It’s Friday night (at least it is here in the UK), and not just any old Friday night. Nosireebob. This Friday night is the best type of Friday night: the type that kicks off a Bank Holiday weekend. Hoorah! No! Work! Til! Tuesday!
So here’s your weekly 60 minutes or so of tunes curated and mixed by yours truly into some semblance of a coherent playlist. As is often the case, it’s a slow burner at the start, before we get into some tunes that should make you want to dance and/or sing, before we have a little break so you can have a nice sit down for a bit before we’re up and at ’em again for the last few choices.
So, with the usual apologies for a couple of skips and jumps which happened either during the recording or uploading process, let’s get your weekend started:
Look out, here comes your tracklisting (complete with sleeve notes):
I’ve been on a bit of a Paul Fab-Macca-Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft McCartney trip since his headlining slot at Glastonbury this year, so I thought this, from “the band The Beatles could have been”, would be quite a nice way to kick things off this week:
Wings – Let ‘Em In
This is one I’ve been meaning to have as an opening track on one of these for a while, simply because the title fits the mood of things. And also because of Simon’s unintentionally hilarious, trying to sound hip, description of him popping “outside to smoke myself a J”. Oh, you are outrageous, Paul!
2. Paul Simon – Late in the Evening
There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of T. Rex would be the next best thing. I try to avoid posting the obvious, famous ones when I’m doing these playlists, but sometimes it the obvious, famous ones which are just screaming out to be included. I couldn’t resist:
3. T. Rex – Get It On
There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of Suede would be the next best thing.
4. Suede – The Drowners
There’s no Bowie this week, so…oh wait, that doesn’t work with this one. Bring on the lovely Ms Wener and her Sleeperblokes!
5. Sleeper – Nice Guy Eddie
I wanted to pick the tempo up a bit more here, and the Kaisers doing their standard “Woah! Woooah! Woooooaaaaaaah! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooah!” routine seemed as good a way as any:
6. Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot
Contrary to popular belief, Kula Shaker didn’t just release ropey singles. When they weren’t referencing Hinduism or dropping covers of Deep Purple singles, they managed to release at least one decent one:
7. Kula Shaker – Hey Dude
There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but let’s be honest, genius that he was, can we ever be sure exactly what Mark E. Smith was singing all the time? Sacrilege, I know, I know. Chances are we’re on safe ground here, though, with this blistering cover of an old Tommy Blake number:
8. The Fall – F-‘oldin’ Money
If I ever had to name a band that had single-handedly introduced me to the most other bands, then it would be The Wedding Present, via their dazzling array of cover versions. This one cropped up on as an extra track on their 1994 single Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, and it’s easy to see – and hear – what drew Mr Gedge to it:
9. Paul Revere & The Raiders – Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?
This next one is included purely because the intro to it reminded me of the Paul Revere tune, although now I listen to them both, I’m really not sure why:
10. The Monkees – Last Train to Clarksville
I had the pleasure of catching this next lot at Glastonbury back in 2010, playing in the Acoustic Tent (I think); there was only about 15 people there to see what was a blistering set, which was fine for us as there was more room to wig out in; it was probably a little disheartening for the band to have to play to such depleted numbers though.
In the context of this mix, this is a bridging song, by which I mean one which links nicely with what follows, as I slow things down for a bit. The fact that it has the word “Train” in the title is entirely coincidental, a theme is not about to emerge:
11. The Woodentops – Love Train
There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but you should ensure any minors’ eyes are averted from the saucy old name of this band. Time to put your feet up and have a breather for a bit:
12. Starfucker – Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second
I’m genuinely surprised when I hear that this R.E.M. track isn’t universally loved. Sure, it’s from the first post-Bill Berry album Up, which is patchy at best, but I think this is a rare moment of beauty from the band’s late period of ever decreasing circles and diminishing rewards:
13. R.E.M. – Suspicion
Ok, I’ll admit it. There’s another reason I picked that R.E.M. tune: for some reason which I can’t quite fathom, it pleased me greatly to have that song title next to this one. Maybe it’s because it then echoes Supernatural Superserious, the lead single from their Accelerate album. I dunno. Maybe. Does it matter?
Anyway, should you ever you get chance, check out some of the footage of Stevie playing this one when it was released back in 1972; he looks as cool as cool can be:
14. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
We’re on to the home straight now, and Stevie acts as the first part of a pair of Seventies classics used to book-end a couple of belters from the Eighties. No further notes required, I think:
15. New Order – True Faith
16. Pet Shop Boys – Heart
17. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
That’s yer lot til next Friday, although all of the previous mixes should be available to download should you need a long varied soundtrack for your Bank Holiday weekend BBQs. Fill your boots.
Posting Silence by Delerium the other week had these old knees yearning for the days when I was young and thin enough to go clubbing, so I started digging out some of the old tunes I used to love hearing when I was out.
I realised – or, rather, I recalled, as I must have noticed this at the time – that often the crowd pleasing moment of any tune was the breakdown; that part of a club record where it suddenly goes quiet before it all either comes crashing back in again, or the bpm is reintroduced, increased in tempo along with the decibels until it all…er…comes crashing back in again.
I have never felt so old as I just did trying to explain that, when I could have just said “You know: the quiet bit about 2/3 of the way through”.
Anyway, I say ‘I must have noticed this at the time’ because I once bought one of those “100 Best Anthems…Ever…!” type compilation albums, only this one was called something like “The Greatest Trance Breakdowns….Ever..!”
Sadly, it wasn’t a document of hypnotist shows which had gone wrong, but it was awful.
Not because the tune selection was poor, nor was the mixing so bad as to make one of my Friday Night Music Club mixes sound like John Digweed had done it. Oh no.
It was so awful because all you got from each tune was the breakdown section; no sooner had one finished, then it got mixed into the build-up to the next. All context, all life, was sucked out of each and every one.
Thankfully, I was unable to locate the CD in question. I think I may have skimmed it into a lake so that it never accosted my ears again.
