A couple of week’s ago, I posted Oasis’ Whatever and said it was one of only a handful of songs by them that I liked, post Definitely Maybe.
Here’s one of the others:
A couple of week’s ago, I posted Oasis’ Whatever and said it was one of only a handful of songs by them that I liked, post Definitely Maybe.
Here’s one of the others:
Following on from last week’s injection of culture in this series, today we’re going to almost completely the opposite end of the spectrum.
I’ve never really been that great a fan of Oasis; I bought a few of their early singles, still love Definitely Maybe to this day, but think that (What’s The Story) Morning Glory is massively over-rated and all that came after that was just a bit meh. (Controversial, I know, but I actually prefer Be Here Now, the self-indulgent, over-produced, coke-driven album. There I’ve said it.) In fact, I’d go so far as to say that after Definitely Maybe, there are five, maybe six, songs from the rest of their repertoire that I have any time for.
This is one of them, and while I know most will point to Live Forever as being their finest moment, if I really had to choose, I’d probably say that this is my favourite song of theirs, although it is slightly spoiled by the cheering and shouts of “Number One!” at the end.
Whatever reached #3 in the UK Charts in 1995. That’ll learn ’em.
Scene: an empty warehouse, in darkness.
FX: A door creaks opens, a switch clicks.
The lights flicker into life.
Delivery Man 1 [poking his head through the door]: Yes, this looks like it.
Delivery Man 1 backs into view, clipboard under arm, guiding a large object covered in a sheet, which is being pushed by Delivery Man 2 with considerably more effort than Delivery Man 1 is expending.
FX: The door slams shut.
Delivery Man 2: Whereabouts does it need to go? What does the order say?
Delivery Man 1 consults the clipboard.
Delivery Man 1: It says “Leave in the middle of the floor, covered, as if it’s been here for ages.”
Delivery Man 2 [with a shrug]: Bit weird, but if that’s what it says.
Job done, they exit, leaving the light on.
FX: the door opens and closes. Pause. Repeat.
An incredibly handsome, if fat and bald, man enters the room. He surveys the object before removing the sheet.
Incredibly handsome, if fat and bald, man: And we’re back in the room!
Hello, and welcome to The Chain. Where’ve you been? I’ve been waiting for you.
Prompted by a question about whether one of this week’s suggestions qualified under the rules, and nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of time since one of these posts appeared, nosireebob, I thought it might be best if I go over them again here, with a brief explanation of what we do here.
So, The Chain is a feature on BBC 6Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show (and prior to that, their show on BBC Radio 2), where a record is played and they invite suggestions as to what record could be played next, which must link in some way to the one just played.
The difference here is that whilst they choose just one record to play, we try to post all of the suggestions which you submit.
The only rules are:
That’s about it. I award points every now and again, for Worst Record of the Week, Cheesiest Record of the Week, Comment Showboat of the Week, and of course, for anyone who happens to guess either the song or act (or both) that is the next record in the Official Chain, which becomes the source record for the following week. Nobody’s keeping score (well, I’m not anyway), the points are just a bit of fun.
Okay, that’s the admin done. Last time out, the source record was “The Universal” by Blur; personally, I found this a really tricky one to link to, especially as I have to wait and see what’s left after you guys have nominated all the good ones. Ho hum, such is life.
So, here we go then, and as usual, we’ll bracket them into several fairly broad categories and, as usual, we’ll probably wander off on a couple of tangents along the way.
First out of the traps last time was Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music who wrote:
“It has to be something off ‘Universal Audio’, the final album by The Delgados. I Fought the Angels would do rather nicely I feel”
Of course, CC was not alone in suggesting a link to something of Universal appeal; Dirk from sexyloser proffered thusly:
“…because not enough good German music is being featured on these pages, I’d like to link to Die Sterne – ‘Universal Tellerwäscher’ from 1994 …. which in fact is a mighty record indeed!”
I was going to make a rather unkind joke about the phrase “good German music” being an oxymoron, but then I listened to Dirk’s suggestion and have to agree, it is mighty fine (even if I have not one clue as to what it’s about, although Google Translate, which is never wrong, obviously, tells me that a Tellerwäscher is a dishwasher ):
Sticking with the Universal theme, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything suggested this:
whilst The Great Gog wrote:
“…seeing as we’re all commenting on The Universal, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Universally Speaking would seem apt.”
And The Beard quoted a completely different song which contains the word “Universal”:
“Universal, unique untouched, unadulterated, the raw uncut”
He is, of course, referring to this:
Time for the first interlude of the day; I stumbled along this clip the other day, which I’m sure you’ll agree contains some quite wizardly rapping:
Anyway, where were we?
Ah yes. Blur’s ‘The Universal’. Take it away Julian of Music from Magazines fame:
“Blur did a song “Beetlebum”
The Beatles did a song “Across The Universe”
Laibach did a version of “Across The Universe”
Laibach nailed “Sympathy For The Devil”
(The 7.52 version please)”
As you wish:
Time for a big Chain welcome for the first of two new contributors to The Chain this week, here’s Telefrank:
“The video for ‘The Universal’ references the Korova Milk Bar, so something by Wendy Carlos natch.”
Just to join up the dots: the Korova Milk Bar features in ‘A Clockwork Orange’, so this seemed like as good a tune as any:
Walter from A Few Good Times in My Life pointed out that “…the opposite of universe might be the underground. So…”
It’s scary how that song is so relevant now, 35 years after it came out. “Times have changed”, some people say. I’d play them that and respectfully disagree.
Anyway, before I start going off on one, more Universal shenanigans. Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:
“A nice easy link from ‘Universal’ to another well-known film studio: Columbia.”
Walter continues the theme: “Universal is also a music label distributing music of various and different artists. So I suggest:”
From the Universal links, it’s one small step to the universe, and space in general, and to our second new member of The Chain Gang of the week, abramson60, the 60th from the very noble Abramson family, as Adam Buxton would say:
Anyway, abramson60 has certainly got the hang of how to make sure you get lots of tunes played here: list of a load of songs he’d considered before finally plumping for a completely different one. I, of course, cannot resist:
“Universe would automatically take me down the space road, so you could have….”
