The Chain #40

So there I was for the past few weeks, writing a load of posts which linked various songs together somehow, chuckling away to myself that nobody had noticed I was dropping subtle clues that I was going to be bringing this series back, when what do you know, I went and over-egged it, and was thoroughly busted by The Robster, then The Swede, then Alyson, then Rol all airing their suspicions. And that was before I posted this afternoon’s less than subtle final hint.

The busting that really got me, though, was Kay, who asked me if I intended to start writing it again. Until I corrected her last week, Kay thought it was possible to fast forward through the adverts on live television broadcasts, so I figured if she’d worked it out, I’d better come clean.

There’s two reasons I had started thinking about bringing The Chain back: firstly, I’d decided that if and when I did, it would revert back to being on a Wednesday night again, it’s rightful home, but Series 3 of Fargo had been so good I wanted to wait until that finished; and secondly, the sudden recent demise of When You Can’t Remember Anything, one of the finest blogs around. As regular readers will know, not only were Badger and SWC (or is it SWC and Badger? I always suspected they had to stand a certain way round, a la Ant & Dec, so folks would know which was which) long time contributors to The Chain, but they also ran their own points-earning-invite-a-suggestion series on a Saturday morning – and you had to get up bloody early to be in with a shout of posting something that hadn’t already been suggested. So, with that, and them, gone, I felt the time was about right to bring this back. Oh and chaps, if you’re ready this, feel free to chip in like the good old days.

Now: The Chain last made a (proper) appearance back on March 19th, so it’s had a good rest, as have I. And I imagine that there may be some folks reading this who have no idea what this is about, so I’ll recap on the rules (which luckily I did back in March after a much shorter break, so I’ll thank the Gods of Copy and Paste):

The Chain is a feature on BBC 6Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show (and prior to that, their show on BBC Radio 2), where a record is played and they invite suggestions as to what record could be played next, which must link in some way to the one just played.

The difference here is that whilst they choose just one record to play, we try to post all of the suggestions which you submit.

The only rules are:

  1. No suggested record can ever feature twice (unless it has only featured as part of The Official Chain, as opposed to having been suggested by someone previously). If you’re not sure – ask! (NB – I’ve never got round to finishing the definitive list of everything that has featured here…let’s call it a work in progress…)
  2. The only other exception to this rule is “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, which has been adopted as our theme tune, and which can be nominated as often as you like (as long as a solid link between it and the source record is provided)
  3. Make your suggestions by way of the Comments section at the bottom of this post, making sure that you tick the box marked “Notify Me of new comments via email” Your email address will not be displayed to anyone, not even me.
  4. When making your suggestion, you must provide an explanation of the link between the two songs
  5. You must already own a copy of it, and be willing to provide it (in case I don’t already own it or am unable to source it). I will ask you to supply this via a response to your suggestion Comments (hence the bit about ticking the notification box)
  6. Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist. You’re clever than that.
  7. You can make as many suggestions as you like, but please, go easy on me, won’t you?
  8. Don’t be offended if I disqualify your request, although you won’t know I’ve done this until the next post where there will be some gentle ribbing (the name of Durex’s least commercially successful contraceptive).
  9. Even if your song is posted, be prepared for a gentle ribbing anyway. We like a gentle ribbing round these parts.
  10. Submissions will be welcome up until the next edition is posted. But please try not to send them to me late on a Wednesday evening, just in case I am in the middle of writing it and have to rejig the running order.

That’s about it. I award points every now and again, for Worst Record of the Week, Cheesiest Record of the Week, Comment Showboat of the Week, and of course, for anyone who happens to guess either the song or act (or both) that is the next record in the Official Chain, which becomes the source record for the following week’s post. Nobody’s keeping score (well, I’m not anyway), the points are just a bit of fun.

Oh and there’s just one more thing (my trademark Columbo impression, there): I signed off the last edition with the words: “Let’s say that will be next week, and see what happens, eh?” Wise words indeed. I’m not going to promise this will be back every Wednesday, but that’s the plan at the moment. I’ll see what I can do.

Okay, so perhaps we should start off by reminding everybody of the last song in the Official Chain, which is our starting point this week:

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39. Small Faces – The Universal

Now, there was a little controversy over my presentation of this last time, as I posted the song in question under the cover art for their “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” album. This was shrewdly picked up on by The Great Gog, who pointed out that it wasn’t on the original release of that album, and he was right, as he often is.

The thing is, the source song from The Chain #38 was “The Universal” by Blur, so had I figured I’d post the “Ogden…” sleeve to give you all a bit more to get your teeth into. Y’know, before I ignored you all for five months. It is on one of the reissued, repackaged, remastered releases that has surfaced in the almost fifty years since the album first came out. And anyway, it’s my game, so if I want to exert a little artistic licence then I shall.

Here’s your first suggestion, courtesy of Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music (yup, it would appear that the C key on my keyboard works fine):

“From Small Faces to Angels with Dirty Faces by Sham 69 please.”

See, that’s the way to do it. Short, to the point, and polite. (Not that I have any objections to long, rambling suggestions, of course, as you will doubtless see).

