The Chain #19

Hello, and welcome to The Chain Gang (© Charity Chic)

You’ll forgive me if I crack right on this week, as we have an awful lot to get through.

Ok, so we ended last week asking for suggestions for records to play which had some vague connection to Elvis Presley’s “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”, and I’ll tell you straight off that one of you managed to suggest the song that follows next on the official Chain. So: bonus points will be awarded at some point in today’s post.

Exciting this, isn’t it?

So let’s get cracking shall we?

First out of the traps today is Alex G from We Will Have Salad who writes:

“I’m sure there must be other Maries in popular music (though I can’t think of any off the top of my head), but I do know that Marie’s the (real) name of the fairly popular vocalist and light entertainer, Lulu. So in accordance with your request for some cheese (and because I don’t actually know very much by Lulu), how about “Boom Bang A Bang”?”

I can’t pretend this isn’t a song that I love and have posted before, so I’m not complaining. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the UK’s entry into the 1969 (a good vintage, by the way) Eurovision Song Contest:

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Lulu – Boom~Bang~A~Bang

For those of you who don’t know the Euro-tale behind this, it was back in the days when the UK wasn’t hated by the rest of Europe, and we regularly stood a fairly good chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1967, Lulu’s tune was the UK’s entry, and it was involved in a four-way tie for first place, with France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Regrettably, there wasn’t time to go through the process of establishing an out-and-out winner on the night, so Lulu was proclaimed joint-winner.

Moving swiftly on and can we all give a very warm Chain Gang (© Charity Chic) welcome to babylotti. Now, babylotti seems to be one of those rare creatures to contribute to The Chain (although numbers are starting to flourish): someone who doesn’t have a blog of their own. Regular readers will know that this is something I want to encourage: I love having my regular blogging buddies suggesting stuff to play here, but I also want more people who just pop by, read, listen and download (for assessment purposes only, of course, before purchasing their own copy) to join in, so: babylotti, you are very welcome here. Just don’t take the piss by posting loads of suggestions, okay?

“Maria McKee collaborated with Youth on a project called Sweetest Child, their one & only single being of the same name, so my suggestion is that.”

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Youth feat. Maria McKee – Sweetest Child

Now. Strictly speaking, I should be declining that suggestion on the grounds that the song we’re linking to has the name “Marie”, not “Maria” in it. But, before there are complaints from the locals: I’m going to let it slide this time, for three reasons: firstly, it’s your first time here so I’ll cut you some slack; secondly, for a time in the late 1980s I loved Miss McKee’s band Lone Justice, and they will feature again here soon, so I’m more than happy to hear some of her solo-ish work; thirdly, I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I, diligent and warm host that I am, have posted both. So, shush. Maria McKee suggestion stands.

Take the pressure off me, someone, please?

Ah, here’s Charity Chic, creator of the Chain Gang name with which you are all now blessed (I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t think of that.)

“I suspect I would lose points for the fairly obvious Marie Marie by Shaking Stevens. So what about the original by The Blasters?”

No, but you might lose points for placing an erroneous g where a ‘ should be in his name. Very long term readers will know, I was pretty much obsessed with the Shaky one when I was a kid, so sorry, you’re getting both versions:

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Shakin’ Stevens – Marie Marie

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The Blasters – Marie Marie

Speaking of points, here’s….no, not yet, calm down, I’m just messing with you…

Oh wait, it’s Charity Chic again!

“I see a Maria has already sneaked in. Maria was a song in the musical West Side Story (don’t panic I’m not stopping there) Squeeze had an album called East Side Story which included the wonderful Tempted.”

CC, you have redeemed yourself:

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Squeeze – Tempted

If I had to say anyone had mastered the art of getting multiple songs played here, it’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who sent this:

“I was going to start with suggesting eternal flame by The Bangles. In the hope that the latest flame lasted for ever…”

Hmmm. At least you didn’t go for the Atomic Kitten version, I suppose…

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The Bangles – Eternal Flame

“Then I wondered what would happen if Elvis in the throws of passion called out ‘oh brenda’ to be met by Marie saying ‘that’s not my name’. Which just so happens to be a song by the ting tings.”

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The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

“….but then after scrolling through the iPod for a vague chain link I came across ‘Her Name was Audre’ by Maximo Park. Which seems perfect.”

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Maxïmo Park – Her Name Was Audre

I have to admit I kinda lost interest in Maximo Park after their second album, so it’s rather nice to hear something from later on in their career. Time for to me to revisit them, I think.

