A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

Slowly but surely, we edge through a review of my record collection in chronological order…

…and here we are in April 1986, where, as far as I can glean, this was the only single I purchased.

One of only two records I own by Big Country – the other being their debut album “The Crossing” – this turned out to be their biggest hit in the UK, reaching the giddy heights of #7.

Whoever was the band’s stylist at the time was clearly at loggerheads with the person responsible for the photo-shoot for the single sleeve:

Photographer: Let’s put them in a bleak, wind-swept, wintry scene. It captures their innate Scottishness, plus it’ll look like Big Country are part of the big countryside!

Stylist: But I’ve told the lads to turn up dressed as if they’re appearing on Miami Vice….

Photographer: Ah, it’ll be fine, people love a good juxtaposition.

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Big Country – Look Away

It was also around this time that I picked up an album originally released in 1981 and which, by July 2016, had gone platinum twenty times, sold 6,120,000 copies in the UK alone, and had become the biggest selling album in the UK. Ever. So before any of you decide to take the piss, chances are you’ve owned a copy of it at some time or other too.

But, in my book, it shouldn’t count as the Biggest Selling Album Ever, because it’s a Greatest Hits album. Compilation albums were excluded from the normal UK Album Charts in January 1989, and what is a Greatest Hits album if not a compilation of the biggest selling singles released by one artist?

Anyway, whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely an album, and one that I bought in April 1986, and I know that I bought it then because I was swotting up ready to go to my first ever gig later that year, a gig which featured both acts on the line-up. But more about that another time.

Until then, here’s a song which, in the wee small hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, when we’d both had a few too many, Hel and I would belt out together in our old flat:

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Queen – Somebody to Love

Now, if you don’t want to read something a bit soppy, I suggest that you…er…”look away” now: Hel and her long-term partner Neil recently announced they’re getting married next year. So it seems to me that if you sing a song often enough, it can come true. Congratulations, both.

More soon.

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The Chain #31

Okay, okay, I’m a little later than usual. My apologies. I seem to have developed some kind of Chain Tourette’s Syndrome this week, incapable of resisting posting an additional link or splurging out another suggestion. You’ll see.

Last week we ended with “Live Forever” by Oasis, and it’s fair to say the Mancunian siblings caused quite the difference in opinions between you, with some voicing “By and large and on the whole, all things considered… Oasis can piss off” and others “Can I start by saying that I bloody love Oasis?”

As usual, suggestions came from one of several broad categories, but where to start?

At the beginning, seems as good a place as any. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area to kick things off:

“Johnny Marr springs to mind (shared manager, guitar given by Johnny to Noel on which he wrote that song I think). Johnny Marr’s solo song ‘Upstarts’ from a couple of years ago was splendid, a comeback. And even though I don’t much like ’em, Oasis were upstarts for a while.”

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Johnny Marr – Upstarts

You can add the fact that Noel Gallagher joined Johnny on stage when I saw him at the Brixton Academy last year to that list of connections too, if you like.

Let’s use collaborations as the starting point to kick on with, and a second suggestion from Swiss Adam:

“Oasis recorded a song with another Johnny. Johnny Depp. Who was attached to Vanessa Paradis who had a hit with the strangely alright ‘Joe Le Taxi’.”

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Vanessa Paradis – Joe Le Taxi

Those of you who read the Comments section will know that prompted a big fat “Did they??” from Yours Truly. In fact, it turns out everyone’s favourite begrudgingly apologetic dog smuggler recorded with them twice, on “Fade In-Out” from “Be Here Now”, and on “Fade Away (Warchild Version)” from the 1995 “Help!” compilation album. In fact, anything with the word “Fade” in the title, and Depp was all over it like a tramp on chips.

He also, of course, plays guitar on this:

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Shane MacGowan & the Popes – That Woman’s Got Me Drinking

But I digress; back to Swiss Adam for his hat-trick of collaboration suggestions (even though his first one wasn’t really one):

“John Squire played with the Burnage numpties at Knebworth. And John Squire was in the Stone Roses without whom Oasis would never have existed. They could also never have written anything as trippy and light as Elephant Stone.”

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The Stone Roses – Elephant Stone

Continuing the theme, let’s shift from people who have played with Oasis, to acts that have featured one of the band (okay, let’s face it, Liam or Noel). Over to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Live Forever is considered by many as Liam’s greatest vocal recording. Although that’s harsh on ‘Little James’. Anyway Liam also contributes vocals to Echo and the Bunnymen’s wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. The irony of that was probably lost in him.”

Wonderful is damning this record with faint praise; I often dread a band I love reforming and releasing their new material, but Echo & The Bunnymen proved the exception to the rule with this:

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever

And of course, with “Forever” in the title, we have a double-linker! We’ll come back to more with a similar (okay, identical) link later on.

The mere mention of Liam gives me the opportunity to post this, from the “Live Forever” Britpop documentary, my favourite ever interview clip involving him, where he is asked if he feels he has an androgynous quality about him:

Anyway, another suggestion from me, this time featuring the other one-eyebrowed wonder. Noel Gallagher teamed up with The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando to record – but never officially release (hence the absence of a proper sleeve and the somewhat shonky sound quality) – this:

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Noel Gallagher & Evan Dando – Purple Parallelogram

What? There were people in Oasis other than Liam and Noel you say? Over to Rigid Digit from Stuff and Nonsense:

“Oasis’ bass player Paul McGuigan co-authored (with Paolo Hewitt) a book called ‘The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw’ about ex Reading and Cardiff City player Robin Friday.

A picture of Robin Friday “flicking the V” at the Luton Town goalkeeper was used on the cover of the Super Furry Animals ‘The Man Don’t Give A F**k'”

He certainly was:

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Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give A Fuck

And, since I’m going to see them next Friday at The Roundhouse perform not only their brilliant debut album “Fuzzy Logic” but also their even better follow-up album “Radiator”, here’s a bonus, a tune I’ve posted before, their epic 22:30 minute long live version from the Hammersmith Apollo, complete with Cian Ciaran’s techno wig out section:

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Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give a Fuck (Live Hammersmith Apollo)

Before I start posting nothing but Super Furry Animals records, it’s time for The Beard to perform an intervention:

“Oasis’ touring keyboardist was Jay Darlington from Britpop no-marks Kula Shaker [Don’t worry folks, he’s not going there]. Their lead singer Crispin Mills was the son of actress Hayley Mills. She starred in the film ‘Tiger Bay’ (alongside, I think, Sir John Mills?) [Correct!]. ‘Tiger Bay’ is also the name of Saint Etienne’s third album. ‘Like A Motorway’ from this album, please.”

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Saint Etienne – Like A Motorway

As usual, competition has been hot this week to come up with the Worst Record of the Week, and here’s The Great Gog with the first, which not only links to the Gallagher brothers, but also to the football team mentioned in The Official Chain link which led us here:

“…the brothers Gallagher support a certain team who are still in the Champions League (sorry, couldn’t resist!)…[*cough* 2-0, 2nd October 2016]…so, the ditty supposedly sung by the early ’70’s City squad, “The Boys In Blue” – although I can’t imagine that the likes of Franny Lee would have been that good at holding a tune.”

No need to imagine, GG, here they are, and let’s just say Franny was no Ossie Ardiles, either on the pitch or in the studio:

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Manchester City FC – Boys in Blue

I’ll be honest, I only posted that so I could bring your attention to the song-writing credits, which will probably seem familiar to many of you. Yes, Godley, Crème and Gouldman – three fifths of 10cc. The muso-nerds amongst you will know that 10cc get their name from the average male ejaculate. 10cc formed in 1972, the same year as “Boys in Blue” was released. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but you don’t need me to do it, you can fill in the wanks blanks.