“…or another of my pet favorites…”
“…not forgetting that he went on to become the nation’s favourite spaced out artist.”
But, “…sticking with universe, The Rocky Horror Picture Show had long lasting and profound influence on the somewhat naive 16 year old me who first saw the film at the tail end of the 70’s. So my pick is ‘I’m Going Home’, not quite sure where to but somewhere in the outer reaches of space.” I’m not sure I quite follow the link there, but as it’s your first visit, I’ll let it slide this time:
Over to The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow next, who says:
“I’ll keep things cosmic and suggest ‘Space is Deep’ by Hawkwind – the studio version from ‘Doremi Fasol Latido’ please.”
A couple of you suggested links from lyrics withing ‘The Universal’, which is fair enough and fine by me. For example, Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense suggested:
“‘The Universal’ includes the lines:
“And to karaoke songs,
We like to sing along,
Although the words are wrong”
So .. mondegreens (misheard lyrics) and possibly the most well known: ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy'”
Next up, Martin from New Amusements, who takes the “list a load of songs then pick a completely different one as their choice” approach adopted by abramson60 and combines it with Rigid Digit’s focus on the song’s lyrics:
“The Universal includes a line about ‘satellites in every home’ so we could go with that, enabling…”
“…or, I guess…”
If I could just butt in for a moment, I can’t hear that record without thinking of this record (and vice versa) since I can’t help but think that while it’s not a straight-out sample, the synth melody line, owes more than a little debto the old instrumental Martin suggests:
Martin’s actual choice will follow in a moment, but props where props are due, the category it falls into was first suggested by The Robster from Is This The Life? (well, actually, it was first mentioned by Rigid Digit last
“My link comes in the form of British Gas adverts. The Universal was, as you point out, used in an ad campaign for British Gas. So was ‘More Than A Feeling’ by Boston, which despite ticking all the middle-of-the-road 70s AOR boxes, is a damn fine tune and one I always find myself playing air guitar to. True!”
It may well be, but unfortunately that’s featured in The Chain before, so, as per the rules above, I can’t allow it this week. Sorry!
Tell you what, have another go:
“Another gem from the British Gas archive is the wonderful ‘Rescue Me’ by Fontella Bass which cannot fail to give everyone a lift on a Monday morning.”
Back to Martin again: “…let’s go down the route of the Blur track’s British Gas-based ubiquity, all the excuse we need to have ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ by The Rolling Stones, since that tells us ‘it’s a gas, gas, gas.'”
He’s still not done yet, mind:
“But I’d rather suggest a song I really like, so the gas connection allows me to pitch the much-less-played ‘It’s A Gas’ by The Wedding Present. Any excuse to get the Gedge out, after all.”
I could not agree more.
Catchphrase time! If you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:
And as a special treat, here’s Marc Bolan performing ‘Life’s A Gas’ with Cilla Black, of all people:
The less said about that the better, I think.
But whilst we’re on adverts, here’s Snuff from their ace “Flibbiddydibbiddydob” album (these are so short, you may as well have two):
After those words from our sponsors, back to The Great Gog:
“‘The Great Escape album’ from which The Universal is taken also includes a song called ‘Top Man’. When I was younger (and a little less Great) I used to venture into Manchester and frequent a store of that name, and occasionally even buy something. Having done this, my then-significant other would drag me to where she wanted to buy stuff – Chelsea Girl. Obviously the title of a song by Simple Minds…”
Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:
Sorry GG, I interupted, do carry on:
“…[Chelsea Girls is] also referenced on Mighty Mighty’s ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ Which sort of links back to matters universal.”
Right, where next? Since we seem to have exhausted all of the possibilities of links to “The Universal”, how about links to Blur? Seems like a plan.
Over to Birthday Boy Rol (45 today!) from My Top Ten, then, with two and a half suggestions:
“Suggestion that needs no explanation: ‘Mr. Blur’ by Tom Verlaine.”
He continues: “Suggestion that leads a little more explanation: Blur used to be called Seymour. I’m sure someone will link to the obvious song from that (the one about a record company boss…”
You mean this one, I assume?
“…so,” Rol continues, “I’ll point us towards the character of Seymour in the movie ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ and suggest the song ‘Feed Me, Seymour’ as sung by the killer plant Audrey II (aka Levi Stubbs from The Four Tops).”
The Great Gog’s back:
“As Rol has mentioned Seymour, the track that I always think of when I hear Blur’s previous name is ‘Read About Seymour’ by Swell Maps.”
Now, before he started listing spacey songs, abramson60 also proffered up a few relating to the name of Blur:
“Blur taken as unclear leads me to…”
You can all count yourself lucky that I decided not to post the version with Gazza on it. Actually, that might have been quite appropriate, since writing and indeed reading The Chain often has the air of a hostage situation about it, so maybe we should expect him to rock up with a bucket of fried chicken and a fishing rod.
Anyway, back to you abramson60:
“…or maybe when everything clears…”
I’ve got Snuff covering that too somewhere, but let’s not overdo it, eh? That would take us over the 2 minutes of Snuff records mark, which would never do.
Any more, abramson60?
“Having said all of that I would much prefer to offer up Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations (any brownie points for extra long band names?) [Nope – Ed] and Hazy Lazy Hologram, link being obvious and in hazy, and everyone loves drug induced music, don’t they?”
Back to Julian for his obligatory weekly suggestion of a record by Lambchop:
“A Blur is what the world is when ones had too many HIC!!
Where was I ?
Who fucking knows?
Oh yes its all coming back to me…..”
And what of the individual members of Blur, there must be some links there, right?
Guess what, here’s abramson60. Again.