When I first started writing this now-resurrected series (and that’s what it is like it or not), the idea was that I would write about some of the fun times I had in my clubbing days. But for what I guess I should call “legal reasons” I can’t really continue with those, since pretty much every story involves the people involved having their nights, shall we say, “chemically enhanced” in one (often not legal) way or another.
Giving them pseudonyms to protect their identity only stretches so far; there’s one guy who I would love to write at least one post about, but he was only known by his nickname, which related to his stature. I could flick through a thesaurus and find an equivalent, but anyone who was out clubbing in the same era around Cardiff as we were would undoubtedly recognise him.
Besides, he’s a police officer now, so would probably prefer not to be identified in this manner.
So instead of a story (although they will doubtless crop up from time to time, where false names, or those who have given permission to use their real ones, are the only ones involved), I thought I’d simply feature some my favourite tunes which have majestic breakdowns in them.
Starting with this one.
Now in it’s normal guise, this is by no stretch of the imagination my favourite, or even one of my favourite, New Order tunes. But in the remixing hands of Lee Coombs, it becomes a majestic thing of beauty, especially the breakdown.
The first time I heard it was also the only time I ever heard this being played out, at Cardiff’s now defunct Emporium, the greatest club I ever went to (and we went there a lot), for reasons which I will go into another time (yes, I know I keep promising this whenever I mention the place).
But alas, non-plussed with the choice of New Order track the DJ had chosen, I was making my way away from the dancefloor, trying to find somewhere to sit down until the next tune I like came on, when the breakdown kicked in; there’s a twinkly piano motif which made my spine tingle and I wished I was still out there amongst the hedonists, savouring the moment.
Regular visitors to my Friday night slot (stop it….!) will probably have noticed a few things that I like to do with the mixes I put together and post here (I’m talking the self-contained, meant-to-be-listened-to-as-a-whole mixes, not one of the ones I’ve recently split down into hour-long mixes).
Firstly, I like the first tune to be a definite opener; not necessarily one which sets the tone and style for the rest of the mix, but one which can easily be recognised as a curtain-raiser. See Tonight You Belong To Me by Patience and Prudence from Vol 1; I Dig Rock’n’Roll Music by Peter, Paul & Mary from Vol 2; Rudy, A Message To You by The Specials from Vol 3; Serious Drugs by BMX Bandits from Vol 4; R.E.M.’s Daysleeper from Vol 5…you get the idea.
Secondly, I love placing songs next to each other which shouldn’t really be there, songs which you would never have thought to play alongside each other but which somehow work (I think/hope).
Thirdly, I do love to slip in a tune which makes the listener think: ‘Blimey, I’ve not heard this for ages’ or ‘Cor, I’d forgotten all about this!’ (Not that anyone really says ‘Cor’ or ‘Blimey’ outside of a Carry On film anymore.)
Fourthly, end on something magnificent, just like you would want any gig or DJ set you went to in real life to do. Go out on a high, always leave ’em wanting more etc etc.
You’ll find examples of all four of these character traits on tonight’s brand new shiny mix, so let’s get the admin out of the way and crack right on, shall we?
Admin Part 1: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (I counted two when I listened back to this one); any mis-timed mixes are down to me (there’s one that’s a bit clunky here, I’m afraid; all record selections are mine (you’d better believe it, baby).
Admin Part 2: two of the tunes featuring this week contain some effin’ and jeffin’. One of those two contains a lot. Therefore this warning is most definitely required this week:
In 1982, entering the third year of her first term as UK Prime Minister, with unemployment reaching the highest figures for years, and with riots breaking out across the country, Margaret Thatcher was doubtless glad of the distraction of the Falklands War. It galvanised the country against an outside enemy and very much took the attention away from all that was wrong at home.
40 years later, you could almost hear the sighs of relief from 10 Downing Street when Russia started its current campaign against Ukraine: at last, something to stop people talking about all those lock-down parties.
Even though we’re not directly involved at this point, some think that our #CrimeMinister Johnson has had a good war so far, and they’d be right, if by good you mean making it almost impossible for the millions of refugees fleeing their pummelled homeland to come here, however temporarily.
Rest of The World: Yes, of course you can come in. Yes, as many of you as need to. No, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t already got family here.
The UK: Form a queue, will you chaps? No not here, in a completely different country. No, not that one, THAT one. Yes, at the desk with one chap sat at it. He’ll give you nice 48-page document to complete which, once you’ve filled it in, we’ll have a think about whether we want to let you in or not. It’s very simple to complete; look Question 1: how would you describe your ethnicity? Question 2: can you pick fruit?
And then last week, the news many of us had been waiting for: the Metropolitan Police began to issue fines to those who had attended any of the parties at No 10 which Johnson had once tried to claim didn’t happen, and if they did, he didn’t know anything about them, and he definitely didn’t attend any of them, even though they were held in his house.
The first round of fines were, to be honest, a little disappointing, with 20 fines being issued, the only real rib-tickler being Helen MacNamara, who, ironically, had been the government’s director general for propriety and ethics until 2020.
Hang on? 20?? Is that all?? There were more people in that infamous photo that got leaked:
Incidentally, when the Partygate controversy was unravelling, much was made of the inaction of the police officers positioned on the door of No 10. What were they doing during all of this? Why didn’t they intervene? And, truth be told, I felt a little sorry for them. What were they supposed to do? Leave their post, go into No 10 and shout hands up? This would at best have merely prompted this lot to start doing the YMCA dance.
Anyway, yesterday the big news, a whole load more fines had been issued….
…and this time, some big fish had been hooked, with PM Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak both being issued with fines.
Both were quick to issue grovelling apologies and to declare they had accepted and paid the fines. The apologies were so heartfelt, that Johnson was clearly reading from a script during his TV appearance, although to be fair he did manage to stick to it without getting lost, or starting to bang on about Peppa Pig, or trying to roger the lectern.
