The Chain #30

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”:

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Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart

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:”

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Elkie Brooks – Pearl’s a Singer

And he’s still not done:

“And I now also have to link to ‘Pearl’s Girl’ from Underworld.”

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Underworld – Pearl’s Girl

“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’.”

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Vinegar Joe – 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”

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Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold

“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.”

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Bright Eyes – Gold Mine Gutted

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”.

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49ers – Touch Me (12″ Sexual Mix)

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:

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My Darling Clementine – She Is Still My Weakness

…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.

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Shed Seven – Going For Gold

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:

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Michael Bolton – Yesterday

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:

“Heh.

Charon is the Ferryman in Greek mythology. He carries your soul on his boat down the river…

Yes…

Styx.

“It’s you, babe, whenever I get weary or I’ve had enough… feel like giving up, you know it’s YOUUU, babe…”

Etc.”

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Styx – 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)

There.

Cred restored.

Just.

(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:

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out of A)

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.”

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Fats Domino – The Fat Man

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?”

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Johnny Cash – 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.

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Neil Reid – Mother of Mine

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:

  1. As Alyson quite rightly points out, he is now a financial advisor, in Blackpool
  2. Reid’s self-titled album went to number one in 1972, making him the youngest person to reach the pinnacle of the UK Album Charts, at the age of 12 years 9 months
  3. Said album is one of the very few Number 1 selling albums which has never had an official CD release. I think we all know why that is.
  4. In 2008, he was interviewed by Amanda Holden for ITV’s ‘When Britain First Had Talent’, which pretty much serves him right
  5. In between the end of his solo career and starting his life in the giddy world of finance, he was the third Reid brother in The Jesus & Mary Chain

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”:

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The Osmonds – Crazy Horses

“Crazy Horses” was, as Rigid Digit continues: “later covered by Tank (featuring Algy Ward, previously of The Saints and The Damned)”

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Tank – Crazy Horses

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.

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Ian McNabb – Merseybeast

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:

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Theaudience – If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young When Can You Do It?

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:

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R.E.M. (feat. Neil Young) – Country Feedback

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”.”

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Neil Diamond – 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!

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Neil – Hole In My Shoe

“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.”

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Dexys Midnight Runners –  Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven when You Smile)

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:

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Nils Lofgren – No Mercy

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.”

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Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – Smoke on the Water

“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’?”

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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”

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Rachel Sermanni – Ferryman

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:

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Toy Dolls – You Wont Be Merry on a North Sea Ferry

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.”

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Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

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:

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The Pogues & The Dubliners – The Irish Rover

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.

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Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night

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:

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Billy Childish and the Singing Loins – The Ferry Man (Zeebrugge)

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:

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The Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang

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…”:

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30. Oasis – Live Forever

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.

More soon.

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Friday Night Music Club

Evening all.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it can’t have escaped your attention that the Olympics start officially later tonight (if you count the opening ceremony as it starting) or tomorrow (if you count it as starting when the competitions actually do).

Of course, whichever opinion you subscribe to, you’re wrong, for the Olympic football tournament started two days ago, but since this is generally being ignored here in the UK as Team GB didn’t qualify (did we even try…? Couldn’t have been a more humiliating experience than Euro 2016 was, I guess), you can be forgiven for that.

Anyway, pack me a lunchbox and call me Linford, I’ve only gone and done us a Friday Night Olympic playlist. Try to contain your joy.

So here goes, 12 songs which are (very) (tenuously) linked to the Olympics. And no sign of that bloody Spandau Ballet record anywhere.

First up, no surprise that I’ve managed to crowbar this lot in:

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355. Super Furry Animals – (Drawing) Rings Around The World

Of course, the opening ceremony climaxes and the Games truly commence when the Olympic flame arrives at the stadium, transported in one of these (the song title, not the band):

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356. Soft Cell – Torch

The majority of the games involve a race of sorts (I think. I dunno. I haven’t checked). So here’s this lot:

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357. The Flaming Lips – Race For The Prize

Next, a song which is actually about a motor race, which means it isn’t a race that appears in the Olympics (I think. I dunno. I haven’t checked), but the theme is roughly the same. Plus, I’ve not heard it for ages:

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358. Cake – The Distance

The objective of any of the sports hosted at the Olympics is to win a medal, preferably a gold one, which is given to the winner:

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359. Shed Seven – Going For Gold

…or failing that, make do with second place, which earns you…

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360. Echo & The Bunnymen – Silver

…which is another way of saying….