“Blur’s singer is Damon Albarn who is the son of Keith Albarn, who once managed Soft Machine, whose drummer Robert Wyatt went onto have a solo career, recording ‘Shipbuilding’ which as we all know was written by Elvis Costello, who took part in the Red Wedge tours along side Billy Bragg. So my suggestion has to be ‘Valentine’s Day Is Over’.”
I have two things to say about this. Firstly, I had no idea of the Albarn connection to Soft Machine, and secondly, abramson60 did suggest this back on February 15th, which makes his choice of Billy track a little more understandable.
But frankly, you had me at “Shipbuilding”:
“Damon Albarn was the boyfriend of Justine Frischmann of Elastica. So let’s have ‘Stutter’ from them.”
The first record I ever bought by Elastica this, albeit on an NME compilation album of their Singles of the Week from 1993, and without doubt one of the finest ever songs about erectile disfunction.
Charity Chic’s back, with the obligatory Clash record of the week. Don’t worry George, there’s a finite number of them that can be suggested:
“Damon Albarn was in The Good,The Bad and the Queen, as was Paul Simonon who wrote and sung ‘Guns of Brixton'”
Speaking of George, he’s been rather quiet so far this week, so here’s the first of his suggestions:
“Damon Albarn was/is also in a band called Gorillaz, and gorillas are in a branch of primates, as are monkeys, leading to ‘Monkey On My Back’ by The Triffids (from the Field of Glass EP). I think the song is not actually about monkeys.”
Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:
In fact, given his involvement with Gorillaz, you could describe Albarn as a…
(My apologies, by the way: I realised I’ve misnamed the mp3 as Toots and The Maytals, rather than just The Maytals, but I really can’t be arsed with changing it.)
The Great Gog’s back again:
“I did have one more up my sleeve, but left it in case anyone else came up with it – they haven’t , so here goes. Blur’s lead singer is D. Albarn. Shuffling one of those letters to the left a bit allows me to type Dr. Alban, the early 90’s hitmaker who made such a lasting impression on me that I can only recall one of his tunes…”
Hands down winner of the “Worst Record of the Week” award, there.
“Used in a Tampax advert at some point in the nineties too,” pipes up The Beard. Now, let’s not lower ourselves by making any jokes about that particualr subject. That’s it. None. End of. Period.
Instead, let’s move onto the other members of Blur, and focus for a moment on bass player Alex James. Over to you, George:
“Another Alex is Alex Harvey, so the song is from the first Sensational Alex Harvey Band album ‘Framed’, and ‘The Hammer Song’.”
Another from SWC next, I think:
“When he is not doing that [being in Blur] he schmoozes up to his famous neighbours David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson. He also pretends to make cheese which gives us a lovely link to ‘Gorgonzola’ by Leslie Sarony.”
Mention any of the old music hall acts such as Leslie, and I’m afraid I can’t help thinking of this chap:
Back over to Rol, who might just see this post before his birthday’s finished:
“All this talk of Alex James’s cheese behooves me to suggest Copy Cats by The Humdrum Express, which features the lines…
“I read a Jamie Oliver’s Feastival review
Where ex-Top Gear presenters jumped the queue
To a sign publicising ageing sleaze
But it was Alex James’s aptly named new cheese”
(It also features the line “More Betty Than Swervedriver”, which I’m half thinking of stealing to rename my blog.)”
Bagsy and first dibs duly note.
I may aswell chuck one in to the Alex-mix. When he isn’t making cheese, or being in Blur, he’s also popped up in some questionable novelty acts, most famously with Fat Les, but also in Wig Wam, a truly awful project that I’m not going to offend your ears by playing. His partner-in-crime there, though, was one Alison Clarkson aka Betty Boo:
Two band members left, and absolutely nobody suggested anything Graham Coxon-related so I had a quick shufty round and found that according to wikipedia, he appeared on Blue Peter twice as a child.
But since all the rest of the band are getting at least two songs, we may as well have one of his singles. Friends of mine will attest that every time we’ve heard thisplayed out, I always point out that the intro sounds a lot like “Into the Valley” by Skids (Since nobody has ever agreed with me on this point, I’d post it so you could compare, but as it’s already featured on The Chain once before, I can’t. Who made these stupid rules up anyway??):
Which just leaves drummer Dave Rowntree, and a suggestion by The Beard:
“He shares his surname with the confectioners Rowntree. They are based in York and created the KitKat. York City’s Bootham Crescent ground was for a period renamed KitKat Crescent. ‘Crystal Crescent’ is a track by Primal Scream amd nothing to do with chocolate or the city of York.”
Times may not change, by Primal Sceam certainly have over the years, haven’t they?
Finally, Rowntree has stood for election three times on behalf of the Labour party, losing on each occasion. Which leads me to this:
Which just leaves us to reveal what the next record in the Official Chain is, and many of you will have noticed the absence of one particular song from the start of this post, when we looked at songs with the word “Universal” in the title. Many people wanted to suggest this, but Swiss Adam from baggingarea was the first out of the traps so the kudos and points are his this week:
“The Small Faces have their own ‘Universal’ which is a lovely song.”
Ain’t that the truth:
So, all that laves me to do is to ask for your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “The Universal” by Small Faces, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition.
Let’s say that will be next week, and see what happens, eh?
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.
This week seems to have flown by; Wednesday evening and I find myself woefully unprepared for this week’s edition of The Chain. I blame Teenage Fanclub for being so bloody good last night, and for taking up one of my evenings usually spent getting this ready.
Also, my efforts to track down one of your suggestions led me to download the entire album as a single mp4, then edit it down to the one song I needed, then convert it to an mp3. I’ll not say which one, I’ll wait and see whether my new found tech skills are detected!
In short, this may be a little briefer than usual. Sorry.
So, last week, after being inundated with suggestions which linked to The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” which involved songs which mentioned creeks, various other bodies of water, and…erm…cripples, I rather thought that I might have it easy this week when the next track in The Official Chain turned out to be Neil Young’s “Cripple Creek Ferry”.
No such luck.
So let’s crack on, shall we? And where better to start that with babylotti:
“I don’t care how obvious it is, I’m getting Saint Etienne’s version of ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ in first!”