Frankly, I don’t know why he’s pretending to be sorry (I mean, we all know that when he says he’s sorry, he means he sorry he got caught – just ask any of his ex-wives, marriages which ended because Boffing Boris couldn’t keep his de Pfeffel in his trousers): he has always wanted to make history as Prime Minister, and he’s done that now. He’s the first ever sitting Prime Minister to commit – and be caught committing – a criminal offence whilst in office. Congratulations!
Poor chap, he wanted to emulate his idol, Winston Churchill, but this just makes him the Richard Nixon of British politics. Although Nixon at least had the decency to resign after he got caught out.
It’s been a tricky couple of weeks for Rishi too; a while ago, I mentioned how his wife, Akhshata Murty, was a major shareholder in Infosys, a technology company who had, until very recently (and not until it had been ignored when the UK government was issuing sanctions against companies with links to Russia and Putin) an office in Russia.
It transpires that since 2016, Infosys is among companies that shared £100m in public sector contracts between 2015 and 2021. It was also one of nine partners in a £10m contract with Tory-run Westminster City Council last year, secured a £25m IT contract from the Tory-run East Sussex County Council.
In entirely unrelated news, I’m sure, it has now been revealed that Murty holds non-dom tax status, which means she is not required by law to pay UK taxes on her overseas income. Her wealth is estimated at around £500m, the majority of this coming from her shares in Infosys.
So, at a time when we are all expected to be paying more through increased VAT, higher National Insurance contributions, increasing fuel and food bills, how can it be right that the spouse of the man largely responsible for all these things can get away without contributing to the public purse themselves?
Nothing to see here, move on.
Back to Sunak himself, then, who launched another impassioned defence of his wife, giving an interview to The Sun where he said: “To smear my wife to get at me is awful…She loves her country like I love mine. I would never dream of giving up my British citizenship.”
Except: it has also come to light that he held a green card, allowing him to live and work in the United States, for 19 months after he became Chancellor. This effectively meant he was declaring himself a permanent resident of the United States for tax purposes, long after he became a member of Parliament. Coincidentally, he gave up the card before making his first visit to the United States as chancellor last October.
Although it features on my favourite Beatles album, this has always been my least favourite song on it, mostly because it seemed to be pop stars moaning about having to pay tax, and by association an endorsement of that ghastly habit pop stars used to do: spending a year abroad “for tax reasons.” I see it in a slightly different way now….
There were rumours that, before he hit rocky waters, Sunak was briefing against and leaking about Johnson, with one eye on taking over as PM when Johnson could finally hang on no longer. It strikes me that if he really wants to deliver a killer blow to Johnson, whilst restoring some of his battered own reputation, then perhaps Sunak’s next move should be to resign from his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer, thereby demonstrating what an honourable politician should do when found guilty of breaking the law when in office.
Probably wishful thinking on my part (not that I wish Sunak were PM, I should stress, just that Johnson wasn’t), but you never know. Watch this space…
Anyway, to return to Partygate, it seems more fines are to follow, and surely more of those must be heading in the direction of some of our more prominent government ministers. If there was a game of Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey at any of the parties, then Gavin Williamson or Dominic Raaaaaaaaab will be in trouble. Priti Patel, though, she’s probably safe, as nobody’s going to invite her to a party, because as yet there is no party game which involves turning milk sour just by looking at it.
Much as Johnson and his cronies may wish it would all go away, I think it’s safe to say the party isn’t over yet:
It’s that time of the week again, so here we go with, some of you will be relieved to hear, the final part of my revisit and butchering of the first five-hour long mixed playlist.
For those who listened to it the first time around: I’ve jiggled about with the running order a little, and squeezed in an additional tune, y’know just to make it a bit more interesting (for me, if nobody else).
Primal Scream – Come Together (Terry Farley Remix)
The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
Inspiral Carpets – Find Out Why
The Doors – Touch Me
divinyls – I Touch Myself
Yazoo – Don’t Go
New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill
Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar (Way Out West Remix Edit)
Big Sound Authority – This House (Is Where Your Love Stands)
The Bluetones – If…
Which just leaves me to add the usual disclaimer: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (which seems to have behaved, pretty much this time); any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine.
Next week: a brand new mix. As it’s Easter weekend, this may well be an Easter-themed mix, although, as I’ve commented before, Easter-related songs are rather thin on the ground so may also be it won’t be. I think I’ve got enough songs together, I think – some more tenuously linked than others – so much will depend on how it sounds once I’ve put it together. If it sounds rubbish, I’ll bin it off and give you one I prepared earlier.
I’ve tried to ignore it, vowed not to write about it, but I can’t really ignore it any longer.
So if by writing this I somehow manage to jinx it, I’m sorry.
With apologies and deference to my Welsh, Scottish and Irish friends (and you lot over in that Europe thing), tonight a pretty big thing is happening in the world of sport.
The mens’ England football team have made it to a final of a tournament for the first time since 1966.
I imagine this comes as a surprise to you. It’s barely been mentioned in the mass media over the past couple of weeks.
And this is why I have issued a rallying call to many of my non-English friends: support us tonight, because if we win, we just might shut up about having won the World Cup once. (We won’t, of course. We’ll continue to bang on about that and this as the greatest triumphs in our history, along with a couple of World Wars, conveniently glossing over the colonialism and slavery that we definitely weren’t part of.)
The other week I mentioned in passing the age old discussion about which is the better England football song, this (from 1990):
(Incidentally, nobody ever sings the less “30 years of hurt”-centric version from 1998, do they? I watched England v Columbia (2-0) and England v Argentina (1-1, Argentina won on penalties) in a pub in Nottingham with my old friends Daints and Louise. After the Columbia game, I was challenged by a local drunkard to sing-a-long to both versions. I won, obviously. Can’t quite recall what the prize was, for some reason….)
The reason that its these two songs – World in Motion and Three Lions – which come up in competition against each other as being the Best Football Song…Ever! is, in my book, clear: neither of them make the mistake of referencing players in the England squad for the tournament being sung about.