Anyway, back to you GG:

“Also, there is of course, “Blue Moon” – of which there have been many versions, but as an early contender for Worst Song Of The Week, I’ll plump for Showaddywaddy’s version.”

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Showaddywaddy – Blue Moon

You have to feel a bit sorry for Showaddywaddy, surely the most unintentional casualty of the whole Operation Yew tree thing, for who amongst us didn’t used  to enjoy saying their name in the voice of a certain, dead, disgraced, BBC DJ, TV presenter and paedophile? And now even that simple joy has been taken away from us. I bet Eric Bristow does that impression still. (See, I’m nothing if not topical!)

Something a little more straight forward and less contentious next: here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Until I come up with something obscure I’ll go for an obvious one: ‘Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Mulduar’.”

As it happens, CC wasn’t the only one to suggest this record; step forward Kuttowski from A few good times in my life:

“The first thing that came on my mind was a song by Maria Muldaur. Midnight At The Oasis is one of these songs that accompanied me during the last decades. I really can’t explain why I can’t get this little folk/jazz tune out of my mind. Probably because it is just a good song.”

And here it is:

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Maria Muldaur – Midnight At The Oasis

Now, the more astute among you will have noticed a couple of references to Liam and Noel Gallagher so far. Here’s George to explain the link between these two fine gentlemen with the same surname:

“Oasis had the Gallagher brothers in them. And there are a plethora of bands that have brothers , so I will suggest Creedence Clearwater Revival (who featured two Fogertys) and ‘Born On The Bayou’.”

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou

Oooh- bands with siblings in them, can I play? Please pwetty please?

It seems to me that Scotland has more than its’ fair share of bloody marvellous musical talent, and quite a few music bloggers too, many of whom visit these pages, so this one’s for you, a much overlooked (until that bloody awful musical came out a few years ago; other than featuring the music of The Proclaimers, it has little to recommend it) and rather lovely tune:

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The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith

And, well, if we’re going to have one Scottish band with a couple of brothers called Reid, we’d better have the other one too (PS. Neil Reid was not one of them):

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The Jesus & Mary Chain – Cherry Came Too

Okay. Brace yourself. Here’s George with the winner of this week’s Worst Record of the Week award.

“Going from the Gallagher Brother to two sisters, those two in the Cheeky Girls (one of them married Lembit Opik) and, having consulted with my partner, their most famous song is called Cheeky Song, which I’ve just played. It’s rubbish.”

I do love the way that George always pretends not to know anything about his suggestions for Worst Record of The Week and tries to shift the blame over to his other half. We all know the truth, George, you’re fooling nobody.

Thank god neither of you have heard of Jedward, s’all I can say.

Oh, and a slight correction; Lembit Opik didn’t marry one of the Cheeky Girls, they were engaged but split up in 2008 after a “difficult period” in the relationship, which I think we can interpret as meaning “when he slept with the wrong sister”.

So, here’s what I’m sure will be the least clicked link of the week. I, on the other hand have had to listen to that more times when writing this blog than I had ever had the misfortune to hear it before (Twice).

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The Cheeky Girls – Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)

Look! There’s a Christmas Remix!! If you’re all very good boys and girls, I’ll see if I can find that and post it nearer the 25th. I bet it has some sleigh bells and probably a joke about pulling a Christmas Cracker.

Let’s get out of here, and have some simple songs which link to the word “Live”, the word “Forever”, or some derivative of either.

Time, then, to give the customary very warm Chain Gang welcome to first time contributor Martin from New Amusements (is that a Gene reference I espy, Martin…?):

“I’m going with living forever… having tinkered with synonyms (eternal and immortal) and come to unsatisfactory dead ends (anything by, er, Eternal, and Immortals by Fall Out Boy), I have instead decided to opt for the words “Electric word, life. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time.”

In other words, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Doubly fitting, as those Gallagher boys have been known to go crazy on the odd occasion…”

A classy suggestion, and just what the Doctor order after George let those pesky cheeky-ettes in:

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Prince & The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy

Whilst we’re on lyrical references, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“Oasis claim they’re gonna live forever. Irene Cara claimed likewise on “Fame”. To be fair to all involved, they’re not wrong *yet*.”

There’s still another month left of 2016, Alex. Plenty of time yet.

On the day or so before I write The Chain, I upload all of the songs onto a playlist on my iPod, and give them a listen as I commute to and from work, the idea being that a) I can check all of the mp3s sound okay, b) can get a rough idea of the running order, and c) hope I can think of something interesting or amusing to write about each tune. As I got to off the bus and walked to the office this morning, this tune came on:

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Irene Cara – Fame

I have to say, it put me in a really good mood for the start of the day. You should try it. The only disappointing thing about it was that when I got to the office, not one person was wearing a leotard or leggings, Doris wasn’t squawking “Hi Fidelity” by the water cooler, nor was Bruno attempting to play the photocopier like a piano. Still, can’t have everything.

Back, now, to The Great Gog, who before he started regaling us with Manchester City related awfulness, did actually suggest this:

“My first thought was to suggest another song with the words ‘live’ and ‘forever’ in the title: OMD – ‘(Forever) Live And Die’.”

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Forever Live and Die

Next, as Mark Morrison almost once said, it’s the Return of the Badger:

“But having gone down the forever route…other things can be forever as well. Like Polymers according to Future of the Left….”

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Future of the Left – Polymers Are Forever

“…and fucking if you listen to Babyshambles.” Which I don’t as a rule, but then I’ve listened to The Cheeky Girls twice, I may as well give Babyshambles a whirl:

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Babyshambles – Fuck Forever

Remember earlier we were talking about Oasis records that Johnny Depp had played on? Well here’s fun: that Warchild version of “Fade Away” also featured one time Pete Doherty muse Kate Moss giving it the full Linda McCartey on tambourine. What are the odds, eh?

Here’s George, who doesn’t seem even remotely apologetic for making me/us listen to The Cheeky Girls:

“…on the forever link, what about ‘Forever Came Today’ by Diana Ross and The Supremes?”

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Diana Ross & The Supremes – Forever Came Today

Time for some input from the fairer sex: here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Ok so The Cheeky Girls song may get the prize for the worst record of the week [there’s no “may” about it, it does] but here is another contender. “Forever and Ever” by that hirsute Greek, Demis Roussos. I always thought Neil Diamond (my choice from last week) was a very hirsute man back in the day with all that exposed chest hair, but nothing on Mr Roussos. Come to think of it the Gallagher Brothers are quite hirsute in the eyebrow department, them having only one an’ all. A double-link and a pattern forming here for me relating to hairy men!”

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Demis Roussos – Forever and Ever

Next to return for a second, and indeed a third, suggestion is kuttowski:

“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a live album by Bob Marley from back in 1980. So I suggest Burnin’ and Lootin’”

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Burnin’ and Lootin’

More from Kuttowski:

“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a documentary about the rise and fall of Brit Pop from the mid 90’s to their end. Pulp’s Common People with it’s wonderful lyrics became a signature to Brit Pop.”

Indeed, to my mind the anthem of Britpop, and a song kept from reaching Number One by Robson and Jerome, who also kept Oasis’s “Wonderwall” from the top slot.

Here’s the full length version from “Different Class”:

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Pulp – Common People

Time to hand over to Rol from My Top Ten for his musings of the week:

“First thought: Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever?

Which, if the question referred to the Oasis song, would lead to a resounding “Not me!” I appreciate that some people might feel the same about Queen, but quite frankly they would be, at best, misguided.”

