Happy 50th, Shit Elvis!

It’s almost four years since I started writing this blog.

I mention this not because I want recognition for the longevity of it – although it is a minor miracle that I haven’t got bored of it yet – but to make a point.

Which is that I really didn’t expect I’d still be writing it now. And sometimes, the fact that I am still going causes me a bit of a problem.

You see, as long term readers will know, I use this place not just to furnish you with (hopefully) entertaining bon mots and tunes I like and hope you do too, but to pass on my best wishes to friends and family when birthdays and moments of significance happen. Because, y’know, I’m too cheap to actually buy them a present or send a card – surely a mention and a tune on here is better than either of those things, right?

But, the thing is, the longer I write things here, the harder it becomes to write something new about the subject in question on their special day.

Take my brother, for example. He lives in India (for now, until the FEDs catch up with him) so we don’t see each other often, maybe once or twice a year. And so when he has a birthday, this is my medium for letting him know I’m thinking of him.

And when he hits a significant birthday, like he does today, his 50th birthday, I feel that I ought to pull out the stoppers and write something worthy of such an occasion.

But when I’ve written about him and the influence he has had on me and my music collection so many times already, what more is there to say?

Well, he often points out (when I mention somebody or something from our dim and distant past, or when it comes to our parents’ birthdays or wedding anniversaries, all of which I assume he would remember but email him to check),  ‘I’m the one in charge of remembering stuff’, so perhaps there’s quite a lot.

He’s probably my longest serving reader (I hate the word follower – I’m not the Messiah, I’m a very naughty boy, to misappropriate a famous quote), and if he isn’t then he’s certainly the family member who has been reading the guff I write here for the longest.

When he started reading this, he was very supportive; often I’d receive an email or a text from him telling me he liked what I’d written. He’s also the only person to so far accept my invitation to write a post for this place and have it published (I have a couple in reserve before the authors of those take offence). You can read that here, and I have re-upped the links should you wish to listen to any of the songs mentioned. It’s annoyingly good (although I did send him back to rewrite it at least once, a process that he rightly compared to being back in double English class); I’ve just re-read it and laughed quite a lot.

I first told him about this place in January 2015, when he and I went to see The Jesus & Mary Chain perform their legendarily awesome “Psychocandy” album at The Troxy in East London. If there’s one band who will forever unify us, then it’s them: a band he loved when he was in his full-on Goth mode in the mid-80s, and a band that sweet naïve young me tried to resist the allure of, but could not. So this seems to be an appropriate moment to have our first musical interlude:

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The Jesus & Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking

I bought the tickets for that gig as a present, but actually it was payback for him buying me two tickets to go and see Squeeze back in 1987, when they had just reformed with Jools “boogie woogie” Holland in the line-up, on the tour to promote their “Babylon and On” album. Which is a cue for another song, I think. But not from that album, because it’s not very good.

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Squeeze – Another Nail in My Heart

I’m painting this as a quite the harmonious relationship, aren’t I? It wasn’t always thus.

I don’t think he would argue much if I said that for quite a long time, when we were kids, we really didn’t like each other much, or rather liked each other only in that “You’re my brother so I have to like you” kind of way. We fought a lot. Our childhood is littered with stories about how we managed to break stuff whilst fighting, most notably a violin bow (we both somehow ended up trying to learn how to play the screeching instrument when we were in Junior School) and a few years later, a snooker cue, which I distinctly recall breaking when I twatted him with it across the small of his back. Trust me, he was asking for it.

But I also remember the night that changed.

We had been growing closer as we got older, and saw less of each other, which may not be coincidental; also he and his mates Rob and Phil had asked me to join them as representatives of their local pub in a Pool League. I was alright at pool at the time, indicative of a wasted childhood, although I would often try a ridiculously adventurous shot which would result in me accidentally potting the black. I don’t think I won a single game for them.

It was the journeys to the away matches that I loved, cruising round the sleepy backwaters of local villages, ‘Mary Chain and Sisters of Mercy blasting from the car stereo – those trips probably did more to meld my musical tastes than anything else. I was in a gang, albeit a gang who were terrible at pool, and since they liked this kind of music it seemed appropriate that I should too.

I remember the night that we buried the hatchet, when no more snooker cues would be broken. It was his birthday, either his 19th or 20th, and we went to the local pub. We drank and chewed the fat, and on the short walk home he turned to me and said “You’re alright really, aren’t you?”

Which may not sound like much a of a compliment, but after ten years plus of battering each other, it was like the Good Friday talks writ small. And the feeling was mutual.

And since then, well, we’ve been friends. Which may not sound like much to most of you, but bearing in mind how much we fought when we were kids, and how infrequently we see each other, I’m pretty chuffed about.

As you will know if you’ve read that post he wrote, he joined the RAF at a young age, and remained in its loyal service, rising to the rank of Sergeant, until the early 2000s, when the offer of early retirement and a decent pay-off was too good to decline. And so it was that the family was invited to an RAF base in Lincolnshire to pay witness to him leaving the forces.

I say the family, but rules are quite archaic on an RAF base; women were not allowed into the hall where a set meal and a presentation took place to honour all that were leaving, so my Dad, my brother and I went and ate, drank and were merry for an afternoon, whilst Mum had to entertain herself elsewhere.

Afterwards, we retired to the Officer’s Mess, where my Mum was permitted to join in; and there was a further perk – a subsidised bar. Not a free bar, a subsidised one, so the drinks were ridiculously cheap: 50 pence (I think, though it may have been 20p) for whatever you wanted to drink, on the proviso that whenever you bought a drink, you bought the person serving you one too. Deal.

People who know me will be able to guess what happened next: a long afternoon and evening of drinking Jack Daniels and coke, a family trait, it turned out, as was commented on by many of my brother’s colleagues. I lost count of the amount of people I was introduced to who said something along the lines of “Oh Christ, does he drink as much of that stuff as you do?”

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Gene – Fill Her Up

The next day, in a severely hungover state, my Dad told me that he couldn’t believe how much my brother and I had drunk the night before: we had, apparently, drunk nothing but Jack Daniels from about five in the afternoon until chucking out time (and even then we moved on to a different bar) at a rate of a new double every fifteen minutes or so. “I saw them change the bottle at least six times”, he said, in a tone pitched somewhere between concern and awe.

And then there was my brother’s actual demob party. For years he had a yearning to do the Monopoly Challenge – to have a drink in a bar at every location listed on a standard UK Monopoly board in one afternoon. And wouldn’t you know it, he invited me along, provided I brought my drinking trousers with me.

I buckled up.

And so it was that I travelled up from Cardiff to London one Saturday, met up with him and a bunch of his squaddie mates – the names of whom escape me, mostly (there was, I think, a Pete and a Jeff) for reasons which will become perfectly obvious if it hasn’t already – and at mid-day I was bundled into a stretch limo at Kings Cross Station that they had hired for the day.

See, it turns out that my brother wasn’t the only person in the world who wanted to play this drinking game on a grand scale. In fact, there are companies who run specific tours allowing the party to play this game, with a pre-determined route taking you to a bar at every stop on the board. The only difference is that the driver wants to take you to each destination according to whichever was nearest; we, however, instructed him that we had to do it sequentially, in order, even if that meant it would take longer than to do it the way the limo company wanted you to do it.

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Echo & The Bunnymen – The Game

What I wanted to do now was post a song which links to every property on the Monopoly board as I recounted what happened in which bar, but that proved too arduos a task (plus, my memory is kind of fuzzy about the whole day, so a running commentary is simply out of the question). So instead, here’s a song related to the Jail square:

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Gomez – Get Myself Arrested

Safely ensconced in the bosom of my new-found drinking partners, I was plied with a flute glass filled with a mixture of Guinness and champagne. Sounds revolting, turns out it was alright.

And then there was the Space Dust.

You remember Space Dust, right? A powder you placed on your tongue which popped and pinged and fizzed. This stuff:

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Except the decision was made that we could not consume the Space Dust in the traditional manner. Instead, if we wanted to have some then it had to be ingested nasally.

This sounded like a blast to me, with a couple of Guinness and Champagne combos sloshing around inside me. And so, rolled up twenty pound note at the ready, I gave it a go.

Such an anti-climax. Rather than fizzing and popping in my nose as I had hoped, it just kind of congealed and sat there, like a big lump of snot. Kids take note: drugs , don’t do ’em.

Oh, one more thing you need to know before I report on the events of the day: his squaddie mates had insisted he dressed as Elvis (Presley, not Costello), so for the entire day he was wearing a white jumpsuit, a pair of 70s sunglasses, and a wig which slowly deteriorated as the day progressed.

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Manic Street Preachers – Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier

And so, to Old Kent Road we went, then Whitechapel Road (to a bar which proudly advertised the fact that the Krays used to drink there) and so to The Angel Islington, and to a bar which I forget the name of, but which seemed to be a real old school boozer.

It was remarkably busy for that time of day; split into two rooms, the squaddies squeezed their way into the room next to where I was pinned; I could see through the doorway that it appeared to be very full, quite raucous, with all of the men – and it was only men – looking in the same direction. I assumed there must be some sport on the TV in that room, and focused my attention on my beer.

Until…

Until a naked Japanese woman thrust a pint glass with pound coins in it under my nose. At which point the penny dropped.

She shook the pint glass.

“You see my show?” she said.

“Erm…no…I didn’t…sorry…” I replied, trying desperately to maintain eye contact.

“But you see me now?” she said, and gestured past her neck level.