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Sham 69 – Angels With Dirty Faces

Let’s crack on with a round up of all the suggestions which linked to Small, Faces or Small Faces (sort of, loosely, with a few diversions), and I’ll hand you over to Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense fame:

“Small Faces’ first hit was ‘What’cha Gonna Do About It’, written by Ian Samwell. He also invented British Rock ‘n’ Roll by penning ‘Move It'”

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Cliff Richard – Move It

As mentioned earlier on, compiling a list of everything which has featured on The Chain thus far remains a work in progress (we’re on over 1000 songs, and counting now, so you can see the size of the task ahead of me); but you may be surprised to learn that so far Old Turtleneck is, I think, the second most suggested artist. There are no points on offer for guessing who is the most suggested (sorry, George!)

Rigid came up with another, slightly less fact-based suggestion, presented here in the form of a sort of rubbish multiple choice question:

“Small Faces were named because:

(a) they hadn’t yet reached the top of the Mod Hierarchy (i.e. they weren’t yet Faces, they were still Numbers – albeit high ranking ones – but there was already a band called the High Numbers, and

(b) they were all short (Steve Marriott was 5′ 1″, Ian McLagan was 5′ 0″, and Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane were both 4′ 7″).

Pixies are also short.”

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Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

Not the only Pixies suggestion of the week, as it goes, more to follow.

Over to Dirk from sexyloser and the much admired organiser of the Bloggers Summit that happened a few months ago, which I was immensely flattered to be invited to but, alas, could not attend:

“I must admit I couldn’t remember this Small Faces tune and I could neither be arsed to download it nor to search for the ‘Best Of’ – CD of theirs I have somewhere. So instead I had a look at YouTube and found out that there’s a dog barking at approx. 1:05 minutes. An even better tune with a dog barking in it – albeit not at 1:05, no, at 2:27 minutes instead – is The Clash’s ‘Somebody Got Murdered’ … a link which – again, mind you – will please my friend George mightily, I suspect!”

Poor old Cliff; every time he pulls a goal back, the bloody Clash go and score again:

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The Clash – Somebody Got Murdered

The Robster from Is This The Life? chipped in with a factoid at this point:

“The dog you hear actually belonged to Steve Marriot. He became something of a session player, also appearing on Pink Floyd’s album ‘Meddle’ in a song they named after him – ‘Seamus’.”

Now unless I’m missing something, there was no actual suggestion from The Robster this time around, so I’ll take that as being it. Please don’t forget your homework again.

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Pink Floyd – Seamus

Anyway, since we’re on The Clash, how about we get them out of the way completely, if for no other reason than so that George can relax and postpone taking his blood pressure medication for a while.

Here’s Julian from Music from Magazines:

“Small Faces might have small hands as allegedly Trump has, to be honest The Clash summed it up…”

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The Clash – I’m So Bored of the U.S.A.

I’m writing this part of The Chain on Tuesday night, and as I typing, this message has flashed up on my phone:

Trump

So, y’know, good job I’m not promising to be back next week. At this rate, none of us will be….

…And we’re back in the room.

Now, one thing I’ve learned since I started writing The Chain is not to interrupt Jules when his brain is ticking over, especially as that usually coincides with a) him having a drink, b) chucking out time, or c) both.

“The American President is known as POTUS the first Lady as FLOTUS which happens to be the title of the latest…… Lambchop album”

Jules suggesting a Lambchop track, who’d have thunk it? Here’s the song he selected from said album, in it’s full 18:12 glory:

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Lambchop – The Hustle

Back to Rigid again, piping up:

“Or…”

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Floaters – Float On

“…(particularly the Lenny Henry version)…” By which he means this:

Although personally, it’s a song which always reminds me of this:

Dear Cadburys: should you wish to reward me for the free advert by granting me a year’s supply of your yummy Crème Eggs, I can be contacted by email. But be warned: I’m a greedy fat bastard, and your idea of a year’s supply is likely to be very different to mine.

But wait, Jules isn’t done yet. In fact, you can practically hear his brain fizzing and he starts riffing:

“A final onslaught

‘Universal Hall’ by The Waterboys is a cracking number…

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The Waterboys – Universal Hall

“…and so is ‘The Whole of the Moon’ which name checks the film ‘Brigadoon’ starring Gene Kelly famous for singing ‘Singing in the Rain’…Um…WATERboys…singing in the RAIN what can it mean….?

Your choice: “

I choose all of those that you suggest, if only to prove I don’t mind how many songs you suggest (at the moment, give it a week or so…), and because I could tell all of that was just to get me to post something by this lot:

1 Wet Wet Wet?
Any shit..”

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Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery

(I can tell you’re a big fan…I’ve seen you dancing like Marti Pellow…)

To quote Belle & Sebastian:

“We all know you’re soft cos we’ve all seen you dancing
We all know you’re hard cos we’ve all seen you drinking from noon
Until noon again”

(I know you didn’t actually suggest that song, but it’s a strong contender for the Cheesiest Song of the Week gong…)

“2 The Beatles
Rain…?”