I told you Oasis divided opinions, didn’t I?

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Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever

I’m not sure if it’s distasteful, ironic or entirely appropriate that this is posted just as we pass the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, but since I know Rol is a big fan of Queen (as opposed to a fan of big queens) I’ll go with the latter.

“‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’ comes from the soundtrack of the movie Highlander, which leads me naturally to a lovely early Billy Joel song called ‘Summer, Highland Falls.’ Hey, if we can show Neil Diamond love, Billy must get his too.”

A debate for another day, I think, but certainly one I’ll be backing you up on (up to a point):

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Billy Joel – Summer, Highland Falls

Now, amongst that, you mentioned Neil Diamond, didn’t you? Over to Charity Chic again:

“The by now obligatory Neil Diamond moment – ‘Forever in Blue Jeans'”:

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Neil Diamond – Forever in Blue Jeans

Phenomenal bit of work there, artist responsible for the design of the single sleeve.

“What’s next on the list?”

“Something called “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. Any ideas?”

“How about we just stick his face on some denim?”

“Perfect. Fancy a pint?”

Now this song reminds me of someone, a former flatmate of mine and Hel’s. This was his favourite record by Diamond. I mean, it’s okay but it’s no “I Am…I Said”, is it? Hell, it’s not even “Cracklin’ Rosie” or “Beautiful Noise”. This is one of the perils of house-sharing these days; you can interview them as much as you like, but you never know what people are really like until they move in. This guy was priceless.

He survived on a diet of pizza and pasta on alternating days, then tried to take the piss out of me for eating liking foreign food because I was eating Mexican one evening. His idea of eating pasta was to boil some water, add pasta, drain then add nothing but tomato ketchup. Once, he realised he had put too much water in the saucepan, so decided to empty some out – into the kitchen bin, rather than into the sink. He would eat packets of crisps and just drop the empty packets on the floor. We once found a half devoured bag of Doritos next to the toilet. A toilet which he refused to lift the seat of when he peed, and which he refused to flush before he left to go to work (after we had) of a morning, leaving a gorgeous odour to greet the first person home. He made several unwelcome passes at Hel, and made up an entirely fictitious girlfriend who he claimed worked on a leading TV soap opera, even though we did know someone who worked on the same show who categorically told us the girl didn’t exist. Oh, and he did a runner from the house in the middle of the day when we were at work, leaving me and Hel to cover his share of the household bills, and I suspect, liberating a large chunk of my vinyl – including all of The Smiths original Rough Trade album releases – as he went.

All of which might just about be forgivable were it not for one thing: he liked Kasabian.

Every possible opportunity he had, he would bang on about how awesome they were, and when one of their albums, I forget which, the one where they try and sound like Oasis meets the Stones meets “Rocks”-era Primal Scream probably, like that narrows it down, was voted Album of the Year by Q magazine, he bought a copy (of the magazine), and kept leaving it around the house, open at the relevant page, like we were going to go “Oh, well if Q says it’s the Album of the Year….”

And if it wasn’t Kasabian, it was bloody Mumford & Sons. I rest my case.

I mention all of this now, because one day he burst into the house, breathless with excitement, gushing “Jez…Jez…have you heard of Longpigs? Best…Britpop band…ever!”

Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Longpigs first album, “The Sun is Often Out”. And they gave us Richard Hawley, so for that we are of course grateful In fact, I can’t believe I’ve never posted anything by him – I’ll rectify that over the weekend.

But best Britpop band ever? C’mon…

Anyway, that leads me, in a very roundabout way indeed, to what I think is their finest moment. For if you do Live Forever, then surely it could be said that you go on and on…

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Longpigs – On and On

Ahem. Where were we?

Ah yes, back to Rol, I think:

“Final thought, on the subject of living forever (unless I have another thought)…

Ryan Adams (no B) – ‘Note To Self: Don’t Die’ …would be good advice for any budding immortals.”

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Ryan Adams – Note to Self Don’t Die

Another inadvertent double-linker there, as Mr B-less Adams also once covered Oasis’s “Wonderwall”, as did this lot:

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The Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

Remember when Worst Record of the Week used to be about posting the Cheesiest Record of the Week? Well, that would win, even if it’s deliberately so.

And, just take a look at that Radio 1 sticker that proudly adorns the front. It reads: “As First Heard on the Kevin Greening Show”. Surely I’m not alone in furrowing my brow and saying, “Sorry, who??” Perhaps his career was cut short precisely because it was his show that first played that.

Hang on, Rol’s thought of something else. Having convinced himself not to suggest something by Gallagher and Lyle, he came back with this:

“Oh, I just had a thought about the Gallagher & Lyle route that would lead to a semi-respectable song.

Gallagher & Lyle reminds me of Tate & Lyle.

Tate & Lyle make sugar.

So… Sugar – ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind'”

“Semi-respectable”?? That’s a fine record, and no mistake:

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Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind

“Please post the video so everyone can laugh at Bob Mould’s cardigan,” Rol concludes.

Okay, but I’m rather a partial to a nice cardy, so no sniggering:

Now, who haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

The B Side to ‘Live Forever’ was ‘Up in the Sky’ which is where according to Sugar you would find the City of Armenia.”

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Sugar – Armenia City in the Sky

…which is a cover of The Who track from “The Who Sell Out” of course. And Oasis covered The Who’s “My Generation” on their live album “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”. This week, more than any, we seem to be going round in circles and finding additional links.

“Alternatively,” SWC continues, “the complete opposite of live forever would be dying young so we could have ‘All Die Young’ by much missed Smith Westerns.”

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Smith Westerns – All Die Young

Or, for that matter, this, from the second Blondie album I ever bought as a kid (after I got “Best of Blondie”, but before “Parallel Lines”):

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Blondie – Die Young Stay Pretty

And one more from SWC:

“Live Forever was apparently inspired by ‘Shine a Light’ by The Rolling Stones so we could have that.”

Sure could:

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The Rolling Stones – Shine a Light

Next up, its The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“I’ll make a simple jump from Oasis to fellow Creation recording artists Swervedriver – ‘Rave Down’ please!”

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Swervedriver – Rave Down

I had totally forgotten how good that is, like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Doves.

Last suggestion of the week, and I’ve deliberately kept this one back til last. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of The Robster from Is This the Life? to wrap things up:

“Pre-Oasis, Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Post-Oasis, he formed the High Flying Birds. Therefore I offer ‘Flying Like A Bird’ from Inspiral Carpets’ self-titled comeback album from 2014. I’d also like to dedicate it to their drummer Craig Gill who passed away last week.”

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Inspiral Carpets – Flying Like a Bird

On which poignant note, all that is left for me to do is the admin bit. Here’s the link to the next record in The Official Chain, an underwhelming link as is so often the case, but a great record:

“Oasis used a leisure centre in Swindon as inspiration for their band name. Also from Swindon were…”

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31. XTC – The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

You know the drill by now; your suggestions for records that link to “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by XTC, along with a brief description as to how you got from one to the other, via the Comments section below.

See you next week, Chain Gang!

(More soon).

The Chain #27

Evening all.

Before we get going a disclaimer: if I seem a little distracted tonight, it’s because I’m trying to accomplish that task that so many (men) find difficult – multi-tasking. For tonight, whilst writing this, I am also watching Spurs in the Champions League. So, if my demeanour takes a turn for the worst towards the end, you’ll know why. (As you can see, I’m full of optimism….).

So, to business: last week I left you with “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and asked for your suggestions for songs to link to it, and, as usual, you’ve not let me down with the standard of suggestion or level of link.