Now that’s cheating, I thought. I haven’t asked to be here, I’ve not asked to see you all nudey, and even if I had, I haven’t seen the traditional transitional clothes on-to-off sequence which generally is the thing men are willing to pay to see. All I’ve seen is a naked woman thrust a pint glass under my nose, and this was a regular sight at 3am on Caroline Street in Cardiff.

I made my excuses, downed my drink and went outside for a cigarette.

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The Cramps – Naked Girl Falling Down the Stairs

Before I go any further, I would like to stress that no naked girls were harmed in the making of this post. One of the bevy of beauties who continually go-go dance in my flat did fall downstairs once, but that was entirely coincidental, and the man who lives in the flat below me was most appreciative.

Get to the Orange properties on the Monopoly board, as we did around 5pm-ish on the day, and you’re faced with a bit of a problem: there are no pubs or bars on Vine Street. We asked the driver what we should do, and he pointed us in the direction of a pizzeria, where, as long as you bought some food, you could also buy beer. The address of the place wasn’t on Vine Street, but half of the restaurant area looked out onto it. That’ll do, we thought, and several rounds of garlic bread later, we had another one ticked off. This seems appropriate:

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The Vines – Ride

By this time, bladders were full, so the concept of “Little Boy’s Wee” was introduced.

Worry not, we’re not about to go all Yew Tree on you.

Because we had reached the stage where most of us would be ready to visit the Gents, the jeopardy that was “Little Boy’s Wee”  was introduced. And that was this: if you went into the gents and encountered a fellow Monopoly member who wasn’t peeing like a little boy – that is, pants AND trousers around your ankles as you stood at the urinal, bare arse on display – then the next round was for the pee-er to get in.

I got some funny looks in that bar.

And so to the Red properties, and I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if that didn’t mean I post this…

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Roxy Music – Do The Strand

…but nothing of any interest happened on The Strand.

Trafalgar Square, on the other hand, was quite the opposite kettle of fish.

Our driver pulled up at Trafalgar Square, where we found the whole area was cordoned off. A stage, empty, stood at one end. Clearly, something was due to happen there in the next day or so. This, since my brother had decided he wanted to paddle in the fountains, was a problem.

We strutted up to the cordon, where we were greeted by a security guard.

“Sorry lads, no entry” he said, sort of firmly.

At which point, one of the squaddies – it may have been Pete, it may have been Jeff, it may have been one of the others – cocked a thumb in my brother’s direction. My brother, don’t forget, is dressed as 70s Elvis.

“Erm…but he’s the talent for tomorrow night,” he said. “This should have all been cleared. We’re just here to look the venue over and make sure it meets with the talent’s requirements.”

Unbelievably, the security guard, rather than phoning it in to check, just lifted the cordon and said “OK then, in you go.”

At which point, a man dressed as Elvis ran forwards, dived into the fountain, resurfaced and started telling everyone to “Come on in, the water’s lovely. Uh-huh-huh”

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Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

(The relevance of that record will become clear if you listen to the talkie bit at the end: “And then on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain, and that’s because it IS a good idea.”)

From out of nowhere, several more security guards arrived and escorted us back past the cordon. I heard one of them chastising the guard who had let us in: “They’re just a bunch of pissheads. One of them is dressed as a shit Elvis. Did you really think all thisis for a Shit Elvis that’s playing here tomorrow night??”

Mate, if you’re reading this and lost your job as a result of that, I’m really sorry.

And so on to a bar in the proximity of Trafalgar Square, a bar which we found had a basement room which was hired out for private functions, and on this particular Saturday was being used for a wedding reception.  A basement room with a woefully under-staffed bar, which meant that many of the guests came upstairs to the regular bar, where we were, to get served.

Including the groom.

Now putting aside for a moment the reason why the groom is having to buy his own drinks at his own wedding reception, what this meant was that he clapped eyes on my brother. Still dressed as Elvis, albeit as slightly bedraggled Elvis.

“My wife…my new wife…loves Elvis….” the groom announced.

We all nodded in consent. His new wife was wise. He had chosen well. Elvis was pretty good.

“You know what would make her special day even more special?” the groom continued.

We all looked at our shoes. We knew where this was going.

“If Elvis sang at her wedding reception!”

Silence.

“Would you do that for us, on the happiest day of our lives…?”

I looked at my brother. There’s no way he’ll agree to this, I thought.

And then a look came over his face. A look that said: this is something to tell my grandchildren about. The sort of thing that one day my younger brother will write about on the blog he hasn’t even thought about starting to write yet.

“Yes I will, Sir,” he said, appropriating the accent, “but I don’t know any Elvis songs all the way through.”

“That’s okay”, proffered Pete/Jeff/one of the other squaddies, “we’ll help you out.”

And so we were all ushered downstairs, to a very full room of wedding guests, who all stopped what they were doing as we walked in. Like that scene in “An American Werewolf in London” when they walk into The Slaughtered Lamb. That. This:

“Darling”, announced the groom, “fate brought us together, and fate has led this gentleman here tonight too!”

At which point, my brother, soaked to the skin in a white sequinned Elvis suit, wig drooping down so it was more like a centre parting than a quiff, broke into the opening lines of a song:

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Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender

And now imagine him stumbling over the words before the end of the second line, and his mates ploughing in to carry him to the end of the first verse, without the slightest whiff of a harmony being employed.

Except me. I had, I thought, wisely hung back from the group and therefore avoided any participation in the group “singing”.

Moving back upstairs, and separate from the group, and therefore vulnerable, like a gazelle picked off by a lioness, I was approached by a chap who asked if we were all in the forces.

I, in my drunken state, decided it was easier to say “Yes, we’re all in the RAF” than to try and explain that I had never been in any of the Forces, but that my acquantances were either in the RAF, just about to leave the RAF or had just left the RAF.

Big mistake.

The chap who has enquired, it transpired, had tried to get into the RAF, but failed, and he wanted to know a) why that might be (so we discussed his medical history), and b) as much technical detail about engines and wings and stuff (of which I know nothing) that I could muster in case he ever reapplied.

I managed twenty minutes of utter bullshit to this guy, only interupted by Pete/Jeff/one of the other squaddies butting in to tell my conversationalist friend what a guy I am and how if you got me started on the concept of inverted wingry, I’d never stop. Cheers, guys.

We finally made it to Mayfair, the final square on the Monopoly board. All that was open was a restaurant, so we all piled in there and ordered a victory drink at 23:55.

By this point, I knew I was done, so after finishing my final drink in a Mayfair restaurant, I sloped off to hail a taxi. All of the other guys were staying in a hotel, but I had asked Hel if I could utilise her sofa-bed for the night.

I fell into the back of a black cab, and, having provided the name of the road Hel lived on, I also offered these wise words:

“And yes, I am really pissed, and no I’m not from round here, but if you take the long way to her house, I will know and I will run off without paying.”

He would have easily caught me if I tried.

The cab dropped me off outside Hel’s flat, but instead of just going in, I wandered off (after paying him, of course).

Forty-five minutes later, I rang Hel to ask her why her flat had moved to a place I couldn’t find. She came out to collect me, and will often tell me now – after we shared a flat together for four years and regularly got very drunk together – that she has never seen me that drunk before or since.

All your fault, Big Brother.

Which just leaves me to think of a tune which appropriately ties this all together, and I’ve thought of two.

Firstly, since we all doubtless slept exceedingly well that night, this, by a band I first listened to because my big brother regaled me with stories of a wild gig of theirs he went to, where one of the band members kept bashing his own head with a tea-tray as a means of percussion:

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The Pogues – Lullaby of London

…although perhaps, this is more appropriate:

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Terry Scott – My Brother

Happy 50th Birthday to my lovely, lovely brother. May all of your Formula Ones be slightly less tedious than the last.

More soon.

The Chain #34

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant, come to the Festive edition of The Chain!

I’ve been beset by technical issues this week, not just those which have delayed this by a day, but also the issues with several contributions mysteriously being marked as Spam and disappearing from the Comments section.

But, nevertheless here we are, with another mixed bag of your suggestions, linked to last week’s final record, “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake.

As usual, the suggestions can be split down into various categories – namely songs or artists which include the words or some derivative thereof, of “Nick”, “Drake, “Pink” or “Moon”. Surprisingly, almost none of you suggested anything which contained more than one link, so here’s one to get us started.

From “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd (who have a band member called Nick), here’s:

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Pink Floyd – Time

I set you all an additional challenge last week: since this week’s post would be available in Christmas week, I asked you to see if you could provide suggestions of a festive nature where possible, and some of you  duly obliged.

Surprisingly, though, none of you suggested this, a song by a band so un-Christmassy I’ve always found this to be a slightly odd addition to their canon of work, let alone the fact that they released a whole album worth of this stuff:

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The Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick

So, over to you, but where to start? I suppose really, given that he has made more contributions this week than our most regular of readers have made since we started doing this, we should probably hear something from Rol of My Top Ten, right? Agreed.

So, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music then:

“Another Nick busy at this time of year is St Nicholas better known as Santa Claus. When another Nick shuffles of this mortal coil he will almost certainly be canonized. Can we have The Man That I’ve Become from Dig My Mood an album by St Nick of Lowe please?”

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Nick Lowe – The Man That I’ve Become

Is it just me, or does the picture on that sleeve have more than a passing resemblance to a certain orange President-Elect?

CC wasn’t the only person to suggest this particular Nick this week. Here’s Walter from A few good times in my life:

“Taking his first name it is a short step to Nick Lowe. Probably one of the best songwriters in the early 80’s and blessed with a great voice. So what about the first Stiff single ever ‘So It Goes’?”

