It’s Monday again.
Here’s something to brighten your morning, complete with gospel singers and steel drums, chosen to invoke a decidedly sunnier climate than we currently have in the UK:
It’s Monday again.
Here’s something to brighten your morning, complete with gospel singers and steel drums, chosen to invoke a decidedly sunnier climate than we currently have in the UK:
Okay, last post about this, I promise.
I got into work on Thursday, and was immediately asked if the Spurs v Real Madrid game I went to the night before (did I mention I was there?) was as amazing as it had looked on the TV. (It was, of course, and I know because I recorded the match and watched it again last night.)
First to ask was the chap who sits next to me, also a life-long Spurs fan, who I knew desperately wanted to be there. (I gave him a program from the match in a valiant but vain attempt to make up for it.)
And then Kay rocked up and asked me about it, and I told her the same tale about how amazing the night had been.
And in between those, there was Bob. Bob sits opposite me, also a music junkie, but he’s a Chelsea fan, despite which I love him to bits.
Chelsea, by the way, got beaten 3-0 in the Champions League the night before.
Feigning ignorance, I asked Bob why, when you look at the Champions League group tables, Tottenham Hotspur have a (Q) after their name, but Chelsea don’t.
(If Badger is out there reading this, I’m sure as a fellow Spurs fan, he will concur: we don’t get many opportunities to crow, and so when we get the chance….well, crow I most certainly did.)
Bob’s too nice to actually swear at me, but I could see he wanted to, on this and on many of the other occasions that my workmate and I brought the subject up.
He was even more annoyed when I managed to crowbar some more references in on Friday.
So, although he doesn’t read this (as far as I know), this is for Bob:
More soon. But not about this.
When I was younger, I was a serious vinyl junkie, much to my mother’s annoyance.
Every spare penny went on two things:
And every time I returned home, square plastic bag clutched in my sweaty little hand, I would race upstairs to listen to my latest purchases, oblivious to my Mum’s calls after me that “money burns a hole in your pocket”.
Well, something happened this week which, when she reads this, will lead her to tut, roll her eyes and mutter how she was right and how nothing has changed.
I’ll explain. Wednesday evening, I’ve finished work and am waiting to catch the bus home. Just next to my bus stop is a charity shop which has fairly recently opened. I’ve no idea what charity it supports; I rarely check the benefactors of such establishments, just in case its one that I don’t like. You know, one of those notorious bad charities.
Anyway, the shop has closed but the shutters aren’t down yet so I thought I’d do a bit of window shopping. Truth is, I’ve done this quite a lot at this shop recently, ever since the chap who sits on the desk opposite me (also a vinyl junkie, also a lover of trawling round charity shops in the hope of unearthing a bargain) waltzed back into work after lunch, gleefully clutching a hardback copy “Alan Partridge: Nomad” that he’d picked up for £2.00 there.
The book shelves are quite close to the window, and with a bit of squinting you can make out some of the titles: Dan Brown, Dan Brown, Russell Brand, Dan Brown. The usual selections one finds donated to charity stores.
But underneath that, I spied a new addition to the Entertainment Section: a plastic container full of vinyl, and there, right at the front, a copy of “Now That’s What I Call Music Vol II”. I determined that I would return there the following day to investigate further.
Thursday lunchtime. I’ve been out visiting one of the schools in the Borough and have caught the bus back to the office. I say the office, but actually I swung by the charity shop in question en route. (S’ok, it was my lunch break.)
The 80s compilation album was there, priced up at £3.75. Reasonable, I thought, as long as the vinyl itself was in good nick. I slipped both discs from their inner sleeves (reassuringly, the previous owner had placed them with the opening facing upwards so the vinyl couldn’t roll out or attract dust), held them both up to the light from the window and examined them. A tad dusty, but not warped and no obvious scratches or blemishes. I decided to buy it. As I turned to approach the counter, I glanced down at the plastic container, and there, now, after I had liberated “…Vol II”, at the front was….
“Now That’s What I Call Music”.
The first volume. They didn’t call it “Now That’s What I Call Music Vol I” for much the same reason, I imagine, as the First World War wasn’t called that at the time: they didn’t know there was going to be Second one.
I knelt down again, pulled that one from the container. And behind it was “Vol III”. And “Vol IV”. And “Vol V”. And “Vol VI”. And “Vol VIII”. And “Vol IX”. And “Vol X”. And “Vol XI”. And “Vol XIV”. And “Vol XVI”. That’s 12 volumes, all in pretty good nick, all, bar Vols I & II, priced at just £1.10 each.
Five minutes later, I left the shop, just over £18.00 poorer, but immeasurably happier. So, what if it’s two weeks until payday, I don’t need to eat every day.
At work, one of the girls asked me what I’d bought. She’s quite a lot younger than me, so I showed her, but started off by saying “You’re probably not old enough to remember these…”, meaning when the “Now…” series started. “Oh, I remember those,” she said. “My Dad used to own some records.” Bubble of joy duly punctured.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times how much I enjoy watching the reruns of old 80s editions of Top of the Pops on BBC4, as they bring back so many memories and the same is true of these albums, the first couple being from roughly the period those repeats are no now. Although, perversely, I didn’t buy a single one of them back in the day. (I say perversely, but I know exactly why I didn’t: Quo don’t appear for the first time until Vol VIII. Had they featured earlier/more frequently, the teenage me would have undoubtedly been unable to resist. And to save you checking, yes Vol VIII was amongst the ones I bought.)
So I thought I’d spread some 80s joy today, and every now and again on a Saturday morning, picking my favourite track(s) from each side of each one that I picked up.
Volume I was released in 1983, and the compilers of the album have made my task somewhat easier by picking two tracks by Kajagoogoo (no thanks) and, one by former Kajagoogoo singer Limahl (by far the worst record on here, and given the inclusion of UB40 – also twice – that’s really saying something. Bop bop shoo be doo wah.) Seriously, breaking the golden rule of mix-tapes and compilations by featuring the same artist more than once really didn’t bode well for this series of releases, but here we are, 24 years later, and they’re still going.