Hold up. babylotti’s back:

“I shall suggest another one, Sister Marie Says by OMD, from their 2010 History of Modern LP, though written in 1981 it sounds like it could have appeared next to Enola Gay and not been out of place. And he sings this as Sister Mary, not Marie to add to my earlier Maria faux pas”

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OMD – Sister Marie Says

I can’t say that anything by OMD had crossed my radar since they stopped writing records for Atomic Kitten (there’s a separate theme starting right there…) and reformed, but I take your point about that sounding like something circa Enola Gay.

babylotti’s not finished there though:

“Ok last one, I suggest His Latest Flame – “Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt” for hopefully obvious reasons…..”

Now, there’s a name I’ve not heard for a long time.

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His Latest Flame – Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt

It seems our new friend has an interesting definition of the phrase “last one” though (I’m teasing by the way):

“To add to this chain, I’m going to make the leap from Somebody’s gonna get hurt, to Somebody’s going to get their heads kicked in tonight…. the original or The Rezillo’s one, your choice….”

Since I’ve posted two versions of Marie, Marie I can’t really not do the same here, now can I, Chain Gangers?:

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Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite

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The Rezillos –  Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight

And now, as they say, for something completely different. Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“‘(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame’ was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, as was the Andy Williams classic, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’.”

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 Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

I figured using the album sleeve, with it’s “And Other Requests” was more appropriate than the single sleeve for that one.

Here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? with something else of a certain vintage:

“As we all know, at one point Elvis’ latest flame was Priscilla Beaulieu but Priscilla was also the real name of that other ’60s singer/light entertainer Cilla Black. (Don’t worry it’s not going to be Alfie) – Going to choose her very first release, the Lennon & McCartney penned song Love of the Loved please.”

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Cilla Black – Love of the Loved

Back over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog, and to S-WC:

“Two suggestions from me. Elvis famously resurrected his career in Vegas. Vegas was a song by Sleeper. So we could have that. I forget which album it was on – the first one I think.”

Indeed it was. As I purchased this on cassingle (remember them?) back in the day, I’ve plumped for the single version though:

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Sleeper – Vegas

The very thought of Louise Wener still makes me go a little weak at the knee….

Here’s S-WC’s second choice:

“The second one is that Elvis as well as singing about Flames called Marie also wrote about being ‘In The Ghetto’ which is probably his finest moment. That was memorably covered by Leatherface on their 1989 classic ‘Fill Your Boots’”

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Leatherface – In the Ghetto

Remember how earlier I said ‘I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I diligent host that I am, have posted both.’? Well, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? back for a second bite:

“I’m back as now having listened to my last suggestion it sounds truly awful so to redeem myself I’m going to suggest that other Elvis – Costello. He also sang about a girl’s name, the lovely Alison.”

Even if I wanted to complain about multiple submissions (which I don’t), that is not a song I could resist posting (so I won’t):

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Elvis Costello – Alison

Hold up, here’s George with what I think we can all agree is this week’s clear winner of the Comments Showboating award:

“Here goes. The song (Marie’s the name) His latest Flame was originally sung by Del Shannon. Unfortunately Del Shannon killed himself with a gun (in 1980). And two years earlier Terry Kath had killed himself with a gun, although this was accidental [this from Wikipedia: “Don’t worry about it … look, the clip is not even in it.” …….Kath showed the empty magazine………….then replaced the magazine in the gun, put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. However, there was a round in the chamber, and Kath died instantly.] Terry Kath was in the band Chicago, whose song 25 and 6 to 4 is pretty good.”

If, like me, you’re more familiar with Chicago for their slushy ballads (“If You Leave Me Now”, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” etc.) then I’d heartily recommend you give this one a listen to see what they used to sound like:

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Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4

But George isn’t done just there. No-siree-bob:

“I was going to link to The Smurfs but they’re Belgian….so instead. Elvis Presley’s manager was Tom Parker (who was Dutch, and I thought the Smurfs were Dutch but they’re not). And Parker was a character in Thunderbirds, he was Lady Penelope’s chauffeur/manservant. And Felt did a song called Penelope Tree.”

As I mentioned in the Comments to last week’s post, I cannot believe I’ve not posted anything by Felt before, lead singer Lawrence being one of the great unsung heroes of the UK independent music scene:

felt-penelope-tree-cherry-redFelt – Penelope Tree

Ordinarily, I’d save my own contribution until the end, but as George has kindly taken me halfway to both of my suggestions this week, I may as well go now.