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Nick Lowe – So It Goes

Regular visitors will know that generally, each week, after I’ve received several suggestions, I get a comment from Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? bemoaning the fact that all of the songs she was going to suggest had already been made by co-Chain Gangers. It’s a bit like when the person on the third podium on ‘Pointless’ says that the person on the second podium had just taken their answer. Anyway, so imagine my delight when the very first comment I got this week was from Alyson:

“Time for sleep now, then work tomorrow, so will no doubt be late again with my suggestion…but before CC trumps me, it might involve Lily the Pink.”

Several hours passed. Article 50 was activated and nobody noticed. Civilizations rose and fell. And then, finally, this:

“Well, sleep, work and xmas shopping got in the way so 18 hours after my first comment, I have decided against Lily The Pink by The Scaffold…”

Oh no you don’t. You’re having it, whether you like it or not, young lady:

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The Scaffold – Lily The Pink

And since we seem to have stumbled into Pink territory, back to Walter:

“Pink leads me to Pink Flag, Wire’s first record. Three Girl Rhumba was one of these little masterpieces in this era. Groundbreaking and always worth to listen to.”

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Wire – Three Girl Rhumba

A few years ago, when I still shared a flat, I did my usual Friday night routine of doing a playlist to get drunk with my flatmates to; it included that Wire rune, followed by the next record. I had neglected to tell my new flatmates that it was a playlist they were listening to; they thought my iPod was incredible for knowing to play these two records together (along with a whole host of other songs which sounded like/had been ripped off (allegedly) from each other. Hmm…maybe there’s a new topic for me there….). What I mean to say is *ahem* *clears throat* *offers a cheeky wink to the audience*…Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:

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Elastica – Connection

Right. I suppose we’d better make some in-roads into this mountain sized pile of suggestions by Rol. Oh hang on, Alyson’s back:

“I have always thought that the multi-talented American singer Pink, and Sharon Watts from Eastenders, were dopplegangers and who did Sharon date for a while on that show – Yes it was “Nick” Berry who had a big hit with Every Loser Wins. (They don’t, every loser generally loses, but it worked well for him). A tenuous double link.”

Much as I’d love to post that, it has featured here before and the rule is that the only records we can feature twice are a) “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, and b) records which turn out to be the next record in The Official Chain which we’ve already had. Have another go.

“…perhaps Lily The Pink it will have to be, although just remembered that the brother of Mike McGear of The Scaffold was Paul McCartney whom I also seem to remember recorded a theme for the teatime soap “Crossroads” which Nick Drake’s sister, aforementioned Gabrielle, appeared in. Don’t know if theme tunes count as a suggestion but another double link.”

Well, we’ve featured the theme tune to Bergerac and Space:1999 here before, so I don’t see why not, especially when The Great Gog made reference to the same theme tune via a different link in his suggestion:

“There is Nick’s sister, Gabrielle, who starred in Crossroads at one time. The theme tune to Crossroads was written by Tony Hatch…”

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The Tony Hatch Orchestra – Crossroads Theme

I have had that firmly lodged in my brain ever since I listened to it. It should come with some sort of Government health warning. As should have the programme it book-ended.

“Things hatch from eggs,” continues The Great Gog, “which to me at least is as good an excuse as any for “Egg Shaped Fred” from Mansun.”

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Mansun – Egg Shaped Fred

Catchphrase alert! Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, from the magnificent “The Mysterious Production of Eggs” by Andrew Bird:

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Andrew Bird – Fake Palindromes

Right, where were we? Ah yes, Alyson, back to you:

“Final pink suggestion is simply ‘Pink Cadillac’ by Natalie Cole simply because she is yet someone else from that long list of artists who have left us since this time last year.”

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Natalie Cole – Pink Cadillac

It’s probably about time put a dent into Rol’s suggestions. No, really this time.

“I’m resisting the obvious Springsteen link from Alyson’s last suggestion as it’s Christmas and I don’t want to upset George” This would be most admirable, were it not for the fact that Springsteen wrote Pink Cadillac, but I’m sure George appreciates the sentiment.

“However, since no one else will dare suggest a song by the best damned pop star of the last 20 years, can I suggest ‘So What’ by Pink?”

The Chain would like to make it very clear that the views of Rol re: the best pop star of the last 20 years are not necessarily shared by the publishers of The Chain.

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Pink – So What

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, by one of the greatest pop stars of the last 60 years:

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Dame Shirley Bassey – Get the Party Started

There’s something rather wonderful about hearing a seventy-year old Welsh woman proclaiming: “I’m comin’ up so you better you better get this party started”, isn’t there? Bear that in mind when your grannies farting herself to sleep in front of the television on Christmas Day.

Which reminds me: Christmas records, anyone?

Ah, here’s Julian from Music From Magazines, he seems the sort of cheery fellow bound to supply us with something festive. Which he will, but first, he’ll expand a little on the whole Gabrielle Drake thing. She rather seems to have set racing the hearts of several of the men of a certain age who contribute here:

“Nick Drake’s sister was Gabrielle Drake who was in the TV show UFO (any picture would be a Christmas gift for any man of a certain age [See? I told you so]), the heavy metal band UFO is not a gift.”

It’s okay, we’re not having anything by UFO. Although, had you actually suggested something by them, I would have been honour bound to post it. Oh and by the way, I am not posting a picture of Gabrielle Drake. If you’re reading this, you’re already connected to the internet, so you can find one yourself, you mucky sod. (c6e302534f132c440893dd44980da6ce)

Before you all go cranking open a spare browser to do exactly that, stick around folks, because if you piece together this little bit of connected thinking out loud, you get a rather fine example of Comment Showboating.

“On the other hand ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” by The Carpenters is a fine song written by the Canadian group Klaatu, a bunch of session musicians, who some folk thought were The Beatles.”

klaatu_-_3_47_est_coverKlaatu – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft

I’ve always thought that was a pretty odd, uncharacteristic record for The Carpenters to have recorded, had assumed it was a cover version, but had never actually thought about finding out for sure. Consequently, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it.

By the way, many years ago, I was drafted into what turned out to be the winning team in a pub quiz. (There was a music round, and without wishing to sound immodest, I was often asked to join teams for pub quizzes which featured a music round). The prize was “A Tribute to The Carpenters”, which I had assumed was going to be a night of people performing cover versions of their many hits, but which actually turned out to be a selection of middle aged men displaying a rather fine range of bureaus and occasional tables they had made.

I digress. Back to Julian:

“A slight detour to the movies for the classic sci fi ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ starring Michel Rennie as the alien called ….Klaatu. A still from the film was used (with some editing) for the cover of Ringo Starr’s LP ‘Goodnight Vienna’.”

It’s okay, he’s going somewhere with this. Trust me.

And he’s not wrong you know. The original:

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and the “Peace and Love! Peace and Love! No autographs! Peace and Love” rip off:

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“Which of course leads on to Dora Bryan and ‘All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle'”

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Dora Bryan – All I Want For Christmas is a Beatle

At last, a Christmas record! And am I alone in being reminded of a certain other iconic performer from the North West of England when I hear that? No? You know who I mean, surely?

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Frank Sidebottom – Oh Blimey It’s Christmas

Take that back a step, before I interrupted and brightened your lives up with Frank, and Rol has another link:

“…this leads me to think of ‘Doris Daytheearthstoodstill’ by Future Bible Heroes.”

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Future Bible Heroes – Doris Daytheearthstoodstill

Julian’s not quite done yet, and we’re most definitely not done with the Gabrielle Drake links just yet. Here’s Julian, ruining all that excellent Comment Showboating by suggesting the Worst Record of the Week:

“Back to Gabrielle Drake. The organisation that [Spoiler alert!! – Considerate Ed] will save the world in UFO is the Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organization or SHADO which is only a short step, (or a W) to a truly crap Christmas song”:

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Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine

“All this talk of Gabrielle Drake being in Crossroads but am I the only one who mainly remembers her from that 1970s Sunday Night drama set in the exciting world of haulage – ‘The Brothers’?” chips in Alyson. “So many links to bands/duos with Brothers in their name so won’t overload you and was really just looking for one that might have done a seasonal ditty but all I could find in my library was Count Basie & The Mills Brothers with ‘December’! (Goodness knows where that came from as can’t remember ever noticing it before.)”

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Count Basie & The Mills Brothers – December

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Okay, let’s wrap up the rest of the Drake related suggestions, and we’ll go back to The Great Gog:

“A contender for worst record of the week [Too late, even though you did suggest this first. It is nowhere near as bad as Sir Cliff – Cut’n’Paste Ed]”:

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Charlie Drake – My Boomerang Wont Come Back

More Drake-related shenanigans from The Beard now:

“Drake is a popular Canadian rapper. Another, much better, Canadian rapper is Abdominal. He is best known for his collaborations with DJ Format. When not hip-hopping Format makes spaced out funk as part of The Simonsound. ‘Tour De Mars’, their cover of Kraftwerk’s Tour De France, is almost as good as the original.”

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The Simonsound – Tour de Mars

Even more Drake related nonsense from Rigid Digit of, appropriately enough, Stuff & Nonsense fame:

“Drake = a male duck
 A wild duck = mallard
Mallard = Steam Train

Next up:
The only* Heavy Metal song about a Steam Train

* probably not the only, but the only one I can think of right now”

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Saxon – Princess Of The Night

And the Drake links just keep on coming. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“Nick Drake was related to  Elizabethan sailor, privateer and adventurer, Francis Drake.[Has anyone checked this? – Ed] Francis Drake was a thorn in the side of the ‘King of Spain’, which is a song by Galaxie 500.”