Anyway, front and cover art is below, so you can have fun guessing which tracks I’ve picked, deciding which you’d have picked, and trying to remember what the significance of the pig was:
(Surely their finest moment…?)
(I love this. It was going to feature on my motivational Monday morning series sooner or later, but I can’t resist the…erm…temptation to post it here.)
(They were just brilliant back then, weren’t they? Then he cut (the other side of) his hair and they went off the boil.)
(It’s nowhere near as great as the original, but it least it has Kirsty on it, performing the “Baby!” at the end of the musical bridge, as Ullman couldn’t hit the note.)
(That record taught me a lot when I was a teenager…)
(If I’m pushed, that’s probably my favourite record by The Nutty Boys. But, I don’t understand why people call them The Nutty Boys. It takes longer to both say and type than Madness does.)
That’ll do you.
It’s weird how things pan out. We have various categories here, where I award points for (nobody’s counting, the points mean nothing, apart from giving a warm glow for the recipient) the following:
Worst/Cheesiest Record of the Week
Showboat Comment of the Week
The Next Record in The Official Chain
Well, this week, we have a suggestion for each of the above. All of them will receive points. Yes: one person correctly guessed the next song in The Official Chain. If I could afford Ray Winstone’s head to pop up to ask you to lay your bets “nahhhhh”, this is where he’d be.
To recap: last week, we ended up with “Bonny” by Prefab Sprout, from their “Steve McQueen” album. Plenty of food for thought there, you’d think? Well, we have the most tunes ever to get through this week, although that’s mostly because I kept thinking of new ones.
Oh and by the way, it was rather pleasing to note that absolutely nobody complained about my deliberate mistake last week, which was to omit the link for the Crazy Frog tune. My faith in humanity is almost restored.
But before we go any further, many of you will know that regular Chain Ganger Badger’s better half was Lorna was involved in a car crash last week. Needless to say, our thoughts and best wishes go out to them. Get well soon.
So where better to start than with Badger of When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s suggestions:
“Beans often come from sprouts so how about something by Sunflower Bean? Tame Impala perhaps…”
Yes, that’s Tame Impala by Sunflower Bean, rather that Sunflower Bean by Tame Impala. As it says on their Bandcamp page: “Tame Impala wrote a song called Led Zeppelin and now they have a song named after them.” You can’t fault their logic.
“Or,” continues Badger, “cabbages are basically big sprouts so how about ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ by them.”
Coincidentally, an album I picked up earlier this week:
I feel a catchphrase coming on. If Badger’s suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:
Badger and I weren’t the only ones to go down the vegetable route; here, with the first of several suggestions is Jules from Music from Magazines:
“Joanna Newsome has a fine number called ‘The Sprout and The Bean'”
And here’s The Great Gog:
“I feel that this is as good a time as any to mention Jasper Carrott and Funky Moped, although I think that a fair proportion of its sales were down to the inclusion of the non-musical Magic Roundabout on the flip side.”
You’re probably right, GG, so let’s stick with the A-Side which is, by the way, the Worst Record of the Week:
There you go, that’s your five portions of vegetables sorted out for today. A reward for finishing off all of your Brussel Sprouts is deserved; here’s Jasper with a classic routine:
Of course, Brussels also leads us to Europe, and to Belgium. Here’s Michael:
“Brussels being the capital of Belgium….Arno is a legend, in Europe often singing in English , ‘Les Yeux de ma Mère’ is a beautiful song , so you could also argue the bonnie link.”
You could, but you really don’t need to:
And since we’re in Belgium, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“Plastic Bertrand is the only Belgian singer I’m aware of….”
What, you haven’t heard of Arno before, CC…..? Care to nominate a song by the most famous Belgian (after Hercule Poirot and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom would have done better than our actual defence did yesterday).
“I only know the obvious one…”
Me too, as it goes. So here it is:
Unsurprisingly, there was a whole load of suggestions linking to Bonnie. First out of the bag is The Great Gog, again:
“It’s not too much of a leap to Supertramp and their song, Bonnie, which I would imagine will be among the contenders for worst song of the week.”
Nope, but you’ve already won that gong, so no worries:
In a normal week, the next suggestion, from George, would win the Comment Showboat of the Week. Not this week though, oh no:
“Using the song title, Bonny, to the name Bonnie, which leads to child star of the 70s Bonnie Langford, who appeared on a TV show with Lena Zavaroni, one of Rothesay’s famous exports, and there is no way I’m suggesting ‘Mama He’s Making Eyes At Me’, NO WAY, because I am linking from Bonnie Langford to Jon Langford, founder member of The Mekons, and to the song ‘Prince Of Darkness’, who seems to be having a rare old time at the moment in the UK and the USA. (The Prince of Darkness, that is, not Jon Langford)”
See that? Biting satire as well a great suggestion:
Over to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything next, who is also “going down the Bonny route” which definitely sounds like a euphemism.
“I’ll start with ‘Anne Bonny’ by Death Grips”
(Warning: contains swears.)
Next up is Martin from New Amusements:
“The obvious temptation with Bonny is to go the Tyler route, but who likes obvious when there’s the Bonnie Raitt route, maybe with ‘Something To Talk About’.”
Time for The Robster from Is This The Life? with a bit of a history lesson:
“The only thing I’m coming back to is ‘My Bonnie’, the 1961 debut single by Tony Sheridan. He was backed on this by some young upstarts called The Beat Brothers (as the label credited them). Apparently they went on to become quite famous under a slightly different name…”
No points for knowing who that is, of course.
A couple of suggestions linking to the same artiste now, once as “featuring…” and once in his own right. Let’s take Jules’ next suggestion first:
“Bonnie Prince Billy ‘We are Unhappy’ (the version from ‘Singers Grave – A Sea Of Tongues’ please)”
…followed by another one from SWC:
“From Bonny to ‘Prince’ Bonnie and Hot Chip’s rather lovely ‘I Feel Bonnie’.”