There are plenty of mixes of this to choose from; my own personal favourite is Andrew Weatherall’s “A Mix in Two Halves”, but tonight, Matthew, I’m plumping for the better known version from Saint Etienne’s classic “Foxbase Alpha”:
He’s not done there, though, nosireebob:
“Also, Elkie Brooks had a hit in 1978 with the aforementioned song, from the same album came the one single I remember her for:”
And he’s still not done:
“And I now also have to link to ‘Pearl’s Girl’ from Underworld.”
“Elkie Brooks did a lot of good songs in the early 70’s,” chips in Kuttowski of A Few Good Times in my Life. “She was formerly the singer together with Robert Palmer in Vinegar Joe. I well remember them with their ‘Proud To Be A Honky Woman’.”
Well, having allowed “Pearl’s Girl” it’d be pretty churlish of me to refuse to post that, wouldn’t it?
That’s a pretty rollicking start to this week’s usual eclectic mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Time for a seamless link, I think.
Here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“Cripple Creek was also the name of a Western made in 1952 directed by Ray Nazarro and if we are talking Westerns then there is only one place to go and that is with “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” or possibly from the soundtrack of the same name “The Ecstasy of Gold” which brings it back to the Gold thing”
“Gold thing? What gold thing?”, I hear you ask. That’s the problem with me jiggling the running order in a vain attempt to build some sort of narrative to appease you all; sometimes the links may be seamless but sometimes there’s a mention of a link that I haven’t covered yet. I’ll let Badger clarify:
“Cripple Creek is a town in Colorado and used to be very big in gold mining. This instantly allows a link to “Gold Mine Gutted” by Bright Eyes, that they are also signed to Saddle Creek, means you get a double link, all I need is a ferry and you have the whole shebang.”
Badger wasn’t the only person to mention the gold link. Step forward and take a bow Alex G from We Will Have Salad:
“’Cripple Creek Ferry’ is from the album ‘After The Gold Rush’. One of the most (in)famous gold rushes was the California gold rush which started in 1848 but exploded in 1849, and whose prospectors were thus dubbed ’49ers’, which naturally leads to the Italo-house outfit 49ers and their classic hit “Touch Me”.
NB – there is very little that is “sexual” about that mix.
Which leads me on to the first of my suggestions this week. 49ers are mentioned in the American folk song, so beloved of Huckleberry Hound, “Oh My Darling Clementine” which leads me on to this little lot:
…which in turn very nearly led me on to “My Weakness is None of Your Business” by Embrace, but you’ll be pleased to learn I showed some self-constraint.
Anyway, back to Badger:
“Or if you want contenders for the worst suggestion ‘Going For Gold’ by Shed Seven.”
I have a bit of a soft spot for Shed Seven, as it goes. They always seemed to be trying quite hard to make records which exceeded their limited capabilities. That said, ‘Going for Gold’ is not one of their finer moments. It’s also not even close to being the worst suggestion of the week, I’m afraid.
Now then. Awful records. I appear to have created a monster here. For this week you were all tripping over yourselves to suggest them.
“I’m going to win the prize for Worst Record On The Chain this week” says George.
Go on then. Do your worst.
“Neil Young was also the name of a Manchester City forward of the 1960s. And one of his team-mates was Colin Bell. And Colin Bell’s birthday is February 26th. As is Michael Bolton’s. And amongst Mr Bolton’s songs is a cover of ‘Yesterday’, which is so bad I’m not sure you should post it. Mr Bolton also covered ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ which is catastrophically poor as well. All of which is quite a shame because he seems like a genuinely nice and amusing bloke. By the way, for the sake of your well-being never play his cover of ‘So Tired Of Being Alone’. It’s really shit.”
What you seem to have done there is name three records which you don’t want me to play. You lot are lucky enough to be able to choose whether or not to click play, but me? I’ve had to listen to all of them to decide which one to post, so I’m tempted to post all three, but I’m not that cruel. So here’s the first one you mentioned:
Think that’s the worst record of the week? Think again.
Getting my hopes up for something…well…a bit less shit, or failing that, somebody with a credible haircut at least, by starting his first suggestion with the word “Heh” before launching into a bit of Greek mythology, here’s Rol of My Top Ten:
Charon is the Ferryman in Greek mythology. He carries your soul on his boat down the river…
“It’s you, babe, whenever I get weary or I’ve had enough… feel like giving up, you know it’s YOUUU, babe…”
Will you just take a look at some of those barnets? Yes, it was 1980, but that’s no excuse. Anyway, what are the odds of them having turned up here, as well as being the models in the display pictures that first caught the eye of Michael Bolton in the window of his local barber’s shop?
“Alternatively,” Rol continues, “if you want something a little bit cooler…
Half Man Half Biscuit – Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out Of A)
(Not that I care about such things.)”
Shan’t post it, then.
Yeh, right. Like I’m ever going to pass up the opportunity to post something by Half Man Half Biscuit:
Also intent on restoring his reputation after his earlier Michael Bolton aberration, is George, although when George has a theme, he sure as heck sticks with it:
“To make up for that, you can have some Fats Domino (The Fat Man I suggest) as Mr Domino shares his birthday with Colin Bell.”
And why stop there, when you’re on a hat-trick?:
“And a Johnny Cash track, as he too shares the same birthday as Colin Bell, what about Personal Jesus?”
Now Rol’s and George’s reputations are restored, let’s see if Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music fame fancies ruining his:
“Neil Young is from Canada and has never won Opportunity Knocks. Neil Reid from Glasgow has, with the truly awful ‘Mother of Mine'”
Brace yourselves, folks.
This, and a subsequent comment by Alyson, led me to do a little digging to see what nuggets I could find out about him. Here’s some factoids, one of which I might need to double-check:
Please, God, someone suggest something decent.
Rigid Digit, what have you got for us this week?
“Neil Young – intrinsically linked with Crazy Horse (although they’re only on a couple of tracks on After The Goldrush).