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Galaxie 500 – King of Spain

Over to The Robster from Is This The Life? now:

“A drake is a male duck. Chuck Berry was famous for his ‘duck walk’ and he had a song called Havana Moon, first released in 1957, later re-recorded for the 1979 album Rock It. Interestingly, that was the last studio album Chuck released, but he has a new one lined up for 2017, the year he turns 91. Yes – 91. I wonder if he can still do the duck walk?”

I imagine if he can, it would be The Duck Walk sponsored by Stannah Stairlifts and Sanatogen Vital 50+.

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Chuck Berry – Havana Moon

Props for the Duck/Drake/Moon double-linker by the way, Rob.

A quick additional duck-link from Walter:

“I don’t think he can’t do the duck walk any more but I’m surprised that he will us give a new record at the age of 91 and I ask myself if Keith Richards will still be on the stage at this age. So Ducks Deluxe came to my mind with Who’s put the bump”

By which I think you mean this (and apologies, I could only find a live version, but it doesn’t sound like there’s many people in the audience, so it’s practically a live studio version):

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Ducks Deluxe – Daddy Put the Bomp

Whilst we’re on ducks, a song which I remember from my childhood, which I haven’t been able to find a decent copy of, but did find this clip from TOTP2, which means it is top-and-tailed by Steve Wright, which makes it even worse than it already is:

It was around this point that the Comments went all wonky and some got deleted. As far as I can tell, this affected Charity Chic, who compensated by reposting his links over and over again until they worked, and SWC and Badger’s. If anyone else’s got lost, my apologies.

One that didn’t get lost, was this from Kay. In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you all know that Kay is not just a friend of mine, but also my boss, so you’ll forgive me for allowing her suggestions, irrespective of how terrible the record or tenuous the link she suggests. I can say this without fear of retribution because by the time she reads this, she’ll be at least halfway through the bottle of Chocolate Orange liqueur we bought her today. Delicious on Coco Pops, I’m…er…told.

“Nick Drake links to Drake, same name but then realised I didn’t really know any of Drake’s stuff. [I have just Googled him,and I’m none the wiser] So went the same way as The Robster and linked drake to male ducks, then realised I knew no songs that are linked to ducks [It’s going well this, isn’t it?] …. but [I sense a Eureka! moment is imminent] ducks live in ponds and frogs do too…so my choice is Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus’ ‘We All Stand Together’, which was the first record my sister brought.”

Or, as he is forever known Chez Jez:  Fab Macca Wacky Thumbs Aloft. Some of you will understand the reference.

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Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus – We All Stand Together

I’m going to avoid the lazy joke about that being Nigel Farage’s least favourite record since it contains a bunch of frogs suggesting unity. Although I appear to have just made it anyway.

By George, it’s George!

“Worst song of the week contender [Nuh-huh]. From Nick Drake to Ted Drake (the footballer) who played for Southampton (and Arsenal)., and was manager of Chelsea when they won their first league title in 1954/55. And born in Southampton, in 1955 (double chain link there!) was Howard Jones. Now, I could it leave it to Charity Chic to pick a Howard Jones track from his record shelves But I’m going for…”

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Howard Jones – New Song

“…which had that bloke in chains prancing around on Top of the Pops. Who was he, anyone know?”

As I said in the Comments, I do. His name was Jed, a name I have been mistakenly called many times, and as such one which is indelibly edged into my brain.

And in case you don’t know who George is on about, here’s Howard and Jed, singing and prancing around on Top of the Pops:

 

I’m having a flashback, I swear…

Let’s move on to wrapping up the Pink links, and I’ll hand you over to George again:

“Pink Moon to Pink Industry and their single ‘What I Wouldn’t Give’. (The cover of the single featured a picture of Morrissey).”

It does indeed, which is precisely the reason I have a copy of it, poor obsessed fool that I was:

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Pink Industry – What I Wouldn’t Give

By the way, as I’ve uploaded that I’ve realised that there’s about three minutes of silence at the end of it. Time constraints prevent me from editing it, but I may come back and do it later on, if anyone’s that fussed. What I mean is, when the song sounds like it has ended at around the 3:30 mark, it has: don’t sit around in silence on the off-chance something interesting might be about to happen, as it isn’t.

As I mentioned earlier, the glitches that meant some comments went AWOL seem to have affected Charity Chic, SWC and Badger’s. I think we got there in the end though, although what with SWC and Badger both posting from their excellent When You Can’t Remember Anything blog I’m not 100% sure that I’ve attributed the right song to the right chap this week. So, more apologies if I’ve messed it up.

So, I think this is SWC taking us, as he puts it, “down the pink route” now he’s “finished watching Gabrielle Drake’s finest moment ‘Commuter Husbands’ “

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“The obvious link from here is to ‘Snooker Loopy’ by Chas ‘n’ Dave and The Matchroom Mob” which has featured before, so I can’t allow, I’m afraid, “But another song that features pink would be ‘Pink Glove’ by Pulp.”

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Pulp – Pink Glove

Plus,  “Aerial Pink who was in a band called Holy Shit with Christopher Owen from Girls. So you could have the very Christmassy:”

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Girls – Vomit

It’s Rol time again, with more pinkness:

“‘Hey Eugene’ by Pink Martini would be good too.”

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Pink Martini – Hey Eugene

From vomit to Martini. I don’t just throw this together you know.

Here’s babylotti with a hat-trick, starting with a pink connection, and ending with something festive:

“First of all, I can think of Fuzzbox (had they dropped the ‘We’ve Got a …& We Know How to Use It’ by then?) [Yes and no, is the answer: officially they were now just Fuzzbox, but as this was the first single they released under that moniker, the “We’ve Got…” part was snuck onto the record sleeve just in case there was any doubt as to who was responsible for it. There’d been quite a make over in between the ‘Bostin’ Steve Austin’ album and this, so you can’t really blame them – Ed]) and Pink Sunshine. Bostin’”

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Fuzzbox – Pink Sunshine

“From there that leads me to another one introduced to me by Peel, Fuzzbox’ label mate Ted Chippington. I’d love to go for his version of ‘D.I.S.C.O.’, but I will settle for ‘Rockin with Rita’…”

That’s fortuitous, I haven’t been able to find ‘D.I.S.C.O.’, but ‘Rockin’ with Rita’, no problem:

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Ted Chippington – Rockin’ with Rita

“Finally from ‘Rockin’ with Rita’, I’m going for a festive link to Mel & Kim’s [no, not those ones, but it’s only a matter of time before they turn up here] ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’.”

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Mel & Kim – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Next, a stone cold classic, courtesy of Charity Chic:

“No repetition here and something that is neither obscure nor obtuse, just a song that is demanding to be played:”

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The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink

What we need now is something that neatly takes us from Pink to Moon. Preferably by way of one of the greatest records ever recorded. Any takers?

The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow confidently steps up to the oche:

“‘Pink Moon’ was produced by John Wood and among his many other credits are several of Squeeze’s early hits, including ‘Up the Junction’.”

That will do nicely.

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Squeeze – Up The Junction

So, moons. Over to Martin now (forgive me if I’m rattling through these a bit now…time is ticking away….) who offers a song and a critique:

“I’ll go with an obvious moon connection instead and throw Morrissey’s ‘Moon River’ hat into the ring, even if it does go on a bit.”

You can say that again. Somehow he manages to drag this out for 9:40. I’d put the kettle on if I were you:

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Morrissey – Moonriver (extended)

Rol’s back:

“Moon River is from the excellent 1961 movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Ten years earlier, one of Audrey’s first ever screen roles was as a “Cigarette Girl” in the movie Laughter In Paradise in which she appeared alongside another famous George… George Cole. That George would go on to become immortalised as Arfur Daley in the TV show Minder, and in 1983, he would release a Christmas single with his co-star Dennis (“write the theme tune, sing the theme tune”) Waterman.”

I wish I could say I didn’t actually already own this. I think this may over-take Sir Cliff in the Worst Record of the Week stakes:

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Dennis Waterman & George Cole – What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors?

“Their Top of the Pops performance is worth a watch.” It is, just so you can see the dictionary definition of the words “excrutiating” and “embarrassing” acted out:

It is at this point in the Comments section, that Julian and Rol had a bit of a chat, coming up with more suggestions. Nice to see you boys getting along!

Julian: “Back to the movies, in the film ‘New York New York’ Blue Moon is destroyed by Robert De Niro who costarred in ‘What Happened Next’ (2008) with Bruce Willis……..”

Which leads us to what has been argued to be the greatest Christmas movie ever: Die Hard. (It’s not. It’s pretty much Home Alone for grown-ups.)

The end credits have this festive number playing over them:

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Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Rol: “Blue Moon was also the detective agency where David Addison (Bruce Willis) worked in the aforementioned [last week] ‘Moonlighting'”

Julian: “Nice. Al Jarreau “The Christmas Song” anyone?”

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Al Jarreau – The Christmas Song

And since we’ve landed on some Christmas songs again, here’s another suggestion from Rol:

“Can I add ‘Run With The Fox’ by Chris Squire & Alan White (roughly a quarter of Yes) because it contains a Christmas Moon, which isn’t pink but probably has fairy lights hanging from it. It might keep old proggies like The Swede happy… or not. “

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Alan White & Chris Squire – Run with the Fox

Respect to the guys in the Art Team for the many hours they must have put in coming up with the concept for that sleeve. Money well earned, chaps.

I haven’t used my catch-phrase for ages. It’ll never catch on at this rate. Let’s do it.

