A couple of weeks ago, on Halloween, I posted a tune from a compilation album I had been given as a child, and I happened to mention a couple of the other songs on the same album.
These attracted a little attention, so I promised I’d post the stuff you’d asked about. And here I am. Man of my word and all that.
So, Track One Side One (remember those days, folks?) is by Napoleon XIV (it’s not really: if you don’t already know the record, you’ll understand why the singer claims to be that historical figure soon enough).
Anyway, for narrative purposes, Track One Side One is by someone claiming to be Napoleon XIV.
And it goes like this:
Napoleon XIV – They’re Coming To Take Me Away
Now. Do you like The Stone Roses? In which case, like me, you’ll consider their debut album to be one of the finest records ever made. Even that sort-of backwards version of the gorgeous “Waterfall” they called “Don’t Stop” just so they could claim it was a different song, rather than write an actual tune as majestic as the rest of the album.
Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean:
Now, as I said, I love that album, it’s one that bonds people of a certain age. A few years ago, I went to a barbeque at a friend’s place and someone put that album on. Nobody spoke of it but everybody sang along, not in a rousing, communal “we all know this” way, more in an under your breath “this is my record” kind of way. To the whole album. It was odd but lovely that we all had a shared love of this one record.
But there are many who would call it derivative, and I would fight those people…well, not to the death, but I might offer to buy them a pint and have a chat about it.
The Stone Roses were not, of course, the first people to release a backwards version of a song. I don’t doubt there are earlier examples of the Devil’s work, but here, from 1966, is Napoleon XIV doing just that, the B-side to the properly enunciated, mental but not quite as mental as this version:
Napoleon XIV – !aaaH !aH yawA eM ekaT ot gnimoC er’yehT
I guarantee you won’t listen to that more than once, if that.
Now, just to prove that not everybody who calls themselves Napoleon is a bit of a head case, here’s a bloke I saw supporting the ever wonderful Los Campesinos! back when I lived in Cardiff. This is unusual, but brilliant and well worth three and a half minutes of your time. Give it a listen:
Napoleon IIIrd – Hit Schmooze For Me