Therefore – Crazy Horse => Crazy Horses (aka The Osmonds “go” Heavy Rock)”
Some of you may not think posting something by The Osmonds is necessarily an improvement, but I beg to differ: when you compare it to the majority of the rest of their turgid output you realise what a surprisingly bloody great record “Crazy Horses”:
“Crazy Horses” was, as Rigid Digit continues: “later covered by Tank (featuring Algy Ward, previously of The Saints and The Damned)”
Oh Rigid: you already had me at The Osmonds.
Crazy Horse though – some of you must have some suggestions in that area, surely?
Well, yes, as it goes. Here’s The Great Gog:
“Going for a double link here. Neil Young has made a number of records with Crazy Horse. Ian McNabb has also made a record with members of Crazy Horse. Ian McNabb has also recorded a song that mentions a river that has a famous ferry. That song is of course, “Merseybeast”. Sadly this was the title track of the album after the one he did with Crazy Horse, but perhaps that would have been too perfect a link.
Nor have there been enough songs to link to Neil Young himself, so here’s a couple of mine. Firstly, a pre-fame daughter of a former Blue Peter presenter, fronting a band who never had much critical acclaim or commercial success, I think mostly down to the wanky way they insisted on spelling their name:
Time for another seamless link. One of the things you can do when you’re (Neil) Young, is rock up on stage and make an already majestic song just that little bit more majestic:
We’ll be popping back to some more live stuff in a moment, but first, over to Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? with a suggestion and a question which has sparked some great posts by some of our fellow Chain Gangers (go on, treat yourself and click on a few of the links to their blogs if you don’t already visit them regularly):
“From one Neil to another Neil – Diamond to be precise.
Now I have become aware over the weeks that there are people who are just not “cool” to like around these parts and as for Mr Bolton and his very unusual cropped-top/long at the back mullet haircut, I totally agree. Have still to work out where Neil D sits on the scale but personally I have always liked him, (most of) his songs, and his recent stuff. He did also have quite odd hair back in the day but hey, didn’t they all – oh and some very tight trousers.
Anyway Cripple Creek sounds as if it would have been quite a rocky place so if Mr Diamond had been there with the girl of his dreams there would have been “Love On The Rocks”.”
More Neil based fun now – and who can honestly put their hand on their heart and say they haven’t at some time or another had fun whilst Neil-ing? – from The Beard:
“From Neil Young to Neil from The Young Ones. He scored a number two hit in 1984 with his cover of Hole In My Shoe by Traffic.”
I’m assuming from the rest of your suggestion that you want the Neil version, rather than the Traffic jam, right? Excellent!
“It was kept off the top spot”, the Beard continues, “by Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes. The spectre of nuclear war was the theme of that track. The same topic also formed the basis of The Young Ones episode Bomb. Dexy’s Midnight Runners were the musical guests in the episode, playing Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) which is not, sadly, about a darts player.”
By the way, does anyone else remember that as being released as Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners, as opposed to just Dexys Midnight Runners…? Nope, me neither.
As promised, another live track now, courtesy of kuttowski:
“On ‘After The Goldrush’, Nils Lofgren, a 19 year old guitar player appeared on the scene. In his later career he played with Crazy Horse, Grin and Bruce Springsteen and I suggest his No Mercy.”
This is the version from his pithily-titled “Acoustic Live” album:
That’s enough Neil-ing, time for some Ferry-ing. Time for two from The Robster from Is This the Life:
“First up [Hey! That’s MY line! – Ed]– taking Neil YOUNG and Cripple Creek FERRY, Young’s Ferry was a historical ferry crossing of the Merced River, located in present day Merced County, California. One of Merced’s famous sons was ‘The King of the Western Swing’ Bob Wills who, along with His Texas Playboys, became one of the top chart acts of the 1930s and 40s. In 1945, they had a #1 country hit with a cover of Zeke Clements’ Smoke On The Water (definitely NOT the same song that Deep Purple recorded two and a half decades later.) This also links water/creek.”
“Alternatively, continuing the water theme and linking with the artist name, how about ‘Current Of The River’ by the Young Knives from 2008’s ‘Superabundance’?”
It’s only after I posted that, that I remembered it’s the closing track on Superabundance, and comes complete with one of those pesky hidden tracks, which is also included in that link. Suffice it to say, this isn’t the one I edited.
Some more restoration of reputations now, as we welcome Charity Chic back:
“I would suggest the gorgeous Ferryman from the lovely Rachel Sermanni”
Here’s Dirk from Sexyloser:
“I think I’ll go down the ferry-route, too. Problem is that I can’t really decide between Holly Johnson’s version of ‘Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey’, Ferry Boat Bill’s ‘Sally Goes Downtown’ (I should add that I only have this one on tape, not on vinyl/mp3, does that also count?) and Toy Dolls’ ‘You Won’t Be Merry On A North Sea Ferry’: I think I’ll go for the latter because it’s ace … and I’d like to hear it again!”
Well, that’s pretty lucky because, other than appearing on that single to raise money for the Hillsborough disaster fund back in 1989, I’m not sure Holly Johnson ever recorded a solo version of it, although of course there’s the version on Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” album (I’m open to correction on that, as always), and I’ve not been able to locate the Ferry Boat Bill track anywhere, so…well…here you go:
Over to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“The Edmund Fitzgerald was a ferry that sank in Lake Superior in 1975 and was then made subject of a song by one Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian folk singer.”
If I may just interrupt for a moment there, before you suggest something we’re all going to regret: if we’re going to start posting songs about boats which sank when carrying large amounts of cargo (Five million hogs, six million dogs, and so on), then surely this has to get an honourable mention:
Sorry ’bout that, SWC. Do carry on, old chap:
“‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ was however kept off Number one in the US of A by a certain Rod Stewart and ‘Tonight’s the Night’.”
Insert your own joke about Americans making terrible decisions here, if you like.