I’m sure this is the main reason that this is not viewed equally fondly (although the “Gerard to Beckham…” coda is my favourite bit of this):
Both songs are brilliant for different reasons. World in Motion is technically the better song (even if it was an old throwaway New Order song, given new life by Keith Allen and a John Barnes rap), but Three Lions is the far superior terrace sing-a-long.
One of them now has a distinct disadvantage though, for, just like when politicians try to earn credibility points by claiming to like bands they think they should like (see Gordon Brown and the Arctic Monkeys, David Cameron and The Smiths), as England have progressed through the competition, so we have seen growing numbers of politicians suddenly try to gain some column inches by grabbing on the coat-tails of something popular in the hope that some of that love and admiration displayed by the public to the football team, may in some may rub-off on them.
I’m so sorry, I appear to have used the phrase “rub-off on them” just as I’m about to post a link to Jacob Rees-Mogg. For the record, please do not rub anything off, on, near or whilst looking at Rees-Mogg.
1-0 to Three Lions, because I don’t think I can ever listen to World in Motion again after that.
But then there are problems with the very title of the Baddiel/Skinner/Lightning Seeds smasheroo:
1-1, and it’s looking more and more like We’re On The Ball taking over.
Anyway, the slew of (mostly Conservative) MPs jumping on the bandwagon of supporting the England team has been a truly nauseous sight. King of these charlatans was Boris, who turned up at Wembley dressed as most football fans do, with an England shirt over the top of a shirt and tie:
Boris doesn’t care about football. Boris cares about photo-opportunities. He was, rightly called out by Gary Neville in a bit of marvellous punditry where he compared Johnson’s record and professional demeanour with the current England manager, Gareth Southgate:
Boris wasn’t alone in climbing on this particular bandwagon. Here’s Priti Patel, daughter of immigrants, who earlier in the tournament said this:
Which makes all of her subsequent tweets, such as this one from Wednesday night, seem all the more disingenuous:
She may be wearing an England shirt, but there’s no evidence here that she’s watching the match. I suspect that, just out of shot, is a man holding up photos of babies – of colour, obviously – drowning as they and their parents raft goes down as they try to escape the horrible world from which they came.
For this week, Patel has been banging on about the new Borders Bill, passed through the House of Commons this week, which *ahem* gives us back control of our borders (this which, as you all know by now, we already had before Brexit but couldn’t be bothered to implement by way of funding properly).
Amongst other things, the Bill makes it illegal to help or assist anyone that you know or suspect to be a potential immigrant to get to our shores safe and sound. So were you to be out in the Channel in a boat, and you came across a load of immigrants on a disintegrating raft, you are now forbidden to help them. You must, says the Bill, leave them to drown, or you will be prosecuted for saving them.
Which makes the RNLI’s job a lot trickier.
So, if Priti Patel had her way, this is how the current England team would line up:
I mean, it’d be tense match, but I don’t rate our chances of scoring too highly.
And to clarify, here’s the rest of the starting eleven’s roots, all banned under Patel’s blinkered thought process:
What I’m saying is this: you don’t get to encourage people to boo the England football team, and then try to wrap yourself in the glow of their success. People remember this sort of thing.
Patel may win the Most Hypocritical MP of the Month – or pretty much any month, as it goes, but she doesn’t win the Stupidest MP of the Month award, for that can only go to Lee Anderson, who refused to accept that the England players taking the knee before kick off, in a show of unity against all forms of inequality, was their reason for doing so – despite them issuing a formal statement to explain their motivation – and had vowed not to watch any of the England matches in protest:
Excuse my language, but what a fucking idiot. I’m glad he’s missing out on all of this (although I’ll bet he’s watching really).
Anyway, when it comes to discussing which is the best football song ever, I always find it hard to get past this one:
Although, from the same tournament, the first I can remember watching, this – bar the mention of the squad being ‘Ron [Greenwood]’s 22’, which if you try really hard can be changed to ‘Southgate’s 22’ anyway – seems much more appropriate:
Although, were there any justice in this world – which there isn’t – then this, from 2010, would be our go-to England record every time. There’s only two things wrong with this: firstly, the Shuttleworth referred to isn’t John, and secondly: it’s not actually very good.
It’s Saturday morning, and that can mean only one thing round Dubious Towers: Rant or Chain?
Any hope of building suspense is already ruined by the title of course. But believe me, after the humiliation of the press shots of Shagger Johnson looking at his most bumblingly unkempt on Thursday evening, and what his utter failure means for all of us here in the UK, it was by no means a foregone conclusion as to what would appear here this morning. Anyway, we’ve got all weekend until the announcement we’re all now expecting, so there’s plenty of time for me to cobble something together.
So. The Chain. We ended last time with this as the source record:
We were a little thinner on the ground than usual this time around, which I wasn’t especially surprised about, because there’s not a lot to work with there, is there? So hats off to all of you that contributed.
As you know, what I try to do with these is to bring your suggestions together into, if not an actual narrative, then some sort of cohesive whole, so that it’s not just me going “And here’s so-and-so’s suggestions”. And that’s what I’m going to try to do this time, but as many of the songs were related to other songs with years in the title, I figured I’d slip those in every now and then, in their true chronological order.
But first, a little tune, the title of which perfectly describes that Pumpkins source song title:
Look, I know I say this quite a lot, but not all Quo records are of the chugga-chugga three chord boogie variety. A Year is taken from their Piledriver album where they had almost permanently settled on their winning formula, but this is a far more bluesy affair, with a bridge which nods back to their psychedelic days. Seriously, give it a listen.
I’ll be using any songs which simply link to the word “year” as an alarm to warn you it’s about time we went time travelling. If you think about it, it’s a really clever way for me to crowbar all of the ones I thought of into the narrative, and isn’t a bit crap at all.
Ok, so it’s time for some time travel, and we’ll head back to the earliest of the yearly-titled suggestions. Care to hop aboard?