Time to welcome back The Beard, who pinches one off my toes:
“Bonnie was one of the Blue Peter dogs. She was a golden retriever. Golden Retriever is a Super Furry Animals number.”
But The Beard isn’t finished just there:
“…and from Bonnie the Blue Peter dog to Roachford’s ‘Cuddly Toy’ via Alan Partridge…”
I’m going to end up posting this every week, aren’t I…?
There was a distinctly outlawish theme to a few of the suggestions; step forward Lynchie:
“Bonny made me think more of one of Billy The Kid’s aliases – William H. Bonney – so I’d like to put in a good word for Joe Ely’s ‘Me and Billy the Kid’.”
In the movie ‘Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid’, the Kid is played by one Kris Kristofferson, who regular readers will know is a hero of mine, so here’s one by him:
Many of you weren’t content at simply linking to Bonnie, plumping for songs which reference, or are just plain about, famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Here’s another one of mine to kick this batch off:
Others to link to the dastardly duo were The Robster:
“Just remembered… ‘’97 Bonnie & Clyde’ by Eminem…”
“Or maybe Tori Amos’ cover of it….”
Then there’s Walter from A Few Good Times in my Life who offers this:
“I take the gangster road…in 1996 German punk band Die Toten Hosen released a song called ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.”
But of course, no round up of songs about Bonnie & Clyde would be complete without this one, as suggested by Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:
“Bonny>>> ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ by Serge Gainsbourg.”
Serge was, of course, a randy old sod, as Whitney Houston once found out:
At which point, Rol from My Top Ten chips in:
“Two of my three Bonnie & Clyde suggestions have now come up… But where the hell is the third, arguably most obvious, one???”
But before he has chance to clarify, Michael reappears:
“You must be referring to the Steve Wynn and Johnette Napolitano version…”
Anyway, Rol’s suggestion:
“Bruce Springsteen also recorded his own Bonnie & Clyde song… Nebraska.”
Okay, are you all sitting comfortably? Good, because I’m about to go off on a bit of a tangent, and hog the limelight for….oooh…the next five songs.
In the movie about the outlaws Bonnie & Clyde, pithily titled “Bonne and Clyde” Bonnie was played by Faye Dunaway, and Clyde was played by Warren Beatty. Beatty may, or may not have been the subject of this record:
He also played the lead in 1978’s multi-Oscar nominated “Heaven Can Wait”…
…and 1975’s (not multi-) Oscar nominated “Shampoo”
Faye Dunaway used to be married to Peter Wolf, lead singer with the J. Geils Band:
…and she starred in 1968’s “The Thomas Crown Affair”, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song for this:
And, of course, her co-star in The Thomas Crown affair was one Steve McQueen, which is, of the course, the name of the album that this week’s source record comes from.
(If I could award myself the Comment Showboat of the Week for that little lot, I would. Guess I’d better give it to one of you lot instead. Harumph.)
Go on then George, do your stuff:
“From Steve McQueen to Alexander McQueen, the designer, whose partner was George Forsyth, which is also the name of a long dead American General, and also of a Peruvian footballer. And also from Peru was Daniel Alomia Robles, who wrote the song El Condor Pasa, which was made famous by Simon And Garfunkel as ‘El Condor Pasa (If I Could)’.”
Here’s The Beard, back for another go:
“Shaun Ryder cribbed the opening to the Happy Mondays’ ‘Step On’ (“You’re twistin’ my melon, man…”) from a documentary about Steve McQueen. ‘Step On’ is, of course, a cover of a John Kongos number that I believe has featured on these pages before [it hasn’t, so we could have it…] Happy Mondays also covered Kongos’ Tokoloshe Man. So that instead, please.”
Fair enough. This featured on “Rubáiyát”, which was released to mark record label Elektra’s 40th Anniversary:
Back to Rol now, who reveals he is currently working on a Top ten of songs about, or mentioning, Steve McQueen, and suggests this:
Time to check in on Jules again, who suggest a Lambchop song for the second week running (this is not a criticism, by the way):
Oh, and Jules, sorry but I can’t use your fourth and final suggestion, as it has already featured in a previous Chain post. Sorry!
Anyway, other films starring Steve McQueen include “Bullitt” so here’s Swiss Adam’s other suggestion:
“Steve McQueen takes us to the jazzy soundtrack to ‘Bullitt’ by Lalo Schiffrin”
Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense picks up the theme:
“Bullitt features probably the greatest cinematic car chase….”
He means this, of course:
…which leads to his next suggestion:
…and leads me to suggest this:
Want other Steve McQueen films? Rigid’s got ’em:
…which leads me to suggest this, from the 1995 charity compilation album ‘Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia’:
In case you don’t know, that’s actually The KLF, who seem to be on the brink of a comeback…
Another McQueen film? The Great Escape. Back to you, Rigid:
“…something from the Blur album perhaps, or a convoluted reference to the Blur/Oasis race for number 1 and the suggestion of Oasis’ ‘Roll With It’…?”
Okay, where shall we go next? I know, let’s have some suggestions relating to Prefab Sprout themselves, and to kick things off, here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?
“I always thought that their ’88 hit ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was called ‘Albuquerque’ as the word comes up so often in the lyrics – Whenever watching the TV show Breaking Bad which was set in Albuquerque I thought of the song ‘A Horse With No Name’ by America (from Ruislip) and sure enough it popped up in the third season (and is my suggestion for this week). A tenuous double link is that the America band members back in the early ’70s would have worn the fashionable trouser of the day – loon pants – and Prefab Sprout’s main man was of course Paddy McAloon!”
Next up, here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:
“The prefab is a kind of house, so I’ll go with ‘My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains’ by Captain Beefheart. Such a beautiful song.”