Parker was indeed a character from Thunderbirds, and back in 1989 the renamed, rebranded, repackaged Fuzzbox released a single as a homage to those superheroes on  puppet strings:

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Fuzzbox – International Rescue

Of course, they weren’t the only band who released a Thunderbirds-related single, for in 2004 those naughty Busted boys had a hit with the theme to the movie. But I’m not going to play that. A Thunderbirds related Busted song? On these pages? Don’t be so ridiculous.

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Busted – What I Go To School For

Back over to you guys, and here’s Swiss Adam from bagging area with – drum roll please – the correct suggestion, by which I mean, the next official record in The Chain:

“Marie’s the Name was the inspiration for the riff to Rusholme Ruffians and on Rank and at live shows Marr jammed the two songs together.”

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19. The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)

Bonus points (again) to Swiss it is then!

Over to The Great Gog now:

“Some good tunes already suggested: Smiths, Felt & OMD. Hit by the perils of just returning from hols with all the good suggestions gone, and I feel like I’m being forced into a bit of fromage. I’ve been on a cruise ship on the Baltic for the last fortnight, and I believe Tony Christie was doing such venues at one point. He of course had a girl called Marie who was apparently hanging around for him in Amarillo, presumably as there was nothing else to do there.”

I really wouldn’t worry about the fromage, GG. You’ve seen what I posted,right?

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Tony Christie – (Is This The Way to) Amarillo

Those of you who read the Comments on this section as they come in will know that Charity Chic posted a very intriguing comment, which I invited CC to expand on:

“You’re wrong there about Amarillo GG – I once spent an hour in a turkey compound there hiding from an armed and unstable man in a El Camino truck intent on causing us harm.”

For those of you were as fascinated as I was for more details, he has indeed spilt the beans, here. (Oh and cheers for the plug!)

Whilst we’re on Charity Chic, here’s a first: a (kinda) dual suggestion by two of our Chain Gang regulars. Firstly Swiss Adam of bagging area, flush with his bonus points, returns with three simple words:

“Absolutely Sweet Marie”

Since no artiste was given, I can only assume Swiss meant this version, as opposed to, say,the George Harrison or Jason & The Scorchers versions:

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Bob Dylan – Absolutely Sweet Marie

…at which point, CC chipped in with:

“The Jason and the Scorchers version please”

Fair enough!

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Jason & The Scorchers – Absolutely Sweet Marie

And so we come to the last suggestion of the week, and it’s a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Rol from My Top Ten:

“The Smiths was my first, most obvious, choice… but for something a bit more obscure, how about Flame On! by Captain America? “

Happy to oblige. I seem to remember this lot getting into a spot of bother with a certain high street retailer back in the day. Can’t think why:

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Captain America – Flame On

Ok, so before I wrap things up, two things. Firstly: CW, thanks for your comment and I – no, we all – look forward to your suggestions in the future. And secondly, many many thanks for all of the  messages about my cousin, it really meant a lot to me that some of you took the time to pass on your kind words of support.

Before I get all teary-eyed, I’ll end for the night. Your suggestions please for any record that you can link to The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” which is lifted from their 1988 live album (and Rough Trade contract fulfilling) “Rank” – via the Comments section at the bottom of the page please!

See you same time, next week.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a very short post – too short, so I’m told – in my “Which Reminds Me…” thread, about Kaiser Chiefs’ “Na Na Na Na Naa”.

That in turn has made me think about how songs with nonsensical titles have played quite a big part in the history of rock and pop, so I thought we’d have a look at some of them tonight.

But just like cafe’s feel obliged to write the words “Warning: Contents May Be Hot”, here’s an advance warning for you: this post contains songs of wildly varying quality. But that’s why you’re here, right? Right….?

So, let’s start with one of the greatest records ever:

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283. The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron

Unfortunately, people of a certain age, i.e. me, can’t hear that record without being reminded of this pair:

Not got any funnier with age that, has it?

What is there to say about Little Richard that hasn’t already been said? Well, very little that isn’t defamatory, so we’ll go straight to one of his tunes:

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284. Little Richard – Bama Lama Bama Loo

Bears more than a passing similarity to his own “Tutti Frutti”, that is it…?

In 1986, presumably spurred on by his former Generation X frontman Billy Idol’s solo success, guitarist Bob “Derwood” Andrews formed Westworld. Named after the Yul Brinner movie, the band had two hit singles in 1987: a great one, “Sonic Boom Boy” which made Number 11 in the UK charts, and this not so great one, which made Number 37:

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 285. Westworld – Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo

The follow-up single, “Where The Action Is” tanked even more, not even making the Top 40, and when their debut album met with a similarly indifferent response from the UK record buying public, the writing was on the wall for the band.