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, since it’s actually called “Christmas Moon” and because it’s ace:

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Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Christmas Moon

Which I think just leaves us with Badger. Since his comment was one that was lost, I received a summary of both his and SWC’s suggestions. We’ve had SWC’s, here’s Badger’s:

“Nick Drake also recorded ‘Road’ which was covered by scouse punk band Drive on their ‘Out Freakage’ album…”

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Drive – Road

“…Roads lead to nowhere as Talking Heads told us…”

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Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere

“…Or if you want to go festive you drive home on them like Chris fucking Rea….”

Or like Saint Etienne, for that matter (bullet dodged, there, I think):

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Saint Etienne – Driving Home for Christmas

And this is where it gets complicated. For at the end of their summary of the lost comments, posted by which of our fine friends I know not, was this:

“He also said something about Malcolm McLaren but I true to form can’t remember what.”

Later, this, again, author unconfirmed: “It was to do with ‘Duck Rock’.”

I sought clarification: “Was there a song from ‘Duck Rock’ you had in mind? If not, it’s going to be ‘Double Dutch’…”

The response, again author unconfirmed: “Well most of it is rubbish to be honest [Fair point]. I only thought of it because I saw a copy in a charity shop. Double Dutch is fine.”

But I felt a bit bad about…erm…badgering them into letting me play the track I like the most, so I persevered:

“Yeh, it’s that or ‘Buffalo Girls’ really isn’t? Your call, I have them both lined up ready to go. Which did you suggest in your original lost comment? We should go with that one, really.. “

No response, but to be fair, the boys have probably been swamped with comments and nice things being said about their frankly phenomenal final post (for now…?) over at When You Can’t Remember Anything. If you haven’t read it yet, do your self a favour: click that link and read something incredible. Advanced warning: you will undoubtedly shed a tear.

The reason I was trying to check whether or not one of them had suggested ‘Buffalo Gals’ (as I have subsequenty realised it’s actually called) was this. I never look at what the next record in the Official Chain is until I’ve finished sourcing all the tunes you suggested and thought of a few myself. Seems only fair that we have an even playing field, where I don’t know what the next record in The Chain is any more than you do. Besides, it’d just look plain fishy if I “guessed” right every week.

But when I did look to see what the next record in The Official Chain was, this is what I found:

“From Nick Drake to the following (which is on the ‘Duck Rock’ album)..”:


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34. Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals

So, SWC, Badger, jointly as I have no idea which of you suggested Malcolm McLaren, and in honour of your bloody marvellous (please keep going, you’re too good at this to stop) blog, have some bonus points. Merry Christmas.

Okay. So. This is the last edition of The Chain for 2016. I’ll be taking next week off, bar a couple of pre-planned posts I have lined up. Due to the nature of it, I can’t really write The Chain in advance, obviously.

So, you have two weeks to get your suggestions to me, via the Comments section below, for songs which link to “Buffalo Gals” by Malcom McLaren, along with the usual explanation about how you got from record A to record B.

Oh and one more thing. I love doing this, and I’ve said it before and I really mean it – I just host it, the majority of the work is down to you lot and your quite brilliant suggestions. I’ve followed blogs for over ten years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a blog that does what we do here at The Chain. Not me, we.

I  cannot think of a single other blog where requests are invited and all are posted; where all is good-natured, pleasant and friendly and everyone accepts they may get a bit of a ribbing every now and then, and nobody objects, nobody trolls, nobody flounces off in a strop because I’ve said their record choice was terrible; where I’ve been introduced to God knows how many songs and artists that I would probably never have heard were we not doing this (and where I hope I’ve returned the favour a few times); and where we get the most incredibly diverse range of artists – just look at that Tag list underneath this!! 46 songs!! Where else would you get that?

What I’m trying to say is this: if you’ve ever made a suggestion here, thank you. You have helped make this place what it is.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

More power to your elbows.

Oh. And More soon, obviously.

The Chain #23

Welcome, welcome Chain Gangers new and old, welcome all.

Last week’s record was “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, and the gauntlet was thrown down for you to come up with records which linked to that five minute rock classic. Some of you chose to link to word “Radar”, some to the word “Golden”, one of you to the word “Ear”, but, and bless you all for this, not one of you went down the very simple route of suggesting songs which linked to the word “Love” or “Ring”.

Actually, that’s not quite true. For one from amongst our ranks linked to both. At the same time. We’ll deal with them later.

So, to your suggestions, and first up this week is Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Let’s get the cheese out the fridge early doors,” begins CC. Music to my ears, that. Regular readers will know that whilst we encourage, smart, clever, odd, witty, records here, we also enjoy a bit of cheese to off-set it all. So what does CC have in store for us?

“Golden Earring puts one in mind (or me at any rate) of Golden Brown by the Stranglers. There was a Boston Strangler leading to the poodle band Boston with More than a Feeling.”

If I could just clarify, Boston were a band from Boston who named their band Boston, that’s how full of innovative ideas they were. So clearly, Boston were not a band made up exclusively of Poodles. That would be ridiculous. There was a Yorkshire Terrier on keyboards too, and an American Hairless Terrier called Brian provided occasional backing vocals.

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Boston – More Than a Feeling

“I may well be back,” CC adds, somewhat ominously.

Now, once in a while a suggestion contains a bit of info that I didn’t know, and this week that dubious distinction goes to The Great Gog:

“Oh well, I’d better get it over with. For those that know about these things, there’s a bit of an elephant in the room with Golden Earring, or should I say Eggermont in the room. Japp Eggermont to be precise. Not content with providing a track for the Euro-version of Smashie & Nicey to play, Mr. Eggermont post-Golden Earring was responsible for the medley mania that blighted the UK Charts in 1981 with his Starsound project.”

In case you have no idea what GG is talking about here, the Starsound project was kind of like a prototype Jive Bunny, who simply mixed old pop hits together into a medley with an irritating drum beat syncing them all together. You can read about them here or if you’d like to actually hear one of them, this is the one that got to No. 2 in the UK charts in 1981:

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 Stars On 45 – Stars On 45

No need to thank me.

Anyway, sorry GG, I seem to have interrupted, do carry on.

“This launched many copyists, but perhaps the most interesting lurked on the b-side of Squeeze’s “Labelled With Love” single – “Squabs On Forty Fab”. Clearly, Glenn, Chris and the guys weren’t taking it terribly seriously, but it’s a better listen than any other the others that were around.”

See? I had no idea that a bloke from Golden Earring was responsible for all those records, nor did I know that Squeeze had done a parody, of sorts:

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Squeeze – Squabs On Forty Fab

Time to get settled now folks, as our nice Uncle Dirk from sexyloser is about to demonstrate the art of Comment Showboating:

“…in ‘Radar Love’, Golden Earring have a line which goes “And the radio played that forgotten song / Brenda Lee’s “Coming On Strong””.

Not only is this tune shamelessly forgotten indeed (although I have a feeling that someone might easily suggest it here in due course in order to rectify this situation)…”

Stop right there. We can do that right now:

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Brenda Lee – Coming On Strong

Do continue, Dirk.

“…it’s also a little known fact that this song’s title refers to Barrett Strong, American singer and songwriter, born February 5, 1941 in West Point, Mississippi.

Brenda Lee, although married to Ronnie Shacklett since 1963, apparently had a soft spot for lucky Barret as well, or is there any other explanation why she wrote a song about having sex with him and even describes her favourite position in the title?” [Erm…are you sure about this bit…? I’ve read this several times and can’t make out if you’re making a very rude joke or not – Ed.]

“And, friends, it must have been g.r.e.a.t. sex, because it was Barrett Strong who gave Brenda the nickname under which she was widely known until the end of her career: “Little Miss Dynamite”!

Also commonly not all too well known is that Barrett wanted more than just this short liaison, but it took him until 1973 until he responded with a song for Brenda: ‘Stand Up And Cheer For The Preacher’.

History shows us that his wish was never fulfilled by Brenda, nevertheless it’s my suggestion for this week’s link, so there you are!”

I have no idea whether any of this is true or not, so just in case, a disclaimer: the views of Dirk are not necessarily shared by the broadcaster.

Anyway, here’s the tune Dirk nominates, and rather fine it is too:

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Barrett Strong – Stand Up and Cheer for the Preacher

Time to welcome The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow who proposes a song and a band I had no previous knowledge of, and who, on the strength of this song – which musically reminds me of Cowboy Junkies take on “Sweet Jane” from their The Trinity Sessions album – I’ve gone out and got me the album.

“There’s no way I can pass up such a (ahem) golden opportunity to suggest my favourite song of 2015. From Golden to Silver – ‘Silver John’ by This is the Kit.”

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This Is The Kit – Silver John

Onwards now to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything who submits:

“Radar makes me firstly think of MASH so that immediately gives us the opportunity to have a listen to the Manics version of theme tune to that.”

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Manic Street Preachers – Theme From M.A.S.H (Suicide Is Painless)

“But secondly” SWC continues, “Radar also makes me think of the wonderful Dawn of The Replicants’ single ‘Radars’.”

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Dawn Of The Replicants – Radars

Which seems an appropriate moment for me to slip one of my suggestions in, for the first record that sprang to my mind when I saw the source material was this, one of those “let’s stick this previously unreleased track on the Greatest Hits album in the hope it helps flog a few more copies” affairs:

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Blur – Music Is My Radar

And now, the return of Is This The Life‘s The Robster for his second (or should that be fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth..?) suggestions:

“A couple [ahem! – Ed] of suggestions from me: Radar Love was from an album called Moontan. Moon Safari was an album by Air featuring the excellent song Kelly Watch The Stars”

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Air – Kelly, Watch the Stars

“Another track from Moontan – Vanilla Queen – samples Marilyn Monroe who sang a song called I Wanna Be Loved By You…”

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Marilyn Monroe – I Wanna Be Loved By You

“A more obvious route – and a blatant excuse to get some David Gedge in here – takes us straight to Ears by Cinerama…”

0001459016_500Cinerama – Ears

“Alternatively, using the Golden tack – Gold Lion by Yeah Yeah Yeahs…”

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion

“…or better still, Golden by Stephenhero (aka Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens Of Distinction) which features vocals by the delectable Tanya Donelly.”

stephenherogoldenepStephen Hero – Golden

“Better leave it at that – I’m getting greedy…” he (finally) signs off.

Y’think??

Now, I’ve never heard that Stephen Hero record before, so forgive me as I’m not entirely confident in the place I got it from: is it supposed to do that thing where it seems to go into a completely different song for no reason whatsoever? (Not saying I don’t like it, by the way, just wondered if I’ve picked me up some duffer of a tampered with version).

Ok, so The Robster emailed me to tell me it sounded like I had indeed been sold a pup and that what I seemed to have was a sampler for the whole EP, which just goes to show what an idiot I am. Link now updated to feature the correct song. Many thanks to the Robster for pointing me in the right direction with this one, which I like even more now that I’ve heard it properly!

Moving on to Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? who writes:

“I am (sadly) old enough to remember Golden Earring from when they first released Radar Love back in ’73 and I hated it! Not my thing at all and they stole valuable TOTP from my favourite teen idols of the day. Bit of a one-hit wonder though so they soon went away, but then what happens, they release the same bl**dy song again four years later! My musical tastes had evolved by this time but they still (to use a phrase last employed by my favourite person to stalk/spy on/copy, George) “rubbed me up the wrong way” – Again they were taking valuable air time away from the acts I did want to watch on television!

So, to pull a lyric from a song I really do like, they not only stole time:

One time, one time (but)
Two times, two times…..

Yes, a very tenuous link to the Fugees version of Killing Me Softly from me this week.”

I think I understand that connection, just about:

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The Fugees – Killing Me Softly

Remember how Charity Chic said they may be back later? Turns out, they weren’t ruddy well joking:

“In 1978 Radar Records released their first single (I Love The Sound of) Breaking Glass by Nick Lowe – hopefully got those brackets in the correct order Alyson!”

This prompted a mini-discussion (can two comments be classed as a discussion? Discuss.) as to whether there were any brackets in the song title in question, Alyson stating: “Not seeing brackets in any of my reference material for that one CC, although I’m not actually looking at the single so they might have snuck those pesky brackets in there.”

I was with CC on this one, right up until the point that, after uploading and naming the MP3, I checked the single sleeve. Oopsies.

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Nick Lowe – (I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass

Luckily, it turns out that we’re all right. For it seems that in some countries, it was released with, and in some countries without, the brackets. For example, when it was released on Columbia Records in the USA, the brackets were included. As evidence:

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Glad to clear that up. And by the way, who said us bloggers were nerds?

Now does anyone know what time it is? That’s right: it’s George Time!

“Golden Earring were Dutch (I suppose they still are). So were Focus, but I chose them last week, but The Vengaboys were Dutch. I recognised We Like To Party (and did a little dance a la The Inbetweeners film which brought a smile to my partner’s face. Or was it a grimace…. ).”

Definitely the latter.

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Vengaboys – We Like to Party! (The Vengabus)

For those of you new round these parts, can I stress that this is not the sort of record that George usually suggests. He’s been under a lot of pressure recently…

To try and balance things out a little, I’ve spent much of my spare time since George suggested this trying to find a clip of the Wenger Boys from Sky One’s Soccer AM, but to no avail. In my quest, however, I did find an article about Vengaboys which read: “Vengaboys are a Dutch Eurodance group…[who were] never critically acclaimed”.

Hands up who knows can think of a really good reason why that might be?

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Nuff said.

Here’s Rol from My Top Ten; surely he’ll have some blinding suggestions for us?

“My first thought this time was that Golden Earring also had a song called The Twilight Zone and recently I put together a Top Ten Twilight Zone Songs (songs which could have been episodes of the amazing Rod Serling TV show). Number One on that list was Angie Baby by Helen Reddy because it freaks me out every time I listen to it.

However, I’ve disqualified the above as it’s way too self-referential.”

Oh shush. Such modesty. Read it here.

“So instead, I offer Mark Germino & The Sluggers’ classic DJ song Rex Bob Lowenstein, taken from the album Radartown. Rex Bob is a hero to music bloggers everywhere – he refuses to “play the song list they send in the mail” and when The Man tries to make him, he barricades himself in his studio and “plays smash and trash till they cuff him on the floor”.”

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Mark Germino and The Sluggers – Rex Bob Lowenstein

Over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad now:

“OK, sticking with Dutchness for a moment, one Dutch musician who passed through Golden Earring’s ranks was Robert-Jan Stips, later of art popsters Nits, from whom I nominate “Radio Shoes”. And since the first “R” of “RADAR” stands for Radio, that’s a connection by two different routes.”

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The Nits – Radio Shoes

“Also,” Alex continues, “I imagine most or all of Golden Earring wore shoes.”

Not according to The Great Gog, they don’t:

“Picking up from Alex G, a bit of lazy stereotyping would have the Dutch band’s footwear being clogs. This of course opens up the opportunity for a quick blast of Violinski’s “Clog Dance”.

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Violinski – Clog Dance

70s-tastic, Great Mate!

What time is it? It’s a quarter past George Time! And here he is with another contender for Comment Showboat of the week:

“Taking Gold as a starting point, directly under gold in the Periodic Table is Roentgenium, symbol Rg, named after Wilhelm Rontgen, the discoverer of X-rays. And The Butthole Surfers have a song with lines I Saw An X-Ray Of A Girl Passing Gas, from the Hairway To Steven album. (Apologies to German readers and Germano-philes for not using an umlaut in Rontgen.)”

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Butthole Surfers – I Saw an X-Ray Of a Girl Passing Gas

Last, but by no means least, of your suggestions this week, it’s welcome back to The Beard:

“Golden Earring are famously Dutch. The sport of darts has produced many famous Dutchmen, none more so than current world number one Michael Van Gerwen. In the glamour world of professional arrows, walk-on music is standard. His walk-on music is Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Frontman Jack White appears to have a low boredom threshold/strong work ethic and was also in, among others, The Raconteurs with a couple of gadges from The Greenhornes. My choice is The End Of The Night by The Greenhornes.”

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The Greenhornes – The End of the Night

I was going to post The White Stripes tune for you too, but CC only posted it over at his place a couple of days ago, so here’s the Glitch Mob Remix of it instead:

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The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (The Glitch Mob Remix)

Now, you’ll recall that right at the top of this week’s post, I wrote this: “…not one of you went down the very simple route of suggesting songs which linked to the word “Love” or “Ring”.

Actually, that’s not quite true. For one from amongst our ranks linked to both. At the same time. We’ll deal with them later.”

Well the time to deal with them is now, and that person was yours truly. And surprisingly, I’m not going for the easy joke here. And this is the record:

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Pixies – I’ve Been Tired

Whilst Black Francis/Frank Black/whatever he’s calling himself this week and Kim Deal may be (or have been in the latter’s case) the famous ones in the Pixies, this overlooks their drummer, the fantastically named Dave Lovering. Which is probably why he plays an instrument that is played sitting down, to protect his Lovering. (You know when I said I wasn’t going for the easy joke? I lied.)

And one more from me. Some people claim to be able to use their Radar to establish what sexual preference a person is. Often this is referred to as a Gay-dar. Which sounds too much like this for me to be able to resist:

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Electric Six – Gay Bar

It also gives me the opportunity to post the quite brilliant video for it:

That’s enough Abraham Lincoln’s in posing pouches for this week, I think. Time to reveal what the BBC Radio 2 listening public nominated as their choice to follow on from Radar Love by Golden Earring:

“From ‘Radar Love’ to Elvis Costello’s record label, Radar, hence…”

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23. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Radio Radio

CC – you were so close to gaining some bonus points. So near, and yet so far…

Ok, so you all know what to do next. Send me, via the Comments section below, you’re suggestions for records which can be linked to “Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, along with your explanation of the link between the two (or in The Robster’s case, five).

See you back here in a week’s time!

(More soon)

The Chain #19

Hello, and welcome to The Chain Gang (© Charity Chic)

You’ll forgive me if I crack right on this week, as we have an awful lot to get through.

Ok, so we ended last week asking for suggestions for records to play which had some vague connection to Elvis Presley’s “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”, and I’ll tell you straight off that one of you managed to suggest the song that follows next on the official Chain. So: bonus points will be awarded at some point in today’s post.

Exciting this, isn’t it?

So let’s get cracking shall we?

First out of the traps today is Alex G from We Will Have Salad who writes:

“I’m sure there must be other Maries in popular music (though I can’t think of any off the top of my head), but I do know that Marie’s the (real) name of the fairly popular vocalist and light entertainer, Lulu. So in accordance with your request for some cheese (and because I don’t actually know very much by Lulu), how about “Boom Bang A Bang”?”

I can’t pretend this isn’t a song that I love and have posted before, so I’m not complaining. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the UK’s entry into the 1969 (a good vintage, by the way) Eurovision Song Contest:

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Lulu – Boom~Bang~A~Bang

For those of you who don’t know the Euro-tale behind this, it was back in the days when the UK wasn’t hated by the rest of Europe, and we regularly stood a fairly good chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1967, Lulu’s tune was the UK’s entry, and it was involved in a four-way tie for first place, with France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Regrettably, there wasn’t time to go through the process of establishing an out-and-out winner on the night, so Lulu was proclaimed joint-winner.

Moving swiftly on and can we all give a very warm Chain Gang (© Charity Chic) welcome to babylotti. Now, babylotti seems to be one of those rare creatures to contribute to The Chain (although numbers are starting to flourish): someone who doesn’t have a blog of their own. Regular readers will know that this is something I want to encourage: I love having my regular blogging buddies suggesting stuff to play here, but I also want more people who just pop by, read, listen and download (for assessment purposes only, of course, before purchasing their own copy) to join in, so: babylotti, you are very welcome here. Just don’t take the piss by posting loads of suggestions, okay?

“Maria McKee collaborated with Youth on a project called Sweetest Child, their one & only single being of the same name, so my suggestion is that.”

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Youth feat. Maria McKee – Sweetest Child

Now. Strictly speaking, I should be declining that suggestion on the grounds that the song we’re linking to has the name “Marie”, not “Maria” in it. But, before there are complaints from the locals: I’m going to let it slide this time, for three reasons: firstly, it’s your first time here so I’ll cut you some slack; secondly, for a time in the late 1980s I loved Miss McKee’s band Lone Justice, and they will feature again here soon, so I’m more than happy to hear some of her solo-ish work; thirdly, I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I, diligent and warm host that I am, have posted both. So, shush. Maria McKee suggestion stands.

Take the pressure off me, someone, please?

Ah, here’s Charity Chic, creator of the Chain Gang name with which you are all now blessed (I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t think of that.)

“I suspect I would lose points for the fairly obvious Marie Marie by Shaking Stevens. So what about the original by The Blasters?”

No, but you might lose points for placing an erroneous g where a ‘ should be in his name. Very long term readers will know, I was pretty much obsessed with the Shaky one when I was a kid, so sorry, you’re getting both versions:

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Shakin’ Stevens – Marie Marie

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The Blasters – Marie Marie

Speaking of points, here’s….no, not yet, calm down, I’m just messing with you…

Oh wait, it’s Charity Chic again!

“I see a Maria has already sneaked in. Maria was a song in the musical West Side Story (don’t panic I’m not stopping there) Squeeze had an album called East Side Story which included the wonderful Tempted.”

CC, you have redeemed yourself:

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Squeeze – Tempted

If I had to say anyone had mastered the art of getting multiple songs played here, it’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who sent this:

“I was going to start with suggesting eternal flame by The Bangles. In the hope that the latest flame lasted for ever…”

Hmmm. At least you didn’t go for the Atomic Kitten version, I suppose…

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The Bangles – Eternal Flame

“Then I wondered what would happen if Elvis in the throws of passion called out ‘oh brenda’ to be met by Marie saying ‘that’s not my name’. Which just so happens to be a song by the ting tings.”

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The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

“….but then after scrolling through the iPod for a vague chain link I came across ‘Her Name was Audre’ by Maximo Park. Which seems perfect.”

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Maxïmo Park – Her Name Was Audre

I have to admit I kinda lost interest in Maximo Park after their second album, so it’s rather nice to hear something from later on in their career. Time for to me to revisit them, I think.

Hold up. babylotti’s back:

“I shall suggest another one, Sister Marie Says by OMD, from their 2010 History of Modern LP, though written in 1981 it sounds like it could have appeared next to Enola Gay and not been out of place. And he sings this as Sister Mary, not Marie to add to my earlier Maria faux pas”

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OMD – Sister Marie Says

I can’t say that anything by OMD had crossed my radar since they stopped writing records for Atomic Kitten (there’s a separate theme starting right there…) and reformed, but I take your point about that sounding like something circa Enola Gay.

babylotti’s not finished there though:

“Ok last one, I suggest His Latest Flame – “Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt” for hopefully obvious reasons…..”

Now, there’s a name I’ve not heard for a long time.

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His Latest Flame – Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt

It seems our new friend has an interesting definition of the phrase “last one” though (I’m teasing by the way):

“To add to this chain, I’m going to make the leap from Somebody’s gonna get hurt, to Somebody’s going to get their heads kicked in tonight…. the original or The Rezillo’s one, your choice….”

Since I’ve posted two versions of Marie, Marie I can’t really not do the same here, now can I, Chain Gangers?:

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Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite

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The Rezillos –  Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight

And now, as they say, for something completely different. Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“‘(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame’ was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, as was the Andy Williams classic, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’.”

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 Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

I figured using the album sleeve, with it’s “And Other Requests” was more appropriate than the single sleeve for that one.

Here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? with something else of a certain vintage:

“As we all know, at one point Elvis’ latest flame was Priscilla Beaulieu but Priscilla was also the real name of that other ’60s singer/light entertainer Cilla Black. (Don’t worry it’s not going to be Alfie) – Going to choose her very first release, the Lennon & McCartney penned song Love of the Loved please.”

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Cilla Black – Love of the Loved

Back over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog, and to S-WC:

“Two suggestions from me. Elvis famously resurrected his career in Vegas. Vegas was a song by Sleeper. So we could have that. I forget which album it was on – the first one I think.”

Indeed it was. As I purchased this on cassingle (remember them?) back in the day, I’ve plumped for the single version though:

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Sleeper – Vegas

The very thought of Louise Wener still makes me go a little weak at the knee….

Here’s S-WC’s second choice:

“The second one is that Elvis as well as singing about Flames called Marie also wrote about being ‘In The Ghetto’ which is probably his finest moment. That was memorably covered by Leatherface on their 1989 classic ‘Fill Your Boots’”

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Leatherface – In the Ghetto

Remember how earlier I said ‘I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I diligent host that I am, have posted both.’? Well, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? back for a second bite:

“I’m back as now having listened to my last suggestion it sounds truly awful so to redeem myself I’m going to suggest that other Elvis – Costello. He also sang about a girl’s name, the lovely Alison.”

Even if I wanted to complain about multiple submissions (which I don’t), that is not a song I could resist posting (so I won’t):

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Elvis Costello – Alison

Hold up, here’s George with what I think we can all agree is this week’s clear winner of the Comments Showboating award:

“Here goes. The song (Marie’s the name) His latest Flame was originally sung by Del Shannon. Unfortunately Del Shannon killed himself with a gun (in 1980). And two years earlier Terry Kath had killed himself with a gun, although this was accidental [this from Wikipedia: “Don’t worry about it … look, the clip is not even in it.” …….Kath showed the empty magazine………….then replaced the magazine in the gun, put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. However, there was a round in the chamber, and Kath died instantly.] Terry Kath was in the band Chicago, whose song 25 and 6 to 4 is pretty good.”

If, like me, you’re more familiar with Chicago for their slushy ballads (“If You Leave Me Now”, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” etc.) then I’d heartily recommend you give this one a listen to see what they used to sound like:

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Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4

But George isn’t done just there. No-siree-bob:

“I was going to link to The Smurfs but they’re Belgian….so instead. Elvis Presley’s manager was Tom Parker (who was Dutch, and I thought the Smurfs were Dutch but they’re not). And Parker was a character in Thunderbirds, he was Lady Penelope’s chauffeur/manservant. And Felt did a song called Penelope Tree.”

As I mentioned in the Comments to last week’s post, I cannot believe I’ve not posted anything by Felt before, lead singer Lawrence being one of the great unsung heroes of the UK independent music scene:

felt-penelope-tree-cherry-redFelt – Penelope Tree

Ordinarily, I’d save my own contribution until the end, but as George has kindly taken me halfway to both of my suggestions this week, I may as well go now.

Parker was indeed a character from Thunderbirds, and back in 1989 the renamed, rebranded, repackaged Fuzzbox released a single as a homage to those superheroes on  puppet strings:

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Fuzzbox – International Rescue

Of course, they weren’t the only band who released a Thunderbirds-related single, for in 2004 those naughty Busted boys had a hit with the theme to the movie. But I’m not going to play that. A Thunderbirds related Busted song? On these pages? Don’t be so ridiculous.

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Busted – What I Go To School For

Back over to you guys, and here’s Swiss Adam from bagging area with – drum roll please – the correct suggestion, by which I mean, the next official record in The Chain:

“Marie’s the Name was the inspiration for the riff to Rusholme Ruffians and on Rank and at live shows Marr jammed the two songs together.”

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19. The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)

Bonus points (again) to Swiss it is then!

Over to The Great Gog now:

“Some good tunes already suggested: Smiths, Felt & OMD. Hit by the perils of just returning from hols with all the good suggestions gone, and I feel like I’m being forced into a bit of fromage. I’ve been on a cruise ship on the Baltic for the last fortnight, and I believe Tony Christie was doing such venues at one point. He of course had a girl called Marie who was apparently hanging around for him in Amarillo, presumably as there was nothing else to do there.”

I really wouldn’t worry about the fromage, GG. You’ve seen what I posted,right?

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Tony Christie – (Is This The Way to) Amarillo

Those of you who read the Comments on this section as they come in will know that Charity Chic posted a very intriguing comment, which I invited CC to expand on:

“You’re wrong there about Amarillo GG – I once spent an hour in a turkey compound there hiding from an armed and unstable man in a El Camino truck intent on causing us harm.”

For those of you were as fascinated as I was for more details, he has indeed spilt the beans, here. (Oh and cheers for the plug!)

Whilst we’re on Charity Chic, here’s a first: a (kinda) dual suggestion by two of our Chain Gang regulars. Firstly Swiss Adam of bagging area, flush with his bonus points, returns with three simple words:

“Absolutely Sweet Marie”

Since no artiste was given, I can only assume Swiss meant this version, as opposed to, say,the George Harrison or Jason & The Scorchers versions:

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Bob Dylan – Absolutely Sweet Marie

…at which point, CC chipped in with:

“The Jason and the Scorchers version please”

Fair enough!

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Jason & The Scorchers – Absolutely Sweet Marie

And so we come to the last suggestion of the week, and it’s a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Rol from My Top Ten:

“The Smiths was my first, most obvious, choice… but for something a bit more obscure, how about Flame On! by Captain America? “

Happy to oblige. I seem to remember this lot getting into a spot of bother with a certain high street retailer back in the day. Can’t think why:

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Captain America – Flame On

Ok, so before I wrap things up, two things. Firstly: CW, thanks for your comment and I – no, we all – look forward to your suggestions in the future. And secondly, many many thanks for all of the  messages about my cousin, it really meant a lot to me that some of you took the time to pass on your kind words of support.

Before I get all teary-eyed, I’ll end for the night. Your suggestions please for any record that you can link to The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” which is lifted from their 1988 live album (and Rough Trade contract fulfilling) “Rank” – via the Comments section at the bottom of the page please!

See you same time, next week.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club (That Summer Feeling #31 – #40)

With the exception of our friends North of the Border, it’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK this weekend, and from what I can gather, the weather is set to be uncharacteristically fine. No more perfect time to post a few more summer(y) records then, right?

The first one could easily have featured in the How To Do A Cover Version thread here, being a cover of a Vic Godard tune as it is (who knows, I may post the original and the other cover I own of it at some point). For now though, here’s Orange Juice:

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377. Orange Juice – Holiday Hymn

Whatever happened to St Albans finest, Friendly Fires? Between 2008 and 2011, they seemed to be everywhere, every festival line-up had a mid-afternoon slot set aside for them and their brand of breathy alt-pop. Like this, for example:

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378. Friendly Fires – Jump in the Pool

A couple of stone-cold (or should that be red hot?) classics now. First a tune that effortlessly nails the…erm…California Soul summer vibe:

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379. Marlena Shaw  – California Soul

…and secondly, a laid-back chilled out soul tune, cut from the same cloth as Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” and The Isley Brothers’ “Summer Breeze

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380. Osibisa – Sunshine Day

All this talk of sunny days, hot weather, swimming pools and beaches should not, however, over-shadow the blight of summer for many. That’s right: hay fever.

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381. The Divine Comedy – The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count

Now a song which for those of you who follow The Chain thread we do here (and if you don’t, why not??), and specifically this weeks’ comments, will know that I, like Charity Chic, am unable to resist dedicating this to George:

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382. Bruce Springsteen – Girls In Their Summer Clothes

Question: What should be better than one Webb?

Answer: Two Webbs.

And that’s why I never made it as a stand-up comedian.

The one Webb in question is Jimmy, the man responsible for such classics as “Galveston“, “Wichita Lineman” and “MacArthur Park“; the two Webbs are his sons, The Webb Brothers, and of course, bettering their father’s records is a tough ask. They’ve written a few decent songs, especially on their “Maroon” album. This one isn’t on that, and it’s okay I guess (and that’s why I never made it as a music critic either):

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383. The Webb Brothers – Summer People

Of course, if you want a classic British summer tune, recalling yer actual Cock-er-nee family trips down to the beach, you don’t have to look much further than this pair:

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384. Chas & Dave – Margate

I have vague memories from when I was a kid of going on coach trips to the seaside, although I can’t recall quite who organised them (the scouts, possibly…?) or where we went (I imagine Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Skegness…all names so impossibly exotic as to make the mention of Margate pale in comparison). This next one tells the story of one such trip, of a young lad getting what I believe is called a knee-trembler behind the chalets. But it’s the description of the everyday beach life that really hits home here, which is only to be expected when you consider who its’ by:

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385. Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

To round things off for another week, here’s Super Furry Animals with some blissed out Welsh psych-rock loops and Beach Boys harmonies perfection lifted from their ninth studio album, “Dark Days/Light Years“:

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386. Super Furry Animals – Cardiff in the Sun

More soon.

1985 and All That

In my younger days, I was quite the susceptible type. Easily swayed.  Particularly when it came to music.

Two examples:

At some point or other, probably a few years earlier, I heard the Mighty Quo being interviewed on Radio 1 by Tommy Vance. It was a Desert Island Discs type affair, with Rossi and Parfitt (the ones you’ve heard of) picking songs which were important to them, or that they just plain liked, playing them in between regaling us with tales of their rock’n’roll lifestyle.

One of the songs they picked was the first of those included in today’s post. It was by a band I was already familiar with, and I featured “Labelled With Love” by them in one of my earlier “Sunday Morning” posts.

But other than that, and “Cool for Cats”, I’d never heard anything else by Squeeze until that day.

And then Parfitt picked this:

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Squeeze – Another Nail in My Heart

I was smitten, (at least in part because of who had recommended it) and spent the next I-don’t-know-how-long scouring the second hand section of Andy’s Records in the hope that someone would have discarded one of their albums. Eventually, I gave up and shelled out for their Greatest Hits collection, “45’s and Under”.

In that album, I had a friend for life. 12 songs, each and every one an absolute pearler.

And it meant that I now owned what I have come to view as one of the greatest singles ever released:

Squeeze – Up The Junction

If I had cows, I would listen to that until they came home. It’s often said that Ray Davies of The Kinks writes lyrics which tell a story of everyday London life, that paint a picture, whatever euphemism you care to choose. For my money, Chris Difford is right up there with him. And Glenn Tilbrook writes a pretty mean tune too.

Squeeze have been in the news recently. They were coaxed out of semi-retirement to pen the theme tune to the TV dramatization of Danny Baker’s marvellous, hilarious autobiography “Going to Sea in a Sieve”, the series being renamed “From the Cradle to the Grave”. A short while ago, the band were invited onto the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, a Sunday morning political show, to perform the song. Here‘s what happened. Bless ’em.

Oh go on then, here’s the single in full, as performed on “Later with Jools Holland”

Example two:

One Friday morning at school, me and my mates were sitting in our form group, chatting about the night before’s edition of Top of the Pops. One song came up who I had never heard before but had enjoyed. I did not tell my peers I had liked it, for it was performed by a winsome folky acoustic female.

Her name came up in conversation, and one of my buddies, Matt, said he really liked her song. I – to my eternal shame – uttered words which would never again fall from my mouth.

“I liked that too, but didn’t say anything in case nobody else did.”

I know, I know. I hang my head in shame.

I remember Matt looking at me incredulously, mouth agape. “Why would you not admit to liking something just because you think nobody else does?” he said. And he should know. He liked Simple Minds AND Whitney Houston and didn’t care who knew it.

Because I’ve been banging on about how great Quo are for the past few years, and to admit to liking this, the polar opposite of Quo, is tantamount to admitting I’m wrong, that’s why, I thought.

I didn’t say that. I just shrugged and said “I dunno. Cos I’m a twat?”.

But lesson learned. Never again have I been ashamed to admit what records I like, no matter how others opinions might fall. Diversity in music taste is the making of a man. Or woman.

Which is why I do this, I guess.

By the end of the weekend, the album on which the song in question lived was mine.

Oh, what song was it? This:

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Suzanne Vega – Marlene On The Wall

Cheers, Matt, for pointing out the bleeding obvious to me. I owe you one.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Morning all.

For the few of you who have a passing interest in the main theme of this blog – for new readers: all of the records I bought, posted in the order I bought them – who are wondering what’s happened to that, fear not. 1985 is proving a tad more problematic than I had anticipated, but fear not, it will be here soon.

In the meantime, more Sunday morning shenenigans.

Today’s post was a record that I must have heard on the radio of a morning when it was released in 1981; the soundtrack to my bowl of porridge and buttered toast in those days was one Terence Wogan on Radio 2, not through choice, this was what the folks used to listen to, and when you’re 11 going on 12 you can’t really insist they put 6 Music on. Mostly because it didn’t exist in those days. Back then, the word “digital” referred to watches and had nothing to do with entertainment (although I had a particularly cool Casio digital watch which hugely entertained me by playing a different alarm for each day of the week, each a classical tune (not so cool) which had the notes popping up on the screen as it played.)

Anyway, today’s post is a perfect example of the story-telling qualities of Messrs Difford & Tilbrook. Anyone who knows those names, will also know that (generally) Glenn Tilbrook writes the music and Chris Difford writes the lyrics, and the lyrics are genius, to my mind the first true story-telling lyricist since Ray Davies.

Labelled with Love paints a portrait of a lonely alcoholic woman, who met a US Airman during the 2nd World War, fell in love and married him, moved to the US and then back when he died in a drunken stupor, before seeing her days out, shuffling around the china poodles she collects in her tiny hovel.

Several of the words in that description have been directly lifted from the song – all of them words you do not encounter in pop songs on a regular basis.

And if that wasn’t enough to make it great, it was co-produced by Elvis Costello.

It’s bleak. It’s Country. It’s wonderful. It’s:

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Squeeze – Labelled With Love

The song has particular poignancy for me, as two of my aunts married US military men who were stationed near to where they lived back in the day, and moved over to the States. Thankfully, neither turned out anything like the man in the story here. There but for the grace of God, and all that….