Remember Michael suggesting Arno right back at the start of this week’s post? Here’s his other suggestion:
“Prefab being an abbreviation for prefabricated makes me think of boys bands so why not something by The Monkees: ‘I’m a Believer’.”
And on the subject of prefabs, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:
“I should go from something by Prefab Sprout to the *original* Prefab Four, i.e. The Rutles, but I’m not actually familiar with their output. ‘Cheese and Onions’ is a mildly infamous song of theirs, though, so I’ll go with that.”
Now, we’ve had numerous links to Steve McQueen, the album that the source record features on, but what about other albums by Prefab Sprout?
“Prefab Sprout’s next album was ‘From Langley Park to Memphis’ and one of the singles from it was aforementioned ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Elvis of course was the KORNR and he lived in Memphis so an alternative suggestion is ‘Walking in Memphis’ by Cher (as she dressed up as Elvis on ‘Top of the Pops’ back in the day).”
And what about the album after that….? Over to Martin again:
“‘Protest Songs’ … which is all the excuse I need to pitch ‘The Internationale’ by Billy Bragg, and hope that it scores extra points for being more relevant now than ever.”
No extra points, I’m afraid Martin, but I will take this opportunity to nudge you in the direction of Swiss Adam’s Bagging Area, where he has just finished posting a week of protest songs. Worth a visit, in my opinion.
Anyway, that’s your lot for this week. Except, a little while ago, Rigid Digit mentioned the Steve McQueen film and Blur album “The Great Escape”, but didn’t actually nominate a song from said album. Magnanimous host that I am, I asked him if he had one particular song in mind:
“My choice would be the peerless ‘The Universal’ (despite it’s continuing usage on the British Gas advert)”
Can’t argue with that:
And that, as you will have gathered by the number craftily placed at the start, is the next record in The Official Chain, so congratulations, and bonus points, to Rigid Digit.
So, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “The Universal” by Blur, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for next Sunday’s edition.
Oh, and more soon, of course.
Evening Chain Gang!
So, so much to get through this week, so I’ll assume you all know what we do here, and will dive straight in.
Last week’s records was “Inbetweener” by Sleeper, and the suggestions for records that link to that came in thick and fast. Now, I know I swore off fiddling around with the order last week, but as it turned out, this week there were several suggestions which followed similar themes so I thought I’d try to group those together, interspersed with the remaining ones.
And so to kick things off this week, here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow which just happened to be the first one I received:
“Louise Wener of Sleeper published an autobiography in 2010 entitled ‘Different For Girls’. ‘It’s Different For Girls’ is the title of a rather splendid Joe Jackson song.”
It most certainly is, and you need proof, here you are:
Wener’s post-Sleeper career has largely been based upon her writing skills; not only has she written that aforementioned autobiography, but she’s written several works of fiction too. Which made me think of this record, which contains my favourite mop-top guitar riff:
Having hit on the novel idea (see what I did there?) of featuring songs about authors, this one sprang to mind:
Don’t worry, it’s not all bout me this week! But “Reader Meet Author” leads us nicely on to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s first nomination of the day:
“I once got stuck in a lift with Louise Wener AND the keyboardist from The Wannadies. There is no link here unless you want to post ‘Hit’ by The Wannadies, in all of its two minute brilliance?”
Of course I want to post that! It was going to feature in a future unrelated post, but I’m not adverse to posting the same song more than once, and I can always postpone that one:
Moving further away from Wener’s writing prowess and SWC’s stalker tendencies (I’m sure he’ll claim it was a work-related incident, though), here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“A sleeper is a train that transports you through the night – if you were to get a Midnight Train to Georgia like Gladys Knight and the Pips, chances are it would be a sleeper.”
Can’t fault your logic, there CC:
Whenever I hear the name Gladys Knight & The Pips, I always think of Geordie adult comic Viz, to the snappily titled “The Viz Book of Crap Jokes: A Pitiful Array of Poor Quality Jokes from the pages of Viz” which I used to own but which seems to have got mislaid on one of my many house-moves over the years, and particularly to this, which young folks who’ve never had to use a public phone probably won’t understand:
Now, can we all give a warm Chain Gang welcome to the first of many new contributors who’ve been in touch this week. Here, from his frankly quite wonderful blog Is This The Life? is The Robster:
“I was going to suggest It’s Different For Girls until Swede beat me to it. So instead I thought about Louise’s first novel ‘Goodnight Steve McQueen’ which led me to the Prefab Sprout album ‘Steve McQueen’. But I never liked Prefab Sprout (a heretical remark in some quarters, but I stand by it) [In which case, we’ll skip playing anything by them – Chain Ed]. “There was also a book she wrote called ‘Just For One Day’ about Britpop which is as good an excuse as you could ask for to include some Bowie.”
The Robster continues: “Then I went down the sleeping route: Sleep by Godspeed You! Black Emperor would be a good one, but you probably don’t want to post a 23-minute instrumental, do you?”
“So I ended up plumping for The Dreaming by Kate Bush. ‘Cause you dream when you sleep, right?” he concludes.
And quite a lot of the time when I’m awake, if I’m perfectly honest.
Okay folks, brace yourselves. It’s become a bit of a tradition here on The Chain that we feature at least one cringe-worthy song every week. Not because we necessarily like it, but because…well, did you ever hear that quote, which I had always thought was attributed to mountaineer Chris Bonnington, that goes “Q: Why do you want to climb that mountain? A: Because it’s there.”? (A quick internet search tells me that it was actually first said by George Mallory, an English schoolteacher and mountaineer, born 1886, died 1924 trying to errm….climb Mount Everest. Not so smug now, eh, Mallory, old bean?) I digress – it’s the same principal here. So, babylotti, why did you recommend this record? Because you could. Or, as you put it:
“Inbetweener conjures one song up for me immediately. It’s that excruciating dance scene in the Inbetweeners film where they ‘move’ across the dancefloor to ‘We No Speak Americano’ that’s my suggestion, right there. Sorry.“
No need to apologise, babylotti!