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The Beatles – Rain

“3 New Musik
This World of Water…?”

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New Muzik – This World of Water

“…Or

4 Michael P Hinson
The Day Texas Sank To The Bottom Of The Sea…”

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Micah P. Hinson – The Day Texas Sank To The Bottom Of The Sea

Right that’s that little flurry of Jules’ Gems taken care of, what’s next?

Only Alex G of notoriously salad-free We Will Have Salad, that’s who:

“From Small Faces, I tried to come up with the smallest thing I could think of that has a face, and naturally I thought of Midge Ure.

I’ll rephrase that.

From Small Faces, I tried to come up with the smallest thing I could think of that has a face, and I thought of midges. And having looked them up and established to my own satisfaction that midges do indeed have an arrangement of features on the front of their heads which would pass for faces, that naturally leads me to Midge Ure. In the spirit of this blog, I suggest his little-remembered 1991 semi-hit “Cold Cold Heart”, which I liked enough at the time to buy it, though it leaves me cold (ha!) now.”

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Midge Ure – Cold, Cold Heart

Can I be unkind enough to suggest there’s a very good reason why that’s little-remembered…?

But fear not, Alex, you’re nowhere near nominating the Worst Record of the Week, not by a long chalk.

Over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything boys, and I don’t know whether this was suggested by SWC or Badger, so we’ll credit it to a hybrid of the two, to Swadger if you will:

“If we are talking about faces then the first port of call should be ‘Poker Face’ by Lady Gaga. Just because it’s ace.”

Which it is, of course:

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Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Remember a while ago, I said there would be more Pixies featuring this week? Well here they are, courtesy of…well, me, as it goes:

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Pixies – Broken Face

When I’m deciding on the running order, I break them down into the categories and then kick myself because I never remember to make a note of who it was that made the next suggestion, and so have to furiously scroll through the last edition to try and remember. With one exception (bar Jules’ obligatory Lambchop suggestion, that is).

Yup, it’s time for George to round off the Face section in style:

“From Small Faces, to masks (that tend to be worn on faces) to ‘Trout Mask Replica’, and ‘Moonlight on Vermont’.

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Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Moonlight on Vermont

Now on to what I think we can call a bridging link. Here’s Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life:

“If I ever listen to Small Faces it takes me back to the good old days with Rod Stewart. So it is easy to go to his second album under his own name. ‘Gasoline Alley’ might be the best he ever made. Torn between ballads and rockers. So I have to suggest ‘Jo’s Lament’ or ‘Good Old Country'”

Now, before any of you pedants pull Walter up and argue that Stewart was never in Small Faces, I’ve checked and strictly speaking, Walter is correct:

After Small Faces split, Lane, Jones and McLagan joined forces with Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood., but this line-up dropped the “Small” from their name and just became known as Faces. Their record company, however, were not happy, wanting to capitalise on the band’s earlier success by retaining their old name. The band stayed firm, arguing that the personnel changes meant this was an altogether different group from Small Faces. In the end, a compromise was reached: the new line-up’s first album in the UK was credited as ‘First Step’ by Faces, while in the US the same album was released as ‘First Step’ by Small Faces.

Hope that’s cleared that up.

Here’s Walter’s suggestion:

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Rod Stewart – Jo’s Lament

What that means, of course, is that we’re now into the territory of links to members of Small Faces, and here Charity Chic again:

“Steve Marriott was a member of the Small Faces. There is a hotel chain called the Marriott. I have stayed in one at LAX Airport. So they have Hotels in California.

 If you can’t face the Eagles [I could…] there is also a version by Alabama 3 […which I’d much rather post]

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Alabama 3 – Hotel California

Time to welcome The Great Gog now, who picks up the theme:

“Picking up from the Marriott hotel chain – this is mentioned in a song – Mark Ronson’s ‘Record Collection’, where Simon Le Bon sings the line ‘I get preferential treatment at the Marriott’. I got heartily sick of this tune at the time of FIFA 11, as it was on the soundtrack and my youngest, then aged 10, was constantly wanting to beat me at it – happy memories of having to be a Belgian 2nd Division team whenever we played!”

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Mark Ronson And The Business Intl – Record Collection feat. Simon Le Bon

Over to Abramson60 with a typically brief suggestion:

“Steve Marriott was born in Manor Park, which could have fetched us back to Blur and Parklife, but no. How about the Ruskin Arms the famed manor Park boozer that was instrumental in the rise of Iron Maiden, again no as I have never understood their appeal. Manor made me think of Ill Manors but despite having seen the film really can’t say much about the music, though did like the early stuff from Plan B. After all this rambling I thought of the Manor studios, something to do with a younger Richard Branson I believe, so two suggestions, both recorded at the said Manor. Something very un-PC from Supercharge and the ‘Local Lads Made Good’ album, ‘She Moved The Dishes’ first, maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, a re-listen made me think of certain elements of Frank Zappa’s work.”

I think we’ll have to agree to disagree about this one Abramson, not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t preclude it from getting an airing here. To me, it sounds like someone trying to sound like Vivian Stanshall and/or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, but what do I know?