And we’re heading back to 1959 for this bit of flamboyant gothness, which, just as A Year doesn’t sound like Quo, so this doesn’t sound like a Sister of Mercy record, it sounds more like a Jim Steinman composition (checks this: it isn’t, but I had no idea that Sisters mega-hit This Corrosion is a Steinman song, and he has a co-writing credit on Dominion/Mother Russia. Seems he rubbed off on Andrew Eldritch. (Not like that, you mucky lot!)):
Anyway, that was suggested by…erm…me, too. (Note: not #MeToo). I suppose I’d better let some of you lot play, hadn’t I?
Ok, so let’s kick off proper with songs which can be linked to the band name, and for a starter, here’s Rol from My Top Ten:
“Pumpkins are gourds.
So I’ll go with The Gourds and their cover of Gin n Juice by Snoop Dogg. (Or Lion. Or whatever he’s calling himself this week.)”
“You could also have Cucumber Castle by The Bee Gees,” Rol continues, “although it is pretty awful (and I like the Bee Gees).”
Rol is right, of course. I like the Bee Gees too. And that really is not good.
As an aside, for those of you old enough to remember them, was it just me that thought Barry Gibb looked like the blue one (a lion?) from 1970s kids TV show Animal Kwackers?
And you never saw them together, did you? (as I believe it is customary to say when making this kind of joke.)
Anyway, sorry Rol. You were saying?
“Melons are also gourds. Apparently. Which might explain why The Smashing Pumpkins came up with one of the worst pun album titles ever created.”
He is referring, of course, to the album from which our source record is lifted, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. But watch yourself Rol, now you’ve mentioned puns, I have a nasty feeling about where you’re going with all this, since way back in The Chain #32 this very topic came up and I ventured The Beach Boys’ Gourd Only Knows and Teenage Fanclub’s Gourd Knows It’s True and absolutely nobody noticed.
“And then there is…” Rol innocently continues:
Phew. No puns then.
Whilst we’re on all matters gourd-related, here’s the ever reliable Stevie from Charity Chic Music:
“Getting in early with The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead by XTC a song I once heard played at a funeral.”
This, I think, deserves some further explanation. Was the coffin much bigger at the top than the bottom? Did the cremation take ages and start from a single, strategically placed candle? I think the world needs to know.
God, I love a good harmonica. I sense a new idea for a (probably quite brief) series.
And since Rol mentioned the album name from whence our source was ripped, here’s The Great Gog:
“I’ll go with the fact that 1979 is taken from the album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, and linger on the last word albeit with a different adjective. So that will be The Saw Doctors and Exhilarating Sadness.”
Whoa! What was that and where did it come from?
That, good people, was the sound of young people making music. I know, seems a bit out of place round here, doesn’t it? It was also an artiste which links to the word “year”, which means it’s time to hop in our time travelling machine which looks remarkably like a more famous fictional one but which, for legal reasons, is called something completely different. I don’t know. Haven’t given it much thought.
How about: This Is Travelling in Time and Space? That’ll do.
Hop into TITTS and we’ll be off.
(I am 51 years old.)
And we’re landing back in 1966, for the first of several suggestions from Pat from PhonicPat who gives us our obligatory Half Man Half Biscuit song of the month (and a bit):
Since we’re already in Pat’s charming company, he’s given us another couple of songs which link to the source band’s name, thankfully devoid of gourd-related puns:
Allow me to squeeze another couple in. Firstly, here’s legendary jazz pianist Fats Waller:
The really rather ace:
The considerably less ace:
And if I’m chucking a load of Smash references in, I may as well throw a Pump in too:
…which leads me to this piece of genius:
**TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **
Here we go:
And here we are in 1969, the year when all the cool people were born, and I’ll leave you in the hands of babylotti for a while:
“Immediately, I don’t know why, but 1979 made me think of 1969 by The Stooges…”
“…then 1970 by them too….”
Whoa there cowboy! Let’s finish off 1969 before we go gallivanting across the years.
And here’s Pat (who also suggested The Stooges) with another suggestion:
When I was feverishly searching t’internet to try and find some more tunes, I stumbled across this rather surprising entry:
And I don’t suppose we can really leave 1969 without giving this an airing, even if it is rather well known that the digits in the title don’t actually refer to a year, but to something altogether much ruder:
And since we’re on the edge of the 1970s, we may as well let babylotti finish what he started with his Stooges talk and drag us into a slightly more recent age:
“…then 1970 by them too….”
“…then I remembered the great cover version of that song by Flesh for Lulu.”
Here’s a thing. About fifteen years ago, Rocco from Flesh For Lulu was in a fly-on-the-wall property documentary called A Place in Spain: Costa Chaos. It turned out to be one of those excruciating, uncomfortable shows that should go down in legend, but it seems only me, and me good mate Val who I was living with at the time and who watched this with me, remember it.
Actually, not quite us two. For fortuitously, someone has posted most of the episodes on YouTube (I think one is missing), but if you have time to spare, then I’d thoroughly recommend you spend it watching this (first episode only included here):
Seriously, when the commentary says things like “But neither of them seems to have considered how they’re going to pay for it”, you know you’re watching car crash telly. Quite how I’ve managed to get writing this finished with such a distraction, I’m not sure.
Over now to a couple of suggestions linked to Smashing Pumpkins main man Billy Corgan, and first off the boat is Hal:
“Billy reputedly had a fairly healthy self-regard, which reminded me of the opening couplet to ‘San Francisco Fat’ by personae non gratae NOFX
And in a similar vein, here’s Swiss Adam from baggingarea:
“Smashing Pumpkins singer and professional misery Billy Corgan played on New Order’s 2001 comeback album, on the song Turn My Way- which as songs go on that album is pretty good and better than anything on the follow up Waiting For The Siren’s Call.”