As is often the case, the majority of the suggestions fell into the same categories, and this time there were four

  1. Links to the names of members of the bands
  2. Links to the word “Animal(s)”
  3. Links to the word “House”
  4. Links to…erm…the oldest profession in the world.

There are a few others which we’ll sprinkle liberally throughout the post too.

  1. Band Members Names

Now, you’ll remember that the reason we’re looking at “The House of the Rising Sun” was because one of the members of the band was Chas Chandler, who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix, the subject of last week’s post, so it only seems right that we start with a Chas related record.

Also, there wasn’t that much in the way of cheese last week; this redresses that immediately.

Over to you, Charity Chic (who is going to be annoyed that I have already started one sentence with the word “So”):

“Let’s get the cheesy one out the way at the start – Chas ‘n’ Dave with Snooker Loopy”:

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The Matchroom Mob with Chas & Dave – Snooker Loopy

Next up, is George:

“John Steel of The Animals met Alan Price in Byker. Byker Grove was a TV programme that gave us Ant and Dec…but we’ve already had Ant and Dec….I’ll start again…”

And have a word with yourself while you’re at it, George.  It was PJ and Duncan we previously featured, and as we all know, they were completely different to Ant and Dec. One of them had been tragically blinded in a bizarre paintballing accident, for a start. (“Bizarre Paintballing Accident” sounds like a suggestion from a random “New Order/Half Man Half Biscuit/Elvis Costello” title generator, doesn’t it? Actually, thinking about it, that joke works just as well with the words “New Order” and “Elvis Costello” removed from it.)

Over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad for the next name related piece of fun:

“Alan Price was in The Animals, therefore… “£20 To Get In” by Shut Up And Dance.” 

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Shut Up and Dance – ÂŁ20 to Get In

Time for my first suggestion of the week. Alan Price appeared in, and composed the music for, “O Lucky Man!”, a 1973 film directed by Lindsay Anderson. Five years earlier, Anderson released arguably his most iconic film, “if….” which is also the name of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling, but is also the name of a single culminates in a glorious sing-a-long, probably my favourite song by The Bluetones,  who make their hat-trick appearance here on The Chain.

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The Bluetones – if…

Now, here’s George with his first proper suggestion:

“Chas Chandler: a chandler was the person in charge of candles and wax, and speaking of wax leads to The Three Johns song Teenage Nightingales To Wax.”

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The Three Johns – Teenage Nightingales To Wax

But before George returns with his second suggestion, here’s Dirk from Sexyloser:

“In fact, George, it should lead to Nightmares In Wax’ ‘Black Leather’ instead, bearing in mind that Pete Burns died only a few days ago.”

A fair point. I didn’t comment or mark Burns’ passing here at the time because, well, to be honest, I’m all dead pop-starred out for this year. Still, here he is:

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Nightmares In Wax – Black Leather

Back to George for his third suggestion, not to a band member, but to their manager:

“The manager of The Animals was Mickie Most. Mickie Most set up the RAK label, and Hot Chocolate were signed to that label. And the song is Emma. Which is a fine, fine pop song.”

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Hot Chocolate – Emma

Last one for our linking band members names, and here’s The Beard:

“Alan Price had success after leaving The Animals with Simon Smith and The Amazing Dancing Bear which was also covered by The Muppets on their debut album.”

It was, and I very nearly posted their version (it’s by Scooter, which would have led to a lot of very disappointed fans of the German dance band accidentally stumbling across this place), but the Muppets will be making an appearance later, so we’ll pass on that.

Besides, I don’t think that’s the record our Bearded Buddy was looking to nominate, as he continues:

“Animal was, of course, the drum bashing Muppet. A similar sounding drummer is Philthy Animal Taylor from MotĂśrhead. Their single No Class is in fact pure class.

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Motorhead – No Class

Which leads us rather nicely onto the next category, but before we go there: we’ve all seen over the years boy bands exploit their innocent fan base by releasing a single which featured a different member of the band on the cover? Well, who knew that such acts weren’t just restricted to the teen market….?:

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Time to sprinkle a little uncategorisable magic dust. And some more shameless nicking of ideas.

I’ll let The Great Gog, who suggested it, take over:

“The Animals also recorded We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, which was covered by (lovable?) 90s Scousers, Space. A couple of decades earlier, a French band of the same name came to our attention with the then futuristic-sounding Magic Fly.”

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Space – Magic Fly

Take a look at that sleeve. Remind you of anyone? Seems a little bit daft, a little bit punk to me. And there was me thinking Daft Punk were ground-breaking, and it turns out they’re just rehashing ideas from their fellow countrymen from the 1970s. Luckily, very few of the UK’s current pop stars follow suit, or most of them would be in prison. Maybe that should be unluckily…

By the way, that suggestion continues a trend which I’ve encountered a couple of times since I started hosting The Chain, and which Alyson identified following my Halloween night post, a condition known as “Oh so that’s what that record’s called”. (see also “House of the King” by Focus and another one that I’ve forgotten already.)

Speaking of Focus, that hasn’t been an issue for me so far, it’s 0-0 at half time, in case you’re interested.

Last one before we start looking at the sings in the Animal(s) category, and here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun. Melt-Banana is a Japanese band who have quite a few songs that mention animals. They once released a compilation called 13 Hedgehogs which included tracks called Iguana In Trouble, Turtle vs. Bunny (Who One?) and Pig To Dog. But I’m going for the fabulously-titled Bird-Like Monkey in Cave, Singing in Drops, basically because it’s the only one of the above that breaches the 2-minute mark. (There’s also Bird-Like Monky Part 2 on the same album if you prefer – it’s just seven seconds long and for that reason might be a little more bearable for those with tender ears…)”

Regular readers will know I love Japanese bands like Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then. So when The Robster suggested this lot, who I’d never heard of before, I was positively moist with anticipation:

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Melt-Banana – Bird-Like Monkey In Cave, Singing In Drops

No offence, Rob, but that reminds me of this:

Let’s move on to some Animal based fun. Not that kind of fun. Purely aural fun. Not that kind of aural fun either, you mucky lot.

    2. Animals

You’ll remember that last week I had to disqualify one suggestion because, well, as far as I could establish, it was wrong. I was disappointed, as the link led to one of my favourite cover versions. I’m delighted to report that Swiss Adam from Bagging Area has taken up the challenge:

“The Animals are named after our four legged friends. On the cover of The Rockingbirds’ ‘Gradually Learning’ 12″ single the guitarist (who also plays with Edwyn Collins) is riding a horse (which is of course an animal). The Rockingbirds covered Right Said Fred’s Deeply Dippy….”

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The Rockingbirds – Deeply Dippy

“…which,” Swiss continues, “features several references to Spain in its lyrics. Spain is partly famous for its horses, as Roddy Frame noted.”

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Aztec Camera – Spanish Horses

Next, a very, very warm welcome back to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, now able to type and submit his own suggestions again, and boy does he make up for lost time:

“I have three suggestions, but you don’t need to pick all three.”

Need? No. Gonna? Yes.

“Animal was the drummer in the muppets, and it was also a track from on ‘Paradise Don’t Come Cheap’ by gravel voiced hip hoppers New Kingdom. So we could have that.”

Yes, we could.

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New Kingdom – Animal

“Or, ‘Animal Nitrate’ was a poor attempt at clever wordplay by Suede but a very fine single never the less. So that…”

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Suede – Animal Nitrate

“…or finally, and perhaps best of all, another word for a bunch of animals could be Animal Collective and therefore we probably need to hear ‘Brother Sport’ by them.”