And just in case you don’t know the scene babylotti is referring to:
Which leads us rather neatly on to the next suggestion, and can we have a warm Chain Gang welcome to The Beard, who does not appear to be the biggest fan of the show which gave us such phrases as “Bus Stop Wankers!”, “Bum-der” and “Clunge” (I advertently described a cheesecake at a recent party as “looking a bit clungey”, not realising what that meant until the words were already out there. I am free to host the Great British Bake Off, in case anyone on C4 is interested).
Anyway, here’s The Beard’s suggestion:
“The plural of Inbetweener is Inbetweeners. The Inbetweeners was a mildly-amusing-but-quickly-lost-its-charm comedy. One of the protagonists was called Jay. A more famous Jay is Jam Master Jay. ‘Here We Go (Live At The Funhouse)’ by his band, Run DMC, is ridiculously good.”
It certainly is:
Since we’re on a rap/hip-hop vibe, here’s Rol from My Top Ten:
“Literal link again: the only song I have in my collection with Sleeper in the title is Nightbus Sleepers by Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip. Not usually my bag, musically, but I love Scroobius Pip’s rambling rhymes”.
Seems a bit quiet around here without George this week, doesn’t it? Time to rectify that, with more of his Tottenham Hotspur links:
“Sleeper is a film by Woody Allen. Dave Allen was in the Gang of Four, leading to Dave Mackay of Tottenham Hotspur (their finest ever midfielder), leading to Andy Mackay of Roxy Music, and Ladytron.”
Time to welcome back Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?
“At the risk of looking as if I am stalking George by copying everything he comes up with (it’s all a coincidence honestly) [I knew it! You might call it stalking, we call it spying! – Chain Ed] my first thought was also that Woody Allen was in a film called Sleeper with one-time partner Diane Keaton, but we all know that Woody also had a long-term relationship with Mia Farrow. [Phew! I wondered where you might be going with that for a moment there. I was dusting off the word ‘allegedly’ ready for quick insertion – Legal Ed] Now Mia was once married to Frank Sinatra so I could go down that route but instead, in the interests of championing the Guilty Pleasure tagline yet again, I will go down another route. Ms Farrow starred in the excellent film Rosemary’s Baby and back in 1970 Edison Lighthouse did really well with Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – I think the brackets are important!”
Anyone whose services as the resident pop nerdo boffin in pub quiz team will know how invaluable knowing where the brackets go in a pop song title is. My favourite one that catches people out is Heaven 17’s “…(And That’s No Lie)” which you’ll note quite literally has no words that aren’t in brackets.
Anyway, here’s 1970s not Guilty at all Pleasure:
Time for a warm welcome to the third of our new contributors this week, which comes from within Alyson’s
sleeper cell humble abode:
“Don’t know if my other half is allowed to join in but out of interest his suggestion probably falls into the Guilty Pleasure category also and it’s The Gambler by Kenny Rogers – The opening few lines being relevant to a) Sleeper trains b) Being too tired to sleep c) Railway lines are laid on sleepers.”
Tick, tick, tick, as The Hives once said, as did the nit nurse at my Junior School (although The Hives also added the word “Boom!”).
I’ve digressed again. Here’s King Kenny (no, not that one. Or that one. This one):
If you didn’t catch Kenny Rogers’ Sunday Afternoon Legends slot at Glastonbury back in 2013, you can see it here. Well worth a look, in my book.
Anyway, before I forget, a warm Chain Gang welcome to Alyson’s other half, Jamie.
Now, as they say, for something completely different, and to my final suggestion for this week. “Inbetweener” comes from Sleeper’s debut album, “Smart”. Smart is a word which has several different meanings: Well dressed (The Great Gog will expand on this in a moment); to be in pain (as in “Ouch, that smarts a bit”), or to be clever.
If you’re the opposite of clever, then you could easily be described as intellectually-challenged, or just plain stupid. That’s S-T-U-P-I-D:
Since I’ve just mentioned him, here’s The Great Gog:
“One can be said to be smart if one is wearing one’s Sunday best. Off the top of my head, the only song I can think of that references Sunday best is The Icicle Works’ “Who Do You Want For Your Love”, in its second line. And it’s a particular favourite of mine.”
Not one I was overly familiar with before getting your suggestion (I really don’t know how this one passed me by, to be honest), but it’s fast becoming one of mine too:
A suggestion which coaxed The Swede back for a second stab:
“I’ve now got Elvis Costello’s ‘Sunday’s Best’ as an earworm, a song that’s as relevant today as it was in 1979, if not more so. It also contains the line ‘…Sleepy towns and sleeper trains….’, so can be designated a double-linker!”…
…which in turn caused ructions with The Great Gog’s working day:
“Whilst staring at an increasingly confusing spreadsheet at work, I’ve just remembered that Madness’ “Our House” makes mention of Sunday best. Needless to say, it is currently ear-worming…”
Right, hold on chaps. Seems it’s you guys that are digressing now. Quick, we need another suggestion to break us out of this Chain Reaction.
Up to the plate steps Badger, also from When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“I was once in the audience of Jools Holland, it was a Hootenanny special (filmed in August) but one of the acts there was Audioweb who performed their minor hit ‘Sleeper’ – they had more chart success with their ragga indie version of ‘Bankrobber’.”
As it’s a Clash cover, let’s dedicate this one to George:
“As my obligatory second option”, Badger continues,”another song on the debut Sleeper album was ‘Lady Love Your Countryside’ which was a slight piss-take of supposed political rebels S*M*A*S*H and their ‘feminist anthem’ ‘Lady Love Your C___’ who actually turned out to be posho college boys. Either way ‘I Want to (Kill Somebody)’ was a great three minutes of Tory baiting”:
Now, since Audioweb have been mentioned, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:
“Sleeper was a song by mid 90s Manchester dub/rock/electronic and Audioweb, an actually pretty good piece of mid 90s music. The 12″ came with not 1, but 2, Andrew Weatherall mixes.”