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Supercharge – She Moved The Dishes First

Anyway, you mentioned two suggestions, what’s the other one?

“Manic Street Preachers also visited the manor to record their second LP Gold Against The Soul which contains a song that always brings a smile to my face ‘La Tristesse Durera’.”

Now that’s more like it!

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Manic Street Preachers – La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)

That’s the Marriott’s all wrapped up. What about Ronnie Lane?

Here’s Martin from New Amusements:

“Steve Marriott introduced Ronnie Lane as “Leafy Lane” on one of their albums, and a Leafy Lane probably has lots of shade, so let’s go with…”

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Pavement – Shady Lane

Actually, Martin didn’t get to that suggestion straightaway. No, instead he got to Pavement by way of…well…like this (which I’m including simply because we have nothing else to link to drummer Kenney Jones):

“My first thought is that Small Faces’ drummer Kenney Jones later joined The Who after Keith Moon’s death. No Moon maybe implies eclipse, but no, I’m not pitching anything by Bonnie Tyler.”

Of course you weren’t. And why would you, when you clearly are angling for me to post this:

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Nicki French – Total Eclipse Of The Heart

Just what the world needed back in 1995, that. A terrible, hi-energy, Europop version of a song which was only ever sung in the shower by anyone other than Bonnie anyway.

Anything else that you’re definitely not going to suggest, Martin..?

“A new Moon (perhaps on a Monday?) No, I’m not pitching that, by Duran Duran, either.”

Yes, I know who “New Moon on Monday” is by, Martin. (Gentle ribbing. Yummy!) And for that, here it is:

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Duran Duran – New Moon on Monday

So that’s Marriott, Lane and Jones ticked off the list, what about Ian McLagan?

Step forward The Beard, with a suggestion which hands down wins the Best Link of the Week:

“The Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan died in Austin, Texas. Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, was played by Lee Majors. He also played Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy and, a la Dennis Waterman, crooned the theme tune, The Unknown Stuntman.”

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Lee Majors – The Unknown Stuntman (Theme from ‘The Fall Guy’)

No, of course I didn’t own that already…..honestly…

And then, just when we thought we’d exhausted all of the possibilities relating to the band’s personnel, George is back:

“The Small Faces’ first manager was Don Arden. The charming Mr Arden, not at all a thug or bully, in a meeting with Robert Stigwood (another would-be band manager) threatened to throw him out of a window, Robert Stigwood was the manager of Cream, so I suggest their single ‘Badge’.”

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Cream – Badge

Hang on a minute. I used to have a catchphrase for situations like this. Can’t seem to place my hands on it now. I’m sure I left it around here somewhere.

Wait a minute will you?

Found it!

*Clears throat*

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

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Prince & The New Power Generation – Cream

Okay, where next? Well, let’s take a step back to Ronnie Lane, and we’ll hand over to babylotti:

“Ronnie Lane was in the Small Faces, then the Faces, but it’s Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance & their version of ‘Ooh La La’ I’m going to suggest first. One of my favourite songs and about the only song that makes me wish I could play guitar so I could annoy people at open mics with it.”

No, no, no – learn to play it then take it house parties, or even better, on camping holidays. Much more annoying, although with potentially more things to throw at you to make you shut up.

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Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance – Ooh La La

And here we go, off on a tangent, which is exactly what brings us here:

“From there I’m going to suggest Goldfrapp’s own ‘Ooh La La’…”, babylotti continues:

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Goldfrapp – Ooh La La [Single Version]

“… and as I’ve gone there, I’m going to wring it to death like a dog & it’s favourite toy & suggest ‘Ooh La La’ by The Wiseguys, a song I used to love playing when DJ’ing and one of Mrs Lotti’s favourite tunes…”

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The Wiseguys – Ooh La La

At which point, Rigid reappears:

“After reading ‘Ooh La La’ that many times, I now have Kool and The Gang ‘Ooh La La La (Lets Go Dancing)’ lodged firmly in my brain”

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Kool & The Gang – Let’s Go Dancin’ (Ooh La La La)

Time for a refresher or two. You’ll recall that right at the top of this post I wrote that Small Faces’ “The Universal” was the second song in a row we’d had a song called “The Universal” to link to? Well Alyson from What’s It All About? came up with a way of linking the word in those two titles that isn’t ‘Universal’:

“There are 2 x Universals next to each other in The Chain but also 2 x the word The. Something from The The…?”

Pressed to choose a song by them, she asked this, which I vetoed at the time as I’d not long since featured it on these pages….but as so much time has gone by, here’s her choice, which, coincidentally, just happens to be my favourite record by them:

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The The – This Is The Day

Refresher 2: remember when I said earlier that I had posted the “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” sleeve to give you all something to get your teeth into, given the double appearance of ‘The Universal’? Well, I did you all a grave disservice there, for we’ve got this far and not one of you has linked to it yet.

Until now.

Here’s The Great Gog:

“Seeing the word Ogden’s immediately brought to mind World Of Twist and their late singer, Tony Ogden. I’ll go for The Storm from them.”