He’s not wrong:
He also co-wrote this (Billy Corgan, not Swiss Adam):
Let’s shift ever so briefly to 1973, just so I can post this, which is ruddy magnificent:
And just as I thought I was running out of suggestions, here Devonian with three on the bounce:
“Remember how Smashing Pumpkins had to add a “The” to make sure we all understood that they were referring to the excellence of said squashes, rather than the act of setting about them with hammers? That made me think of songs by other bands with similarly enthusiastic names, such as… da-da-da-DAH…”:
Here’s Pat, back with another related suggestion:
“The Sonic Youth version of The Simpsons theme with the link The Smashing Pumpkins, The Homeralooza episode which included the following conversation
Billy Corgan: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.
Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.”
And so on we march to 1979, and I’ll hand over the reins to Rigid Digit:
“1979 could be a very broad subject. Arguably, I could offer a list of the best songs of 1979 (and there were many – it was a fine fine year in the world of Pop).
A personal memory – 1979 is the first year I really started taking note of pop music, and on an episode of Top Of The Pops saw Dave Edmunds performing Girls Talk – that says more to me about 1979 than Alan Sunderland scoring a last minute winner for Arsenal.”
Sorry, you lost me with that last bit. But here’s Dave anyway:
“Written in 1978, Tom Robinson had a go at guessing the state of the nation 18 months into the future. Not all (any?) of his predictions came true – and certainly not the one about Spurs beating Arsenal (they lost 5 Nil).”
Times have changed, matey, what happened last weekend…? Oh, yes, this:
The Beard doesn’t know when to stop using an analogy, so I’ll let it slide:
“Alan Sunderland scored the winning goal for Arsenal in the 1979 FA Cup Final.”
“There’s the band Death From Above 1979, although I believe they often drop the 1979 bit from their moniker, it is a bit of a mouthful after all… anyway, this leads me to think of ‘Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above’ by CSS, fronted by the marvellously named Lovefoxxx.”
I thought Lovefoxxx was your dating profile name?
It would be rude at this point not to feature some actual Death From Above 1979, so you can decide whether or not you wish to make love to them:
Poor old Willie, having to churn out albums of covers to pay that tax debt back.
But wait: that’s a **TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **
Which takes us to our last few records, all suggested by yours truly:
…and this odd little thing I stumbled across:
..and this, from Pat:
…and finally, this, which I was very surprised that Swiss Adam didn’t suggest:
I say “and finally”, but what I actually mean is “and finally from the past”, because what’s the point in having a saucily-named time travelling machine if we can’t go into the future as well as the past?
Off we pop:
Which just about wraps it up.
Oh wait. Here’s Rol again:
“And then there’s Little Red Courgette, obviously.”
Which just leaves me to announce what the actual next record in the real Chain is, and it’s this:
“The pumpkin patch featured in the cartoon strip ‘Peanuts’ which featured Charlie Brown, so…:”
Which just leaves me to ask for your suggestions for songs which link to Charlie Brown by The Coasters, to be submitted via either the Comments function on this page, along with a brief explanation of your link, or if you prefer anonymity that you ultimately won’t be afforded, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I know I have often moaned in the past about how time-consuming it is to write The Chain, but this morning, at around 2am, having put off writing it every day this week, it suddenly occured to me that there are three reasons why it takes me so long:
1. You won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t own every record that gets suggested, so I have to track down a copy to post here. I quite enjoy this aspect, as it goes;
2. As I’m going through all of your suggestions, I put all the songs on a playlist so I can familiarise myself with them, and hopefully come up with either some decent jokes (I’ll let you be the judge of how succcesful I am with that) and/or some funny video clips to include in the post. This latter aspect, as I’m sure you can imagine, often leads me down a YouTube rabbithole. That said, I quite enjoy this aspect too;
3. For practically every song you suggest, I manage to think of at least one more to link to either the source record, or your suggestion. That’s not meant to sound like a boast, more a statement of fact: people who write music-based blogs tend to know quite a lot of records. I try to exert some kind of control over the amount of my own suggestions I include but sometimes I just can’t resist. I really like this aspect as well.
So next time I moan about what a pain it is to write The Chain, ignore me. Once I get going on it, I bloody love it.
As can be seen by the amount of suggestions I’ve made this time.
And that’s despite the source record being, in my opinion, one of the worst singles by – well, I’m not going to say the worst bands, not when Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay are both things – but certainly by a band that I don’t much care for.
In case you’ve forgotten, said source record this time around was this:
As usual, the suggestions can be split into categories, one for each word: ‘U2’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Day’, with a few tangents thrown in for good measure.
We’ll save the vitriol of links to U2 for later I think, so let’s start with a suggestion from PhonicPat:
“[Beautiful Day] is from their ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind” album which leads nicely to…:”
Over to C from Sun Dried Sparrows to kick off all the nominations linked to the word ‘Day’ and complete the cleansing of the palate:
“I think ‘keeping it simple’ will be my mantra from now on, so… Beautiful Day takes me to beautiful Days. I’ve just been through your back pages and I couldn’t see Kirsty MacColl’s sublime cover version appearing here before, so can we have that one please?”
Next up is a clutch of suggestions/songs mentioned in passing – which you all know I can’t resist – from Kay. For those of you who don’t know, Kay is my manager at work, but also a friend. She, too, wants to keep things simple:
“I’m a simple soul [I’m saying nothing – Ed], so I immediately started thinking of songs about a particular day of the week. First thought was…”:
“…then remembered [Look out, folks, she’s off. Experience tells me to get comfy and look like you’re paying attention – Ed] Foals had a song called Sunday, and I thought I would choose that, so you’d have to post it (much to your disgust)…”
Allow me to explain that “much to your disgust” comment: I’m not a Foals fan. I don’t dislike them either, to be honest. I just find them a bit “meh”. I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay money to go and see them, unless they need to pick up a new Yasser Arafat-type scarf from the merchandise stall, that is.
Anyway, carry on.
“…but then thought neither a Monday or a Sunday is a beautiful day. So I’m going for…”
That’s all the ‘Day’ suggestions, and before we move let’s move on to the “Beautiful” links, a suggestion which covers both, and I’ll hand you over to The Robster from on/off/on-again/no-he’s-definitely-gone-this-time Is This The Life?