I’d never noticed the vaguely “Je T’Aime…”-esque French lady vocal at the end of that before. Possibly because I’ve never listened to the bloody thing all the way through before.
Time for a fairly straight-forward link from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:
“‘The Ferryman (Zeebrugge)’ by Billy Childish and the Singing Loins is my fairly straight-forward link”.
See? Told you it was straight-forward:
Over the past few weeks, you’ll have noticed I’ve tried to include a few video clips into proceedings, but not this week, for I knew that The Swede from Unthought of, Though, Somehow had posted one as part of his suggestion:
“Bugger – kuttowski beat me to it! [with the Nils Lofgren tune] So instead I’ll give a shout out to our local ferry, which crosses the River Yare at Reedham:
By pure coincidence, it’s a chain ferry! So ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ by The Pretenders is my suggestion.”
It’s a record that’s come up before, of course, but since it’s our theme tune here (and since your video clip has brought back memories of many happy family holidays on the Norfolk Broads), it seems a pretty perfect way to round things off this week:
Which just leaves me to reveal the next record in The Official Chain, and the link that gets us there. And one of you will be kicking yourselves at how close you were:
“Another Neil Young of Manchester City scored the winning goal in the 1969 FA Cup Final. Oasis are well-known Man City fans, hence…”:
Bad luck, George.
So, your suggestions for songs (let’s face it, it’ll be plural, won’t it?) which you can link to “Live Forever” by Oasis, via the Comments section below, along with your usual brief descriptions as to what links the two, three, four, however many, records together, in plenty of time for next week’s post.
There was so much love on the internet when Victoria Wood died, I didn’t feel the need to comment.
But last week, we lost another Northern funny female voice when Caroline Aherne died, and I have to say something,
If I really wanted to, I could now post a whole host of links to brilliant, hilarious, funny stuff that Caroline was responsible for, from Mrs Merton, to The Fast Show, to The Royle Family.
You don’t need me to do that. You already know what a sad loss this was. And anyway, long term friend Terry Christian nails it in this interview:
Oh, go on then. Here’s my favourite comic creation of hers, Renee, of Roy and Renee fame:
From what I have read since her passing, Caroline battled with illness for most of her life. We should be thankful that what little time she had with us, she dedicated to making us laugh.
So: a song that will forever be synonymous with her name, the theme tune to her masterpiece, a song that when released was tucked away as the B-side to my favourite song by the band in question.
It’s obvious, I’m not the only person to post it, but it’s right:
More soon. I just hope not in this thread.
And Lo! So it came to pass that the majority of the same motley crew from Glastonbury 2003 all managed to get tickets for Glastonbury 2004, with a few additions. I’m not going to list them all for a couple of reasons: firstly, they may not appreciate being linked to some of the activities described below; and secondly, I’m not entirely sure who all of the additions were (by which I mean, I’m not sure I can remember who was there, rather than not being sure who they were). Anyway, by my reckoning there were 16 of us this time, a record figure never to be repeated, not by us anyway.
I’d learned three lessons from the previous year:
1) Arrtive early (we did)
2) The stuff on the Pyramid Stage is not necessarily the most interesting stuff that’s going on (I vowed not to spend the whole weekend there again)
3) Stay off the brownies (I’m pleased to report that not one passed my lips)
You may call into question how honest I’m being on that last point when I tell you that when writing and researching this post, I find not only are there dirty great holes in my memory, but also that some of the acts listed in the 2004 booklet, and on the Wikipedia page, are not listed where and when I remember them being. But trust me, it was a brownie-free weekend.
We’ll stick with what I can remember, and what I think I remember.
Friday began with me utterly failing to honour my promise to not just sit at the Pyramid Stage all day. Although there were 16 of us in total, two (who shall be named: Gary and Meg) didn’t arrive until the Friday afternoon and for some reason we’d arranged to meet them at our usual spot at the back of the Pyramid Stage.
Much drinking ensued, and since the majority of our party were Welsh (I think just three, maybe four, of us were English) we spent much of the day making up humorous puns based on Welsh place names/acts playing the festival, in much the same way that now “I Love The Diff” do mugs with the names of works of popular fiction altered to include a Welsh place name or phrase. I haven’t explained that at all well, have I? Well, have a look here and you’ll see what I’m banging on about.
We came up with dozens of these, the pick being “Kings of Caerleon”, which years later Newport’s finest, Goldie Lookin’ Chain named one of their albums. I knew we should have got a copy right on that.
We even adopted the words to “Molly’s Chambers”, which in our world now went:
“You want it, she’s got it, Bonnie Tyler’s gonna change your mind, Bonnie Tyler’s gonna change your mind. She’s got your, your rissoles! Bonnie Tyler’s gonna change your mind, Bonnie Tyler’s gonna change your mind.”
Well, we found it funny, anyway. That’s the scrumpy for you.
Truth be told, this is where the first of the black holes in my memory appears.
My source materials tell me the first act on the Pyramid was Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band (Nope, me neither). It’s entirely possible that I started elsewhere, but a quick flick through the listings fails to jog my memory as to quite what I was doing. I know I definitely wasn’t over at The Other Stage, that’s for sure, for that would have meant I was watching Kasabian, and I’d already developed a healthy, well-founded aversion to Leicester’s finest exponents of deathly unoriginal cock-rock. To this day I would rather eat my own testicles than sit through a Kasabian gig.
Let’s assume I was sleeping off a heavy Thursday night. This is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.
I do know that I was at The Pyramid in time to catch Bright Eyes, but remember nothing other than being totally underwhelmed by him/them. Next up: Wilco, a band who, given their association with Billy Bragg, you’d think I’d have some vague recollection of seeing, but no. Nothing. Zip.
Nelly Furtado. Yup, I remember her alright. Not quite sure why she was there, but there she was. You want proof? Ok.
Want more proof? What am I, your mother? Go YouTube it.