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World of Twist – The Storm

And The Great Gog wasn’t the only person to come up with an Ogden based link. Here Rol from My Top Ten:

“My first thought for this was to go down the Stan Ogden route (topical reference, ahoy!) which would lead you to Stan by Eminem…”

The song responsible for bringing Dido to a wider audience. *sighs* Go on then, if we must:

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Eminem – Stan

“…and better still,” Rol continues, “to Mark & Lard’s spoof version, ‘Tony’ by The Shirehorses.”

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The Shirehorses – Tony

Hmmm. This must be some new usage of the phrase “better still” that I wasn’t previously aware of. Ironic, maybe. An inverted meaning, like when “Bad” meant “Good”.

Sorry Rol, Worst Record of the Week, which is some feat in a week when we’ve heard that one by Supercharge.

I have an Ogden link too. Here it is:

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The Beautiful South – The Table

What? You’re all looking at me blankly, like there’s no link there.

C’mon, seriously? Even Kay knows what the link is.

Ogden. Table. Ogden Table.

Ogden tables are a set of statistical tables and other information for use in court cases in the UK. Their purpose is to make it easier to calculate future losses in personal injury and fatal accident cases.

See, we try to educate as well as entertain round these parts.

Now you can tell that I focussed on the album with my suggestions, because here’s some more:

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The Wedding Present – Gone

And, the “Ogden…” sleeve depicts a tin of tobacco, so:

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Tobacco – Hairy Candy

…and since we’ve not had any double-linkers this week:

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Jake Starr and the Delicious Fullness – Ognir’s Nut Gone Frosted Flaykes

By the way, I think The Delicious Fullness may be my favourite band name ever.

Let’s have another Nut-based song (I do hope none of you are allergic), which I could have sworn George had suggested; it’s absolutely the sort of thing he would suggest, and I mean that in the nicest possible way, because it turns out this one must be one of mine too:

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B Bumble & the Stingers – Nut Rocker

Which just leaves one more suggestion, and I’ll hand over to SWC and/or Badger, or Swadger as I’m going to insist on calling them from now on, as they overlooked telling me which of them came up with this fine, stirring suggestion:

“The Faces reformed in 2009 with a certain Mick Hucknall on lead vocals. Hucknall is also a place in Nottinghamshire which was the birth place of a certain Eric Coates who wrote the theme to Dam Busters and the theme to Desert Island Discs. So either one of those please.”

With great pleasure, especially as you dodged the bullet of nominating a Simply Red tune:

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Eric Coates – The Dam Busters March

And so to the next record in The Official Chain, which none of you actually guessed, but Dirk and The Robster came mighty close:

“….[The Universal by Small Faces]…featured dogs barking. Dogs are Pets that make Sounds, so…”

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40. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

…which, although I don’t think he actually played on the recording, given Glen Campbell’s close links to the band and his sad, untimely passing yesterday, seems a rather appropriate way to end things.

So, all that’s left for me to do is to ask for your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition, whenever that might roll into town.

More soon.

The Chain #22

Evening Chain Gang!

So, so much to get through this week, so I’ll assume you all know what we do here, and will dive straight in.

Last week’s records was “Inbetweener” by Sleeper, and the suggestions for records that link to that came in thick and fast. Now, I know I swore off fiddling around with the order last week, but as it turned out, this week there were several suggestions which followed similar themes so I thought I’d try to group those together, interspersed with the remaining ones.

And so to kick things off this week, here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow which just happened to be the first one I received:

“Louise Wener of Sleeper published an autobiography in 2010 entitled ‘Different For Girls’. ‘It’s Different For Girls’ is the title of a rather splendid Joe Jackson song.”

It most certainly is, and you need proof, here you are:

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Joe Jackson – It’s Different For Girls

Wener’s post-Sleeper career has largely been based upon her writing skills; not only has she written that aforementioned autobiography, but she’s written several works of fiction too. Which made me think of this record, which contains my favourite mop-top guitar riff:

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The Beatles – Paperback Writer

Having hit on the novel idea (see what I did there?) of featuring songs about authors, this one sprang to mind:

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Morrissey – Reader Meet Author

Don’t worry, it’s not all bout me this week! But “Reader Meet Author” leads us nicely on to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s first nomination of the day:

“I once got stuck in a lift with Louise Wener AND the keyboardist from The Wannadies. There is no link here unless you want to post ‘Hit’ by The Wannadies, in all of its two minute brilliance?”

Of course I want to post that! It was going to feature in a future unrelated post, but I’m not adverse to posting the same song more than once, and I can always postpone that one:

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The Wannadies – Hit

Moving further away from Wener’s writing prowess and SWC’s stalker tendencies (I’m sure he’ll claim it was a work-related incident, though), here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“A sleeper is a train that transports you through the night – if you were to get a Midnight Train to Georgia like Gladys Knight and the Pips, chances are it would be a sleeper.”