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Animal Collective – Brother Sport

And just as I finish posting my fellow Spurs’ fan Badger’s entries, we go 0-1 down. Ho hum.

Time for the return of The Robster:

“The mentions of Animal the muppet reminds me that the Muppets appeared in the video for Weezer’s ‘Keep Fishin’” in which Miss Piggy kidnaps Pat, Weezer’s drummer, and Animal has to fill in.”

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Weezer – Keep Fishin’

I can’t really let the chance to post a Weezer’s videos slide, especially when it features the Muppets:

Which leads me on to my next choice. There’s plenty of songs called “Animal”. I have deliberately picked one of the worst.

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Def Leppard – Animal

That’s enough Animal based shenanigans. To category 3!

      3. House

Plenty of these, and I am now taking no notice of the television, treating it like you do the nutter on the bus, or any one you don’t know on the Tube: ignore it, maybe it’ll go away.

Here’s SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything to kick things off:

“I’m going to down the house route. Just saying. Not sure in which direction that will take me yet. Probably ‘Rock Da House’ by who ever did that. Or ‘The Jack that House Built’”. Perhaps.”

Since I’m trying to distract myself from the football (I can’t just turn it off, obviously), you can have both whilst you think about it:

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The Beatmasters feat The Cookie Crew – Rok Da House

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Jack ‘N’ Chill – The Jack That House Built

Which must mean it’s my turn again. This, a song I have posted before, a long time ago, is one of the finest, most often-forgotten singles from the early 1980s:

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Big Sound Authority – This House

Seems there weren’t as many of these as I thought, for here’s SWC again, although he does have two for us:

“My suggestion based on…an hour rifling through old copies of ‘Deep Heat’ is ‘Hip House’ by DJ Fast Eddie…”:

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DJ Fast Eddie – Hip House

“…If you can’t find that then probably House of Jealous Lovers by The Rapture.”

More than happy to post that, one of the grooviest indie records to come out in the last…Jesus, was this thirteen years ago????

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The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

So more sprinkles. Here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Eric Burdon always looked grumpy whenever I saw him perform or in photographs. Decided it was maybe because he was also moonlighting as an ironmonger (the jackets in the HOTSR cover are just like those worn in our local shop when I was a youngster). Whenever your dad asked them for anything in the shop it was never on a shelf and they always had to go upstairs to the storeroom for it. Led me to thinking of Upstairs at Eric’s by Yazoo and I think my favourite from that album was Don’t Go.”

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Yazoo – Don’t Go

For our American readers, that’s Yazz to you, which must have been very confusing when the other Yazz and her Plastic Population appeared a few years later.

Hold up, The Robster’s back, and he’s only going to suggest something else by Melt-Banana….:

“I’ve reassessed my choice of Melt-Banana track and thought maybe we should have something that vaguely resembles a song. Which led me to another compilation the band released called Return Of 13 Hedgehogs. It contained their cover of Toots & The Maytals’ ‘Monkey Man’. Certainly a mite more tuneful than ‘Bird-Like Monkey…’”

Remember earlier when I said I liked Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then? Well it turns out that Melt-Banana do too, it’s just they’ve stumbled over one that isn’t one of their own:

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Melt-Banana – Monkey Man

And on to the fourth and final category:

     4. The Oldest Profession in the World

You don’t need me to explain what that means, do you? You do? Erm, can you have a bash Charity Chic?

“The House of the Rising Sun was a place of ill repute. I’m told that such establishments are also known as brothels or bordellos.  So ‘Start Wearing Purple’ by Gogol Bordello please!”

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Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple

It’s funny how the menfolk who make suggestions here tend to feign ignorance when it comes to “being told” what kind of house is being described in The House of the Rising Sun. Take Dirk for example:

“Alright, apparently [see? – Ed] said house in the song really seems to be a brothel, a bagnio, a bordello, or, if you’d rather, a whorehouse. And this reminds me of Wreckless Eric’s ‘Semaphore Signals’. “Why’s this?”, you might be asking yourself – and quite rightly so! The truth of the matter is that for years and years I misheard the lyrics of ‘Semaphore Signals’ a little bit (blame it on my poor English, but hey – could you Englanders sing along to all of Tocotronic’s fantastic debut album? Nah, I bet your German is not good enough, right? I can though!). Either way, it was an embarrassing moment when I finally found out, albeit 15 years or so too late, that Eric says in the chorus “Messages of love down to her house” and not “Messages of love from the whorehouse”.

Still, he should have done. Perhaps. ‘Cos, whenever the tune comes up in the car when I’m on me way to work in the morning these days, I have a picture in my brain of half naked hookers waving little flags … and it always brings a stupid grin to my face!

P.S.: the Peel-Session version is marginally better than the album version.”

Mental note to self: stay off of the autobahn in the morning.

Here’s the Peel Session version, complete with a sleeve where Wreckless Eric’s name has inexplicably been mis-spelt (it’s entirely possible it’s a different Wreckless Erik, but there’s can’t be two, can there?):

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Wreckless Eric – Semaphore Signals (Peel Session)

Guys, guys…just because you know what a brothel is, it doesn’t mean you’ve been to one. Have a bit more pride on your knowledge.

Take kuttowski AKA Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life, for example, back for a second week and he’s not messing about:

“The fact that in this house the oldest profession was practiced it leads me to two songs about prostitution.” There. He’s said it. “First was Blondie’s X-Offender where she first played with her sexual attitude in front of the band.”

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Blondie – X Offender

What’s the other one, kottowski/Walter?

“The other one is ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen. Mercury made no bones about the song’s meaning, explaining, ‘It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation on it’.”

We don’t really need to bother, now you’ve told us, do we Freddie?

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Queen – Killer Queen

Time that we heard from Rol of My Top Ten fame:

“Sticking with the brothel theme, I have two suggestions this week. (Both taken from My Top Ten Prostitute Songs, sorry.)

Elvis Costello – Love For Sale (or the Nina Simone version, if you prefer). Cole Porter rules.”

Now. I have looked everywhere for a copy of Nina Simone performing “Love for Sale”. I can’t find it, or any reference it. But rather than disqualifying a suggestion for the second week running, and in the unlikely event that you may have just got them mixed up somehow, you can have Billie Holliday’s version instead:

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Billie Holiday – Love For Sale

PS – Rol, if you can point me in the direction of Nina’s version, I’d love to hear it!

Luckily, there can be no confusion about who his next suggestion is by:

“Flight of the Conchords – You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute (Sting has a lot to answer for.)”

There’s a further Muppet link here, too of course: Bret McKenzie won an the Best Original Song Oscar for “Man or Muppet” from their (the Muppets, not the Flights) 2011 comeback move.

Anyway, taken from, shall we say, their difficult second album, which in my opinion is patchy at best (the first album is essential listening), this is one of the better tracks:

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Flight of the Conchords – You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute

Which just about wraps it up for the prostitution related songs, except, well just in case you don’t get the Sting reference, I found this when I was trying to track down the Nina Simone version of Love for Sale:

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Idina Menzel – Love For Sale/Roxanne

Now, I have no idea who Idina Menzel is, or rather I didn’t until I decided to add her to this post. She’s an actress, best know for appearing in “Glee” and more recently for being Queen Elsa in “Frozen” which apparently means it is her that sings that “Let it Go” song which seems to get referenced everywhere these days, but which I’ve never heard, nor do I ever want to, thanks very much.