A few years ago, there was a rather wonderful sitcom on BBC3 called “Him and Her”. Starring Russell Tovey as Steve (the “Him”) and Sarah Solemani as Becky (the “Her”), a young couple living together in a flat where all of the action in the first three series’ took place. With able support from the likes of Joe Wilkinson, Camille Coduri and Kerry sister-of-Russell-Howard Howard, it’s a wonderfully understated show, with no laughter track or studio audience, full of awkward silences and knowing looks. If you haven’t ever seen, I would urge you to check out.

Here’s a clip:

I mention this now because the end credits had this playing over them:

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286. Lulu – Boom Bang-a-Bang

“Him and Her” was written by Stefan Golaszewski, who some of you will know for being part of the comedy sketch group “Cowards”, along with the likes of Tim Key and Tom Basden. He also wrote the equally great “Mum” which is currently showing on BBC2 at 10:00pm on Friday nights, but you wouldn’t know that because you’re here reading this on a Friday night, right? Watch it, it’s great.

More TV related shenanigans now, and a tune which again is guaranteed to bring back some happy memories for those of us “of a certain age”:

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287. The Dickies – Banana Splits (Tra La La)

For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, when I was a kid in the 1970s, no Saturday morning was complete without watching The Banana Split Show, which would always be on at about 8am, whetting the appetite for the three and a bit hour feast of middle of the road, middle class niceness that was The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.

The Banana Splits were a fictional rock band comprised of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper (I wonder how he got his name….?) and Snorky, who were in essence, and sorry to shatter the illusion, four blokes in weird costumes.

Probably easier if I just show you them, I think:

I so wanted a buggy like that when I was a kid.

Wait – did I just say “Middle of the Road”…?

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288. Middle Of The Road – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Let’s not dwell to much on that one, eh? Instead, let me direct you this, a song which was just a bit too far ahead of the pack. Released in 1992, had it been three of four years later it would have been one of the great records of the Britpop era, by one of the most underrated  acts, led by one of the most underrated musicians ever – Lawrence, formally of Felt, now of Go-Kart Mozart (unless he’s moved on again), then of Denim. As it was, it was largely, criminally, ignored by the majority of the Great British record buying public, the fools:

I’d hoped to be able to find their appearance on “Later…”, and it’s there on YouTube, but with even worse sound/video quality than that clip. It is rather amusing to read all the “This sounds like something from the 70s” slams in the Comments under that, written by people who really didn’t understand that that was the whole point.

Time for some more puppet-based fun now, but ignore what it says on the sleeve, and give credit where credit’s due:

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289. Mahna Mahna & The Two Snowths – Mahna Mahna

Nope, you’re right. I can’t resist posting the video clip of that:

What’s not to love about that?

To some early 1980s German electro now, and a record which when I saw them perform it on Top of The Pops, the lead singer scared me like nothing else on that show had since Ron Mael had glowered down the camera lens in the 1970s:

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290. Trio – Da Da Da

Next to one of my favourite bands when I was a kid, cementing a place in my affections just after I’d grown bored of Shakin’ Stevens but before I’d discovered the joys of Status Quo, and, crucially, before I’d realised what a pretentious prick Sting was, and, even more crucially, before I’d ever seen him act.

From their 1980 album “Zenyatta Mondatta”, here’s:

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291. The Police – De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

I say I hadn’t worked out how pretentious Sting was, but the clues are on that album. Who else could write a lyric like this with a straight face:

“It’s no use, he sees her
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabokov” (from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”)

Really, Sting? Are we supposed to believe you couldn’t think of something to rhyme with “Lolita”??

Time to round things off for this week, with two stone cold classics.

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 292.Small Faces – Sha-La-La-La-Lee

And finally, you will have done very well to avoid knowing that the Euro 2016 tournament started tonight, with England’s first game on tomorrow. Now, there seems little point in me posting any football related songs – though I have loads – when you can go and pay Football and Music a visit, and find everything you ever wanted to hear, and quite a lot that you don’t (said with affection, I promise – the first comment I ever posted was on this website).

No, instead, I’m going to leave you with this song, because it mentions “Tottenham Hotspur, when they couldn’t get one in” in the lyrics.

It’s looking like there will be five Spurs players in England’s starting eleven tomorrow night. Some of them might even be lucky enough to get played in their preferred position.

I’ll be hoping that one of them, at least, manages to get one in.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

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293. Chas & Dave – Gertcha

Oh, and good luck to all the Home Nations: Wales (except against us, of course), Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and…oh, that seems to be the end of the list.

More soon.