Can’t fault your logic, there CC:

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Gladys Knight & The Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia

Whenever I hear the name Gladys Knight & The Pips, I always think of Geordie adult comic Viz, to the snappily titled “The Viz Book of Crap Jokes: A Pitiful Array of Poor Quality Jokes from the pages of Viz” which I used to own but which seems to have got mislaid on one of my many house-moves over the years, and particularly to this, which young folks who’ve never had to use a public phone probably won’t understand:

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Now, can we all give a warm Chain Gang welcome to the first of many new contributors who’ve been in touch this week. Here, from his frankly quite wonderful blog Is This The Life? is The Robster:

“I was going to suggest It’s Different For Girls until Swede beat me to it. So instead I thought about Louise’s first novel ‘Goodnight Steve McQueen’ which led me to the Prefab Sprout album ‘Steve McQueen’. But I never liked Prefab Sprout (a heretical remark in some quarters, but I stand by it) [In which case, we’ll skip playing anything by them – Chain Ed]. “There was also a book she wrote called ‘Just For One Day’ about Britpop which is as good an excuse as you could ask for to include some Bowie.”

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David Bowie – Heroes

The Robster continues: “Then I went down the sleeping route: Sleep by Godspeed You! Black Emperor would be a good one, but you probably don’t want to post a 23-minute instrumental, do you?”

Challenge accepted!

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Sleep

“So I ended up plumping for The Dreaming by Kate Bush. ‘Cause you dream when you sleep, right?” he concludes.

And quite a lot of the time when I’m awake, if I’m perfectly honest.

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Kate Bush – The Dreaming

Okay folks, brace yourselves. It’s become a bit of a tradition here on The Chain that we feature at least one cringe-worthy song every week. Not because we necessarily like it, but because…well, did you ever hear that quote, which I had always thought was attributed to mountaineer Chris Bonnington, that goes “Q: Why do you want to climb that mountain? A: Because it’s there.”? (A quick internet search tells me that it was actually first said by George Mallory, an English schoolteacher and mountaineer, born 1886, died 1924 trying to errm….climb Mount Everest. Not so smug now, eh, Mallory, old bean?) I digress – it’s the same principal here. So, babylotti, why did you recommend this record? Because you could. Or, as you put it:

“Inbetweener conjures one song up for me immediately. It’s that excruciating dance scene in the Inbetweeners film where they ‘move’ across the dancefloor to ‘We No Speak Americano’ that’s my suggestion, right there. Sorry.

No need to apologise, babylotti!

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Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano (Radio Edit)

And just in case you don’t know the scene babylotti is referring to:

Which leads us rather neatly on to the next suggestion, and can we have a warm Chain Gang welcome to The Beard, who does not appear to be the biggest fan of the show which gave us such phrases as “Bus Stop Wankers!”, “Bum-der” and “Clunge” (I advertently described a cheesecake at a recent party as “looking a bit clungey”, not realising what that meant until the words were already out there. I am free to host the Great British Bake Off, in case anyone on C4 is interested).

Anyway, here’s The Beard’s suggestion:

“The plural of Inbetweener is Inbetweeners. The Inbetweeners was a mildly-amusing-but-quickly-lost-its-charm comedy. One of the protagonists was called Jay. A more famous Jay is Jam Master Jay. ‘Here We Go (Live At The Funhouse)’ by his band, Run DMC, is ridiculously good.”

It certainly is:

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Run DMC – Here We Go (Live At The Funhouse)

Since we’re on a rap/hip-hop vibe, here’s Rol from My Top Ten:

“Literal link again: the only song I have in my collection with Sleeper in the title is Nightbus Sleepers by Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip. Not usually my bag, musically, but I love Scroobius Pip’s rambling rhymes”.

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Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Nightbus Sleepers

Seems a bit quiet around here without George this week, doesn’t it? Time to rectify that, with more of his Tottenham Hotspur links:

“Sleeper is a film by Woody Allen. Dave Allen was in the Gang of Four, leading to Dave Mackay of Tottenham Hotspur (their finest ever midfielder), leading to Andy Mackay of Roxy Music, and Ladytron.”

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Roxy Music – Ladytron

Time to welcome back Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?

“At the risk of looking as if I am stalking George by copying everything he comes up with (it’s all a coincidence honestly) [I knew it! You might call it stalking, we call it spying! – Chain Ed] my first thought was also that Woody Allen was in a film called Sleeper with one-time partner Diane Keaton, but we all know that Woody also had a long-term relationship with Mia Farrow. [Phew! I wondered where you might be going with that for a moment there. I was dusting off the word ‘allegedly’ ready for quick insertion – Legal Ed] Now Mia was once married to Frank Sinatra so I could go down that route but instead, in the interests of championing the Guilty Pleasure tagline yet again, I will go down another route. Ms Farrow starred in the excellent film Rosemary’s Baby and back in 1970 Edison Lighthouse did really well with Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – I think the brackets are important!”

Anyone whose services as the resident pop nerdo boffin in pub quiz team will know how invaluable knowing where the brackets go in a pop song title is. My favourite one that catches people out is Heaven 17’s “…(And That’s No Lie)” which you’ll note quite literally has no words that aren’t in brackets.