Anyway, the reason I’ve included her version is for the audience reaction, which at the start of “Love for Sale”, a Cole Porter composition, is absolutely nothing, before a smattering of applause and whooping (it’s recorded in America) welcomes the second line of “Roxanne”, like the crowd have been stirred from their slumber by something they kinda recognise.

Oh, wait. I have one more song from this theme. As regular readers know, I love this band, particularly their early stuff, and this is a song which is right up there amongst my favourite ever tunes by them. Wikipedia says the song “concerns a young man’s encounter with a prostitute”, which explains why they called it “Mystery Song”. Although “Song Concerning a Young Man’s Encounter with a Prostitute” would have been a great title too, should Colorblind James Experience ever decide to cover it.

Anyway, put simply, this rocks, it rocks more than anything else on this page. So there.

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Status Quo – Mystery Song

Incidentally, there’s a vaguely amusing story behind that song. That came out in 1976, when the band were at the height of their fame, and also well on the road to the drug addiction which made lead singer Francis Rossi’s septum fall out. When they were in the studio working on their “Blue For You” album, Rossi laced Rick Parfitt’s cup of tea with “an inordinate amount” of speed, not expecting him to drink it. You can work out how the rest of the story goes: he drank the lot, oblivious to the contents, began playing this riff and continued to do so until the rest of them left the studio, leaving him in there all night. On their return the following day, he was still sitting in the same place, playing the same riff, some twelve hours later. “I just couldn’t go wrong,” Parfitt recalls, “everywhere my fingers went on the fretboard it sounded fantastic.” Drugs, see kids. Don’t do them. Especially speed. Anyone who has read my article about what happened at Glastonbury the year I found a bag of the stuff will know I know exactly what I’m talking about.

Okay we’re on the home straight now, just some more sprinkles of magic dust to go, and to start off this final section, can we all give a very warm Chain Gang welcome to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense (and anyone with a picture of Rigsby as their avatar is alright by me):

“Approaching his 50th Birthday, John Otway asked his fans for a second hit single to follow 1977s “Really Free”. The chosen track – Bunsen Burner – nicked the music from Disco Inferno, and Otway fashioned a lyric after helping with his daughters chemistry homework. The link to House Of The Rising Sun? HOTRS was the B-Side (or second track on CD single) – the track featured 900 fans (all credited on the record sleeve) in a glorious ‘call and response'”

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John Otway – Bunsen Burner

And since Rigid mentioned B-Sides, here’s The Swede from Unthough of, though, somehow with something which is as far removed from Otway as one could get:

“The b-side of ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ was a cover of ‘Talkin’ ’bout You’. I’d like to suggest the Ray Charles original.”

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Ray Charles – Talkin’ ‘Bout You

Here’s The Beard, back for a second stab:

“Can I have another go, please? Ta. Be warned, this one is more than a little convoluted…”

Excellent. The Beard’s links are becoming my favourite links here each week, if not for the songs, then the reason he gives. As close to Comment Showboating as anyone has managed this week (apart from my quite brilliant even if I do say so myself link to The Bluetones). Time for the rest of you to up your game, I think.

“The Rising Sun is a pub on Beverley Road in Hull. Grafton Street is a thoroughfare, one end of which comes out on Beverley Road. Down Grafton Street is The Grafton, the pub where the video for Happy Hour by The Housemartins was filmed. Phill Jupitus appears in the video. He was also a captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Howard Devoto left Buzzcocks to form Magazine. A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine is fanruddytastic.”

Ain’t that the truth:

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Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards

And that would be that, had The Beard’s suggestion not prompted a couple of further ideas from Rol, which I’ll allow, as they’re the next step on a couple of references The Beard makes. Plus, Rol is as brief as brief can be (although, just to be contrary, I’m posting them in the different order to suggested, just because his first suggestion sounds more like an end of the show track than his second to me):

“1.”

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The National – The Geese Of Beverly Road

and

“2.”

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The Beautiful South – The Rising Up of Grafton Street

Which means all that’s left is to reveal the next song in the official Chain, and the reason behind it, and see if we all go “Well, mine was better than that….” as we do most weeks:

So: here’s the reason:

“…The House of the Rising Sun was in New Orleans. And Dr John comes from New Orleans, therefore…”

…this is the song:

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27. Dr. John – Such A Night

Well, mine were way…oh, okay fair enough.

So folks, let me have your suggestions of songs which link to Such a Night by Dr John via the Comments page below, along with a description of how you have linked from one t’other.

See you next week, if not before.

More soon.

1985 and All That

“More soon. Better soon. No really, I promise.”

Sometimes things I write come back to haunt me. Last time I wrote anything in this thread, it was the words above.

And then I checked to see what records that I bought in 1985  I still had to write about.

Ah.

Can I pretend I was talking about records I bought in 1986? No? Fair enough.

OK, let’s try and get through these then.

You know how stand-up comedians often talk of terrible gigs they played when they started out, before they found “their voice”? Well, that pretty much sums up the mish-mash of records that I’m going to post today: I hadn’t quite found my voice, my style just yet, and that’s as close as I’m going to get to justifying some of these.

So, first, one which proves that I was still a little easily-led. When I was 15, and for a few years beforehand, many of my friends were into bands like Pink Floyd and Rush. I bought into the first to an extent – I’ve talked about ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ on these pages before, and that remains the only record by them that I own a physical copy of – but I never fell for the ‘charms’ of Canadian rockers Rush at all.

But there was another band that loomed large amongst my peers, who I never really liked all that much, but who managed to score a couple of hits in 1985, the first of which I still quite like but didn’t buy, and the second which I did buy but don’t think I’ve played more than once or twice since:

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Marillion – Lavender

That sleeve really tells you all you need to know about that record, doesn’t it?

Well, not quite. Marillion’s lead singer was called Fish. He chose that name because he thought it to be less ridiculous than his real name. Which was Derek Dick. So he had a point.

Moving swiftly on then, a record which I seem to remember a girl at school giving to me as a birthday present. I have no idea why she did that. I don’t recall ever saying I particularly liked it, and I don’t recall she and I ever being particularly great friends. Friendly, sure, but not friendly enough for birthday gifts. Maybe I’d mentioned it in passing and she decided to present me with it thinking I would be grateful, maybe I’d mentioned in in passing and she decided to present me with it knowing it would piss me off to actually own it. (In case any of you are now hollering “Maybe she fancied you, you idiot!” at your screen/tablet/phone, well I can rule that out, for she only ever had eyes for wrong ‘uns, and no amount of shoplifting white socks would have made me a wrong ‘un). So, I have no idea. All I know is that I not only own this, but also that it has inexplicably survived my lean years, when records that I genuinely loved were ruthlessly stripped from within my vinyl collection to assist me in the purchase of some unloved trinket or other:

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 Red Box – Lean on Me

I do hope that everyone of you is saying “Aye” right now, as requested.

There was still the occasional purchase from Britannia Music going on at this time, including this, which was actually released two years earlier in 1983, but which I bought through choice rather than one of their “Tick This Box and Send the Card Back if You Don’t Want This Record” scam. I have no qualms at all about owning this album; Elton John has been around for such a long time that I think tucked away somewhere in his back catalogue there’s at least one song that everyone loves, be it “Your Song”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Passengers” (God help you if that’s yours) or this, from the album in question, “Too Low For Zero”, which still has me singing along like nobody can hear me (although they can, they definitely can, as the guy who used to live in the flat above us in Cardiff once kindly pointed out to me) when I’ve had a few:

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Elton John – I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues

Of course, in 1985, Live Aid happened. I’ve already mentioned this in passing before, and besides, as I think I mentioned last time, I can’t really compete with the wonderful post over at Any Major Dude With Half a Heart from the 30th anniversary of the gig, which I would thoroughly recommend you go read, here.