Next up, Elbow, a band enjoying a ground-swell in popularity at the time, which has seen them edge further and further up the bill as the years have gone on. This was, of course, in pre-Seldom Seen Kid days, and before that bloody song about opening your curtains became the obligatory soundtrack to every momentous event on television. Their set was notable for their performance of Grace Under Pressure; the version which appeared on their “Cast of Thousands” album featured a recording of the Glastonbury crowd from 2002 singing along (see what they did there? Quite literally, a Cast of Thousands), and which we were encouraged to reproduce, which most of us gladly did, even though we’d never heard the song before. I wondered loudly if I would get a share of their fee for assisting their performance. Suffice to say, I had not exactly entered into the spirit of things at this point.
Next: Groove Armada. I have a bit of a soft spot for this lot, mostly because a year or so later I saw them at Lovebox and during their set witnessed a bloke successfully – yes, successfully! – using the greatest, most bizarre chat-up line I have ever heard (for the record, it was: “Do you like Ian Dowie? I like Ian Dowie!!) And whilst, again, my recollection of their set is the very definition of “sketchy”, they definitely did Superstylin’, to my mind one of the happiest summer-ish records ever. So there.
PJ Harvey was next up, a typically wonderful set. I think. Can’t really remember it (it’s going well this, isn’t it?). Sadly, I’ve not been able to source much from her set, bar her rendition of The Letter which, marvellous though it is, isn’t the Alex Chilton/Box Tops classic of the same name. I think she’d do a tidy version of that. Probably wouldn’t even change the “she” to “he”, the saucy androgynous sexpot.
Next up were the Kings of (Caer)Leon, and if you thought my recollection has been a tad on the sketchy side so far, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet, for events were about to overtake us. In between Peej and the Followill brothers, O’Keefe and I were sitting on the grass, more than a tad pissed, happily watching the world go by, when I suddenly heard O’Keefe say “Ey up, eyes right!”. I assumed he had spotted an attractive lady, looked round, and spying nobody I thought likely to have raised his dander, said “Nice was she?”.
“No”, he replied, “on the ground. There.” I looked down to my right, and was greeted by the totally unexpected site of a rather large bag of white powder, nestling in the grass next to me. “Someone just dropped it when they walked by”. Quick as a flash, it was scooped up and safely stashed in my rucksack.
Now. I am not about to condone any kind of drug use. And I am certainly not about to suggest to anyone that they, in the event they are presented with a similar scenario, should do anything other than hand the contraband it in to the relevant authorities.
That said, at this time in my life, well….let’s just say that I had a bit of a reputation to uphold, and there was therefore only one place the contents of that bag were going. One quick dab confirmed it was speed. Not my favourite, but what the heck. A few more dabs, and Kings of Leon were on stage (the two facts are not linked, though I probably thought they were at the time. I very much doubt that Will Followill peeked out from behind the stage curtain, spotted me, and said “Hold on guys, he’s only had a few dabs…let’s give him a few minutes, eh?”). What seemed to be just a few more dabs later and their set was over. They did “Molly’s Chambers”, apparently. We sang the new improved chorus.
A few (okay, a lot) dabs more, the bag was empty (I’m not going to pretend I consumed the whole bag, but I am going to confirm I consumed most of the bag, and that none of the other people from our gang mentioned in this post had any), and suddenly, Oasis were coming on (similarly, there was no curtain twitching by Bonehead).
Never mind all of these Frank adverts which are supposed to scare folks off drugs; the most effective way to achieve total global abstinence from all things narcotic would have been to have a video camera permanently trained on me throughout Oasis’ set, for if ever there was an example of someone being off their tits and thinking they were the funniest bloke on the planet, but actually being an annoying, tedious prick, it was me, then. I spent the entire set with my hands clasped behind my back, leaning forward into an imaginary microphone, doing dreadful, oh so dreadful, Liam impressions (“Is it my imaginaayyyy-shun….”…”sunnnshiiiine” etc etc you get the giste), and also, bizarrely, encouraging everyone round me to “gather round…sing along…you all know the words”, phrases I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say.
It was later reported to me that my flatmate Llyr, when realising what was going on (and more pertinently, what I was on), was heard to mutter “Okay, own up: who’s given him a whole bag of speed?” and, later “If he wasn’t my mate I’d have fucking chinned him by now” He would have been well within his rights to have done so.
Here’s the performance of Cigarettes and Alcohol. Thankfully, they were loud enough to drown me out (just).
Saturday arrived. More (understandably, given the above) vague memories of making my way through the crowd on The Other Stage during Keane’s set at precisely the moment they performed Somewhere Only We Know the only song by them that I’ve ever liked. The intended destination was The Pyramid for Scissor Sisters, who seemed to be just about everywhere at the time, their debut album churning out an endless supply of glam-camp sing ‘n’ frug along pop nuggets, pick of the batch being Take Your Mama Out
Lostprophets were next on the main stage; bearing in mind the name of this blog, and the despicable, depraved behaviour which led to their lead singer’s recent incarceration, I’m glad I didn’t hang around for them. Nope: back over to The Other Stage for My Morning Jacket and British Sea Power (I got nothing) followed by a quick pit stop before returning to The Pyramid for……. the Black Eyed Peas! I’m joking, but sadly not about them playing there, for there they played. No, I did not return to The Pyramid to see them (though I did have the misfortune of catching their last song or two) – the possibility of seeing Fergie soil her trackie bottoms on stage was not sufficient a draw for me (or drawers, haha see what I did there?). No, I was off to see the headliner, Paul “Fab Macca Wacky Thumbs Aloft” McCartney (readers of Smash Hits in the 1980s will appreciate how much I loved just typing that).
McCartney divided opinion in our gang even before he came on stage. We were split pretty much 50/50, with half of the group (some might say, the cooler, or perhaps just the younger ones) opting to go and see Basement Jaxx play The Other Stage, the rest of us electing to watch McCartney. My position on this is that it’s not often you get chance to see one of the Beatles play live these days (and Lord knows we’re not exactly blessed with choices about which of them to see now anyway), and there was no way I would ever pay to go see McCartney anywhere else, so since he’d been nice enough to turn up…well, it’d be rude not to, wouldn’t it?