Anyway, here’s 1970s not Guilty at all Pleasure:

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Edison Lighthouse – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

Time for a warm welcome to the third of our new contributors this week, which comes from within Alyson’s sleeper cell humble abode:

Don’t know if my other half is allowed to join in but out of interest his suggestion probably falls into the Guilty Pleasure category also and it’s The Gambler by Kenny Rogers – The opening few lines being relevant to a) Sleeper trains b) Being too tired to sleep c) Railway lines are laid on sleepers.”

Tick, tick, tick, as The Hives once said, as did the nit nurse at my Junior School (although The Hives also added the word “Boom!”).

I’ve digressed again. Here’s King Kenny (no, not that one. Or that one. This one):

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Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

If you didn’t catch Kenny Rogers’ Sunday Afternoon Legends slot at Glastonbury back in 2013, you can see it here. Well worth a look, in my book.

Anyway, before I forget, a warm Chain Gang welcome to Alyson’s other half, Jamie.

Now, as they say, for something completely different, and to my final suggestion for this week. “Inbetweener” comes from Sleeper’s debut album, “Smart”. Smart is a word which has several different meanings: Well dressed (The Great Gog will expand on this in a moment); to be in pain (as in “Ouch, that smarts a bit”), or to be clever.

If you’re the opposite of clever, then you could easily be described as intellectually-challenged, or just plain stupid. That’s S-T-U-P-I-D:

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Sultans of Ping F.C. – Stupid Kid

Since I’ve just mentioned him, here’s The Great Gog:

“One can be said to be smart if one is wearing one’s Sunday best. Off the top of my head, the only song I can think of that references Sunday best is The Icicle Works’ “Who Do You Want For Your Love”, in its second line. And it’s a particular favourite of mine.”

Not one I was overly familiar with before getting your suggestion (I really don’t know how this one passed me by, to be honest), but it’s fast becoming one of mine too:

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The Icicle Works – Who Do You Want For Your Love?

A suggestion which coaxed The Swede back for a second stab:

“I’ve now got Elvis Costello’s ‘Sunday’s Best’ as an earworm, a song that’s as relevant today as it was in 1979, if not more so. It also contains the line ‘…Sleepy towns and sleeper trains….’, so can be designated a double-linker!”…

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Sunday’s Best

…which in turn caused ructions with The Great Gog’s working day:

“Whilst staring at an increasingly confusing spreadsheet at work, I’ve just remembered that Madness’ “Our House” makes mention of Sunday best. Needless to say, it is currently ear-worming…”

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Madness – Our House

Right, hold on chaps. Seems it’s you guys that are digressing now. Quick, we need another suggestion to break us out of this Chain Reaction.

Up to the plate steps Badger, also from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“I was once in the audience of Jools Holland, it was a Hootenanny special (filmed in August) but one of the acts there was Audioweb who performed their minor hit ‘Sleeper’ – they had more chart success with their ragga indie version of ‘Bankrobber’.”

As it’s a Clash cover, let’s dedicate this one to George:

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Audioweb – Bankrobber

“As my obligatory second option”, Badger continues,”another song on the debut Sleeper album was ‘Lady Love Your Countryside’ which was a slight piss-take of supposed political rebels S*M*A*S*H and their ‘feminist anthem’ ‘Lady Love Your C___’ who actually turned out to be posho college boys. Either way ‘I Want to (Kill Somebody)’ was a great three minutes of Tory baiting”:

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S*M*A*S*H* – (I Want to) Kill Somebody

Now, since Audioweb have been mentioned, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“Sleeper was a song by mid 90s Manchester dub/rock/electronic and Audioweb, an actually pretty good piece of mid 90s music. The 12″ came with not 1, but 2, Andrew Weatherall mixes.”

Now these are mixes which I did not own. But fear not, I thought: Swiss is renowned for being a bit of a Weatherall nut, so I figured I’d just pop over to his blog, type Audioweb into the Search function, and get them from him, only to be met with the following message when I did:

“No posts matching the query: audioweb”

Gah!

Anyway, I managed to track down the following two mixes. I’ve no idea if one, or the other, or both for that matter, are in any way Weatherall related (although they both sound pretty similar to these ears…)

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Audioweb – Sleeper (Emissions No. 5)

Audioweb – Sleeper (Sleepless In Balham)

Okay, time for Comment Showboat of the week, which undoubtedly goes to Dirk from sexyloser. I’d get comfy, if I were you:

“A ‘sleeper’ these days is of course not only a person, who, like you and me do, goes to bed in the evening and, well, sleeps. No, a sleeper is a spy planted in advance for future use, but not currently active (not necessarily a terrorist, back in the golden days of the cold war we just had spies, you know, for younger readers, all harmless stuff!). This may be hard to believe, but fear not: there is a movie which might shows it all: ‘Salt’. In it, Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a Russian sleeper agent and goes on the run to try to clear her name.

Now, as you might or might not know, Angelina Jolie announced that she and Brad Pitt go ‘different ways’ from now on, a divorce will come soon, I’m afraid. Very sorry to hear this, and I would just l.o.v.e. to help Angelina in those difficult times of misery, but I fear that Mrs Loser would have severe objections against my noble offerings. So, Angelina, the only advice I can give you currently, is to see your future positively and to sing along loudly to Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns’ ‘Free, Single And Disengaged’: a neat song indeed and, coincidently , my tip for this week’s ‘Chain’.

