Either that or he had a phenomenal dealer.
I’m not going to talk too much about these late-80s/early-90s indie jingle-janglers and John Peels’ Festive 50 toppers (though not with this song) as they’ll feature later elsewhere on this blog. Calling a song Summertime leads to an almost inevitable comparison to the Gershwin-written Ella Fitzgerald classic (see?) and it would be wrong to do so (sorry!) for The Sundays’ Summertime is a) a completely different song, and b) simply wonderful in its own sweet way.