Now these are mixes which I did not own. But fear not, I thought: Swiss is renowned for being a bit of a Weatherall nut, so I figured I’d just pop over to his blog, type Audioweb into the Search function, and get them from him, only to be met with the following message when I did:
“No posts matching the query: audioweb”
Anyway, I managed to track down the following two mixes. I’ve no idea if one, or the other, or both for that matter, are in any way Weatherall related (although they both sound pretty similar to these ears…)
Okay, time for Comment Showboat of the week, which undoubtedly goes to Dirk from sexyloser. I’d get comfy, if I were you:
“A ‘sleeper’ these days is of course not only a person, who, like you and me do, goes to bed in the evening and, well, sleeps. No, a sleeper is a spy planted in advance for future use, but not currently active (not necessarily a terrorist, back in the golden days of the cold war we just had spies, you know, for younger readers, all harmless stuff!). This may be hard to believe, but fear not: there is a movie which might shows it all: ‘Salt’. In it, Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a Russian sleeper agent and goes on the run to try to clear her name.
Now, as you might or might not know, Angelina Jolie announced that she and Brad Pitt go ‘different ways’ from now on, a divorce will come soon, I’m afraid. Very sorry to hear this, and I would just l.o.v.e. to help Angelina in those difficult times of misery, but I fear that Mrs Loser would have severe objections against my noble offerings. So, Angelina, the only advice I can give you currently, is to see your future positively and to sing along loudly to Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns’ ‘Free, Single And Disengaged’: a neat song indeed and, coincidently , my tip for this week’s ‘Chain’.
Ah, well …”
PS – Angelina, if you’re reading this, there is no current Mrs Jez, and you seem exactly the sort of headcase that some of my ex-girlfriends were clearly readying me for. Call me, maybe?
Sticking with the Cold War/Spy angle, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:
“OK, other people have done railways and spies. So let’s combine the two, and what springs to my mind is James Bond getting into a bit of a scuffle in “From Russia With Love”. As it happens, I have a soft spot for Matt Monro, so let’s hear him singing the title song from said movie.”
You’d have to be pretty annoyed if you were Matt Monro. Your most famous record (as far as I know, feel free to provide alternatives) and you don’t even get to feature on the sleeve. Such is life.
Now a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Kay, who continues the theme:
“Sleeper made me think of a sleeper cell – cold war, John Le Carre novels, Russia etc ….then Russia made me think of Babushka by Kate Bush”:
Which just leaves us with George’s second suggestion, and for what I think is for the fourth time on the trot, it’s related to Tottenham Hotspur:
“In Sleeper, the singer was Louise Wener. Louise was/is the name of a pop-singer who is married to footballer Jamie Redknapp, son of former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, who signed Dutch footballer Rafael van der Vaart. And speaking of things Dutch leads to prog-flute band Focus, and their song House of the King. a splendid pop prog song with flute-ing and hand-clapping.”
My knowledge of Focus, I thought, began and ended with “Hocus Pocus”, until I heard this and recognised it as the theme tune to Steve Coogan’s BBC comedy series “Saxondale”, so truly thanks for pointing me in its direction (don’t let the word “prog” put you off, George is right, this really is splendid):
And that’s it for another week. Of course, none of us guessed the official link to the official record, which I’ll have to concede is a better link than usual, if still not a patch on any of ours:
“…From Sleeper – part of an earring – to a hit from Dutch band Golden Earring…”:
(Relax ladies: all of the members of Focus and Golden Earring are either married or dead).
So: let’s be having your nominations for records which link to “Radar Love” by Golden Earring”, along with your explanation of how you got to it, via the Comments section below, in time for me to source and write this by the same time next week.
See you then, Chainies!
Evening Link Fans!
You know how I said I had a lot to get through last week? Well this week, even more so.
But before we get cracking, and to kill off any semblance of suspense, I’ll tell you that none of you – including me – picked the official record in The Chain. In fact none of you – including me – went down the same route as the person who picked the official one, which when you read it, will have you slapping yourself in the face and saying “Of course!!! Why didn’t I think of that!!”
First out of the traps, so to speak, this week was Charity Chic, proving once and for all why the name of this blog is very appropriate indeed, for I must admit, it was a song which I owned, albeit on a 90s compilation CD I’d picked up for something else entirely, but which also contained his suggestion:
“Dundee Unite fans despairingly sing “You’ve only got one shoe” to the socially deprived fans of Glaswegian clubs. When Gordon Strachan was manager of Celtic he was known as Chesney after a small red headed boy on the soap opera Coronation Street. So The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes please Jez. It’s bound to be the winner.”
Yes, folks. This is really happening:
It’s okay. It’s safe to come out now. The be-moled one has gone.
But hot on his heels, here’s S-WC from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who not content with giving us two suggestions in his first week, goes two better by giving us four this week. So, deep breath, here we go:
“Shoes were made for walking which immediately gives you ‘Fools Gold’….”
(and yes, the full 09:53 version. Of course, the full 09:53 version. Why would anyone want to listen to the short version..??)
“…But it also gives you Nancy Sinatra as well…”
“…As you walk in shoes you may well gaze down at them. Which is called Shoegaze. So perhaps ‘Sight of You’ by the Pale Saints.
“…Although ultimately if you have Kirsty singing about one pair of shoes you really need another point of view so you have to go with Fucked Up and ‘The Other Shoe’. Argument over.”
Moving swiftly on before I make really bad joke about that, here’s bagging area with more multiple suggestion mullarky, the third of which is my favourite link of the week:
“The Charlatans walked with no shoes on ‘Tellin’ Stories’…”
“…Run DMC’s shoes were their Adidas…”
“…Keith Richards once said ‘I don’t remember much about making Exile On Main Street but I do remember I had this really cool pair of snakeskin shoes’. “Happy” off that album is a blast.”