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361. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Almost Gold

…which is still one better than coming third, and getting:

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362. Queens of the Stone Age – The Bronze

Mention the name “Queen” and one other band springs to mind, a band who famously had a song which actually mentions an actual Olympic sport, albeit somewhat colloquially, in the title. But I’m not playing Queen tonight; instead this rowdy lot:

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363. Be Your Own Pet – Bicycle Race

Straight on to the next one, which surely needs no explanation:

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364. Sugababes – Push The Button

Okay, maybe a little explanation.

In 2012, on the night of the opening ceremony, I was at a works party. The party had nothing to do with the Olympics, and was held in the beer garden of a local pub, whilst TV screens in the bar showed the opening proceedings. I have to admit, in the run up to the games, I was firmly in the “We’re going to make a right pig’s ear of this” camp, and had little to no intention of watching any of the games. However, the appointment of Danny Boyle, he of Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and Slumdog Millionaire fame, to direct the opening ceremony piqued my interest, and every time I went to the bar – which was often – I found myself watching the television, bordering on the entranced.

I got home later that night, found it on the BBC iPlayer, and watched it right through.

Sort of.

The next morning, I woke up on the sofa, my television on stand-by, and watched it again/properly. I hadn’t been mistaken. It was bloody amazing.

Soon after the Games finished, I bought a copy of the DVD box-set. The first disc contains the opening ceremony, the other two the highlights of the games. The first is possibly the most watched DVD that I own. The other two haven’t even been out of the box.

Why is this relevant? Well, the other night I had a text from Hel, asking if I’d watched the BBC documentary about the making of the ceremony. I hadn’t, and sat down to watch it the following night.

For the next couple of hours, I was transfixed, in exactly the same way as when I first watched the actual opening ceremony. The documentary, part of Alan Yentob’s “Imagine” series, contains behind the scenes footage, including the teaching of all the thousands of volunteers, some of whom had to learn to dance, others to drum; it has interviews not just with all the main creative players (Boyle himself, Underworld’s Rick Smith who was the musical director, etc. etc.) but also with several of the volunteers, some of whom have moving stories to tell about why they were there, and what happened to them on the night and as they trained for it. For example, in the “Saturday Night/Music” sequence, which tells the story of a boy and a girl meeting on a night out: I had assumed that both of them were trained actors/dancers. But no: both just normal kids, who’d volunteered to take part, and had been picked from the masses to play a major role in the event.

But there was one scene which stuck in my mind, filmed in the tunnel where the volunteers involved in the aforementioned sequence were waiting to enter the stadium. Out there, the Sugababes’ “Push The Button” is playing; in the tunnel, they are going mental, all bouncing up and down with excitement, singing along and cheering…it’s wonderful to behold. If you have chance to watch it, I urge you to do so. You won’t be disappointed.

So, that’s why the Sugababes are here. They’ve probably changed line-up about seven times since I started writing that, mind (obligatory Sugababes revolving line-up joke, there).

Back to a song which I don’t really think can be criticised for being included in a playlist on an Olympics theme:

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365. Gene – Olympian (Single Version)

That is just majestic.

And so to round things off, a song from my favourite album by this band (a controversial choice, I believe), which I dedicate to every athlete from every nation taking part. May you hear yours many times over the next few weeks.

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366. Radiohead – The National Anthem

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

And lo! The mood is set. And the more observant among you (who haven’t been subjected to one of these before) will note a pattern emerging: three or four songs in a similar vein or genre, followed by one or two linking to the next group of songs. Yes, that’s right: a bit like a DJ set (admittedly a DJ set in a ropey bar, student union or indie club as supposed to at, say, Ministry of Sound, or Pacha)

You’ll remember last time out we were entering into disco mode…so ready to go? Flares and afro on? Good Then here’s the second batch:

114890377 Odyssey – Going Back To My Roots

Let's_Groove Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

The-Wonder-Stuff-Who-Wants-To-Be-T-38682 The Wonder Stuff – Who Wants to be the Disco King?

Shed-Seven-Disco-Down-458513 Shed 7 – Disco Down

TheClashLondonCallingalbumcover The Clash – The Guns of Brixton

More next week!