Ah, well …”

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Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns – Free, Single and Disengaged

PS – Angelina, if you’re reading this, there is no current Mrs Jez, and you seem exactly the sort of headcase that some of my ex-girlfriends were clearly readying me for. Call me, maybe?

Sticking with the Cold War/Spy angle, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“OK, other people have done railways and spies. So let’s combine the two, and what springs to my mind is James Bond getting into a bit of a scuffle in “From Russia With Love”. As it happens, I have a soft spot for Matt Monro, so let’s hear him singing the title song from said movie.”

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Matt Monro – From Russia With Love

You’d have to be pretty annoyed if you were Matt Monro. Your most famous record (as far as I know, feel free to provide alternatives) and you don’t even get to feature on the sleeve. Such is life.

Now a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Kay, who continues the theme:

“Sleeper made me think of a sleeper cell – cold war, John Le Carre novels, Russia etc ….then Russia made me think of Babushka by Kate Bush”:

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Kate Bush – Babooshka

Which just leaves us with George’s second suggestion, and for what I think is for the fourth time on the trot, it’s related to Tottenham Hotspur:

“In Sleeper, the singer was Louise Wener. Louise was/is the name of a pop-singer who is married to footballer Jamie Redknapp, son of former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, who signed Dutch footballer Rafael van der Vaart. And speaking of things Dutch leads to prog-flute band Focus, and their song House of the King. a splendid pop prog song with flute-ing and hand-clapping.”

My knowledge of Focus, I thought, began and ended with “Hocus Pocus”, until I heard this and recognised it as the theme tune to Steve Coogan’s BBC comedy series “Saxondale”, so truly thanks for pointing me in its direction (don’t let the word “prog” put you off, George is right, this really is splendid):

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Focus – House Of The King

And that’s it for another week. Of course, none of us guessed the official link to the official record, which I’ll have to concede is a better link than usual, if still not a patch on any of ours:

“…From Sleeper – part of an earring – to a hit from Dutch band Golden Earring…”:

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22. Golden Earring – Radar Love

(Relax ladies: all of the members of Focus and Golden Earring are either married or dead).

So: let’s be having your nominations for records which link to “Radar Love” by Golden Earring”, along with your explanation of how you got to it, via the Comments section below, in time for me to source and write this by the same time next week.

See you then, Chainies!

(More soon)

The First of Many Greatest Hits Albums

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It is early 1982 and a major musical epiphany is on the horizon. But before that (and I have no specific stories to relate about it), scalded by my Jungle Boogie experience (which sounds like a fecking great name for a band by the way), I shrunk backwards.

The Beatles were popular, right? Let’s buy something by them. And then, just to make sure I didn’t try to get it played at a local cultural event let’s buy it on cassette. At the risk of coming over all Peter Kay: cassettes! Remember them?? ( I hope so. The word Cassingles will soon feature prominently. I say soon. I mean in about 15 years time. Bear with me.)

I’d borrowed the Red and Blue Greatest Hits from my aunt earlier, and loved every moment of them, so, desperate for recognition, I guess I regressed into my tortoise shell.

This is what I ended up with. Oh how I wish I could say the first album I bought was “Revolver” or “Sgt Pepper”. But no. It’s a mish-mash compilation at best, but the song I loved most of all was from “Revolver” so I guess I kinda win, right? Anyway, it’s this obviously McCartney penned- belter:

The Beetles: Got to Get You Into My Life

The spelling is deliberately wrong by the way, I’m just starting and don’t want any DMCA notices.

At this point, I would normally give you a link so you can go buy it, but, incredibly nobody seems to be selling it (this compilation, that is. You can buy Revolver very easily. You don’t need a link. In fact, don’t buy it, go buy Ella Fitzgerald’s version instead.)

A few years ago, a very good friend of mine (Hi Colin!) made his feelings about The Beatles known to me. Since they’re unlikely to feature much more here, this seems an appropriate moment to share this. He hated them. No, he REALLY hated them.

What he hated was not the music itself, but the very idea of The Beatles. To Colin, they were institutionalised music taste. He was being told what to do. “These are The Beatles and you must like them”. You were just supposed to like The Beatles without ever questioning it, because of who it was and what they represented. As a result, he bloody hated them. I very much admire his stance.

Actually, he’d REALLY hate the fact I’ve mentioned him in a blog post about how much I love The Beatles, which frankly just adds to the appeal of writing this.,

I’ve seen him, in a bar with a band playing a Beatles cover, standing on the dance floor, fists up, challenging anyone who wanted to dance to just give it a try. Which seems a tad extreme, but I get his point.

There is no reason in liking something just because it’s popular and en vogue. Why like something else because everyone else does? Right??? I’d have to like One Direction if that were the case and that ain’t gonna happen. They murdered “One Way or Another” for a start.

If only I’d met him 20 odd years earlier, you (and I) would have been spared a lot of pain.