Yes. Yes, it is:
“I was thinking of suggesting this: the Kirsty MacColl track comes from the album Tropical Brainstorm, and Typically Tropical did that single Barbados in 1975.”
But before George has chance to flood me with multiple suggestions, can we give a warm Chain welcome to The Badger, who co-authors the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog with S-WC, who…erm…floods me with multiple suggestions:
“Whilst my esteemed colleague S-WC is probably right about Fucked Up, he should consider this: Kirsty MacColl famously covered ‘A New England’ by Sir Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg also sang about Shoeburyness in the classic A13. So you could go there…”
And we will, for I once got Janice Long to play that for me on her late night Radio 2 show, kicking off – and I know you’ll find it hard to believe I could be behind such a thing – an hour of themed songs about roads:
“…Kirsty also sang on The Wonder Stuff’s ‘Welcome to the Cheap Seats’ from the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ album….”
“…Elvis also featured in the title of a Cud album ‘Elvis Belt’. Which contained the classic ‘Only a Prawn in Whitby’.”
Moving on…no, wait…George hadn’t finished it seems…
“Then I thought of this: one of the other tracks from the Tropical Brainstorm album is “Não Esperando” which is Portuguese for No Waiting (and I didn’t have to look that up!), and the “waiting” bit leads to, yes, one of the 5 best songs ever recorded, Jesus Is Waiting by Al Green, the last track on the Call Me album, and 5-and-a-half-minutes of absolute genius.”
Next up is Alex G, author of the rather fantastic We Will Have Salad who is kind enough to give my Copy and Paste skills a bit of a break by just suggesting the one song:
“What would you find “In These Shoes?”. If you were a shoemaker, probably a last. And Bob Last was the man behind the legendary late-70s indie label Fast Product, which in its brief existence gave us the debut singles by The Human League (the only reason I know the word “sericulture”), The Mekons, Dead Kennedys and Gang Of Four. Nice one, Bob. My pick: the original Fast Product version of “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four, which Mr Last also produced. And which is great.”
Yes.Yes, it is:
And here’s Marie, who rather wonderfully adds an element of creative writing into her suggestion:
“I imagined the title of Kirsty’s “In These Shoes?” as a response to an invite to a Northern Soul All-Nighter. When asked, “What’s wrong with them?”, she might have answered, “Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes) (by Major Lance.)”
One of the things I love about running this post (I can’t really claim to write it), is that often I’ll be introduced to a record I’ve never heard before, and which I instantly love. There’s a couple of tunes up there I was unfamiliar with, but my favourite of those this week goes to:
Next, the return of another who I think we can now safely call a regular contributor round these parts. Here’s What’s It All About Alfie?
“This Chain could grow arms and legs, but it’s feet we’re interested in this week as feet live in shoes. A pair of shoes has two soles and following Marie’s thinking, how about Soul ll Soul with Keep On Movin’ (in these shoes) – a bit of a “lady” choice but gives The Chain balance perhaps?”
When this came out in 1989, my girlfriend at the time bloody loved it (in fact, we met because of it; she asked me to play it when I was DJ’ing one night, which I did, despite not being all that fond of it myself (No guitars, see..) The following week, I kept an eye out for her arrival, waited for her to get herself a drink and take up a spot kind of near the dancefloor, and then proceeded to play it for her again. Bingo! The oldest trick in the DJ’s Handbook.) but it wasn’t until a good few years later that the penny finally dropped with me about Soul II Soul and what an amazing record Club Classics Vol. One is:
Three more to go, and here’s The Great Gog:
“I shall ignore all this talk of shoes and go with the fact that there is a chain of newsagents called McColl’s (yes, I know the spelling is ever so slightly different). Therefore I think that a song about a newsagent would be appropriate. I can think of no better such ditty (indeed I can think of no other, either) than In The Middle Of The Night from the debut album from Madness.” (Nope, me neither. The Jam’s “Man in a Corner Shop” is about the best I can come up with).
Here’s The Swede, who picks up where George left off, linking to the title of the album from which “In These Shoes?” is taken:
“…‘Tropical Brainstorm’, which was co-produced by Dave Ruffy, drummer with The Ruts, one of the few groups of their time with the potential to rival The Clash in terms of passion and musical versatility. Certainly they were the only ‘punk’ band who got anywhere near The Clash when it came to reggae. ‘Give Youth a Chance’ is a good case in point.”
Which brings us to the last of the suggestions from you guys and girls, and, since we started with a slice of cheese from Chesney, ending with another slice of cheese seems appropriate. I’ll let Kay explain:
“My suggestion is Footloose by Kenny Loggins. Just the thought of Kevin Bacon dancing angrily in a warehouse brings a smile to my face. Can’t remember if he’s dancing to footloose or some other gem in the warehouse – but what a scene!”
Ok, cheese is a little unkind. I went to see that in the cinema when it came out in 1984, bloody loved it then, and bloody loved hearing it again now.
And, so to my choice. And mine is nowhere near as clever as all of yours (give yourselves a hearty pat on the back for another excellent week of suggestions, by the way). I’m giving you some breathy camp electro-clash-iness:
All that’s left for me to do then is spark off a load of face-palms with the big reveal as to the identity of the official link:
“The late Kirsty MacColl’s former husband Steve Lillywhite produced Peter Gabriel’s third eponymous album…”
Grrr. How did none of us think of that??
Anyway, here’s the record they chose from said album:
So, your suggestions please, via the Comments box below, for songs that link to Peter Gabriel’s “I Don’t Remember”, along with an explanation as to how you got there too please!
See y’all same time next week.
By which I mean: more soon.
The news this week that there is to be a third a series of “The Trip”, the wonderful, semi-improvised comedy where Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden play exaggerations of their public personas, had me rushing to my DVD collection to dig out the first two series and indulge me in some prime binge watching.