The cynics amongst us – okay, including me – whilst applauding the honourable intentions of all those involved, couldn’t help but notice that appearing at either the UK or the USA concert (or both, as Phil Collins did when he famously got Concorde across the pond, thus leaving the sort of carbon footprint that required Live8 to happen years later), not only scored them bonus points for caring, or appearing to care, about world issues, it also had a seriously positive effect on their record sales.

None more so, than Queen.

In November, they released this single, often thought to have been inspired by the event of Live Aid, the lyrics to which, in drummer Roger Taylor’s own words, were “sort of half nicked off Martin Luther King’s famous speech”:

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Queen – One Vision

That’s Queen, who lest we forget, were roundly criticised for playing a run of shows at Sun City, the entertainment complex located in Bophutswana, despite the United Nations cultural boycott of South Africa whilst apartheid remained in situ.

But let’s not go off on another rant again, eh?

Queen were of course not the only act to appear at Live Aid to monopolise on their appearance. Precisely two months before Live Aid, Dire Straits released their “Brothers in Arms” album, which of course went on to claim a position in the Top 10 Best-Selling UK albums ever that as far as I can find, they still hold today (Number One? Queen’s “Greatest Hits”, natch). I by now was working my way through The Straits’ back catalogue as fast as my money would allow me, and next on the list was 1980s “Making Movies”.

Now I know that the mere mention of Dire Straits makes many of you reach for that little X in the corner that closes the window, but indulge me for a moment. For whilst “Brothers in Arms” may have been the album that made them all their bucks (helped in no small part by a coincidental correlation with CD sales taking off), if I were to look over their back catalogue, they were already past their best, with their absolute peak having been “Making Movies”. It’s an album I still own, and play semi-regularly today, mostly because of this:

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Dire Straits – Romeo & Juliet

When I was a kid, I was mildly obsessed with “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, a science fiction/comedy series, written by the late, great Douglas Adams, which first aired on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, but has been repeated many times since. In 1982, my brother recorded them all onto a series of C-60 cassettes, which he created sleeves for, little doodles, drawing and sketches of characters and scenes from the episodes contained within. (I know it was 1982 because there was an odd amount of episodes, which meant the second side of the last cassette was blank, a situation he resolved by recording songs from the Top 40 one week, one of which was Quo’s version of Tom Jones’ “Something ‘Bout You Baby”. Don’t fret, I’m not going to post it.)

Anyway, the radio series spawned a television version, a five book trilogy (The final one, “Mostly Harmless” came with the words “The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named ‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ trilogy” written on the front), and much, much later, a film version.

There were also novelty singles (“Marvin the Paranoid Android” by…erm…Marvin, The Paranoid Android – and fret not, I’m not posting that either), a stage show or three, not forgetting that Adams’ creative brilliance inspired the names of musicians (see: Level 42), and of course Radiohead, who named their biggest single, “Paranoid Android”, after the aforementioned character.

Oh go on then, I’ll play one of those three:

Why am I prattling on about Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I hear you feel obliged to ask.  Well, because in the fourth of the inaccurately named trilogy, “So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish”, Adams write this:

“Arthur put Dire Straits on the stereo…Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer – which is not strictly relevant at this point since the record hadn’t yet got to that bit, but there will be too much else going on when it does…so it seems best to mention it now while things are still moving slowly”

A page later, he writes:

“She moved forward, put her arms round and kissed him, because the record had got to that bit which, if you knew the record, you would know made it impossible not to do this.”

I had always assumed, wrongly I find as I came to research this post, that Adams was talking about “Romeo & Juliet” when he wrote that, but it transpires he was actually referring to a different track from “Making Movies”, one which opens the album with an arrangement of the “Carousel Waltz” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel”. This song, in fact:

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Dire Straits – Tunnel of Love

Say what you like about Dire Straits, they knew how to press home a concept on minimalist sleeve art. “Making Movies” is identical to the two above (but with the words “Making Movies” replacing the words “Romeo & Juliet” and “Tunnel of Love”, obviously).

If Peter Saville had done something similar with the sleeves of all the Factory Records releases, we’d all be hailing them as works of art. But as this is Dire Straits, and thus already on minus cool points, we’ve never heard of the bloke responsible for the original design and artwork. (A chap called Neil Terk, in case you’re interested. Brexiters are hoping he won’t gain access to our country.)

Which leaves me with just two other singles that I bought in 1985 to write about, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

These last two also come from the same band, a band who had already reincarnated from Southern Death Cult, to Death Cult, to The Cult, their sound spiralling to a more and more accessible version of Goth, and following the success they found with their “Love” album,, they changed once more, unleashing a full metal racket upon us (which I also loved).

But before that, following the release of “Love” and “She Sells Sanctuary”, which I’ve written about and posted previously, by the end of 1985, there were two more singles, both of which I bought on gatefold double 7″ format. I don’t think I’ve ever played anything other than the A side of either of them, which makes me think that it was around now that I was beginning to turn into the fully fledged, must collect everything, music nerd you see before you today.

So, here, to round things off for 1985 (as far as I can work out, that’s covered everything I bought, borrowed or stole), are two singles by The Cult, both of which seem to sum up Britain right now. And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter:

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 The Cult – Rain

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 The Cult – Revolution

You’d think they’d have edited out the occasion that lead singer Ian Astbury comes in a bar too early for the “There’s a revolution” refrain, wouldn’t you? Can you spot it, readers?

More soon. Better soon. No really, I promise.

Oh, shut up, mun.

How To Do a Cover Version

Having watched this year’s Eurovision Song Contest from Sweden, and thoroughly enjoyed it thanks to watching it in conjunction with Twitter for the first time, I thought it might be appropriate to post a rather fun, Swedish, take on this classic rock song:

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Queen – Killer Queen

In fact, this one, by a Swedish chap:

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FreddeGredde – Killer Queen

What’s even more fun, is the video that accompanies it. Pick one Fredde, watch him, then play it again and pick another one:

Love that.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

For the past seven days, I have been picking out songs for this week’s Friday Night shenanigans, popping them into an order that felt right, and trying to think of something vaguely amusing to say about them.

But then on Thursday, I got some news which made me change this week’s theme entirely.

So, here are this week’s tunes; the tunes I intended to post this week would be next week, but I have next week’s planned already, so the original ones from this week won’t feature next week, but the week after that, unless anything happens in the next couple of weeks that makes this week’s get postponed for another week.

Everybody clear about that?

Ok, so this week’s theme is…well, let’s see if you can work it out. And please don’t write in, it’s just for fun. Nor is it particularly tricky.

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177. Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride

In case you were wondering, this is not the version used on the “Reservoir Dogs” soundtrack; that’s a cover version recorded by Nashville  group “Bedlam” who certainly sound scary, don’t they readers? I bet they have a “You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Helps!” sign on their studio wall.

By the way, have you ever noticed – and I do not claim to be the first person to have ever pointed this out – that the traditional depiction of a magic carpet, is not a carpet, but a rug?

Look:

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That’s a rug, that is. It’s got tassles on the corners!

Mind you, apart from the historical precedent that had been set,  I can see why Disney continued to refer to it as a carpet in their 1992 film Aladdin: too many references to rugs might have put Elton John off writing the songs for The Lion King.