“Beautiful Day was used by ITV for their ill-fated coverage of The Premiership back in, erm, I don’t remember. Quite a few years ago. The song I always associate with football on TV is Life Of Riley by the Lightning Seeds which Match Of The Day used for its Goal Of The Month feature.”
Ill-fated it certainly was, for two reasons: firstly, given an alternative, I don’t know anyone who would elect to watch football on ITV, and secondly, tactical analysis was provided by former professional footballer Andy Townsend, not from the comfort of a warm studio, but from what was know as The Tactics Truck, for no other reason, it seemed, than alliteration.
Whilst we’re on the subject of football, here’s PhonicPat with a couple of suggestions which I’ll allow, even though they link to The Robster’s suggestion more than to the source record:
“Late to the party this time around and some of my thoughts already reflected in the comments [but I haven’t got to them yet in this post, in case you were wondering – Ed]…More footy with…”:
“…and one more football song:”
Sorry, Pat. I can’t say I enjoyed that one. Worst Record of the Week, in my book.
Now we’ll move on to just plain Beautiful, words often used to describe Swiss Adam from Bagging Area, I’m sure:
“There are lots of songs that link to beautiful – Peaking Lights’ Beautiful Dub has the double pleasure of the word in its title and being beautiful to listen to.”
There’s a little snatch (and no, I don’t mean Bono) of the melody of that, such as it is, which reminds me of Una Paloma Blanca by Jonathan King, but since I’ve banned Morrissey’s solo records from the blog because of his extremist views, I guess I should extend that to convicted paedophiles too. So instead, here’s the George Baker Selection with the titularly-truncated (presumably Ms Stubbs complained) Paloma Blanca:
Personally, whenever I hear the name U2, I want to rebel against it, and listen to the complete opposite. So, like a typically confusing clue on 70s game show 3-2-1…
…here we go: The clue mentions the complete opposite and the the opposite of U could be Me or it could be We; the opposite of the opposite of 2 is the number immediately adjacent to it, so it could be 1 or it could be 3; if you want to rebel against something then you want to bring about change, and perhaps the most famous rebels were the French Resistance…so the next suggestion is of course:
I mean, really I should be awarding myself some points for Showboat of the Week. Not that I can be bothered awarding points anymore. Nobody really cares about them, do they?
Here’s Martin again with another song which sort of links to the band’s name:
“Finally I want to mention ‘U Talk 2 Much’ by Sultans of Ping FC, not least for its U2-referencing sleeve art”:
Which takes me back to PhonicPat, and an alternative Sultans of Ping FC tune, suggested “…for the footy link”:
Do you remember when U2 graciously and modestly decided that everyone with iTunes should be blessed with a free copy of their 2014 Songs of Innocence album, whether they wanted it or not? Well, that leads me here:
Time to go off on some (non-football) tangents, I think, and so here’s Alyson from What’s It All About?:
“U-2 is a kind of plane and another plane become the inspiration for a song by OMD, so I’m going for Enola Gay, which very scarily was a big hit for them in 1980, 40 years ago now. The awful event addressed in the song, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, happened only 35 years prior to that. Is it just me or is time running away with us as we get older?”
And follow that up with an equally warm hand on his entrance for Stevo Kifaru, who, for a first-time Chain Ganger has certainly got the hang of naming a load of records knowing full-well I won’t be able to resist posting them all:
“U2 were named after an American spy plane, the Lockheed U-2, so I’m going with the theme of Spies for a second. My initial thought was…:”
Pop the handbrake on for a moment and hide the jacket potatoes, I have (yes, yet another) suggestion:
….which I’m sure you’ll agree is the very best of the mixes, right Chums?
It turns out Stevo is quite the Chatty Cathy (a bit rich, coming from me, granted), for he continues:
“I also thought U2 reminded me of the nomenclature of German submarines, always beginning with a U, & that brought me to Das Boot. Many years ago my friend randomly asked me, what was the number of the sub in Das Boot? I thought for a second & said U96. I have felt like such a nerd since that day, my friend obviously grateful that I answered his question, but the look he gave me was one of shock at my depths of geekness….In reality I just remembered the techno remix of the theme tune that was released under the name of U96….”:
In the interest of balance, perhaps I should point out that Bono at least seems to be vaguely self-aware and have a sense of humour about how many people view him, even if that sense of humour has been written by somebody else:
“U2 to Stiff Little Fingers to Grandmaster Flash and back to U2 in 3 moves:
There is a story that Adam Clayton says the bass line for U2’s ‘With Or Without You’ is basically Stiff Little Fingers’ ‘Alternative Ulster’ slowed down.”
Now. I know you haven’t suggested it, and I wouldn’t ordinarily post a second song by the source artist (especially when it’s U-Sodding-2), but I don’t think I can let that slide without investigating. So here’s both of those records, to allow us to compare and contrast:
Hmm. I suppose he may have a point. But it’s not exactly the most complicated bass-line in the world is it?
“SLFs 1997 album Tinderbox,” Rigid gamely continues, undeterred, “contains a cover version of ‘The Message’, which includes the lyric: “Don’t push me cos I’m close to the Edge”
So, here’s both the cover and the original. I do like a bit of SLF, but I know which of these I prefer:
Sounds a bit Walk This Way, only not as good to me, no? Imagine the Run DMC boys hadn’t turned up at the studio and so Aerosmith recorded their part too.
Where were we? Ah yes: Grandmaster Flash:
Of course, any mention of The Edge being close to the edge means that I’m contractually obliged to share this clip:
Last ones before we find out what the next record in The actual Chain is, and I’ll hand over to The Great Gog to bring things to a thrilling climax as only he can:
“The phrase ‘close to the edge’ has already been mentioned. Of course Bono and the other two are close to The Edge when they play live. Close To The Edge was also an album recorded by Yes in 1972. Later versions of this album include a cover of the Paul Simon-penned America, also recorded in the same year.”