His set was one of the most enjoyable couple of hours I’ve ever spent at Glastonbury, one massive sing-a-long as he bashed out hit after hit after hit; kicking off with Jet (a song which always reminds me of Alan Partridge), Live and Let Die, and also treating us to a remarkable version of Helter Skelter. I have a vague recollection of being told this was the first time he had played it live since the whole Manson Family she-bang back in the late 1960s. Even more remarkably, his set didn’t end with an overly long rendition of either Let it Be or Hey Jude.
Sunday began, as every Sunday should, with a performance of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie on The Pyramid, followed by, apparently, Joss Stone. This is another one of those occasions where my memory plays tricks on me, for in my head Goldie Lookin’ Chain were on next, but since I can find nothing to corroborate this, I’ll just have to accept that they weren’t. Or were they….? The Glasto 2004 booklet has a slot between the Opera and Stone listed as “tbc”, so maybe I have remembered that right. I know I didn’t sit through Joss Stone and her pseudo-American accent (although that was a few years away yet), but I do know that I sat through lashings of rain and Christy Moore who was on after her…so…oh, I just don’t know.
The early part of my afternoon was spent over at The Other Stage, watching Belle & Sebastian, a band I was only really just getting into, despite having bought The Boy With the Arab Strap a few years earlier after I was impressed by their whole internet voting to win a Brit award-thing. The weather until then had been pretty crappy, but mid-set the clouds parted and the sun made an appearance, along with a spectacular rainbow. It was one of those moments that ordinarily you’d find quite lovely, but at Glastonbury you find yourself grinning from ear to ear about, attributing the change in climate and improved spectacle purely to whoever was on the stage at the time. I’m reliably informed the mood was much the same over at The Pyramid, where Supergrass were playing instead of The Libertines. Any rumours that Pete Doherty had refused to play until someone located his missing bag of speed are completely unfounded.
Next: Morrissey at the Pyramid. Now I love The Smiths, and, despite buying pretty much everything he’s ever released since the split, I have to say I’ve always found his solo stuff somewhat lacking. Sure, there are highlights, but they are few and far between, generally restricted to a few great singles and the occasional album track rather than the utterly flawless output created by him and Johnny Marr (I am legally obliged to add “and by Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce too”; anyone who has ever read Morrissey’s biography cannot have failed to notice that the legal case which led to Joyce getting a large slice of royalties still sticks in Morrissey’s craw, so much space does it take up in the book). Live, Morrissey and his pub-rock backing band will often try and recapture some of those past glories; but just listen to their version of “The Headmaster Ritual” at the start of this five song snippet (also featuring “The First of the Gang to Die”, “The World is Full of Crushing Bores”, “Everyday is Like Sunday” and “Irish Blood, English Heart”): plod…..plod……plod…….. Be grateful I haven’t posted a link to them doing “This Charming Man”, one of the most splendid records ever committed to vinyl, but which they somehow manage to make sound like “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. The problem is that the band is lacking a certain spark, and the certain spark is someone who can play guitar like Johnny Marr, or preferably, the actual Johnny Marr.
Bringing things to a conclusion on The Pyramid were Muse, a band renowned for their astonishing stage shows. We, on the other hand, decided we would rather end the weekend over at The Other Stage where Orbital were performing what at the time was supposed to be their final ever appearance anywhere ever. The Hartnoll brothers have since got back together and even played Glastonbury again in 2010; however, believing this would be our last chance to ever see them, and being well aware of their entry into the annals of Glasto history following previous performances at the festival, the majority of us decided that’s where we wanted to be.
I say “the majority”, for there was one of our gang who most decidedly did not want to see Orbital, she wanted to see Muse, and took every possible opportunity to remind us that she wanted to see Muse, and that Muse were her favourite band and she really wanted to see them and they were supposed to be amazing and they were her favourite band and she really wanted to see them.
Now, I’m usually quite a laid back kind of chap. It takes a lot to get me riled. And even more to make me snap at someone, preferring to restrict airing my discontent to catty comments whispered to whoever happened to be standing nearest to me, like the true gentleman I am.
But by the time Orbital started, I snapped. I could make a case for mitigation in my defence: I was tired. It was raining. I was soaked. But the fact is, I’d just had enough of her whining, and, on hearing her announcing for the umpteenth time that she loved Muse, I found myself whirling round to vent: “Right. I’ve had enough of you now! We are not going to watch Muse. We are going to watch Orbital. If you don’t want to watch Orbital then Muse are playing over there, so either fuck off to watch them, or shut up and stay here!.”
I’m a real charmer when I lose my rag, that’s for sure.
Despite the whine and the rain, Orbital were amazing, treating us to Belfast (played surprisingly early in their set, possibly in an effort to get me to chill the fuck out), Satan (nuff said), Halcyon (one of my all time faves) and, inevitably, Chime
And so ended Glastonbury 2004. Well, not quite. The next day proved to be one of the most hellish in respect of actually trying to get out of the site, with traffic gridlocked for hour after hour after hour. Those of us heading back to Wales were luckiest, our minibus finally hitting the main roads some 4 hours after we had set off. Our London buddies were less fortunate, some of them still sitting in their car in the car park as night fell on the Monday.
But this delayed ending did provide one final moment of unutterable pleasure. We in the minibus had the radio tuned to Worthy FM, the radio station which broadcasts from somewhere deep within the bowels of the Eavis farm buildings throughout the festival. Our collective ears perked up as we heard a dedication coming out the speakers:
“And here’s a request from Gary and Meg, asking us to play “Molly’s Chambers” by…oh, it says the Kings of Caerleon here, that can’t be right…never mind…anyway, thanks from Gary and Meg to all of the Welsh gang for a wonderful weekend, and don’t forget: Bonnie Tyler has got your rissole. Er…ok. I’m not sure I understand that. Anyway, here’s the Kings of Leon and Molly’s Chambers“
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