Now who are these shifty looking chaps peeking out from behind some trees? It’s only blimming 60s rock pioneers and runners-up in the 1968 “World’s Worst Hide ‘n’ Seekers” Creedence Clearwater Revival, that’s who:

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178. Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Put a Spell on You

Have you got it yet? Okay, well let’s have another tune then. You’ll like this one. Not a lot, but you’ll like it. Here’s another load of hunks:

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179. Focus – Hocus Pocus

Yes, that was some proper yodelling you just heard there.

When I used to go clubbing, a mate of mine was into his progressive house music big time. At some point or another he heard the term “progressive rock” and was curious, so he asked me if I knew any bands he should check out. I mentioned “Yes” and “E.L.P.” which drew a blank look. Well, Dum Dum, if you’re reading this, that was prog 1970s style. I do hope you didn’t waste any money.

Moving on to 1982 now, and a song which I seem to remember used to get this 12 year old boy a little bit hot and bothered when the video came on Top of The Pops:

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180. The Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Looking at it now, I have no idea why:

I think it’s the line about “silk and satin, leather and lace, black panties with an angel’s face” that made me blush so. And if you think that’s rather lame, you should have seen the state I was in a year earlier when this was a hit:

Girls did not look like that in my class, that’s for sure. I might have turned up a bit more often if they had.

Anyway, I digress. The more astute of you will have noticed a magical theme through the songs so far, and that’s because here in the UK, 2016 claimed another celebrity from my childhood with the death of TV magician Paul Daniels.

When I was a kid in the late 1970s and early 1980s Daniels was everywhere: he had his own magic show on BBC1; hosted several game shows, and even had a children’s show called “Wizbit”.

It struck me recently, in a particularly dark moment, that one of the reasons so many popular entertainers from my youth have died recently is because I’m no spring chicken anymore either, and since they were generally about 30 years older than me back then…well, it’s hardly surprising. Yeh, I know, bleak, right?

Anyway, in his later, post-regular-TV-appearance years, Daniels became a bit of a figure of fun, a relic of those light entertainment shows from the period which had been banished from the TV listings by alternative comedy, by satellite and cable, by the mass media’s lustful craving for something a little saucier than he and the lovely Debbie Magee could ever produce. I always found that a little sad and distasteful, especially as he always seemed to take it all on the chin, and even play up to it to a degree. He’d made his fortune and got out while the going was good, what did he care?

But I come here not to bury him but to praise him. He always seemed a good egg to me (although it was pretty funny when he was hospitalised after Sooty hit him in the face with a pizza. True story. Shouldn’t laugh but…could an anecdote be any more 70s children’s entertainment?) and he was a genuine influence on my life, albeit briefly; I tried to take up magic in my youth, buying a pack of Paul Daniels Playing Cards and a book of card tricks, which I think I gave up on after a couple of weeks of realising I couldn’t even shuffle the bloody things properly.

So when the news of his death broke on Thursday, I was genuinely saddened and decided to dedicate tonight’s Music Club to him, and dig out a few tunes with a somewhat magical quality.

And here we are. Shall we continue?

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181. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic

Surely, somewhere, there must be a 60s-themed bistro called “The Lovin’ Spoonful”, right?

I’m absolutely gutted that I posted Super Furry Animals “God Show Me Magic” on here a couple of weeks ago, or that would be in this list. As it is, here’s a couple that I can’t really avoid posting:

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182. Queen – A Kind Of Magic

From one of their most commercially successful albums, which, coincidentally, was released the year after their iconic performance at Live Aid (I’m sure those two facts are in no way linked) this to my mind marked the end of Queen’s final purple patch. The next album, although yielding a Number One single in “Innuendo”, also saw them writing songs about being an Invisible Man (something it’s very hard to imagine Freddie Mercury ever being – and yes I know Roger Taylor penned that one, no need to tell me) and twatting about on top of steam trains at the Nene Valley Railway (near my childhood home) in the “Breakthru” video. Mind you, they probably had more pressing matters on their minds at the time…

Ok, here’s another one I can’t really avoid:

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183. Take That – Could It Be Magic

Count yourself lucky I didn’t post the Barry Manilow version.

Time for a factoid: did you know Manilow nicked the chord progression for this from Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20? Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Maybe he didn’t write the songs that make the whole world sing after all.

One more blindingly obvious one:

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184. Pilot – Magic

What finer recommendation do you need for a song than that it was included on the soundtrack of “Happy Gilmore”? So I’m told, anyway. I wouldn’t know. Never seen it. Might be a very funny film, though I somewhat doubt it.

“Happy Gilmore” stars Adam Sandler, so I will never watch it. My default setting when it comes to Sandler is “Avoid”.

Though I have seen “The Wedding Singer”, but that had Billy Idol in it, which just about saved it.

Something a tad more contemporary now. From their third album “Bruiser”, and the main track  on their 2010 “Kusama EP”, the much under-rated:

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185. The Duke Spirit – Everybody’s Under Your Spell

That’s pretty bloody great, isn’t it? The greatest thing to come out of Cheltenham, easily surpassing “The Races” and the recent lower league footballers pissing into a pint glass and pouring it over a balcony controversy. Worst apology ever, by the way.

The Duke Spirit’s fourth album “Kin” is out in April, and I cannot wait. But I’ll have to. Stay with me til then, won’t you?

In 2007, frustrated by their record label’s decision to basically ignore their “Twilight of the Innocents” album, Ash started describing it as their “final album” and made it known that henceforth they would be eschewing the album format. This sparked many a rumour that the band was about to split; instead they began releasing a series of singles, a new one every fortnight between October 2009 until September 2010 on 7″ vinyl and digital download only. That’s 26 singles in total (take that, The Wedding Present, with your feeble 12 singles in one year!), one for each letter of the alphabet, hence the whole lot being released on two…erm…albums, pithily called “A- Z Series Volumes 1 & 2”.

This was the first, and watch out, it has one fuck of a bassline:

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186. Ash – Return of White Rabbit

Scooting along now:

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187. The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

I was hoping to track down a clip of when they walked off Top of the Pops after host Richard Bacon introduced them as a band that had been put in a “fat melting pot of talent”, but apparently it was in the rehearsals so there is no footage. Ho hum.  Bacon is said to have tried to apologise and claimed he was referring to their status, not their appearance. Course you were, Richard. Course you were. And you only did the one line of coke too, right?

Next, a band who’ve never really made it big over here in the UK, which is a shame, for they made some really great power pop records in their time. This is from their 1977 album “In Color” (that’s not a typo, they’re American, that’s how they spell “colour”):

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188. Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me

As usual, I seem to have gone on a bit longer than I intended again, so just two more to go.

I was going to post Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “Magician’s Assistant” but then I listened to it and remembered just how depressing it is, being about self-harm and suicide and all, so I decided against it. But the mere allusion (or should that be “illusion”? Ha, see what I did there?) to the lovely Debbie McGee allows me to post this classic TV moment:

And yes, that’s Peter Hook playing the walk-on music.

Hands up who want to hear Kelis? Very well. This is from her third album “Tasty”, the follow-up single to 2003’s “Milkshake”, when she was in full-on saucepot mode:

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189. Kelis – Trick Me

And if my recollection is correct, then chapeau to legendary pork-swordsman Jamie Theakston…

Finally, we go out where we came in:

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190. Mighty Dub Katz – Magic Carpet Ride

…who as I’m sure you know is actually Norman Cook in one of his many chart-busting guises.

And that’s yer lot, as they say.

Next Friday night I’ll be watching Underworld at The Roundhouse; it’ll be the first time I’ve ever managed to see them (quite how I’ve avoided them all these years is beyond me), so next week expect to see me trying to pretend I know something about dance music, other than tunes which I got out of my tree to back in my clubbing days.

Or to put it another way: More soon.