Now, I’m no Yes man, so I checked what Wiki has to say about this, and GG is quite correct:
“In 1987, ‘Close to the Edge’ was reissued by Atlantic Records on CD in the United States and Europe. Another issue of the album was digitally remastered by Joe Gastwirt in 1994. In 2003, the album was reissued again on disc in an expanded and remastered edition by Rhino and Elektra Records. Included were two previously unreleased tracks: an alternate version of ‘And You and I’, an early run-through of ‘Siberian Khatru’, and Yes’s 1972 single ‘America’ with its b-side, an edit of ‘Total Mass Retain‘.”
Never in doubt:
It’s not so much a cover version as a lot of proggy noodling with the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics chucked in after a while.
I should be careful how I phrase that, really; for to describe them as ‘Simon & Garfunkel lyrics’ does rather give the impression that Art had some involvement in the song-writing process, a goof that Annie Nightingale made when she interviewed Paul Simon for The Old Grey Whistle Test many years ago:
“1972 saw Simon record the song ‘Mother & Child Reunion’,” GG continues. “He performed this song on stage (and presumably close to The Edge) with U2 at Madison Square Garden in 2015.The performance is on YouTube but the quality isn’t great and there’s a load of waffle from Bono at the start of it.”
Which seems a good enough reason to just post the Paul Simon version:
And all that leaves me to do is….oh wait. Rigid Digit is back:
“Forgot to include the story of my U2 branded SatNav.It’s terrible – the streets have no names, and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
And I think my U2 fridge is on the way out – all it does is Rattle and Hum.”
Thanks Rigid, I trust you’ll be here all week?
Anyway, as I was saying (he says, locking the door behind him to be on the safe side), all that leaves me to do is to give you the next song in The Chain, along with the way the person suggesting it got there. And don’t worry, it’s a waaaaaaaay better record this time:
The link: As PhonicPat said right at the top, Beautiful Day appeared on the band’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind album. What Pat didn’t say was that said album was produced by Brian Eno (and Daniel Lanois); and the album that this is taken from (Fear of Music) was also produced by Brian Eno (without Daniel Lanois):
So, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to Cities by Talking Heads, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below or via email to email@example.com in time for whenever The Chain circus next rolls into town, in a month or so’s time (probably).
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write a series here called Friday Night Music Club.
Here is what I wrote way back in March 2015 to explain:
“Friends of mine will tell you I love a themed mix tape or CD.
In my old flat, we used to have what we (ok, I) liked to call The Friday Night Music Club. This would involve us a) getting very drunk b) me shaving my head at some point c) listening to the latest CD mix I’d made (later, when I bought a sound system that allowed me to just plug my iPod in (other mp3 playing devices are available) these mixes got waaaay longer, and probably waaaaay more tedious for the listener) and d) ideally having a bit of a dance.
I’ve done mix tapes and CDs for friends and family all my life (but you already knew that, right?) but the idea here was to make a series of mix CDs which, when played in sequence, you could play at a house party and which would keep the night bubbling along nicely.
Actually, this is something I’d already tried a few years earlier. Friends of mine used to have the most excellent parties at their flat on Hilldrop Road, usually with a DJ playing, but on one occasion the DJ – and for that matter, their decks – couldn’t make it. In their absence I prepared a set of 11 CDs – about 15 hours – which, when played in sequence, took you from aperitifs and welcomers, to “go on have a bit of a dance”, through to off your nut party anthems, and then back down to sitting round talking nonsense about radishes until 6am.
Anyway, back to the Friday Night Music Club. Occasionally I’d make a theme out of the whole thing (hey, if Bob Dylan can do a radio show using the same format, I can do a mix CD, okay?) or do more than one CD and spread the theme out (there was once a 4 CD opus to a former flat mate which deserves a mention in passing) but more often than not the theme would occur to me in the middle of preparing it, and that’d be it…I’d be off….“
As an aside, I appear to have missed some fairly significant landmarks in the history of this place: my first ever post was in September 2013, and if you think my posts are sporadic now, bear in mind that my second post didn’t happen until a year later in 2014. Whatever, a belated 5th anniversary to me!
Anyway, it was when I became rather fixated on the theme rather than with just posting some songs which sound good when played together that I knocked the Friday Night Music Club series on the head.
Since there are now more of us are spending our Friday Nights at home, many of us getting drunk, I figured I would bring the series back for at least a one-off for you to use as your sountrack to your Zoom/Houseparty chats. There might be more, I’ve not decided yet.
Also, this, right here what you’re reading now, is my 1500th post, so I’d like to mark at least one of my landmark posts in a timely manner.
I figured we’d go back to where it all began, to the first few episodes of Friday Night Music Club, but now with fewer attempts to be clever/funny and just more songs to rock your end of the working (from home) week/kids are in bed celebrations.
Actually, I’d hoped to bring this to you last weekend, in time for the Bank Holiday, but time simply caught up with me, the bastard.
The initial intention was simply to repost those early “mixes”, with a few new songs thrown in here and there (and some brutally culled). But as I was working on it, it metemporphasised into something different, perhaps better described as a completely new mix of tunes, very loosely hung on the framework of the old ones, in an effort to reinvigorate them, poncey as that may sound.
If you’d prefer to just listen to this on Spotify, you can do here:
…although a word of warning: Spotify doesn’t have all of the songs in the playlist, so the only real way to enjoy this in it’s full…erm…glory is by ploughing through the links below.
Oh, and a second word of warning: there’s a fair bit of effin’ and jeffin’ on some of these, so perhaps not for those with young ears.
Hopefully, there will be something for everyone in here (there’s seventy tunes in just over five hours, so I bloody hope so!), so push back the sofa, get yourself a pint of White Russian (or whatever your weapon of choice is), dim the lights and turn up the volume. Let there be grooves. Let there be guitars. Let there be cheese. Let there be some surprises, some forgotten tunes and some old favourites. Let there be singing. Let there be dancing.
Tell you what: I’ll play a song or two by way of a little intro whilst you’re getting yourself sorted: