Goodbye To My Little Brother (Part 2)

Llyr

Okay. Deep breaths.

This is the story of me and the dude up there that I have affectionately referred to as ‘my little brother’ for years now. When I finally publish this, I’ll have lost track of how many drafts I’ll have written, hated and discarded.

What I hope is that what follows does my best friend Llŷr justice.

What I know is that I will have been a howling mess of snot and tears on several points through it.

It’s a story that I wish I’d written ages ago, after he gave me his blessing to write about him, and while he was still around to actually read it.

Whilst I’ve mentioned Llŷr many times, until my last post I’d never mentioned his actual illness, because I knew he didn’t want it to define him, and I wanted to respect that. I want to remember him how he was too.

I got his consent two years ago, when we shared a hotel room at a friend’s wedding. He’d want me to tell you it was twin beds, not a double, but it wasn’t. He’d definitely want me to stress there were no shenanigans though, no “those aren’t pillows!” moments:

The wedding just happened to fall on the same weekend as his 40th birthday. Typically Llŷr refused to let us properly celebrate his milestone birthday as he didn’t want to steal the limelight from the happy couple.

But him reaching forty was something to celebrate, more so than anyone else I knew, and so I started writing this post.

But much as I tried to, I couldn’t find the right words.

Nothing seemed appropriate, didn’t do him justice, just didn’t seem right. So I put it on the back burner, resolving to return to it once I’d had chance to mull things over some more.

And now it’s too late for him to read it.

On Friday I went to his memorial service and then the reception. Note: not a wake. As you might expect, there were many tears, hugs and embraces, but also many smiles and laughs amid much swapping of stories and memories; there was singing, there was dancing, there was a lot of drinking, oh-so-many glasses clinked together in his name.

He would have loved it.

*****

So I thought I’d explain how Llŷr and I became such good friends. Truth be told, we were thrown together by circumstance.

I had been living with a bloke I knew from college days, who found he was about to be a father and decided that my bedroom would be much better deployed as a nursery, which definitely did not require a sponging, chain-smoking lodger residing in it.

Hint taken, I promptly moved out, and found myself a flat in the Grangetown area of Cardiff. It was the first time I’d ever lived alone, and I greatly enjoyed being able to eat what I wanted when I wanted without disapproving looks from housemates, or watch whatever I liked on TV. And if I wanted to watch TV in just my underwear, I could, without anyone either judging me or dry-wretching at the sight in the same way as you are at the image now in your mind.

Around the same time, Llŷr found himself in a similar situation; he had been lodging with Richie, a chap who I had worked with years earlier in the video shop, who now worked at the same insurance company as we did, and who also suddenly found fathership was impending. Llŷr moved out and got himself a flat on the same side of the river as me and which just so happened to be about five minutes walk from my flat.

We knew nobody else who lived in this area of Cardiff, and so consequently, united in our ostricisation, we started spending more and more time in each other’s company, usually at his flat, partly because it had central heating (a fact I had failed to consider when moving into mine), partly because Llŷr didn’t live under the permanent shadow of the electricity going off as I did (as I had to pre-pay via a meter which only accepted discontinued fifty pence pieces which I had to purchase from my landlord) , but mostly because Llŷr had an absolute treasure trove of a collection of popular culture for us to feast on.

Firstly, a mountain of vinyl, some of the most ludicrous but still somehow cool records you’ve ever seen. A gatefold Bay City Rollers album, you say? Ordinarily, not fussed. But somehow, imbued with Llŷr’s consent, such things seemed cool.

Secondly, an absolute wall of video tapes, all crammed with stuff he had taped off the TV. This was manna from heaven for me, and most nights I was there I would just sit back, drink beer and smoke whilst he fast forwarded through another VHS to find the next good bit he had captured.

Now, I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder myself when it comes to popular culture, but my VHS taped-from-TV collection pretty much ends at a load of clips from Top of the Pops or any other music show. Llŷr, however, took it to another level.

I will never forget the night that we drunkenly watched – several times – footage from The Big Breakfast he had taped, where some blokes from shouty-not-very-good-indie band Reef played that game where you place your forehead on a broom, run round it several times then try to run a short obstacle course, inevitably falling over in a dizzy mess. The night ended with both of us taking it in turns to lay on our back in his living room, trying (with an impressive degree of success) to light our own beery farts.

I had just turned thirty and I felt like a teenager again.

Llŷr suggested us sharing a place and initially I was resistant. I was thirty, and had finally got a flat of my own. To start sharing again felt like a step backwards.

And then the bills at my flat started becoming a bit much, and suddenly it felt like a good idea to be splitting them with someone.

We went to visit a couple of female friends of ours, who rented a ground-floor flat back in Cathays, the cooler studenty-area of Cardiff. They just happened to be moving out and were looking for someone to take the flat off their hands. Llŷr floated the idea of us sharing a flat again, and this time I jumped at it.

We became inseparable. On the rare occasions that he went out without me, he would come home telling me everyone had been asking where I was, and I found the reverse to be true. We very briefly discussed that perhaps everyone thought we were “a couple”, dismissed the idea, and decided that we didn’t really care what anyone else thought anyway.

The flat, pristine and beautiful when we moved in, fell into decay because we behaved exactly as you would expect two lazy blokes to behave. Shall we do a bit of housekeeping, or watch some more utter tat on the telly? Telly it is!

I’ll never forget the night a couple of female friends came back to ours for a drink; one went to the bathroom, and when she hadn’t returned some twenty minutes later and we went to check she was okay, we found her scrubbing our bath with bleach because it was so grim. Llŷr’s reaction: “Oh, have we got bleach?”, which pretty much sums up our distant relationship with keeping the flat clean.

Initially we just had the sofa in the living room – part of the features and fittings when we moved in – to sit on, but at some point we added to the furniture by retrieving a knackered old arm-chair somebody had thrown out onto the street. Under cover of darkness, we dragged it into the flat one night only to find that the springs had all gone; still, stick an upturned washing-up bowl (it wasn’t required for any other purpose in the house of filth) underneath it and it worked just fine. But Llŷr made it very clear: this had been my idea, so the scuzzy armchair was mine, the sofa was his. Fair enough.

While we lived together, my re-education really began.

It was Llŷr who reminded me, in my early thirties, that it’s absolutely fine to like pop records, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about in doing so.

See that “There’s No Such Thing As A Guilty Pleasure” tagline? It simply wouldn’t be there were it not for Llŷr.

I’ll go further. Without that little seed sown, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it. He told me many times that he really loved that I do this, regularly left grateful comments or sent me encouraging messages about something I’d posted, and once told me that he wanted to start writing something himself: you know, like younger brothers often do, to impress their older sibling.

It may seem glib or inappropriate to post tunes now, but everyone who knew him would agree that Llŷr was all about the music. There’s a multitude of songs I could post which will always remind me of him. It’s impossible to choose just one.

OK. Here’s one. To start.

One night in a bar in Cardiff, Llŷr got into an argument with a friend who dared to be dismissive of Kelly Clarkson, of all people. Llŷr wasn’t having that: just because she’d won American Idol did not automatically mean that her songs were awful. He was right, of course. This is a belter:

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Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone

And then there’s the night, in a different bar, when he defended his love for Energy 52‘s ‘Cafe Del Mar’ to another long-standing friend by pointing out that it really didn’t matter if a tune had no words, as long it sounded great and didn’t sound like whoever the friend’s favourite song was by. If ever there was a tune which makes me think of Llŷr, that’s it.

All of which makes Llŷr sound a right argumentative bugger, but he really wasn’t. Passionate, yes. Persuasive, yes. And generally right.

Llŷr and I lived together for four or five years, and I can only think of one occasion that we argued in all that time. The disputed subject was telling: the BBC had announced the winner of American Idol before ITV had shown the final; he couldn’t believe the Beeb had broken that bond of trust, whilst I couldn’t believe he thought the BBC wouldn’t do whatever it deemed necessary to prevent their audience from watching a rival channel, even if it was only ITV2. I still think I was right, but I wish I hadn’t been.

We were once asked to DJ for an hour or so at a friend’s wedding. Suffering a crisis of confidence, I suggested that he did the actual DJ’ing bit and I’d just pass him the records he wanted. Llŷr was having none of it: he might play the records, but we would jointly decide what was played.

We agreed on this, and the dance floor went wild:

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Girls Aloud – Love Machine

The actual DJ for the night gave us his business card and asked us to call him if we ever wanted any work. We never did. We didn’t need him.

Then there’s the night my parents visited Cardiff, and stayed at our flat. We all went out to eat, came back to the flat, and after my Mum had gone to bed, Llŷr and my Dad bonded over obscure records by none other than (who else?) Edward Woodward. Llŷr had something by him on vinyl. Of course he did.

About a week later, I received a parcel through the post. It was a load of Max Boyce records my Dad owned on vinyl, burnt off onto CDs. The post-it note attached made it very clear that they were not meant for me, but for Llŷr. They’d discussed him at length, apparently. That was the effect he had on people: they immediately wanted to share things with him and be part of his story.

He was perfectly happy to admit when he liked something that you really wouldn’t have expected him to. The term “eclectic music taste” was probably devised to describe him. Which also meant that if you told him you liked a band that he didn’t like, or knew little about, he would want to understand the appeal, and would go off and investigate for himself.

We never quite saw eye-to-eye on R.E.M., who I love but he was generally indifferent to. They played Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium on their tour to promote their not-very-good Around The Sun album. We went to see them, me as the uber-fan, he as the curious outsider. He’d done his research of the band’s discography in advance, which had led him to one tune by them that he really loved.

Llŷr (at the gig, in between songs): Do you reckon they’ll play it, Jez?

Me: Nah, they won’t play that one. They never do.

Llŷr: Are you sure, Jez?

Me: Yup. Won’t happen.

Llŷr: A tenner says they do.

Me: Deal.

Llŷr: (as the band crashed into the opening chords of the song in question): Shall we stop at a cash machine on the way home?

I later found out that in advance of the gig, he had checked the set-list for all of the gigs the band had already done on the tour, and knew bloody well they’d be playing it.

This one:

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R.E.M. – These Days

(I learned at the memorial service on Friday that he’d played a very similar prank on his younger sister, Sian, when they were kids, this time tricking her out of her pocket-money by getting her to bet on a horse in the Grand National, a race where he miraculously managed to pick the winner. Unbeknownst to Sian, the race had happened hours earlier, he already knew the result, whilst she was betting on the highlights.)

Another case in point: he and Hel (his older sister, also often mentioned on these pages) went to Glastonbury in 2009, a year I didn’t manage to get a ticket for.

2009 just happened to be the year that my much beloved Status Quo played on the Sunday morning. The two of them went to watch them (because they knew I’d be really annoyed with them if they didn’t), and I got a text from Llŷr at some point that day telling me that they’d played Mean Girl, a song that, whilst he wasn’t at all bothered about anything else they’d ever done, he had found for himself and loved.

My response, articulately put and spread over a number of texts, was along the lines of:

“They never play that! They never played that. Did they play that? Tell me you’re joking. No. They didn’t play that.”

Come the edited highlights on BBC4 later that day, I had to eat my proverbial hat.

You think I’d learn, wouldn’t you? Still, at least no money changed hands this time.

He never let me forget that. Ever. You know, like smart ass little brothers don’t let you forget stuff like that.

Sorry, I have to post this while I have a little cry:

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Status Quo – Mean Girl

Just to be clear: I’m not claiming that as a result of knowing me he suddenly loved R.E.M. and Status Quo. Far from it: he saw I loved them, gave them a listen, and decided he liked precisely one song by each.

Then there was the time that I won two tickets to go and see Gene play at Clwb Ifor Bach; initially he was dismissive as Sian had been a member of their fan club when she was much younger (so he told me, citation needed) and he had – as older brothers are supposed to – mercilessly ripped the piss out of her for it.

But he came with me anyway, and left the gig buzzing, telling me that his opinion had changed, asking to borrow all of my Gene records, but making me swear I’d never tell Sian, of his conversion. Well, I managed it until now…

There’s one song by Gene the title of which would be sadly, horribly appropriate for me to post here, but I can’t bear to listen to it, so instead a song the opening lines of which we both felt a great affinity with:

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Gene – Sick, Sober and Sorry

And then everything changed forever.

One Sunday, when Sian – who had been sofa-surfing at ours for a couple of weeks and, moving into her own flat the next day, had offered to take us out for a Sunday lunch somewhere as a “thank you” for letting her stay – suddenly, scarily, started banging on my bedroom door, imploring that I come help quickly.

Something was happening to Llŷr.

He had gone to the bathroom to clean his teeth, and had started having some kind of fit. I emerged to find him on his back on the bathroom floor, seemingly unconscious, frothing at the mouth.

I sent Sian off to the front of the house where phone reception was better to call an ambulance. But now what to do? Having taken control of the situation, I had to do something. Remembering films I’d seen, where this sort of thing happened, I threw water on Llŷr, believing that would snap him out of it.

It didn’t, of course, but by the time the paramedics arrived, his fit had ended. They asked why his hair and T-shirt was all wet, a question which Llŷr himself asked as he was lifted into the ambulance.

I looked sheepish. “Threw some water on you. Thought it might work. Sorry.”

I kicked my heels and felt sheepish.

I love the NHS. But that Sunday in Cardiff they were completely overwhelmed. We spent hours waiting to be seen and then, when he finally was, as I recall, the seizures having stopped hours earlier, they gave him a quick once over, resolved all was okay, and sent him home with an instruction to take a day or two off work.

Back at the flat, we ordered Chinese food and Llŷr made us both promise not to tell his parents. Neither Sian nor I were happy about it, but we respected his wish. Okay, we can convince ourselves that was a one-off.

I took the next day off work as a precaution too. Llŷr’s dad was due to visit to collect Sian, and since we didn’t want him to know what a shit-hole we lived in, or that Sian had stayed in, we pledged to clean the flat before he arrived.

Llŷr went off to clean the bathroom, and since this was where his last incident had happened, I was wary. Just take it easy, I said, and if you get into difficulties, just holler.

Ten minutes, later there was a crashing noise from the bathroom. I, stupidly, assumed he was having a laugh at my expense.

“Llŷr, are you okay?” I called.

No answer.

“Llŷr..?”

Still nothing.

“Okay, I’m coming, but you’d better be properly ill and not winding me up or I’m going to kill you myself”. Funny how words said in jest can come back to haunt you.

I found Llŷr laying on his side, having fortuitously landed in something approaching the recovery position, having another fit.

Reassuring words spoken. Ambulance called, again.

And this time, a much-needed stay in hospital.

When he was discharged, I hated leaving him at home alone for fear of anything happening whilst I was out, but he was insistent. Before he became ill, Llŷr and I often went clubbing together, and he was adamant that I should carry on even though he no longer could. Unsaid, I think he wanted to live vicariously through me, for whenever I went out clubbing he would be waiting up when I got home, eager to hear who had been out, and more importantly, what tunes had been played. I could remember the former, rarely the latter. And so we devised a system: if I was out, he just had to text me a code word – and I would come home.

And so fast forward a few weeks. I met some friends in a bar in Cardiff, heading club-wards. They offered me some coke, which I declined. Seconds later my phone rang, and it was Llŷr. I answered, but could just hear a gurgling noise from the other end.

Fuck.

I ran home, passing people I knew through clubbing who were very surprised to see me run, and found Llŷr laying on the living room floor, in the final throes of another fit.

Nerves calmed – “I’m here, it’s going to be okay” – ambulance called.

Shortly afterwards, Llŷr was diagnosed with a brain tumour which was causing the seizures. He was given medication to stop them happening, but tragically the tumour was inoperable.

And that was fourteen years ago.

Fourteen years. Fourteen years where he has struggled and coped and fought and never once did I ever hear him complain. He knew the cards he had been dealt, accepted it but refused to let it define him, refused to let it stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do for as long as he could. He would still go to gigs, would still go to Glastonbury, and no annoying thing living in his head was going to stop him.

I wish I could say I’d react the same. I can’t say that I would. Who knows. But what I do know is that despite his restricted capabilities, Llŷr carried on regardless. Like he knew his time was limited and he was going to make sure he continued enjoying every second he had left.

Much as I may try here, I can’t properly express my admiration for him and the way he insisted on conducting himself.

And now Llŷr has left us, and there’s a gaping hole in my life where he used to be which nobody can ever fill.

Never again will we go to an indie club and do our little joke to each other where we would sing along to a record but take a swig of our drink when it gets to a lyric we don’t quite know (which we found so much funnier than I just made that sound).

Never again will we get to play “French, or Student?”, a game we devised – and even made up a theme tune to, nicked from Raw Sex’s musical enunciation of French & Saunders. The game was that when out at an indie club, one of us would stand behind someone who was dressed like they could be French or could be a Student, and the other had to guess which they were. Again, you probably had to be there.

Never again will I be able to text him the word “Pennoes!” and know he would be watching the same football match as me.

Never again will I have to worry about him spilling the beans on some of the more embarrassing moments that happened when we lived together. Never again will I be able to buy his silence with the threat of an equally unsavoury  tale.

Never again will we go to a Super Furry Animals gig together, as we did countless times, and laugh with each other as we basked in our self-perceived glory when we air-drummed the fill after the bridge on this tune, which we did every time, without fail, much to the bemusement and confusement of anyone who was with us:

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Super Furry Animals – Slow Life

Never again.

All of these records – and so, so many more – will always make me think of Llŷr.

They are ours.

Not past tense. Are. Not were.

For whilst he may be gone, they’re here with me now, as he will be whenever I hear them, for as long as I’m still breathing through these knackered old lungs of mine. I’ve felt him at my shoulder as I’ve written every word of this: “Oh Jeremy, don’t tell that story…and pick that tune…no, not that one, that one.” He’s gone, but he’s not, because I, and every person who ever met him, remember him as the most joyous, loveable, force of life you could ever hope to meet.

I’m honoured to have known Llŷr, to be able to call him my friend, my best friend, my little brother, and to know that would be reciprocated.

Dude, I miss you already. I always will.

There’s so many things I feel sad about. Selfishly, that my own recent illness robbed me of a couple of visits to see him, that I didn’t get chance to say goodbye to him properly.

Unselfishly, for you, my friend; for the battle you had, for all of the normal things one expects a life to deliver that you were robbed of, for the opportunities and experiences you’ll never have.

And angry at how terribly, terribly unfair it is that you’ve been taken from us.

Sleep easy, dude, you deserve a rest. We’ll all love you forever. We’ll never forget you. And I will forever try to be the man you should still be.

*****

The final hymn at the memorial service on Friday was this, a song I have heard many times before, usually in the build-up to a Welsh rugby match. It never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. But never before had I heard it sung so beautifully, so passionately, as it was on Friday:

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The Treorchy Male Voice Choir – Cwm Rhondda (Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah/Bread of Heaven)

I warned you: here come the snot and tears again.

*****

Sian is running the London Marathon this year, raising funds for The Brain Tumor Charity. As I write this, she has smashed her target of £5000.00 – but that’s not a cut-off point. It would please me, and Llŷr’s family and friends, immensely if you could see your way to contributing, no matter how large or small an amount, so that one day, maybe, a family doesn’t have to go through what Llŷr and his family have had to.

If you’ve read this far a) well done, b) thank you, and c) please click the link below and read Sian’s words about Llŷr. They were written before he passed, but she says it way better – and, crucially, more concisely – than I have. But be warned, I’ve just read it again and I’m bawling my eyes out. Again.

 

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=SianWilliams16&pageUrl=3

More soon.

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R.I.P Rick

As well as marking Kirsty MacColl’s death earlier in the month, there’s one other person who I always mark the passing of, with the same song every year.

By which I mean: you know what’s coming, don’t bother reading on if this offends.

2016 was a year when we lost oh so many of our popular culture heroes: David Bowie, Prince, Victroia Wood.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the one I was most upset about was my childhood idol, Rick Parfitt.

So, with absolutely no apologies at all, here’s Quo’s one and only Christmas song:

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Status Quo – It’s Christmas Time

That’s probably me over and out until the New Year, so let me take this opportunity to wish everyone who stumbles onto my pages a very Merry Christmas.

Oh, and more soon, obviously.

Remembering Rick

Tomorrow many will be marking that it’s been twelve months since George Michael died.

But me, I’ll be remembering that it was exactly a year ago today that as my train pulled into the station on Christmas Eve, my phone went white hot as people – many of them readers of these pages – got in touch because Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt had died.

I’m not going to dwell on it, though. You all knew this was coming:

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Status Quo – It’s Christmas Time

More soon.

Panic on the Streets of London

The other week, there was much conversation on social media of the sky being a funny reddy-orangey colour in the South East of the UK.

Transpires it wasn’t the end of days at all, but a load of sand particles being blown in from the Sahara Desert.

So, y’know, nothing to worry about at all.

It did mean I had this song in my brain for hours, though:

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Status Quo – Red Sky

To be honest, there’s a Quo song playing in my head 99% of the time, just turned out that this time it was bordering on relevant.

More soon.

The Chain #43

There. That’s caught you all out. The Chain on a Wednesday morning.

Don’t get used to this. I’m at a work conference this afternoon and won’t get back until late, so I figured if I didn’t get it done before then, it’d end up being another week before it appeared. So, I started writing it earlier than usual (but still a week late, if you’re being ungratefully picky).

Anyway, we’ve lots to get through this week – 63 new suggestions in total – and so, as has become usual, we’ll start off with a reminder of the source record for the week:

original_44242. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

Yet again, one of you correctly guessed the next song in The Chain, but we’ll come to that later. Or, more specifically, at the end.

But first, where to begin? Link-wise, I can think of no finer place than with therobster from Is This The Life? although, as you will see, the first tune of the week can only be partly credited to him:

“I’ve gone down the ‘intentionally misspelled animal-related band name’ route. How about some Def Leppard? No…?” 

Yes! But with no actual one-armed suggestions forthcoming from the robster, in stepped Rol from My Top Ten:

“If therobster isn’t going to suggest one, can I suggest…”

Def Leppard

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked

“…because it’s very silly.”

Back to therobster, who actually suggests this:

“…let’s have the Monkees. As the Beatles were from Liverpool, I reckon ‘Randy Scouse Git’ would fit well. Plus, it’s actually about a party the band went to that was hosted by The Beatles”

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The Monkees – Randy Scouse Git

Now, just in case any of you were planning on pulling me up on using that sleeve, let me explain. RCA Records bosses told the band that they would not release the song with the title “Randy Scouse Git” (which, incidentally, is taken from 1960s sitcom “‘Til Death Us Do Part”), and demanded they gave it an alternate title. “Okay”, said drummer/singer Mickey Dolenz, “‘Alternate Title’ it is.”

Here’s another band that fits nicely into the category:

Byrds

The Byrds – I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

Now, as therobster quite right points out, The Beatles is indeed a mis-spelling, and a pun, on a group if insects, but this seems to have completely passed Kay by:

“I’m going down the insect/bug route” she announces, and then names these two tunes:

Adam & The Ants

Adam & The Ants – Prince Charming

and

Verve

The Verve – Catching The Butterfly

But whilst we’re on links from The Beatles to the beetles, we may as well have Mrs GMFree, who suggests: “A Beetle is a VW car which is German, so are krautrock masters Kraftwerk…”

Or, as Alan Partridge would say:

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 “Kommen sie bitte und listen to Kraftwerk”

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk – Autobahn

(NB. I tried to track down a video clip of just the Partridge – Kraftwerk introduction, sadly to no avail. But imagine my surprise when typing the words “alan partridge introduces kraftwerk” into Google to find that the fourth link it offers is to…The Chain #28!)

But I digress. GMFree seizes the opportunity to do the old Chain link one-two shuffle:

“Which leads me to my [next] suggestion with the recent death of Holger Czukay…”

Can

Can – Mushroom

“…which I first heard covered by The Jesus & Mary Chain, one of many bands influenced by the experimental Germans.”

And GMFree isn’t done there, providing “a Beatle link to a Captain Beefheart cover”, which contains one of the rarest sounds ever committed to record – Mark E Smith giggling:

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The Fall – Beatle Bones ‘N’ Smokin’ Stones (Peel Session)

There’s also this, of course:

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The House of Love – The Beatles and The Stones

Enter George (that’s an introduction, rather than a command), who suggests:

“…given that The Beatles once played on the roof of their Apple building, what about…”

Drifters

The Drifters – Up On The Roof

Ah yes, Apple Records. Alex G picks this up and runs with it:

“‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP, their first on their own Apple Records imprint. So from one artist-owned label named after a fruit, to another: Ray Charles’ Tangerine Records. I do wonder whether the Beatles got the idea from him, though nobody else seems to think so. Anyway, let’s go for Ray Charles’ version of…”

Ray

Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby

Which is, as Alex G points out/pleads, a double linker. Points!

Time for a Magical Mystery Tour next, courtesy of Julian from Music From Magazines:

“The Beatles had a couple of names before they became famous

1. The Quarrymen

To quarry is to mine as in ‘Soul Mining’ by The The ( fill your boots)”

Don’t mind if I do.

The The

The The – Uncertain Smile

Julian continues:

“2. The Silver Beatles

Martha is a lady’s name

And the bloke leaning over my shoulder at the bar is called Dave, amongst other things

So let’s switch on the Magimix ™ and see what delight we get

………… and the winner is

David Soul ‘Silver Lady'”

Much as I love that record, it’s featured before, way back in The Chain #8, and as such has to be disqualified. But since GMFree has done the old Chain link one-two shuffle, I suggested Julian might want to follow suit. So, since, he’d got to David Soul, perhaps one of his other songs? Nope. That’s too straight-forward for our Julian:

“David Soul starred in a short lived TV show called ‘Casablanca’, so how about…”

Dooley

Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By

I must say, I’m not in the least bit surprised that Julian has suggested a song from a film which contains the line “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Anyway, he’s riffing by now:

“…coincidently [Casablanca] was the record label that released…”

Parliament

Parliament – Dr. Funkenstein

Having valiantly chipped in to assist therobster earlier, Rol’s back with a suggestion all his own doing:

“‘Martha My Dear’ is from The White Album. Another band who released a ‘White Album’ (following on from their Blue, Green and Red albums… even though all of them were actually just eponymous) were Weezer. From that, I’ll suggest…”

Weezer_-_Weezer_(The_White_Album)

Weezer – Thank God for Girls

Do any other White albums spring to mind? Well, no, although there is, of course “The Whitey Album”, by Sonic Youth off-shoot Ciccone Youth (I really thought this would get suggested, especially as I posted a track from it in a recent post).

Ciccone

Ciccone Youth – Addicted to Love

Over to Alyson from What’s It All About? to wrap up the whiteness now:

“It occurred to me that The Beatles ‘White Album’ reminds me of Mr Barry White…I can’t find any dog-related [this will get explained soon – Ed] Barry songs or ones about a girl called Martha [I think we pretty much used them all up last time – Ed] so it’ll have to be the next most appropriate for this place:”

Barry

Barry White – Let The Music Play

Now, all this white stuff is all well and good, but let me draw all of your attention back to something Alex G said earlier: ‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP…” And he’s quite right: the album in question is colloquially known as ‘The White Album’ but it’s actually, officially, called ‘The Beatles’.

Which takes us back to George, who suggests a new category: “…the ‘eponymous album that wasn’t a debut’ route.” And specifically he suggest this, from Blur’s 1997 album, the fifth that they released:

Blur

Blur – Death of a Party

I must say, this is my favourite link of all that were suggested this time. It had never occurred to me before that most acts, when releasing an eponymous album, made it their debut, presumably to double the impact of their name, get it “out there” as a recognisable brand. So I did a little digging and found these acts also released eponymous albums, but not first time around:

Metallica

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Yes, everyone calls their fifth album “The Black Album”, but it’s not called that, it’s called ‘Metallica’.

And at the other end of the musical spectrum, this lots’ first album was 1973’s “Ring Ring”, but it wasn’t until two years later, when they released their third album, that they released an album called…well, you can figure the rest of that sentence out for yourselves:

Front Cover

ABBA – S.O.S.

I sense a new series of posts coming on…

Now, remember how in her suggestion Alyson mentioned something about dogs in songs? Well that’s where we’re going next and here’s Dirk from sexyloser to explain why:

“..the title ‘Martha My Dear’ was inspired by McCartney’s Old English Sheepdog, named Martha.”

Which leads us nicely into a whole batch of songs about dogs. Sort of. But before we get to Dirk’s suggestion, here’s The Great Gog, awake at 02:31am and thinking about dogs:

“All this talk of Martha has me thinking of my one of my sister’s dogs, which goes by that moniker. Martha is a spaniel, no idea what type of spaniel though. One type is a cocker spaniel which immediately led me to thinking of…”

Cocker

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

Relax ladies, he’s married. And dead.

Back to The Great Gog it is then:

“Another type is a King Charles spaniel. The next King Charles is still a prince, however, so I can legitimately suggest…”

Prince Charles

Prince Charles & The City Beat Band – Cash (Cash Money)

The Songs (Sort Of) About Dogs category is (almost) the largest category, so strap yourself in for some canine capers. You could say that we’ve gone dog crazy, in fact:

Soup

The Soup Dragons – Backwards Dog

Okay then Dirk, what have you got for us?

“Another famous Old English Sheepdog was Alfie, who starred in ‘Serpico’, so – of course – did Al Pacino. And Al Pacino will always be remembered – at least in my household – not for Serpico, but a) [for the sex scene he had with the fabulous Ellen Barkin in] ‘Sea Of Love’, the film being named after a single by Phil Phillips from 1959. I prefer The Heptones’ version from 1968 though, also we don’t have enough Rocksteady on ‘The Chain’, I’m sure you’ll agree!”

Sorry, I stopped paying attention at the mention of Ellen Barkin. (I was wondering you were linking to her surname)

Heptones

The Heptones – Sea Of Love

What was the other thing Al Pacino is remembered for in Dirk Towers, Dirk?

“…and b) for ‘The Godfather’….So…if you have a minute The Godfathers would be appropriate…perhaps….?”

Godfathers

The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death

And Dirk’s not done there. Oh no:

“We could also have something by Blondie as well…‘cos contrary to what everyone thinks, the band didn’t choose their name because Debbie Harry was blonde, no, they named themselves after Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd, Blondi (the ‘i’ – ending was generally regarded as being too uncommon for American ears, so much so that the ‘-e’ was added)!”

Which is good enough for me. Here’s the Blondie track Dirk suggested:

deborah-harry-13772

Blondie – Ring Of Fire (Live 1980)

At which point, Walter from A few good times in my life pops in to throw this threesome into the mix:

“…if we go the ‘dog’ road there will be a lot of songs recommended, i.e….:”

And as it happens, nobody else suggested any of the three Walter mentioned, (although I had one lined up as one of my oh-so many choices) so here they are:

Specials

The Specials – Do The Dog

and

Stooges

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

and

Adam - Dog

Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog

Ok, brace yourself. It’s time for the undisputed Worst Record of the Week award, and to present the award here’s all round nice guy and not a white supremacist enabler at all, Sean Spicer accept the award and explain what the hell he was thinking when he sent me this suggestion is Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“…sticking firmly to the Dogs route (and a contender for Worst Record Of The Week)…”

Not just a contender, Rigid, but so nailed on The Worst Record Of The Week that nobody else even bothered to try to think of any more because this was so obviously unbeatable.

But first some context.

The song is about Barbara Woodhouse, a dog trainer who found celebrity status in the UK in the late 1970s/early 1980s, back when celebrities were required to have some semblance of talent (see also celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah). Here’s a clip to give you an idea:

And here she is, interviewing William Shatner, teaching his dogs a thing or two, and then revealing a little too much about her bedtime habits for my liking:

And here’s Rigid’s suggestion. Remember: in the world of The Barron Knights, a man putting on a ladies voice = funny:

Barron

The Barron Knights – The Sit Song

Not that they’re alone in that belief:

And here’s two actual funny women, Rebecca Front and Joanna Scanlon, parodying Ms Woodhouse directly and subtly:

I’ll leave the last word on that Barron Knights song to Charity Chic who quipped:

“I think you missed an H out of the title.”

Rigid then goes on to mention the Dogs d’Amour, but doesn’t actually suggest a record by them. Luckily for us him, babylotti steps in with three suggestions by the band; I’ve picked the one he cited as his favourite. Because I’m nice like that.

Dogs D'Amour

the Dogs d’Amour- How Do You Fall In Love Again?

Relax ladies, etc. etc.

I must say I always get the Dogs d’Amour mixed up with The Quireboys. Were they around at the same time? (NB: This is a rhetorical question, the type where instead of already knowing the answer, I already know that I don’t really care.)

So let’s have some more doggy-do’s, and one which I was surprised nobody else suggested. A song which is famously about a dog, although the name in the title was changed from ‘Brandy’ in the first draft (who sounds more like a stripper than a dog, if I’m honest) to:

Manilow

Barry Manilow – Mandy

Count yourselves lucky I didn’t post the Boyzone version. Or the Westlife version. Whichever one of them recorded it. They’re the same thing really anyway, aren’t they?

Oh, and innuendo fans, check out the title of that B-Side. Parp!

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Since we appear to be in 1970s softie ballad territory, here’s another from Rigid Digit:

“What the world needs is more acoustic guitar playing beardy blokes…”

which is debatable, but he means that as an introduction to this:

Cat

Cat Stevens – I Love My Dog

It’s no wonder that Cat Stevens changed his name. A cat admitting to loving a dog is always going to be given the cold shoulder by the feline community.

Now, I must admit that when Rigid suggested that song, I actually thought he was talking about this:

Peter

Peter Shelley – Love Me Love My Dog

Thank goodness for The Barron Knights, or I’d have to give myself the Worst Record of the Week award now.

But it’s okay, I can turn things round. From Peter Shelley, to Pete Shelley:

Pete Shelley

Pete Shelley – Homosapien

(I was going to post a Buzzcocks tune and had settled for the (s)punky little burst that is ‘Orgasm Addict’, until I realised how that might look when played after the previous two songs…)

Time for another one that I was surprised nobody else came up with. The original version has featured on The Chain before, so I would have had to disqualify it. But, as with the helping hand I tried to give Julian earlier, had the original been suggested than I would doubtless have given you a nudge towards this:

Futureheads

The Futureheads – Hounds Of Love

One more doggy disc to go, and we’re back with Rigid Digit again. He’s relentless, isn’t he?

His final suggestion is for a record that’s “Madly brilliant, but not really essential.”

Who

The Who – Dogs

Their record label initially refused to release that, on the grounds that it was trying just a bit too hard to sound like The Small Faces. Harsh, but fair.

But as Rigid astutely concludes:

“There ain’t many songs whose last words are: ‘lovely buttocks'”

A fair point, well made. But just think of the songs which could be improved by the inclusion of those words. “God Save The Queen” springs to mind.

Speaking of which…

Often, the suggestions link from one song to another by way of one word in the title. But there wasn’t much to work on here, just three words, and one of them, Martha, was pretty much done to death last time. But there was one more song to link to that name, from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:

I have a niece called Martha. Her Mum, my sister, was born in June 1977. My parents sometimes say that if she’d been born on the Queen’s jubilee day they’d have called her Jubilee. At least I think they’re joking. So [this] seems an appropriate link (Pistols obvs).”

Pistols

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

As does this, to be fair:

Blur Parklife

Blur – Jubilee

Having mopped up the last of the Martha’s, we’ll edge towards the end of the song title now with a “My” or two. Or three, actually. And two of them are from me.

This being one of them:

Armand (2)

Armand Van Helden – My My My (feat. Tara McDonald)

And since it features a man and his dog (and for no other reason, honestly) here’s the video for that one too:

The other “My” suggestion comes from abramson60, who, clearly unmoved by that video, announces that he’s “got a soft spot for Joan Armatrading.”

Joan

Joan Armatrading – Me Myself I

Me: Well, if you’re suggesting that…

The Chain gang: …then you’re suggesting this:

De La Soul

De La Soul – Me Myself and I

And so on to what is the biggest grouping of songs of the week.

Surprisingly, nobody went for this:

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The Stone Roses – Elizabeth My Dear

So, where to start with this little lot. Well, let’s split them down into songs which feature the word “Dear” in the title (or prominently elsewhere in the lyrics) and, first, songs which can in some way be linked to Deer.

And, after missing last times linkage, it’s a warm welcome back to SWC, who proffers this:

“If we want to be clever…”

Hinds

Hinds – Garden

Look out. Julian’s back:

“I never checked the spelling and assumed Paul was singing about a ruminant mammal on his Scottish Croft . The Beatles released a b-side “Rain” and Bambi was a deer, know the song yet?

Blind Bambi… no idea

Dead blind Bambi… still no idea…?”

I must admit, I assumed at this point that Julian was about to suggest this:

bambi

Sex Pistols – Who Killed Bambi

(Except it’s not really the Sex Pistols, is it? It’s got Eddie Tudor-Pole on lead vocals for a start. And it’s from ‘The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle’. And it’s title and that picture are  clearly meant to shock, but it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking. Not cool.)

But no, Julian was in fact going here:

“Ok it’s the rain song from Bambi”.

This caused a little confusion at Chain HQ, as the song that Julian actually wanted was this:

Bambi

Bambi – Little April Showers

…which, confusingly, was not going to be in the original film, it was going to be a song called “Rain Song”, which was ditched in favour of “…April Showers”, and which you can see/hear here:

And then, just to confuse things even further, Julian goes and suggests this:

Houses of The Holy

Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song

But of course, we all know where Julian’s really heading:

“More importantly the animated video for “Is a Woman” also features falling leaves and a deer, by Lambchop of course”

But of course:

Lambchop

Lambchop – Is A Woman

And here’s the video he mentions:

I’ve not had chance to watch that, so I’m trusting you on that one, Jules.

Ok, so that’s the deer related bunch over with, so “if we are going down the dear route”, says SWC, then “we need….”

Dears

The Dears – 22: The Death Of All The Romance

Cheers, SWC, I’d totally forgotten about that one. Great to hear it again.

Back to GMFree now, for another couple of belters:

Lush

Lush – Dear Me (Miki’s 8-Track Home Demo)

and

Blade Runner

Don Percival – One More Kiss, Dear

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Blade Runner. Sacrilege, I know. But it’s one of those films that everybody bangs on to me about how amazing it is that it can never live up to expectations. I guess I’d better rectify that before the new one comes out later this year, right?

Over to babylotti now, who suggests these two:

“[I’m] going to fall back on Marvin Gaye’s divorce settlement album, ‘Here My Dear’, with obvious reference to Martha my dear….I’ll suggest the title track rather than any of the singles.”

Marvin

Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear

…before also doing that old Chain link one-two shuffle:

 “And from there I believe I have to link to…”

CCR

Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

And whilst we’re on great versions of classic songs, does this next one remind anyone of anything?

Little Fish

Little Fish – Darling Dear

Anybody? No? Not even this:

Just me then.

Back to abramson60 again for his second and final submission:

“…there would be ‘Mother dear, they’re teaching me to do the goose-step’, which can be found in….”

Alex

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Give My Compliments To The Chef

Martin from New Amusements snuck his suggestion under the wire just in time:

“Keith Moon used to call everybody “Dear Boy” and he did a pretty fair cover of Beatles track ‘In My Life’ for his lone solo album ‘Two Sides of the Moon’ (even if it was played with too straight a bat). Anyway, a double-linker!”

A double-linker indeed. Points!

Keith

Keith Moon – In My Life

Back to Walter now, and his final two suggestions (although, granted, his first three were more mentioned in passing than actual suggestions):

“For sure,  from probably Talking Heads’ last good record ‘Naked’…”

Talking Heads

Talking Heads – Ruby Dear

and “Another song that accompanied me since my youngest days…”

Traffic

Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy

Time for C from Sun Dried Sparrows tune now, and this is an example of me saving the best ’til (almost) last; I think this is my favourite song by this lot. I love a good bracket (see?)

“I went down the ‘dear’ route too and another song whose title ends in the word ‘dear’ (there can’t be many, surely?). “Dear” is such a charming, old-fashioned word, I always thought it sounded a bit out of place for Blondie to use it but I love that they do. So I’d like to suggest…”

Blondie

Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear

Now, when the suggestions start coming in, I will often have a little bet with myself as to who I think will suggest what. I’m rarely right, of course. For example, this week I was sure that Dirk would suggest this:

Au Pairs

Au Pairs – Dear John

But he didn’t, so now I have to, just to give extra justification for me posting this:

Quo

Status Quo – Dear John

You’re right. I can’t help myself sometimes.

Which just leaves two songs, and you’ve probably noticed that Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music has been a bit quiet this time out. Here’s why:

“My first thoughts (neither of which will be the correct answer) were…”

Siouxsie

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dear Prudence

…which, given it’s a cover of a song from The Beatles’ “White Album” and features the word “Dear” is unquestionably a double-linker (Points!!).

And I wouldn’t be so sure about neither of your suggestions being right, CC, for you’re right on the money with your second one. The official link is, quite simply “From one Dear to another…” and the next record in The Official Chain is this:

Dexys

43. Dexys Midnight Runners – There, There, My Dear

I’d forgotten how great that record is too, as it goes.

So, CC, congratulations. A huge bag of non-existent points is winging its way to you. Hopefully that makes up for The Chain making you late for work last time. And today, too.

Ok, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I invite your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “There, There, My Dear” by Dexys Midnight Runners, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Who knows when that might be.

More soon.

The Chain #42

Right, you can all stop checking the time, here it is, three weeks late, but that’s better than another super-long hiatus, surely?

More mega than a fleet of MegaBuses, yes! It’s time to check the buffering capabilities of your hardware and internet provider as we launch into the latest instalment of The Chain.

And what a selection we have for you this week!

But before we get started, some admin. The more observant of you will have spotted a new page link over there on the left entitled “The Chain – The Rules”. You’ll never guess what you see if you click that!

I mention this because there would have been a couple of disqualifications this week for (unintentional) breaches of the rules; luckily one of the transgressors realised and suggested an alternative link.

The easiest rule to break is suggesting a song which has already featured, and I appreciate with around 1000 songs having featured so far this can be somewhat tricky to keep up with. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of writing up a definitive list of every song which has featured so far, but until I’ve got round to finishing that (and writing The actual Chain takes up a fair bit of time when I could be doing that), if you want to check your options are:

1) Read every previous edition of The Chain (bit time consuming that one)

2) Check the Tags down the left-hand side; if the act you wish to suggest is not listed there, then you’re fine (assuming I remembered to add them, of course). If it is listed, click their name and you’ll be taken to every page that a song by them has featured on and you can check that way.

3) Email me at dubioustaste26@gmail.com and I’ll check and get back to you.

OK, admin over, let’s remind ourselves of the source record for this week:

echo

41. Martha & The Muffins – Echo Beach

The biggest source of linkage this week was the “Echo” part of the song title, so let’s get cracking with one of mine. Since an echo is something happening again, this seems to be an appropriate place to start:

whitesnake-here-i-go-again-usa-remix-emi

Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

So, who else provided echo-based suggestions? Well, here’s Alex G of the temporarily (I hope) dormant We Will Have Salad to provide not just a suggestion, but also a definition of “echo”, which saves me the bother of having to copy and paste something from an online dictionary to justify some of the other suggestions I’ve come up with:

“… an echo is an acoustic phenomenon caused by sound bouncing off walls. And ceilings. And other things. But it’s the first one which concerns us here, because it leads me to suggest….”

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Matthew Wilder – Bouncin’ Off The Walls

Unsurprisingly, several of you (well, five actually) proposed records by Echo & The Bunnymen, so we may as well get one of those out of the way next, and it’s over to Swiss Adam of Bagging Area fame, with his second suggestion. (No, you haven’t blinked and missed his first, that’s coming in a while. It’s called editing.)

“Echo and the Bunnymen…sang ‘Silver (Tidal Wave)’, a beach connection there too.”

Yes indeed, that’s your first – of many, it has to be said – double linkers of the week right there. Points!

echo-and-the-bunnymen-silver-korova-3

Echo & The Bunnymen – Silver (Tidal Wave)

Next to one of several songs this week that I had never heard of before the suggestions came flooding in, this one courtesy of The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow who proposed this by Cavern of Anti-Matter who, for the uninitiated (i.e. me), are Joe Dilworth and Tim Gane, formerly of Stereolab, possibly one of the most missed and most under-rated (if that’s not a contradiction, and if it is, I’m sure it’s one which would please them immensely) bands of the last twenty years or so:

cavern_of_anti_matter_lj_191115

Cavern of Anti-Matter – Echolalia

I like that. A lot. Thanks for nudging it under my nose, Swede.

Which leads us quite nicely onto another suggestion by Alex G:

“When they recorded ‘Echo Beach’, Martha And The Muffins’ drummer was one Tim Gane. Another Tim Gane was more famously (not *much* more famously, I admit) the lead guitarist of McCarthy and Stereolab. [I just told them that – Ed] So I’ll go for….”

McCarthy (2)

McCarthy – Should The Bible Be Banned?

And since that takes us back into 1980s indie territory, that makes it time for another Echo & The Bunnymen track, this one proposed by Alyson from What’s it All About?:

ECHO_&_THE_BUNNYMEN_SEVEN+SEAS-373603

Echo & The Bunnymen – Seven Seas

“…double link there if I’m not mistaken…” pleads Alyson. Hmmm…Echo, yes…Seas -> Beach…what do you reckon, Chain Gangers? Oh go on then: Points!

I first posted that song way back in August 2015, accompanied by a retelling of one of the many faux pas I’ve committed over the years. Since some of you may not have frequented these pages that long ago, indulge me for a moment whilst I relate this one, which took place circa 1984, as I waited for the school bus and found myself chatting to one of the “cool kids” at school. He liked cool music (i.e. not Quo) and during this conversation he extolled the virtues of ‘Seven Seas’. My response, a rather pathetic and, as it transpired, ill-judged, attempt to ingratiate myself, was to talk at length about the lead singer fire-eating on Top of the Pops and how impressive he was. I realised mid-flow that my conversation piece was attracting some quizzical looks. And that was because I had completely mis-heard him. When he had said ‘Seven Seas’, I had thought he had said this song title:

Not cool, just…not.

Anyway, moving swiftly on, here’s Walter from A Few Good Times in My Life with the scecond song this week that I’ve never heard before. Over to you Walter:

“They might be forgotten but this song is still worth to listen to sometimes…”

0818fc378b718cb76c81be4db0470512_1000x1000x2

Echosmith – Tell Her You Love Her

Actually, that was Walter’s second suggestion. His first was for an Echo & The Bunnymen track, and I think enough time has passed since the last one to allow me to post his, which needs no introduction:

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Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon

What with all of these songs by Echo & The Bunnymen, and with ‘Echo’ meaning something happening again, or being repeated, you could say that we’re…

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Little Boots – Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood Remix)

Now, a couple of you picked up on the Echo/Repeat/Again angle, but to explain how The Great Gog (who appears to still be doing DIY) got there, we’ll have to take a slight – but relevant – detour:

“Martha And The Muffins’ follow-up to ‘Echo Beach’ was called Saigon, the former name for a city in Vietnam whose new name I can’t accurately spell. This gives rise to…”

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Jimmy Cliff – Vietnam

“…and…”

Hold your horses, there GG. Or hold your gee-gees, there, GG. Time to unveil the old catchphrase for the first time this week.

Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

they-might-be-giants-istanbul-not-constantinople-elektra

They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Right. As you were.

…and… “Paul Hardcastle’s oh-so-clever (well we thought so in 1985)…”

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Paul Hardcastle – 19

…and “on the theme of a city being named twice…”

gerard-kenny-new-york-new-york-rca-victor-4

Gerard Kenny – New York, New York

Which leads us on to a very brief sub-category, those of song titles which repeat, or, you might say, echo themselves. This is by far my favourite category of the week. You’ll see why. Julian from Music from Magazines suggested this, which probably doesn’t need any further explanation:

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Status Quo – Down Down

The Quo, there, demonstrating on the record sleeve their renowned empathy for the Black Power movement.

And that brings to an end that sub-category of song titles which repeat, or, you might say, echo themselves.

You know what I haven’t said for a while? I haven’t said the words: “And here’s the next suggestion of an Echo & the Bunnymen song, this time by *insert name of Chain Gang member here*“. I feel an overwhelming need to say it again. But not just yet. I’ll wait til I’m asked.

MI0002015099

Badly Drawn Boy – Say It Again

Oh okay then, if you insist.

And here’s the next suggestion of an Echo & the Bunnymen song, this time by Dirk from sexyloser with the closest we’ve had to a Showboating Suggestion so far:

“Nominated to be one of the world’s most beautiful beaches back in 2012, 2014 and 2015 was Burundi’s coast fronting Lake Tanganyika: if you’ve never been there, you really have missed a treat, I can tell you!

So obviously the correct link can only be Echo & The Burundimen (yes, it’s the Bunnymen in disguise, but still I haven’t made that [name] up, just listen to McCulloch’s intro!) and ‘Zimbo’, the 1982 Shepton Mallet live version though!”

burundi (2)

Echo & The Bunnymen – Zimbo (Live from Shepton Mallett with Burundi Drummers)

Which very nearly brings us to the end of the Echo section. Except…

Except I can’t believe nobody suggested anything by this lot. This is the first single I ever bought by them, before they’d properly found their feet and commercial success:

echobelly-insomniac-fauve

Echobelly – Insomniac

And that does bring us to the end of the Echo section. Except…

Except, you’ll recall that I mentioned five of you had suggested songs by Echo & The Bunnymen, and so far we’ve only had four. Well, GMFree suggested their rather wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ but then ploughed through the entire history of suggestions in The Chain and retracted that on the grounds that it had featured back in #31 so I wouldn’t have been able to allow it. (Oh, and whilst I’m on songs I couldn’t allow – Lynchiefromab, if you check the Comments in the last Chain, you’ll see that I wasn’t sure if yours were suggestions or just recommendations; if the latter then, thank you, and you’re right, but if the former than I couldn’t allow either of them as they contravene rule No. 6: “Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist. You’re cleverer than that.” And I know that you are. Sorry!) However, GMFree did propose a different Echo & The Bunnymen track, a cover version, but suggested that I might post the original instead, since the performers have never featured in The Chain before.

So I will:

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The Doors – People Are Strange

And that really does bring us to the end of the Echo section. Except…

Except, speaking of strange people, and making suggestions which kind of echo, here’s Jules again, and strangely he hasn’t proffered anything by Lambchop this week. Instead:

“Beach of course can remind one of….”

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 Palace – Gulf Shores

Nowt echo-y about that, I hear you say, assuming you’re trying to sound like a stereotypical Northern Englander. Carry on, Jules:

“Echo of course can remind one of…”

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Gulf Shores

“What a prankster.”

In case you’ve no idea what Jules is blethering on about, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is the best known stage name of Will Oldham, but he has also recorded under variations of the Palace name, including the Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, and Palace Music. As you know, I prefer it if there’s only one suggestion per person for the same band, but since these two versions are so different, and since they were recorded under different monikers, and since I allowed GMFree to suggest more than one tune by Steven Jones last week for the same reason, I guess I’ll have to let it slide this time.

Speaking of GMFree and Steven Jones:

“Mentioning Mr Jones is too easy on this occasion as Babybird was signed to the Echo label, instead I’ll just suggest one track from his 27th (!) album as Black Reindeer…available through Bandcamp.”

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Black Reindeer – A Rusted Statue Of Liberty Crawls Out Onto A North Korean Beach

Now, I wouldn’t normally buy a track specifically for The Chain, preferring the suggester to provide me with a copy, but I was intrigued by that title so I downloaded that song from the band’s Bandcamp page, as recommended. And shortly afterwards, I got an email from Steven Jones which read: “Ooh a bit topical that purchase Sx”. Which was nice. So I’ll not complain about being out of pocket. This time.

You’d have to have had your head buried in the (beach) sand to not understand what he was referring to, and as it happens, this was not the only track which referenced the forthcoming apocalypse.

A warm welcome back to Marie from It’s All In The Groove

“‘Echo Beach’ puts me in mind of the 1959 film ‘On the Beach’, which depicts the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war. (Not a surprising image, considering the current state of affairs, I suppose.) The film stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins and is based on Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel. Anyway, as I’ll use any excuse to post some black gospel quartet music, my selection is the 1950 ‘a capella’ version of…”

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The Pilgrim Travelers – Jesus Gonna Hit Like An Atom Bomb

Now we left Jules muttering away to himself about Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, let’s see if he’s finished:

“…His remake of his ‘I See a Darkness’ is also a cracking number…”

Nope, clearly not.

“…Trump saw a darkness (with no sunglasses) but had embraced it a long time ago…”

Erm, are we going anywhere with this….?

Seems we are:

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Mel Brooks – To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap)

 Okay….

Well, bar that last little excursion, we appear to not only be in nuclear war related territory – cheerful! – but also Beach related, so let’s have some more of those. And since that last song contains the lyric “Hello New Order!”, it seems appropriate for us to go back and find out what Swiss Adam’s other suggestion was:

“‘Echo Beach’ takes me to the remixed version of Blue Monday from its b-side in ’83…”

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New Order – The Beach

Whilst we’re beach bound, here’s Martin from New Amusements:

“Since Echo Beach was “far away in time” I’ll also lob [this] into the mix:”

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Shakespear’s Sister – You’re History

Bet you’re expecting me to suggest something by The Smiths now, right? Close, but no cigar. Instead, the greatest song about a seaside resort (that isn’t Echo Beach, of course):

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Chas & Dave – Margate

Over to Kay next, who, in an uncharacteristicly rare moment of brevity, simply writes this:

“Echo beach = beach = seaside = candy floss = “

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The Stone Roses – (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister

So, having exhausted all of the suggestions about echoes, beaches and, of course, Nazis and impending nuclear doom, we’ll move onto something a lot nicer. Back to Martin who suggests this as a double linker:

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The Jam – Heat Wave

And the thinking behind this double-linker? Well, for a start, the original is by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (we’ll be coming back to some more Martha’s shortly), but also:

“…because you often get jam in the middle of a cake, and a muffin is a type of cake, so yes, I am making a blatant play for a double-linker (and The Jam’s version is, ahem, ace).”

Yes it is, and that’s a succesful double-linker play too. Points!

Do I need to get a shiny gameshow host jacket to wear whilst I write this, do you reckon?

But Martin’s not done there, oh no:

“Talking of muffins being a type of cake, I must also throw in [this] by Kiwi tunesmiths Crowded House:”

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Crowded House – Chocolate Cake

Which leads me onto this, a track lifted from one of those typically patchy tribute albums that were all the rage once upon a time one of those tribute albums, which were all the rage once upon a time, and which could (typically) be a little on the patchy side (and this one really is patchy).

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King Missile – Get Up

In case you’re wondering what that’s doing there, give it a listen partly as there’s an extra verse, not in the original, which links to Martin’s last choice, but mostly because it’s an utterly wigged-out mental cover version.

And whilst we’re still on chocolate cake, it’s about time I posted another clip:

Right, that’s Muffins pretty much covered, right?

Well, actually, not quite. Here’s Rol from My Top Ten:

“Muffin was a Mule and a Mule is sort of like an Ass… though very slightly different.” Which brings us to, rather rudely:

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Denis Leary – Asshole (Uncensored Version)

Well, there’s really no need for language like that. Allow me to drag us out of the gutter with this Ass related tune:

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Groove Armada feat. Gram’ma Funk – I See You Baby (Fatboy Slim Radio Edit)

Okay, so that must be Muffins, Mules and Asses all covered, where next?

To Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music, that’s where:

“This week I am going to suggest a band Swiss Adam first encountered in a hungover state in Monorail records in Glasgow…”

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Breakfast Muff – Feast

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“Huh ahuh ahuh…he said ‘Muff’..ahuhhuh…”

“…and,” continues CC, “also on the Muff theme ‘Keep on Running’ by the Spencer Davis Group who had Muff Winwood as a member.”

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The Spencer Davis Group – Keep On Running

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“Huh ahuh ahuh…he said ‘Muff’ again…ahuhuh…”

Okay, okay, whilst we’re here, another one from Walter, “…a wonderful song by John Martyn…an all time fave of mine…”

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John Martyn – Big Muff

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Can everyone stop saying “Muff” please?

Let’s have some Echo Beach/Martha and the Muffins facts to raise the tone a little.

Fact One: Martha and the Muffins are Canadian.

“Plenty of Canadian bands/artist to choose from,” chips in Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense, “including: Rush (but who has time to listen to the whole of Side 1 of ‘2112’?), Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. All too obvious, but this bunch of Canadian one-hit wonders…:”

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Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

“Did you know,” pipes up George, inadvertently providing Fact Two, “that Echo Beach has been voted the 35th greatest Canadian song of all time? The greatest song is the execrable song ‘Four Strong Winds’ by Ian and Sylvia, which must surely get the Worst Song vote.”

Well, I’ll happily do that George, although you realise that would mean you’d have to agree the Chas & Dave record is better…? Along with two other songs yet to feature that we all know you’ll hate….?

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Ian & Sylvia – Four Strong Winds

Four strong winds, you say? Here’s four in varying levels of strength.

  1. The ease and squeeze:

2. The Pant Ripper (a classic):

3. The Preposterously Executed:

and 4. The Accidental Decongestant:

Right, that’s…erm…got that out of my system. More factoids please!

Fact Three, courtesy of babylotti:

“‘Echo Beach’ was released in 1980 on DinDisc records, another record that was released in 1980 on Dindisc records, and one that I still have (okay, it was a re-release in 1980, but that’s the one I have) is…:

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Electricity

Before we get on to the final category, time for those two songs which George won’t like, the first of which is suggested by Alyson, and I think this one wins the award for Comment Showboat of the week (or have I already awarded that? I don’t know, I’m tired…). George, sorry, I was going to leave these two till last to make it easier for you to ignore them, but thematically they kind of need to be posted earlier.

Anyway, here’s Alyson’s suggestion:

“Martha’s Vineyard is actually a small island off the State of Massachusetts. It faces out onto the Atlantic and it’s where they filmed ‘Jaws’. The fake shark they used for the movie was given the name Bruce.” Which leads us to:

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Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City

“We now just need something from The Clash,” Alyson continues, “and order will be restored.”

Step forward abramson60, who obliges with this:

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The Clash – Charlie Don’t Surf

And so on to the final category, songs which link to Martha. And we’ll start off with my own double-linker for the week.

There’s a well known phrase in certain communities: “Is he Arthur or Martha?”. Well, here’s an Arthur, Arthur Lee to be precise, and he and his band are going to sing a Love-Lee song which has an Echo/Repeat/Again link too. Points please!

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Love – Alone Again Or

Who else has a Martha tune to suggest? C from Sun Dried Sparrows does:

“First thought – got Martha on my mind now so I’d like to offer one of those songs that surely everybody knows and surely everybody likes? What better time for an office clerk with a very boring job to go down to Echo Beach than during a heatwave, too?” 

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Martha & The Vandellas – Heat Wave

“(Also love the Who’s version)” C signs off. Yeh, me too, but we’ve already had this twice this week, so let’s save that one for another day.

Back to GMFree next, and a suggestion for  “…a song written as a tribute to Billy Corgan’s mother…:”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – For Martha

Next up on the oche is The Robster from Is This The Life? Now, a few weeks ago, Rob announced that he was thinking about stopping writing his blog as he was feeling devoid of inspiration and was just going through the motions. I’ve often felt the same about this place, and I know others in our little blogging community have too. You may not know that Rob lives not a million miles away from where I used to in South Wales, and I love his blog for it keeps me in touch with what’s going on down in and around my old stomping ground so I’m delighted that he’s decided – for now – to keep going, albeit with less frequent posts.

I mention all this not to put any unintentional pressure on him to carry on, but because having cut back on his posts he seems to have gone a bit stir crazy, suggesting “I’m a Man” by The Spencer Davis Group on the basis that Martha & The Muffins were an all-male band. Getting confused by that whole “Arthur or Martha” issue there, I think.

To be fair, Rob did correct himself almost immediately (with a little help from Alex G, who I can confirm is not a qualified doctor, but is  a very keen enthusiast), and redeemed himself by suggesting this, another of the records I’d never heard before, and which I’m really quite pleased that I have now. And it’s a double pointer, featuring as it does a Martha and “two items you might see at a beach”:

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Martha – Ice Cream and Sunscreen

Points!

“What does it matter anyway?” Rob offers by way of an explanation. “If Bowie taught us anything it’s that gender is irrelevant and merely a label.”

Speaking of Bowie, here’s GMFree again:

“Martha Mooke played in the string quartet on [Bowie’s]…”

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David Bowie – Time Will Crawl (MM Remix)

Back to The Swede again next:

“In May last year I concluded a post containing one of [his suggested artists’s] fine songs, by saying that I’d return to his music soon – a promise I’ve yet to keep. I must remedy that situation.”

And having heard this, I think I’ll be joining you to investigate further:

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Huw M – Martha a Mair

Time for Abramson60 next, who…erm…echoes some of the sentiments raised earlier:

“Looks like things are getting worse and worse US of A side, can it really get any worse? My suggestion this week could well be aimed at that excuse for a human being, Trump. No need to explain the link?”

Nope, but this young lady certainly needs to wash her potty-mouth out with soap and water:

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Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

Another from Alex G now, who suggests “…a lovely song which is never played on the radio because if it was, everybody would stop what they were doing to listen, at a cost to the UK economy of several squillion pounds.”

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All About Eve – Martha’s Harbour

I agree, it is a lovely song, although I suspect were it played more often, people would stop what they were doing to remember when – and I’m sorry to bring it up again (I’m not in the least bit sorry, as it goes) – this happened:

More from Rol next, who suggests this next song on the grounds that a) it has the word “Martha” in the title, b) it doesn’t have any other words in the title, and c) he “…can’t believe nobody’s suggested it yet…”

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Tom Waits – Martha

George is back with another suggestion: “I’m hoping no one has suggested a link from Martha Johnson (that would be the Martha of Martha and the Muffins) to….:”

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Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black

*Insert obligatory Ali G joke here*

As it happens, George has sort of gone down a route I explored, only I sought out other famous Marthas and linked from there. And here’s what I came up with:

Firstly, this which features Martha Wash, who was one half of The Weather Girls, but you’ll forgive for not posting anything by them, I hope:

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Todd Terry – Something Goin’ On

Then there’s Martha Washington, the USA’s first First Lady, which leads me to this chap:

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The Ram Jam Band with Geno Washington – Shake Shake Senora

And the presidential links don’t end there, for there was also of course Martha Jefferson, wife to Thomas, who became 3rd President of The United States in 1801. Martha would have been the third First Lady, had she not rather inconveniently died in 1782. Anyway, this Martha leads me to this ground-breaking house record from 1986:

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Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body

Two to go until the big reveal, and here’s another one by Martha Wainwright, courtesy of Walter:

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Martha Wainwright – Jesus & Mary

And finally, back to GMFree, or rather, to Mrs GMFree, who gives two suggestions; this:

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Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Dancing in the Street

And the other is…well, Mrs GMFree was not alone in suggesting it, for it was also proposed by Rigid Digit (and I thought one other person too, but I’m buggered if I can spot who it was now. If you suggested it and I have omitted to credit you, make yourself known and I’ll amend this bit).

Which means that for the first time ever, we have two people correctly guessing the next record in The Official Chain, which, with the simple explanation of From one Martha to another…” is this:

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42. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

Points! Lots of them!!

So to wrap things up, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “Martha My Dear” by The Beatles, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Whenever that might be.

More soon.

The Chain #41

Never let it be said I’m not a man of my word.

For here we are, a week later, and The Chain is back! Back!! Back!!! (again) for another instalment.

Truth be told, I was totally blown away by the response I received to last week’s edition, so blown away that I almost went full on Sally Field. So y’know, cheers.

I’m also delighted that not only have a couple of old Chain Gang friends chipped in this week, but we also have three new members to welcome aboard.

Before we go any further though, some admin, and I need to add a new rule to the ten I posted last week, namely this:

11. The same artist can feature twice in the same week, but only if suggested by different people. In other words, if you suggest two songs by the same act, I’ll ask you to just pick one of them; if you don’t reply, I’ll pick for one for you.

Actually, this is an old rule that I forgot to include last week. One of you nearly came a cropper with this one, but just about managed to dodge the bullet. You’ll see what I mean.

Ok, so we have 49 new songs (count ’em!) and over three and a half hours worth of tunes to get through this week, and there’s some real treats, including a couple of acts I was surprised to find featuring in The Chain for the first time, some commercially unreleased live stuff, a couple of songs which have featured here before under different guises, a couple of real rarities (I think), a contender for Worst Record In The History of Everything Ever, and – and I mention this now to introduce some totally unneccessary tension and excitement into proceedings – one of you correctly guessed the next record in the Official Chain.

So let’s kick things off with a reminder of the last source song, that is the song that you were all providing suggestions to this week:

20140211-18431840. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

And where better to start than with a new member of The Chain Gang? Ladies and Gentleman, please rattle your manacles and give a warm welcome to GMFree:

“The most obvious songs that I thought of first were ‘God Only Knows’ by James…”

Now, in the same way that I think if you’re going to cover a song you should try and do something interesting with it, by the same token I think that if you’re going to write a song and give it the same name as universally loved classic, then it is undoubtedly going to be compared to said song, so you’d better make sure yours is good….

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James – God Only Knows

“…and….” Whoa there, GM! We’ve not finished with the songs also called “God Only Knows”.

Over to you The Swede (of Unthought of, though, somehow):

“From ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys to…..’God Only Knows’ by Joe Henry – same title, different song, fortunately a quite lovely one.”

He’s not wrong, you know:

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Joe Henry – God Only Knows

Now to the first of my oh so many suggestions this week. Imagine Yoda is reciting the name of the source song, he’d probably refer to it like this:

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Young Fathers (feat. Leith Congregational Choir) – Only God Knows

Time for Dirk of sexyloser fame to contribute:

“‘God Only Knows’? So what does he know? Well, he knows it’s true, obviously … so I’ll go for Teenage Fanclub”

Now, strictly speaking, I should be disallowing this suggestion, because this song has featured on The Chain before, back in edition #32, to be precise. However, I’m going to allow it this week for three reasons: firstly, it ws me who suggested it last time; secondly, I posted a Peel Sessions version last time and this time I’m posting the original, and thirdly, because last time it featured I had changed one word in the title from “God” to “Gourd” so that it linked to the source record (XTC’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”, in case you’re interested).

In other words, this is totally fine:

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Teenage Fanclub – God Knows It’s True

What else does God know? Let’s ask David Bowie, who has probably found out whether he was right by now:

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David Bowie – God Knows I’m Good

That song title in no way references my Gourd pun earlier, by the way.

Next up, it’s Martin from New Amusements, and he’s going all deep and meaningful on us:

“‘God Only Knows’ has one of the most honest first lines in songwriting history, I’ll throw in ‘Honesty’ by Billy Joel.”

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Billy Joel – Honesty

Ok GM, the floor’s yours again:

“…and ‘Lord Only Knows’ by Beck, there is a great version from his Union Chapel show in 2003 which includes harmonica and merges into Hot In Here (Herre !?) in a way only Beck can do.”

You mean this, I presume:

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Beck – Lord Only Knows & Hot In Here (Live at Union Chapel)

We’re into not commercially released stuff with that one, as far as I know. Any chance to feature Beck, and moreover Union Chapel, my favourite venue in London, will be gratefully seized.

Next up, it’s over to The Beard, who provides one of his usual interesting links:

“God Only Knows is featured in the film Boogie Nights. The film centres around the supremely endowed Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg. He also starred in ‘Four Brothers’ which is pretty much a remake of the John Wayne driven western ‘The Sons Of Katie Elder’. John Wayne? Motherfuck him as said Public Enemy on Fight The Power.”

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Public Enemy – Fight the Power

Speaking of John Wayne, he also starred in the original release of ‘True Grit’ along with the next artist. Over to you, Alyson (of What’s It All About?):

“In light of [last] Tuesday’s sad news of the death of Glen Campbell, and the fact he stood in for Brian Wilson in 1964 as a Beach Boy, I am reminded of his song ‘Galveston’ which always makes me think of a beach because of the following lines:

‘I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannons flashing
I clean my gun
And dream of Galveston.’

I know we’ll all have heard it a lot over the last couple of days but I never tire of these songs of his.”

To be fair, Galveston is one of a clutch of Campbell’s records that I don’t think many of us will get tired of hearing:

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Glen Campbell – Galveston

And so we seem to have made the seamless move from songs which reference ‘God Only Knows’, to songs which link to members, full or part time, of The Beach Boys. So what next?

George has the answer:

“Can I propose a third song that is really, really shit?” he asks.

Yes, I know you haven’t heard his first two suggestions yet. I choose the order the songs feature in, and I want to post his third (really, really shit) suggestion first.

As I pointed out to George in the Comments to last week’s edition, he doesn’t normally ask permission.

“It’s by Wilson Phillips…….one of whom is a relation of a Beach Boy…….and the song is ‘Hold On’. But feel free to disqualify it because it is simply too dreadful.”

George is fully aware that a record being dreadful, or shit, or shittily dreadful, is not enough to preclude it from The Chain. For here, we embrace the dreadfully shit (by which I categorically do not mean Donald J Trump, who we try to keep at arms length at the very least).

And besides, I’ve listened to this – and all of the suggestions – a lot over the last week, and I’ve grown to quite like this:

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Wilson Phillips – Hold On

Actually, two of Wilson Phillips are the daughters of Brian Wilson; I expected someone would suggest a record by the parents of the third member, but nobody did, so I may as well:

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The Mamas & The Papas – Creeque Alley

“God Only Knows”, of course, features on The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”, so how about a couple of suggestions which link to that? Step forwards The Great Gog, who I see has now got as far as starting his own blog, but hasn’t yet got round to writing anything on it just yet. He’s probably got far more important things to be getting on with, like suggesting this kind of thing:

“I’ll go with the fact that ‘God Only Knows’ features on the album Pet Sounds. This album also features a track called ‘Caroline, No’. Whenever I spot this on the album, I always think of the similarly titled Talk Talk track, ‘Does Caroline Know?’ – not surprising really as I owned the ‘It’s My Life’ album some time before I acquired Pet Sounds.”

‘Pet Sounds’ is one of those albums, I think – or at least it is to me – that I knew what a great album it is long before I actually got round to listening to it, let alone owning a copy. I don’t think I actually heard ‘Pet Sounds’ until I was in my late twenties, but I remember in my early twenties having a very long discussion in the pub one night with one of my friend’s younger brother’s friends about how amazing it is, without him realising I’d never heard it. Hold the front page: Jez is a complete bullshitter shocker!

Anyway, here’s your suggestion:

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Talk Talk – Does Caroline Know?

Mention ‘Caroline, No’ and I can’t resist posting this:

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Kaiser Chiefs – Caroline, Yes

Bet you all thought I was going to post some Quo then, didn’t you?

Nah.

Oh wait, what’s this?

God Only Knows how utterly predictable I am.

Although it does mean I can post this….

A change of pace now, and here’s Jules from Music From Magazines who I think now feels obliged to suggest something by Lambchop every time:

“‘The Book I Haven’t Read’ (Live Version) from a tour CD titled Pet Sounds suck” by Lambchop.”

This, then, would be one them there rarities I mentioned earlier:

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Lambchop – The Book I Haven’t Read (Live Version)

Next up is BabyLotti:

“I’ve got to link to the best cover of one of The Beach Boys’ songs I’ve ever heard, Don’t worry baby by Ronnie Spector from the She Talks To Rainbows EP. Produced by no less than Joey Ramone”

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Ronnie Spector – Don’t Worry Baby

It’s pretty hard to top that, to be fair, so let’s move on to a new batch of songs, and here’s all the God-bothering suggestions you came up with.

First out of the bag is Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“So many gods to choose from… luckily I don’t own anything by Hermes House Band, so you’re spared that. Instead, let’s go for the god to whom I am most frequently compared (admittedly in the form “you’re no…”) and some proper old-school house: ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis.”

Shame about the Hermes House Band; I’ve got loads of gags about the Hermes parcel delivery service all lined up and ready to go.

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Adonis – No Way Back

The rest of you stick to referencing songs with ‘God’ in the title, so let’s work our way through them.

First up, a song which we featured a cover by Tricky of back on The Chain #37. Nevertheless, it’s the original version suggested by Martin of New Amusements so it’s in:

“Going the God route, with ‘Dear God’ by XTC…” 

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XTC – Dear God

“…and…” Whoa there, Martin! We’ve not finished with the songs that have God in the title.

First, we’re going back to The Swede for his second suggestion of the week, “…another divine link of a slightly more irreverent nature…” as he quite rightly puts it:

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Half Man Half Biscuit – God Gave Us Life

If any of our overseas readers would like to know who any of the people mentioned in that song are, feel free to email me, or, preferably, Google them.

Time to welcome aboard the latest member of The Chain Gang now, so Ladies and Gentleman, please click your pickaxes together and give a warm welcome to C from Sun Dried Sparrows:

“‘God Only Knows’ made me think of God, not something I do very often, for I am faithless. And then I thought of….”:

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Faithless – God Is A DJ

Who else haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, The Robster from Is This The Life?, I wonder what he’s got to offer?

“If we’re going down the God route though, and with God supposedly living in Heaven or some such mythical place, I offer Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the title track of their seminal second album ‘Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven…’.”

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Antennas To Heaven

Remember when I said there was over three and a half hours worth of tunes this week? Well that’s almost twenty minutes of them, right there. I’d pop the kettle on if I were you.

Ok, so if we’re on songs that feature God in the title and feature an exclamation mark somewhere, then it would be terribly remiss of me not to post this:

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Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic

I’ll tell you who else hasn’t chipped in yet: Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, that’s who:

“Sorry to disappoint you but there is no God,” he blasphemes, “so…”

Hold up, what did you just say?

“Sorry to disappoint you but there is no God…”

Thought so.

Pray, do continue.

‘No Gods (and Precious Few Heroes)’ by Dick Gaughan, please. JC recently posted a goose-bump inducing live version which is the one to feature”

And it’s JC’s legendary place that I visited to find the specific version CC was after, so it would be rude of me not to attribute credit where credit’s due and provide a link to his site The (New) Vinyl Villain (although if you visit me here, then I’d be really surprised if you didn’t already visit JC).

Here’s the tune:

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Dick Gaughan – No Gods And Precious Few Heroes (Live)

Quite some time ago, or so it seems, I left GMFree hanging with their second suggestion, so it’s probably about time we went back and checked on them.

“I wanted to include The God Machine with the KLF cover ‘What Time is Love” but I don’t own a copy…”

You do now:

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The God Machine  – What Time is Love

Although, admittedly, it’s not the best quality recording, and you kind of didn’t really suggest that one anyway, so for one time only I’m going to allow you to suggest a different song by the same artist:

“…so will offer the equally heavy ‘She Said'”:

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The God Machine – She Said

And we’ll stay with GMFree for a moment longer, if we may:

“I had a habit on the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything series to mention the great Stephen Jones almost every time, here are two from him…”

Wait a minute, what did I just say about ‘for one time only’…?

But this is the bullet-dodging suggestion I mentioned earlier, for the first of these two suggestions is by Stephen Jones recording under the name TrUcKeR and the other one…erm…isn’t (that one will be along in a bit, if you care to hang around long enough):

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TrUcKeR – God is a Dead Trucker Driving to Heaven

Is it okay if I like the sleeve of that more than I like the actual track….?

Now when I posted the Public Enemy track earlier, I deliberately avoided commenting on how sad it is that a record released in 1989 about black oppression felt as relevant today as it did back then. And that’s because I knew that one of you was going to make precisely that point about a record released a lot earlier than that. So, abramson60, the stage is yours:

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone of late so taking the God road ‘Mississippi Goddam’, a song that is sadly still relevant today when we see what happened in Charlottesville [at the weekend] and it was only last week the UK police released the appalling hate crime figures.”

So, no jokes here. Just Miss Nina Simone.

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Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddam

Now, here we are, linking to songs about God, and not one of you has suggested anything by the Reverend Cliff Richard yet. The closest we get is this, from Rol of My Top Ten:

OK, my two suggestions will be as follows…

1. A song with the following lyrics…

No it’s never too late to change your mind
Don’t step on snails, don’t climb in trees,
Love Cliff Richard but please don’t tease
It’s never too late to change your mind

Thereby giving you your Cliff Richard fix even if nobody suggests him this time. Cliff and God go together, after all.

That’s…”

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Argent – God Gave Rock And Roll To You

“…the original version…actually prefer the Kiss version, but they don’t sing the verse about Cliff. Dunno why.”

I would imagine it’s because most of Kiss’ fanbase would have no idea who Cliff is, the heathens.

Anyway, I agree with you about preferring the Kiss version, but I do really like the Argent version too, although every time I’ve heard it my little ears have pricked up as I thought something by Focus had come up on shuffle for me.

We’ll come back to Rol’s second suggestion in a bit.

That’s all the God suggestions done. Next we have a song about Jesus, but I think we need some sort of bridging song, just to reinforce the link here. This’ll do the trick:

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Giorgio Moroder – Son Of My Father

And so to Jesus, and, more specifically, to Martin of New Amusements again. Martin’s not the Messiah, but he knows another Martin who thinks they must be.

“And the son of God route with…”

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Martin Rossiter – I Must Be Jesus

“…because it’s ace.”

He’s right, you know.

For the uninitiated, Mr Rossiter was the lead singer of Gene (who I adore) and I cannot recommend the album that track comes from (‘The Defenestration of Saint Martin’, in case you can’t make it out from the image above) highly enough. An over-looked gem, in my opinion. Seek, and ye shall find.

Which leads us on to God’s greatest adversary, and we’re heading back to GMFree’s seemingly never-ending list of suggestions, which is for this:

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Tori Amos – Father Lucifer

Now GMFree mentioned the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything blog a little earlier, and regular visitors to these shores will know that the writers of that now deceased blog, SWC and Badger, often contributed here. So I was delighted when SWC got in touch to make some suggestions again this week, although the first one he doesn’t really suggest, more wonders out loud about it, which he knows full well is too much for me to resist:

“I need to decide whether to go down the beach route the boy route or the God route. I thinking if ‘God Only Knows’ then perhaps ‘Better the Devil You Know’ but I may change my mind.”

Too late! And count yourself lucky I picked this one and not the song of the same name by professional Scouser Sonia:

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Kylie Minogue – Better The Devil You Know

Which leads us nicely on to our third new member of the Chain Gang. Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please be upstanding and straighten out your natty suits with arrows on them for KC:

I’d like to suggest ‘The Lord’s Favorite’ by Danish wunderkind iceage and I’ll apologise for the use of the word wunderkind, that was how SWC described them to me.”

That’s the way to do things: if in doubt, blame SWC.

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Iceage – The Lord’s Favorite

Now many of you will recognise KC from her posts on SWC and Badger’s site; she was, if I recall correctly, a relative newcomer to writing and her posts were really rather excellent, so it’s a shame she no longer has a platform to show off her talents. So KC: if you want to continue to write, and haven’t had any other offers to do so elsewhere, drop me an email, you’d be more than welcome to contribute here. Just until the boys get bored and resurrect WYCRA, of course.

God…Lord…Jesus…Lucifer…all suggestions of Biblical proportions. Which leads me back to Rol for his second suggestion, which is this “…because it’s ace.” Have you and Martin been copying each other’s superlatives? You have, haven’t you? You’ve both let me down, you’ve let the class down, but most all you’ve let yourselves down.

Good job both of your ace suggestions really are ace:

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Nickie Lee – The Ten Commandments Of Man

Okay, so having covered the ‘God’ aspect of ‘God Only Knows’, perhaps it’s time to focus on links to one of the other two words in the title, namely ‘Knows’. Here’s Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense

“The Beach Boys tell us that ‘God Only Know’s, but Robert Plant asserts that ‘Heaven Knows’ (which is arguably the same thing?)”

Arguably, but it’s getting late.

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Robert Plant – Heaven Knows

Now as a die-hard fan of The Smiths, mention of a song title that starts with the words “Heaven Knows” sets by clogged up heart beating a little bit faster, for it gives me an excuse to post this:

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Sandie Shaw – Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now

Ha ha, fooled you!

Sorry, Rigid, you were saying?

“Marillion then confirm the original statement by saying…”

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Marillion – He Knows You Know

Time to dust off my Chain Catchphrase. Well, if you’re suggesting that, then – altogether now – I’m suggesting this:

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Goldie Lookin Chain – You Knows I Loves You

Moving swiftly on, a couple of you, taking the Boys from The Beach Boys, decided to flip it over to the fairer sex. Here’s George:

“I was going to suggest ‘Girls Girls Girls’ by Sailor but I changed my mind….”

Good job you did, for I’d definitely have to disqualify that one, as it featured in The Chain #35

So, have another go: “…going from Boys to Girls, and The Moments song ‘Girls'”.

Now, every version of that song that I could find credits it to The Moments & The Whatnauts, so I’m hoping this is the tune you were after:

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The Moments & The Whatnauts – Girls

And here’s SWC with an actual, proper suggestion, and it’s no coincidence that I first heard this song because of a post on When You Can’t Remember Anything:

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Girls – Vomit

And as you can see, that features on an album called ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ which makes that a Double-Linker. Points!

So, having exhausted those suggestions too, let’s have a look at some Boys. And one of you got very excited at the prospect. Hello Kay, who shortly after posting her suggestions, sent me a text to say she was worried it made her sound like, and I quote “a right creepy perv”.

See what you think, readers:

“I’m going for the theme boys – so many to choose from. Maybe….” 

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Duran Duran – The Wild Boys

“…or…”

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Wham! – Bad Boys

“…(I am of a certain age)…”

Nothing pervy about a woman of a certain age liking her boys wild and bad. And from the 1980s.

“…but I suppose I should go with the first song I thought of which linked to the Beach Boys and that’s…”

Brace yourself everybody. It’s Worst Record of the Week time, and if this isn’t one of the Worst Records in the History of Everything Ever, then I’d like to know what is. No scrub that, I really wouldn’t.

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Sabrina – Boys (Summertime Love)

Quick, somebody else suggest something. GMFree, you must have a few hundred more up your sleeve, surely?

“Thinking about a link to Beach and Boys lead me to ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ by The Cure included on Standing On a Beach comp, along with the b-side ‘The Exploding Boy’.”

I’ve warned you about this already….

I’ll pick the more unknown one of those two, which featured on the B-Side of the band’s wonderful “In Between Days” single:

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The Cure – The Exploding Boy

Which leads us nicely on to our last cluster of tunes, which relate to the Beach in The Beach Boys. Here’s George for his final suggestion:

“…from Beach to Sand, and…”

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Giant Sand – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory

In case you’re interested, that’s the other song which has featured on The Chain before, but then it was performed by Ronnie Spector and came from the very same EP as the one BabyLotti suggested earlier.

Let’s have GMFree’s last suggestion, the other one by Stephen Jones, which you’ll recall I’m allowing because he released it under his Baby Bird moniker, as opposed to the TrUcKeR of the earlier suggestion:

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Baby Bird – Aluminium Beach

Over to SWC for his second suggestion now:

“For the beach link I’m going to say ‘Pure Shores’ by All Saints as it’s on the soundtrack to the film ‘The Beach’.”

And because it’s ace, as Rol and Martin might say. (Because it is.)

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All Saints – Pure Shores

Let’s see what else Alyson has conjured up on the beach theme next:

“The other song that came to mind straight away was this one, pure cheese…from back in the early ’70s when this kind of thing was all over the airwaves!”

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The First Class – Beach Baby

Which, cheese or not, is also ace. And it gives me the chance to post this, my final suggestion of the week. And it may seem an odd one to go to, but some of you will have spotted the reason for the link when listening to that last tune:

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Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday

Did you spot it, readers?

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, beaches.

This, then, The Robster’s final suggestion:

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Kirsty MacColl – He’s On The Beach

Isn’t that ace too? We went through a phase a while ago of having a record by Kirsty pretty much every week on the Chain, but that’s the first time she’s featured in ages. Sort it out folks.

And from an artist who used to feature regularly to the band I was surprised has never featured before, so many thanks to abramson60 for rectifying that with this absolute belter:

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Ramones – Rockaway Beach

Seriously, think of how many albums the Ramones have released, and how many songs of about two minutes that means they’ve recorded. This is the 41st edition of The Chain. How did we get this far without them cropping up?

Which leads me to the final suggestion of the week. Which just so happens to be next song in the Official Chain.

Here’s their link:

“From the Boys on the Beach to…”

And here’s ours, as penned by KC in this Sunshine Strand:

“If Badger was here he would agree that the greatest song to feature beaches either in the band title or the song title is…” 

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41. Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach

Congratulations, KC! Points to the New Girl! The rest of you: hang your heads in shame, she’s tucked you all right up there.

So, all that leaves me to do is to thank you all again for the love you’ve shown The Chain, for your awesome (and ace) suggestions, and to ask you to do it all over again.

Your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “Echo Beach” by Martha and The Muffins, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition.

More soon.