In case you are unfamiliar with the show, in the first series Coogan is commissioned to write a new column for The Observer newspaper, about a tour of restaurants in the north of England. Coogan’s girlfriend decides not to come along, so Coogan invites Bryden (although you are reminded from the very off that he is by no means the first-choice replacement) to join him. The pair spend the entire series bickering and attempting to undermine and humiliate each other throughout, generally through displays of one-upmanship by way of their impressions . The second series very much repeats the same trick, only this time the backdrop is the slightly sunnier Italy.
It’s a lot better than I’ve made that sound. Look:
And then there’s this classic scene (the actual clip doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, so this is one of the unused takes, which seems to have escaped the majority of those commenting under the clip):
But this is what brings me to today’s musical selection:
Of course, Coogan and Bryden are not the only ones to do impressions of the great man:
And then there’s this chap:
He’ll never make it.
By now I would hope you realise where I’m going with this. So, to 1984 and this, which features the man himself with some specially recorded vocals:
Evening all. Lots to get through tonight, so we’ll get straight down to it if that’s okay with you?
First up, and kinda carrying on from where we left off last week, more one-hit wonderness in a cod-white sauce:
It seemed apt that as we entered the countdown to Christmas that I should post at least one tune with a wintry-weather connection.
But what’s this I see coming over the horizon? Only a bloody theme starting, that’s what:
This is not as uncool a record as you might think it is; anyone owning a copy of The Avalanches seminal “Since I Left You” album will know that a sample from this crops up, and anyone who had the pleasure of attending DJ Felix (from The Avalanches) sets will vouch for the fact that he would usually drop it live too.
Plus, Kid Creole’s real name was August Darnell, which is a pretty darn cool name too. And I didn’t even have to look that up (thanks Smash Hits!) which makes me pretty darn…erm…well, you get the idea.
There’s a few reasons why I’ve posted this: firstly, because it’s ace; secondly, because it continues the theme; thirdly, because I found the above gif which is worthy of sharing, and fourthly because it nicely leads me to where I want to go next, which is a lil ska section:
I’ve deliberately avoided posting their most famous single, The Can Can, as I don’t think that there was much more disconcerting a sight in my youth than that of Buster Bloodvessel, in a dress, bounding round the Top of The Pops stage, waggling his tongue and attempting to recreate that iconic dance. Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself:
Actually, scrub that: the most disconcerting sight in my youth was the Hairy Cornflake himself, DLT.
Let’s move on. Here’s Camden’s favourite deceased wobbly bee-hive wearing warbler:
It’s a bouncier version than the original by Toots and The Maytals, which is the only reason it’s here and not the original.
And just in case anyone was expecting me to do some terrible Winehouse gags..
I’m not arguing with anyone called Ranking Roger. She’s yours.
No ska section would be complete without a contribution from The Nutty Boys, and this, a very early single, was a homage to this guy:
(See what I did there…?)
Greatest Hits albums designs have really come on, haven’t they?
Now, what’s that I see coming over the horizon? Only a neat segue into another bloody theme, that’s what:
…and probably my next DMCA take-down notice, that’s what.
Ah well. Tonight is the last Friday before Christmas, a night which when I lived in Cardiff, was known as Black Friday, the night that the city went mental, with every office, shop and dental practice spewing it’s staff on to the streets of Cardiff for a night of drunken debauchery, which would undoubtedly culminate in them spewing up on Chip Alley at 3am, having attempted to either consume a tray of chicken curry half and half, or having just noshed off Terry from Accounts in a bus stop. Not sure which would be the tastier, to be honest.
Retailers of the world take note: THAT is the true meaning of Black Friday.
So, partly to honour my brothers and sisters (not my actual brothers and sisters, you understand…) who are right now taking deep breaths, insisting they’ll be okay, but asking Suze from Admin is she’d mind just staying with them for a few more minutes, and maybe rub their back a little and hold their hair out of their face a bit longer, but mostly to continue the theme, two more songs to round things off:
Okay, okay, so I jinxed the weather last week by posting summery songs. I’m sorry. Here’s a more accurate reflection of a British summer:
Madness are one of those bands that I have a soft spot for, but who I managed to never buy any records by at the time. I do remember me and some friends ribbing a lad at school (who shall remain anonymous. Let’s call him Phil. Ah no, that’s his actual name…bugger) back in 1982 because he thought “House of Fun” was actually about a funfair, rather than…y’know…*looks shifty and embarrased*…what it’s actually about…is there a male member of staff I can talk to please, Miss?
Mind you, he also thought that Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” was about her desire to get fat blokes thin, so maybe he deserved everything he got.
Anyway, I digress. The Sun and The Rain finds the Nutty Boys in sombre, non-Nutty mode, and I’d probably say it’s my favourite record they ever did.
2nd solo single from the Mozster. Not sure how I’ve managed to get to here in my Sunday Morning selections without picking it, to be honest. I will always remember, as the Moz finished miming on Top of the Pops, Simon Mayo announcing “Okay, I’ll go out on a limb. That’s a Number One.”
“Everyday is Like Sunday” peaked at Number 9 in the UK charts. But what does Mayo know? I mean, did you see that shirt??
It has just occured to me that perhaps Mayo was offering more of a critique than a prediction.
There’s a lot to love about Michelle Shocked’s recorded output, and she will feature on these pages again soon. But there’s a lot less to love about her since she became a born-again Christian. Nuff said.
I love the Manics, and they will be subject to a CLANG! name-drop moment at some point in these pages. But for now, this, a song which I don’t think they’ve ever bettered. Maybe they should have given up after their first album, as threatened.
I’ve just realised I seem to be on a bit of an ‘M’ trip this morning. Maybe it’s because I saw the trailer for the new Bond film yesterday. In which case, there’s only one song I can end today’s post with, right?
At the risk of sounding all Alan Partridge (whoever did that, is a fricking genius, by the way): the greatest Bond theme ever:
Shame she isn’t called Marly Mimon just to make this totally M, but hey we can’t have everything, can we?
NB – Shit. McCartney. I forgot McCartney.
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